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Progress Without Praises

There was once a painter. He would paint murtis of the Lord. His son would also paint beautiful murtis of the Lord. After completing each murti the son would show it to his father. But his father would always find fault with it, ''Not very good. It needs improvement.'' The next day the boy would show the improved painting to his father. But his father would say, ''The eyes are incorrect. Improve them.'' Sometimes he would say, ''The head needs correction.''

One day the son said to himself. ''My father will never say my paintings are good.'' So one day he painted a beautiful murti of the Lord and buried it in the ground. After a month he dug it up and said, ''Father, I've found this murti hidden in the ground.'' He showed the murti and asked, ''Father, what do you think of this murti?'' His father praised, ''Very good. You should paint like this.''

His son said at once, ''But father, I've painted this murti!'' His father was saddened, ''From now on you will never improve. I used to scold you about your paintings so you would always try to do better. Your brush won't improve beyond this point now,'' he explained. The enlightened Sadhu scolds us only to carry us forward. Therefore, only think of his virtues. Never feel badly towards him.

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith