The generosity of Rantideva

Rantideva was born in a rich family. Even as a child, he would share his riches with the needy. He got married and had sons. With no thought for the future, Rantideva and his wife continued to be generous. No one went away from their home empty-handed.Ultimately, Rantideva ran out of money. His family had to go without food for months.

One day, Rantideva managed to get some rice, ghee, wheat and sugar. The family thanked God for giving them food and sat down to eat.

Just then a holy man knocked at their door. Rantideva received the guest by bowing to him and served food to him. The holy man went away satisfied. Half of the food was still left for Rantideva and his family.

As they sat down to eat, a hungry farmer came looking for food. Rantideva offered him a seat, made him comfortable, and served him food. The farmer enjoyed his meal.

There was still some food left. Rantideva’s family decided to share whatever had remained. As they sat down to eat, a traveller appeared at the door. He was accompanied by four dogs. He begged for food for himself and his four dogs.
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Rantideva offered whatever was left to the guest. He was happy to see the hungry dogs cleaning up the vessels.

There was no food left by the time the man took his leave.

Rantideva smiled, “God is kind, we have some water left.” Just then he heard someone cry, ”Oh sirs, I’m dying of thirst. Will a kind soul give me some water?”

Rantideva ran out to the street and saw a poor man overcome with thirst. He offered the water to the thirsty man. The man gulped water down.

As Rantideva looked at him, the poor man revealed himself as Brahma, the Lord of Creation.

“Rantideva, the gods came down to earth to test you. We are pleased with your spirit of sacrifice. We will be happy to grant any boon you ask for.”

Rantideva bowed to Lord Brahma and said softly, “May I always share whatever I have with my fellow men.”

Lord Brahma blessed Rantideva and restored his wealth. Rantideva and his family never went hungry again and continued to help those in need.

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