Love of Parents and Love of God: Sense of Security

Love of Parents and Love of God Sense of Security

The sense of security is an indispensable need for emotional health. We need to feel secure on several practical dimensions: financial, physical, social, interpersonal, & emotional. We also need to feel secure at a much deeper level—this is called existential insecurity.

The question to ponder is, what is it that can make a person feel secure and protected in the world? Our parents have often been held responsible for developing it in us. The love of a father and a mother creates in the child the feeling of being wanted, filling the child’s world with warmth and loving kindness. In this manner is engendered the sense of security which we all need for a happy response to the rigorous demands of everyday living.

There is no uncertainty that parental love will add to the child’s feeling of security in the world, particularly for the very young child. Yet parental love is an inadequate anchor for emotional security. For our parents are worldly and mortal, and we are bound to lose them. And even while we have them, they do not always offer us enough anchorage in life, for as we grow in emotional and worldly perception, we comprehend that our parents are but finite creatures. We are limited in the resources of wisdom and strength with which to support our own lives. We need another love to bolster parental love if we are to have durable sources of security for living.

The love which time cannot undermine, and which is available to under-gird us in our need for feeling at home in the world, is the love of God. The Holy Quran (2:165) says, “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides God, as equal (with God): They love them as they should love God. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for God.”

One who recognizes God’s love is psychologically prepared for the arduous business of living. For His sense of security is based on unwavering foundations. The Holy Bible says, “The steadfast love of God endures all the day” (Psalm 52:1.)

During what periods of your life have you felt secure and insecure? How have you learned to live with a certain degree of existential insecurity?

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Thagya and Vairagya or the Parable of Akbar and the Fakir

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of Akbar and the Fakir

During the reign of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, there lived a Fakir (a Muslim ascetic) in a particular forest near Delhi. Many used to resort to the cottage of this holy man. However, he had nothing to show hospitality to these visitors. He was in need of some money for this purpose and went for help to Akbar Shah, who was well known for his kindness towards holy men.

Akbar Shah was then saying his prayers and the Fakir took his seat in the prayer room. In the course of his prayers, the Fakir heard Akbar ask, “O Lord, do Thou grant me more wealth, more power, more territories!”

At once the Fakir rose and was about to depart from the waiting room when the Emperor beckoned him to be seated again.

At the end of the prayer, Akbar asked the Fakir, “Sir, you came to see me. How is it then that you wanted to depart without saying anything to me?”

The Fakir said, “The purpose of my visit to your Majesty, I need not concern you with that.”

When Akbar repetitively pressed him to say what he wanted, the Fakir at last said, “Your Majesty, many people come to me to be taught, but for want of money I am unable to see to their comforts. So I thought it well to come to your Majesty for help.”

Akbar then asked why he was about to go away without having told him the purpose of his visit.

The Fakir replied, “Why should I go begging to a person who is himself a beggar? I had better beg of the Lord Himself, if indeed it is not possible for me to do without begging altogether.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay and initiated a religious school of thought that guided the formation of the Ramakrishna Order of monks that transformed into the Ramakrishna Mission under the leadership of his principle disciple Swami Vivekananda. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa initially attracted several monastic and household disciples as a priest at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.”

Recommended Books

Om Purnamadah: Peace Prayer on the Wholeness of Existence & the Vastness of Being

Here is a peace prayer (shanti mantra) from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of Hinduism’s sacred books, that is an appropriate paean to the wholeness of existence.

Om Purnamadah: Shanti Mantra, Peace Prayer

Om Purnamadah Shanti Mantra (Peace Prayer)

Om purnamadah purnamidam
Purnat purnamudachyate
Purnasya purnamadaya
Purnamevavashishyate
Om shanti shanti shanti hi

Translation

  • Purnam-Adah: “That is complete.” Here, ‘that’ could refer to everything that is not part of one’s perceived sense of self (self-identify.)
  • Purnam-Idam: “This is complete.” Here, ‘this’ could refer to everything that is part of one’s perceived sense of self (self-identify.)
  • Purnat-Purnam-Udachyate: “From one complete entity, another complete entity is born.” The first entity refers to the ‘that’ and the second entity refers to the ‘this’—the two aspects of outer and inner sense of self-identity.
  • Purnasya Purnamadaya: “When a complete entity is taken away from a complete entity …”
  • Purnameva-Vashishyate: “… what remains is also complete.”
  • Om shanti shanti shanti hi “Let there be peace.”

Wholeness of Existence Acceptance: Om Purnamadah: Shanti Mantra, Peace Prayer

Interpretation: Wholeness of Existence & Acceptance

In our relationships, when we engage with one another, if we feel we lack in something or the other person lacks in something, then the engagement will be a transactional one. The very nature of such engagement might cause expectations and might foster feelings, thoughts, and actions that are selfish in nature.

When we engage with each other with the understanding that no one lacks anything and a consciousness that others are whole regardless of mere appearances, then all the feelings, thoughts, and actions fostered by such engagements are complete and selfless.

All of us must be giving, and by being available for others, we do not lose anything and remain complete. At the same time, the other who is receiving does not become “more” for her or she already is complete and stays complete.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Devotion and Grace or the Parable of Devicharan and Sarvamangala

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of Devicharan and Sarvamangala

In a village, there once lived a poor Brahmin named Devicharan.

Devicharan was a very good man and he loved the Mother of the universe with all his heart. He worshipped the Mother in the form of Durga.

Very often, people asked Devicharan to go and read to them about the Mother from a book called the Chandi. In return, they gave him gifts of food or clothing. In this way, Devicharan was able to get enough to eat. He lived happily with his wife and daughter, and although they were so poor, they never felt sad.

Devicharan’s daughter was very beautiful and very good. Her name was Sarvamangala. Her parents taught her all they knew and she learned everything very quickly. She worked hard and whatever she did, she did well.

The time came when Sarvamangala was old enough to be married.

“You must look for a husband for your daughter,” Sarvamangala’s mother said to Devicharan. “But who will marry such a poor girl? We have nothing to give her.”

“Do not be anxious, my dear,” Devicharan replied.”

“Our daughter is as beautiful as Lakshmi and as gifted as Saraswati. Where is there a girl as lovely and as brilliant as Sarvamangala?”

“You are right,” agreed his wife. “She is good and beautiful, and skillful in everything she does. Her cooking is excellent. Above all, she loves to make people happy by serving them.”

“So we must not worry, about her marriage,” Devicharan said. “Mother Durga will do everything.”

A few weeks later, a good man who was a landlord paid a visit to the village, and he happened to see Sarvamangala. When he found that she was as good as she was beautiful he wanted her to be married to his son.

Devicharan agreed to this and Sarvamangala was married. She went away to her father-in-law’s house in the next village.

Devicharan and his wife felt sad and lonely, without their daughter, but they were happy that she was no longer poor and had a good husband.

Soon it was the month of the Durga Puja festival.

“Wife,” said Devicharan,” “Mother Durga has blessed our daughter with a good and wealthy husband. This year we must perform Durga Puja in our own house.”

“But, we are so poor” his wife replied. “We have barely enough to eat ourselves, how can we think of-doing the Puja here?”

“What?” cried Devicharan. “Is Durga the Mother of the rich and not of the poor? Will she not accept our humble offerings? We shall offer her whatever we can afford.”

The time of the festival drew near.

“We must bring home the image of the Mother,” Devicharan said to his wife.

“I wish Sarvamangala could come home, too,” his wife replied.

Devicharan took a fifty-paisa coin and went to the image-maker.

“I am going to perform Durga Puja in my house,” Devicharan said. “Please make me a small image of Durga. I shall pay you fifty paisa.”

“Have you lost your senses, Devicharan Babu?” the image-maker replied. “It costs a great deal of money to perform Durga Puja, and even the smallest image costs more than fifty paisa.”

“I have no money,” Devicharan explained, “but I love the Mother and I am grateful to her. I shall perform Durga Puja even if I worship her with nothing but flowers.”

The image-maker looked very surprised, and he became thoughtful.

“I understand your feelings,” he said. “Very well, I shall make an image for you, and you need not pay me for it.”

“I must pay you whatever I can afford,” Devicharan answered, and he made the man accept the fifty paisa.

As Devicharan and his wife prepared for the Puja, their thoughts turned very often to their daughter. Sometimes they wept because they felt so lonely without her.

“She will not be allowed to come to us now,” Devicharan said, “because she will be too busy. In that rich family they will perform Durga Puja in a big way and Sarvamangala will be a great help to them. We shall have to manage without her.”

The next day, however, Devicharan’s wife fell ill.

“What shall we do?” she wept. “Tomorrow the Puja begins, but I am too ill to move from my bed. Who will cook? Who will help us? Oh, Sarvamangala, we need you.”

Devicharan comforted his wife. “Don’t regret,” he said. “I shall go at once and see Sarvamangala. Perhaps her father-in-law will allow her to come, as you are ill.”

Devicharan went to Sarvamangala’s home, but she was not allowed to go back with him.

“I am very sorry,” her father-in-law said to Devicharan, “but my wife just cannot manage without her.”

Feeling sad and worried, Devicharan said good-bye to his daughter, and set out for home. He talked to Mother Durga as he walked along.

“The image-maker has made a beautiful image for me,” he said, “and tomorrow I want to worship you. Now my wife is ill and my daughter cannot come home. What am I to do?”

At that moment, Devicharan heard someone calling him from behind. It seemed to be his daughter’s voice. He stopped and looked back. To his surprise there was Sarvamangala hurrying towards him.

“Wait for me, Father,” Sarvamangala cried, “I am coming home with you.”

“How is it possible for you to come?” cried Devicharan. “What will your mother-in-law say?”

“Do not worry about anything, Father,” Sarvamangala replied. “Everything is arranged. Take me home with you.”

Now Devicharan and his wife were very happy. Their daughter had come home. She seemed more beautiful than ever and her face was bright with joy. She took care of her mother and did all the work of the house.

The same evening Sarvamangala helped her father to dress the image of Durga for the worship, which would begin the next day. The image stood in a decorated shrine and when they had finished they were amazed at its beauty. Sarvamangala’s mother now felt much better and she too praised the image.

“See how beautifully Sarvamangala has dressed the image,” she said. “And see how beautiful Sarvamangala is herself. We have no costly silks and jewels, yet our goddess and our daughter will find no equal anywhere for charm and beauty.”

The first two days of the festival passed happily. Devicharan worshipped Durga and his heart was filled with peace. The third day came, and this was the day when guests should be fed.

“Today we must give a feast to all the neighbors,” Sarvamangala said.

“Are you joking, child?” Devicharan replied. “How is it possible for us to give a feast? We have only a few fruits to offer.” “I am not joking, Father,” Sarvamangala said. “You have worshipped the Mother in your house. The worship will not be complete if you do not give a feast. I am going now to invite all the neighbors.”

Sarvamangala went to the neighbors’ houses. Devicharan prepared for the worship.

“Now that my daughter is married to a rich man’s son,” Devicharan thought, “she thinks” it is easy to give a feast.”

When Sarvamangala returned, Devicharan sat down to worship the goddess. Sarvamangala assisted him. The image seemed to be living and Devicharan’s face shone with joy. The whole room seemed to shine with light from the goddess.

At noon, the neighbors began to arrive. Sarvamangala had invited them all to partake of the fruit offerings made to the Mother.

“Just see what a prank the girl has played,” Devicharan said, feeling very worried.

“We shall look very foolish when they find we have nothing to offer them,” his wife said.

“Now you are both to stop worrying,” Sarvamangala said firmly. “Leave it all to me. I have invited them and I shall give them the offerings.”

Devicharan welcomed all the guests, and then went and sat before the Mother. “Let me not be put to shame, Mother,” he said. He remained sitting before the image for now he was afraid to face the guests.

Sarvamangala asked the guests to sit down, and then she served the fruit that had been offered to Durga during the worship.

“My father is poor,” Sarvamangala said, “so he cannot give you a big feast. It is his good fortune that you have come and request you to partake of these offerings.”

The guests began to eat the fruit.

“What delicious fruit!” they exclaimed. “We have never tasted anything like it. Just a little of it is quite satisfying. This is better than a big feast.”

With great happiness, the guests went home. They showered their good wishes and blessings upon Sarvamangala and her parents.

“Have the guests all gone?” Devicharan asked. “Did they laugh at me or curse me?”

“Nothing of the kind,” Sarvamangala said. “They were all very happy indeed.”

“The strange thing is,” Sarvamangala’s mother said, “half the offerings still remain, yet the guests were completely satisfied.” “It is indeed strange,” Devicharan said. “Mother has blessed us,” he added, and tears of joy flowed down his cheeks.

The following day was the last day of the worship. Devicharan felt sad, for today the Mother would leave his house. He sat before the image, offering the goddess a special dish made of rice, curds, and fruit.

As Devicharan sat there with his eyes closed he did not notice Sarvamangala enter the room. Quietly she began to eat the food that was being offered to the goddess. Then Devicharan opened his eyes. He was shocked to see his daughter eating the offering.

“What are you doing, daughter?” he cried.

Without saying a word, Sarvamangala ran from the room.

Devicharan asked his wife to prepare a fresh offering, and when it was ready, he again sat down to worship the Mother.

Again Sarvamangala crept into the room and ate up the food that was being offered, and again Devicharan asked his wife to prepare some more.

For the third time Sarvamangala crept into the room and ate up all the offering. Now Devicharan felt angry with her.

“What is wrong with you today?” he cried. “Do not spoil my worship again. Go away.”

Sarvamangala went to her mother.

“Father told me to go away, Mother,” she said, “so I am going.”

“Today you will have to go back to your father-in-law’s house, child,” her mother replied, “for the festival is over. When your father has finished the worship he will take you home.”

When Devicharan at last finished the Puja, he went to his wife.

“Where is Sarvamangala?” he asked.

“She was here a short while ago,” his wife replied. “She must be waiting for you to take her home.”

They searched and searched for Sarvamangala, but could not find her anywhere.

“The foolish girl must have gone alone to her father-in-law’s house,” Devicharan said. “I must go and see that she is safe.”

When Devicharan reached the house, he was relieved to see that his daughter was there.

“I scolded you for spoiling the worship,” he said to her. “Is that why you came away alone? Are you very angry with me?”

“What are you talking about, Father?” Sarvamangala replied looking very puzzled.

“Did you not eat up the offering as I was doing the Puja?” Devicharan said. “Did I not scold you?”

“But, Father, I have been here all the time,” Sarvamangala replied. “My father-in-law told you I could not go with you.”

Devicharan was astonished. Then he understood what had happened.

It was Durga herself who had come in the form of his daughter.

“Mother, Mother,” he cried, weeping tears of joy. “You came to me and I did not know you!”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “I see God walking in every human form. When I meet different people, I say to myself, ‘God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous’.”

Recommended Books

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Desire and Indulgence or the Parable of the Barber and the Seven Jars of Greed

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of the Barber and the Seven Jars of Greed

A barber, who was passing under a haunted tree, heard a mysterious voice offer, “Will you accept seven jars full of gold?”

The barber looked around, but could see no one. The offer of seven jars of gold, however, roused his cupidity and he cried aloud, “Yes, I shall accept the seven jars.”

At once came the reply. “Go home; I have carried the jars to your house.”

The barber ran home in hot haste to verify the truth of his strange announcement. And when he entered the house, he saw the jars before him. He opened them and found them all full of gold, except the last one, which was only half-full.

A strong desire now arouse in the mind of the barber to fill the seventh jar also, for without it, his happiness was incomplete.

The barber converted all his ornaments into gold coins and put them into the jar; but the mysterious vessel was as before.

One day he requested the king to increase his pay, saying his income was not sufficient to maintain himself on. Now the barber was a favorite of the king, and as soon as the request was made the king doubled his pay.

All this pay he saved and put into the jar, but the greed jar showed no signs of filling.

At last, he began to live by begging from door to door, and his professional income and the income from begging all went into the insatiable cavity of the mysterious jar.

Months passed, and the condition of the miserable and miserly barber grew worse every day. Seeing his sad plight, the king asked him one day, “When your pay was half of what you now get, you were happy, cheerful, and contented. But with double the pay, I see your morose, careworn and dejected. What is the matter with you? Have you got ‘the seven jars’?”

The barber was taken aback by this question and replied, “Your Majesty, who has informed you of this?”

The king replied, “Don’t you know that these are the signs of the person to whom the Yaksha consigns the seven jars. He offered me also the same jars, but I asked him whether his money might be spent or was merely to be hoarded. No sooner had I asked this question then the Yaksha ran away without any reply. Don’t you know that no one can spend that money? It only brings with it the desire of hoarding. Go at once and return the money.”

The wise king’s words brought the barber to his senses. He returned to the haunted tree and said, “Take back your gold, O Yaksha.”

The Yaksha replied, “All right.” When the barber returned home, he found that the seven jars had vanished and mysteriously as they were brought in, and with it had vanished his life-long savings.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa concluded the story by instilling some wisdom into the hearts and minds of his disciples, “Such is the state of some men in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who do not understand the difference between real expenditure and real income lose all they have.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “Rain-water never stands on high ground, but runs down to the lowest level. So also the mercy of God remains in the hearts of the lowly, but drains off from those of the vain and the proud.”

Recommended Books

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Devotion & Consecration or the Parable of the Milkmaid

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of the Milkmaid

A milkmaid used to supply milk to a Brahmin priest living on the other side of a river.

Owing to the irregularities of the boat service, the milkmaid could not supply him milk punctually every day.

Once, being rebuked for her going late, the poor woman said, “What can I do? I start early from the house, but have to wait for a long time at the river bank for the boatman and the passenger.”

The priest exclaimed, “Woman! There are people who cross the ocean of life by uttering the ‘name’ of God, and can’t you cross this little river?” The simple-hearted woman became very glad at heart on learning this easy means of crossing the river.

From the following day, she started to supply the milk early in the morning, as she was supposed to.

One day the priest said to the woman, “How is it that you are no longer late now-a-days?”

The milkmaid replied, “I cross the river by uttering the name of the Lord as you told me to do, and don’t stand now in need of a boatman.”

The priest could not believe this. He said, “Can you show me how you cross the river?” The woman took him with her and began to walk over the water. Looking behind the woman saw the priest in a sad plight and said, “How is it, Sir, that you are uttering the name of the God with your mouth, but at the same time with your hands you are trying to keep your cloth untouched by water? Your do not fully rely on Him.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa concluded the story by instilling some wisdom into the hearts and minds of his disciples, “Entire resignation and absolute faith in God are at the root of all miraculous deeds.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “You can force your demands on God, he is in no way a stranger to you, he is your eternal companion.”

Recommended Books

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Divine Grace or the Parable of Jatila and Madhusudhan

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of Jatila and Madhusudhan

In a village in India, there was once a little boy whose name was Jatila.

Jatila’s mother was a widow and had no one to help her. She earned a little money by spinning yarn. She and Jatila always had just enough to eat, but they were very poor.

Every day Jatila’s mother prayed to Sri Krishna. She asked Sri Krishna to help her look after her little boy because she wanted him to grow up into a strong and good man.

When Jatila was old enough, his mother sent him to school. The school was far away in the next village and to get there, Jatila had to walk through a forest.

The tall trees in the forest made the footpath very dark, and Jatila felt afraid. Some of the trees had long low branches that looked like arms trying to catch him. Other trees had creepers growing on them, and the stems of the creepers looked like huge snakes.

“I wish I had someone with me,” Jatila thought to himself. “It wouldn’t be so bad if I had someone to talk to.” However, Jatila was alone, so he hurried on and reached the school as quickly as he could.

Jatila was happy at school. He liked the teacher and during playtime, he had some fun with the other boys. When school was over, however, and it was time to go home, Jatila suddenly remembered that he would again have to walk through the forest. It was much worse this time. The forest was darker than ever and there were strange shadows everywhere. There were those arms, always trying to catch him! In addition, there were those things, like snakes climbing up the trunks of the trees. Jatila began to run. He ran and ran all the way through the forest and did not stop until he reached home.

As soon as he saw his mother, Jatila began to cry.

“What has happened?” enquired his mother. She took him on her lap to comfort him. “Did the teacher scold you?”

“Oh, no, Mother,” replied Jatila. “I was happy at school. But it is the forest, Mother. It’s such a long way through the forest, and I’m all alone, so I feel afraid.”

“But there’s nothing to be afraid of in the forest,” said his mother. “You’ll soon get used to it.”

“No, Mother,” said Jatila. “I feel very frightened. Please send someone with me.”

“But whom can I send, Jatila?” replied his mother. “There is no one who can go with you.”

Jatila’s mother closed her eyes and seemed to be thinking very hard. Suddenly she opened them again and her face lit up with a smile.

“Of course!” she cried. “How silly of me to forget. There is your big brother in the forest. He will go with you and take care of you.”

Jatila was astonished. “Big brother?” he said. “Have I got a big brother, Mother?”

“Yes, child,” she said. “His name is Madhusudhan.”

“But where is he, Mother?” asked Jatila. “Why doesn’t he live here with us?”

“He lives in the forest,” his mother answered. “He looks after the cows there. But if you call to him tomorrow on your way to school, I am sure he will leave his cows and walk with you through the forest.”

Jatila was very happy. Now, instead of feeling afraid of the forest he was longing for the next day to come so that he could run quickly to the forest and see his big brother there.

Early the next morning Jatila said good-bye to his mother and went off to school. His mother stood at the door of her cottage watching him as he hurried eagerly towards the forest. “Oh, Madhusudhan,” she prayed, “Please take care of my little boy.”

As soon as Jatila entered the forest, he stood still. “Oh, big brother Madhusudhan,” he called. “Please come and walk with me through the forest.”

Jatila waited and listened, but no one answered, and no one came. “He must be a long way off,” thought Jatila. “I’ll call louder.” So again, he called, as loud as he could, but still no one came. “I know he is here in the forest,” Jatila said to himself, “and I know he will come because Mother said he would.”

Repeatedly Jatila called to his big brother, but still no one came.

Jatila began to cry. “Mother said you would come,” he sobbed. “Where are you?”

At that moment, Jatila heard the sound of a flute… Such sweet music he had never heard. The music came closer and closer, and then at last Jatila saw a boy coming towards him down the forest path. He was a most handsome boy. On his head, he wore a crown, bright and beautiful, with a peacock’s feather in it. He was playing the flute, and he seemed to shine with happiness.

Jatila joyfully ran to the handsome boy. “Are you Madhusudhan, my big brother?” he asked. “Mother said that if I called to you, you would leave your cows and walk with me through the forest. I have to go to school, you see.”

“Yes, I am your big brother,” replied the boy. “Come along, I’ll walk with you through the forest.”

Jatila walked with his big brother and told him about his life at home and how glad he was that he was now big enough to go to school. He quite forgot how frightened he had felt the day before.

When they came to the end of the forest path, Madhusudhan stopped. “I shall go back now,” he said. “But will you walk with me again in the evening?” Jatila asked. “I shall feel very frightened if you don’t come.” “Oh, yes,” replied Madhusudhan. “Just call to me and I will come to you.”

Every morning and every evening, as soon as he reached the forest, Jatila called to his big brother. And always his big brother came and walked with him. Jatila talked to him happily about his mother and about everything that happened at school, and Madhusudhan listened and sometimes played his flute.

One evening on his way home from school, Jatila told his big brother about a feast they were going to have at school. The teacher had said that every child must bring something to the feast. “And tomorrow,” Jatila explained, “I shall have to say what I am going to take.”

“Well, what are you going to take?” asked Madhusudhan.

“I don’t know,” replied Jatila. “We are very poor, you see. Perhaps I won’t be able to take anything.”

“Ask Mother about it,” Madhusudhan said. “She will know what to do.”

When Jatila asked his mother what he would be able to take to the feast, she looked very sad. “I have nothing to give you, Jatila,” she said. “And I have no money, so I cannot buy anything either. Why don’t you ask your big brother about it?”

“He told me to ask you about it,” Jatila replied. “He said you would know what to do.”

His mother smiled. “Did he?” she said. “Very well. Tell him that I depend upon him.”

The next morning on his way to school, Jatila explained to his big brother that his mother was so poor to send anything to the feast. “She said she depended upon you,” Jatila added.

“All right,” Madhusudhan replied laughing, “tell your teacher that you will bring curds to the feast. And tell him that you will bring enough for everyone.”

Jatila laughed. “It will have to be a very big pot of curds then,” he said, “because there will be about twenty of us.”

The day of the feast came and Jatila ran happily to meet his big brother in the forest. He was eagerly looking forward to taking that big pot of curds to school. His big brother came walking down the forest path as usual, and he brought with him a pot of curds.

“Give this to your teacher,” said Madhusudhan as he gave it to Jatila.

Jatila took the pot but he looked at it sadly. “It was not a big pot at all. It was a very small pot. There would be curds only for about six people,” he thought.

Madhusudhan looked at Jatila’s sad face. “Give it to your teacher,” he said. “It will be enough.”

When Jatila’s teacher saw the small pot of curds, he was very angry. “You promised to bring curds for everyone,” he said, “so I did not arrange for any more. What is the use of this small pot of curds when there are so many of us? You have spoiled the feast, Jatila.”

The small pot of curds was placed on one side. The feast was nearly over when the teacher remembered it. “We should not waste the curds,” he said. “A few children may have some. Jatila, bring the pot of curds.”

Jatila took the pot and gave some curds to three or four children.

Then he noticed something very strange. As he took curds out of the pot, it filled up again. Therefore, he walked down the two rows of children and put plenty of curds on each child’s leaf-plate.

The teacher watched Jatila in amazement. “Jatila,” he cried, “you have given curds to everyone. How did you do that? I thought you brought only one small pot of curds.”

“Yes, sir,” Jatila replied. “This is the pot. But look, it is still full.”

“Impossible!” cried the teacher. “Where did you get this pot of curds form? Tell me at once.

“Sir,” said Jatila, “my big brother gave it to me.”

“Your big brother? I didn’t know you had a big brother,” the teacher said.

“I didn’t know either,” replied Jatila, “until I began to come to school. He walks with me through the forest, you see.”

“But where does he live? What is his name?” asked the teacher, feeling greatly puzzled.

Jatila then told his teacher all about Madhusudhan—what he did, what he looked like, and how sweetly he could play the flute.

“Jatila,” said the teacher, “I would like to see this big brother of yours. Can I go with you to meet him?”

“Oh, yes, of course,” replied Jatila eagerly. “Come with me to the forest this evening. I have only to call him and he comes to me.

When it was time for Jatila to go home, his teacher went with him to the forest. Jatila called as usual to Madhusudhan, but he did not come. Repeatedly Jatila called, but still he did not come.

“I think, Jatila,” said the teacher, “that you have not been speaking the truth. You have no big brother who lives in the forest.”

Jatila began to cry. “It is true. It is true,” he wept. “I have a big brother, I tell you. His name is Madhusudhan. He gave me the curds.”

“Where is he, then?” said the teacher.

“Oh, big brother Madhusudhan,” called Jatila loudly. “You must come to me now. You must. If you don’t, my teacher will never believe that I have spoken the truth.”

At that moment, Jatila heard the sound of a flute. “There!” he cried, “He is coming! See how beautifully he plays the flute.”

The teacher listened to the flute and eagerly looked around for the player. Still Madhusudhan did not come. Instead, a beautiful voice spoke from somewhere among the trees of the forest. “Jatila,” said the voice, “it will be a long time yet before your teacher is able to see me. You have seen me, Jatila, because of your mother. She is pure, good, and full of faith. She begged me to take care of you in the forest and that is why I came to walk with you every day. You have seen me because your mother had faith in me and because you had faith in your mother.”

Then, at last, Jatila understood. His big brother who lived in the forest really was Madhusudhan.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God.”

Recommended Books

Title Song Lyrics from the TV Series Mahabharat (Hindu Epic)

Title Song from Mahabharat (TV series)

The TV Series Mahabharat was a fixture on Sunday Morning televisions across India when it first broadcast on the state-owned television channel Doordarshan from 02-Oct-1988 through 24-Jun-1990. The 94-episode series was produced by acclaimed Hollywood producer B. R. Chopra and directed by his son Ravi Chopra. Rahi Masoom Raza (a person of the Islamic faith) composed the script and songs. The music director was Rajkamal and most of the songs were sung by veteran playback singer Mahendra Kapoor.

Title Song, Part 1

Atha shri Mahabharat katha
Mahabharat katha
Katha hai purusharth yeh ki
Swarth ki parmarth ki

Translation / meaning: “This is the story of Mahabharat. It’s a tale of honour, greed, the ultimate truth.”

Title Song, Part 2

Sarthi jis ke bane
ShriKrishna Bharat Parth ki

Translation / meaning: “This is the story of Lord Krishna who had become a charioteer (in the Kurukshetra battle) for Arjuna who is descendant of Bharat.”

Title Song, Part 3

Shabdh Dighoshit Hua Jab
Satya Sarthak Sarvatha..

Translation / meaning: “When the great words (Bhagavad Gita) were proclaimed, they showed the path (of righteousness) … the words signified truth that was fit and entire.”

Verse from the Bhagavad Gita (Gita 4-7)

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
Abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham

Translation / meaning: “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in righteousness, O Bharata, And a predominant rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself”

Verse from the Bhagavad Gita (Gita 4-8)

Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam
Dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge

Translation / meaning: “To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, To re-establish the principles of religion, I manifest myself era after era …”

Bertrand Russell Critique of Christianity and Religion

British philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Bertrand Russell argued very persuasively through his writings and speeches that religion was merely a fallacy and, notwithstanding any positive effects that religion might have on a person’s emotional or psychological well-being, the concept of religion is for the most part detrimental to people. Bertrand Russell resolutely believed that religion and a religious point of view serve to hinder knowledge and cultivate a fear of anxiety, fear, and dependency.

Bertrand Russell, like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and other critics of religion who came after him, held that religion was to blame for war, coercion, tyranny, and misery that have weighed down the world. Here is an excerpt from his essay, “Why I Am Not A Christian”, first a lecture delivered by Russell on 06-Mar-1927 at the Battersea Town Hall (now the Battersea Arts Centre in London) to a gathering of the National Secular Society, South London Branch.

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes … . A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

Bertrand Russell on Belief and the Value of Religion

TV Interviewer: Why are you not a Christian?
Bertrand Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever in any of the Christian dogmas. I have examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

TV Interviewer: Do you think there is a practical reason for having a religious belief for many people?
Bertrand Russell: There can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. I rule it out. It is impossible. Either a thing is true or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe in it. If it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it is true or it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. It seems to me fundamental dishonesty and fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it is useful and not because you think it is true.

TV Interviewer: I was thinking of those people who find that some kind of religious code helps them to live their lives — it gives them a very strict set of rules — the right and the wrongs.
Bertrand Russell: People are generally quite mistaken. Great many of them do more harm than good and they would probably be able to find rational morality that they could live by if they drop this irrational traditional taboo morality that comes down from savage ages.

TV Interviewer: But are we, perhaps, the ordinary person, perhaps, is not strong enough to find his own personal ethic. They have to have something imposed upon them from outside.
Bertrand Russell: I don’t think that is true. What is imposed on you from outside is of no value whatever. Doesn’t count.

TV Interviewer: You were brought up, of course, as a Christian. When did you first decide that you did not want to remain a believer in the Christian faith?
Bertrand Russell: I never decided that I did not want to remain a believer. Between the ages of 15 and 18, I spent almost all my spare time thinking about Christian dogmas and trying to find out whether there was any reason to believe them. By the time I was 18 I had discarded the last of them.

TV Interviewer: Do you think that that gave you an extra strength in your life?
Bertrand Russell: No, I don’t know. No I shouldn’t have said so. Neither it’s a strength nor the opposite. I was just engaged in the pursuit of knowledge.

TV Interviewer: As you approach the end of life, do you have any fear of some kind of afterlife?
Bertrand Russell: No, that is nonsense.

TV Interviewer: There is no afterlife?
Bertrand Russell: None whatsoever.

TV Interviewer: Do you have any fear of something that is common among atheists and agnostics who have been atheists or agnostics all entire lives, who are converted just before they die to a form of religion.
Bertrand Russell: Well, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as religious people think it does. Because, religious people, most of them, think that it is a virtuous act to tell lies of the deathbeds of agnostics and such. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t happen very often.

Bertrand Russell’s Books on Religion, God, and Atheism

The Seven Deadly Sins (Christianity) and the Five Poisons (Buddhism)

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Proverbs 6:16-19 in the Book of Proverbs in The Holy Bible lists “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth” (from the American Standard Version):

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that deviseth wicked purposes,
  5. feet that are swift in running to mischief,
  6. a false witness that uttereth lies,
  7. he that soweth discord among brethren.

The Seven Deadly Sins (The Common List)

In AD 590, Pope Gregory I amended and consolidated the various lists of seven sins that were in vogue then and created the more common list of Seven Deadly Sins. Even Dante Alighieri, the celebrated Italian poet of the Middle Ages, quoted this list of Seven Deadly Sins in his epic, The Divine Comedy.

  1. lechery / lust (luxuria in Latin)
  2. gluttony (gula in Latin)
  3. avarice / greed (avaritia in Latin)
  4. sloth / discouragement (acedia in Latin)
  5. wrath (ira in Latin)
  6. envy (invidia in Latin)
  7. pride (superbia in Latin)

“Five Poisons” in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism

The Mahayana tradition of Buddhism inventories five kleshas, mental states that can cloud the mind and result in unwholesome actions:

  1. Ignorance. Also: confusion, bewilderment, delusion, disorder
  2. Attachment. Also: desire, passion, yearning
  3. Aversion. Also: anger, hatred, rage, fury
  4. Pride. Also: arrogance, conceit, overconfidence, condescension
  5. Jealousy. Also: envy, spite, covetousness