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August 20, 2015 6 Comments
Faith, The Secret Sauce – A Folk Tale For The Young
Chinna and Thambi were neighbors, successful in their professions.
Besides being industrious, one could achieve astounding results through faith in God, believed Thambi.
Chinna was totally convinced one got results solely through one’s own efforts.
As it happens. before long the neighbors began having disagreements over their views that intensified over time into ugly rows in public.
The elders in the neighborhood tried to intervene and bring about reconciliation, but to no avail. When they were at their end of patience, they suggested they should take their dispute to the King who was regarded as very wise by his subjects.
That’s how one day they stood before the King.
Both of them presented powerful arguments for their stands. The wise King patiently employed all his wile and guile to resolve the matter as best as he could, without success.
His last word:‘I’m going to leave this to Ma Kali to provide an answer to you.’
So on the following day he organized a pooja for Ma Kali at the temple and instructed Chinna and Thambi proceed to the temple and to observe fast therein during the day. In the evening ladoo’s were offered to the goddess.
At night fall, Chinna and Thambi were locked inside the temple. All sources of light were shut out. They were given a simple instruction by the King: ‘Meditate and pray for as long into night as you can. Ma is bound to be pleased and would settle the dispute.’
Chinna was not seriously into meditation and prayers. Time could be spent much more productively, he believed. But it was the King’s orders. Though he did apply himself to meditation, intermittently his mind drifted to a mental review of his business and issues ahead. As the night wore on, Chinna became restless with hunger pangs tugging at his tummy. He could no longer focus his mind on anything. He got up and began feeling around in the dark. The room was barren with nothing like food to be found anywhere. After a futile search he sat down resignedly, cursing Thambi for landing them in this mess.
Meanwhile Thambi was happy to get some time off from his business to meditate and pray,no small thanks to the King. He sat cross-legged backed against a wall and began chanting some jap on Ma Kali. As the hours rolled on, he was too engrossed to feel the hunger or to listen to Chinna’s ruckus in the dark.
And Chinna on his part had nothing but contempt for the ‘lazy’ fellow who just sat there mumbling inaudibly.
After a while Chinna got up and went about searching for something to eat. This time he was meticulous not missing an inch of the walls and the floor. Only the icon of Ma in the middle of the room remained to be checked. To his disappointment, there were no fruits, coconuts or grains left at the feet of the icon as was the normal practice by the devotees – there were only garlands of flowers. The King had made sure of it.
Finally he moved to the back of the icon hoping against hope, all the time blaming Thambi for their fate. Near the bottom edge he felt his hand going under a floor-tile. As he thrust his hand deep inside upto his elbows, he found a pooja vessel stashed away. He carefully retrieved the it from the hideout. Almost immediately the aroma announced the contents of the vessel: ladoo’s. He gleefully took the vessel to his place and began devouring the small ladoo’s like a lost traveller finding water in a desert, nevermind they were cloying studded with cashewnuts and raisins. First one melted in his mouth, the second gone, the third…until he found one that defied him. Try as he might it refused to crack up under his bite. It was hard as a stone. There was no point in fighting it – he set it aside and reached for the next…In a short while all ladoo’s were gone save a small pile of the hard one’s that couldn’t be eaten.
His hunger sated, now he thought of Thambi. He deserved to be left hungry for not lifting his little finger to solve the problem. When he slowly approached Thambi he could dimly see a coiled up form on the ground. ‘This is what happens when you dont help yourself,’ he thought to himself. In a flash he decided to play a prank. He collected all the hard one’s in the now-empty vessel and left it by Thambi’s side. He would mock at him when he woke up in the morning: ‘I saw Ma come up to you at midnight and leave this gift for your faith.’ He laughed at his own little joke, returned to his place and immediately fell into sleep, helped by the in-take of ghee-dripping raisin-studded ladoo’s.
Next day morning, the temple doors were unlocked and Chinna and Thambi were directly taken to the royal court. While Thambi looked haggard, Chinna didn’t appear too worse for the experience.
King: ‘Chinna, did Ma give you an answer?’
Chinna: ‘Yes, I think, Sir.’
King: ‘Let’s hear about it.’
Chinna: ‘Well, shortly after you had locked us in, I did meditate as instructed by you. But honestly not for long. I was insufferably hungry. As you know, Sir, we had had nothing to eat all day long. Instead of sitting with hands folded and mumbling some mantra’s, I searched the room again and again until I found this vessel full of ladoo’s you had placed under a tile behind the icon. And here, I’m. Sir, the ladoo’s were absolutely delicious. The message I read is: It always pays to be industrious.’
King turned to Thambi: ‘And how was it for you? You look in a pretty bad shape.’
Thambi: ‘I must confess, Sir, I did not do jap all night as I had planned. Fell asleep without my volition, but only as late as the break of dawn. Exhaustion, hunger, perhaps. When I woke up this morning, I saw this vessel with ladoo’s by my side. I was absolutely delighted to receive this prasadam from Ma herself. Chinna told me he saw Ma bringing it up for me around midnight. The sinner that I’m. while Chinna was blessed with Ma’s darshan I slept like an ass missing…’.
Chinna burst out laughing: ‘Pardon me, Sir. I couldn’t control myself. I was kidding and this guy swallowed it all hook, line and sinker.’ Turning to Thambi, ‘Dear Thambi, it was I who placed it by your side. There was no Ma. You well know, I’ve always been fair minded. I ate some ladoo’s and left a few for you; only you were too busy to eat.’
Thambi was not put off:’So be it, Ma for some reason has used you to send me her prasadam.’
King: ‘Thambi, you must be terribly hungry. I insist you eat a few ladoo’s right here and now.
There upon Thambi took out a ladoo and tried to bite into it. It was hard as a stone. He was puzzled. He took it out of his mouth. and looked at it.
King said with a smile: ‘So, Thambi, Ma sent you unbreakable ladoo’s?’
Chinna again breaking into laughter was silenced by a stern glance from the King.
Thambi: ‘I’m sure, Sir, there’s a message in it though I’m not able to figure it out.’
The King asked an attendant for a heavy pestle to be brought.
When the ladoo was pounded, the hard ouside crumbled to reveal a core – a small ball of solid gold.
The King indulgently said, ‘Take all these ladoo’s, they’re yours, Thambi.’
He turned to a crest-fallen Chinna:’There’s no doubt efforts produce results. But the results are only commensurate with the efforts. You searched for food and you got ladoo’s as a reward. The rewards could be richer manifold, often in pleasantly unexpected ways, if you added an element of faith to your efforts. And doing jap and praying for long hours on an empty stomach is not an effort to be scoffed, Chinna, if you thought Thambi was lazy. This seems to be the message from Ma Kali.’
Source: Adapted from Dinathandhi and image from tritontv.com