Mother’s test of Swami Vivekanand

SWAMI VIVEKANAND’S inspiring personality has been well known in India and abroad from decades to come. This unknown monk of India suddenly rose to fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago (America) in 1893, representing Hinduism. His vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture as well as his deep spiritual insight, brilliant conversation skills, empathy and colorful personality made a mark on the hearts of many. People who ever happen to see or hear Swami Vivekanand even once still cherish his memory after a lapse of more than half a century.

The test of Swami VivekanandBefore leaving for abroad for the first time to preach Hinduism, Vivekanand’s mother wanted to know whether he is all perfect for this mission or not, she invited him for dinner. Vivekanand enjoyed the food that had the additional flavor of his mother’s special love and affection. After the delicious dinner, Vivekanand’s mother offered Vivekanand a dish of fruits and a knife. Vivekanand cut the fruit, ate it and after that his mother said, “Son, can you please give me the knife, I need it.” Vivekanand immediately responded by giving the knife.

Vivekanand’s mother calmly said, “Son, you have passed my test and I heartily bless you for going abroad.” Vivekanand surprisingly asked, “Mother, how did you test me? I did not understand.”

Mother replied, “Son, when I asked for the knife, I saw how you handed it to me, you gave the knife by holding its sharp edge and kept the wooden handle of knife towards me. This way, I would not get hurt when I take it and this means you took care of me. And this was your test in which you passed.

The person who thinks of others welfare rather than thinking about self has got the right of preaching the world and you have got that right. You have all my blessings.”

This was the most important mark he left in the hearts of many he met in his lifetime – to think of others before thinking for self.

Positive Vision

One teacher had two disciples. One of them had an auspicious positive vision and he always sought out good points from anything he observed while the other one had an inauspicious vision and always found out some negative or faults from his observations.

One day, the teacher went out to a park with both the disciples and while wandering in the garden, they came across a mango tree from which some ripe and juicy mangoes were hanging. On seeing this, the teacher thought to test both of his students. Therefore, he called them beside him and asked them to observe the tree full of mangoes very carefully. Then, he asked the first one, “My dear child, what do you think of this mango tree?”

The disciple answered instantly, “Teacher, in spite of people hitting this tree with stones, it gives us sweet and juicy mangoes. It feels hurt but still it gives us fruits. I wish all human beings learn this important message from the mango tree – to share their belongings even if they have to suffer for this.”

Positive vision

After that, the teacher asked the same question to the other disciple, “My dear child, what do you think of this mango tree?” The student aggressively answered, “Teacher, this mango tree is no good and will not give mangoes by itself but only when we hit it with stones and sticks. Therefore, we should hit it hard to get sweet mangoes from it. That is the only way to get these mangoes. It is also clear from this tree that in order to get good fruits from others, we need to be violent and only when we become violent, then and only then will we get happiness.”

Teacher was delighted with the answer given by the first student because he had an admirable vision and  appreciated the tree with positive vision while on the other hand the second student’s answer dissatisfied him because he saw the tree with negative vision and insisted on learning the wrong way of getting fruits in life. He showered his blessings on the first disciple whole-heartedly.

So friends, even though the situation is same, it still depends on how we interpret it, which shows our mental status and the way we think of others. Let’s take an example of lovely roses that have thorns on them. A person with an inauspicious vision would say, “Oh God! Even these beautiful roses have thorns on them”, while a person with an auspicious vision would say, “Wow! What a wonderful creation of nature – a beautiful rose amongst thorns.”

Always develop a vision that can find out something good even from a bad thing or person. And by doing so, slowly your mind and intellect will become pure day by day.

The Weight of the Glass

Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students.  As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question.  Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.

She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter.  It all depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light.  If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little.  If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor.  In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.  Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.  Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

The moral:  It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries.  No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down.  Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you.  If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

Potatoes, Eggs, and Coffee Beans

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

Moral:In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.

Which one are you?

Donkey in Well

donkey in well

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

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MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.

Lateral Thinking: Moneylender

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender.
 
The Moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer’s beautiful Daughter. So he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the farmer’s debt if he could marry his Daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the Proposal.

So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let Providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black Pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven.
2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven.
3) But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer’s field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two Black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag. Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her? Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order To save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl’s dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the girl to do?
 

 

 

 
Well, here is what she did….

The girl put her hand into the money bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. "Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked." Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into An extremely advantageous one.

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MORAL OF THE STORY:

Every problems has a solution, we only need to think creatively and ‘out of the box’. So just retain your cool & think. There is a normal & logical thinking (called vertical thinking) and there is the lateral or creative thinking. Real solutions are got by the latter.

Vertical thinkers would have been concerned with the fact that the girl has to take a pebble. Lateral thinkers become concerned with the pebble that is left behind. Vertical thinkers take the most reasonable view of a situation and then proceed logically and carefully to work it out. Lateral thinkers tend to explore all the different ways of looking at something, rather than accepting the most promising and proceeding from that."