The dog cannot go farther than his leash and man from his fate
Shounuh eerehn gahmkeetz hehrou chee yehrtahl mahrtuh eerehn paghteetz
Work virtuously to better your future, see how fate will be kind to you
ahbahkayit hahmahr ahskhahdeh, ahbah dehs eench pakhduht guh pehreh
Bread, Watermelon, Fate and Interpretation
One day Shiva and Parvati were traveling together. Parvati devi saw a poor beggar whose sight made her feel pity and compassion. She asked her husband to help the poor man. Shiva looked at the beggar and understood that he was unfortunate due to having a sinful and dishonest nature. Parvati ignored his evaluation of the man and insisted he help him. Shiva agreed but on condition that he offer the beggar a disguised treasure of great value. If the beggar was truly virtuous he would understand the value of the charitable gift and accept it for his long term benefit. Parvati agreed.
Shiva disguised himself as a brahmin priest carrying a lopsided or crooked watermelon. He mysteriously placed precious jewels in the watermelon which did not reveal any trace of being open. As Shiva walked past the beggar, the mendicant called out to him: “Have mercy! Help this poor beggar. I need money to eat.”
Shiva stopped and spoke to the beggar, “I have this watermelon. You can have it and quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger.”
The beggar scoffed at him, “I don’t need or like a watermelon. Give me some money to eat.”
Shiva left the watermelon beside the beggar and walked away.
The beggar didn’t appreciate the gift. He said, “What am I going to do with your miserable watermelon. Have you no decency. I don’t want your watermelon. Give me money.”
Shiva hurried away. The beggar looked at the watermelon derisively. He picked it up and noticed it was lopsided. He was convinced there was something wrong with it. He saw another man coming his way. He quickly began to praise the sweetness of the watermelon and offered it to the new passerby for a few coins. The passerby looked at the watermelon and thought, “I am thirsty and hungry. That watermelon will satisfy me tonight.” He offered a few coins for it and the beggar gave it to him convinced he had made a good deal getting rid of it for enough money to buy some cheap wine.
Shiva and Parvati were watching the fateful doings and were amazed at what happened.
Parvati said, “How is it possible that the beggar is so unfortunate?”
Shiva replied, “He is offensive to holy men. Generally, he is ungrateful and is not at all interested in
any spiritual understanding of the nature of life. His mind is consumed by the everyday striving for money, wine, meat, sex and a place to sleep. He is profoundly unfortunate due to his ignorance of spiritual knowledge.
The beggar, however, was convinced that he made a good deal by getting a few coins for the watermelon. From his perspective, the watermelon was lopsided and useless. His objective was to get a few coins to purchase his daily ration of wine. He also disdained the kind gesture of Shiva who left the watermelon for his benefit. The beggar’s selfish and petty desires blinded him from accepting such a precious gift that would have solved all his financial problems. Selfish desires limit one’s vision of life and prohibit the possibility of loving exchanges. Such exchanges enrich one’s life with greater benefit than any monetary ones. Having the purity of heart to accept a gift given with love and compassion is a great blessing. Giving gifts with the same spirit of love opens one’s soul to a wonderful world of sharing. Poverty is no longer a problem when one is surrounded by loving friends. And God showers His mercy on such persons whose heart’s are pure, free from lust, anger, greed, envy, madness and illusion.
There was and there wasn’t a king who wanted to distribute his wealth to the “deserving poor.” He wanted to also witness in secret how the deserving accepted his charity. He employed a baker who was a man of confidence. He asked the baker to make a loaf of bread with precious jewels mixed into the interior of the dough so as not to be seen.
When the baker opened his shop, the king observed from an adjacent room. He asked the baker to give the loaf with the jewels to the most pious person entering his shop and a regular loaf to might appear to be an impious person. Two customers came in at the same time. One was a holy man dressed in his robes and the other a nondescript man with a tattoo of a skull on his hand. The baker assumed that the holy man was pious and the the man with a skull tattoo was impious. Ha gave the loaf of bread with the jewels to the holy man and the regular loaf to the other man.
The holy man sensed that there were lumps in his loaf and he suspected that they might be lumps of uncooked wet flour. He prided himself on always getting the best value for his money. He looked at the other customer and thought that he was a person of lesser discrimination that he could manipulate for his advantage. While the baker attended to retrieving new baked loaves from his oven, the holy man smiled at the other customer and said, “Friend, I always want to help others who might be in need. This loaf that I have is bigger than the one you got. Why not exchange yours for mine and get a better value.” The second man, whose disposition was one of always accepting the generosity of others agreed. They exchanged their loaves.
The king observed this exchange. He was surprised and somewhat perplexed at what happened. He tried to justify it by concluding that fate has its mysterious ways. Perhaps, the holy man was precluded from receiving the wealth to protect him from temptation of worldliness. The king was not sure.
After the two customers left the king discussed the outcome with the baker, who defended himself by saying, “I simply followed your instruction.”
The king accepted that Fate is mysterious and cannot be comprehended by ordinary men.
The holy man was very pleased with the outcome thinking that he always was more astute in his judgment than others which resulted in his getting the best bargain.
The man with the tattoo did not realize what happened until he returned home and began to eat the loaf with his family. While eating, he and his family discovered the hidden precious jewels. He went back to the baker with the jewels and showed him what he found. The baker, who was an honest man, insisted that the customer keep the jewels for it was his destiny to get them especially since he was honest and humble.
There is an Armenian saying, ahgh ou hatz chem ghehrerr ou jahnabahr chem kuhnatzehr vor mahrtoun ahrjehkuh jahatchem – I haven’t eaten bread nor traveled on a journey with him in order to understand his true value (or character).
One needs to have experience with a person to judge their character. What better experience than traveling with or eating with a person to understand their values and character.
It is said in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) that God is in the heart of every person and from Him come knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness. When a person opens their heart to acceptance of an Almighty God and humbles himself before Him, then so many wonderful opportunities become manifest. Such a humble soul can accept God’s mercy which often manifests in mysterious ways that are unexpected.
A person, however, who is atheistic and attempts to control destiny by material strategies will often make mistakes by overlooking vital details. For the faithful person, God gives the intelligence to make the right decisions in life. For the atheist, God gives partial knowledge and forgetfulness by which important decisions will often be mistaken and lead to missed opportunities. Ultimately, knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness are inspired or given by God, not by any manipulation of material
It is also said in the Bhagavad-gita (18.61) that God is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy. God is present in the heart of every living being and directs their activities according to what they deserve by their previous acts and desires. The living entity gets what he deserves and is carried by the material body, which is created in the material energy under the direction of God. As soon as a living entity is placed in a particular type of body, he has to work under the spell of that body, which acts under the influence of natural forces such as goodness, passion, ignorance (lust, anger, greed, etc.). By the order of God, material nature fashions a particular type of body to a particular type of living entity so that he may work according to his past unfulfilled desires. The living entity is not independent nor is the material nature. One should never think that he is independent. God is always the Supreme Controller of living entities and nature.
Therefore, by remaining humble and respectful, we will recognize the grace of God when it manifests.
While waiting patiently, and maintaining our faith that God resides in our heart as the protector and guardian of our well being, we will be relieved of all miseries of material existence. Everything material is actually spiritual because God is the creator of all things and life. He is sitting in everyone’s heart. Once we realize the closeness of God, we should surrender to His almighty power and accept His Words as our guiding principle in life. Then, He will give us the knowledge and remembrance to come back to Him eternally. If our desires are materially oriented, then He gives partial knowledge and remembrance and at crucial times, forgetfulness so that we will miss spiritual opportunities and stay anchored in the material world of illusory pleasures, hopes and false interpretations of events. Such false interpretations keep us chained to continual reactive work with little hope of liberation.
What you put in your plate, will act upon your fate
ahmahnut eench puhrtehss, tuhkahlut ahn gouh kah
Literally,whatever you crumble in your plate, your spoon will scoop it up