‘My age is 3 years 5 months, 7 days, 16+hour’

baby ganapathy

A Hindu saint was on a pilgrimage. He was going from town to town. Whenever he entered a new town he used to ask the people, ‘who was the most honest person in the town?’ and go to his house for food.
He went to a town and his enquiries led him to a gentleman’s house. What he gathered was that the gentleman was the father of four children and a millionaire and never lied in his life. As soon as the saint entered the house the gentleman stood up in respect and fell at his feet. After all the formalities he requested the saint to have lunch with him.

But the saint wanted to verify the details he had collected about him before sitting for the lunch.
Saint asked him, ‘’How much wealth you have acquired?’’
He told him, “Rs 22,000 only”!
How many children do you have?
“I have only one son’’!

The saint became suspicious and asked him one more question to pass a judgement on him. So the saint asked the gentleman, ‘What is your age?’
He said to him, ‘My age is 3 years 5 months, 7 days, 16 and a half hour.
Now the saint became furious thinking that he was bluffing to him. He burst out in anger, “How dare you lie to me when you have one million rupees? I knew all about you”.

The gentleman quietly replied, ‘Oh, venerable saint. It is true I owe a million. Does it belong to me? I have spent only Rs 22,000 on charities. That is the only merit (punya) that is going to come with me after death’.
kuzanthai vazipaatu

The saint became very curious now. He has never heard anything from anyone else like this. He fired the second question. I heard that you had four children, but you told me you had only one.
The gentleman told him,’ Swamiji, I will show my son now? He called them one by one by name. First son said that he was too busy playing cards. Second son told him to shut his mouth. Third son told him to mind his own business without troubling him for trivial things. Fourth son came running towards him without wasting a single second and asked him what service he can offer. Now the saint realised he has got ‘’ONLY ONE SON’’.
“OK, now explain to me why did you say that you are only, “3 years 5 months, 7 days, 16 and a half hour” old?

‘Swamiji, I am actually sixty years old. But I have been spending one and a half hour in prayers every day since I was five years old. At this rate, I have “lived” only 3 years 5 months, 7 days, 16 and a half hour’ . The days I spent without thinking about god is not counted as living. I never take them into account. Even the great Tamil saint Appar says the days you spend without saying god’s name are equal to the days you were not born (meaning not worthy of living).

The gentleman summarised his philosophy in three sentences
1.Whatever I have spent for charity work was my money and the bank balance was not mine.( It would not help me in my next birth)
2. A son is a one who understands me and helps me in all my good deeds. Other three are not my ‘’sons’’.
3. The time I spent in prayers can only be counted worthy of living. That is why I told you I was 3 years 5 months, 7 days, 16 and a half hour’ old.

krishna with brown eyes

The saint was extremely happy to hear his illuminating explanation. He had lunch with him and blessed him.

(This story was told by Sri Kripananda Variar who was famous for his religious discourses in Tamil. He was a great scholar in Saivaite philosophy. His talks are available in Tamil—translated by london swaminathan).

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