The Daughter-in-law - Soma
Long long ago, there lived a merchant who was very religious. He was Jain. Every morning when he woke up, he would recite the Navkar Mantra, peacefully perform Samayik, and then bow down to the Sadhus.
This merchant had a daughter whose name was Soma. She also performed religious activities like her father. She had taken a vow from a Sadhu that when she woke up, she would recite the Navkar Mantra and perform Samayik.
When she turned eighteen she got married. Her in-laws were not very nice. They didn't like the idea of religion, and they hated Jainism. Her mother-in-law didn't practice any religious activities at all and didn't like it when Soma performed her prayers.
Soma didn't know what to do. Should she forsake her religion? No, she would continue to observe her religion. Every morning she would wake up early and recite the Namokär Mantra and perform Sämäyik. Every time her mother-in-law tried to prevent her from undertaking her religious activities. She used to curse Soma, but Soma did not pay attention to her. Soma was very polite. She repeatedly requested her mother-in-law to understand. Soma did whatever her mother-in-law told her to do, but she wanted to spend at least forty-eight minutes for her prayers.
Soma's mother-in-law did not pay any attention to her request. She kept on disturbing Soma. Sometimes she would scream at Soma and physically abuse her. Soma stayed calm and tolerated all of these problems. Soma never said a single unkind word to her mother-in-law. She had learned about Ahimsa (Nonviolence) from her parents and her religious teachers. She understood the importance of patience.
One day Soma's mother-in-law decided to resort to an extreme measure. She got a poisonous snake from a snake charmer and put it in a pot. In the evening when it started to get dark, she called Soma and asked her to bring the flower garland from the pot for her husband.
Her mother-in-law wanted to get rid of Soma, because she did not like Soma's religious activities.
Soma went to get the flower garden. She had deep faith in her religion. Before getting the garland, she uttered the name of Lord Mahavir and recited the Namokär Mantra.
After that she put her hand in the pot to take out the garland. When Soma pulled out her hand, she really had a flower garland in her hand. Her mother-in-law was shocked. Soma gave the garland to her husband but he hurriedly put it aside. As soon as he put the garland down garland turned into the snake. The mother-in-law now realized that Soma was really a religious girl and a true devotee to Jainism. She knew that the snake had become a garland due to Soma's faith.
True faith can help in changing the circumstances of a situation. Soma's mother-in-law felt very fortunate to have such a religious daughter-in-law. From that day on the mother-in-law started to love Soma. Since then everybody in the family including of the mother-in-law became follower of Jainism.
Religious faith is very important. We should be able to face the difficulties of life with confidence.
1) Who was Soma?
2) What religion did Soma follow?
3) What kind of vow did Soma take from the Sadhu?
4) How did her in-laws view the religion?
5) How did Soma's mother-in-law treat her?
6) How did Soma treat her mother-in-law?
7) Where did Soma get her strength during her difficulties?
8) What did Soma's mother-in-law plan?
9) What happened to Soma?
10) How did the family feel about Soma after the garland incident?
11) What did you learn from this story?