The Importance of Charity, 3

King Bhoj was very rich and generous. There was a poor Brahmin and father of a marriageable-aged daughter. He was in need of 10-15 tola of gold for her marriage. He tried his utmost to raise it himself, but he could not procure it. Nobody was willing to give a donation to such a healthy and sturdy Brahmin; he was helpless. He then thought of procuring it by means of committing theft in the palace of the king, where gold was easily available in a good quantity. But how could he gain entrance into such a securely guarded palace? He decided to disguise himself as a woman, and sure enough he managed to enter the palace grounds.

The day passed without incident and the night was a sleepless one for him, because he could not make the decision to commit the crime, as he was a religious and God-fearing Brahmin. The sermons and teachings of the scriptures came into his mind everytime he thought about stealing some gold. His mind was haunted by the fear of punishment after his death. In such a state, neither could he steal anything nor could he run from the palace, and so he was waiting for a suitable time.

In the morning the king woke to the sounds of singing coming from beautiful maidens and the recital of mantras by chanting pandits. The king thought to himself that crores of rupees are being spent just to wake him from his sleep, and so he composed the following maxim, chetohara yuvatayah . . . (Sukti) The three verses he composed referred to and described his affluence, but he was unable to complete the concluding line of the third verse. The Brahmin who was lying under the kings bed, disguised as a woman, on hearing the kings poetic adage could not resist his feeling to complete the concluding verse, and did so as follows, “All your self-praise, affluence and prosperity will all be left behind when your eyes close for ever; nothing will go with you after death.” This is after all the property of the spiritual government, which cannot be taken by anyone into the next life.

The king was surprised to hear these words of wisdom being spoken by someone. A search was made to find out from where they had come. The Brahmin was eventually caught red-handed under the king’s bed. The Brahmin was terrified. He entreated for the safety of his life and spoke compassionately of his problem to the king. He said that he was in dire need of money for his daughter’s marriage, and not succeeding in raising it through any other means, he made up his mind to steal gold from the palace. But due to his religious bent of mind, and being deeply impressed by the teachings of the scriptures, he could not carry out the crime, even though he was inside the palace. His words were very touching indeed, so much so that the king entirely changed his mind. He ordered to provide him with the sufficient amount of gold and expressed his gratitude to the Brahmin for opening his eyes about the reality of life.

To be continued . . .

 

An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:

Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj

26 June 2013

Mussoorie

© Radha Govind Samiti

 

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