Children, victory and defeat are part and parcel of life. It is not possible to have a life with success alone or a life with failures alone. We must be able to accept both success and defeat as prasad. When we receive prasad from the temple, we might find an ant or a stone in it. We just remove it and eat the prasad with reverence. In the same way, we must be able to accept all situations.
There was a laundryman living with his wife and son. He would carry on his head the clothes that needed to be washed and the washed clothes to be delivered to the house. As days passed, he grew old and too weak to carry the clothes. He decided to buy a donkey. When he checked his savings, he found that he had just enough to buy one.
One morning, the laundryman and his son set off to buy the donkey. At the same time, the wife went to the neighbouring village to see her relatives. In order to reach the place where the donkey was being sold, the laundryman and his son had to cross two or three villages. By the time they bought the donkey, it was past noon. After buying a glass-covered picture of the Lord for his prayer room, the man and his son set off for home.
As he had not eaten anything, the son became very tired. The laundryman tied the donkey to a wayside post. After spreading a towel in the shade of a nearby tree and asking his son to lie down on it, he left to find an inn from where he could buy some food. The son fell asleep at once.
When the laundryman returned, he saw only his sleeping son, not the donkey. Thieves had stolen it. As the son was asleep, he had not noticed the theft. Father and son started searching the whole place. They asked everyone they met about the donkey. None had seen it.
The laundryman began lamenting. “O God! I used all my hard-earned money to buy that donkey. When I set out to buy it, I did not forget You. I left the house, thinking of You. I was also thinking of You when I bought the donkey. I even bought a nice picture of You. Despite all that, You forsook me.” He hurled the picture he had bought to the ground.
Upset, disappointed and tired, he was too fatigued to take even one more step and there was quite a bit of distance to travel. To make matters worse, it started raining. Finally, he decided to spend the night with his son at the nearest inn.
The next day, the laundryman received news that the rain the night before had caused a landslide that killed many people in his village. If he hadn’t lost his donkey, he would have reached home by evening, and both he and his son would have been killed.
As his wife had gone to the neighbouring village to see her relatives, she, too, had been spared. Reflecting on this, he realised that though he had lost a donkey, God had saved his family. There is good side to every situation we curse. It is enough if we acquire the vision to see this. The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader