Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar of India was the epitome of compassion. He along with his aged mother lived in a village near Calcutta. They lived in such abject poverty that they had hardly anything for food other than gruel. As Vidyasagar had sincerity and earnestness, he used to study even under street lights. One with sincerity can accomplish any task. Vidyasagar passed the law examination and obtained a good job. Neither happiness nor sorrow is permanent. One follows the other with the passage of time. Likewise, Vidyasagar’s days of poverty were over as he was drawing a handsome salary.
One day, he told his mother that he wanted to buy some good Saris (Indian dresses) and jewels for her as he was earning sufficient money. He asked his mother to express her wish. The mother said that she did not need anything at that time and would express her wish at the appropriate time. Being an obedient son, he would never force his mother on any matter. As months passed by, his salary increased substantially.
On a particular Sunday, he sat by his mother’s side and said, “Mother, I have a lot of money with me, I pray you express your wish at least now”. The mother said, “Son, I want three jewels. As there is no school in our village, the children are forced to walk long distances to attend school. The parents are concerned about their safety and spend anxious moments till they return from school in the evening. So, please construct a small school in our village. This is the first ‘jewel’ I desire from you”. Accordingly, Vidyasagar got a school constructed in his village.
After some time, his mother expressed her second wish. She said, “Our villagers are suffering from lack of medical facilities. When the children are afflicted with any disease, the mothers have to carry them to the town for treatment. So, I want you to construct a small hospital in our village. This is the second ‘jewel’ I expect from you.” Vidyasagar built a hospital too.
As days rolled by, Vidyasagar’s name and fame spread far and wide. People were all praise for his social activities. After some time, his mother expressed her third wish. She said, “Son! The water in all the wells in our village has been reduced to a trickle. The villagers are suffering due to lack of drinking water. So, I want you to make arrangements for water supply in our village.”
As per his mother’s wish, Vidyasagar provided drinking water to the villagers. His mother was overjoyed. She blessed her son saying, “I wish every mother had a noble son like you who dedicates his life to the welfare of the society.”
Source: From a Discourse by Sathya Sai Baba in Sai Ramesh Hall, May 6, 2000.
June 2000 Issue of Sanathana Sarathi (www.cosmicharmony.com)