Today I will just tell you a simple story.
Long long ago, in a little village nestled in the arms of mountains, there lived a small family. A little girl, her baby brother and their mother. Their father passed away when the kids were too young. And their mother was ill and couldn’t work. So every day the girl went to the jungle with her brother and fetched fruits and nuts. That’s how they managed to get by.
One time the kids heard stories of ghosts in the forest from other kids around. They came home afraid and told their mother everything. Their mother calmed them down.
“I will tell you a secret. I have another son.” She said.
“He is your elder brother,Shyam. He just looks like that.” She pointed to the idol of Krishna. (Shyam is another name of Krishna)
“He lives in the jungle too. If you ever get scared, just call out his name.”
“Is he strong enough? Can he save us from ghosts?” the kids asked, their voices still shaking and their big eyes fixated on the darkness beyond the hut.
“Yes, he is very strong and powerful. He can save you from anything.”
Feeling assured, the kids went to sleep. The mother quietly sat in front of the idol of Krishna and prayed him to watch out for kids.
In next few days there was a news that a tiger has gotten around to attacking people in the jungle. The villagers sent announcement around and warned everyone not to cross into the jungle alone. The mother stopped the kids from going into jungle. Unfortunately that meant they had to go hungry for a few days. They hoped it would be safe soon and they would resume their routine.
One day passed. Another day passed. The kids and their mother were hungry. On the third day the mother fell down due to weakness and she was unconscious. The girl took the matter in her own hands.
“We have to go to the jungle.” She said to her little brother. “We need some food.”
“But what about the tiger? Mother told us not to go.” The little brother protested.
“She is sick and needs food. Also remember she told us about our elder brother Shyam? He will take care of us. We will be alright. Come on.”
And so they picked up the basket and wandered into the forest. They had to walk a long way, but finally they got some fruits. They ate some and they got some for their mother. Unfortunately on their way back, they lost their way. By the time they were back on the right road, it was already getting dark.
They kept walking, holding each other’s hands. All of a sudden they heard the whole jungle go quiet. Pin-drop silence. A few seconds went by. They heard the sound of footsteps on dry leaves. As they clutched each other nervously, they were shaking. Then from nowhere, a giant tiger jumped in front of them.
The kids panicked and froze. As the little brother clung to his sister for life, the sister just closed her eyes. She thought it was the end.
The tiger’s eyes were fixed on the kids. It was drooling. It slowly walked towards them, letting out a mean groan. The kids started stepping back.
Suddenly the sister found courage from nowhere. She stopped and shook her finger in tiger’s face.
“Don’t you dare attack us. We have a big brother. His name is Shyam. He is very strong. If you attack us, he will beat you up. Shyam, where are you? We need you to come here and teach this tiger a lesson. Shyam! Shyam! Please come.”
And then a miracle happened. Suddenly they could hear someone walking out from the bushes. He was the most magnificent human they had ever seen. He was a boy just few years older than them. His skin was dark blue and he wore a feather in his hair. He was smiling. He gave the tiger an angry look. That was all that was needed. The tiger put his head between his legs and slowly retreated into the jungle.
“Shyam, Shyam. We are so glad you came.” The kids ran out and hugged him.
“Come, I will walk you two home.” He picked up their fruit basket.
“Where do you live? And why don’t you ever come home?” The kids couldn’t contain themselves to see the long lost brother for the first time.
“Because I live far far away. And I am very busy. But I always get news about you all. I keep an eye on you.”
“Mom told us dad is living with you too.”
“Yes, he lives with me. He loves both of you very much.”
Everyone was now relaxed. They chatted endlessly as they walked. Shyam told them stories of the world beyond mountains. After a while he picked them on his shoulders and started singing. As he sang, the birds joined him as well. The brother tugged the sleeve of his sister and pointed on the road back. All the road they walked was filled with beautiful flowers. Those flowers had the most beautiful colors and the most amazing fragrance they had ever known.
As they came closer to the village. Shyam suddenly stopped. He put them down, handed them their fruit basket.
“I have to go now. But you are safe. Just around the corner you will meet some people who will take you home.” He said, as he started walking back into the jungle.
“But aren’t you going to come home and say Hi to mother?”
“Some other time. Tell mother that I love her and I am thinking about her. And if you ever need me again, call out my name.” With those words, he vanished in the forest.
Indeed they met a search party around the corner. Their mother had regained consciousness and alerted the neighbor. He had put together a small team and came looking for the kids.
The kids told everyone about Shyam. People listened patiently. The kids were hungry and scared. So they were perhaps hallucinating. That was the general conclusion.
“No, we indeed met him. If you walked around the corner, you might still see him.” The girl insisted. The kids didn’t know how to convince them.
“It’s too late. Let’s go home now. We will come home and find him tomorrow.” The leader said. They all turned back.
The leader just felt a tinge of curiosity. He could not help take a few steps around the corner and take a peek. He didn’t see anyone.
But what he saw left him totally surprised. He saw the most beautiful flowers he had ever seen. Their colors were brilliant and their fragrance was divine. Suddenly out of nowhere, they had grown all along the road, all the way to the mountain.
I think we all have a brother Shyam. When things don’t go the way we want, often we find something totally unexpected goes our way. No logic and rationale can explain it. No strategy can optimize it. It can be only summoned by faith.