Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Moral of the Story

Thinking Kid, black and white
Who influenced your life as a child the most, in my case it’s my grandmother. She is my mother’s mother and the times I spend with her in my childhood are very precious to me. Her stories are the ones that gave wings to my imagination and planted the seed of a story teller in me. Among these cherished childhood memories the most memorable are those when she told me stories from the Hindu epics while feeding me; the combination of rice and peas curry with ghee, the intriguing characters in the story and her convincing tone were one of the reasons for my roly-poly form back then.

She always starts a story by saying the moral first and here is one of many that I still remember in almost the same way as she tells it ‘This is a story in which Garuda was taught a lesson for his self righteous ego. Once the lord of death ‘Yama Dharma’ made a friendly visit to heaven to see all the Devas, as he was going to enter the palace of Indra (the king of heaven) his eyes fell on a small golden bird fluttering his tiny wings, singing and enjoying the nectar from flower to flower in the garden.  He looked at the bird curiously for few seconds and then went inside the place in a hurry. The bird saw this and thought “Why did Yama Dharma look at me like that, I think something bad is going to happen to me today, may be even the worst” got scared of this thought the bird few to Garuda. He told Garuda about all that happened in heaven and told him that ‘Yama’ was going to take his life soon. Being the King of birds and the mount of Lord Vishnu, Garuda thought of it as an opportunity to show his might rather than the need to help the little bird. So he said with pride “I, the king of birds and the mound of Lord Vishnu will save you from death”, he took the bird in his hands and flew beyond seven seas and seven oceans into an enchanted Iceland, and hid the bird in a tree hole.
Grandma telling story to his grandson

When Garuda flew back, instead of going back to his dwell he went to Yama Puri (the palace of Yama) to meet with Yama. Seeing his guest as the mound of Lord Vishnu, Yama Dharma ordered his servants to arrange all kinds of honorary arrangements to welcome him. After the luxurious welcome, he was inquired about the reason for his unexpected visit; Garuda told all about the little bird whom Yama had so curiously watched at the heaven garden and with a dignified smile started boasting about the way he saved its life from death by hiding it beyond seven seas and seven oceans were even the lord of death itself can’t reach. Yama listed to all what Garuda said and suddenly began to laugh shaking his whole body along, “You know Garuda, its funny how fate makes its way” he said and continued “I was just wondering when I saw that bird in heaven that why that little was there when it was suppose to dies before twilight far from there, to be exact, in an enchanted Iceland beyond seven seas and seven oceans in a tree hole from a snake bite, I thought for sure that fate made a mistake as that little fellow could never fly that far” he again laughed a bit and said “The mount of Vishnu itself helped in completing the cycle of fate, I thank you for that Garuda” . Garuda got up from its seat and rushed out in an instant with pale face and crumpled pride, totally ashamed of his ego with which he thought he could even alter fate. 

The story ends like that with its moral loud and clear, ego is bad and above that fate can’t be altered, everything in one’s life will happen according to a predetermined script. Is ego really that bad, I would say not entirely because I found it bad only when people act up on it to harm others, otherwise it’s a fun part of life which motivates to improve. Now what about fate, it is a belief that has a long history in Indian culture; it’s been kept as the final resource to excuse the incapability to try and unacceptability to face facts by individuals for centuries. More than ego the concept of fate seems worse to me because it kills the most amazing thing about being a human, the desire to evolve in character as well as in thought.  


  1. This is a very interesting and insightful story indeed!
    Ego is bad but not self-esteem.
    And regarding fate, yes accepting it as it is and not trying is bad.

    But sometimes there are incidences which are out of control and that is where fate plays a part...

  2. Well written and most importantly it struck the right chords...Stay blessed..!!!

  3. indeed Self -Esteem and Ego draw a very indefinite line between them.
    I am still thinking on the lines of the story .. unable to conclude or get a real moral .

  4. Great Grandmother . In my case it was my grandfather who inspired me the most with these type of stories . Whatever is written in the fate cannot be changed . By you can always do your karmas .

    Travel India

  5. That's reminded me of my childhood days...when an evening with my grandmother would be the happiest...of my life...!!!

  6. often I say it that the difference between ego and self esteem is only the attitude and as they say if there is anything that takes you far it is your attitude :)


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