The Jyothish (Astrologer) Who Failed To See His End Coming?

(Contd.)

Part 2

The Raja was holding court in the evening to discuss fresh avenues for collecting money from his subjects to finance the building of a new palace on a grand scale. His idea was to make his subjects pay a special levy for living in his kingdom and enjoying peace and prosperity. The minister and the other officials were aghast at this idea, but were at loss to make the Raja see reason.

Just when the Raja was planning to have his final say in the matter, there was a commotion outside the main doors of the Durbar Hall. Someone was trying to force himself in while the guards were stopping him at the doors. The Raja flew into a rage at this impertinence. He called out to the guards to bring the man in before him. When the man came into the view, everyone assembled in the Durbar Hall went pale in the face and stood up poised to make a dash for the doors. The King too froze in his tracks. For, the man was none other than the Jyothish who was thrown into a samadhi and burnt in the early hours of the day.

The Jyothish was quick to restore normalcy: ’My Lord, let no one have any fears. I’m no ghost. I’m the same man you had sent to the Heavens this morning. I’m grateful to you for arranging an extraordinary experience for me.’

The King finally found his tongue: ‘I don’t understand you. You went to the heavens above and came back alive?’

The others in the assembly overcome by this curiosity to watch this strange spectacle banished the thought of dashing for the nearest exit and settled back in their seats awaiting further developments.

‘Yes, my Lord, I have been to the Heavens by your mercy and now here I’m before you. And I’ve good news for you.’

‘This is unheard of, I must say. And what would the good news be?’

‘In the short stay, I met your parents and your dear brother.’

‘You did? This is incredible.’

‘Yes, I did. They’re quite happy out there. They were quite worried about your well-being. I assured them all is well with you, my Lord. They were mighty pleased to hear so. Your brother too.’

‘Yes, go on. What else did they tell you?’

‘Well, as I said they’re in no need for anything at all. They have everything with them. In fact they generously showered on me so many rare and expensive gifts before my return for bringing them the happy news of your well-being. Ah, now I remember

‘What’s it?’

‘They did tell me they have one unfulfilled wish. And only you can make good their wish.’

‘And what did they wish for?’

‘They are eager to see you even if for a short time. What more – they have even set aside a load of precious jewels to present you when you visit them. They requested me to carry it back for you. I said it would be more appropriate for them to hand it to you in person.’

’I would also love to. But how is it possible?’

‘Oh, my Lord, that’s easily done, just the way it happened for me.’

So the King ordered his minister to make arrangements overnight as before for him at a spot a little away from the Jyotish’s samadhi.

Following morning, in the early hours, before an assembly of his minister and other officials and also the general public that had collected, all watching in silence, the King entered the samadhi. At his bidding, the minister threw in a burning torch and sealed the lid. No shrieks could be heard though thick smoke leaked out of the samadhi sending the assembly into tears and coughing fits.

As an eerie silence descended on the samadhi, they turned their backs, slowly making their way homewards. The weary minister too headed back to resume his interrupted sleep. He knew he had a busy day ahead of him with the Rani and the Yuvaraj.

He suddenly remembered there was yet an unfinished job before he got under the blanket. He called out for the masons and generously recompensed them for a good job done – this time their job was a lot easier, the minister had specifically asked them not to cut an underground escape tunnel leading out from the samadhi.

End

Did the fiery end of the evil Raja sadden us? Though I can’t vividly recall the feelings of the moment, it seemed okay for the him to go.

Sources: Grateful thanks to parashara.com and tamilspider.com for the pictures. The picture here is of Pambatti Siddhar Jeeva Samadhi in Sankaran Koil, Tamilnadu. He was the last of the 18 siddhars (accomplished souls), believed to have lived in the 11th century and possessed siddhis or supernatural powers through rigorous meditation and other spiritual exercises (Wiki).

The Jyothish (Astrologer) Who Failed To See His End Coming?

Another of those grandma’s quaint stories we got for eating up our spinach:

Part 1

The Kingdom of Gagangiri was going through difficult times. The reining and enormously popular Raja suddenly passed away under suspicious circumstances. The colorless fly-on-the-wall brother of the dead Raja unexpectedly usurped the throne declaring himself as the successor with the backing of a section of the army. The Rani (queen) and the young Yuvaraja (prince) were forcibly confined to their living quarters.

The common folks did not like the new Raja, his mode of succession, his disposition and his rule, but couldn’t do much about it. Instead of winning over his subjects, the Raja further alienated them by his unreasonable measures bordering further compounded by his stupidity. Taxes went up and minor infractions met with disproportionate harshness. Perhaps it was his way of ‘teaching them a lesson’ for not aligning with him yet. In private, people even wished for the neighboring King to mount an attack and depose the Raja.

One day news reached the Raja’s ears that a very well known Jyothish was in the city. He was summoned to the palace for a session with the Raja. He studied the Raja’s horoscope and his palm and fell silent.

The Raja ordered him to spell out his predictions.

‘My Lord, things don’t look too good for you in near times.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Most people are not with you.’

‘I know that already. Tell me what else.’

‘There are plots underway to overthrow you.’

‘Who would be that? Can you get specific? I’ll have them hanged outside the palace within the next hour.’

‘It would serve no useful purpose.’

‘Why?’

‘My Lord, do what you may, you’ll not live to see the full-moon that’s tomorrow night.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes, Sir. I’m certain. It’s all clearly indicated here. I’m known not to go wrong in my predictions.’

’So be it, Jyothish Shironmani (an expert of high order), I’ll do something about it. Meanwhile tell me what do the stars tell about your life?’

The Jyothish failed to detect the sudden sarcasm in the Raja’s words. He was not informed about the Raja’s unpredictable ways.

‘My Lord, I am destined to live into ripe old age.’

‘I’ll prove how wrong you are. You’ll not live to see the sun rise tomorrow. So much for your predictions.’

He ordered his minister to prepare overnight a samadhi (enclosure) packed with inflammable dry grass and an opening at the top through which the Jyothish would be dropped inside. The pyre would be lit and the opening would be sealed at the top. The Jyothish would die a horrible death by the fire.

The Jyothish’s pleas fell on deaf ears as he was dragged to the jail. Everyone in the royal court was shocked at this whimsical cruelty, but could not raise their voice.

A spot outside the palace was selected and the masons were brought in. The minister was personally at the site all night to oversee the construction. And, the samadhi was ready to the Raja’s specifications before dawn.

Though it was early hours, the Raja came down to witness first-hand the dispatch of the Jyothish. The minister welcomed the Raja at the site and assured him all arrangements were made just as the Raja had ordered.

The helpless and wailing Jyothish was brought from the jail. The minister spoke to him some final words of consolation, so it seemed, before lowering him into the samadhi. In a few minutes, a burning pandham (torch) was thrown inside and the opening closed.

In a few minutes, the gloating Raja saw thick smoke leaking out of the samadhi, clapped his hands in satisfaction; he called out for the masons, generously recompensed them for a good job done and went back to resume his interrupted sleep.

(To be contd.)

Do Pigs Get Cheered?

There was a farmer who collected horses. One day, he was fortunate to find a specimen of a rare Arabian breed for sale. The delighted farmer paid an arm and a leg to acquire the horse.

A month later, the horse became ill and he called the veterinarian. The vet examined the horse carefully and finally declared:

“Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days. I’ll come back on the third day and if he’s not better, we’re going to have to put him down.”

Nearby, the pig listened closely to their conversation.

The next day, the horse was given the medicine and left to recover.

The pig approached the horse and said:

“Buck up, my friend, or else they’re going to put you to sleep!”

On the second day, the horse was given the medicine and left to recover.

The pig came back and said:

“Come on buddy, gather up or else you’re going to die! Come on, I’ll help you. Let’s go! One, two, three…”

On the third day, they came to give him the medicine and the vet said to the anguished farmer:

“It’s mighty unfortunate. We’’re going to have to put him down tomorrow. Otherwise, the virus might spread and infect the other horses.”

After they left, the pig approached the horse and said:

“Listen pal, it’s now or never! Get up, come on! Have courage!

Come on! Get up! Get up! That’s it, slowly! Great!

Come on, one, two, three… Good, good.

Now faster, come on…. Fantastic! Run, run more! Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you’re a champion!!!”

All of a sudden, the farmer came back, saw the horse running in the field and began shouting:

“It’s nothing short of a miracle! My horse is cured. This deserves a party. Let’s kill the pig!!”

End

Are you beginning to relate it to what happens in your organization?

Source: IIA Forum

Friends Indeed Are Friends In Need!

Part 2

(contd.)

We pick up the story again when Somdutt had successfully completed his tour of several cities in the north and returning homewards, he had reached the outskirts of Ujjain.

At this point he could not help remembering the strange incident in the forest. Curious to check on the words of his friends, Somdutt invited the tiger, the Raja of the Forest. In a moment, there was commotion in the thicket nearby and a huge tiger appeared greeting him:

’Do not fear, friend. You saved my son’s life. How can I thank you enough? You called me – is there anything I can do for you? It would give me great pleasure to do whatever.’

Somdutt explained there was no real purpose for calling the tiger. He just wonederd if the tiger would make an apperance like the son had promised. The tiger assured him he would continue to appear every time he was invited. Before going away, the tiger gave Somdutt as a gift a silk bag full of gold ornaments and gems.

On reaching Ujjain, Somdutt decided to pay a visit to house of the man who had invited him home. The man joyfully welcomed him as a good host and further persuaded him to stay over for a day, happily agreed to by Somdutt. Arrangements were made to take the guest around the city of Ujjain to show its splendor. And when he was away, the man sneakily opened the silk bag and peered at its contents, his eyes almost popping out.

When Somdutt returned in the evening, still dazed by the wondrous sights Ujjain had offered, he was accosted by a squad of soldiers from the palace. He was expressly dragged to the Raja’s court and accused of assaulting and robbing the Yuvraja (Prince) of his ornaments while on a hunt in the forest a month ago. His protestation of innocence was of no avail and was thrown into an underground dungeon to die by a furious Raja. His host was nowhere to be seen in the entire sequence of events of the evening. Bemoaning his ill-luck, Somdutt regretfully recalled the tiger’s words of warning about the man.

No light or sound reached his cell in the dungeon. Nor any food served. With each passing day he grew weaker inching closer to death. Lying coiled in a corner, one day, he suddenly remembered the words of the rat he had let out of the well. Holding onto a slender hope, he managed to sit in the darkness and invite the Raja of Rats. In a moment there was a scraping sound and a large rat appeared from a hole in the rear wall:

‘I’m grateful to you, friend, for saving my son’s life. But I’m shocked seeing you like this, starved and weak. Let me arrange for some food for you right away.’

The Raja of Rats got his folks immediately to bore an elaborate system of tunnels through to the cell and bring food for him. Only when Somdutt had the food and regained some strength did the rat leave, but not before making arrangements for a regular supply of food for him thereafter.

The problem of food was taken care of. The tunnels brought in badly needed fresh air too and with it faint light and sounds of the outside world. What else could he do? Well, he could do with some help from the snake, he thought. So he sat down in near-darkness and invited the Raja of Snakes. In a moment he heard a soft hiss coming from one of those tunnels and a menacing cobra materialized before him:

‘Have no fears, friend. I can never repay my debts to you for saving my dear son’s life. Tell me what I can do for you. I’ll be delighted to.’

Hearing Somdutt’s sad story the snake became pensive for few moments. The cobra then outlined a plan and set out to work on it.

Part 3

The following morning was not like any other in the Raja’s living quarters. The Yuvraja would not wake up from his sleep. The Raja-Vaidhya (the royal physician) was summoned immediately. He figured out the Yuvraja was unconscious from a Cobra’s bite. Try as he might he was unable to revive him with his herbs. The word quickly went out to all corners of Ujjain on the Yuvraja’s sickness. The Raja promised fabulous rewards for anyone who would cure the Yuvraja. Many vaidhya’s and sadhus lined up at the palace to offer their treatment. The entire palace sank deeper in despair as the Yuvraja did not respond to any treatment.

It was at this moment a prison guard came running excitedly to the palace – he had heard a faint voice coming up somehow from the ground near the dungeon claiming he could cure the Yuvraja if only he was allowed to. Clutching at every straw, the Raja ordered for a complete check on all the inmates of the prison including the dungeon.

It wasn’t long before the guards produced Somdutt before the Raja where he repeated his claim. A stern Raja warned him:‘If you were making a false claim, you’ll be beheaded before the sun sets on this very day.’

Unruffled, Somdutt briskly ordered everyone out and went about with his treatment in earnest. He took some herbs from the Vaidhya’s kit, chanted some mantras, applied at the site of the snake-bite and chanted more mantras, all as advised by the cobra. At the end of an hour the Yuvraja stirred in his bed and opened his eyes.

The ecstatic Raja hugged Somdutt in a spontaneous gesture and unconditionally pardoned him. Subsequent investigations revealed the robber who waylaid the Yuvraja in the forest was later killed by the tiger and that’s how the Yuvraja’s ornaments came into the tiger’s possession.

Somdutt remained in the palace as an honored guest of the Raja for a few days and set off homewards with bountiful rewards heaped on him by the grateful Raja.

End

A Matter Of Death And Life!

A young man called Ramaswami died an untimely death.
His parents, wife and a nine-year old son were crying bitterly sitting next to his dead body.

They all happened to be the disciples of a holy man whom they called ‘Maharaj Ji’.
When Maharaj Ji learnt that Ramaswami had died, he came to visit the family.
He entered the house and found the family wailing inconsolably.
Seeing Maharaj Ji, the wife started crying even louder.
She sobbed saying, “Maharaj Ji, he has died too early, he was so young … Oh! I would do anything to make him alive again. What will happen to our son? I’m so helpless and miserable.”
Maharaj Ji tried to pacify the crying lady and the old parents, but the loss was too much for them to come to terms with so easily.

Eventually, Maharaj Ji said, “Alright, get me a glass of water.”
He sat near the dead body and put the glass next to it. And said, “Now, whoever wants that Ramaswami should become alive again may drink this water. Ramaswami shall come back to life.”
“Really, Maharaj Ji?” There were shouts of incredulous delight.
“You have my word for it,” assured Maharaj Ji.
There was a mad scramble for the glass, even the old parents making a dash for it.
“Wait, there’s more.”
They froze in their tracks for a moment and looked at the Maharaj Ji with undisguised “Now, what?”
He added, “But the person who drinks the water shall die instead!”

Silence..! They flopped down in disbelief and despair.

“Come, did you not say that Ramaswami was the sole bread-winner of the family? Who would take his place? It is a fair exchange, isn’t it?”

One look at the Maharaj Ji told them this strange transaction was not negotiable and he was serious about it.

The wife looked at the old mother and the old mother looked at the wife. The old father looked at Ramaswami’s son. But no one came forward.

Then Maharaj Ji said to the old father, “Babuji, wouldn’t you give your life for your son?”
The old man said, “Well, I have my responsibility towards my wife. If I die who will look after her? I cannot offer my life to you.”

Maharaj Ji looked questioningly at the old woman and said, “Amma?”
Amma said, “My daughter is due to deliver her first baby. She will be coming to stay for a month. If I die who will look after her and the newborn? Besides who but me will take care of this old man here? Being a diabetic, he needs special food to be prepared for him.”

Maharaj Ji smiled knowingly and shifted his gaze to the young widow.

She widened her tear-filled eyes and said imploringly, “Maharaj Ji, I need to live for my son…If I die, who will look after him? He needs me, please. Don’t ask me to do this sacrifice.

Maharaj Ji asked the son, “Very well, little boy, would you like to give your life to bring back your father?”
Before the boy could say anything, his mother pulled him to her breast and said with heat:

“Maharaj Ji, Are you insane? My son is only nine. He has not yet lived his life. How could you even think or suggest such a thing?”

Maharaj Ji said, “Well, it seems that all of you are very much needed for the things you still need to do in this world. It seems Ramaswami was the only one that could be spared. That’s why God chose to take him away. So shall we now proceed with his last rites? It’s getting late.”

With that, Maharaj Ji got up and left.

End

This is lightly edited piece out of a forward from Gul, source not known.

The Wait

Whenever I spotted them coming my way from a distance, I usually averted looking at from close. It was on my Sunday morning walks that I crossed them, the father and the daughter and the mother on rare occasions. On some days it was the evening outing to the market. The girl – she was probably in late teens, somewhat chubby, wore a salwar-kameez; the bib around the neck, the far-away look and the shuffling gait gave her away.

It was always an unhurried pace, no carry-bags in hand, no pausing on the way to exchange pleasantries with anyone. They always walked side-by-side. I don’t recall seeing him hold her hands. No slouch or slack in his posture. He wore his t-shirts tucked in. The face had traces of pock-marks softened by age, small tufts of white hair on the sides breaking up the monotony of the bald pate. The deep-set eyes were steady, alert and showed no ire or despair.

I thought about the parents – kind, patient and sensitive, round the clock, day and night, all days of the week, all of the months and the years. Really, angels on earth. My incorrigible mind did not rest with the angels. The question popped up: What would be her plight when her parents are no longer around? There are homes, I hear, though mighty expensive. I never sighted a sibling who could possibly take care of her later in life. I moved away from the depressing thought – all I could do.

I felt like a mouse in the basement, in this regard, going back to when my daughters were young and growing up – their minor infractions over my notions of what was good for them would get me into an uproar.

And what about them giving care selflessly to who are not even their own? Can you help me with a word, Non-Believers?

One day I even saw him praying in the Temple. I was sure this wasn’t the first time. I wondered what made him keep at it after his years of prayers had not yielded any relief. After all prayers are believed to be answered with reward or relief in quick time or near about.

Under man-made jurisprudence, even a prisoner has his space. However, paying for some bad Karma in her previous birth, she was mercilessly denied as much as elbow-room for herself. Inscrutable are the ways of divine dispensation, you agree, Believers?

Some weeks back, suddenly I came up on him sitting at a bus-stop in the market, all by himself. I didn’t trust my eyes until I saw him again a few days later at another bus-stop. He certainly wasn’t waiting for a bus. Was she not in town? Taken sick? When I crossed him on the road next, I mustered up enough courage to ask him if she was alright.

He shook his head his head and walked away without a word.

It has been a month. I wish for life to restore status-quo, for sighting her again walking by his side on their customary rounds.

End

How Fate Was Outwitted!

Part 5 – Creator in stress

Sunandan stirred from his sleep when he heard the bleats. When the bleats persisted he opened his eyes. For a moment he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming. He saw a bull tethered to the pole. He was very sure he had sold the animal last evening at the market. He woke up Vidyadhar.

‘Don’t worry, it is just as I thought. Take it to the market and work with it as you usually do. In the evening, sell it off and distribute the grains like we did yesterday. Don’t keep a pie or a grain for yourself.’

And so he did with a little more confidence in the stranger’s words. Sure enough, he found a bullock at the pole in the following morning.

This was repeated for a few days. In those few days, Sunandan’s act of charity spread all around and he became well-known and highly respected in those parts. He was warmly welcomed wherever he went. The traders did not haggle with him anymore.

Vidyadhar was pleased to see the favorable turn of events in Sunandan’s life. He had done his bit for the Guru’s son. He took leave of the happy young man, cautioning him to scrupulously follow his words and promising to look him up now and then.

He set out very early in the morning so as to reach his village before it got hot in the day. When he was a mile away from Sunandan’s hut, he saw a white-robed man coming in his way plodding wearily. He looked vaguely familiar to him.

The man spoke: ‘I shouldn’t have told you. See what you’ve done to me. My hands and feet are calloused. Every morning, I’ve to find one and rush it to provision him before sunrise as decreed by his Fate. You guessed it right – since he has nothing else to call his own at the end of the day, he must have the bullock by the morning – and you used it to his advantage.’

Now it all came back to him. It was a tired-out Brahma! And behind him was a bullock marked for Sunandan’s hut.

Vidyadhar bowed and said with a smile: ‘My Lord, You are very kind. I too kept up my promise. Never disclosed it to anyone. And it shall never be more than a bullock for him, not a pie or a grain more, Sir. I assure You.’

And they went on their separate ways!

(PS: The underlying theme is from the original story, everything else isn’t. The original also included the Guru’s daughter and her life and how it was transformed later by the disciple)

End