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Life Sutra: 2

Once a Devdoot (Angel) asked God that he would like to visit Earth to see how things were going there. God sanctioned his leave. The Devdoot descended on earth. He landed in a small town and saw three little girls around the dead body of their mother, lying in front of a small hut. The eldest girl, around 6 years of age, was crying while holding the hand of her mother. The girl younger to her was trying to wake her mother up; while the youngest one, hardly a year old, was trying to suck milk from the lifeless breast of her mother. There was nobody to help them. The Devdoot was filled with agony and compassion. He lost the mood to go any further, hence he returned to Heaven. God asked him, “How come you returned so early?”

Devdoot replied in a complaining voice, “I did not want to see your world where there is no compassion. How can you separate the mother of those three little girls who have no one to look after them?”

God smiled, “You don’t understand. Since you have violated the rules of the Devlok by questioning my action, you must to go down to Earth and stay there till you understand it. Your sentence would be over when you would be able to laugh at yourself thrice. Only then would you be authorised to come back to Devlok.”

*             *                *               *                *              *

On earth, there was a cobbler who used to earn his living by selling shoes and chappals in the local Haat (weekly market in small villages or towns). Since winters were approaching, his wife told him to buy blankets and some woollen clothes for the kids, after selling his stocks this time in the Haat.

The cobbler went to the Haat and made some money by selling his products. Just as he was about to reach the shop of the cloth merchant, he noticed one naked man lying on the road-side. He was shivering as the daylight was fast receding. The Cobbler asked him, “Who are you and why are you lying here in this condition?” The naked man replied, “I am a traveller but I have lost everything including my clothes.” The Cobbler’s heart melted; he offered him to come along. He bought him clothes and other things. But then he realised that he has exhausted his entire earnings. Fearing that his wife would go mad at him, he asked the stranger, “You will have to come to my house, otherwise my wife would think that I might have lost the money in gambling.” The stranger, who was indeed the expelled Devdoot, agreed.

They reached home. When the wife didn’t see clothes for her children, she got extremely angry at her husband. “What have you done? How could you spend the entire money on a stranger?! What will our children wear in the coming winters?” She shouted in a foul temper. Devdoot laughed for the first time. She didn’t know him and his capabilities.

He asked the cobbler how could he help him in repaying the debt. Cobbler told him about his profession of making shoes. Devdoot requested him to teach him the art. Being a devdoot, he learned fast, and soon he started making the most beautiful shoes and chappals in the entire region. The cobbler became famous, his earnings multiplying. He could build a bigger house, buy some cattle, and could send his children to school.

One day, two persons from the royal court came with an exquisite piece of leather. “Make a pair of shoes for the King and you will be amply rewarded. They must be beautiful. However, remember to deliver it on time,” They ordered.

Time passed and the day arrived when the shoes were to be delivered. The cobbler asked Devdoot about the shoes, and the Devdoot told him that he had made chappals for the King. Cobbler shouted in anger, “What have you done?! The order was to make shoes, not chappals! You will get all of us beheaded. You don’t know how short-tempered our King is!” And he hit Devdoot with a stick in a fit of anger and frustration. Just then the man from royal court arrived. “Have you made those shoes for our King?” “So sorry, no. This idiot has made chappals instead of shoes.” the cobbler replied trembling. “Thank God, we wanted chappals only for our King. He died last night.” In those times, dead used to wear chappals on the last journey. The cobbler looked at Devdoot, amazed. Devdoot laughed for the second time.

Few days later, a rich lady with her three daughters came to the cobbler in a grand chariot. “I have heard a lot about your shoes. I want to order shoes for my daughters. They are getting married to the sons of the richest merchant in the neighbouring town.” Devdoot looked at them closely and said, “These are not your daughters.” The lady was surprised; “How do you know this?” Then she explained, “Actually, a very poor lady used to live right across my house. Her husband had died earlier and one day I found her dead too with her three daughters sitting near her dead body. I didn’t have any children of my own so I adopted all of them and raised them as my daughters. Now here they are getting married.” Devdoot laughed for the third time. “Oh God! Now I understand you.”

The Sutra: Let’s accept the things which are beyond our control. It brings peace of mind.

The Devdoot judged the event without understanding the flow of life and death. What we perceive as bad or good according to our understanding, often turns out to be different after some time. So the learning here is to be a bit flexible in approach and be less judgemental. The flow of life is much grander and deeper than what we can see and perceive.

{I had read this story long time back in an old book. Above narration is my learning out of this story}

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