* Disciple prepared to go to hell for guru's comfort

* Himalayan Christmas Gift

* What's that mark on her forehead?

* Devotee Dreams

* The story of Sri Jatayu

* The ungrateful man

* Birth of death



There is the history of a devotee, we think his name was Govinda dasa, a

disciple of a great acarya who was living at Tirupati, Tirumala.

Ramanujacarya went to see him and for one year he learned Ramayana from that acarya.  One of his disciples was this very unusual disciple.  He would always do things that all the other devotees would criticize.

Whenever he made the bed of the guru, he would lay down on the bed first.

In the shastra it is said that one should never lie on the bed of the

guru.  So the others would criticize him, "What kind of a disciple is

he, lying on his guru's bed?"  Ramanuja heard about this and in a

humble way he went and asked, "Prabhu, people are saying you are lying on the bed of the guru.  I saw this myself.  I just wondered.  You know that it says in sastra you could go to hell for lying on the bed of

the guru.  Could you explain to me why you are doing that?"  And he

said, "I want to give a nice soft bed to my guru.  It should be of

proper firmness.  How can I know it is proper unless I try it out?  If

I go to hell, and my guru is comfortable, I do not mind going to hell

but let my guru be comfortable.  That is my concern."  Ramanuja was

surprised.  "Oh!  This is another level!  He was not lying on the bed

for his own enjoyment, but he was thinking how the guru would be

comfortable." Once he found that the same devotee putting his finger

into a snake's mouth.  The snake was turning and making so many

contortions and seemed to be suffering.  So Ramanuja wondered why he was torturing the snake.  Later he asked, "You were putting your finger in the mouth of that cobra.  Looked like you were causing suffering, what was the purpose?"  He always asked as a question.  He did not chastise, he just asked.  The devotee said, {"Oh, that poor snake swallowed some fruit, that stuck in the throat. It was choking, so I put my finger in to take out the fruit and clear the throat of the snake.  I could not stand to see the poor animal's suffering."  Then Ramanuja said, "Why did you risk your life?  It could have bitten you!"  He said, "I could not stand to see it suffering."


Himalayan Christmas Gift

Written By Maddy Brinkman

Story By John ‘Raghu’ Giuffre 

That time of year when dads get to spend money blew into town faster this year. I had been up to the hills and cut a tree for the living room. The usual stocking hung above the fireplace. In a few years, they would become my son's acne-fertilizer. But not yet.

I carefully climbed the stairs without a sound. The house still smelled of baking: pies, cookies, bread. I love the smell of fresh baking. There is something very homely about baking. From the top of the stairs, the living room looked ready. There was a satisfactory clutter of odd shapes under the tree. Tomorrow there would be a space. But not yet.

Upstairs, I pulled myself up through a trapdoor into the attic. My son had asked me to surprise him this year. No playstation. No bike. Nothing. Just a smile when I asked him what he wanted: "Surprise me." there was snow in the forecast. But none yet.

I rummaged around the attic. The dust made me sneeze and I cursed the few sharp objects I bumped into. Where was that damn light switch? There it is. Light. 40 watts. I looked at the cobwebbed storage space and my hopes fled. After combing the malls and variety stores, what did I think I was going to find in my attic. A broken pool stick? Some moth-eaten ski pants? That would be a surprise. And not a good one. It was cold up here. I kept expecting a rat to pounce. I'll just poke around and leave quickly. It was time for bed.

I moved to the pool table stacked high with National Geo. mags. No National Geo. this year. I crossed the tricycle and my leg caught, launching me into the corner. I clutched at the old clothes rack and it came down on top of me. I lay in the dust laughing. I have got to be as clumsy as the abominable snowman. I turned over and looked around the corner. The light barely made it this far. I pushed the clothes rack off me and dusted off the old trunk.

It was an old battered trunk that had been my grandfathers. I had kept it because I was too lazy to lug it down for a yard sale. I had opened it years ago. It was full of books, papers, charts of stuff and some orange cloaks. There were also some small nature paintings.

I ran a finger through the layer of dust on the trunk top. I opened it and the hinges squeaked. Yup. Papers and a cloak. I picked up one of the books. The pages had warped and yellowed with age. I tried to open it and half of the pages fell out. They looked like diary pages, though the ink was faded. I bent down for a better look. It was in German. I realized it had been 3 years since I last spoke German. But here, I read it in sheer disbelief.

November 27th 1789

We finally made it to the valley by sundown after a week of camping and hiking. I feel I have made solid friendships with our pack-mules. The monks here seem friendly. My interpreter told them I was here to map and paint the area. Mapping pays the bills, but it is painting that makes them worth paying. The monks understand. The Himalayas are beautiful and need to be shared with other 'red faces.’ I don't know what I think about that. I told my interpreter to tell them they had no noses and that their eyes were small but he discouraged this line of friendship. One of the monks brought me some soup. He says it will help me acclimatize. I'm looking forward to some sleep.

November 28th 1789

I managed to sleep in, in spite of the early prayers Breakfast took some getting use to. We sat on the floor and the food was spicy. I'll be regretting it more later. I'm going to strike out this morning on my own. I had not expected this much lush greenery this high up in the mountains.

November 29th 1789

This place is incredible. The sheer vastness of the mountain range is breathtaking. Humbling. The monks warned me not to shout while in the gorges for fear of causing an avalanche. I was just trying out the echo. I made some charcoal sketches of the local flora and fauna. Lots of deer here. Surprisingly friendly. Last night I sat around a fire with the local children for dinner. They all decided to take turns telling me stories. I understood what they were telling me. Not exactly their words of course but their meaning was lucid. Their pure excitement and joy of life was clear and they communicated that. Joy is pretty universal. I felt very peaceful, just sitting in the middle of their life. They had let me be a part of them for the evening.

November 30th 1789

Just got up from a nap. I had been up early to watch the monks do their morning services. The main shrine resounded like a beehive with their murmurous chants The monks are completely bald and wear dark orange robes. Some robes are more faded than others. I have never seen such an array of bald heads. Not all were perfectly round. Some were oval. Others were square and there was the odd coconut protruding back head. Happy faces, grave faces and yes, I caught a couple of sleeping faces. The abbot wears a long fancy hat-looks almost Greek. I will see if I can sketch him while I'm here.

I found out the name of the monk who brought me the soup. His name is Sunta Ram. I can't seem to get rid of him. He is very curious and shadows me trying to help me do things I am not trying to do. My interpreter says 'Sunta' means saint. Ram was a very energetic saint.

December 1st 1789

Sunta Ram has decided I must learn to meditate and will not be dissuaded. I couldn't get painting until late afternoon. We are expecting a caravan to come up from Kullu with supplies. So far, I haven't needed paint or charcoal but I do need some toilet cloth.

I have a cloth merchant that keeps me in supply. He makes me rolls of cloth six inches wide and I take it on my excursions. The natives do something with a mug of water to clean themselves when they go. But it can't be good hygiene. As a result, my cloth merchant makes me toilet cloth and thinks Germans are filthy.

December 7th 1789

Sunta Ram took me up to the waterfalls. The icy water falls two fifty meters into a rock pool. The spray creates multiple rainbows. I sketched the beginnings of a waterfall series I want to paint. I can't wait to get home and show off some of these painting. I have never painted like this before. Colors, life, beauty.

Sunta Ram continues his mission to teach me meditation. I had my interpreter ask him to stop but it is useless. He has decided I need discipline. As if sleeping on the floor and having diarrhea isn't enough.

December 8th 1789

The caravan arrived. The children were fascinated with the supplies. I lit up some gunpowder for them and they danced around with glee. One of them ran off with my new spectacles and it took me an hour to get them off him. I swear they like monkeys. Sunta Ram thought the whole thing was hilarious and told me I should just stay up here forever. He thinks I have a way with the kids. My interpreter told me Sunta Ram thinks that when I am with the children I am not sad.

December 9th 1789

Woke up to a commotion in the monastery courtyard. The kids had gotten into my supplies and taken my toilet cloth. It lined the courtyard like festoons. A group of them were on the roof throwing them off into the air to unravel. Some of it had been fashioned into tails for their kites. They make some beautiful kites.

When I had been shouting out of my window at them for fifteen minutes, Sunta Ram showed up. Everyone was laughing about it. I complained about the inconvenience this was going to cause and he took me by the hand and led me down to the courtyard. "Look how happy they are." He told me. And something I took to mean that I had forgotten how to be happy. I made a face and he slapped me on the back. He gathered the children in a corner of the courtyard and gave them sticks. For the next hour the kids drove around and raced each other on their new ‘horses.’ "You see?" Sunta Ram said. "A child is happy inside. A stick is a horse and he is happy. When you grow older, the happiness inside goes and we look everywhere outside to find it. But it is not outside." He then repeated that I needed to spend more time with the children.

December 18th 1789

I haven't been able to paint in a week. I haven't even been able to sketch anything. It seems forced now I have been feeling beautiful. Looking outward to arbitrarily capture beauty seems pointless. What I keep inside me is only what my mind can remember.

Sunta Ram and I took the children out for the day. We gave one boy a tree and told him it was his kingdom. Rule well, we told him. Another boy was given charge of the river. He promptly set up tax and charged everyone a round stone to swim. Then the deer found their queen in one of the youngest girls. She ruled and protected them from the enemy Tree King.

Before we came home, all the children teamed up and threw me in the river. It was freezing. They think I smell bad because they never see me bathe. The water made me aware of how much of me there was alive to feel that cold water everywhere. I was very wide-awake. The kids were rolling on the ground at my indignation. I chased them all around for a bit and then sat down laughing. A bit of cold, for all that fun was definitely worth it.

Sunta Ram let me wear his orange-robe for the walk back to the monastery. It keeps falling off. I have not developed my robe technique I guess. I have been dubbed: "Suntlaal" for the walk home. 'Laal' means red in their language. So, I am the red saint. I guess they don't have a word for pink. I think they see my white skin as pink. It must be rather funny sight Their eyes were as wide as guavas when I took my wet shirt off when I got out. The pink man has a pink torso -- how funny and surprising.

December 19th 1789

I had a sleepy grin on my face as I lay in bed last night. I was exhausted after the day running with the children. Exhausted and content. The last shout of "Goodbed Suntlaal" floated through the window. I tried to teach them how to say 'goodnight' and 'go to bed' in English and they came up with their own version. They did the same thing with 'see you tomorrow'. They wound me up with 'threemorrow', 'fourmorrow', "see you fivemorrow." It was silly but I liked it.

They were helping me. I'm feeling free and happy, unexplainably. They need so little. I realized that back in Germany we sometimes forget that in order for our children to be happy we just have to get out of the way and let them be kids.

December 24th 1789

I haven't seen the children today. I have been down in the shrine room with Sunta Ram and the other monks making kites for the children. Tomorrow is a festival. We will be honoring a saint. Sunta Ram said his name is Isa. According to legend, a young saint came hundreds of years ago from the west. He would go from village to village telling stories to children. He was always surrounded by children. I can see why.

December 25th 1789

Today was one of the happiest and saddest day of my life. In the morning, the monks insisted I put on one of their dark orange robes. We then took the children out to the forest to feed the deer. While we were out there, the little girl who was queen of the deer pointed at the abbot's hat, pointed at me, and then giggled. I snuck up, grabbed the abbot’s hat, put it on, and danced a little jig. The little girl was almost choking she was laughing so much. It is a good thing too because I later found out that it was very disrespectful of me. Initially the monks had tried to look outraged but the girl laughed so much that even the abbot broke into laughter. I had only meant a bit of mischief but custom prohibited the abbot from wearing the hat again. I was told I could keep it.

When we got back, we passed out the kites we had made for them. Instantly the sky was alive with forty-five odd kites. I was surrounded by shrieks of glee and shiny eyes. This is heaven.

Then an old woman came out of the monastery. I didn't even realize that she must have been the only woman there. She walked over to one of the younger boys and led him back into the monastery. All the children and turned. They watched. The kites tangled and fell. No one spoke. And I realized with a shock something that was obvious but had not struck me before. I turned to Sunta Ram and asked about the other boys in a whisper. "No. They don't have family. That is why they stay here. That is why we make kites every year And they fly." Yes they fly.

And I knew I had to go. I had to go home to Germany. There are so many children. So many children who need to fly.

December 25th 1790

After a year of gathering and making toys, I was able to spread festive cheer to the children of Hamburg. It is invigorating to bring them something. I have been wearing Sunta Ram's orange robes and the abbot's hat The children love it although their parents might be a little spooked. I tell them my name is Nicholas. Sunta Nicholas. I tell them I come from way up in the Himalayas where it is very cold. I tell them of the carefree children and the deer and the rainbows and the river and the kites. And I tell them the toys are sent by all the monks who work to make them. And I promise to bring them more presents next year if they are well behaved. Some of the parents tell them to stay away from me. Next year I may have to sneak their gifts to them. In honor of the young saint Isa and Jesus, the kids must feel joy. They must all fly. Fly like kites.

I closed, put down the diary pages and picked up the orange robe. Under it lay a dusty painting of a little girl laughing uncontrollably. The painting was signed ‘Klaus.’ "He's Santa?! We're related to Santa Klaus?!" I had a surprise for Junior all right. Tomorrow was going to be Christmas proper.

Other writings by Raghu ,

© March 2001

What’s that mark on her forehead?


How I came to Krishna Consciousness - Visoka dasa

I plowed through the thick trees and bushes in Golden Gate park, with no aim in sight, not knowing where I was going, and then she came out the bushes with a strange mark on her forehead. This was it. Somehow, this is what I was looking for; somehow I knew this was it.

Well, let me back up a little and start from the beginning. As a youth, I grew up in Kansas, and I have many recollections of wandering in wheat fields and climbing cottonwood trees. I became disillusioned in church, hearing that everybody was going to hell except my fellow churchgoers and me. I questioned it all. Then college came and I kept going back to the philosophy classes, until I had a degree in it. It was there that I became a sort of intellectual atheist, reader of Nietzsche. More like agnostic, because Dostoyevsky and Kierkegaard, who both spoke of god, equally influenced me. Still there was little example to inspire any real faith. It was all theory to me.

I remember the first time I heard the maha-mantra. It was the Hair album record, with them singing Hare Krishna. I remember how my sister and I looked at each other in a kind of wonderment while hearing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Then, later in the 60’s the Beatles came out with Sergeant Peppers and George gave us a good taste of Indian music and philosophy. I had also liked Ravi Shankar. There was also a popular song going on that summer, "Such a strange vibration, all across the nation." We all tuned into that strange vibration, it was like a collective vibration of universal love all over the USA. Little did we know that it was Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan movement, just begun by Srila Prabhupada. I started this habit of traveling to California a lot, and going back to Kansas, to California and back and forth again.  continue story here


Devotee Dreams

I am writing also to share an incredible dream I had this morning of

Srila Prabhupada. It was so vivid. The last time I had a wonderful

dream was the morning of the bombing of the World Trade Center. This

is the morning the air strikes started over Kabul. This dream was far

more ecstatic than the last, which was of devotees in harinam. There

is some correlation I am sure, though I am not sure what it is. I do

know that Srila Prabhupada came to reassure me and also to remind me

of my purpose, and also to enthuse me.


Before Srila Prabhupada appeared, it had been already a lengthy

dream, with much association of mainly other devotee women. We were

excited because Srila Prabhupada was there, and we already had

darshan. We were jovial and busy. While I was joking with a friend

Srila Prabhupada walked in, unannounced, fulfilling my longtime

desire for intimate association with him. He was happy and friendly.

It was a while before I could force my tongue to move, to take more

advantage of this opportunity.


A recurring mood in this dream was that he appreciated and enjoyed

the teasing exchanges we devotees were having with one another. He

kept smiling and laughing lightly. He was so happy to see the

closeness and affection between the devotees.


His grand humbleness was contagious; we felt awed to be so close to

him–yet no one could come near him in his depth of humility. He was

friendly and available and was gifting us with his casualness. We

felt at once completely at ease with him and also internally

flustered (which he was aware of), digging for speech and yet

reveling in his presence, his being. I felt like a child set loose in

a candy shop, who doesn't know how to take full advantage of this one

time enormous opportunity, because his hands can hold only so much,

and his belly even less. These were all delicious feelings; all

feelings in connection with Srila Prabhupada are sublime. It was pure

joy, sheer happiness on an ecstatic level, to be there with him so



At times our sense of awe nervously but delightedly gave way to our

irreverent teasing of each other (not of Srila Prabhupada though),

showing off for Srila Prabhupada like children will do in front of

loving parents. Feeling his fondness for us caused us to behave as

capering young children, delighted beyond the ability to contain it.

Our joy we expressed through our joking, and though at times it

seemed we neglected Srila Prabhupada in these exchanges with each

other, I also knew that it was not so, and that our relationships

with each other, even when expressed through our good-humored

frivolity, was in direct relationship with our mutual wellwishing

father. I felt blessed, magically touched, and often found no way to

formualte words of praise, or put forth intelligent questions to

Srila Prabhupada. It was as if we expressed out hearts and intentions

without words but rather through a spontaneous painting of our

smiles, glances, and movements. A sort of natural dance, for the

pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.


And he knew how happy we were, and he lingered solely as a gift

especially for us. Such feelings and thoughts of the heart

continually spoke to me as our familial exchanges charged the

atmosphere with increasing heights of joy. This was Vaikuntha–a place

totally without anxieties. Where Srila Prabhupad walked, he brought



I lost many of the words exchanged in this dream and was left more

with the general mood as I have described. However, I remember that

Srila Prabhupada said I was more enlightened than I knew. The way he

said this made me feel strongly enthused, through his encouragement,

and also humble. I saw how he empowers us with his own faith in us,

and I know this is how we help each other too, and not by picking at



Before Srila Prabhupada appeared, my friend had joked with me about

having an acid tongue (I can't remember the joke though), and when we

told Srila Prabhupada about it he laughed. He ate a few bites of

something I gave him, a piece of citrus fruit I think, and then he

bit in one final time, but didn't bite off the piece, and handed it

back to me. I saw his teeth marks in it. Yesterday I read how one

should do all one could to get maha-maha prasad, and I gratefully

recalled times when I got to eat after Srila Prabhupada (oh and I now

remember as I write this, how I was given an orange slice he had

already sucked and eaten, at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1977, and when I

relished it is tasted like no orange I had ever tasted. It was

perfumey and really indescribable), and as I recalled these special

mercies, well naturally I also hankered after them, too. So this

dream also fulfilled that craving. Anyway in the dream I took this

remnant and placed it inside my lips and imagined it purifying my

tongue, my words, making them sweeter, more like Srila Prabhupada's.

We began walking, and it seemed like more devotees were coming and

this would be my last opportunity to talk before the men came. So I

took the fruit out of my mouth. Srila Prabhupada stopped to lean

against a sink and look out the window. I said, "Srila Prabhupada, I

put the fruit you were eating, with your teeth marks in it, against

my mouth, thinking to cure my acid tongue. If I focused it that way,

would it be?"


He said, "If you think that way, why should it not happen?" which I

immediately understood to mean that if I make that my goal, to speak

only Krsna katha, then Krsna would help me achieve that, through

whatever facilities were there.


And then I asked, "Or because it is maha-maha prasad, from you, would

the effect be there anyway [consciously or not]?" This was asked also

to please him, as in an enjoyable exchange.

Srila Prabhupada looked at me and gave me this long wide smile, with

his teeth not showing, and answered with a long, sly,

teasing: "Yeeeees", in that low voice he sometimes has, as it to

say: "Now you really understand."


I understand that it is not by my efforts (such as focusing my

intentions to improve my tongue through sucking on that maha) that I

will become purified, but purely by the sublime and causeless mercy

of the pure devotee and Krsna (through gifts like that maha).

And gifts such as the association of you wonderful devotees.


Thank you for everything,

your aspirant servant and sister,



from Mahaksa-

Haribol. I had a cool dream, too. I was in a mall, riding my

bicycle while chanting my rounds (dont try this at home, kids, only

di hobo from laguna has perfected this art back in 1968), and

suddenly, I saw two devotees in dhotis chanting their rounds quietly

on a bench. Since I hadn't seen such a thing ( a devotee in a dhoti )

in over 15 years, I couldn't help myself, and I started singing my

favorite home-grown tune of my all time favorite song (Hare Haraya

Namah) very loudly, and then all the devotees hiding in their

incognitoisms joined, and virtually everyone in the mall was

chanting, tears flowing profusely......


I woke up thinking of Cindy Relly, who lived such a controlled life

at the hands of despotic rulers, who happily told her mice and bird

friends that no one can take away one's dreams.

Hare Krsna, all glories to the dreams of the devotees of the Lord.

ys, mahaksadasa




The demon king, Ravana, took Srimati Sitadevi like a jackal takes a fawn, and victoriously flew off to Lanka of the Waves while the Brothers, Rama and Laksmana, searched for the illusive, golden deer. Sitadevi's cries were not unheard, though. While hovering over Ravana's passing chariot, Sri Jatayu dove down to overtake him, saying, "I am Jatayu, the Vulture King, evil cannot be done in my presence, for I know the True. King Dasaratha is my friend, we were born on the same day , and are undefeated in battle."

Ravana arrogantly said, "Go back to sleep." Sri Jatayu replied, "I am the king of the air, do not harm Srimati Sitadevi, free her or die, for you cannot safely remove Her from my land as if She had no husband. I am 60,000 years old and much to tired to do any more talking." One talon, the size of an elephant tusk and as hard as iron, sent the demon king's chariot reeling, tearing away the railing. He gently took Sita from Ravana's arms and placed Her on the throne of his soft gray feathers, and delivered Her to the safety of the forest below, unharmed.

Ravanasura, shocked and raksasa angry, shouted, "I care nothing for you," and drove his chariot into Jatayu with an ivory bow aiming a kill-shot arrow. Sri Jatayu snapped the bow with one bite, he clawed the armor from Ravana's back, and with his beak, tore the hair from the demon king's heads. With the hurricane force of his wings, he drove Ravana to the ground. In utter fury, Sri Jatayu tore the asses that drew the chariot to shreds, shattered the car with one wing stroke and the golden wheels flew through the air like two new suns, the axle disappeared into the forest, as the sky rained shattered gold, crushed wood, and torn flesh.

Sri Jatayu screeched in triumph, but Ravana, injured and bewildered, seemed to notice that the Vulture King was blind. Taking advantage, Ravana again rose to attack. Sri Jatayu struck by sound. He snared Ravana and began wrenching off his left arms, one by one, and spitting them to the earth below. Ravana's faces trembled in pain, his bones shook in agony, yet new arms immediately began to grow back. Blind Sri Jatayu had thought they were gone for good.

Ravanasura, to be killed only by Lord Ramachandra, finally defeated the Vulture King by dishonesty and threw the dying Jatayu at the feet of Srimati Sitadevi, who embraced him and wept profusely, whispering final instructions. Ravana grabbed Her with bloody hands and flew quickly to Lanka of the Waves, sneering at the golden and white hued monkeys below near the ocean, not noticing all the jewels and silk artifacts Srimati Sitadevi was dropping to them as a signal.

As Lord Rama and His Brother, Laksmana, began the quest to free Sitadevi, the Dandaka Forest held no clues to Her whereabouts until They came upon a small white flower with a drop of blood in it's whorl, and a fine silk thread used for garlands. They then found Themselves in a used battlefield of torn armor, spent weaponry, and gross carnage. They saw ten huge arms, still wearing the rings of Lanka authority, bloody on the ground. They saw huge grey vulture wings next to the dying Sri Jatayu, and They immediately knelt in tribute to the great fallen Hero. Lord Ramachandra held His devotee in His arms, crying, "Alas, all is lost. Not only have I lost My Sita, now I see you uselessly killed trying to serve Me, dying in vain." Sri Jatayu sadly proclaimed, "My dear Son, Rama, it was my age. Had I been a moment younger, I would have killed Ravana and saved your wife." Sri Jatayu was given the benediction by Srimati Sitadevi to die in the arms of his Lord Ramachandra, and did so in service, victoriously gasping his last words, "Do not lament, my dear Lord Rama, for Sita lives! Sita lives! Ravana has been fatally injured by his foolish decision to ........."

Sri Rama and Sri Laksmana performed the funeral on that spot for Sri Jatayu, and the consuming fire burned cool in the soft breezes. Lord Rama declared, "Sri Jatayu is the eternal embodiment of bravery demonstrated by My unalloyed servants."

All glories to the wonderful stories presented by Sri Valmiki to the world, the gifts of life, the stories of Sri Sri Sita Rama Lila. Sri Jatayu not only shows the Vaisnava the quality of bravery, but also the essence of sanatana dharma, bhakti yoga, that is, by the grace of the manifestation of the Lord's internal potency, Srimati Sitadevi, one gets the fortune of association with the Supreme Lord, face to face. All glories to the great hero of Srimad Ramayana, Sri Jatayu.

Jaya Jaya Rama Jaya Sita Rama. 9-16- 1998 mahaksadasa

more stories- Gunga , and Vulture King

The Ungrateful Man 

A story retold from Mahabharta

It so happened, that once a poor cobbler left his village in hope that fortune would fall his way. After many days, he came upon a thicket of woods. It was a great forest that he entered and his food supply suddenly ran dry. Hunger overtook him, and pain gnawed away at his stomach. Soon after, he entered into a lush and beautiful grove, and he beheld a magnificent crane. This beautiful crane was a king of his kind, and he received the cobbler with all hospitality, and asked him to sit on a comfortable seat and then inquired as to his destination. The cobbler sat down and said, "I am just a poor man and so I am on this journey to search out wealth for my family, but am so far from home and very hungry."

The crane felt pity and fed him sumptuously with his food, while saying, "Please go to my friend who lives in the far end of the forest. He is the King of the man-eaters, and he will fulfil all your desires, because he is a good friend of mine. Go to him in my name, but beware! Return before dusk, or else the man-eaters will come out at dark and may eat your flesh!"

The cobbler went upon his quest and eventually arrived at a huge castle on top a great mountain. He entered within and came and bowed before the man-eater King and said that he came by the name of the King Crane.

"You are welcome in my castle," the King said. "By the great crane's name, you may have any wish you desire."

The cobbler told of his poverty and the King heaped upon him many bags of jewels and gold coins. As the cobbler left, the King called out for the man to give the crane his respects.

Then the cobbler returned to the crane and related all that had happened with the King and his sudden good fortune, and the crane was very happy for him.

But, as the night progressed, the rascal cobbler could not curb his evil nature, and his greedy mind thought wouldn't some crane meat be real tasty right now ... why yes, I think that I will celebrate my good fortune with the flesh of this crane. Never mind that he is the reason for my bags of jewels and gold ... anyway, who cares? Why, who will ever know? Ha, ha, ha.

And so the ignoble man slew the poor bird and cooked his flesh on the fire, and was callous to the fact that his pleasure was at the expense of a life of one so kind. As this happened, all the birds in the trees raised a hue and a cry, and their tumult swelled and sounded and crashed throughout the woods, for they had witnessed the whole thing from start to finish.

These loud outrages carried through the trees to the far castle and to the ears of the King. Hearing the clamor, he was alarmed and sent his soldiers to investigate.

The rascal ingrate heard the soldiers coming, and he forgot his jewels and gold as he fled in fear. The soldiers burst upon the scene and found the poor bird's bones and the gold. They then overtook the man, and knocked him down, and dragged him back to their King.

Seeing the wretch, and perceiving the situation, the King was mortified with the ghastly crime and then he immediately barked out orders to kill the man and chop his flesh to bits. It was done. And then the King said in disgust, "Take the flesh of this rogue and throw it to the cannibals for them to eat."

"However," said Worg, "Even the cannibals, who were the lowest of mankind, even they rejected that flesh in revulsion. They said that even they could not eat the flesh of an ungrateful man."

by Visoka dasa - from "Gift"


The Birth of Death, by mahaksadasa 1999

In the beginning of time, the human beings lived in the clear air, and as their sustenamce, they moved within the air without effort. The Earth was then made of pure honey, and, first a few, then many more, descended by the desire to taste the sweet flavor. An addiction developed, and though they did not require the honey, they began to eat more and more. Gradually, the human beings became too heavy to fly any more, and their wings fell off to become the world's mountains. These mountains formed a crust over the Earth's surface as well as harnessed the clouds to deliver the rains and the seeds of vegetation. Continue story here - Vulture King





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