Inspiring Stories

by Swami Sivananda

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Book Code: ES67
Paperback: vii+269 pages
ISBN: 8170520304
Book Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.55 inches
Shipping Weight: 340 grams

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Sri Swami Sivananda iii
Universal Prayer iv
1. City of Benightedness 1
2. The Load of Sins 14
3. The Ahimsa-Ideal 16
4. Running Away From Evil 20
5. The Lord’s Compassion 23
6. The Pigeon in Prison 27
7. Man–the Glory of Creation 31
8. The Guru’s Love 35
9. Kancha Prabhu 39
10. The Wisdom of God 43
11. Ayaz 46
12. Love Alone Can Transform 49
13. Living Presence of God 55
14. Narada’s Music Pride Quelled 58
15. The Reward of Faith 61
16. How a Sage Ruled 64
17. You Can’t Deceive God 67
18. Daridranarayana’s Prayer 70
19. Svarnakesa 72
20. The Test of Renunciation 75
21. True Karma Yoga 77
22. God-realisation Through Yukti 80
23. The Wisdom of the Mongoose 82
24. Thotakacharya 85
25. Durbuddhi 87
26. The Ungrateful Dog 90
27. The Power of Chastity 93
28. An Obedient Wife 97
29. Hypocritical Preacher 103
30. Kanjani 104
31. The Wise Mongoose 107
32. Ibrahim Adahm 110
33. Duryodhana and Yudhisthira 112
34. Mental Worship 114
35. The Magic Seat 117
36. Guru Bhakti 120
37. The Jackal and the Vulture 123
38. A Son-in-Law 127
39. A Sannyasin 130
40. A Practical Vedantin 132
41. The Wise Lady 135
42. The Rich and the Poor 137
43. Sivaji’s Pride Quelled 139
44. Two Birds 140
45. Be Courageous 142
46. Birbal and His Brother-in-Law 145
47. The Reward of Insult 148
48. Secret of Righteousness 151
49. Chipak Mahadev 154
50. Story of a Kaupeen 157
51. Prince Narendra 160
52. Infatuated Love 163
53. Raghavan and His Wife 165
54. Conference of Mosquitoes & Bugs 167
55. Princess Vidyavati 171
56. Queen Kekayi 176
57. Look to the Bhav 179
58. King Sakunta 183
59. Sulochana 189
60. Story of Kali 192
61. Story of Gandhari 194
62. Forbearance-Test of Saintliness 197
63. Saint Malidas 200
64. Keep Thy Word 204
65. The Nature of Samsar 208
66. A Beggar Made a Millionaire 210
67. Guru Bhakti 216
68. A Young Man and a Pundit 221
69. What God Does is for the Best 224
70. Glory of Glorification 227
71. Akbar and the Beggar 229
72. Treasure Beneath the Pillow 231
73. The Humorous Fruit-Seller 233
74. Shadow and Substance 236
75. A Sadhak’s Path 238
76. Hidden Treasure 253
77. Krishna and Sudama 255
78. The Grace of the Lord 257
79. Tiruvalluvar’s Wife 259
80. Saints are One at Heart 261
81. Stories That Transform 263
      The Best Choice 264
      Service of Saints 264
      We Are His Responsibility 265
      Mada-Devata’s Trick 266
      The Story of The Conch 267
      The Story of Grief 268

About This Book

The present volume entitled ‘Inspiring Stories’ forms a very valuable book of guidance upon right conduct, philosophic thinking, human psychology and spiritual life in general. As such, it will be an invaluable addition to the personal library of students eager to know more about the secrets of life on earth and life beyond.

The illusion before the eyes of man is so inscrutably constructed that not even the wisest of people have found it easy to extricate themselves from its powerful clutches penetrating into the very vitals of one’s being. This insistence on an interesting and important factor in the leading of the truly spiritual life is to be considered the explanation for this book commencing, at the outset, with a not-much-known but awakening message through the very first story.

The nature of these stories, parables and anecdotes is basically oriented from the point of view of a noble spiritual life.


O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!
Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.
Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
Thou art Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute).
Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,
Equal vision, balanced mind,
Faith, devotion and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptations and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember Thee.
Let us ever sing Thy glories.
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

                                                                     –Swami Sivananda

The Load of Sins

PARVATI WAS very proud. She thought that she had never committed even one sin. She was sure that she would be taken to heaven on her death in this world.

One morning she was sweeping the floor of her house. By pure accident the broom fell on a cockroach and it died instantly.

Parvati was greatly upset. She nearly went mad. “Who will take this sin? How can I wash away this sin? So far I have not committed even one sin. Now I have done this. What am I to do?”

She ran here and there with the cockroach in her hand. She was wonderstruck to see in the bazaar a fish-vendor named Savitri.

Parvati asked her, “O wretched woman! what will become of you when you die? You are daily killing so many creatures. I have not committed even one sin till this morning. Only today I accidentally killed this cockroach, and even this sin I am struggling to wash off by some mortification.”

“Is that so?” asked Savitri. “Don’t be very anxious. I have killed millions of fish. You have not committed any sin. This cockroach-sin need not worry you. Give it here. I will add it to this basketful of fish-sin. You will be freed instantly. You need not worry, and I won’t either; the addition of a little cockroach to the basketful of fish is not going to make any difference.”

Parvati was highly pleased. She gave away the dead cockroach to Savitri, who placed it in the basket of fish. Parvati was thoroughly relieved. Savitri was not concerned at all by her action.

It so happened that both women died on the same day. A heavenly chariot came to take Savitri to heaven, while the messengers of hell approached Parvati. Parvati was puzzled and enraged. She asked the messengers, “What! You must have made a mistake. I am not Savitri, the sinner. I am Parvati, the pious. Take Savitri and send the chariot for me to go to heaven.”

“Good lady!” replied the messengers of hell, “we make no mistakes. You are wanted in hell. Savitri will go to heaven.”

“But why?”

“O Parvati! it was the duty of Savitri to sell fish. She did not kill them for her pleasure but as a duty. She was devoted to her duty and at the same time she was devoted to God and did all her actions as offerings to the Lord and as His instrument. Therefore she merits heaven. You, on the other hand, killed a cockroach and felt ‘I have killed a cockroach’. You did some charity and good actions only to fatten your egoism and pride. In your pride you thought disparagingly of saints and pious people. You never thought of God at all. You were haughty. You were extremely selfish. You even went to the extent of trying to transfer your sin to Savitri. She, on the contrary, was selfless enough to accept even that and to relieve you of the misery of sin-consciousness. Therefore she deserves to go to heaven and you to hell. Come, delay not.”

Stories That Transform

A FATHER AND son once went to a fair. The son got lost in the crowd. Everyone was talking and making a great noise. The father listened intently to catch his son’s voice. He knew that his son was there in the crowd. Eventually he was able to recognise his voice, though it was very much distorted by the noise of the crowd. He followed the source of the voice and discovered his son.

The father is the individual soul and the son is the Atman. The Self is “hidden” in the various objects of the world. Its Presence is felt by the wise soul in moments of deep reflection. If the Atman did not exist at all, then all attempts to realise It would be futile. If the Atman alone existed, without the veiling sheaths, there would be no need for doing Sadhana to attain It. Through the sheaths, through the objects of the world, the light of the Self, the bliss of the Atman, the peace of the Eternal, shine now and then, but grossly distorted by the deceptive Maya. The wise individual recognises this, follows It with one-pointed mind and finally reaches the fountain-source of light, peace and bliss–the Self, which is infinite and immortal.

The Best Choice

A millionaire left a will. He had several sons. He said in the will: “Let each of my sons choose one thing that he desires most. The rest of my estate shall go to the best of my slaves.”

The court of law asked the sons to choose whatever they wanted. One chose a palace, another a costly jewel, a third wanted a garden.

The turn of the last son came. He rose and said, “Sir, I choose my father’s slave.”

Everyone was puzzled. What a poor choice!

But no, by choosing this one slave, the young man had automatically become the owner of the entire property left over after the other sons had been satisfied. Because by law the slave’s property belongs to his master, the young man automatically became the owner of the entire property plus the faithful slave.

Similar is the case with the wise aspirant. He aspires for the lowliest position, the humblest life, the simplest attire. In serving the poor, the sick and the suffering, he finds his delight. In them he sees the Lord. And what does he get? He attains union with the Lord of the universe. He becomes the master of all spiritual wealth. Is there anything greater than this? But those who choose the petty things of the world, the ephemeral sense-objects, waste their lives away and gain nothing worthwhile.

Aspire for God-realisation. You will then obtain the highest wealth of Cosmic Consciousness. Then everything else will be added unto this attainment.

Service of Saints

Lord Krishna playfully entered the house of a cowherd. This Gopa at once locked the door and said to Krishna, “O Lord! You are now caught. Please bless me. Place your divine palm on my head. I will attain liberation. Then only will I let you go”

However much Krishna tried, the Gopa refused even to entertain the thought that Krishna was only a cow-herd.

The Lord was pleased. He blessed the Gopa. The Gopa at once said, “Bhagawan, please place your hand on that pot also.”

The Lord playfully did so. At once a deer jumped out and fell at the feet of the Lord; the deer also attained liberation.

In his previous birth the Gopa was a Maharishi. He had a deer which ate of his leavings and was highly devoted to him. When he departed from this world, the deer prayed to him, “Maharishi, please grant me also release from this Samsara. If you remember me, you can do so. You are going to take birth as the Lord’s playmate in your next birth. I will be born as a pot in your house. Please secure the Lord’s blessings for me also.”

The Maharishi promised. The next birth was their last birth.

Serve the saints. Be devoted to them. Whether you have other qualifications or not, you will attain liberation when they get their liberation.

We Are His Responsibility

A party of six people were having a pleasure ride in a motor-boat near the Bombay harbour. Suddenly the weather changed and the sea was turbulent. Several people in the boat grew panic-stricken, but one Sikh alone remained unperturbed.

An Anglo-Indian woman, who was greatly worried over her safety, was annoyed to see the Sikh sitting apparently without the least worry, with a serene smile playing on his face.

“Are you mad?” she asked. “The boat is about to sink and you are sitting there as though nothing is happening.”

“Mother,” replied the Sikh, “did we create ourselves? No. Someone–God–has created us. Does He not have the power to protect us? Is He not protecting us? Who is responsible for our lives? It is God. Who feeds us daily? God. Who makes the breath flow in our nostrils? It is God. Who enables us to digest our food? Who makes our hearts pump blood? God. We are His responsibility. His Will be done, mother. Fear not. He will protect us.”

“Fool!” exclaimed the Anglo-Indian woman, “your foolishness is surely going to land you at the bottom of the sea. Come, be wise, put the life-belt on and jump with us. We will float along till someone rescues us.”

The Sikh looked away, apparently deeply immersed in thought. The Anglo-Indian lady jumped off the boat with some others. They were promptly seized by a shark which had a good meal of them. Tossed about on the waves, the motor-boat danced its way safely to the shore with the Sikh and a few others. The co-passengers of the Sikh greatly admired his faith in God and became his followers.

Mada-Devata’s Trick

Lobeswar was rolling in wealth. He had inherited great wealth and he lived for accumulating wealth alone. He had no other thought. There was no unrighteous act he did not do to acquire and accumulate wealth. He robbed and ill-treated many for money.

Lobeswar’s sons died one by one. He had no one in the world to look after him. He was growing old. The villagers cheated him, robbed him of his wealth and despised him. In despair he resorted to the worship of a Tamasic Deity, Mada-Devata, outside his village. He had the firm feeling that the Mada-Devata was the highest Divinity, the Supreme Brahman Himself

Lobeswar fell gravely ill. The villagers merely laughed at him. He was confident that the Mada-Devata would save him. A few minutes before his death, the Mada-Devata took him bodily to Benares by its magic powers. He died at Benares with the Rama-Mantra on his lips and attained liberation. God, whom Lobeswar had worshipped through the Mada-Devata, had in His own very mysterious way saved him.

Whatever Devata you worship, feel that it is the Supreme Brahman. You will surely attain liberation.

The Story of The Conch

Jealousy is the essential nature of Maya. This trait is everywhere. There is a beautiful story to illustrate that a jealous man loses in the end, and that one loses even a good boon by misuse due to jealousy.

A man once obtained a conch by worshipping a certain Deity. It could fulfil all his desires when it was blown, but at the same time his neighbour would get double the benefit.

The man blew the conch, desiring a mansion. At once he obtained a beautiful mansion to live in, but his neighbour got two mansions. Again he blew the conch, desiring an elephant. He got it, but his neighbour obtained two elephants.

The owner of the conch became jealous of his neighbour. He did not want him to be benefited. So he again blew the conch with the desire that he should lose one eye. The neighbour and his family lost both their eyes. When they came out of their house they fell into a well and got drowned as they were blind. They lost their lives on account of the jealousy of the man.

Coming to know of these events, the Deity snatched the conch away from the hands of the jealous man and admonished him severely.

The story teaches us that one should give up jealousy, as it is one of the Shad-ripus mentioned in our Shastras. One should desire the welfare of all. Jealousy is a terrible canker that ruins one completely. It destroys all peace, holiness and merit. It deludes one and makes one completely blind.

The Story of Grief

A landlord had built a fine bungalow at a cost of Rs. 4,000. It was the fruit of his savings over a number of years. He himself planned the house and had it built under his personal supervision. Now he suddenly began dreaming every night that the house had crumbled down. He was very worried and consulted the astrologers. They too confirmed that the building would not stand. There was no limit to his grief.

His shrewd wife gave him an idea. He sold the house for Rs. 4,000. With the crisp hundred-rupee notes, he went to live in a rented hut. He slept happily that night and woke up the next morning to hear that some mischief-mongers had set fire to his old house and that it had been reduced to rubble. He himself went over to the house and watched the spectacle with not a trace of grief. He was inwardly happy that he had sold it in time. The house was no longer his. He remembered the forty hundred-rupee notes in his money-box–his money. He ran back to his house.

The nightmares returned. Thoughts of robbers kept him awake at night. He suspected his own brothers and even his sons. His wife came to his rescue again. On her advice he deposited the money in the State Bank and got the receipt. The next day there was a daring bank robbery and it was reported that all the money had been stolen. But our landlord was not worried; he had his receipt with him.

Fear once again began to haunt him. The thought that his sons might poison him and claim the money from the bank with the receipt, began to obsess him.

A holy man from the village came to him one day and pleaded for help to run the orphanage that had been established there. Taking that as the command of the Lord, the good landlord at once went in, brought the receipt and handed it over to the Sadhu as his contribution to the orphanage. A building was constructed in the orphanage in the name of the landlord. His reputation as a noble, generous man spread far and wide. People held him in high esteem. He had no fear now. He knew that, so long as he was alive, the people around him would make him happy and that he could live in peace. He also knew that when he left this world, the charity and prayers of the orphans would stand him in good stead in the other world.

Attachment brings grief. What you consider “mine” turns into your own enemy. From it springs all grief. When you detach yourself from an object, it ceases to worry you. Cut at the root of attachment. Treat everything as His. You will enjoy peace and happiness.


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