Stories From Mother Mirra | Prudence – Wise Merchant and Grateful Vultures

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

Mother Mirra the God-realized sage, wrote several stories in her lifetime, to highlight certain key moral qualities that every aspiring sadhak must adopt and incorporate in their behaviour – in their thoughts, words and modes of action. Although Mother wrote these engaging stories with children in view, they hold important lessons for all of us, who although grown-up in the eyes of the world, continue to exist in a state of spiritual childhood.

The enclosed story on cultivating the spiritual quality of prudence, of wisdom and good judgement that is free from greed and self-interest, has been taken from her book Words of Long Ago (Free Download).

"Vigilance is indispensable for all true progress. In each human being there is a beast crouching ready to manifest at the slightest unwatchfulness. The only remedy is a constant vigilance."  - Mother Mirra, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

“Vigilance is indispensable for all true progress. In each human being there is a beast crouching ready to manifest at the slightest unwatchfulness. The only remedy is a constant vigilance.”
– Mother Mirra, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

A merchant of the city of Benares once took pity on two old vultures who were poor and miserable. He took them to a dry place, lit a fire and fed them with pieces of meat from the pyre where people burnt dead cattle.

When the rainy season came, the vultures, now strong and well, flew away towards the mountains.

But in their gratitude to the merchant of Benares, they decided to pick up all the clothes they could find lying about so as to give them to their kindly friend. They flew from house to house, from village to village, snatched up all the garments drying out in the open and took them to the merchant’s house.

He appreciated their good intentions, but he neither used nor sold the stolen clothes; he simply put them away carefully.

However, traps had been set everywhere for the two vultures, and one of them was caught. He was brought before the king, who asked him: “Why are you robbing my subjects?”

“One day a merchant saved the lives of my brother and myself; in order to repay our debt, we have collected these clothes for him,” the bird replied.

The merchant was summoned before the king and questioned in his turn.

“Sire,” he said, “the vultures did indeed bring me many clothes, but I have kept them all safely and I am ready to give them back to their owners.”

The king pardoned the vultures, for they had acted out of gratitude, though without discernment; and thanks to his prudence, the merchant too was spared.

“The wise man is prudent in what he looks at, in what he listens to, and in what he says. He considers the consequences, thinks of the morrow, and if he does not know his way, he asks.”
Mother Mirra, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Words of Long Ago

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