Mamman sheth

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Let us go back some twenty-five hundred years. King Shrenik was ruling over the city of Rajagrihi in Bihar.

One day King Shrenik was sitting with his wife, Queen Chelana, at night on the Verandah of his palace. It was raining and lightning was flashing about in the sky.

The river in the neighbourhood of the royal palace was in space. Logs of wood were adrift and a man was pulling them out of water. This was seen by Queen Chelana. She was surprised at this sight; for, it was believed that King Shrenik’s subjects were happy.

The Queen spoke to the King about what she had seen and asked, “How ignorant are you of your people?  A poor man lives in our city and you are unaware of this! How is it that he is indigent and poor, inspite of your able administration?”

Meanwhile, lightning flashed again. And the king saw a poor man clad in loin-cloth carrying a heavy load of fire-wood. So the king called for the poor man and asked, “Who are you? Why do you work so hard when the whole city is at rest?”

The man then replied, “Sir, I am a poor Bania. My name is Mamman. I have a pair of bullocks at my place. Now one of the horns of a bullock remains to be made, so I want to construct it, hence, his labour.”

The king wondered what kind of bullocks he had! “Look, how he shivers on account of the wet breeze and cold,” he thought! The king wished to get the horn constructed for the Bania. So he asked him, “How much does it cost to construct a horn?”

The man replied, “Well, I can’t have the correct estimate of the expenses involved. Better come and see it. I want the fourth one to be made exactly as the remaining three horns are.”

The king then went to the house of Mamman the next day. He entered the house and after crossing many rooms came to a dark room. When this room was opened, it soon brightened. There were, a pair of bullocks made of gold and studded with precious gems. The horns, hoofs, front, nasal parts etc. were studded with precious gems. The eyes, too, looked real, though made of gems.

The king wondered at the beautiful images of the bullock. He said to the Queen, “Well, our royal treasury does not contain such precious gems. How can I pay for what he wants to be made? I can’t afford it!”

Then the King asked Mamman, “How will you get the horn made?” Mamman replied, “Sir, my sons go abroad to earn money for this horn. We don’t waste money. Neither do we waste time. We eat food made from one particular cereal and that, too, prepared in very little cooking oil. And yet we relish the food. Moreover, I don’t carry on any business. That requires investment. And perhaps there would be loss in place of gain. So I sell fire-wood pulled from the drift of the river. Sometimes I gain a lot of wood. I hope to make the horn out of what I thus earn. Anyhow, I want to get the remaining horn made.”

The king wondered at the stinginess of the man who lived a hard life to save money. In a few years the man without fulfilling his desire died. He was born in hell as a result of his stinginess and possessive instinct.

Moral: Possessiveness or attachment to Parigrah leads one to eternal damnation.

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