Words of wisdom
Panditji was in an effervescent mood. He had been invited for a wedding function and the mere thought of all those delicacies awaiting him, had stirred up his benevolent nature.
It was no surprise therefore, that Panditji was humming under his breath as he picked up his umbrella and stepped out of his house. He had to take a boat in order to attend the wedding in the village across the river.
"Hurry up," he told Baiju, the boatman.
Baiju was a little hesitant. The sun was shining brightly now, but his years of experience told him that this was just a lull before the storm. It was going to rain, and heavily at that, very soon. But Baiju did not want to lose the ten rupees in fare and he figured he would be able to make it to the other bank just in time before the heavens opened up.
So, there the two presented a pretty picture - Panditji softly humming under his breath, and Baiju rowing with all his might - the image of a ten rupee note acting as a stimulant.
Panditji was soon overcome by a desire to make some conversation with Baiju so that the latter could profit from his wisdom.
Panditji: Baiju can you recite the shlokas?
Baiju wiped away the huge water drop that had fallen on his nose before replying, "No."
Panditji was aghast. "In that case, one-fourth of your life has been wasted," He told Baiju, glad that he had got an opportunity to reform the boatman.
It had started raining in right earnest now. Baiju rowed harder.
Panditji was snug under the boat's canopy and as the boat neared the banks, the vision of the delicacies grew vivid.
"Tell me, do you know whether it is the sun which goes around the earth or is it the earth that goes around the sun?"
Baiju answered truthfully that he did not know the answer.
Panditji said it was a pity. "You have wasted half your life," he told Baiju.
Baiju also began to think that his life had been a wasted one. But his immediate concern now was the rains which had begun falling down in sheets.
"Do you read the newspapers?" Panditji asked.
Baiju said he could neither read nor write.
"What! You are illiterate! Then, I must say you have wasted three-fourths of your life," Panditji told him.
The little boat had started rocking now.
Baiju looked at Panditji. He too wanted to ask a question.
"Can you swim?" he picked up enough courage to ask Panditji.
"Nnno," Panditji spluttered.
And, then, it happened.
The boat overturned!
Panditji flailed his arms.
Baiju swam strongly towards the shore, but as he did so he felt it his duty to remind Panditji of the inherent danger of riding in a boat without being adept in the skill of swimming.
"..... then, you have wasted your entire life," his voice reached Panditji.
Mullah Nasruddin was working for a very rich man. The employer, however, had a nagging habit and was never satisfied with Mullah's work even if he did it with utmost care.
The employer always wanted Mullah to think ahead of his needs. "Whenever I come home from outside, I need tea. Immediately upon seeing me coming, you must put the water to boil to make me tea without my having to tell you to do so," he told Nasruddin.
"After having tea, I like to read the newspaper. You must, therefore, ensure that the newspaper is by my side without my having to ask for it."
"While reading the newspaper, one is bound to get an urge to smoke. You must, therefore, make sure that my packet of cigarettes and the match box are there on the table within my reach," the employer told Nasuruddin.
The Mullah was tired of his employer's idiosyncracies. It was impossible to think ahead of any person's needs. Even after being told that he should bring over a cup of tea immediately after the employer returned home from outside, the man, if not in the right mood, would shout at him for doing so saying any reasonable-minded employee would have brought him a cold drink instead of tea on a such a warm afternoon. Thus, the Mullah's life was far from pleasant.
One day the employer fell sick and he asked Nasruddin to fetch the doctor who lived only a few blocks away. Nasruddin returned with the doctor after two hours. The employer was livid with anger. "Why did it take you so long?" he demanded to know.
"Well, I followed your instructions of thinking ahead of your subsequent requirements," Nasruddin replied.
"What could be my subsequent requirements in this case?" the employer asked.
"After calling upon the doctor, I was sure you would require medicines. So I went to the pharmacist and brought along one of his assistants. The medicines may not have the desired effect and, so, I brought along the local priest whose prayers could help. God forbid, but thinking ahead I realised that if the priest's prayers did not work, I will have to inform the undertaker to make arrangements for the funeral. I have brought him along with me as well," Nasruddin stated the facts without batting an eyelid.
Once a priest, a social worker, and Nasruddin were talking about their offerings to God. The priest said, "Every month, I draw a circle one meter in diameter and I stand in the center. All the money that I have collected that month, I throw up into the air. Whatever falls outside the circle, I offer that to God, and the rest I keep for myself."
The social worker was not to be left behind. He said, "The circle that the priest draws is very wide and, so, there is more likelihood of more money landing within the circle. I am more selfless. Every month, I draw a circle which is only half a meter in diameter. I stand in the center and toss up all my money into the air. Whatever lands outside the circle goes to God, and the rest I keep for my needs. The circle being smaller, more money falls outside the circle than within."
Nasruddin was listening very carefully. "I think I am more selfless than either of you," he said. This, of course angered the priest and the social worker.
"What do you do? How much money do you donate every month?" they both wanted to know.
"The priest draws a circle which is one metre in diameter while the social worker draws a circle that is half-metre in diameter. I do not draw any circle at all," he replied.
"Does that mean you donate all your money?" the priest and the social worker wanted to know.
"Well I let God decide how much to take and how much to leave for me," Nasruddin said evasively.
"As I said, I don't draw a circle. I just stand ouside and throw up into the air all the money that I have and shout out to God, 'Oh God, take whatever you need and return back to the ground whatever you want me to have'," Nasruddin replied non-chalantly.