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Rate Today’s Wisdom Message ~ A needle to Heaven ~ Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
A needle to Heaven
Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
Once, Shri Gurunanak Devji Maharaj, the founder of Sikhism and a very great saint, was on a pilgrimage. This was approximately 500 years ago, and the saint would travel by foot, freely dispensing wisdom, guidance and blessings to thousands of people. Along the way, a very rich man invited Gurunanak Devji to his home for the night. This home would be more aptly called a palace. Marble and gold everywhere; expensive horses and carriages; dozens of sumptuous foods served out of sterling silver dishes, tokens of the man’s success abounded.
A truly great saint is always thinking about how to help us grow spiritually, how to uplift us, how to turn our minds and hearts to God. Gurunanak Devji Maharaj was such a saint.
Additionally, a saint will never take anything without repaying the giver in some way. So, when he left the rich mans home, he handed the man a small sewing needle. “Hold on to this for me. I will take it back when I next see you,” the saint said to the man.
Later, when the man told his wife what had happened, she was furious. :”How could you have taken something that belongs to a saint? What happens if he dies before he sees you again?” It is considered a great sin to keep something belonging to a saint or to be in a saint’s debt. This is why the rich man’s wife was so angry. She told her husband, “You can not take the needle with you to Heaven when you die. So, if he dies first, you will never be able to give it back to him. Go now. Return the needle immediately!” so the man set out after the saint.
When he found Shri Gurunanak Devji, he handed him the needle and said, “Guruji, I can not bear the thought that if you should die, I would have no way of returning your needle to you. It is not as though I could take it with me when I die and then give it back to you in Heaven. I can not. So, please take it now.”
The saint smiled, took his needle, and looked deep into the rich man’s eyes. “You are right. You can not take this needle with you when you die. But, if you can not even take this tiny needle, how do you think you will take all your possessions and wealth? That, too, must stay behind when you go. You can not even leave this Earth with a tiny needle, let alone a palace full of wealth.”
“Oh my God. You are right.” The man became white as a sheet. “All my life I have struggled for things that are as transitory as this body. I have sweat and slaved and forsaken my family in favour of acquiring more and more wealth. Yet, if God takes me tomorrow, I will lose it all in a breath. And, I have acquired nothing that will last. I have not done good deeds for others; I have not practised sadhana; I have not served the world.”
When he returned home, he immediately sold all his possessions – except the most basic necessities – donated all the millions of rupees to the poor, and devoted the rest of his life to God and the world. And you know what? As he lay on his death bed in the small, simple house with his wife and family by his side, he said, “I am far richer today than I was 30 years ago when Shri Gurunanak Devji came to my home.”
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What can we learn from this wise saint? For, his message is as apt and valuable in America and the West today as it was in the rural village of India centuries ago. We come into this world with nothing but the love of our parents; we leave this world with nothing but the love we have created. All material things we acquire we must leave behind. I have never seen a rich man, a sports-star, a movie actress, a business, a doctor, a fashion model, or even the president ride to Heaven in a Mercedes, carrying a basket filled with luscious snacks. No, we leave this Earth alone. We can not take our car, or our favourite clothes, or our finest china, not even one cent. All we can take is the karma of this life and the knowledge that we have spent this life in service that the world is a better place because we lived.
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