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THE carrot

One of the most excellent stories told at the Chicago Parliament of Religions was given by a Russian representative.

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A woman, who was a thief, a cheat, and of generally evil repute, was lying on her death bed, and was now frightened at the prospect of what awaited her after death.

Though she had had, during a long life of evil doing, no thought of religion or of God, yet now she began to cry loudly and more vociferously to God to have mercy on her. So much did she cry that at last she attracted the attention of the angel Gabriel, who came to see what the matter might be.

"Oh Sir," said the woman, "what am I to do?"

"What is the matter?" asked the angel.

"Sir, all my life I have done not one good thing, and now, I am about to die. What will become of me?"

"Is there not one good act of which you can remember? Think," replied the angel.

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After much thought the woman remembered that when she was a young woman one day she was almost starving, and then she found a carrot, which was the only food she had had for two days. As she was about to eat it, another woman, as badly off as herself, came to her, begging.

Though it was contrary to her usual nature, the carrot was divided between them. This incident the dying woman apologetically related to the angel, who replied: "Hold on to that carrot and it will save you."

The woman held on to the carrot when she died. And as she was being drawn up to heaven by the carrot, many others, who had died after leading a life as evil as her own began to cling to her, in the hope of sharing her escape.

At that, she got jealous and cried out: "Get off; the carrot is mine." As soon as she said this, the carrot broke, and she fell back into the place of torment.

One small deed of unselfishness had been sufficient to outweigh her bad Karma, but her selfishness had undone, in a moment, the previous good.

Bhagavan Baba says, “The worst disease to which one is subject to is selfishness. Only when one has been able to rid oneself of selfishness will one be able to understand the true meaning of life and experience true happiness… Only when one becomes animated by the spirit of sacrifice will one become sublime.”

~ Adapted from Nava Sarathi, October 2007

Illustrations: Rahul Raja, SSSU

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Vol 6 Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2008
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