The Elephant and his old blind mother

elephant

Value- Right Conduct

Sub value- Love, respect for one’s parents

Long ago, in the hills of the Himalayas near a lotus pool, the Buddha was once born as a baby elephant. He was a magnificent elephant, pure white with feet and face the color of coral. His trunk gleamed like a silver rope and his ivory tusks curled up in a long arc.
He followed his mother everywhere. She plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to him. “First you, then me,” she said. She bathed him in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in her trunk, she sprayed him over the top of his head and back until he shone. Then filling his trunk with water, he took careful aim and squirted a perfect geyser right between his mother’s eyes. Without blinking, she squirted him back. And back and forth, they gleefully squirted and splashed each other. Splish! Splash!
Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the mother elephant rested in the shade of a rose-apple tree and watched her son romp and frolic with the other baby elephants.
The little elephant grew and grew until he was the tallest and strongest young bull in the herd. And while he grew taller and stronger, his mother grew older and older. Her tusks were yellow and broken and in time she became blind. The young elephant plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to his dear old blind mother. “First you, then me,” he said.

He bathed her in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in his trunk, he sprayed her over the top of her head and back until she shone. Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the young elephant guided his mother to the shade of a rose-apple tree. Then he went roaming with the other elephants. One day a king was hunting and spied the beautiful white
elephant. “What a splendid animal! I must have him to ride upon!” So the king captured the elephant and put him in the royal stable. He adorned him with silk and jewels and garlands of lotus flowers. He gave him sweet grass and juicy plums and filled his trough with pure water.

But the young elephant would not eat or drink. He wept and wept, growing thinner each day. “Noble elephant,” said the king, “I adorn you with silk and jewels. I give you the finest food and the purest water, yet you do not eat or drink. What will please you?” The young elephant said, “Silk and jewels, food and drink do not make me happy. My blind old mother is alone in the forest with no one to care for her. Though I may die, I will take no food or water until I give some to her first.”

The king said, “Never have I seen such kindness, not even among humans. It is not right to keep this young elephant in chains.” Free, the young elephant raced through the hills looking for his mother. He found her by the lotus pool. There she lay in the mud, too weak to move. With tears in his eyes, he filled his trunk with water and sprayed the top of her head and back until she shone. “Is it raining?” she asked. “Or has my son returned to me?” “It is your very own son!” he cried. “The king has set me free!” As he washed her eyes, a miracle happened. Her sight returned. “May the king rejoice today as I rejoice at seeing my son again!” she said.

The young elephant then plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from a tree and gave them to her. “First you, then me.”

Learning

Our parents love us unconditionally. We have been taught ‘Matha, Pitha, Guru, Daivam’ (First Mother, Father, Master and then God) Mother holds the highest position in our lives, We must also love and respect our parents especially when they need our love the most.

http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/buddhist_stories.html

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Selfless love- The Langar Disguise

Value- Love

Sub value- Kindness, love for one’s Master
Hundreds of years ago the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Rai was the leader of Sikhs. He was young and strong. He often laughed out loud and his love for God was deep and constant. Those who were near him experienced joy and bliss. It was a world filled with fun challenges and deep devotion! The Sikhs always wanted to know, what kind of lesson would he teach next!

Once he declared to his beloveds, “Everyone must make langar in their own homes! Oh, Sikhs of mine, listen… your house is a langar hall to feed all travelers and guests. Feed the needy. No one should ever leave your home without being served!

Everyone listened to what he said and the Sikhs became famous for serving and taking care of others. Still Guru ji wanted to test just how ready the Sikhs were. Were they only ready sometimes or were they ready all the time?

So one day, very early in the morning, something funny happened. It was the divine mischief of the master, the complete man. Guru Gobind Rai himself put on a disguise! He dressed just like a common traveler!

Now normally, Guru ji always wore clothes that were perfect and clean, without even a single wrinkle. But that morning he put on dirty old clothes so no one would recognize him.

He went to the homes of his devotees – their langar halls. He came at the most inconvenient time. It was early in morning so the Sikhs were just waking up. They were getting ready for the day, washing up, starting their prayers. He would knock on the door and say, “Sorry to disturb you, I am just a humble traveler. Do you have any chapatis that I can eat?

Uh, ummm, it’s really early, you must be on an early schedule! Sorry but we don’t have anything ready for you right now. Food will be cooked later. Come by later and we can feed you then.

The master was testing his beloveds. He wanted to show them one simple thing in an unforgettable way. He showed them that they were still a little little bit selfish and not yet completely selfless. They still needed some time for themselves. They weren’t there for others at every moment.

And so the Master went from door to door, “Sorry to disturb you at this time I’m a traveler, do you have any daal that I can eat?”  One man replied, “Excuse me? Oh, It’s so early, it’s not breakfast time yet. Besides daal takes a long time to cook. We’ll be happy to serve you…. please just come back later.”

As the master went from one house to another, he smiled and his eyes twinkled. Not one Sikh was ready to serve him yet.

Finally he came to the house of a man named Nand Lal. Nand Lal was a wise poet, and he loved the True Guru. Even though he was 23 years older than Guru Gobind Rai, he became his devotee. His heart blossomed in the Guru’s court. He was full of devotion and love, and he always prayed to be at the feet of the True Guru.

The beloved Nand Lal hopped up to greet his guest, “welcome, welcome friend“. Guru in disguise said, “Excuse me Sir… Nand Lal quickly replied, “Come in, come in! Please sit down and relax.” The Guru said, I am just a humble traveler, do you have any food…” And Nand Lal quickly replied without hesitation, “Sir, you don’t need to ask. Food is just now coming.

He was so happy to get the chance to serve. He immediately brought whatever food he could. There was some raw dough, there was daal that was just half-cooked, some raw vegetables and some butter. He placed the un-cooked food in front of his guest… with great grace and honor!

Nand Lal generously said, “Help yourself to everything here. Have as much as you want….  However, If you will allow me to, I will roll the dough and cook it to make warm chapaatis; I will cook the daal until it is soft and I will cook the veggies until they are very yummy. It is my honor to serve you, in the Name of My Master, please relax and enjoy yourself.

Bhai Nand Lal really loved to serve. Guru ji was very happy. Guru ji enjoyed the food. And the food was full of loving energy. Bhai Nand Lal ji truly took the Guru’s order to heart: “No one leave your house without being served…” Whoever knocked on his door was sure to leave Nand Lal’s house completely satisfied. And in this cozy and loving way, God lived in the home of Bhai Nand Lal.

The next morning, Guru Ji  told everyone, “In our city, there is only one temple of hospitality, only one real langar. And that is Bhai Nand Lal’s home. Nand Lal speaks the language of love and devotion. Nand Lal blesses us all. His commitment is pleasing. It is this love that wins all hearts. Running such a Langar the Sikhs become truly rich. In this way Bhai Nand Lal’s langar is most successful.

The Sikhs smiled and realized that their beloved Guru ji had tested them. Even though they were friendly, they still hadn’t gone all the way. Bhai Nand Lal was ‘tyar bar tyar,’ always ready!! He was in a divine state, he happily provided langar to everyone without hesitation or excuses. When you become selfless, then you never have excuses and you are always happy.  Bhai Nand Lal became the example of how all of us need to treat guests.

Bhai Nand Lal said, “Getting water for the saints is equal to being the greatest emperor of the world. Cooking food for them is more pleasant than all the paradises put together. Preparing the Guru’s langar is equal to all wealth, riches, and magical super-powers. Holy people take care of the poor, and one feels humble just being around them. The Guru’s Holy Word is within all things… everywhere.

Learning

One must constantly learn and improve ourselves. Our Masters have taught us that love has no limit and serving has no limit. Whoever comes to our home, we should give them the deepest respect. Lets Love and Serve all, See God in all.

http://www.sikhnet.com/stories/audio/langar-disguise

The poor man’s wealth

Value- Peace

Sub value- Contentment

Ramchand and Premchand were neighbours. Ramchand was a poor farmer. Premchand was a landlord.

Ramchand used to be very relaxed and happy. He never bothered to close the doors and windows of his house at night. He had deep sound sleeps. Although he had no money he was peaceful.

poorman

Premchand used to be very tense always. He was very keen to close the doors and windows of his house at night. He could not sleep well. He was always bothered that someone might break open his safes and steal away his money. He envied the peaceful Ramchand.

One day, Premchand call Ramchand and gave him a boxful of cash saying, “Look my dear friend. I am blessed with plenty of wealth. I find you in poverty. So, take this cash and live in prosperity.”

Ramchand was overwhelmingly happy. He was joyful throughout the day. Night came. Ramchand went to bed as usual. But, to-day, he could not sleep. He went and closed the doors and windows. He still could not sleep. He began to keep on looking at the box of cash. The whole night he was disturbed.

As soon as day broke, Ramchand took the box of cash to Premchand. He gave away the box to Premchand saying, “Dear Friend, I am poor. But, your money took away peace from me. Please bear with me and take back your money.”

Learning

Money can not get everything. Learn to be satisfied with what you have and you will always be happy.

http://www.moralstories.org/the-poor-mans-wealth/

Struggles of our life

coffee, potatoValue- Optimism

Sub Value- Attitude

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Learning

In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

Love for one’s Master

Value- Love

Sub value- Devotion, respect

A unique story illustrates Hazrat Amir Khusro’s unbounded devotion and love for his Pir. Once a poor man, having heard of the reputation of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s munificence, came to Delhi from a distant part of India in the hope of getting assistance from him to solve his financial problems. Incidentally, the saint had nothing to offer him that day except a pair of his old shoes. Greatly disappointed the poor man nevertheless thanked the saint and left to return to his village.

On his return journey, he stayed at an inn for the night. Coincidentally, the same night Hazrat Amir Khusro, who was returning to Delhi from a business trip in Bengal, was also staying in the same inn. Hazrat Amir Khusro at the time traded in jewellery and precious stones and was considered to be one of the most wealthy citizens of Delhi. The next morning, when Hazrat Amir Khusro got up, he remarked: “Boo-e-Sheikh mee ayad” (I smell my Pir’s fragrance here).

After finding the source of the scent, he found the man and asked him if he had been to see Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya during his stay in Delhi. The man replied in the affirmative and told Hazrat Amir Khusro the story of his meeting with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, whilst holding up the pair of shoes to show how old and of little value they were.

Hazrat Amir Khusro at once asked the man to give him the shoes in exchange for his entire wealth to which the man duly obliged. Overjoyed at this totally unexpected good fortune, the poor man thanked Hazrat Amir Khusro profusely and went away rejoicing. Amir Khusro eventually reached his Master and placed the pair of shoes at his feet. After explaining that he exchanged his entire wealth for the pair of shoes, Hazrat Nizamuddin remarked “Khusro, Bisyaar arzaan kharidi” (Khusro, you got them very cheap).

Learning

This is a great example of love of a disciple for his Master. The guru’s paduka (slippers) is the most sacred for the disciple. It teaches one how to let go of one’s ego and learn to surrender

Power of Chanting the Lord’s name

Value- Love

Sub value- Power of prayers, Faith

Once Sage Narada went to meet Lord Narayana. Narayana asked him ..,
Narayana: Are you fine, Narada?
Narada: I am fine and am traveling as usual, to all the three worlds.
Narayana: With what thought do you travel?
Narada: Lord, only yours. I keep chanting Narayana, Narayana. But lord, I don’t understand, what is the reward of chanting your name.
Narayana: Oh Narada! You do Namasmarana, but you don’t know its taste. Go and ask that crow sitting on that tree.
Narada went to the crow and asked, “What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?” Hearing this the crow fell dead. Narada went to Narayana and told,
Narada: I asked the crow. It immediately fell dead. Is this the reward?
Narayana: To find the truth one must use one’s time well. Narada, go to the poor brahmin’s house. There in a cage, is a beautiful parrot. It has a green body and a red beak,. Go and ask it.
Narada went to the parrot and asked, “What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?” Hearing this the parrot immediately fell down and died. Narada went to Narayana.
Narada: I asked the parrot. It immediately fell down and died. Is this the reward?
Narayana: One must be determined until one knows the truth. Go to the Brahmin’s home. A calf has been born only yesterday. Go and ask it.
Narada went to the calf and asked, “What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?” The calf raised its head, saw Narada and fell dead. Narada went to Narayana again.
Narada: I will not leave until I learn the truth. Oh lord! Is this the reward?
Narayana: Don’t be haste. Haste makes waste. Waste makes worry. So do not be in a hurry. Be patient. A son has been born to the king of this land just yesterday. The king is very happy. Go and ask the child.
Narada was afraid. He thought, “If the child also dies, the soldiers will arrest me. I will also die. Is this the reward”.
Narayana: Don’t be hasty. Go and ask the child.
Narada went to the king. The child was brought on a golden plate. Narada asked the king, “Oh king! Can I ask the child a question?” The king agreed.
Narada: What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?”
Hearing this the child prince spoke.
Prince: Narada, is this all you have learnt? You chant the Lord’s name 24 hours, but don’t know its taste. First I was a crow. You came and asked me what is the reward of chanting Narayana’s name. Hearing that, my life got fulfilled. I gave up my life. Next, I was born as a parrot. Where is a crow and where is a parrot? A parrot is nourished in a cage. You again came and asked me the same question. Next, I was born as a calf. This is an even better life. Bharatiyas worship cows. I heard the Lord’s name and died. Now I am born as a prince. Where is a crow, parrot, calf and where is a prince? By chanting God’s name, we go to higher states. I have now become a prince. This is my fortune. This is the reward of chanting Narayana’s name.

Learning

If we have faith, love, and devotion we can reach higher states in life.
Hearing the name of Lord,the crow became a parrot, calf, and finally a prince. It got a human life. See the difference in the lives it got.

If hearing the Lord’s name has so much power, what about the power of uttering the Lord’s name? Therefore Namasmarana( Chanting Lord’s Name) has great power.

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