Tag Archives: sage

BOOK CORNER: SHORT STORY–THE THREE QUESTIONS by Leo Tolstoy

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–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE THREE QUESTIONS

By Leo Tolstoy

    It once occurred to a certain king that if he only knew the right time to begin any task. If he knew, who were the right people to listen to and whom to avoid. And above all, if he always knew, what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

    With this thought in mind. He decided to announce in his kingdom. That he would give a handsome reward to anyone who could teach him. The right time for every action, and who are the most essential people and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

    Many learned men came to the king but they all answered his questions differently.

    In reply to the first question some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance a table of days, months and years and must strictly adhere to it. Only thus said they, could everything be done at a proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action. And, one should always attend to all that is going on, and then do what is most needful. Others said. However attentive the king might be to what is going on. It is impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action. And that he should have a council of wise men who would help him fix the proper time for everything.

    But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a council, and about which one needed to decide at once to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that and therefore in order to know the right time for every action one must consult magicians.

    Equally, there were various other answers to the second question. Some said. The people, king needed the most were his councilors, priests and the doctors. While some said warriors were the most essential.

    Regarding the third question, as to what was the most important occupation. Some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare and others said it was religious worship.

    Since all the answers were different. The king agreed with none of them and gave reward to none. But still determined to find the right answers to his question he decided to consult a hermit widely renowned for his wisdom.

    The hermit lived in a forest. Where, he received only common people and no VIPs. So, to match the hermit’s discipline. The king too, put on simple clothes and before reaching the hermit’s cell he even dismounted from his horse. Leaving his bodyguard behind. He was now alone.

    When the king approached the hermit. He was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the king he greeted him but kept digging. The hermit appeared frail and weak. Each time he struck his spade on the ground and turned little earth, he breathed heavily.

    The king went up to him and said. ‘I have come to you wise man, to ask you to answer, three of my questions. One, how can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Two, who are the people I need the most, and to whom, should I pay more attention than the rest? Three, what affairs are most important and need my attention on priority?’

    The hermit listened to the king, but answered nothing. In fact he just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.

    “You are tired,” said the king, “so let me take the spade and work awhile for you.”

    “Thanks!” said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the king, he sat down, on the ground.

    When the king had finished digging two beds, he stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

    “Now you rest awhile – and let me work a bit.”

    But the king did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and then another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the king at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

    “I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so. I will return home.”

    “Here comes someone running,” said the hermit. “Let us see who it is.”

    The king turned round and saw a bearded man come running out of the forest. The man had pressed his stomach with his hands and was bleeding profusely. And as he approached the king he fainted and fell on the ground and began moaning feebly. The king and the hermit unfastened the man’s clothing.

    There was a large wound in his stomach. The king washed it, as best as he could and even bandaged it, with his handkerchief and a towel of the hermit. But the blood didn’t stop oozing. So, the king removed, the warm blood soaked bandage several times. And he washed and re-bandaged the wound.

    Finally the bleeding stopped. With that the man revived and asked for something to drink. The king brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So, the king, with the hermit’s help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. While lying on the bed, the man closed his eyes and was quiet. But the king was extremely tired on account of the tedious day. So, he crouched down on the threshold, and fell asleep–and so soundly that he slept all throughout the short summer night.

    When he woke up in the morning. It was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with glistening eyes.

    “Forgive me!” said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw, that the king was awake and was looking at him.

    “I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,” said the king.

    “You do not know me, but I know you. I am an enemy of yours who had sworn to take revenge of you, because you had executed my brother and seized my property. I knew you had gone alone to meet the hermit, and I had resolved to kill you on your way back.

     But the day passed, and you did not return. So, I came out of my ambush to look for you. But ill luck struck me. When, I bumped into your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them and would have bled to death had you not dressed my wound so meticulously. I wished to kill you, but you saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons also to do the same. Forgive me!”

    The king was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend. He not only forgave him. But promised that he would send his servants and his own physician to attend to him, and even promised to restore his property.

    Having taken leave of the wounded man, the king went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before leaving he wished to beg once more for an answer to his questions. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

    King approached him and said, “For the last time, I pray to you to answer my questions, wise man.”

    “You have already been answered!” said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the king, who stood before him.

    “Answered but how? What do you mean?” asked the king.

    “Don’t you see?” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied on my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me. And had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented not having stayed with me. So, the most important time was when you were digging the beds and I was the most important man and to do me good was your most important business.

    Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him. For if you had not nursed his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So, he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business.

    Remember then. There is only one time that is important – and that is now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any kind of power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else, and the most important business is to do that person good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life.”

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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SHORT STORY: GOD IS CLOSE ONLY IF YOU TRUST IN HIM

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durvasa muni krishna pandavas

GOD IS CLOSE ONLY IF YOU TRUST IN HIM

    After losing in dhyut-krida (gamble) to Duryodhana, Pandavas, along with Maharani Draupadi were exiled to Kamyaka forest. But even after driving Pandavas out of the kingdom Duryodhana was never in peace. How to destroy them completely was his perennial worry.

    And you could call it a coincidence. As just around that time, Maharishi (saint) Durvasa landed up in Duryodhana’s palace, and stayed with him for some time. During his stay, Duryodhana looked after him quite well. Happy with his hospitality Maharishi granted him a vardan (blessing). Is when treacherous Duryodhana very politely said—‘Maharishi! Pandavas, are my elder brothers. If you are happy with me. I desire the way you gave me an opportunity to serve you, which has given me a great sense of fulfilment. I wish you kindly give a similar opportunity to my elder brothers also, at least for a day. I wish you visit them with all your shishayas (pupils) to enjoy their hospitality and arrive there when Maharani Draupadi has eaten, so that my brothers don’t have to remain hungry for long.’

    But the real story was something different. When, Pandavas went on exile into the forest. At that time many Brahmins who loved them and were their followers, too accompanied them. They somehow never came back. But feeding so many people in the forest was not easy. So Dharmaraj Yudhistir performed a long and deep tapasya (meditation) to please Lord Surya. When Lord Surya was happy he gave Yudhistir a vessel and said—‘When you cook roots and vegetables in this vessel the quantity of food will become endless. With the result you will be able to feed hundreds of people till such time Draupadi has not eaten. But after Draupadi has eaten nothing will be left in the vessel for the day.’

    Duryodhan knew about this secret. And because of this secret only he had requested Maharishi Durvasa to visit Pandavas after Draupadi had finished eating. Durvasa muni (sage) acceded to what Duryodhan had requested for and visited Pandavas. Duryodhana was extremely happy thinking Pandavas will not be able to provide food to Maharishi Durvasa after Draupadi has eaten and then the shot-tempered Maharishi Durvasa will curse and destroy Pandavas. This was a deed of his evil intentions.

    Since Maharishi Durvasa had given a word to Duryodhana. He along with his thousands of shishyas (pupils) one day in the afternoon arrived at the Pandavas, in Kamyaka forest. Dharmaraj Yudhistir and his brothers got up to receive them and did a prostrate pranam to the Maharishi. And with folded hands requested him to occupy the main asanas (seats)

    Maharishi said—‘Rajan! (King) may God bless you. We all are very hungry, but we have not performed our prayers. So you please arrange for our food. In the meanwhile we will return from the nearby lake after our daily rituals and prayers.’

    Dharmraja Yudhistir with folded hands said—‘As you wish Guruvar (Guru). Food will be ready, so kindly return at your earliest after your daily kriya (chores) and prayers. But when Maharishi Durvasa left with his shishyas, Yudhistir and his brothers got tensed.

    They enquired from Draupadi and came to know she had already eaten. Now shot tempered Maharishi Durvasa on not getting food would definitely curse them to ashes. This looked definite. As giving him food on time seemed impossible. So, there was no way out. Upon finding her husbands worried Draupadi asked—‘why are you’ll so worried? Krishna will arrange for everything.’

    Dhrarmaraj Yudhistir said—‘had Sri Krishna been here we wouldn’t have been worried at all. But only recently he has left for Dwarka and I’m sure by now he must not have even reached.’

    Draupadi with a lot of confidence said—‘who knows when he comes and when he goes? And which is that place where he is not present? I’m sure he must be somewhere here only and will appear soon.’

    After saying all this. Draupadi left for her cottage and started praying to Krishna. Soon Pandavas saw, Krishna’s chariot with his four white horses and his insignia Garoor atop coming and stopping near him at great speed. And even before the chariot could come to a complete halt Krishna jumped and rushed towards Draupadi’s cottage.

    And, since he was in great hurry, neither did he wish anyone nor anyone could wish him. He straightway entered Draupadis cottage and in great urgency he said—‘Krishne! I’m extremely hungry, so give me something to eat at once.’

    ‘So at last you have come Krishna, my brother! I knew you will come at my distress call. Druapadi was, as if was rejuvenated. But just then she suddenly got up flabbergasted and said—‘Oh I need to serve food to Maharishi Durvasa.’

    ‘First you give me food. Then talk of giving food to someone else. As I am unable to even stand because of hunger.’ Said Krishna.

    ‘But I have finished eating. The vessel given by Lord Surya has been cleaned and washed for the day and kept. So where is the food? Your penniless sister therefore called for you, only to arrange for food.’

    ‘Don’t just say anything you feel like. I’m extremely hungry. Show me the vessel.’ Replied Krishna. Draupadi quietly handed over the vessel to Krishna. Krishna took the vessel in his hand and started inspecting it by having a close look at it, all over. On the inner side of the vessel he found a piece of vegetable leaf stuck in it. He picked it up and said—‘you were saying nothing is there, but what is this? This can feed the whole universe.’

    Draupadi was quietly watching Krishna when he put that small piece of leaf in his mouth and said—‘may this satiate the world.’ And then he burped and said again, ‘may that satiate the world.’

    And out there in the lake. Maharishi Durvasa and his shishyas had a very strange time as everyone out there started burping and burping. They all suddenly started feeling as if they have eaten and there tummy is full. Surprised they even started looking at each other. Upon observing his own condition and that of his shishyas, Maharishi Durvasa said –‘today I am reminded of the episode of Ambrish. Pandavas are in the forest where they are struggling for their own food and it was not right on our part to come here, and now I am not hungry and won’t be able to eat at all.  Now their food will get wasted and that will irk them. They can easily destroy us in seconds as they have the blessings of Lord Krishna. So there is only one way out and that is to quietly leave this place.

    When Maharishi Durvasa wanted to leave, how could his shishyas stay behind. So, when they left they did not think of stopping anywhere till they had reached Brahmalok (where Lord Brahma resides).

    After having the leaf that was stuck in the vessel. Lord Krishna came out of Draupadi’s cottage smilingly. Then he greeted Dhramraj Yudhistir and his brothers and as he sat he asked Sahdev to remind Maharishi Durvasa about the food.

    Sahdev left but came back soon, because Maharishi Durvasa and his shishyas were not there as they had left for Brahmalok.

    Not knowing when Maharishi Durvasa might suddenly return for food. Dharmaraj Yudhistir started worrying again. Because Maharishi Durvasa was known for asking people to cook for him and then return in the night, midnight, next day or even after some days to eat the food. And after returning he would want the food immediately and if there was even a slight delay he would curse.

    ‘Now, Maharishi Durvasa will not come here. He came here only because of treacherous Duryodhana. So there is no need to worry,’ said Lord Krishna as he began narrating the entire story to Dharmaraj Yudhistir and his brothers.

    Truly God is very close, only if you trust him.

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Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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SHORT STORY: RELATIONSHIP OF TRUTH AND REALITY

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reality truth

    The spiritual Indian city of Kashi is located on the holy banks of river Ganges where an able ruler once ruled. His court was blessed by many renowned scholars who used to have big discussions and debates on ‘truth.’ And in the court, it was inscribed in golden letters, ‘In pursuit of truth.’

    One morning a Yogi came to the court and suggested to the ruler, to change the inscription in gold to, ‘In pursuit of reality’ instead of ‘in pursuit of truth.’ And upon hearing this all the scholars in the court of the ruler were rather startled.

    To convince the ruler he said, ‘Truth is not like reality. Truth is what we believe in, but reality is the state of things as they actually exist.’ And to prove his point he called for some barrels and got it filled with oil, and on a moonlit night he got the barrels placed in an open field where the reflection of moon was very clearly visible in each barrel of oil.

    And then the Yogi said, ‘dear friends when you see the reflection of the moon in these barrels you feel there are so many moons, but when you look up to the sky you come to know of the reality, that there is only one moon.

    In the same manner if we want we can get so many things made out of wood, but we are well abreast of the fact that all these are made of wood and the wood is the same. In the same manner when you’ll empty the barrels you’ll come to know the moons have vanished but the real moon atop remains.

    So also, when the furniture breaks into pieces various furniture items will lose their identity but the identity of wood remains. In the same manner truth might be linked to the environment and times but reality is quite different from all this.

    And that is why our efforts and inscription should be in accordance to the directive, ‘In search of reality.’ And every scholar in the court agreed with the logic of the Yogi and the inscription accordingly was changed to, ‘In search of reality.’

    After sometime another Yogi came and said, ‘Dear friends there may be a difference between truth and reality but truth has its own importance as we see so many moons in barrels filled with oil so we cannot condone the truth, even when we know that the moon is one. In the same manner we cannot overlook the reality and status of various things with various names. In reality you all are either male or female, but you cannot overlook the fact that you have a name too. The ultimate and complete face of truth is the reality and reality is witnessed in various forms of individual truths.

    And that is why my suggestion is to change the inscription to, ‘in pursuit of truth and reality’ to which every scholar gave his approval. But the change of inscription did not last for long as after a while another Yogi came who wanted to change the inscription again. He said, ‘truth cannot become truth unless it is linked to reality.’ He further said, ‘In all the barrels of oil  the reflection  of moon is linked to one such reality that the moon exists, and had the moon not existed its reflection too would not have been there. In the same manner the wooden furniture is linked to its basic raw material—wood. And. you will have to agree that truth in any form is always connected to the reality and you also can reach the substance if you change the inscription to ‘the relation of truth with reality.’

    All scholars had felt the power of real truth in what the yogi had said and therefore the inscription was further changed as per him. But while doing so the ruler felt there is a very thin line between reality and truth, where in life a reality cannot be denied and truth cannot be created without reality. 

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Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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                                                   https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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