GREATER EVEN THAN THE GURU!

A POOR brahmana had a rich cloth merchant as his disciple. The merchant was very miserly by nature. One day the brahmana was in need of a small piece of cloth for covering his sacred book. He went to his disciple and asked for the required piece of cloth; but the merchant replied: "I am very sorry, sir. Had you told me of this a few hours earlier, I would have given you the thing wanted. Unfortunately, now I have no small piece of cloth which will answer your purpose. However, I shall remember your requirement, but please remind me of it now and then." The brahmana had to go away disappointed. This conversation between the guru and his worthy disciple was overheard by the wife of the latter from behind a screen. She at once sent a man after the brahmana, and calling him inside the house, said, "Revered Father, what is it that you were asking from the master of the house?" The brahmana related all what had happened. The wife said: "Please go home sir; you will get the cloth tomorrow morning." When that merchant returned home at night the wife asked him, "Have you closed your shop?" The merchant

said, "Yes, what is the matter?" She said, "Go at once and bring two cloths of the best quality in the shop." He said, "Why this hurry? I shall give you the best cloth tomorrow morning." The wife, however, insisted, "No, T must have them just now or not at all." What could the poor merchant do? The person whom he had now to deal with was not the spiritual guru whom he could send away with vague and indefinite promises, but the 'curtain guru' whose behests    must be

instantaneously obeyed, or else there would be no peace for him at home. At last the merchant, willingly enough, opened the shop, at that late hour of the night, and brought the cloths for her. Early next morning, the good lady sent the article to the guru with the message, "If in future you want anything from us, ask me, and you will get it." (26)