Panchatantra: The Gods And The Weaver
A long, long time ago, there lived a weaver named Somilaka in a town. He was an expert in his field and wove extremely fine clothes for everybody in the kingdom, including the king himself. But as his luck would have it, he could ......
A long, long time ago, there lived a weaver named Somilaka in a town. He was an expert in his field and wove extremely fine clothes for everybody in the kingdom, including the king himself. But as his luck would have it, he could never earn the money he truly deserved. While he remained a poor man, the other weavers flourished even though they wove inferior cloth. Saddened, Somilaka decided to leave his native village and settle in some other town to try his luck. His wife tried to stop him saying that if it was not in their destiny to become rich due to their past karmas, they would never become rich anywhere on earth.
Somilaka ignored his wife’s advice and went to settle in a new town. Working day and night, he earned three hundred gold coins within three years. One day, he thought of going back home and meet his wife. It was a long journey and he had to cross a dense forest. Somilaka was very tired and decided to sleep under a big tree.
In his dream, he saw two divine beings. He identified them as the God of Action and the God of Destiny. They were talking to each other. Destiny asked Action, “You know that it is not in the destiny of this weaver to live a luxurious life. So, why did you give him three hundred coins?” God of Action replied, “I have to give to those who try and toil. Whether the weaver can keep it or not, is in your hands.”
Somilaka woke up with a jolt and found out that the gold coins from his bag were missing. Heart-broken, Somilaka began crying and said to himself, “I cannot go home in this condition and show my face to my wife.” He mustered up courage and decided to go back and try once again.
This time, he was able to collect five hundred coins in one year. He stored all this money in a small bag and began his journey towards home. He entered the forest around the time of sunset. This time, he was careful not to sleep. He continued to walk through the forest. And then, he saw the two Divine deities of his dream coming towards him.
They were again having the same conversation as before. Somilaka got perturbed and immediately put his hand in the money bag, only to find that there was nothing in it. This time Somilaka lost his courage and decided to commit suicide. Suddenly, he heard a voice from the heaven calling, “O Somilaka! Don’t commit suicide! It is me, the God of Destiny. Ask any boon of me and I shall grant it.”
“Please give me much wealth,” Somilaka pleaded.
“But, tell me why do you covet wealth?” asked God.
Somilaka replied, “A man with money is respected everywhere, whether he spends it or not.”
Seeing that Somilaka was adamant, God said, “Alright! I will fulfill your wish, but first when you reach your native town, meet two merchants, Guptadhana and Upbhuktadhana. Guptadhana is very wealthy, but a miser of the first order, whereas Upbhuktadhana is not so wealthy, but he knows how to use whatever he has wisely. Observe them well and then decide which one you would want to become!”
Somilaka went back to his native town happily. There he first decided to observe Guptadhan’s way of living. When Guptadhana saw Somilaka, he became very angry. He talked to Somilaka very rudely and said that he was an unwanted guest. Guptadhana’s wife offered him stale food in a broken plate. Somilaka did not say anything and ate whatever was served to him. He politely thanked Guptadhana and left quietly.
Then he went to meet Upbhuktadhana. Upbhuktadhana warmly welcomed Somilaka and served him delicious food. At night, proper arrangements were made for him to rest.
Now Somilaka had observed both the merchants. He thought, “It is better to be like Upabhuktadhana. He enjoys life with whatever he has. What’s the use of being rich but miserly? I will be better off as Upabhuktadhana.” The God of Destiny heard his thoughts and fulfilled his wish.
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