Friday, June 4, 2010

Compassion - The Story of The Good King Ranti Deva.

There is a beautiful story, in one of the old books, about a great king who showed compassion to others. I will tell you that story. There was once a king called Ranti Deva. He was the son of Sankriti. He was known as the good King, for he always gave to the poor both money and food.

Sometimes he gave away all that he had, and he and his family used often to go without food so that they might feed the hungry.

Once he, and those who were with him, had been without food for many days and they were very hungry. Some one brought them some food, some nice fresh milk, and ghi and barley and water. They were just going to sit down and take the food, when a Brahmana guest came in and asked for some, for he also was hungry. Ranti Deva was very pleased to give him food and served him first.

When the Brahmana had eaten he went away, and then Ranti Deva divided what food remained so that all had equal portions. Just as he was going to eat his portion a Shudra came in and asked for some food. Ranti Deva gave him some, although he had not yet had any himself; so the Shudra had some food and he went away.

There was not much left, but before Ranti Deva could take any, a man came in with a pack of dogs, and he also wanted food. The good King gave all that remained of the food to the man and the dogs, and all that was left was one cup of water.

The man and the dogs also went away, and Ranti Deva was just going to take a drink of water, for he was very thirsty, and that was all that remained. Just at that moment a poor beggar came up and cried out " I am so thirsty, so thirsty, I pray you give me water". He was only an outcaste but he was tired and miserable. The kind and loving King took the cup of water that he was going to drink, and gave it to that poor beggar. While he was holding the cup so that the poor man could drink easily, Ranti Deva felt full of love and said: "I no longer feel the pain of hunger and thirst. All I ask of Hari is to let me bear the pain and sorrow of others, so that I may help them and take away their miseries".

Ranti Deva shows us how we may be kind to all, how should help all, whether Brahmanas or Shudras, outcastes or beggars. We cannot give away all our food, as this good King Ranti Deva did, but we may often be able to give some to those who are hungry. Even little children can always do little deeds of love to those who are ill or in trouble. We must feel love for all, no matter whether they are of our own family or strangers, whether they are rich or poor, Brahmanas or outcastes. If any man needs our help, we should treat such a one as our brother.

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