The mean master

Post sayings and stories you find interesting or useful.

The mean master

Postby fabianfred » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:52 am

Indian society has a very narrow band of middle class;
people are either very rich or very poor. Once, there was
a millionaire who owned a very big house with a fleet of
servants. Unfortunately, no one liked him at all. This included
his entire staff, and even his wife and children loathed him.
Indeed, he was a miserable, penny-pinching man. Despite his
overwhelming wealth, his selfishness took his popularity away
and left him without any friend.

Gossiping about the meanness of the master was a pastime enjoyed by the servants and people
in the neighbourhood. Although he had a proper name, no one
knows and everyone called him ‘the mean master’. While other
millionaires in town would set up food shelters and fed
hundreds of beggars every day, the mean master was far from
being a philanthropist, he had no intention of doing so. Most
beggars knew about his tight-fisted reputation and often walked
past this rich household without bothering to beg.

The great King Sakka or Indra was the supreme leader
of the heavenly beings called Tavatimsa – the realm of the
Thirty-three gods. He often looked over the events on earth
and put the world to rights. One day, he thought that he
would correct the character of the mean master. He then came
down to earth. By using his heavenly power, he made himself
look exactly like the mean master. It was the day of a festival.
Everyone dressed up in their best clothes and went to the fair
except the members of this rich household. They not only
had no best clothes to wear like others but also had no extra
money to spend at the fair. Life went on as usual in this
miserable household.
However, the mean master went to the fair by himself
without asking his wife and children to come along for fear that
he would have to pay extra for everything they might want to
buy at the fair. He took with him a few loose coins. He went
through nearly every food stall in the fair and could not decide
what he would have to make spending his money really
worthwhile. However, he had soft spot for sweets, and his
mouth watered terribly when he stood by a stall watching a man
making all the colourful candy floss. It suited him right to the
ground because that was one of the cheapest sweets they sold
in the fair and he didn’t mind paying just two coppers for
something he really enjoyed eating. He walked around with the
candy floss in his hand and ate it joyfully.
“I must be the luckiest millionaire in town to be able to
walk around in this fair and eat the most delicious candy floss.”
Said the mean master to himself. His selfishness allowed him
to see only what he wanted to see and nothing else.

No sooner had the mean master left the house, than
King Sakka arrived at the entrance appearing exactly the same
as the master of the house. He walked into the front courtyard
with a smiling face and greeted all the servants with kindness
and warm heartedness. Everyone was shocked, and could not
believe that this jolly man was the mean master. That was
because the mean master never smiled to anyone; he only
moaned and groaned to people. At first, the servants thought
that it was the mean master’s twin brother. The great deity knew
exactly what was going through everyone’s mind. He called
everyone to gather around the front courtyard and said:
“Don’t worry, I know what you are thinking. Today is an
auspicious day and I have decided to be a changed man. From
now on, I will be kind and generous to every one of you. Soon,
you will call me the kind master instead of the mean master.
So, right now, I want every one of you to have a day off and go
enjoy yourself at the fair. But before you go, I want you to help
yourself to some new clothes. I have plenty of new clothes
tucked away in the back room. Go and help yourself. You will
also have some money to spend at the fair. Raju, my head
servant, will hand out money for you before you leave.”
No sooner did his speech end, than the thundering sound
of cheers and joy burst out from all the members in the
household. Everyone greeted the good news with great delight
although some were surprised by their master’s sudden change
of heart. Nevertheless, the whole house was filled with smiles,
joy, and happiness. People began to sing, dance and tease one
another while they went to choose their new clothes and
prepared to leave for the fair. They were all very happy to see
that at last their master had turned into a philanthropist.
The great heavenly being in human form then turned to
the wife and children who were still in shock and could not
believe their old man’s sudden altruistic behaviour, and said:
“Now, I know that you always want to give to the poor
and beggars. Why don’t you do it today? You know where
everything is. Just help yourself to whatever you want to give
away. You don’t have to ask me. Just do it.”

The wife and children bent down to touch the feet of
the husband and father as a gesture of respect, not knowing
that it was the great Indra from heaven. Then, they went off to
do exactly what a millionaire was supposed to do – give to the
poor and beggars. With the help of the children and a few
servants, they managed to give food, clothes and money to the
poor and the beggars in the neighbourhood. The news quickly
spread and soon there was a long queue waiting.
In the mean time, while the mean master was enjoying
himself at the fair, he was greeted so happily by some of his
servants who had just arrived. Some of them even bent down
to touch his feet and say thank you. The mean master was very
surprised by his servants’ behaviour because no one in the
household ever greeted him with a smile let alone giving him
such high respect. He could not understand what made them
so very happy. Then, he suddenly spotted that all the servants
who came to greet him had brand new clothes and some money
with them to spend. He began to get suspicious and knew the
only way to find out was to go home.

As he turned round the corner of the road which would
lead up to his house, he saw a long queue of beggars lining up.
When he stretched his neck up trying to see where the queue
came from, he was quite sure that there was a big crowd of
people right at the main gate of his house. Fear quickly set in
his heart and he couldn’t imagine what was happening in his
household especially to all his wealth. He could hear his own
heart beating like a drum at high speed. He ran straight to his
house, used his hands pushing people away so that he could get
through to the main gate.
The mean master was frozen by the picture he saw right
in front of him. His mouth was dry and his eyes were wide
open. He couldn’t speak and was in deep shock. What he saw
was the picture of his smiling wife, children and a few servants
busy handing out food, clothes and money to the poor. Then
suddenly, the mean master burst out with a big shout:
“Stop, stop, everyone stops right now!”
His face was red and filled with anger. Then, silence crept
in and spread from that small area to the outer circle. Everyone
stared at the mean master and tried to understand the situation.

Suddenly, the great heavenly being, Indra, appeared right in the
middle of the crowd before anyone could say anything. The
king of the heaven still appeared to look the same as the mean
master. Indeed, both of them were standing facing each other.
The silence pierced even deeper when the crowd saw the two
men facing each other looked totally identical. Indra broke the
silence first and said:
“I am Indra, the great king of Tavatimsa – the realm of
the Thirty-three gods. I came down from heaven today to give
this selfish man a lesson. The reputation of your meanness had
reached heaven and made my seat hot. That’s why I had to come
down to sort you out.”
No sooner had his words finished, than his body
transformed into the most magnificent and glorious man
who was every inch a divine being. The crowd cheered with
a thundering sound, then stopped suddenly and everyone was
down on their knees including the mean master who was now
trembling with fear.
The great king looked at the shaken mean master and
continued:
“I know that your fear of losing your wealth right now
is much greater than your fear of me. You are a despicable
person. Your selfishness had made everyone loathe you. I
wanted you to have a taste of being liked, loved and having
respect from others which are something you never had before
because you love your money too much.”
The mean master began to recall the feeling he
encountered briefly at the fair when his servants came to greet
him with happiness and touched his feet. Although he was
bewildered by the most unexpected event, he had to admit that
it was indeed a very good feeling knowing that someone liked
him and had respect for him. The words of the great king hit
him right in his heart. He began to see how miserable he was.
Judging from the happy faces of his wife and children when
they were giving made him realise how much his family had
to put up with his selfishness.

Following the divine speech and having put everything
in perspective, the mean master began to feel ashamed of
himself and wanted to offer a sincere apology first. He then
crawled pitifully a few inches to the great king from heaven,
placing his hands on the divined feet, head down and face
touching the ground. Suddenly he was taken over by the fear of
death. He spoke with a trembling voice to the holy man:
“Please do forgive me, my lord. I promise I will change.
I will have a change of heart from now on. I promise. Please
don’t take my life away. I will be a good millionaire and give
charity everyday.”
The great king of Tavatimsa was pleased to hear the
answer from the mean master who was about to have a change
of heart. He then said:
“Good, that is what I want to hear and you’d better
make sure that you keep your promise. Otherwise, I’ll be back!
By the way, don’t worry. All the clothes, food and money that
these people had today are not yours, they are all mine.”

Right at that instant, the great king of Tavatimsa
disappeared into thin air along with all the clothes, food and
money which were waiting to be handed out earlier. The mean
master stood up and took over the situation. He proclaimed
loudly to the crowd:
“Please wait for a moment. I will bring you more
clothes, food and money.”
The crowd cheered with great joy towards their
master’s philanthropic gesture. The mean master disappeared
into his house. A short while later, he came out again with a
row of his servants who carried food and fine clothes. He
himself carried with him a big bowl of coins.
From then on, the kind master, which was his new
name, regularly gave to the poor. He had finally joined other
kind millionaires in town and become a proper philanthropist.
He was well loved and respected by his family, servants and
people. He had never had another visit from the great king again.
fabianfred
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:06 am
Location: Fang, Chiangmai

Return to Dhammic Stories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests