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