The goddess Durga was really efficacious, and the
child recovered naturally from an illness that even doctors could
not cure. Obviously, the goddess had blessed and helped him. His
father remembered his promise of making an offering of a hundred
rupees. But then he started to think, "Good grief! I have already
spent a lot of money buying medicine for the child. Now that the
doctor has prescribed lots of tonics for him, I have to spend more.
My financial situation is now rather difficult. Perhaps I can just
offer fifty rupees to the goddess. I am sure Durga will know my
situation; she will understand." He thought the goddess would
understand, but still, he didn't act immediately.
Several weeks passed and he came up with another
idea: "No matter how, surely the goddess Durga cannot eat fifty
rupees worth of food all by herself. Since she is a goddess, how
can she consume so much food? Besides, I have read in the scriptures:
'If we make an offering to God with sincerity, the quantity of the
offering is unimportant. God will be delighted with even a small
offering, provided we are sincere.' God will not demand material
offerings; our sincerity will be sufficient. All the scriptures
say the same thing. This goddess also definitely knows that. Therefore,
I think it will be good enough for me to go to the temple, piously
do some very special worship, and then give an offering of five
rupees." These thoughts went through his mind, but still he
didn't take any action.
one day, he heard the temple bell chime. When people worshipped
at the temple, they would sound the bell. It reminded him of the
offering that he had promised the goddess. He quickly went out,
hoping to find a five-rupee item as an offering. He met a friend,
who asked where he was going. He told his friend the whole story,
and that he was going to buy a five-rupee item as an offering to
the goddess. His friend said, "Come on! Don't be so silly!
Why would a goddess eat an offering of five rupees? You are so stupid!
Let me tell you, it will be fine enough for you to worship her piously
in the temple. Just buy a coconut worth about a rupee, and it will
be okay! The importance lies in your sincerity, not the quantity,
This sounded very reasonable, and since the man
was a very thrifty person, he went to the coconut stall to buy a
coconut for one rupee. The coconut vendor told him, "Fifty
paise for a coconut." One rupee was equal to one hundred paise.
The man said, "What? How could it so expensive? Sell me one
for forty paise, okay?" The vendor said, "If you expect
such a low price, you have to go to the wholesale market."
The man then walked a long way to the wholesale
market. The coconuts there were really forty paise each. Yet he
bargained with the seller at the market: "I have walked such
a long way here. If you are still selling a coconut for forty paise,
then it is not much cheaper! You'd better give me a bargain at twenty
paise each." The seller laughed and said, "If you really
want to get one for twenty paise, then you have to go to the plantation.
It is cheap only at that place." Hearing that, the man decided
to make his purchase at the plantation.
Again, he walked very far before he came to the
coconut plantation. The coconut farmer there said, "Okay! I
can sell one to you for twenty paise." Again the man bargained,
"I have walked so far to come here. You should sell me one
for ten paise instead of twenty. Twenty paise a coconut is not much
cheaper. Why would I have spent all the effort to come here?"
The farmer said, "If you want one for ten paise, you have to
climb the tree yourself to get the coconut."
stingy by nature, he wanted to save the money and really climbed
the tree. He climbed all the way up, but because he was inexperienced,
he slipped and almost fell from the tree. He could barely hang on
to a branch and yelled for help. At that time, the spirit of the
goddess Durga spoke through the coconut farmer, demanding a hundred
rupees to save him. (Laughter) To save his own life, the man agreed
to pay a hundred rupees. After he was saved and had climbed down
the tree, he took the coconut farmer home and paid him a hundred
rupees. There was no room for any bargain. At that time, he understood.
The next day, he went to the temple and cried. He realized that
all this had happened because he had failed to honor his promise
of making a one-hundred-rupee offering to the goddess.