By Kamlesh Tripathi
Mahatapsvi (Great hermit) Brahmin Jajli till late in his life practiced the vanprastha (retiring into a forest) with great discipline and reverence. Pushing his vanprastha to the next level, he was now surviving only on atmospheric air and had stood still for a long period of time, and was deep into his intense tapasya (meditation). Even the birds mistook him to be a tree and made nests in his long jatas (long, dense hair) and delivered their eggs in it. But the kind maharishi quietly stood there. Soon the eggs of these birds hatched and broods came out of that. These broods grew up to beautiful birds and soon started flying. And when the birds gained proficiency in flying, and once when they didn’t return for a month, Maharishi Jajli decided to let loose a bit. And, he was surprised at the intensity and perfection of his own tapasya, and started considering himself as having obtained moksha. And just then there was an akashwani (celestial announcement from the sky)—‘Jajli! Don’t pride about yourself so much, because you are not as virtuous, righteous and religious, as trader Tuladhar, of Kashi.
Upon hearing the akashwani Maharishi Jajli was quite surprised. He immediately left for Kashi to meet Tuladhar. After reaching Kashi he found Tuladhar is just an ordinary shopkeeper, who was sitting in his shop. He was continuously weighing and selling daily use products to his customers. But Jajli was surprised when Tuladhar without asking got up and said ‘pranam’ to him and even described his tapasiya and the akashvani in great detail. Jajli asked, ‘you are an ordinary baniya, but then how do know so much about me?’
Tuladhar respectfully said—‘Respected Brahmin! I very carefully follow the religion of my caste in which I’m born. I don’t sell wine, nor do I sell any stuff which is cursed and forbidden. I never cheat my customers on the weighing scale. I sell all my products at the correct price no matter who the customer is, whether a child or grown up, and whether he knows the price or doesn’t. I don’t mix any product with anything harmful. I don’t exploit my customers in an unfair manner after taking their feedbacks. It is my duty to serve my customers and I always keep this in my mind. I build my relationship on the premise of benefits, for my customers, and that is my fundamental religion and reason for existence.’
Tuladhar further said—‘I am not greedy and I keep myself away from anger and disparity. I donate as much as I can and always serve my guests with love and respect. And I prefer non-violence. I don’t promote greed and excessive desire and I consider everyone as equal in my eyes, and pray for everyone’s well being.’
On Jajli’s request Tuladhar then explained the pillars of dharma to him. He explained any violent yagya (Hindu religious ritual) will always have devastating consequences. And even otherwise in such yagyas there are great possibilities of blunders that give negative results. And people who give pain to others never reach heaven and never meet up with goodness in life. And non-violence alone is the best religion.’
The birds that were born in the jatas of Jajli returned to him when he called them. They also heard the sermons on dharma from Tuladhar. And with Tuladhar’s sermon Jajli’s pride was vanquished.