Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Self Denial of Madgala

True charity is very hard to practise. It is easy to give away when we have plenty for ourselves, but when we have gained something with much trouble, it is very difficult for us to part with it. We are told also that to give away wealth that has been obtained by wrong means will never bring a blessing, but a little thing that is given in a pure spirit to a proper person will bring pleasure and reward. The story of Madgala shows us how the gift of a very small measure of corn made the Sage beloved by Gods and men, and opened out to him the entrance to the celestial regions. There once lived in Kurukshetra a Sage named Madgala. He was truthful and free from anger or hatred. He was very simple in his life and took but little food, only that which remind when the guests had eaten. His virtue was so great that the Gods increased his store, and none even came to him without his having food to give them.

Now it happened once that a Muni came to him and asked him for food. Madgala said to him: "Thou art welcome," and gave him water to wash and placed food before him. The Muni being very hungry ate it all up and again asked for food. Then Madgala gave him more and food and at last the Muni went away. In a short time he came again and ate up all the food which was again supplied by Madgala, who having no food for himself went about trying to find a little corn. He was very hungry but he was neither angry nor disturbed. Six times the Muni came to Madgala went out as usual to try to get a little. Then at last the Sage spoke to Madgala, for he was well pleased with him, and said: "It is hard to give up with a pure loving spirit that which has been gained with difficulty; Yet, O pious one, this has been done by thee. Thou hast by thy deeds gained the favour of the Great Ones and earned thy entrance to the realms of bliss". Then the Muni bade farewell to Madgala, who continued to lead a virtuous life in perfect contentment, till he gained the knowledge of the Eternal.

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