A Question of Acceptance (Part One)

© Sergey Ksenofontov - Fotolia.com

There was once a Brahmin couple, and they were very poor. But they were content with their lot and had a great deal of trust and faith in the gods. They were devotees of Lord Shiva.

One day, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati were talking about the couple.

‘They are so poor, and so loving,’ Parvati said to Shiva. ‘If you gave them some money, what a difference it would make to their lives, and how happy they would be!’

To this, Shiva answered, ‘If I give the Brahmin anything, he will not accept it. It will be no use. I know this.’

An argument ensued, and Parvati started to put pressure on Shiva. She made a bet with her husband that the Brahmin would accept money if they gave it.

‘Very well, I accept your bet,’ said Shiva.

‘Shortly afterwards, the Brahmin left his house to go for a walk, and he had not gone very far when he tripped over an object on the path which hurt his foot. He carried on walking, but his mind was pondering what had caused him to trip. It had not felt like a stone, but some kind of bag.

The Brahmin turned back, only to find that he had indeed tripped over a heavy bag. At first he considered that the bag was no concern of his, and turned to go on. But then it occurred to him that the owner of the bag might be in some kind of trouble, and he should at least open it to see if there was a name or address inside. He picked up the bag and opened it. He gasped when he saw that it was full of gold coins. There was no name or address. There was no way of telling who the bag belonged to.

Meanwhile, Parvati was jubilant, for she was sure that she was going to win the bet with Shiva.

‘See,’ she told Shiva, ‘Now the Brahmin has picked up the bag and will take it home to his wife.’

‘No,’ replied Shiva. ‘Wait and see.’

The Brahmin was pondering what to do with the gold. ‘Perhaps it belongs to a business man, and he has lost it. But what am I to do if there is no address? And I am a poor Brahmin – what use do I have for so much money?’

He stood and considered for a moment more before he seemed to reach a decision, and the gods watched the man take the bag and begin to walk off with it.

‘Look, I have won our bet!’

‘Not yet, you haven’t,’ said Shiva.

For the Brahmin had not turned for home, but was heading in the direction of the Maharaja’s palace. After he was granted an audience, he felt satisfied at how he dealt with the problem which had come his way. He told his story to the King, finishing his speech by saying, ‘We are your humble subjects. This bag of coins is for you. Please take it.’

Parvati was sad, but Lord Shiva consoled her.

‘I offered him this because you insisted that I had to help him, but he could not accept it. If something comes as a gift from God, there will not be any address. But his karma determined that he would not be able to see that the gift was intended for his own use.’

“The story signifies that which we call the premature stage; in other words, if someone is given this kind of gift, whether it is material or spiritual (also in the form of yoga) they will never accept it.” Guruji said. “The person seemed to be a great devotee, but something in their karma will stop them from being able to receive even the best and most auspicious of gifts, or to recognise that it was from a divine source. Instead, they prefer to reject it because even despite an unhappy situation, there is security in familiarity.”