The Old Vest!

The Old Vest!

An old man spent his life in doing good deeds, helping people, serving the needy, praying and performing all activities that would qualify for a God loving man. He lived simply and was quite unattached to worldly things. His only attachment was to God.

He knew that he would soon be passing on. One day he told his son, “Keep this old vest of mine. My mother gave it to me. It’s very dear to me. When I die, make me wear it before you cremate me.” The son was quite surprised at his father’s attachment to the vest. He took the vest and said, “Father, this is practically in tatters. Why don’t we get you a similar new one?” But the old man said, “No, No. I like this one. Keep it safely. And don’t forget. Please remember to carry out this last wish of mine.”

Some days hence, while doing his morning prayers, the old man died peacefully. As per the Hindu custom, the son bathed the body and was directed to wrap it in white cotton cloth. He proceeded to put on the old vest in accordance with the last wish of the deceased father.

The Brahmin who was presiding told him that it was against the custom to wear anything, whatever it may be. The son insisted. But the Brahmin was adamant. The matter was discussed with the family elders, but they too seemed to agree with the Brahmin. The arguments went a little further. Some voices young and old were raised. Some terse words were exchanged. There was total chaos. The time fixed for the cremation was drawing close. What to do now? Either he would have to annoy the Brahmin and the whole clan, or he could honour the last wish of his erstwhile father. What a dilemma!

Amidst all this, a man who was the clerk of the deceased father; walked up to the son and handed over to him, a white envelope. It contained a letter from the deceased father. This is what it said, “My dear son, are you watching the drama? I cannot even take a tattered and worn out vest with me. One day you too shall be in this position. All of us have to go from here, wrapped in a white cloth. We can take nothing with us. Don’t run after money or riches. Never hurt another or cheat another for money. Never earn money by unscrupulous means. All our lives we run after money. In the end everything gets left behind. All I am taking with me is the fruit of my good Karma. That shall be the case with you too. Spend your life and your money doing good deeds. Spend your money to help those in need. Be Happy …”

This is the eternal truth for all of us. The sooner we understand it, the better. Let us work towards a better after-life, by doing good deeds, while we have the good fortune to be in human form. Let us earn grace to be secure in this life and the next!
Be in the world; but do not let the world be in you. It is the love for God and good that will be your saviour. The worldly acquisitions, wealth, family, property etc. everything will stay here. You shall go alone …