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  • No friends came to the old man’s funeral. He didn’t have any. His family chose to stay away.

    He awoke in a flower-filled meadow. He snorted and waited for his allergies to kick in. Before he could muster so much as a sneeze, the sound of a nearby flute reached him. He supposed the melody it was playing was lovely, but he didn’t much like music.

    The flutist, a youth with curious blue skin, danced into view and beckoned the old man to follow him. For an hour they hiked into a valley and up a steep hillside. The blue youth kept playing, never pausing to take a breath. The old man was astonished that he could keep up with the boy.

    At the top of the hill were two piles of sand. One was about the old man’s height and made of shining, sugar-white sand. The other was a disagreeable, dirty gray – the color of a stomachache. It stretched as far as the eye could see, losing itself in the clouds.

    The old man suddenly grew aware that the music had stopped. The blue youth pointed his flute toward the smaller pile of sand. “The world’s supply of beauty and love.” He aimed his instrument at the mountainous gray heap. “The world’s supply of ugliness and hate. One hundred of those grains of sand were created by you, by your bitterness, cruelty and avarice. Find and remove those grains. I will bless them and they will be added to the pile of beauty and love. And you, at last, will be free.”

    “But,” the old man protested, “but it would take a lifetime to sort through all that sand. A hundred lifetimes. A thousand lifetimes!”

    The old man, averse as he was to such distractions as feelings, nonetheless felt tears well up in his eyes as the blue-skinned boy gave him a smile of overwhelming compassion.

    “Do the best you can,” the youth whispered. “Namaste.”

    (Image: Lord Krishna)
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