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Chapter 47

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

  • Story of Veerbhadrappa and Chenbassappa (the Snake and the frog)

Sai satcharitra images (2).png

Om Shri Sai Nathay Namah

Preliminary

Blessed is the face of our Lord Sai; If we cast a glance at Him for a moment, He destroys the sorrow of many past births and confers great bliss on us and if He looks at us with grace, our bondage of Karma is immediately destroyed and we are led to happiness. The river Ganges washes away the dirt and sins of everyone who goes to her for a bath, but she intently longs for the saints to come to her and bless her with their feet and remove all the dirt (sins) accumulated in her. She knows for certain that this accumulation can only be removed by the holy feet of the saints. Sai is the crest-jewel of the saints and now hear from him the following purifying story.

  • The Snake and the frog

Sai Baba once began to tell a story: “One morning, after having my breakfast, I strolled along till I came to the banks of a small river. As I was tired, I rested there, washed my hands and feet and had a bath and felt refreshed. There was a foot-path and a cart-track sheltered by shady trees and the breeze was blowing gently. As I was preparing to smoke my pipe, I heard the croaking of a frog. I was striking the flint and lighting the fire, when a traveler turned up, sat by my side, bowed to me and politely invited me to his house. He lit up the pipe and handed it over to me.

 

The croaking was heard again and he wanted to know what it was. I told him that a frog was in trouble and was suffering the bitter fruit of its own karma. We have to reap the fruit of what we sow (do) in our past life, and there is no use crying about it. Then he smoked and handed the pipe back to me and said that he would go there in person and see for himself. I told him that a frog had been caught by a big snake and was crying for help. They were both very wicked in their past life and were now reaping the fruit of their actions in these bodies. He went out and found that a huge black serpent was holding a big frog in its mouth.

He returned and said that in a few minutes the frog would be eaten up by the snake. I said, ‘No, this can’t be! I am its father (protector) and I am here now; How can I allow the snake to eat the frog?  Just see how I save it!’

After smoking again, we walked to the place. He was afraid and asked me not to proceed further, as the snake might attack us. Not minding his words, I went ahead and addressed the creatures thus, ‘Veerbhadrappa! Has not your enemy Bassappa repented, despite being born as a frog? And you too, though born as a serpent, still maintain bitter enmity against him? Shame upon you! Give up your hatred and rest in peace!’

 

Hearing these words, the snake left the frog immediately and slithered into the river and disappeared. The frog also hopped away and hid itself in the bushes.

The traveler was very surprised; He said that he could not understand how the snake dropped the frog and disappeared when those words were said; who was Veerbhadrappa and who was Basssappa, and what was the cause of their enmity? I returned with him to the foot of the tree and after sharing a few puffs of smoke with him, I explained the whole mystery to him as follows.

There was an ancient holy place, sanctified by a temple of Mahadev, about 4 or 5 miles from my place. The temple was old and dilapidated and the residents of the place collected funds for its repairs. After a large amount was collected, an arrangement was made and plans with estimates for repairs were prepared. A rich local man was appointed the Treasurer and the whole project was entrusted to him. He was to keep regular accounts and be honest in all his dealings. He was a miser and spent very little for the repairs, which consequently made very little progress. He spent all the funds, pocketed some amount himself and spent nothing from his pocket. He had a sweet tongue and was very clever in offering plausible explanations regarding the poor and tardy progress of the work. The villagers again went to him and said that unless he lent his helping hand and tried his best, the work would not be complete. They requested him to work out a plan and again collected subscriptions and sent the amount to him. He received it, but did nothing again. A few days later, God appeared in his wife’s dreams and said to her, ‘You get up and build the dome of the temple; I will give you a hundred-fold of what you spend.’ She told her husband about this vision. He was afraid that it would involve some expense and therefore laughed it off, saying that it was a mere dream and thus not to be relied and acted upon. Why did God not appear to him and tell him? Wasn’t he sleeping right next to her? He said it looked like a bad dream— a dream that creates mistrust between spouses.

God does not like big subscriptions and donations collected against the wishes of the donors, but he likes ever-trifling amounts given with love, devotion and appreciation. A few days later, God again appeared in her dreams and said, ‘Do not bother yourself about your husband and the collections with him. Don’t press him to spend any amount for the temple. What I want is feeling and devotion; So give, if you like, anything of your own.’ She consulted her husband about this vision and decided to give God ornaments given to her by her father. The miser felt disconcerted and decided to cheat even God in this transaction. He undervalued the ornaments at 1,000 rupees, bought them himself and in lieu of the amount, gave a field to God as an endowment. The wife agreed to this; But the land was not his own. It belonged to a poor woman named Dubaki who had mortgaged it to him for 200 rupees. She had not been able to redeem it for a long time, so the cunning miser cheated everyone− his wife, Dubaki and even God. The land was sterile, uncultivated and worth nothing and yielded nothing, even in the best of seasons.

Thus, this transaction ended and the land was entrusted to the poor priest, who was very pleased with the endowment. Shortly afterwards, strange things happened; there was a terrific storm, lightning struck the house of the miser and he and his wife both died. Dubaki also breathed her last.

In the next life, the rich miser was born at Mathura in a Brahmin family and was named Veerbhadrappa. His devout wife was born as the daughter of the priest of the temple and was named Gouri. The woman Dubaki (the mortgagor) was born as a male in the family of the caretaker of the temple and was named Chenbassappa. The priest was a friend of mine, he often came to me and chatted and smoked with me. His daughter Gouri was also devoted to me. She was growing fast and her father was seeking a good husband for her. I told him not to worry about this, as the groom himself would come seeking her. Then there came a poor boy named Veerbhadrappa, wandering and begging to the priest’s house. With my consent, Gouri was given in marriage to him. He was also at first devoted to me, as I had recommended his marriage to Gouri. Even in this new life, he was after money and asked e tmo help him get it, as he was leading a married man’s life.

There was a sudden rise in land prices and by Gouri’s good luck, there was a great demand for land and the endowed land was sold for one hundred thousand rupees (100 times the value of her ornaments). Half the amount was paid in cash and the remaining was to be paid in 25 installments of 2,000 rupees each. Everyone agreed to this transaction, but began to quarrel over the money. They came to me for consultation; I told them that the property belonged to God and was vested in the priest, and Gouri was his sole heiress and thus no amount should be spent without her consent. I also said that her husband had no right whatsoever to the amount. Hearing my opinion, Veerbhadrappa was wroth with me and said that I wanted to establish Gouri’s claim and embezzle her property.

 

Hearing his words, I prayed to God and kept quiet. Veerbhadrappa scolded his wife (Gouri) and she came to me at noon and requested me not to mind his words and that I should not abandon her, as she was my daughter. Since she sought my protection, I gave her a pledge that I would even cross the seven seas to help her. That night, Gouri had a vision: God appeared in her dreams and said, ‘All the money is yours, do not give anything to anybody, spend some amount for temple repair in consultation with Chenbassappa and if you want to use it for some other purpose, consult Baba in the Masjid (myself).’ Gouri told me the vision and I gave her the proper advice in the matter. I told her to take the principal or capital amount for herself, give half the interest to Chenbassappa and that Veerbhadrappa had no role in the matter. While I was thus talking, both Veerbhadrappa and Chenbassappa came there quarreling. I tried my best to appease them and told them about Gouri’s vision. Veerbhadrappa got wild and angry and threatened to kill Chenbassappa by cutting him into pieces. The latter was timid; he caught my feet and sought my refuge. I pledged Myself to save him from the wrath of his foe. Then after some time, Veerbhadrappa died and was born as a snake and Chenbassappa died and was born as a frog. Hearing Chenbassappa’s cries for help and remembering my pledge, I came here, saved him and kept My word. God runs to His devotees in times of danger. He saved Chenbassappa (the frog) by sending me here. All this is God’s Leela”

  • The Moral

The moral of the story is that one has to reap what one sows, and there is no escape unless one suffers and squares up one’s old debts and dealings with others. It also teaches us that greed for money drags the greedy man to the lowest level, and ultimately brings destruction on him and others.

Bow to Shri Sai – Peace be to all!

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