Sorrow of Son’s Passing

There was once a tapasvi (ascetic) who was always busy in worship and meditation. He had a young son who fell sick. He was an only son and much loved. The father sought help from many doctors and vaidyas; they all tried different treatments on the boy, but his illness did not abate. The doctors and vaidyas told the father: “Don’t worry, we will heal your boy one way or another.”

Someone had once asked Ramakrishna Paramahansa, “When does God laugh?” He replied, “When someone is unwell and destined to die and the doctors say don’t worry, I will fix this.”

It all happened so quickly that no one around the village knew about the boy’s illness. When they found out the boy had passed, all the well-wishers came to console him. They felt bad about what had happened but did not worry too much about the father as he was usually the one who consoled others during their time of grief.

They said, “You always consoled us with your kind and wise words, quoting such beautiful things from the scriptures, helping us to overcome our grief. We are not as wise as you, and cannot speak as eloquently as you, so cannot explain things to you so well. Please try and give yourself the same advice now.”

The taspasvi replied: “When I was advising you, it was happening to you, not to me. Now it is happening to me. It is easier to advise others, but not always easy to follow the advice yourself.

His sorrow increased day by day, but eventually he realized that so much attachment was not good. He started reading scriptures, like the Yoga Vashistha. Still, his heart did not find peace and he was constantly troubled by the memory of his son.

Finally, he remembered Sombari Baba and went to meet him at the ashram in Haldwani. When he arrived, Baba spoke, “What is the matter? Grief seems to have gripped you completely, but no matter, from now on you will be free from it.” As Baba spoke, the sadness lifted from the man’s heart and he was free from the sorrow. He was moved by Baba’s love.

Many years after the event, he continued to tell people how Baba had cleared the grief from his heart with a few simple words, and how he never again felt that sorrowful about his son’s passing. Such is the power of love.

Source: Deva Bhumi, the abode of the Gods in India by Krishna Kumar

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