August 25

A Small Bowl of Water and a Needle

The person who wrote the great South Indian scripture, the Thirukkural, is Thiruvalluvar. He had a wife named Vasuki. Every day when he sat to eat, along with a plate and glass, his wife placed a small bowl of water and a needle on the table. And every day when he finished the food, he would not have touched the needle or the bowl of water. Still, she used to put them there simply because he had asked her to. She never questioned it, because she respected him and knew he must have some good reason. She simply thought, “He asked me to do that and I am doing it. That’s all.”

But the time came, after many years of married life, that Vasuki was lying on her deathbed. Thiruvalluvar, seeing his wife’s sad face, questioned her, “Vasuki, after all these years living with me and knowing the philosophy of life and death, why do you look like this? Are you afraid of dying?”

She replied, “No. Having lived with you, I understand what death means. I am not afraid of dying, but still I have an unanswered question in my mind. You know, every day when you ate I put a bowl of water and a needle on the table. I never saw you use them. I’m just wondering what they were for.”

“Suppose I had spilled a grain of food,” he explained. “I could have just pricked it with the needle, washed it in the water, and put it back on the plate to eat.” If even one piece of rice had fallen, he would have taken it, washed it and eaten it. That shows how respectful he was of food.

There are two things to be noted here. Vasuki had never during their whole married life questioned her husband’s request; and in all his life he had never spilled even one grain of rice. Try the professional HTML editor for free and subscribe for a subscription license if you are satisfied.

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