A Pinch Of Ash
This story was narrated by Sh. M. L. Khattar, The Chief Minister of Haryana, who presided over the book launch ceremony of our sixth book, ‘Sunrays for Friday’. During his address he narrated this story and suggested that it be considered as a seed for the next book. Resultantly, here it is in ‘Sunrays for Saturday’!
A monk knocked at the door of a householder and begged for alms. He said, “Please give me a hundred rupees, I am in dire need.” The householder, refused point-blank, saying, “I don’t give anything to anyone. Go away!”
The Monk said, “It is not good to turn a monk away from your doorstep. Give me something …”
Householder -No, I will not give anything. It is against my principles.
Monk -Alright give me fifty, if a hundred you cannot afford. But don’t send me away empty handed.
Householder -Rubbish! Don’t bother me.
Monk -Please give me something. I request you.
Householder -I told you, I’m not in the habit of giving anything to lazy people like you. You are wasting your time here.
Monk -It is inauspicious to refuse alms to a monk.
Monk -Okay, give me twenty rupees only.
Householder -How dare you bargain with me? I am surprised at your impudence. Why don’t you go away?
Monk -Alright, give me just ten rupees.
Householder -Not a penny shall I give.
Monk -Don’t do this. God has given you so much. Ten rupees won’t make any difference to your pocket.
Householder -No way. Just buzz off. Don’t waste my time and yours.
Monk -Five rupees? It’s not good to turn away a needy man from your doorstep. Five rupees is all I ask for.
Householder – Nothing doing. Go away before I ask my people to throw you out.
Monk -One rupee is all I ask for. Don’t refuse brother. You are blessed to have so many bounties. Don’t say no.
Householder -Oh Lord! How stubborn you are! I said No! And no means no!
Monk -Alright then, do you have a fire at your hearth?
Householder -Yes, I do.
Monk -Give me a pinch of ash from your log fire.
Householder -Why? What will you do with it?
Monk -I shall not do anything with it, except dust it off my hand. But perhaps when your hand is in the giving pose, you shall realize the joy of giving, even if all that you give is a pinch of ash!
The man still did not seem to be willing to give even a pinch of ash. The Monk continued, “And if you do not have even a pinch of ash to give, surely you would have a palm full of water … in that case go and drown yourself in it!” (In Hindi we say, “Chullu bhar paani mein doob mar!”) What an insult!
The joy of giving far outdoes the joy of receiving. Try it out. Offer some food to a hungry man or even a glass of water to someone who is thirsty and experience the blessings and love that come your way. Bhagwan Baba says, “It is in giving that we receive.”