1- Urgent letter to Lord
obscure village lived a mother and her son. The boy had lost his father
when he was just two years old. The mother exerted herself in many ways to
earn enough money for bringing up her only son and educating him. The boy
too was very smart, obedient and had a great love and regard for his
mother. The boy grew up and reached seventh class. He was studying hard
for the examination. One day he told his mother, "Ma, I have to pay fees
Rs. 20 for the examination within four days. Please somehow get for me the
The mother was panicky, she had no money with her, and it was the last
week of the month. She went to the headmaster and explained her inability
to pay the fees in time and requested to help her in some way or other.
The headmaster replied that nothing was in his hands. The mother returned
home, sat under a tree near her hut and was weeping. The boy returned from
the school, found his mother weeping. He sat near her and asked: "Why are
you weeping mother?" "My son, I cannot find money. You cannot go to school
from tomorrow. You better come and work with me. There is no other way."
The boy said: "Why don't you ask somebody a loan of Rs. 20. After the
examination, I shall work and will be able to pay back the amount." "My
dear son," replied the mother, "who will give me the money? Only God if He
will." The boy eagerly enquired, "Who is God, Ma? Where is He? What is His
address? I shall go and get money from Him." The mother helplessly said:
"Yes, there is the Lord of Vaikunta, Narayana, who is the source of all
Without a moment's hesitation, the boy ran to the post office. He had a
few small coins with him. He purchased a card and wrote on it his mother's
unfortunate condition, his own need and requested God to send Rs. 20
immediately by return post. He ran to the post box tied to a tree, but he
was too short to reach the slit to put in the letter box. The postmaster
who had been observing the boy all the while, came out took the card from
him and asked: "To whom are you writing the letter?" The Boy said: "Oh
Sir! This is a very urgent letter to Lord Narayana in Vaikunta. I have to
pay my examination fees within three days. I am writing to him requesting
him to send Rs. 20 immediately." The postmaster stared at the address on
the post card. He could not find words, tears gathered in his eyes at the
innocence of that boy. "My dear boy, who gave you this address?" asked the
postmaster. The boy narrated the dialogue between himself and his mother.
"Sir, my mother says that God is very kind and He will certainly help the
poor like us if only we pray to Him earnestly." The postmaster was very
much moved. He patted the boy and said: "My dear boy, I shall see to the
express delivery of this post card. You better come day after tomorrow."
The boy ran home in a joyful mode. He told his mother that he would get
the money in a day.
The boy went to the postmaster the day after. The postmaster said: "My
dear boy, here is the cover, inside it you will find Rs. 20. Now go and
pay the fees." The boy ran home with the cover and placed it in his
mother's hands. The mother asked him sternly how he had got the money. The
boy narrated the entire discussion with the postmaster. She would not
believe him. She hurried to the postmaster and asked him whether what her
son had told her was true and how it could have happened. The postmaster
told her: "Mother, believe me. I have always been a hard hearted man. When
I saw your son with that letter, I could not believe my own eyes. A letter
written to God with such faith. It moved me. It must be God who had
induced me to come to the rescue of your son. Please take the money. It
must be God's will that I should give this money. Otherwise I would not
have chanced to see your boy and your son's faith in God would have been
shattered. I consider this an opportunity to help a good boy."
If we pray to God sincerely, God does help us. He would induce someone to
act as His agent. Implicit faith in God alone would rescue everyone from
all troubles and travails.
2 - What nonsense is this?
uneducated and simple minded person joined a military recruiting centre.
He was undergoing a few months' training course which would make him
eligible to join the army. Unfortunately, just after completing a week of
this training, news reached that there would be a visit of an army officer
who would interview the candidates and inspect the type of training being
given by the centre.
The person in charge of training these candidates was very much worried
about the newly recruited simple minded man. However, since he happened to
be an experienced army officer, he knew well the type of questions that
would be put to the new recruits. So, he coached this man thoroughly to
answer correctly most plausible questions. He asked him to first of all
remember the sequence of the questions. The first question would be 'What
is your age?' You are to say "22 years". The second question would be 'How
long have you been in this centre?' You are to answer "two years". And the
third may be, 'Are you happy in this centre or do you feel homesick?' You
have to say "I am at home both here and in my place."
The Cadet learnt these answers by rote. On the day of inspection, he was
asked to come to the interview room. The inspecting officer asked him,
"How long have you been here"? The cadet just remembering the sequence of
the questions said, "22 years". The officer was rather surprised. Then he
asked, "What is your age"? The cadet said, "Two years". "What nonsense is
this? Are you mad or am I mad", roared the officer. The cadet calmly
answered, "Both" as he could only remember just that word because he had
by then got scared.
It is dangerous to remember things by rote.
3- Fear of Death
There was once a Raja, who had transferred all responsibility of ruling to
his Manthri, and who was spending his time in ease. He never worried about
anything, be it big or small. He had a personal companion, whom he had
always by his side, more or less as a bodyguard. This fellow was very
wise, for he never did anything without deep deliberation, about the how
and the why and the wherefore. The Raja took all this deliberation to be
just foolishness and he nicknamed the companion, "Avivekasikhamani" or
"The Crest-Jewel of Fools". He went to the length of actually engraving
the title on a plate of gold and compelling him to wear it on his forehead
for all to see! Many people were mislead by this and they took him to be
an ignoramus at court; they did not heed his words.
Meanwhile, the Raja fell ill and took to bed. The kingdom was combed for
physicians who could heal the king. Messengers went to the eight corners,
seeking drugs and doctors. Hundred were busy round the royal patient, but,
all efforts failed; the illness worsened day by day. The Raja was at the
very door of Death.
The Raja suspected that his end was near; so he hurriedly made some
dispositions, spoke to all those whom he wanted to meet, and was immersed
in sorrow. He had no thought of God or any other auspicious Power. He was
in terrible fear of Death and could not think of anything else.
One day, he called Avivekasikhamani to his bedside and whispered feebly in
his ear, "Well; I am going soon, my friend!" Then, the Fool asked without
any compunction, "What? You are weak and cannot walk a few steps; I shall
order a palanquin, please wait till it is ready." "No palanquin can take
me there," said the Raja. "Then, I shall order a chariot," entreated the
Fool. "The chariot too is of no use," replied the Raja. "Of course, then,
the horse is the only means of journey," wailed the companion, who seemed
eager to come to the rescue of his master, and spare him the toils of
travel. The Raja said that the horse too could not enter there. The Fool
was at his wit's end. Then suddenly an idea struck him, he said, "Come on
master! I shall carry you there." The Raja became sad; he said, "My dear
friend, one has to go alone to that place, when one's time has come. No
companion can be taken." The Fool was thrown in great doubt; he asked the
Raja, "It is curious, is it not? You say that the palanquin won't reach
there, that the chariot can't go there, nor the horse; you say that no
second person can join you! Well can't you tell me at least where that
place is?" The Raja replied, "I do not know."
Immediately, the Fool unwound the Golden Plate with the engraving of the
title, 'Avivekasikhamani', and tied it round the brow of the Raja, saying
"Raja! You know so much about the place, even, which things cannot go
there, but, you do not know where it is, and still you are going there
soon. O, you deserve this title much more." The Raja was overcome with
shame. "Alas," he said to himself, "I wasted my years in eating and
sleeping and pursuing pleasures, never caring to inquire who I am, whence
I came, what I am doing, whither I am going, and why I came. The precious
time allotted to me has come very near its end. There is no time for me
any more for all that inquiry. Death is knocking at the door; children
have started weeping; my subjects are in great anxiety. Can I, under such
conditions immerse myself in inquiry? Can a thought that I never
entertained throughout my life suddenly arise now, during my last moments?
It is impossible. Yes, I deserve the title, Avivekasikhamani more than
anyone else, for I wasted my life in useless pursuits; without any thought
of the Reality." The Raja let it be proclaimed that Inquiry is the best
means of knowing the Truth, that the inquiry must be directed to
separating the true from the untrue, the eternal from the temporary, that
people should arrive at the conclusion that, 'God is the only true and
eternal Entity' and that by their own independent investigation, his
subjects must not only grasp the entity intellectually but must also
attain the Grace of God, by their pure lives. Announcing this lesson to
his subjects, the Raja breathed his last.
4- Two minutes
There was a famous dacoit once who advised his son while initiating him
into the ancestral profession, never for a moment to listen to stories of
the Lord. "Do not stay to listen to any Purana or any reading of the
Bhagavatha," he exhorted the young aspirant. The son scrupulously observed
this injunction for years and amassed a good fortune.
One night, however, while running with his loot on his shoulder through a
side lane of the city to avoid the police, a piece of glass cut his sole.
He sat for a while to pull it off and stop the flow of blood. He was then
behind a house, where some one was reading and explaining the Bhagavatha
to a small group of listeners; he listened perforce for a short two
minutes. The spark fell on the heap of cotton. During that short period,
he heard the pundit explaining the nature of God. He has no ears, no eyes,
no limbs: he has a thousand forms; He is without form. "Sarvathah
paani-paadam," as the Gita says. That description got fixed in his heart.
He could not shake it off.
A few days later the police came to know of the depredations made by him
as well as his associates and kinsmen. In order to know more about their
activities they entered the area incognito, one constable as Kali and some
others as the worshippers and priests. They shouted and yelled, cursed and
terrified the dacoits and called upon them to come out of their homes and
fall at the feet of Kali.
Many did so, but the son who had heard the Bhagavatha, albeit for two
minutes, knew just enough to save his skin. He was not terrified at all.
He challenged the constable who was acting the role of Kali and tore off
his make-up and exposed the plot and instilled courage into the hearts of
the gang. Then, when the police left discomfited he argued within himself
thus: "If two minutes of the forbidden fruit could help me so much, what
can I not gain, if I devote myself entirely to the stories of the glories
of God?" He left off the evil path and became a Sadhaka.
5 - Experience is the best
One day, Brighu, the son of Varuna approached his father and asked him:
"Father! Will you enlighten me about Brahman?" Sage Varuna replied
endearingly: "Son, none can enlighten anyone on Brahman. One has to
experience through meditation. Go and do meditation and carry on
self-enquiry. I bless you."
Brighu went into a forest and sat for meditation. He used to carry on
self-enquiry too. He used to contemplate on several questions related to
the spiritual world. One day, he thought: 'What is the most essential
thing that is necessary for the existence of all living beings in general
and man in particular? It must be food', he decided. Man lives, grows and
works only because of food, the most essential thing for life is food, so
food is Brahman." He ran to his father and said: "Father, I know what is
Brahman. Food is Brahman." Varuna replied with a smile: "No, my son, food
is not Brahman. Go and meditate."
Brighu went to the forest and continued his tapas for some more time. One
day he thought, 'food may be essential, but unless there is energy, how
can the food be digested? What is that energy? It must be prana (vital
air) so prana is Brahman.' So, he went to his father and said: "Father, I
know what is Brahman, Prana is Brahman." Varuna replied: "No, my son, go
and meditate for some more days."
Brighu obeyed his father's command. He continued his meditation. One day
he thought, 'Food is essential, prana is essential, but what is more
essential? Unless one has desire to live and to eat, of what avail is food
and prana? The seat of desire is mind. So Manas is Brahman' he decided.
Brighu reported about his discovery and said: "Father, Manas is Brahman."
Varuna smiled and said: "Son, no, Manas is not Brahman. Go and do tapas
for some more days."
Brighu continued his meditation. One day he thought 'Food is essential,
prana is essential, manas is also essential, but what is still more
essential? Unless one is able to distinguish and discriminate between good
and evil, of what use is this life? What is the seat of this
discriminating faculty? It is intellect, vijnan.' So vijnan is Brahman",
he decided. Brighu went and told his father: "Father, vijnan is Brahman".
Varuna once again said: "Son, no, vijnan is not Brahman. Go and do tapas
for some more days."
Brighu once again continued to do tapas. One day he thought, 'Food gives
strength, parna energises, manas causes desires, and vijnan endows man
with discrimination (viveka). But, I must find out what is the ultimate
goal of man's life. I have to experience it'. Having thus resolved, he
went into deep meditation again.
One day, he experienced an ineffable joy and he sat utterly unconscious of
the outside world. That day, Varuna came to the forest in search of his
son. He was happy to see his son in samadhi. From the effulgence which
shone on Brighu's face, he knew that his son had realised that 'Bliss is
In the upanishadic age, parents and preceptors used to encourage their
pupils to ask questions, yet they would not give them immediate answers.
They would advise them to carry on self enquiry and find out the answers
Experience is the best teacher.