Ungrateful Brahmana

(from Ramayana)

Once there was a Brahmana who was very poor. He had a friend, Baka. On visiting the Brahmana Baka inquired as to his welfare and the Brahmana replied that he was suffering from acute poverty.

“Don’t worry” said Baka “I have some friends who are Raksasas (human-eaters), go see them, introduce yourself as my friend and they will solve your problem.”

Trusting his friend Baka, the Brahmana visited the Raksasas who were pleasantly surprised to see that a Brahmana was visiting. Being human-eaters they thought that lunch had been delivered with no effort on their part. But as soon as the Brahmana mentioned his friend Baka the mood of the Raksasas changed and they immediately saw him as their own friend and asked how they could help him. The Brahmana told them of his plight. He had scarcely finished speaking when the Raksasas said that his problem was already solved and he just had to go home to see for himself. When he arrived home he could see that all wealth had been showered on him.

However, when Baka came to visit his friend the Brahmana, the Brahmana was very proud and impudent and forgetting how much he owed Baka he argued with him and killed him.

By their mystic potency the Raksasas could immediately understand that their friend Baka had been killed by the Brahmana and they angrily appeared on the scene to chastise the Brahmana.

“Only because you called yourself friend of our friend Baka did we spare your life and showered you with all opulence. But you were so ungrateful to your friend Baka that you have killed him. Now we shall avenge our friend.”

Saying that they killed the Brahmana. But even though they were human-eaters they did not want to eat the Brahmana because he was an ingrate.

So the Raksasas dragged his corpse to the jungle where some cannibals were living and offered the body of the Brahmana for them to eat. Knowing that the Raksasas too were human-eaters the cannibals questioned them as to why they themselves were not eating the Brahmana. When the Raksasas told them the story the cannibals replied:

“Oh, he is an ingrate – we also do not eat ingrates. Dispose of the body somewhere else.”

The moral of the story is that being an ingrate is such a dirty condition that even Raksasas and cannibals are disgusted.

Once Lord Brahma told an ungrateful person, ‘The means of atonement has been prescribed for the killer of a cow, a drunkard, a thief, or for one who has broken a sacred vow, but there is no expiation for an ungrateful soul!’

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