The Subtle Ego

Two brothers – Ramu and Shamu lived in Sonapur village. Ramu was very successful in his life – had property, more than enough money, fame and luxuries in his life. Shamu was hardworking but made barely enough to sustain himself and his family.

One evening Shamu invited Ramu for dinner at his home. Ramu looked at the furgal meal and started advising Shamu about how he is devoted to God and how God has made all his dreams come true. Shamu said that he also believes in God and is devout. To this Ramu retorted, if Shamu’s devotion was really true then he would not be going through all the troubles that he is facing in his life. Shamu’s concept of devotion is flawed and he needs to seriously think about his concept of devotion.

That night Shamu spent a sleepless night worried that all his years of devotion may have been misplaced and may be his devotion and prayer is not being heard by God. So the next morning, while praying he put a request to God “Please help me find the true way of devotion to you, if my concept of devotion is misplaced as my brother suggests”.

Years passed by and both the brothers aged. On a full moon night, both brothers passed away peacefully in sleep.

The demons from hell came to collect the soul of Ramu, while angels came to escort Shamu to heaven. Ramu was perplexed and asked the angels “How fair it was for him to be collected by the demons of hell. I have spent large amounts of money in renovating temples, given a lot of money in charity and done so many good deeds. Whereas my brother Shamu has done nothing like that, so how can he be taken to heaven and I sent to hell. How fair is that?”

One of the angels answered, “Yes, you have donated for temples and charity, but that was more out of your need to feel important – not because you cared about the temple or the person who was seeking charity. You have spent your entire life being judgmental about everyone around you and now you are being judged on your actions. Whereas Shamu might not have given money to build temples, but he has worked hard every day by actually being involved in constructing a temple, he has spent time with children helping them with their education, he has prayed asking to be lead to truth, he has fed the poor who come to his door (many times skipping his meal), he has given of his time, effort and more than all this he did all this in the true sense of service to the lord. Hence he deserves heaven.”


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