Once Krishna and Arjuna had visited a village and were taking morning walks in the nearby fields. One day they saw an old man finding it hard to make ends meet. In the spur of the moment, Arjuna decided to give him some money.
He donated a huge bag of gold coins to the old man. The old man was very happy and blessed them and went back home happily. Arjuna asked Krishna – “Did I change his destiny?” Krishna smiled and said “I don’t know. Let us observe over the next few days.”
They decided to stay in that village for a few more days and observe the old man.
Next week, they see the old man in the same place and were surprised. They asked him “What happened? Did the gold coins help you improve your situation?”
The old man broke into tears and told them that when he was returning home that day, a few thieves had robbed him of his gold coins and he lost all his money.
Arjuna was persistent and shared a precious gemstone that was worth a lot more than the gold coins. The old man was very happy and hid it in his belt and took it back home carefully.
Arjuna told Krishna – “I hope this time around his destiny will change.” Krishna smiled.
Next week, they see the old man in the same place and even more dejected and enquire what happened. The old man says he had hidden the gem in a pot that no one touches at home and was taking a sneak peek every other day to ensure it was safe. One day, when he stepped outside his wife took that pot to the river to fill water and while she was washing the pot, the stone must have fallen out of the pot. He had gone back to look for it, but with no avail.
Arjuna was now perplexed and asks Krishna – “Do I not have any ability to help this old man better his life. Is there no way one can help change another’s destiny? What should I do now – help me help this old man”
Krishna says – “You tried giving him large sums of money and precious gemstones. Why don’t you get rid of your guilt by just giving him enough money to buy a cup of coffee. No more than that. Let us follow him and observe what he does with it.” Arjuna agrees and gives the old man a minimal amount of money to just buy a cup of coffee and leaves.
The old man thinks to himself, now no one is ready to help me change and improve my life. What will I do with this minimal money? He just gave it to make himself feel better. He resigned to himself and started walking back home. On the way a fisherman stopped him and asked him if he wants to buy some fresh fish for his wife. The fisherman thought “With the money I have, I cannot buy the necessary ingredients to cook a meal and eat. Instead of wasting it, let me use it to get the fish and throw them back in the lake so that they can get to live their life.”
Thinking so, he buys the fish and throws the first one back in the river. He feels happy to see the fish jump up & down as if it was saying “Thank you” to him. He feels nice and just when he was about to throw the second fish, his hand gets stuck in the mouth of the fish, and the second fish chokes. The old man puts his hand inside it’s mouth and pulls out a stone. Now free, he throws this fish into the river. He feels happy and looks at the stone in his hand. He was shocked to see it was the precious stone that Arjuna had given him earlier.
In his happiness he shouts “Found it… found it… right here…” and the thieves who robbed him who were hiding near the bushes get scared and throw the bag of gold coins near him and run away. The old man is perplexed and very happy that he got back all the gifts that Arjuna had given him and takes them back home to his wife to live happily and comfortably.
Arjuna asks Krishna – “What changed? How did he get back all of that, and especially when he did not have enough money? What triggered the change in his destiny?”
Krishna smiles and tells him – “Initially, he kept all the gifts you gave to himself and did not think of sharing it with anyone. His thoughts were about himself and his wife. When you gave him minimal money, he knew he could not do much with it, and he chose to think of how it would benefit someone who can use that money. When he thought of freeing the fishes lives, his destiny changed. He had started thinking about how he can be helpful to someone else.”
When we just think about ourselves and our immediate families, we might feel our destiny is not letting our change our lives. However, when we start thinking about how to make our lives useful to others (any living being), our life and destiny is bound to change.