One cold morning, while on his daily routine, he came across the village temple’s priest, Venkatachalam Shastri. Venkatachalam Shastri was a snob. He was very arrogant about his position. People were scared of him. That day, Priest Shastri, post his morning ablutions, was hurrying to the temple for morning prayers, chanting hymns. On the way, an urchin with a shabby dog by his side, tugged at the end of Shastri's expensive silk shawl.
Before the frail urchin could ask anything, Shastri turned around and started shouting, ‘Oh Shiva Shiva! Oh God! I have been contaminated by this boy! This is sacrilege! What will I do now? Even if I plunge thousand times in river Ganga, I will not be rid of this impurity.’
‘How dare you touch me?’ roared Shastri, his rotund body shivering and his bald pate shimmering with uncalled for sweat, at the urchin.
Earlier shivering with cold and now with fear, the urchin stuttered, ‘I.. I...approached you for your shawl Shastriji, as I and my dog were feeling cold. We..eee arre sorrry.’
‘How did you even think I would give you my shawl, you dirty pig? Huh?’ retorted Shastri with reddened eyes.
‘I am really sorry Shastriji,’ muffled the urchin.
Unable to contain his anger, Shastri shoved the urchin on to the ground and turned around to go back for a bath. The entire village stood witness to this but not a single person muttered a word against Shastri.
Seeing all this, Karma warned Shastri, ‘Shastriji, what you have done is not correct. Your actions are inappropriate as a person, leave as a priest.’
Shastri fumed at these words and shooed away the bee.
Next day, Karma was as usual on his daily tour of the village. He came across the urchin again. He looked at the boy in awe when he saw him offering half of his meagre food to the stray dog that had accompanied him the other day. He felt proud about the boy. The next day also he saw the same thing. This happened every day.
Suddenly, one day, the urchin disappeared from the village.
Days passed by. One gloomy winter night, suddenly, everything in the village started wobbling. People, forcing themselves out of sleep, ran out of their houses, to save their lives.
‘Earthquake! Earthquake!’ shouted people. Before anyone could do anything, the entire village collapsed. People ran helter and skelter to protect themselves and their loved ones but in vain. The entire village turned into dust.
Hearing the plight of the village, people from other villages came forward to help the victims of the nature’s brunt. People who were alive were in bad predicament. One day, a very rich man from a nearby village visited the village. He came to the deserted land of Samayapura with his entourage. Among his entourage, was a handsome boy. Karma’s eye instantly fell on the boy. On a second look, he realized who the boy was. He was the same urchin. Even in this remorse situation, Karma smiled from ear-to-ear.
The rich man asked this boy to offer food and blanket to the needy ones. The boy did it happily. Very politely, he offered food and blanket to each one of them. Everyone looked at him in surprise as they realized who he was.
‘Baba, please have this blanket. You are shivering from cold,’ the boy told to a desolate, frail, old man, who was none other than the arrogant priest. He was now nothing but a ragged man with a lost pride and buried ego.’
Seeing the boy, the appalled priest grumbled, ‘You? But how?’
Karma interrupted, “It’s Karma Shastriji. His were good and yours were not.”
Shastri sobbed uncontrollably hearing Karma’s words and apologized to the boy.
The boy consoled him, ‘No baba, don’t apologize. You are elder to me.’
Curious, Shastri asked, ‘how come you are with this rich man?’
‘Baba, it’s all God’s grace,’ smiled the boy, reminiscing that moment when he met this rich man.
‘Remember the dog that used to be with me always?’
‘Yeaas,’ replied Shastri, in doubt.
‘The dog’s name is Faith and he belonged to this rich man, whom now I call Appa.’
‘The dog had lost its way and come to our village. I took care of him like a brother. One day, while passing through our village, Appa saw Faith and recognized him. He was his lost dog, whom he had loved dearly. He took both of us with him and took good care of us. And now I am here,' smiled the boy in content.
As if in chorus, the desolate people of the village sighed.
Amazed at the miracle of God, Karma mumbled, ‘Good karma grants unexpected gifts and bad karma stings. It stings like a bee.’ Saying this, Karma buzzed away.
Photo Courtesy: Built to Inspire