The Quiet Man

 

Value- Love

Sub value- Forgiving

Carl was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, No one could really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us.He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister’s residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up. He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.

One day, he was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, “Would you like a drink from the hose?” The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, “Yeah, sure,” with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl’s arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl’s assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him.

watering the garden

Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it. “Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?” the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. “Just some punk kids. I hope they’ll wise-up someday.”

His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water. Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, “Carl, what are you doing?” “I’ve got to finish my watering. It’s been very dry lately,” came the calm reply.

Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place. A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn’t rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water.

When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

“Don’t worry old man, I’m not gonna hurt you this time.”

The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl. “What’s this?” Carl asked. “It’s your stuff,” the man explained. “It’s your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet” “I don’t understand,” Carl said. “Why would you help me now?”

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. “I learned something from you,” he said. “I ran with that gang and hurt people like you we picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn’t hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.”

He stopped for a moment. “I couldn’t sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. “That bag’s my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.” And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn’t know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl’s garden as a lesson in life.

In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, “Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.”

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: “Person needed to care for Carl’s garden.”

The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister’s office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. “I believe this is my job, if you’ll have me,” the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl’s kindness had turned this man’s life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, “Yes, go take care of Carl’s garden and honor him.”

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl’s memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn’t care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, “My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she’s bringing him home on Saturday.”

“Well, congratulations!” said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. “That’s wonderful! What’s the baby’s name?”

“Carl,” he replied.

http://www.sermonillustrationlibrary.org/illustration100

Learning

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Love has the power to transform. Never underestimate the power of love. Love is the only solution for a loving and peaceful world.

Unconditional Love

 

Value- Love

Sub value- Acceptance, unconditional love

When Andrew got ready for work one Friday morning, he announced to his wife that he finally decided to ask his boss for a salary raise. All day Andrew felt nervous and apprehensive as he thought about the upcoming showdown. What if Mr. Larchmont refuses to grant his request? Andrew had worked so hard in the last 18 months and landed some great accounts for Braer and Hopkins Advertising Agency. Of course, he deserves a wage increase.

The thought of walking into Larchmont’s office left Andrew weak in the knees. Late in the afternoon he finally mustered up the courage to approach his superior. To his delight and surprise, the ever-frugal Harvey Larchmont agreed to give Andrew a raise!

Andrew arrived home that evening-despite breaking all city and state speed limits-to a beautiful table set with their best china, and candles lit. His wife, Tina had prepared an exquisite meal including his favorite dishes. Immediately he figured someone from the office tipped her off!

wife serving husband food

Next to his plate Andrew found a beautiful lettered note. It was from his wife. It read: “Congratulations, my love! I knew you’d get the raise! I prepared this dinner to show just how much I love you. I am so proud of your accomplishments!” He read it and stopped to reflect on how sensitive and caring Tina was.

After dinner, Andrew was on his way to the kitchen to get dessert and he observed that a second card had slipped out of Tina’s pocket on to the ceramic floor. He bent forward to retrieve it. He read: “Don’t worry about not getting the raise! You deserve it anyway! You are a wonderful provider and I prepared this dinner to show you just how much I love you even though you did not get the increase.”

Suddenly tears swelled in Andrew’s eyes. Total acceptance! Tina’s support for him was not conditional upon his success at work.

Learning

The fear of rejection is often softened when we know someone loves us regardless of our success or failure. We can make a difference to others as well as our lives if we are able to love someone unconditionally.

 

Two Rabbits

 

Value- Right Conduct

Sub value- Sharing knowledge

There were once two rabbits Frederick and Wanda who enjoyed their strolls together. On this walk, they came upon two carrots. One of the carrots had large leaves sprouting out of the top and the other looked much smaller from the surface.

Frederick was excited and ran up to the carrot with the larger leaves.

2 rabbits

“I’ll have this one,” he proudly exclaimed and proceeded to extract it from the ground.

Wanda shrugged her shoulders and pulled out the other carrot, which turned out to be much bigger.

Frederick was surprised and asked how this could possibly be.

Wanda looked at her friend and replied, “You can’t always judge a carrot by its leaves.”

They kept on walking and came across another pair of carrots, again with differing sized leaves. This time Frederick allowed his friend the first pick.

Wanda hopped to each carrot, inspected and sniffed them carefully and, to Frederick’s surprise, chose the carrot with the larger leaves. As they each extracted their carrots from the ground, Frederick was bemused to see that his carrot was smaller than Wanda’s.

“I thought that you said that small leaves meant it would be a larger carrot.” He said.

“No,” replied Wanda, “I said don’t judge a carrot by its leaves. It’s also important to remember to think before you choose.”

Frederick nodded and they ate their carrots before continuing their stroll.

For a third time, they found two carrots, again with different sized leaves. Frederick looked confused and didn’t know what to do. Wanda indicated that he could choose which carrot to eat.

The poor foolish rabbit, pretended to inspect each carrot, but he didn’t really know what to do. He knew that he wasn’t as smart as his friend and he looked to Wanda with a confused expression on his face.

Wanda smiled warmly and hopped over to the carrots. She inspected them and pulled out one of the carrots.

Frederick shrugged his shoulders and went to the other one before he was interrupted by his wise friend.

“No Frederick, this one’s your carrot,” she said.

“But you made the choice and I’m sure it’s the bigger one of the two. I don’t know how you do it, but I guess you’re just smarter than me.”

“Frederick, there’s no point in having wisdom if you’re not willing to share the benefits of it with others. You’re my friend and I want you to have this carrot. A smart rabbit with a full stomach but no friends isn’t really wise is she?”

“I guess you’re right,” said Frederick with a full mouth, “As usual.”

 Learning

This story act as a reminder that in our search for wisdom, we must also search for a way to assist those around us with what we’ve learned. We must be wise, share what we have learned with others and help make the world a better place for those around us.

A Challenger’s transformation

Sant eknath

Value- Non violence

Sub value- Patience, forgiving and Love

A group of people were playing cards near Saint Eknath’s (a prominent saint of Maharashtra, India) ashram as was the habit of many people who were jobless and whiling away time.

On a particular day, one of the player was continuously losing his money as the cards were not favourable for him that day. He was restless and was angry not only at his bad luck but was also jealous of others who were better placed than him. Naturally he was enraged as any other loser would be.  He started arguing on what they were talking and soon it resulted in a fight.

Someone advised the loser “Don’t get angry”.

The loser retorted “Hey! What do you think of me? Am I Saint Eknath not to get angry?”

The argument took a different turn now.

Another fellow in the group intervened and demanded, “Is Eknath a divine person not to get angry? He is also a normal human. Show me a person who does not get angry”.

Someone then supported the questioner.

“May be Eknath does not have any feeling or self-respect at all”. Any person with self-respect would get angry and cannot remain calm, always receiving anything aimed at him.”

Another card player now supported Eknath. “No.Saint Eknath never gets angry”.

“No. That is not true. There is no human being who does not get angry”.

“Definitely not. I know Eknath and I have seen him also. He never gets angry”.

“I say you are wrong. He does get angry”.

“No. Certainly not”.

They were a gambling group. So what else could be expected from them? Their ridiculous conversation continued.

“What do you want to bet? I will make Eknath angry”.

“Even if you stand upside down, you cannot do that”.

“OK. Each of you put Rs.100 as a bet. I shall get back all the money I lost in the game by taking this challenge to make Eknath angry.

All agreed. Next day, the man who challenged, went and stood near Eknath’s house as per their plan. Others stood at a distance and were watching him.

That morning, at about the time sun was rising in the east, as usual Saint Eknath came out of the house singing Vittal (Lord Vishu) songs. He was on his way to the river Godhavari river for his bath and oblations. He performed his prayers after bathing in the river and was returning back to his place.

The bad man, who challenged the other gambling men that he can make Eknath angry, was ready with his mouth filled with betel leaf chewing was waiting for Eknath to pass by him.   As Eknath was about to enter his house, the man spat and spewed the red betel mixed saliva on Eknath’s face. For a minute Eknath was shocked startled and looked at the man who did this, but without saying anything, he went back to river Godhavari for a fresh bath and returned.

Again the gambler repeated what he did earlier. Strangely, Eknath just uttered ”Jai Pandurang, Jai Vital’’ and without any murmur, we turned back again to the river for yet another bath.

To the surprise of everyone who were watching all these, this occurred three to four times but without uttering a word or showing wry face, Eknath again and again went to Godhavari river for bathing , chanting Vittal’s names. HE WAS NORMAL AS USUAL WITHOUT ANY TRANCE OF DISPLEASURE, UNHAPPINESS OR ANGER.

The gambling men who witnessed what happened all the while, chased away the gambler, and all of them, including the gambler who committed the foul act, came towards the saint and fell at his feet and asked for his forgiveness. Eknath hugged each of them. The man who was the culprit who spewed and spat on Eknath’s face, now cried aloud   ”Swamiji, I am a fool and a sinner who committed this grave mistake.   Please forgive me and he fell down at the saint’s feet and held them tightly begging repeatedly ‘‘please forgive me,   please forgive me.

With folded hands and tears flowing from his eyes, he was crying sincerely repenting what he did. Eknath lovingly raised him by his shoulders and embraced him.

Eknath was different from others.   He lovingly told the crying sinner, “Blessed you are my son. Why do you cry?   You have not committed any wrong deed.   You have committed NO SIN.   In fact you are blessed soul and I have to worship you because you did create a very rare opportunity for me today. Do you know that today is the auspicious Ekadasi day, and because of you and you alone, I was fortunate to visit Mother Godhavari four times and worship her and pray to Lord Vittal after repeated sacred bathing in Godhavari at least 4 to 5 times. So it is my turn to thank you” saying thus, Eknath bowed to the man in all sincerity.

After this incident, instead of assembling at their regular place for playing cards and gambling, the group of young men lighted a lamp and performed naam sankeerthan they learnt from saint Eknath and became his disciples.

Learning

It is a divine quality to forgive. If we develop this sacred quality, we can transform ourselves by developing peace and love within ourselves as well as be an instrument in helping transform others.

 

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/amrithavahini/7b2DOOoxuoM

 

The Precious Sword

sword

Value- Non Violence

Sub value- Peace

 

Once upon a time there was a precious sword. Now, this sword belonged to a great King, and for as long as anyone could remember, the King spent all his time in his palace, enjoying his shows and parties. One day a great dispute broke out between this King and the King of a neighbouring country. It ended with both declaring war.

The sword was greatly excited at the prospect of taking part in its first real battle. It would show everyone how truly brave and special it was, and would become renowned throughout the kingdom. On the way to the front line, the sword imagined itself the winner of many battles. However, when they arrived, the first battle had already taken place, and the sword got to see the results of war. What it saw had nothing in common with what the sword had imagined. No elegant shining knights, triumphant, with their weapons gleaming in the sunlight. Instead, all the sword saw was broken weapons, and hordes of hungry and thirsty men. There was hardly any food left. Everything was covered in dirt and shrouded in a disgusting smell. Many were half dead and scattered on the ground, bleeding from multiple wounds…

At this, the sword realised it liked neither wars nor battles. It decided it preferred to live in peace and spend its time taking part in tournaments and competitions. So, on the night before what was going to be the big final battle, the sword tried to find a way to prevent it from taking place. After a while, the sword started to vibrate. First it gave out a low buzz, but this gradually got louder, until it became an annoying metallic noise. The swords and armour of the other soldiers asked the King’s sword what it was doing. It told them “I don’t want there to be a battle tomorrow. I don’t like war”.

One answered, “No one likes it, but what can we do?”

“Make yourself vibrate, just like I’m doing”, said the King’s sword. “If we make enough noise no one will sleep.”

So the weapons started vibrating, and the noise became deafening. It was so loud that it reached the enemy camp, and the weapons there, who were equally sick of the war, joined the protest.

The next morning, when the battle should have begun, not a single soldier was ready to fight. No one had managed to get even a wink of sleep, not even the Kings or the Generals. So they spent the whole day catching up on sleep. During the evening they started to wake up, and decided to put off the battle for the next day.

However, the weapons, led by the King’s sword, spent the night repeating their peace song, and again no soldier could rest. The battle had to be postponed yet again, and this carried on for the next seven days. On the evening of the seventh day, the Kings of the two armies met to see what they could do about the situation. Both were furious from their previous dispute, but after being together for a while they started to discuss their sleepless nights, the surprise on their soldier’s faces, the confusion of day with night, and the amusing situations all this had created. It wasn’t long before both were laughing, like friends, at these little stories.

Fortunately, they forgot their old disputes and they put an end to the war, each returning to their own land with the double joy of not having had to fight, and having regained a friend. And from then on, from time to time the Kings would meet up to talk about their experiences as Kings. They now understood that the things which united them were much more numerous than anything that set them apart from each other.

Learning

Everyone wants peace, joy and happiness. War is not a solution for problems. Non violence is a powerful tool to attain peace.

 

http://freestoriesforkids.com/short-stories

Managing Time

 

Value- Right Conduct

Sub value- Effective use of time

 

There was once a boy who was so obsessed with watching TV that wherever he went, he would arrive late. He was so keen to return to the telly that he never finished his breakfast or anything.

One day, in his post-box, was a mysterious parcel. Inside the parcel were some special spectacles, along with a piece of paper saying,

-“With these you’ll be able to see time”.

The boy didn’t understand. He put the glasses on, looked at his brother and saw an enormous pile of flowers on top of his head. The flowers were falling down to the ground, one by one. And it wasn’t just his brother. Whenever he looked at anyone through those glasses, exactly the same was happening. And according to how that person behaved, the pile gained or lost flowers.

The next morning, while having his breakfast, the boy remembered his glasses. Putting them on, he was horrified to see that, coming from his own pile, was a constant stream of flowers going in the direction of the television. Not only that, but the television now had an enormous mouth, and was ferociously gobbling up all the flowers.

And everywhere he went he would see wild-looking televisions devouring flowers.

Finally, after realising what televisions actually are, the boy decided he would never again allow them to eat up all his time.

Learning

It is said, “Time waste if life waste.” We must not waste time in meaningless activities. Let’s use our time wisely. It is especially important for students to know how to manage time. Time once gone will not come back. Television and Computer takes up so much time in most people’s lives that they are not interested in completing their duty, task at hand, making friends, spend time with the family etc. Let us watch out and curtail our TV and computer time and use our time productively.

http://freestoriesforkids.com/short-stories

 

 

Good Samaritan saves the day for this senior citizen

 

Value- Truth, honesty, sense of responsibility, good citizen

It was the kindness of an autorickshaw driver here that has received the gratitude of the small Japanese community here.

Recently, Maki Matsuura (61), who has been in the city for six months, had lost her wallet in an autorickshaw at Hampankatta. Panic-stricken, she called her Japanese contacts in the city, said Haruka Ito, a Wishu Martial Arts expert and her guardian in the city.

“Around this time, she got a call on her mobile from the autorickshaw driver. She could not understand a thing. It was others around her that helped translate what the driver was saying,” said Ms. Ito.

By the time her Japanese friends reached the spot, Ms. Matsuura informed them that the autorickshaw driver had found her out and even delivered her wallet. “He refused to even take the reward money offered by her,” said Ms. Ito.

However, what the unnamed Samaritan has done is to give the whole city a “good image”. In an open letter to the press, Ms. Ito says: “Just as how a small incident of cheating can ruin the image of a city, a small act of kindness can spread goodwill for the people and the country. The really important asset of Mangalore is the beautiful mind of the people here.”

Courtesy- ‘The Hindu’ paper

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