Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grandfather Die, Father Die, Son Die

One of my mother's most fervent prayers was that God grant her the privilege of dying before any of her seven children. "I'm am not sure I could withstand the agony over the death of one of my children", she would shake her head and say.

And she was granted her wish.

It reminds me of a story I read about a man in Japan who wanted a well known and respected priest to compose a special prayer for him. "I will pay you well", he promised. "It would be my honor and privilege", replied the priest.

However, months passed and there was no word from the priest. "I wonder what could be taking him so long?" Wondered the man. More time passed and nothing.

One day the man confronted the priest at the local market place. "Where is the prayer I have commissioned you with?" "Oh yes, the prayer. I am working on it. It will be ready soon."

When again the months passed and nothing was heard from the priest, the man decided he would travel to the monastery to demand his prayer. "I have waited long enough", he said rudely to the priest. The priest smiled and said, "I have your prayer ready!"

"Grandfather die, father die, son die." The priest uttered with a look of achievement on his face.

"What!?" "What kind of perverse prayer is this?" He demanded. "I will not pay you for such a morbid prayer! Are you mocking me?"

"This is the natural order. If the son dies first, the father, and Grandfather will grieve inconsolably. If the father, dies first, then the son and grandfather will be inconsolable. But if the grandfather dies first, it will be expected since he is the oldest. If the father dies next, that too will be expected. That the son dies last, is only natural."

At that moment, the man was enlightened and gladly paid the priest for his beautiful prayer.

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