The punishment is compassion

This is an inspiring story about the power of forgiveness and compassion. It shows that sometimes we can get extraordinary results by going against our instinctive human nature. The story also shows that forgiveness is a sign of real strength and can have tremendous power.



The story is from Illumination-Experiences On Indian Soil, Part 2, by Sri Chinmoy

“In India there was once a Muslim mendicant who had a certain amount of occult power. His name was Bajit Bastami. In Chittagong there is a special place where many Muslims worship him. Even the Hindus have tremendous love for him.

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Helping an Alcoholic

New Morning

There was a spiritual Master visiting a village. He spoke to the assembled crowds on living a spiritual life. Many were moved by his words on love and forgiveness. However, at the end of the meeting a young child came up to the Master and tearfully asked him if he would come to visit his house and touch the heart of his father.

The young child told how his father was making life miserable for his wife and children through his uncontrollable drinking. When his father wasn’t drinking he was a very kind and loving father. But, when he was drunk he made life unbearable for all around.

The Master took the child by the hand and visited the wretched home. He spoke kindly to his mother and her children and then he saw the father lying wretchedly  upon a bed of straw. He took the man by his hand and with great kindness said:

“Your neighbours on the other side of the town are in sore distress. Their house has been gutted by fire. Will you come and aid me in rebuilding their shattered lives?”

The father shrugged off his headache and feeling of worthlessness and nervously followed the Master to the other side of town. There they found a family facing great hardship due to their loss. Without saying any words, the Master and father began re-building the house. After a short while, the drunkard threw himself into the project forgetting his own addictions. After a while the Master thanked the alcoholic for his efforts, but, now he had to leave to travel to another town – could he leave him in charge? The father readily agreed and over the next weeks organised the complete rebuilding of the house.

In the process, the father gave up drinking completely. Nobody had even mentioned  drink, but, he had gained a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility. He remained grateful for the opportunity to serve others and overcome his addiction.


By lecturing people do we ever change their nature? It is easy to judge others, but how can we encourage people to overcome their weaknesses? It would be tempting to scold an alcoholic for neglecting his family. But, here the Master tried a different approach. He sought to rebuild his sense of self-worth and sense of responsibility. Often addictions are symptoms of inner insecurites and we need to deal with these rather than the outer manifestations of them.

By gaining a sense of service to others we can most easily overcome our personal problems.

It also reminds me of the story of Sri Ramakrishna and his disciple Girish Chandra Ghose. Sri Ramakrishna was a very strict Spiritual Master who expected the highest standards. But, in the case of Girish Chandra Ghose, he never said anything when Girish  turned up with a wine bottle in his hand. Sri Ramakrishna knew in this particular case, he need not say anything, but, overtime by appealing to the good heart of Girish Chandra Ghose, he would eventually make the necessary change in habit himself. This Girish did, becoming a devotee of the highest order.

(Drink, Drink In Front of Me at Sri Chinmoy Library

Photo by: Pavitrata, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

Our Worst Enemy

An excerpt from: Tales From The Mahabharata by Sri Chinmoy

Yudhishthira’s Worst Enemy

After the battle of Kurukshetra was over, one day Yudhishthira said to Krishna, “Krishna, we Pandavas have won. Needless to say, it is all your Grace. Otherwise, we could never have won. But you know, Krishna, in spite of our victory, something is bothering me. Do you know what it is? I have no peace of mind. Now that we have defeated the Kauravas, we are supposed to be very happy. But how can I be happy when I have no peace of mind? Why is this so? Why is it that I cannot be happy and peaceful?”

Krishna said, “Yudhishthira, O King, how can you be happy when your worst enemy is still alive?”

“My worst enemy is still alive!” Yudhishthira exclaimed. “Who is he? How is it that I do not know anything about him? Please tell me, Krishna, where my worst enemy is.”

Krishna said, “Your worst enemy is not elsewhere. It is inside you. You have been feeding and nurturing that worst enemy for a long, long time. Unless and until you have conquered that enemy, no matter what you achieve, no matter what you do for yourself or for mankind, you can never have happiness.”

“O Krishna, for God’s sake, tell me who my worst enemy is! Stop your philosophy and now illumine me!”

Krishna, with a loving heart and a smiling face, embraced Yudhishthira and said, “O Yudhishthira, you are by far the best not only among the Pandavas, but among all mortals, all human beings. Yet one enemy of yours, which is nothing short of weakness, is most destructive. And that weakness-enemy of yours is your unfortunate pride. Conquer the iota of pride that you have. Then happiness will flow into your mind, and peace will smilingly settle down inside the very depths of your heart.”

Yudhishthira said, “Your wisdom-blessing is my mind’s happiness and my heart’s peace, Krishna, my Krishna.”

– By Sri Chinmoy


How Much for A Glass of Water?


“Nothing is Worth More than this day

– J.Goethe

A rich man was very attached to his wealth and money. A sufi saint approached him and asked him this question.

If you were dying of thirst in the desert, would you give half of your wealth for a glass of water?

The rich man replied “Yes.”

The Saint then asked the rich man, “if you were in agony because you could not pass this water, would you spend half of your wealth to be able to pass the water?

The rich man replied “yes”

So the Sufi saint said, “Why do you attach so much importance to your wealth when you would give up your entire kingdom and material possessions for a glass of water you don’t even get to keep?


Material wealth is neither good nor bad. What is important is how it is used and our attitude towards it.

A knife can be used to stab someone or cut an apple in half to share. Similarly, money can be used to improve our material wellbeing; but  it can also destroy a person.

If the accumulation of wealth is our highest priority we will be seeking happiness in ephemeral way; we will be doomed to disappointment. Furthermore, when we become possesed with the desire to accumulate wealth, we invariably become mean, selfish and self-absorbed. In this story the sufi saint reminds us of the transitory nature of the world. No matter how much wealth we accumulate in this life, we can not take it with us – nor does wealth help us to understand the deeper meaning of life.

Posts related to Wealth and happiness

Lending Money With Wisdom


There was a very rich man, who was also very miserly. His only joy was in the accumulation of money. Somehow, he had managed to marry a beautiful wife, who was also very generous and kind hearted. As you might expect the miser was deeply unpopular, but, everyone liked and admired his self giving wife. However, she thought. “Since, he is my husband and no one else likes him, what can I do? I, at least, must be kind to him and offer him my support. Despite, receiving no praise from her miserly husband, she served him night and day.

Then a famine struck the region. The miser gave nothing. But, his wife tirelessly travelled the region offering help and lending people money to buy rice. The people who borrowed money wanted to pay back the wife; but, she refused saying.

“It’s fine, I don’t need the money. Please keep it.”

But, the people refused saying ‘no we really want to give it back, when we can.’

So she said something quite surprising. “If you really want to repay me, then give me the money the day my husband dies.”

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