A Sincere Man’s Promise
This is a true story about two friends. One day a young man said to his good friend, “I can see that some day you will become great and rich.”
His friend scoffed, “Ridiculous! How will I become a great and rich man?”
The first friend said, “Yes, I can see it. It is written on your forehead.”
The second one said, “All right, if I become great and rich, I will give you ten thousand rupees.”
“Do you really mean it?” the first friend asked. “if so, then write it down.”
The second one wrote down, “I will give you 10,000 rupees if ever I become rich and great,” and he signed his name.
The young man kept the note that his friend had written, but he never took his friend seriously. The agreement was made as a joke. Now, it happened that in 10 or 12 years the one friend really did become rich and great, while the other unfortunately remained quite poor. By that time both friends had drifted apart and were leading their own lives. Even so, the poor friend continued to preserve the note, although he felt that since it was a joke, he would never receive the money.
Quite unexpectedly, the poor man fell seriously ill. just before he died, he called his son, who was only seven years old, and said to him, “My son, please bring me the box that is near the window. Inside it there is something very precious that I have kept for you.”
The son was so sad that his father was dying that he did not want to bring the box. He felt that nothing could be more precious than his father’s life. But the father insisted, so the son went and got the box. Then the father said, “When I die . . .” and immediately the little boy and his mother started crying. But the father continued, “After I die, you go to this man and show him what he has written.” The wife and son looked at the paper and were surprised to learn that the rich man had promised to give his friend ten thousand rupees. But at that moment they could think of nothing but their beloved who was about to leave them.
Soon the man died. Their friendship had faded so much that the rich man, who was once the poor man’s best friend, did not even come to see him before he left this world. But after three or four weeks’ time the son took the note to the rich man. The rich man had many servants. At first they didn’t want to allow this little boy to bother their master. But finally, when they saw he was only an innocent child, they allowed him to come in.
The boy gave the rich man the note. The rich man read it and asked, “Did I write this?”
The boy said, I do not know. Before he died, my father gave it to me to give to you.” The son was near tears. The rich man summoned one of his secretaries and explained, “I promised this boy’s father many years ago that I would give him 10,000 rupees if I became rich and great. I have been rich for seven years; please calculate how much interest I have to give him in addition to the 10,000 rupees.”
The secretary told him, “An additional 7,000 rupees, which makes it 17,000 altogether.”
The rich man immediately issued a check for 17,000 rupees and gave it to the little boy, saying, “Take this directly to your mother. Don’t go anywhere else first.” This is how one sincere man kept his promise.
from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy
Published by Health Communications