A beggar used to beg outside a temple every day and eat whatever he got as alms. A great sage once visited the temple and the beggar asked him, “Sir, is it my fate to be a beggar till the end of my life?”
The sage told him, “That is your fate. You will remain like this till the end of your life.”
The beggar asked the sage, “Can’t I change my fate? What should I do to change it?”
“It is possible if you see Lord Siva. Go see him,” the sage said.
So the beggar set out to see Lord Siva.
As it became very late, he knocked on the door of a wealthy man and requested permission to spend the night there. The rich man asked, “Where are you going?” When the beggar explained, the affluent man and his wife requested him to do them a favour. They explained that they had a daughter who was mute from birth. They wanted the beggar to ask Lord Siva and let them know when she would start speaking.
The beggar agreed, spent the night in their house and left the next morning.
After a long time he finally reached a big mountain. He was struggling to cross it when a magician arrived. He said that he would help the beggar cross the mountain using his magic wand. But he needed a favour in return. “For the last 500 years I have been unable to attain salvation. Please find out from Lord Siva how I can be liberated.” The beggar agreed to it too and the magician helped him cross the mountain.
The beggar started walking again and reached a river that he would have to cross to reach Lord Siva’s abode. When he was wondering how to cross the river, a tortoise swam up to him. On hearing about the beggar’s quest and the need to cross the river, it too offered to help in return for a favour. “I want to be able to fly. You must ask Lord Siva what I must do to start flying,” it told him and helped him cross the river.
Finally the beggar reached the abode of Lord Siva and sought his blessings. Lord Siva told him to ask whatever he wanted, but he was permitted only three questions. The beggar thought about it, “I have to ask four questions. But Lord Siva has given me permission to ask three questions only.” He didn’t know what to do. Suddenly an idea struck him. “I can spend the rest of my life begging. But at least let the problems of the other three be solved,” he thought. He asked Lord Siva the questions the other three had asked, got Lord Siva’s reply and returned.
First the tortoise asked him for Lord Siva’s reply. For that the beggar replied, “If you remove your shell and throw it away you will be able to fly.” The tortoise immediately removed its shell, gave it to the beggar and flew away. That shell was embedded with coral and pearls. The beggar took the precious stones and proceeded.
He told the magician, “For your salvation you must leave your magic wand.” The magician gave his magic wand to the beggar and attained salvation.
Next he went to meet the rich man and told him, “When your daughter meets the man she likes, she will start speaking.” Just then the daughter came down the stairs and asked, “Father, isn’t he the man who came home the other night?”
The rich man got his only daughter married to the beggar. From that day, the beggar became a rich man. He led a happy life with his beautiful wife and had the magic wand and coral and pearls too.
From this story we learn that rather than praying for ourselves if we pray for the welfare of others, our sorrows as well as that of others will be alleviated. Similarly, only God can change the fate he has written for us. All we have to make sure is that we don’t lose everything in an attempt to change our fate.
Help ever; Hurt never. Be kind, compassionate, positive, proactive and prayerful.