This post is not about buying gold. 🙂 When the whole country talks about buying gold on this day each year, I chanced upon this story which says Akshya Tritiya is a day when one should do Annadanam (donate food !)
Anyway this story made a very interesting read and the kids lapped it up :).
Once in the town of Sathyapuri there lived a man by name Vishwanath. He looked after the daily affairs of the local Shiva temple. When he was born astrologers in the town told his parents that when the boy grew up, he would marry and have a child after which he would become a hermit.
Vishwanath grew up to be a pious young man. He married and had a son. He began feeding the poor along with his wife and son Gunaseelan. One day he had a dream that Shiva was beckoning him and took sanyas the next morning. He told his wife and son that he was going to Kashi and left them. His wife however, continued with the poor feeding started by her husband. One day, Gunaseelan asked his mother “You are feeding people daily won’t we become poor one day?”
She said, “I don’t know about that, but your father believed that feeding other people is like serving god.”
Gunaseelan was not satisfied with her reply, he sought permission from his mother to learn more about feeding the needy and went to meditate in the jungle. On the way he saw an old man who said he was hungry, so he gave him the food he had on hand and left. Towards evening he met a hunter, who advised him not to be alone in the jungle at night and took him to his house. The hunter had made a hut on top of a large tree and lived there with his wife.
The hunter’s wife did not like the boy and she refused to give food to Gunaseelan. She however, gave her husband food, which the hunter shared with Gunaseelan. After the meal, the hunter made the boy sleep between him and his wife, for which his wife didn’t agree. So he lay down between them and after they had slept he moved the boy to the center and he slept on the edge.
In the middle of the night, the hunter’s wife woke up and thinking that the boy was sleeping on the edge pushed him from the tree. The hunter fell down and he was eaten by the wild animals. Waking up in the morning, the wife saw the remains of her husband and realized her mistake and she took her own life.
Saddened, the boy continued on his journey. On the way he passed a hut where an old man was sitting. “Where are you going?” he asked.
The boy told him about the penance he was about to undertake.
The old man said, “When you meet God, please ask him why I am not feeling hungry at all.” The boy agreed and left.
Next, he met a cobra. The Cobra wanted the boy to find out why it was unable to see. He agreed to ask God and left.
After that when he was relaxing under a mango tree, the tree told him to find out why its fruits where always infested with worms and insects that it was never fit for consumption. He agreed to ask God again and left.
Sitting on a hill top, the boy began his penance. One day, pleased with his penance, a fairy appeared before him and told him to ask for a boon.
Gunaseelan said “Can you please tell me the benefits of feeding the needy?”
The fairy said ” In the next ten months the king of your country will be blessed with a son. Before the child’s body is laid on the floor, he should be laid on a golden plate. You ask the child your question and he will answer your questions.”
Then he asked the questions which were put to him by the people he passed by and the fairy answered him. She was pleased that Gunaseelan never wanted anything for himself. She blessed him and vanished.
On the return home, he passed the mango tree to which he said “In your previous birth you were a miser and you buried all your gold under the tree. That is why your fruits are infested with worms.” The tree immediately parted with its treasure and told Gunaseelan to take it.
He met the Cobra and said that it should part with the Nagarathna gem on its head to someone and then his eyesight would be restored. Immediately the Cobra gave the gem to the boy.
Next he met the old man and told him that in his previous birth as a teacher he refused to part with skills to students, which was the reason for his not being hungry. Immediately, the old man took the boy as his disciple and imparted all the knowledge he had.
Gunaseelan returned with his gold and gems and gave them to his mother.
Meanwhile, at the palace, preparations were on to celebrate the arrival of the royal heir. Gunaseelan met the king and told him what the fairy said. The king agreed to hold the baby in a golden plate and allowed Gunaseelan to ask the question.
When the baby was shown to him on a golden plate he asked the baby “Please tell me the benefits of feeding the needy.”
The baby immediately recalled its previous birth. “I am the hunter who fed you and that is why I am born a prince in this birth. My wife who refused to feed you has been reborn as a pig.” Hearing this Gunaseelan made up his mind to feed the needy during his lifetime.