Once Lord Krish and Arju, while moving incognito in a city, saw a poor priest begging at a street corner. Taking pity, Arju gave him a bagful of gold coins. Overjoyed, the priest thanked him profusely and left for home.
THE VOICE WITHIN
On the way, the priest saw a destitute old man. He could have spared a coin or two to help but chose not to. But before he reached home, a thief robbed him of his bag of coins and fled.
The dejected priest went back to begging the next day. When Arju saw him, he asked what had happened. On learning of what befell the priest, Arju gave him a large diamond.
Scarcely believing he had been given a second lifeline, the priest rushed home. Once again he saw another needy man on the way, and again he chose to turn a deaf ear to his cries for help. Upon reaching home, the priest put the diamond inside an empty pot with a plan to sell it later and live a life of comfort. Full of happy thoughts thus, he was soon lulled asleep.
Meanwhile the priest’s wife came home, picked up the pot, went to the river and filled it with water, not once noticing what was inside. When the priest woke up and found the diamond missing, his grief was terrible.
Bitterly cursing his bad luck, the priest resumed begging. Arju felt bad, but Lord Krish motioned him to watch this time. Going up to the priest, Lord Krish gave him a coin.
Mystified, Arju later asked: “Lord, I gave him a bag of gold coins and a large diamond, which could have given him a wealthy life, yet didn’t help him. How can just one copper coin be of use to this unlucky man?” Lord Krish smiled and said they should follow the priest to find out.
On the way home, the priest kept thinking about the single coin that had been given to him, and sadly concluded it wasn’t enough even to buy a full meal. But the events in the past couple of days had given him much scope for soul searching. Suddenly, he saw a fisherman drawing in his net and saw a lone fish struggling there.
Feeling pity as the fish gasped for life, the priest thought: “This one coin cannot solve my problem. But at least it can help me save this fish.” He then bought the fish and put it in a small metal pot filled with water that he always carried about him.
And lo behold! As the fish settled in, it coughed out the diamond it had swallowed when the priest’s wife had gone to the river to fill their pot. Besides himself with joy, the priest screamed, “I got it, I got it!”
At that moment, the thief who had robbed the priest of his bag of gold coins, was passing through. Thinking that the priest recognized him, he begged forgiveness and returned the bag there and then.
Seeing this, Arju said: “Oh Lord, I now understand how fortune can change by a single act of compassion. It is all your magic.”