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Prity Jha

Abstract


4  

Prity Jha

Abstract


The Beggar

The Beggar

5 mins 232 5 mins 232

Many years ago, there live a beggar in a village. His name was Devdatt. He lived in a thatched hut with his wife and four children. Every day, he would go to the nearby villages for begging and returned in the evening and lived happily with whatever he could collect by begging. But he was not like other beggars. He was a little bit different from many of them as despite being in a wretched condition, he would never stoop from his moral altitude. He was humble and truthful and in all circumstances, whether good or bad, he kept smiling. Whenever any needy person gave him a call, he would always respond it and did his best for him. For these reasons, he commanded great respect in the the society. He had a strange custom too as every day before going out of the village for begging, he would visit the temple for praying to Lord Shiva for showering his grace equally on the rich and poor all. In the evening also he would visit the temple and to half of whatever he got during the day before moving home.


Sometimes, he got something and sometimes returned empty handed. When he got something, his family got their meals, but when he returned empty-handed, they had to sleep hungry. Although it gave a lot of pain to Devdatt, he never made any complaint about his sad plight to the providence. He used to say that maybe it was their sin of the previous birth due to which they were suffering.

One day, Devdatt woke up early in the morning, and before going out for begging went to the temple, and after making his prayers he said to Lord Shiva, as he would often slip into conversation with Him as though he were physically present there before him. He said " Lord, there is no one so kind as you in this world. Please see that no child goes to sleep hungry. You're the protector of the weak and destroyer of the evil. Please, do away with the evil of poverty from this beautiful creation of yours." Saying this, he bowed to the Shiva Linga and came out. That day as he went out of the village, the sky suddenly got covered with black clouds and it started raining heavily. It rained only in the evening. The fields. ponds and the rivers all got filled with muddy water. There was water and water everywhere. He could not collect anything for his family and children, but he could not do anything. So, the helpless man returned home empty-handed. His heart sank to think that again his children would have to sleep hungry. In this world, nothing can be more painful for a father than to see his children sleep hungry. His heartbreaks. He wants the earth to split and take him in.

In the night, they all slept hungrily. Though their stomach was churning, there was not way to stop it except filling it with water in place of food. As they were accustomed to it, they did not take much time to go into the arms of the goddess of sleep. Though the children cried for a little while, their mother silenced them all, as usual, with her promise of cooking sweet dishes for them the next morning.


In the middle of the night, when everyone was in the depth of their sleep, Devdatta dreamt that someone was knocking at the door of his hut. Several times, he ignored it, but the knock did not stop. With the passage of the time, it grew even louder. At last, he lost his patience and opened the doors. A tall and strongly built was standing in front of him.

" I'm coming from far and am heavily tired. If you let me spend the night at your hut, I'd be grateful to you. It's too cold outside."

Devdatta knew that he was right. A cold wind was blowing outside and it would be very difficult for anyone to stay there. His heart melted and he invited the man inside and spread his carpet on the floor, as this was the only arrangement that he could make in his hut. The guest was already very tired, so he soon got asleep. Devdatta also lay on the floor beside his children. When his eyes opened in the morning, he was shocked not to find his guest of the night. He had gone, but a small bale made of red cloth was lying on the the carpet. . Thinking that the man might have forgotten it, he picked it up and ran out of the hut for his search. He searched for him everywhere in the village but could not get him anywhere. At last, he returned home and put the bundle of cloth in a corner of his hut thinking that if he ever met him, he would return it to him. That day also he could not arrange anything for his family. it was a very hard time for him as he knew that there was nothing in the house and they would again have to sleep hungry like the previous day. In the evening, he visited the temple with a heavy heart and sang a beautiful hymn in praise of Lord Shiva. The hymn mixed with the pain of his heart drove tears in his eyes, and he sat there singing hymns for a long time without realizing that half of the night had spent. When he reached home, he was happy to see that the children had fallen asleep. His wife, Subhadra, was still awaking in his wait. She told him that as he had gone out in the evening, the priest of the temple came to their house with enough food for all of them. He even inquired of him.


Devdatt felt gratitude to Lord Shiva for arranging food for his family. The half of the night had passed, so he too lay beside them and soon fell asleep. In the sleep, he felt, that his guest of the previous night was telling him that he had left two precious stones for him as a gift. In the morning, he told this to his wife who, to check the truthfulness of it, undid the knot of the bale. She was startled to find two large shining stones in it.


The next day, Devdatt went to the richest jeweler of the town and sold one of the stones at a high price. He spent half of the money on the renovation of the temple and with the other half he started a business and, in a short time earned huge a lot of money. He earned huge profits and soon became the richest man of the town. Gradually, he did what he wanted. He opened orphanages in all the towns and all the cities and ensured that no one ever goes to sleep hungry.


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