A sudhu in saffron robes had come from the heights of Himalayas. He had a luster both on face and in words. He was delivering a series of lectures in the Shiva temple premises. Men from all walks of life thronged the programme. The sadhu’s words were moving the innermost chord of everybody’s heart and everyone felt that it was his own personal problem which the sadhu was tackling.
That day the sadhu spoke at ful length over the worship of Fire God. Sadhu said, “Fire is the only God who appears as He is, right before every devotee. The fire can be had any time and at any place. This God mutely accepts any offering. He purifies everything. He dwells in everybeing. He is both Himself a God and a messenger of Gods. Fire always moves up. Even if inverted, the flame will burn in upward direction. It is a rule of the nature that a man acquires the qualities of the deity he worships with heart and soul. Do start worshipping fire in every household. All your problems will slowly vanish into air. Peace and happiness will prevail all around.”
The sadhu then narrated the ritual of fire worship: He said, “Have a pyramidical pot called kunda prepared from five metals. Mark the exact timings of sunrise and sunset. Both are an important pious moments. Don’t miss them. Have a holy bath just before these two moments. Just after the bath lit the fire in the metal kunda. Utter five mantras. Put five offerings of rice, cow-ghee, cow-dung cake. Fold your hands. Close your eyes. Sit quietly, Pray to five Gods. The holy smoke will slowly purify you.”
The sadhu’s words worked wonder. Everybody purchased the metal kunda and started worshipping fire.
Earlier the village was surcharged with political culture. It was fractured caste wise, divided religion wise. Small and big brawls was the order of the day. But due to worship of Fire God the village became peaceful and quite.
In that village there lived a merchant by name Rajan Goswami with his wife Rajani and a little son Ishaan. That day it was Ishaan’s birthday. So special dinner was arranged. Rajani did have a heavy dinner. She was chewing paan. She felt dizzy. So she carelessly spat the paan-saliva straight into the ashes of the agni-kunda.
Next day at early hours of dawn Rajani started cleaning the metal kunda to keep it ready to sunrise worship. Rajani was shocked to find that there was no trace of paan-saliva-throw. Instead she found there a piece of glittering gold. She felt that it was a dream. But no it was a fact.
Rajani went running to her husband Rajan. She showed the gold piece which was conversion of previous day paan-saliva.
Rajan too was amazed. His eyes glowed with the reflection from the yellow metal. He asked his wife to repeat the experiment next day. The wife too did the same thing with all eagerness. She desecrated the agni-kunda with paan-saliva. Lo and behold, again she got the gold piece.
In this way easy money stepped into the household.
Very soon the secret of making gold leaked. The message went on spreading from house to house. As a result thereof the poor village was transformed into a model township. But a new culture developed and that was the culture of hatred. Dirty competition marred the atmosphere of the village.
There were all amenities in the village. But peace was lost from the scene.
In the same village there was a primary school teacher by name Harihara. Harihara’s wife too wanted to produce gold by desecrating the agni-kunda. But Harihara was a firm devotee of Fire God. He told his wife not to destroy the purity of Fire-God and His seat in any way. He preferred to remain poor and hard pressed and continued his fire worship with utmost zeal and devotion.
Being a primary teacher, Harihara earning was very little. Since the cost of living in the village had soared to unusual heights, Harihara’s family faced very hard days.
So Harihara finally decided to leave the place and shift to a village where better kind of people had their say.
Harihara said to his wife, “I feel suffocated here. Let us move to a better place. We will continue our fire-worship in all solemnity. I will work there as a temple priest. I will read out puranas I will perform Hari Kirtan. God is great. He will take care of our basic needs.”
Harihara convinced his wife and the family decided to shift at a better place. One fine morning Harihara chartered a bullock cart. He stocked his household goods therein and soon the cart and the family crossed the boundary of the village.
Harihara then stopped for a while. He turned his back . He folded his hands to offer his last pranam to the village which had fed him. Harihara’s eyes were full of tears of gratitude to the village mud which was his holy mother.
Harihara started chanting his last prayer to the village. At that time, all of a sudden Harihara witnessed a horrible scene. He was shocked to see that smoke was emitting form almost every house. People were shouting, pelting stones, fighting in the streets. Soon the flames started rising up. The hatred, the lust, the greed had reached a crescendo. Nobody could save them.
The fire was silent till such time that at least one agni-kunda was burning with full piousness and devotion. When that sole pure and pious kunda left the spot, the village went berserk.
The fire that purified earlier was the same fire out to punish the wrong-doers.
With heavy heart Harihara turned his back to the village and started his journey toward a better place.