The Generous Laxmiben
This is a true story that happened about eight hundred years ago.
One day a sad and gloomy visitor was sitting outside the door of Jain upashraya, in the city of Karnavati. He was poor and was looking for shelter. He was a follower of the Jain religion.
That day as usual, a Jain shravika named Laxmiben came to the upashraya. After finishing her rituals, while she was leaving the Upashraya, she saw the visitor. She affectionately asked him "I have never seen you here. Did you come from out of town?" The man replied, "Yes madam, I have come from Rajasthan."
She asked, "Are you alone?"
"No, I have my children with me."
"What brings you here?"
"I am looking for work."
"Oh!!!" Laxmiben thought for a moment and then asked,
"What is your name?"
"Where are you staying?"
"I have not found a place to stay."
"Do not worry brother come with me. My house is your house, You can stay with me for a while. I will do my best to help you."
Uda with surprise kept listening to this generous and kind lady. He thought very highly of this place where people are generous even to strangers. Uda felt good and thought he was lucky.
He and his children came with Laxmiben to her house. She gave them food and let them stay in one of her vacant houses. While staying there, Uda slowly started saving money by working hard. After a while, he thought of carrying out some repairs in the old house which he was occupying.
He went to Laxmiben and asked for permission to start the repairing. She replied that she had already given the house to him, and he could do whatever he liked. Uda felt thankful and carried out some badly needed repairs.
After a few months however the old house fell down. Uda therefore decided to rebuild, it and started digging the foundation. While digging he found a valuable treasure hidden under the ground. Uda believed that the treasure belonged to Laxmiben since it was her house. He therefore went to Laxmiben and offered the treasure to her. Laxmiben was however a true Laxmidevi (goddess of wealth) by heart. She refused to accept it and said, "Are you kidding? That is not my house any more. I gave it to you long back. Now, why should I have any connection with it?"
Uda tried hard to persuade her, but Laxamiben did not change her mind. She did not even touch the treasure. At last Uda had to take it back with him. Now, Uda was no longer poor. He became Udayan Sheth.
Laxmiben is praiseworthy. She had a very generous heart. Even though she herself was an average woman, she helped others without asking for anything in return. She gave one of her houses to a stranger, because he belonged to the same religious faith. She did not even think of keeping the treasure.
Generosity is a great virtue and it is a sign of true religious feeling. Laxmiben will be remembered for her generosity. We must try to be generous like her.
1) Where was the stranger sitting?
2) What religion did the man follow?
3) Who noticed him sitting there?
4) What did Laxmiben offer him?
5) How did Laxmiben treat him and his children?
6) What happened when Uda was reconstructing the house?
7) What did Uda do about the treasure he found?
8) What did Laxmiben do about the treasure?
9) What is the moral of this story?