"One Little Story"
Part I

Stories and Parables

Quoted from the Divine Discourses of
Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba


| Part I-a Part I-b Part I-c |
Part I-a
Stories 1-90
ck1 - ck2 - ck3 - ck4 - ck5
Part I-b
Stories 91-180
ck6 - ck7 - ck8 - ck9 - ck10
Part I-c
Stories 181-262
ck11 - ck12 - ck13 - ck14

| ck1 - ck2 - ck3 - ck4 - ck5 || ck6  - ck7 - ck8 - ck9 - ck10 || ck11 - ck12 - ck13 - ck14 |

 'Jonah in the Whale'

199b. Banana Competition

Two young men studying in the same college challenged eachother - who can eat faster than the other, a prescribed number of bananas. They decided upon impartial umpires and stood before the banana baskets.

One young man resolved that if he eats the skins first, the sweet soft fruit inside can be no problem later; the other youth decided that once the soft portions were eaten fast he would have enough time to chew the skins. But, after finishing the skins the first young man had no stomach to swallow the kernel; he was too full. The other man had to stop as soon as he had finished the soft insides, for he had no more space inside him for the skins! Both failed in the competition; but, what a difference they had in their experiences! The first had a surfeit of bitter; the other, a surfeit of sweet!

People resolve to experience God and godly company only after going through most of life. They eat skins and have no appetite for the kernel. The first place must be accorded to God; then, joy and peace will be the lot.

200. The Tongue and the Eye

There was a monk once who as the first two steps in ascetic practice decided on two vows: 1. not to injure any living thing and 2. not to speak falsehood. While he was engaged in meditation under a tree in the thick jungle, invoking the aid of God to confirm him in these two vows, he saw a beautiful deer running in terror from some hunters and taking refuge in a bower behind his hermitage. The hunters came to him seconds later. They asked him about the whereabouts of the deer. The poor monk was in a fix. If he told them that he saw it entering the bower they would catch it and kill it. That would go against his first vow. If he told them that he did not know its whereabouts, it would be against his second vow. He avoided breaking both his vows in a very clever way.

He said: "The eye that sees cannot speak. The tongue that speaks cannot see. I cannot compel the eye to speak nor the tongue to see". The hunters went away quietly and the deer was saved. The monk had not uttered falsehood.

201. Physical Beauty  

A certain Mahârâja had an only son, who grew strong and wellbuilt. When he was about 22 years of age, the father talked to him of marriage. The prince wanted the father to allow him to choose his bride among his subjects. The Mahârâja gladly agreed. One day, while the prince was going on horseback along a bridge, he saw a damsel proceeding to the river below for her bath, and immediately he fell frantically in love with that embodiment of beauty. She was the daughter of a vais'ya, a rich merchant of the city. The girl was highly religious, well-versed in all the holy scriptures and very much averse towards worldly entanglements like marriage. When the courtiers from the palace sooght out the vais'ya and asked him to consent to the marriage of his daughter with the prince, they were surprised to find that the father was reluctant to agree. He considered that being a vais'ya, he should have only a vais'ya son-in-law. The daughter complicated affairs, by saying that she would not marry at all. The palace threatened dire punishment for both father and daughter.

At last, the daughter hit upon a plan to escape punishment. She told her father to tell the palace officers that she would like to meet the prince face to face eight days later and if the prince still wanted to marry her, she was willing to do so. Then, she swallowed strong purgatives every day and collected the excreta each day in a separate vessel. On the eighth day, she was taken in a royal palanquin to see the prince. She took with her the eight vessels well covered up and insisted that they too be placed in the Audience Hall, where she was to meet the prince. None knew what they contained. The prince was shocked to find before him a living skeleton of a girl, ghastly, with hollow cheeks and sunken eyes. He asked her: "Where is all that beauty gone?" She pointed to the eight vessels of excreta. The prince, it need [not] be said, declined the marriage and the girl was happy she had taught him a lesson on the evanescence of physical charm.

202. Who is to Die?

Once in Puttaparthi, in a village play, the role of Vali was assigned to a rich man's son and that of Sugriva to a poor man's son. Then Vali protested that he would not die in the fight with the poor man's son and insisted that Râma should befriend him and kill Sugriva instead! The story cannot be changed to suit your whims. When the play says that Vali should die and when he has been given that role, he should die correctly just as He has decided [see also Ramakatha Rasavahini part 2].

203. The Frog

While Râma, Sîtâ and Lakshmâna were moving among the hills and dales of Dandakaranya, one day Râma moved towards the bank of a clear blue lake. While stepping down the bank, Râma put His foot on a little frog, which suffered great pain but remained mute. Râma felt pity at the poor creature's plight and asked the frog, why it did not cry out in protest. The frog replied: "Whenever I get into trouble or have fear from foes, I cry out 'Râma! Râma!' but, when Râma Himself is causing me pain, whom am I to appeal to?"

204. The Cow she Wanted

A woman visited the village fair to purchase a cow. She wandered along the long lines of cattle brought for sale. She could not get the cow she sought, for she wanted a cow: that was hornless, tame, with a female calf, it should eat very little grass; the cow should yield a good quantity of milk; the cow should give a sizeable quantity of dung, black-green in color, so that she could use the dung for flooring her hut; the cow should be of the holy Kapila (brown, tawny or reddish) color. No wonder she had to return disappointed.

205. Not Copper

Once a poet approached Bhoja for help and when the Emperor held before him a purse, he refused to accept it, because the poet said: "You must give me something which you have earned by the sweat of your brow, not something which you have appropriated from the earnings of others' toils". The Emperor appreciated the argument. He asked him to call on him the next day. When the poet presented himself the next morning as directed, Bhoja gave him 16 copper coins which he had earned from a smithy, handling the hammer to beat the red hot iron. The poet held out his hand for it; the coins were given, but, what a wonder, they were gold coins, not copper. The toil of the king had made them pure gold. One must give only what one has legitimately earned. Then the dehi (the conscious embodied self) gives without deha (the physical body) consciousness.


206. Land Hunger

Someone had a hundred acres in the south; but he had an itching for more, at least a 1000. So he went in all directions seeking regions where he could get vast areas of uncultivated but cultivable land. At last, he came to a Himalayan kingdom and the King gladly offered to give him all the land he hungered for. The only limit he placed was his endurance. He said the man should start walking without tarrying; he should return to the starting point before the sun had set. All the land enclosed by his route, traced by his steps from start to finish, would be his. That was the generous offer the King made. The greedy migrant waited anxiously for the first rays of the rising sun and he started off on the circumference of a very wide circle, running in fact, until evening fell. He was so exhausted when he neared the starting point that within three yards of the starting spot, he dropped dead! His heart stopped beating. He had overworked it in his mad race to appropriate as many acres as he possibly could, before sunset.

207. He Won?

Honor your parents so that your children learn to honor you. There is a fine story mentioned in the Purânas about this. The divine parents S'iva and Pârvatî once laid down a test for their two sons Ganapathi (Ganesha) and Subramanya. They were to go round the whole world and return to them; he who does it quicker will win the prize. Subramanya started quick and fast, and was pacing through highlands and lowlands, but Ganapathi walked quickly round the parents and claimed the prize. He said: 'The parents are all the world' and the statement was accepted as correct. Ganapathi was installed as the deity supervising the acquisition of knowledge and as the deity who shall save all aspirants from obstacles on their path. The moral of this story is that parents have to be cared for and obeyed. That is the real Pitri-yana (Path of ancestors, through which the soul ascends to the lunar world to enjoy the benefits of ritual works).

208. Under his Own Pillow

A rich merchant once went to a holy place to attend the temple festival. A thief too followed him, in order to knock off his purse. But, he posed as a companion proceeding to the same place, for the same festival. They stayed in a Dharmasala for the night. When everyone had gone into deep sleep, the thief who kept awake until then, rose and searched everywhere for the merchant's bag. He could not lay hands on it in spite of restless search. When day broke he told the merchant in a friendly manner: "There are thieves in this place; I hope you are taking good care of your bag, which holds all your money". The merchant replied: "O, yes, last night, I kept it right under your pillow. See, how safe it is". So saying, he took it from underneath the thief's pillow! God is like that merchant; He has placed the bag holding Atmasakthi, Atmajñana, and unalloyed happiness in the head of man. But, man is ignorant of this; he seeks to find it outside himself.

209. Magic

When Krishna appeared at one time on one side, on the other side at another time and some times all around him, Kamsa scorned Krishna and said: "You fellow! Krishna! Put a stop to your magic tricks!" He did not stop with that. He boasted: "Face to face with the might of my shoulders, the might of your magic, how much is it? Only a tiny drop!" When the same Krishna, a seven year old youngster vaulted over him and felled him to the ground and sitting on his chest, squeezed his neck in a mortal hold, Kamsa wailed piteously: "Oh! Oh! I am dying!" Then, Krishna retorted: "Uncle, this is magic! Magic, only magic!" [see also for example S.B. 10.4 etc.]

210. About Turn

God told a certain sannyâsî: "Do not worry, I am always behind you." One day, the sannyâsî wanted to test whether God spoke the truth. So, acting out of doubt, he quickly turned his head and naturally, did not see God. He asked God why He wasn't there and God said: "As you turned your head, I moved around to the back of your head! Naturally, you were unable to see Me".

God is Truth. Truth is His Nature. Truth is His sign, His breath.  

211. Gratitude

An ant was caught on a dry leaf that was being carried down a flooded river and it called out from its tiny heart to God for succor. God prompted a kite (a long-winged bird of prey that typically has a forked tail and frequently soars on updrafts of air) that was flying over the river to dive and rise up, with the leaf in its beak; for He made the bird mistake it for a fish or frog! The bird was sorely disappointed, but, the ant was delighted to land on hard ground! God came as a kite and rescued me, it felt. I must be grateful to the bird, to all birds it resolved. One day, while on its morning round, it saw a hunter aim an arrow at a bird. Remembering how its own life was given by a bird, it bit the heel of the hunter, when he was about to release the mortal shaft; the aim failed, the bird flew off and was saved. The ant had paid its debt.

212. The Title at Last

Vis'vâmitra was upset that inspite of years of asceticism, his great rival, Vasishthha Muni addressed him only as Rajarishi, and not by the coveted appellation Brahmarishi (title meaning 'wise amongst the brahmins'). So, he crouched stealthily behind the seat of Vasishthha one moonlit night when he was teaching a group of disciples, determined to kill him with the sharp sword he had taken with him. He sat unseen amidst the bushes for a moment to listen to what Vasishthha was telling them. What was his surprise when he heard Vasishthha describing the charming moonlight and comparing it to the heart of Vis'vâmitra, cool, bright, curative, heavenly, universal, all-pleasing! The sword fell from his grasp. He ran forward and prostrating at the feet of his rival, he held the feet. Vasishthha recognised Vis'vâmitra and accosting him: "O Brahmarishi, rise up", he lifted him on to his own seat. Vasishthha explained that he could not be styled Brahmarishi, so long as the ego persisted in him. When the swelling of the head disappeared and he fell at the feet of his rival, he became entitled for the honor he no longer coveted, and so deserved. [see also S.B. 9.7: 7 and the footnote* in this chapter]

213. Fantasy

A street-hawker had on his head a basket full of empty bottles, as he walked along to the bazaar. He hoped to sell the lot at a profit of ten rupees and, in ten days, he calculated his earnings would have accumulated to a hundred rupees. With that capital, he planned to switch on to more profitable deals, so, that he imagined he could make a pile of a lakh of rupees in a few months and build a bungalow with a lovely garden tended by a regiment of servants beaming all round the house. There he saw himself on a sofa in the greenery playing with his grandchildren. He was engrossed in that charming scene but suddenly he saw among his grandchildren, the child of one of the servants. He got angry at this unwanted intrusion. Believing his fantasy to be a reality, he suddenly grabbed the child and gave it a swift hefty push, only to find that the basket of bottles had fallen on the road arid all hopes of even the ten rupees lost! That was the end of a dream built on the slender basis of greed.

214. Mutual Help

A man sees while going along a road, a ripe fruit on a tree by the side. The mind craves for the fruit, but, that by itself cannot fulfill that craving. The feet take him near the tree, but, that does not bring about the consummation. The trunk stoops, the hand picks up a stone, the shoulders throw the stone at the fruit, and the fruit falls on the ground. But, that does not end the story. The fruit has to be picked up by the fingers, transferred into the mouth, the teeth have to bite into it, and masticate it well, and the tongue has to take charge in order to make it reach the stomach. The eating part of the task is thus over.

But, that does not end the story of the craving for the fruit. Since so many instruments cooperated in the fulfillment, gratitude has to be rendered to each of them. So, the stomach sends strength and satisfaction to every limb that shared in the adventure of securing the fruit and eating it - the eyes, the feet, the hands, the fingers, the shoulder, the tongue, the teeth, the gullet. No one of them is neglected or discriminated against.

215. The Vomit

A person saw in the hollow of his hands the shadow of a lizard as he was doing his ceremonial rite in the river with water; he swallowed the sacred water, without seeing whether it was just a shadow or the real thing. Later, he was bothered by the fear that he had swallowed the poisonous thing. He developed all the symptoms of lizard poisoning, until a wise man came by and procuring a lizard, made it wriggle in the vomit that was induced in the unfortunate victim. When the poor man saw the lizard that presumably came out of his stomach, he was happy and he recovered. Man too suffers from a similar delusion, imagining himself to be afflicted by something, that is purely a creation of his own ignorance.

216. Come Tomorrow

While life lasts, use every moment for the sâdhana which will lead you Godwards.
One day a poor brahmin arrived at the court of Dharmarâja (Yudhisthhira), the eldest of the Pândavas pleading for wherewithal for the celebration of his daughter's marriage. Dharmarâja promised to give him all that he needed, but, he asked him to come the next day. At this, Bhîma (meaning 'fearful, tremendous', one of the five sons of Pându, also called Vrikodara: 'wolf-belly' for his enormous appetite) was so elated that he ordered the event to be celebrated with the beating of drums and hoisting of flags all over the kingdom. When the King inquired the reason for this sudden spurt of joy, Bhîma replied: "You have now announced that you will live one more day; is that not enough cause for joy, when everyone else is uncertain of even the next moment"?

217. The Gifts

This life has been given to you to search and search for God.
You have been given eyes and vision to help you see the Supreme One, the Omnipotent Divinity.
The legs are given to enable you to visit the temple of God.
The hands have been given to you to perform puja with flowers to the Lord.
You have been provided with intelligence so that you may realise that all that you see around is a very temporary and transient phenomenon.
You have been given a mouth to sing the Glory of the Lord.
Ears have been given to you to listen to songs relating to the glory of a God.
You have been given a human body for doing good to other human beings.
You should put into practice the principles and codes of conduct and surrender your ego at the Lotus Feet of God residing in the heart.

218. A Brick for his God

Pundaleek, a great devotee of Panduranga was one day massaging the feet of his mother. Then, his Panduranga, the form of God he had installed in his heart and shrine, came in all His splendor and stood before him. What a temptation to give up the service to the mother and rush towards the Feet of his God! But, Pundaleeka said: "Please wait a few moments, I shall finish this service and then offer homage to You". He threw a brick for Panduranga to stand upon, for it is the first step in hospitality, to offer a seat for the guest.

Pundaleeka's guru, Kabir, told him that one does service to the mother so that the grace of God can be won. But, even then, he did not give up the service in the middle. Such was his steadfastness and his faith.






Painting of Jonah in the Whale (see this story in the Bible, Jonah 1 verse 17) by Frank Wesley
Vais'ya: farmers and traders. They provide to the needs of society and wake over the well-being of the animals, especially of the cows.
Care for Cows in Vrindâvana.




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