A king, during his hey days, was pious enough to visit the deities of the three ancestral temples everyday, despite his busy schedule, before breakfast. An orphan boy, day in and day out, watched the king very austerely follow this schedule and believed that the king drew his strength, power, and prosperity from this practice and hence decided to emulate him. Accordingly, the boy made it a point to shunt between the three temples everyday, early in the morning.
The boy, orphan as he was, used to eke out his living by attending to the household chores of his neighbors and polishing and washing the vehicles at the bus stop. His close association with the bus staff earned him the post of a bus cleaner. Subsequently, his sincerity and hard work earned him the post of a bus conductor and then a driver.
After saving a handful of money, he ventured to purchase a bus of his own. He succeeded in this pursuit as well. His hard work and bubbling confidence was rewarded and he continued to flourish with every passing day. After a couple of decades, he had a fleet of buses.
But all the while, he never forgot to visit all the three temples every morning. The only difference was he used to walk the distance but subsequently commuted with a bicycle, motorcycle and finally with a car, during successive periods of his life. He presumed that his prosperity was solely due to the combined blessings of the deities.
He nurtured a fervent desire to renovate one of the temples, as a symbolic gesture of his gratitude. On completion of the repair, lest his huge investment might go unnoticed, he carved his name on the temple wall.
The patriarch king, as such, had no estate by then but was alive and still commanded a lot of respect from the people of his erstwhile estate. He was terribly shocked and annoyed on learning of the temple repair episode.
He inquired about the man and summoned him to the palace. The man, in turn, felt elated and promptly responded by turning up in the palace with glee, presuming that finally his achievements have been noticed and acknowledged, by none other than the king.
On reaching the palace premises, to his utter surprise and delight, he found the otherwise closed vast durbar (royal court) hall, to be open. He was guided inside it. His surprise knew no bounds when he saw the king himself, with full regal attire, seated on the throne.
It was a childhood dream come true for the man and spontaneously drew him nearer to the throne and paid his hearty obeisance to the king. The king, on the other hand, jumped from the throne and started whipping the man while he was still lying prostrate on the floor.
Before he knew what was going on, the king roared, while whipping unabated, "You fool! Was the temple your paternal property? How dare you carve your name on the wall of the temple, which belonged to the royal dynasty? My ancestors constructed the temple but they never deemed it proper to carve their name, this being a public property. Why did you think a mere renovation entitled you the right to record your name?"
Thundered the king, "Is it perhaps the money earned which has gone to your head? You are given a day's time to make amends. Don't you dare repeat it! I excuse this act of yours, for you are an uneducated fool."
The king continued in the same vein and pronounced, "Don't you know, the people are meant only to render services, but it is only the king, who is entitled to glorification, for all the achievements, irrespective of proclamation? Furthermore, it is no service if you expect returns and true devotion doesn't crave for recognition."
Copyright © 2011 Golakbihari Kar, S.E.
Life has been my best teacher and here is a real life incident said to have occurred almost four decades ago. It was passed on to me by my late father and I have reconstructed the same in the shape of a story.
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