"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 |

'Jesus' life in Nazareth with His father Joseph and mother Mary'



238. Position of Vantage

You know that the Garuda bird [eagle] feeds on snakes. Well, once Garuda went to Kailasa Mount to pay respects to Lord S'iva, who wears snakes on His head, arms, wrists, neck, waist and ankles. When the snakes saw Garuda, they were unafraid; they even dared put out their forked tongues at Garuda and challenged to come near them. That was the extent of the courage lent to them by the place where they had established themselves. So, establish yourselves in the Âtmâ; no worry or grief or pride can harm you then.


239. Alexander and the Sage

Alexander, during his campaigns in the Punjab, was anxious to see a celebrated sage; he went to the cave where the sage was, and expected that he would be received most thankfully and with demonstrations of welcome. But, the sage simply asked him to move aside and go. He was not interested in the famous worldshaker, the Greek conqueror. Alexander was very angry; he threatened to kill the sage and drew his sword. But the sage said calmly, with a laugh: "I do not die", I am the Âtmâ; I cannot die". That put some sense in Alexander and he put his sword back into the scabbard.

240. Beat Man's Pride  

A man engaged a boat to take him across the flooded Godavari. When the journey over the river started, he began a lively conversation with the boatman. He asked him whether he had any schooling and when the reply came that he had none, he said sadly: "Alas!' A quarter of your life has gone to waste. It is as if you have drowned those years in the Godavari". He asked him whether he could tell him the time from his watch; the boatman confessed he did not have a watch nor cared to have one. The pundit deplored and said: "Half your life has gone into the Godavari". His next question was about newspapers; did the boatman read any? What was his favourite paper? The boatman replied that he did not read any nor did he care to know the news. He had enough to worry about already. The pundit declared forthright that three quarters of the boatman's life had been liquidated. Just then the sky darkened with storm clouds and there was an imminent threat of rain. The boatman turned to the pundit. It was his turn to put a question. He asked: "Can you swim?" and when the frightened passenger confeseed he could not, the boatman said: "In that case, your entire life is now going to merge in the Godavari". This is the case of the educated in India today. They do not have the training that will help them in distress, or in dire need to win back their mental poise.

241. Beware  

You must be aware of the danger of a fall in time. Do not behave like the master of a house, who when his wife said: "I hear some noise, its perhaps a thief". The master of the house replied: "I know; do not interrupt my sleep". In a few minutes, she said: "He has entered the house", but, the man said: "I know". Later, she said: "He is opening the box". Still, the man said: "I know" and kept quiet. After some time, she said: "He is running away" and the master said as formerly: "I know". He did not pay any attention to the warnings of the theft. So, too, you do not heed the warning, but move into the calamity, with eyes open.

242. No Place to Die

There was a sâdhaka [denomination for all entertaining a spiritual discipline] once who was initiated by a yogî into some manthram; he wanted to meditate on it undisturbed and he found his home too full of distraction. He fled to the forest and discovered a convenient tree, under which he could meditate. Before long, the birds roosting on its branches started to clamor aloud and they showered on his head their droppings. He was greatly incensed. "Have I no place where I can commune with God" he cried? "Children at home, birds and bats in the jungle! I shall immolate myself, get born under better auspices and then start sâdhana afresh", he decided. So, he collected a pile of fuel and making a pyre out of it, lit it and was about to ascend it, when he was interrupted by an old man who accosted him. He said: "By all means, carry out your decision; but just now, the wind blows from here towards those huts where we live; so, please wait until the wind turns its direction, for, the smell of burning human flesh does not agree with us. Or, if you are in hot haste, you can shift to some other place and avoid being a nuisance to us poor folk". The sâdhaka felt he had no freedom even to die. So, he returned home, and decided to brave it all there itself. He understood that karma has to be carried through in the objective world itself and there is no use trying to shake it off in a huff.

243. The Idol Turned

When Kanakadas yearned to see the idol of Krishna, installed in the temple at Udipi, though he could not go into the sacred precincts, the flag post hid the view. So, he went round the shrine and tried to find a crevice in the wall, through which he could gain a glimpse of the Krishna he loved so much. He found a crevice; but, that gave him a glimpse of the back of the idol, not the resplendent face of the Lord. When he lamented his fate, the Idol turned round (!) - as can be seen, even today - and gave him the coveted darsan! That is the reward for the yearning.

244. Inner Ganga

There was a lady who attended a whole series of Bhagavata discourses and picked up a few cliches. She became too lazy to draw water and slept on till a late hour. When her husband reprimanded her, she quoted a s'loka (sanskrit verse) which said that one has in oneself all the holy rivers, Ganga, Yamunâ, Sarasvatî, as the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna nâdis! The husband was astounded at her impudence and pseudo-spiritual pose. He contrived to feed her on highly salted stuff and he removed all the water pots and jugs from the house. When she suffered from acute thirst, and called out for water desperately, he quoted the same s'loka and wanted her to draw water from the Ganga, Yamunâ and Sarasvatî within her!

245. The Donkey's Thirst

Adore the God that is resident in all beings, motivating them and prompting their very activity. Ekanath, the Maharashtra saint, had that vision. He was going on pilgrimage to Rameswaram, in the extreme south of India, from Varanasi in the north, carrying the sacred Ganga in a pot, to be poured ceremoniously on the Ramalingeswara idol at that place. His disciples were with him. On the way he saw a donkey dying of thirst, in great agony. Ekanath felt that the Ramalingeswara in the donkey was calling out for the holy Ganga that he was carrying on his shoulder; in spite of the protests of his followers, he poured the precious Ganga down the throat of the dying animal and saved it. His joy knew no bounds. God is the seed of all this manifested universe.

246. The Seeing Eye

To be able to percieve good qualities, there is an example in the Mahâbhârata. Krishna called Duryodhana with the intention of testing him. This took place before the war (Kurukshetra). Krishna told him that he wanted to do something important and that he was on the lookout for a good man with good attributes. He asked Duryodhana [the chief of the sons of Dhritarâshthra, the Kurus] to look for such a man. He searched the world over for a few days and said that there was no person with really good attributes and if there was anyone with good qualities, the best was himself and that he came nearest to the ideal. Then Krishna sent Duryodhana away and asked Dharmarâja [another name for Yudhishthhira, the eldest Pândava, meaning: king of righteousness or the righteous] to come. Krishna told Dharmarâja to look for a man who is very bad and whose qualities are such that there can be no one else worse than him. Dharmarâja searched the world over and came back and told Krishna that he could not find anyone with such bad qualities, and if there was anyone, it was himself. He said he fits the description which Krishna gave. For Duryodhana to say that he was the best man and for Dharmarâja to say that he was the worst man, the world is not responsible. The qualities in them and the way they look at themselves and at others are responsible. That is why we give so much importance to the ability to percieve the good and distinguish it from the bad. No one can really determine what is good and what is bad. The only alternative is for one to have faith in God and improve his own qualities.

247. Begging from Beggars

A fakir went to Akbar and he was told that Akbar was at his prayers to God and so could not give audience for some time. He was asked to wait in the ante-room. But, he refused to wait, he said: "What can this beggar get from that beggar?" All are beggars at the gate of God. The hero is he who does not beg or cringe or flatter or fawn. He knows that the Lord knows best. If it is His Will He will grant food and raiments; if not, well, let His Will prevail.

248. The Five Cow Woman

You judge a person by his conduct, his character as revealed in his actions. No other witness or proof is needed. There were two women, living opposite each other in a bazaar. One had five cows and the other had just one. The richer woman was wasteful in habits, very extravagant and careless. So, she used to borrow milk from the woman with one cow, and the latter was helping her in spite of the fact that she had a large family. When she had thus borrowed about 50 seers [in the Indian subcontinent, a varying unit of weight, about one kilogram or liquid measure about one liter] of milk, the cow of the poorer woman died and she went to the other woman and wanted her to return the milk loaned at the rate of a seer per day. At this the richer woman got wild and deposed in court that she had never borrowed any milk.

"Why should I, owning five cows, go to this woman with one cow for the loan of milk?" she asked. The magistrate was a shrewd man who sympathised with the woman whose cow had died. He knew how to get at the truth. He gave each of them five 'chembus' [large copper vessel] of water and asked them to wash their feet and come back to court. The five-cow-woman poured the water of all the five chembus in one stream on her feet and came in with all the dirt intact. The one cow-woman cleaned her feet by skilful use of one chembu full only and she left the other four chembus untouched. The act of washing the feet revealed their character and the magistrate had no hesitation in convicting the culprit. The one-cow-woman must have saved and the five-cow-woman must have wasted and been in perpetual want.

249. The Common Tongue

There was a man from Puttaparthi who lived in a solitary hut on the banks of the Ganga some miles above Haridwar. He was engaged in severe thapas and was greatly admired by other monks. One day while bathing in the river, he overheard a party of pilgrims who had alighted from their bus at that site, talking among themselves in Telugu. His attachment to the mother tongue dragged him thither; he asked them where they came from. They said Rayalaseema; he probed further; they were from Anantapur District; his ears ached for further details. They were from Penukonda Taluk, Puttaparthi itself in fact. So, the monk was very happy; he asked them about his lands, his family, his friends and when he was told that a few of them had died, the poor fellow started weeping like a fool. All his years of sâdhana had come to nought. They broke down before the onslaught of language attachment. He was so bound to his mother tongue. What a pity!

Practice detachment from now on. Practice it little by little, for, a day will come sooner or later when you will have to give up all that you hold dear.

250. Bricks of Gold

When Dharmarâja [Yudhishthhira] decided in a fit of repentance to celebrate three as'vamedhas [horse-sacrifice] in a row, in order to win the grace of God for the sin of slaughtering millions in the Kurukshetra battle, he had no money with him nor could his vassal rulers help with finance. They too were impoverished by the war. And Krishna said: "Kings derive money only from the hard toil of their subjects. To spend on a yajña done in expiation of the sins that threaten you, the money sqeezed out of their sweat is very wrong, it will be further sin."

So, Dharmarâja was in a fix. He pleaded with Krishna for helping him out. Then, Krishna told him: "In bygone times, a ruler named Maruth performed a yajña in a style that no ruler has approached so far. Gold bricks were given away as gifts to the priests, scholars and ritualists. Gold models of cows and houses and gold plates were given in thousands to the poor and the needy. When the recipients struggled along with the heavy load, they had to throw away many bricks and models, for they were too tired. They are available now on both sides of the road they took. I know the place. Go, and collect them".

But, Dharmarâja hesitated. He said: "They belong to those to whom they were given. How can we use them without their permission". Krishna replied: "They have willingly cast them away. They are not alive today. This took place long, long ago. They are under the earth. All treasure troves belong to the ruler. You are the ruler. No one has the right to object". So, the gold was brought and the three yajñas were celebrated.

 251. The Camera

Our mind is like the lens of a camera. If you want to get the picture of the people on the right side, and you turn the camera to the left, how can you succeed? Our body is the camera, our mind is the lens, our heart is the photographic plate, our thought is the flash bulb, our buddhi or intelligence is the switch. If you want peace and happiness imprinted on your heart, turn the lens towards the activities and things that can give them, without any mixture of sorrow and misery.

252. God's Plan

When the Yâdavas [the Yadus, the name of Krishna's family], the clansmen of Krishna fought against each other a fratricidal battle and destroyed themselves completely, Dharmarâja asked Arjuna: "Could not Krishna stop it?" Arjuna said: "The fate of the Yâdavas is the same as ours. We too Pândavas and Kauravas, brothers and kinsmen, slaughtered each other. We had Krishna in our midst. He willed both battles. No one can cross His Will or act against His command".

253. The Owner of the Kill?

Arjuna was lost in meditation on S'iva during his life as an ascetic in the Himalayan valley. Suddenly, a huge wild boar ran across the place where he was and evidently standing at bay, was grunting ferociously and snorting in terrible anger. Though during the penance, he should not hurt any living being, he hastily took up his bow and shot an arrow at the monster. Just at that moment, a bhil of the forest, also armed with bow and arrow, appeared on the scene and claimed the boar as his kill. "Who are you, intruder, daring to shoot at my prey?" he shouted and was in a defiant mood. Arjuna felt deeply insulted by the forest dwelling tribesman. "The forest and its wild life are the property of all", he claimed. "Why did you kill the boar I was stalking?" asked the bhil. From words they soon came to arrows. Arjuna noticed that his arrows fell off the bhil, like blades of grass. He stood helpless and full of rage. Arjuna dealt a fierce blow with his bow on the head of the bhil, but, it was the bow that broke. He engaged the bhil with his fists. They struggled long, dealing hammer blows on each other, but, it was Arjuna who flopped on the ground. The bhil was not exhausted in the least, though Arjuna was gasping for breath and bleeding. Then Arjuna realised that the bhil was no ordinary mortal. He moulded a linga of the S'iva he was adoring and offered some flowers on it. And, he saw those flowers on the head of the bhil and of his wife, who had joined him meanwhile. Arjuna was overcome with delight, for, he now knew they were S'iva and His consort, Pârvatî, come to test his fortitude and bless him.


254. The Curse that was Welcomed

King Parîkchit said: "I went into the forest to hunt. Many wild animals were sighted but they scattered at our approach and the band of bowmen I had with me also scattered in their pursuit. I found myself alone and I was far away from my retinue and overcome with hunger and thirst. The scorching heat exhausted me.

At last, I discovered the hermitage of a sage. His name, I discover now, was S'amîka. I called out several times to draw the attention of those inside, so that I could get a little drinking water. No answer came; no one came out. So I myself went in. I saw a hermit sitting unconcerned, lost in what, for him, was meditation and what for me was utter disregard of my status and needs. I felt something soft under my feet. I found it was a dead cobra. My intelligence was poisoned. A foul thought came into me - I placed the dead cobra round the neck of that sage, and chuckled within myself that it was some punishment for neglecting me. I came away to my city and palace.

But, the son of the sage [S'ringi] saw his father with the dead cobra around his neck! He knew I had done it. So he cursed me: "May the King die of a snake bite seven days from today". Seven days! How kind of him! He could have cursed me to meet death the very instant. He has given me seven days, to dwell on God and prepare myself to reality so that I can reach the Ultimate! What a great mercy! Few people get this week's notice when Death threatens" [see also S.B. 1.18].

255. Unoccupied Thrones

When Bharata, Satrughna and the royal queens, along with the huge civil and military retinue accompanying them, reached the âs'ram of the great sage Bharadwaja, he consoled them and assured them that Râma, Lakshmana and Sîtâ were not very far off and that the moment they set their eyes on Râma, their grief would disappear.

Using his miraculous powers or siddhis, Bharadwaja arranged hospitality for the princes, the queens, the preceptors and pundits, the ministers and generals, as well as the citizens and courtiers, each according to his status, in the most lavish style. Everything was produced mysteriously but plentifully, through his will.

When the Reception Hall was ready, the sage invited every one inside that marvel of beauty and grace. The Royal Preceptor was led to a high seat magnificently designed and covered with deerskin. The Queens were led into a special enclosure, cordoned off, as befits the imperial zenana [a special room for women]. Then the bright faced disciples of the sage brought the two brothers into the Hall. The young ascetics stood respectfully on both sides waving yak tail whisks and reciting vedic hymns. The brothers, Bharata and Satrughna, approached the Lion thrones set for them in the centre of the Hall and, as they came near them, they fell on the floor in reverential homage to their unseen occupants. Then, they took the whisks from the boys nearby and started waving them, in honor of the occupants of the Lion thrones - Sîtâ and Râma. The entire assembly was thrilled with joyous appreciation of their humility and wisdom [see also Ramakatha Rasavahini].

256. Let These be here Itself

The Superintendent of a District Jail called the prisoner to his office and read out his discharge order. He said that he was free and had to get out of the jail in half an hour. "While going, carry with you the mat and pot you brought with you", he ordered. But, the prisoner said: "Let them be here itself. I shall be coming back soon". That is the attitude of most people. They are reluctant to leave this prison house of earthly life. They do enough karma in this life, to deserve another life sentence and they come back pretty soon, to undergo the same.

257. The Mango

When the mango is tender on the tree, it is very unpleasant to the tongue, with an astringent taste. After some weeks, when it grows big, it will taste very sour. But when it is fully ripe, it can be eaten with relish, for, the juice will be sweet and replete with pleasant flavor.

Man too is like the mango. The astringent stage is the early tamasic stage - the stage of indolence, inactivity and dullness. Man must then be alert, not to be satisfied with sloth. He must dream of the consummation that is in store. Then, man attains the rajasic stage, as the mango reaches the sour stage. Man then enjoys power over others; he pursues vigorously the fancies of his senses and prides himself on his greeds and hatreds. But, man must, at this stage be vigilant and pull himself back in time, and gain control over his passions and prejudices. This will make him, a sweet juicy ripe coveted 'mango', of the satvic type.

258. Ayodhya for Him

When Vibhishana, [see also RRV-Ch.6] the râkshasa prince, the brother of the arch-enemy Râvana, came to the camp of Râma as a refugee, Râma accepted him, in spite of the protests of those around him. He said: "It is my unbreakable vow; I shall accept all who take refuge in me". He blessed Vibhishana with another act of grace also; He crowned him the Emperor of Lanka, thereby asserting that Râvana, his elder brother, would lose both his throne and his life in the fight that was inevitable. At this, Sugriva expressed surprise, for, he said: "Lord! If tomorrow Râvana comes into camp and surrenders, and craves pardon for his misdemeanors, how can he be deprived by you, of Lanka and its throne?" Râma smiled at his fears and replied: "My word can never fail. Vibhishana will be the Ruler of Lanka, whatever happens. If Râvana surrenders, I shall seat him on the throne of Ayodhya".

259. Milk and Water

Pour a glass of water into a vessel containing a hundred glasses of milk; the water you poured gets the properties of milk and fetches the price of milk. It improves by the association. Pour a glass of milk into a vessel containing a hundred glasses of water. The milk loses its health-giving sustaining properties and becomes as tasteless al water itself. This is the consequence of the company we mix in.

260. Even This shall pass Away

When Dharmarâja was in exile in the forest, Krishna visited him in his retreat and they talked for long on the vicissitudes of fortune and the effect of karma and dharma. At last, Dharmarâja asked Krishna to give him some upadesh or formula which he can keep in memory and which will sustain him during the ups and downs of fortune. Krishna wrote on a piece of paper a few words and told him to look into it and read it only when he becomes really desperate. Later, he opened the precious paper, and found that the advice, the upadesh was: "Even this shall pass away". It meant: "Why worry about this passing show? Put up with the good fortune as well as bad, knowing that both are transient".

261. Sai Baba and the School Boy

There was a schoolboy once who was very poor in mathematics. When the day of examination in mathematics came round, he went to a temple of Sai Baba and vowed that if the questions were easy and he could do all the sums correct, he would offer 5 kg of sweetened rice to Him. The paper turned out to be quite within the limits of his capacity; he finished answering all the questions within 5 hours; the sums were all correctly solved; he had an extra hour on hand.

So, he took a few sheets of paper and drew up a list of items with their price, to prepare the offering he had vowed to Sai Baba. He had a ten rupee note in his pocket; but when he added up the cost of rice, sugar, cashew nut, cardamom, ghee, dried grapes etc. the total amount required was found to be about 15 rupees! He tried cancelling a few items and reducing the quantities of a few, but the total was always more than what he could afford.

Then, he argued that Sai Baba was not in need of sweetened rice and that a few fruits should certainly satisfy Him. Fruits too were pretty costly, he found; flowers were not so costly; then he remembered that in the Gîtâ, God had said that patram (leaf) pushpam (flower) phalam (fruit) or toyam (water) would be enough to please Him. [see B.G. 9: 26] So he finally decided that toyam from the well in his house would be ample payment for the grace he received that day. He could well save the tenner for a film he longed to see; he calculated how much that would cost and was glad to find that he could take one of his friends to the picture too. Just when he arrived at this happy conclusion, the invigilator called that the hour was over and asked for the answer papers to be handed in.

Our friend woke up from his reverie and in the confusion, he handed over the sheets whereon he had made all the calculations of cost and quantity for the sweetened rice offering, the fruits and the flowers, and finally, the picture. When he went home and looked into the papers he had brought home he found to his dismay that they were the answer papers he had to give the invigilator!

It is all a matter of 're-action, re-sound and re-flection'. What you plan to do to another recoils on you. God is neither angry, nor vengeful. He is the eternal witness of the play. You punish yourselves for your evil thoughts and deeds; you reward yourselves for your good thoughts and deeds. That is the real Truth.


***    THE END    ***






Painting of Jesus in Nazareth by Frank Wesley (see also Matthew 2:23)
Karma: literally: labor. Most of the time the term refers to fruitive labor or the attachment to the result of labor. Is also regarded as the consequence of the deeds in the past or as the consequence of greed. Krishna speaks of three kinds:
- Karma: fruitive labor.
- Akarma: free from karma or devotional service. To work as a volunteer, to work for God.
- Vikarma: unwanted activity, crime.
Stories of
Kanakadas and bhakta Kanakadas.
Nâdi: 2 f. any tube or pipe , (esp.) a tubular organ (as a vein or artery of the body) BhP. (cf. %{nADI}). [
Monier-Williams Dictionary]






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