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May 14, 2006
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Think it over

May 14, 2006

Page: 14/28

Home > 2006 Issues > May 14, 2006

Kids' Org

The Golden Goose And Yudhishthira

By M.V. Kolhatkar

The war of Mahabharata was over. Yudhishthira was coronated as a king. Yudhishthira performed ashwamedha yajna as per the custom. Following the tradition he distributed the entire wealth to the poor and needy. The treasure was emptied.

Yudhishthira alongwith his brothers was sitting in the royal court. Lord Krishna was also present on his special seat.

Just in front of them there was the sacrificial platform. Huge heaps of ashes were visible from their seats. Yudhishthira was looking at the ashes with a sense of fulfillment.

The subjects were all praising the king for his generosity. The words of praise were echoing in the ears of Yudhishthira.

All of a sudden Yudhishthira?s attention was attracted by a strange animal suddenly entering from the front door. It was an agile goose. It was unusually strange because half of its body was golden and half usual. Moreover it was rolling its body in the sacrificial ashes. Yudhishthira marked with curiousity the movements of the strange goose and so did the other Pandavas. Lord Krishna also did watch the animal more with smile than with curiosity.

Yudhishthira turned to Lord Krishna and asked him, ?Dear Krishna, how is it that half the body of the goose is golden and what the goose is doing??

Lord Krishna said with a smile, better ask the goose itself.

So Yudhishthira asked the goose, ?Oh little animal how is it that you are half gold and half normal? Also tell me why are you rolling into the ashes??

The goose stopped its movement. It stared at Yudhishthira and said, ?Are you so eager, then hear my story?.

The goose then started the narration. Yudhishthira along with his brother started hearing with rapt attention. Lord Krishna also joined them.

?I come from a country which is stricken with heavy famine. Almost all the animals have died there. Few people who have survived there are seen eating the leaves of trees. It is a most horrible sight indeed.

In that country there lives a Brahmin family. They are three in number?husband, wife and their little son. They are facing starvation.

With great efforts the Brahmin was able to get three fistful of wheat from a rich person. The family was overjoyed. They had not been able to see so much of grains during past few months.

Hungry as they were the Brahmin lady crushed the wheat under stone wheels and prepared flour. She baked three pieces of bread after pressing the pulp on a wooden plate. Each one of them had one bread. They closed their eyes, prayed the God for his grace. Now they were about to start eating.

All of a sudden, a beggar appeared on the door. He started begging for food.

It was noon. At this hour one who appears at the door is considered as pious guest (atithi). For all purposes such guest is considered as a God himself and has to be treated and fed at all costs. So was the tradition of the family.

On hearing the pitiable voice of the beggar, the Brahmin offered his bread to him with devotion, thanked God for the opportunity offered to him for serving the holy guest and he kept quiet chanting the name of God.

The beggar gulped the bread and said, ?Sir, I am starved for the last few weeks. How can my hunger be alleviated with one bread? Please give me some more bread.?

Following her husband, the Brahmin lady too offered her bread to the beggar.

Still the beggar was not satisfied and he begged for more. So the son thought my parents have quietly parted with the food, I must follow them. So the son too offered his bread to the hungry beggar.

In this way the entire family did sacrifice the food which they had obtained after a prolonged starvation. They did it as a part of pious duty thanking God for this opportunity to serve the pious guest.?

The goose said further, ?On the wooden plate where the flour-pulp was rolled, there were lying a few particles of dry flour. I hastened there, rolled my body over the particles of floor on the plate. The sacrifice was so devotional that with the particles stuck to my body, half of it became golden. The quantity was small just sufficient to cover the half of my body.

And what is it, that you are doing?? Asked Yudhishthira to the goose.

?I wanted to turn my remaining body also of gold. I heard that unique sacrifice has taken place here. The king has donated everything from his treasury to the poor and needy. Here are the ashes of that holy sacrifice. I rolled and rolled my body into the ashes of that royal sacrifice with a desire to convert the remaining half my body into gold. But lo, my efforts are not bearing fruits. The remaining half does not undergo any change.?

Yudhishthira, his brothers and also Lord Krishna heard the story narrated by the goose.

Lord Krishna did have a smile as before.

Yudhishthira realised in the heart of his heart that he had developed a pride and ego that nobody in the world is generous like him. The goose had pricked that pride.

?It is the quality not the quantity of sacrifice that makes all the difference.

(The author can be contacted at 16, Jeevanchhaya Hsg. Society, Opp. Civil Hospital, Satara?415 001, Maharashtra.)

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