Whenever philanthropy comes to one’s mind, one might think of Yudhistira. Of course, many people of modern times boast themselves with such a name, including Yudhistira of Pandavas did it for a little while. He thought of himself as the greatest philanthropist who always helps large groups of people and feeds them every day. When Yudhistira’s change of attitude came to Lord Krishna’s notice, he wanted to teach him a soft lesson.

One day, Krishna took Yudhistira to Paataaala Loka, the subterranean realm, to meet Emperor Bali, a close friend to Krishna. As they entered the realm, Yudhistira felt astounded to see the richness of the vast cities encircled by rich wilderness, the people there, lived in peace and harmony, no lack at all!

On the way to the palace of Bali, Yudhistira felt thirsty, they stopped near an Elven home, a woman came with a golden urn of sweet water, which felt like an elixir to Yudhistira. He thanked that woman and about to hand her the golden urn. But the woman refused and said, “What’s given, won’t be taken!”  

As they reached Bali’s court, Krishna introduced Yudhistira to Emperor Bali. In return, Bali said, “I heard of your Philanthropy!” But Yudhistira couldn’t stop himself, he boasted that he would feed ten thousand beggars every day! But Bali’s reply totally shocked him.

“You still have beggars in your kingdom? And yet you call yourself a philanthropist? Why don’t you help all of them to make their own lives so that they can take care of themselves?” Asked Bali.

Then Yudhistira realised his error and thanked Lord Krishna and Emperor Bali for opening his eyes!   

– Viswanath Venkat Dasari

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia