Our exalted well wisher

Genghis Khan is the founder of the Mongolian empire and he ruled over a very big tract of land. The following is an incident in his life which has important lessons for us.

Early one morning, Genghis Khan and some of his companions mounted their horses to go hunting. With him was his favorite falcon. Although Genghis Khan and his men were usually successful in their hunting, that day they found no prey. Even the falcon, who could see further afield than its human master, could find no animals to hunt. By evening the great Genghis Khan was so disappointed that he sent his companions back to camp; he did not wish to take his frustration out on them. And he continued to go into the forest. He was exceedingly thirsty. Throughout that long, fruitless hunt he had drunk only the little water he had carried in his flask. Now he hoped to find a river. But before he had gone too far he came across a large rock from which water was dripping. Overwhelmed now by his thirst he took out the silver cup he always carried and held it under the flow. When he was about to drink it, the falcon, who had been circling overhead, suddenly dove, hitting the cup and spilling the water. Genghis Khan was annoyed. He yelled a command at the falcon and then turned to fill his cup again. But every time he was about to drink, the falcon knocked down his cup. This went on for few times. Angered by falcon’s acts he killed it.

When Genghis Khan turned his attention back to the rock, he saw that the water was no longer dripping. Angry, the emperor took his cup and climbed the rock, seeking the spring from which the water had come. How surprised he was when he saw the spring filled with poisonous snakes! If Genghis Khan had drunk the contaminated water he would have died immediately. The falcon had proven his well-wisher and saved his life. Realizing this, Genghis Khan began to cry. He returned to the rock and found the dead falcon. Lifting it to his chest, he kissed it and carried it back to camp. Later, he ordered his goldsmiths to cast the falcon’s image in gold with its wings spread. On one of the wings Genghis Khan had the following line engraved, "Whatever is done out of anger leads only to ruin." On the second, "A well-wisher is always a well-wisher – even when we don’t see how his deeds are in our interest."

The two sentences engraved on the falcon’s wings are very important for us to understand. Whenever we undergo reverses in our life, our general tendency is to blame the Lord and the others and also to become depressed. Sometimes the parents chastise the children and punish them to correct them because they are the well wishers for their children but the children at that point do not understand that they are being punished only in their own interest. In the same way we are also children of the Lord who do not understand the well wishing ways of the Lord. When Bali Maharaj was deprived of everything and he was bound by the Varuna pasha, Bali Maharaj realizing the well wishing tendency of the Lord, speaks the following beautiful verse in Srimad Bhagavatam 8.22.4

pumsaam shlaaghyatamam manye / dandam arhattamaarpitam
yam na maataa pitaa bhraataa / suhrdash caadishanti hi

"Although a father, mother, brother or friend may sometimes punish one as a well-wisher, they never punish their subordinate like this. But because You are the most worshipable Lord, I regard the punishment You have given me as most exalted."

Srila Prabhupada in his purport very nicely writes, "A devotee knows that so-called punishment by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is only His favor to correct His devotee and bring him to the right path. Therefore the punishment awarded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be compared to even the greatest benefit awarded by one’s material father, mother, brother or friend."

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