This is a post I came across in an Urdu group on FB of which I am a member. The original post is in Urdu and it’s my humble attempt to translate it into English for its an interesting post. It reads:
A teacher was teaching a group of students when one of the students posed a question to him, “ Sir, when we breathe our last, how the good deeds and misdeeds done by us in our lifetime are accounted for? More particularly, how are we made to pay for all the sins committed by us during our life time?
Teacher pondered over the question and then called all his students one by one. To the first student, he gave 100 Dirhams with the instruction to spend the entire money over the weekend and to meet him at Nanbai’s tandoor (clay oven) on Monday morning. Thereafter, he gave 50 Dirhams to the second student, 25 to the third, 15 to the 4th , 10 to the 5th, 5 to the 6th and lastly 1 Dirham to the student who had posed this question, with the similar instruction to all of them to meet him at Nanbai’s tandoor on Monday. The student who had posed the question felt humiliated at being given only 1 dirham to spend and he realised that his question might have irritated and upset the teacher.
On Monday, as students arrived one by one at the designated place, they found their teacher already waiting for them. He asked the first student to bring to his mind all that he had done with 100 dirhams over the weekend so that he could quickly reel out details when asked to . He was then instructed by the teacher to stand on the periphery of tandoor and start explaining his expenses detail. With fierce heat burning inside the tandoor heating the periphery to an unbearable extent, the student was in much pain and agony as he started reeling off his adventure- one dirham spent on ice cream, one on chocolate, one on kebab, one on gift for his friend and it took him quite a while to give account for all his spends! By the time he was through, his feet had been badly singed and he needed gallons of water to soothe his skin and nerves. He had a harrowing time. This experience was repeated for all the other students albeit that much less harrowing in proportion to the lesser money they had received from the teacher as they had correspondingly shorter list. The last student took just a second to explain his account of 1 dirham, but above all he couldn’t stop expressing his gratitude and admiration for his revered guru for his giving him 1 dirham was not humiliation but a joy at the end.
I think in our mythology also it’s believed that Chitragupta keeps record of all the Karmas that a person has performed during his lifetime and Lord Yama takes this statement of account ( lekha jokha) from Chitragupta based on which one is allotted heaven or hell.
Even if we keep mythology apart, I think one of the important learning from the above story is to exercise caution, prudence and discretion in earning as also spending the money. While we all want more and more, we should also do more and more albeit not only for ourselves but others who are deprived and hungry.