Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lead us from Darkness to Light!

I was born blind. It means that I was born with only four of the five senses people usually have. I could hear sounds, I could smell, I could touch and feel, and I could taste. But I couldn’t see anything at all. I didn’t even know what it means to see. I couldn’t tell the difference between red and blue. I couldn’t distinguish between black and white. I didn’t know how night is different from the day.  I had managed to grow up with my four senses, and I had learned to live with them.
I was very much dependent upon the help of other people. I would sit by the side of a street and stretch my arms at the passersby. People often felt pity for me and gave me a coin or two. Sometimes they gave me a piece of bread to eat. One day as usual I stretched my arms at some people who passed by. Someone approached me and asked me if I wanted eyesight? I didn’t know what to say. He knelt down, spat on the ground, and made a little paste out of it and placed it on my blind eyes. I felt confused. Why would anyone want to do this to a blind beggar? Watching my confusion, this man placed his hands on my arms, introduced himself as Jesus, and told me that I was going to gain eyesight. All that I needed to do was to walk up to a nearby pool and wash off the mud. I got up and started walking. I reached the pool, bent down, got some water, and washed my eyes.
The world transformed before me. My brain took a while to interpret what my eyes saw. Bewilderment turned to excitement. I didn’t think it was real. I thought that it was probably a dream. I took quick steps to reach my home to share the excitement with my family. Reaching there, I was even more excited to see my family members for the very first time. With tears of joy I shared the good news with them – I could see.
But soon I noticed that none of them found it easy to believe what had happened. Even my parents and my brothers and sisters failed to recognize me for a while. The man standing before them was not the blind man they had known for years. Accompanied by a brother, I took a walk around the places I was familiar with, and those who saw me were very much confused about me. They approached me to find out who I really was and to hear my story. I kept repeating the same story of how I got sight over and over to everyone I met.
My situation looked like a puzzle to some of them that they decided to take me to the local community leaders, the Pharisees, hoping that they might solve the puzzle. The Pharisees were learned people. They had the ability to read and understand the scriptures, and they claimed to know the laws that govern human life and the history of the world. However, my story was even more baffling to the Pharisees. They conducted a thorough investigation of the incident.
First they cross-examined me elaborately to collect all the details. They probably wanted to find out if it really had happened to me or if it was a story I had made up. Then they interrogated my parents to confirm my identity. Once they confirmed that I was telling the truth and that I was truly who I said I was, they turned to the real issue that gave them a headache—Jesus, the man who had given me eyesight.
I noticed that the Pharisees were engaged in a fierce argument among themselves. A couple of them thought that Jesus must be a man of God to have done such a healing miracle. But the others fiercely yelled at them that Jesus must be a sinner for he had broken the laws of Sabbath.
My curiosity rose, and I listened intently to find out how Jesus had broken the laws. I heard one of them explaining that when Jesus had made a paste of soil and put it on my eyes, he was breaking the Sabbath. Jesus “worked” on Sabbath by making the paste. According to the Sabbath rules, no one was supposed to work on Sabbath.
Well, if Jesus had been a sinner, God would not have listened to his prayer. Then where had he received the power to do miracles? They probably meant that Jesus was an agent of Satan. I heard someone else explain that I had been created blind by God as a punishment for an unforgivable sin committed by my parents or grandparents or great grandparents. Now by opening my eyes with the power of Satan, Jesus was rebelling against God.
Hearing this argument, I felt pity for them. Here was a man who had done a miracle no one had ever heard of—he gave sight to me who had been born blind. Now these learned community leaders were trying to prove that this man was a criminal for making a paste to put on my eyes. It looks like they didn’t even have the common sense. Their conclusion about Jesus was outright stupidity. I also felt anger toward them.
After long arguments among themselves, they turned to me and asked what I thought of Jesus. I told them what I knew about Jesus and what I honestly thought about him. I explain that I had never had an opportunity to see Jesus although he had talked to me kindly and applied some paste on my eyes. Now that I could see, my life had radically changed. It was Jesus who made it possible. So I honestly believed that Jesus must be a man of God.
Hearing this from me they got mad like anything and their leader declared that I was excommunicated from the community. This declaration came down on me like a thunderbolt. Now I was no more a part of my own community, and no one in my community was supposed to talk to me or associate with me in any way. My parents, brothers and sisters sadly moved their faces away from me for fear that they also might get excommunicated along with me.
From the height of excitement I was thrown down to the depth of despair. Nowhere else to go, I went back to the place I usually sit to beg. Sitting alone, feeling depressed and devastated, I wondered if I had got my eyesight to see myself getting excommunicated. ”God, why did you give me eyesight,” I complained. Tears started rolling down. I spent a few hours alone in utter hopelessness. I noticed that everyone was avoiding me. No one was even coming closer to me. As soon as they saw me, they walked away.
Recovering from the depth of despair, I began to make an analysis of the situation. Why did this happen? All the events of the day passed through my mind one after another. It all happened because Jesus had given me eyesight. So could I blame Jesus? Not at all! He was merely helping me to live my life like everyone else. Could I blame myself for honestly admitting my belief that Jesus must be a man of God? Not at all! So who is to blame? The Pharisees!
They claimed to be men of God, but their actions showed that they were not. Compared to Jesus, they did not care for me. When I had been in pain, they had done nothing for me. When I got eyesight and I was rejoicing, instead of rejoicing with me, they excommunicated me as if I was a criminal. They want me to remain blind and lead a miserable life.
It seems that the Pharisees lacked the common sense. It was like blindness. They couldn’t see something that was very obvious to others. It is commonsense that rituals and rules exist for human wellbeing. But they seemed to think that human beings exist for the sole purpose of preserving rituals and rules. It is like a man carrying a donkey instead of a donkey carrying a man. Jesus only wanted to do good to people, but these Pharisees called him a criminal.
I don’t know how long I sat there with my depressing thoughts and feelings. I felt a soft touch on my back. Surprised, I turned around to see a man with a pleasant face. It seemed that this man hadn’t heard about my excommunication. If he had, he wouldn’t have come so close to me.  An excommunication prevents people from making any kind of contact with an excommunicated person. While I wondered who this person might be, he told me that he had already known about my excommunication. I assumed that he must be someone who had already been excommunicated like me or someone who didn’t care for excommunication. He introduced himself as Jesus. As soon as I heard that name, instinctively I fell at his feet. He cared for me. He had saved me from a life of darkness and misery. I felt fully safe at his feet. My feelings of despair vanished just like a thick fog disappears in Sunlight. My heart filled with unspeakable joy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Trip to the Hill Country

Mariam has been climbing up the steep mountain path all day. She started her trip with her brother early in the morning from Nazareth, her hometown, much earlier than the rooster crowed.
Mariam was going to see her aunt, Elizabeth, who lived in the hill country of Judea, which was two days journey on foot. Elizabeth’s husband was a priest in the temple at Jerusalem. A year ago Mariam had gone to see Elizabeth with her parents. But this time her parents were busy making arrangements for the forthcoming wedding of Mariam. For a young woman to make such a trip alone was risky, so she sought the company of her brother.
It was not easy for Mariam to get the permission of her parents to make this trip. When they asked her why she wanted to make such a long trip while her wedding was so near, she evaded a direct answer. She simply said she wanted to get the blessing of her aunt before the wedding. She sounded adamant, and her parents didn’t have a choice but to let her go. All they could do was to pray for her and hope that she would return safely.

Mariam was going to be married to Joseph. The betrothal, the initial ceremony of wedding, was over. She circled Joseph reciting blessings, and rings were exchanged with the declaration, “Behold, you are consecrated to me by this ring according to the Law of Moses and Israel”. The betrothal was about a couple of months ago, and she had to wait for a few more months for the main ceremony of the wedding. The two parts of the wedding were usually held at least a year apart.

Always there were travelers on this path going back and forth. Jerusalem, the center of their economic, religious, and political life, was in Judea, and Galileans frequently travelled south to Judea for various purposes. Mariam and her brother managed to join a group of travelers. Most of them were farmers taking their produce on their donkeys. It was always safe to be with a group; for certain spots on the way were notorious as the hideout of thieves. Whenever the group halted, they got a chance to give some rest to their worn-out feet, to take a sip of water, and to eat a bite of bread. Mariam had a bag on her back with some dry bread and some water.

By the end of the day, they found an open space to rest for the night. The other people in the group were nearby. She raised her eyes to heaven and thanked God for keeping her safe so far in the journey. She was sure that God would take care of her in the rest of her trip. She recited a familiar psalm in her mind:

I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

She was sure that God would take care of her during her sleep. She continued to recite the psalm in a low voice.

God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep.
Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.

She was also sure that God would take care of her throughout her journey. She continued to recite the psalm, and her brother joined her.

The LORD will guard you from all evil, and will always guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.

As she meditated the psalm, her mind stayed focused, and it rose to a higher meditative level. She had learned to meditate from her parents even when she was a child. She enjoyed keeping her mind still on God.

One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
Along with the psalmist, she sought only one thing—the beauty of the Lord.

She began and ended her days reciting psalms. Every Sabbath day she went to the local synagogue with her parents and siblings. That was an opportunity to learn the scriptures and to meditate along with her community. The psalms she recited and learned by heart in the synagogue helped her in times of need. Almost every year she went on a pilgrimage to the temple at Jerusalem with her family.

Growing up the midst of her people, she shared the joys and pains of her community. The one biggest pain of her community was that they were denied freedom in their own land. They were in slavery. The sight of Roman soldiers made them feel as if God had abandoned them. It remained a mystery that God allowed them to remain in slavery. If God really cared for them, how could they be slaves to the Romans? She often asked this question to herself, and in the absence of any convincing answer, she consoled herself that God might be testing them.

Even recently the rabbi in the synagogue talked about how much they suffered from Romans, which made her pray intensely for freedom. The only hope was for God to intervene, as who else could save them from the Romans? They hoped against hope that God would soon raise a king to the throne of David, who would liberate the nation from the Romans. A king in the throne of David! That has been the dream of the nation for centuries. Will that dream ever come true? The rabbi earnestly pleaded them to pray day and night for a successor to King David.

Mariam’s vision happened a few days later. It was an afternoon, and she was relaxing inside her home after helping her mother with cooking and other household chores. An angel of God appeared to her. The angel introduced himself as Gabriel, the chief messenger of the Almighty. The angel told her that she was going to give birth to a baby who would become the king, the one who would liberate the nation from the Romans. The angel even suggested the name of the baby-- Yeshu, which means “Jehovah is savior”.

It is true that Mariam had earnestly wished for a king, but she hadn’t expected that she would be the primary means through which this would happen. It raised a multitude of questions in her mind. If a baby is born to her, a poor village peasant girl, how will this child ever rise to the throne of David? Moreover, being unmarried, she has not known a man. Is it going to happen before or after marriage? In answer to all her questions, the angel responded calmly that God would take care of everything. Wasn’t David himself a mere shepherd boy before God raised him to be the shepherd of the nation? In order to prove to Mariam that nothing was impossible to God, the angel referred to an example of God’s power—Elizabeth, her aunt, has conceived a child in her old age.

Elizabeth’s pregnancy was news to Mariam. If God could give Elizabeth a baby in her old age, God can certainly raise Mariam’s baby to the throne of David. If God would take care of everything, all that she would have to do is to surrender herself to the will of God. She said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word!"

Slowly the vision faded away, and when Mariam was aware of her surroundings, she was not sure if she could believe the vision. Was it true? Or, was it just a dream? She said to herself that it might have been a dream. Who would believe that her baby was going to be the divine king? If she told this to others, they would surely laugh at her. So she kept it to herself. She didn’t dare to share this vision with anybody, even with her own parents.

As days passed, a thought started growing in her—what if it was a true vision from God! That is when it struck her. There is an easy way to find out if the vision was true or not. The angel mentioned the miracle that happened to Elizabeth. If she is pregnant with a baby, then surely the vision has to be true. That is how Mariam decided to make this trip to the Hill country to visit Elizabeth. She wanted to find out for herself if her vision was true.

Mariam slept comfortably under the stars. The next morning, she woke up and continued her journey with her brother. She didn’t know what lay ahead in her life. It was certainly going to be an adventure trip. But she was excited to take each step because she knew that it was a journey with God.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Depths of Sadness

Mary's Story of Jesus
I am Mary, the younger sister of Martha and Lazarus. I want to tell you the story of how Jesus became a brother to us.
I have very little memory of our parents because they passed away when I was five or six years old. Some kind of contagious disease took away the lives of countless men, women, and children in our village. My sister was married at that time, and she lost her husband too. Somehow we three survived. My brother was about ten and my sister was about fifteen.
I was still a child, and our brother was a playful little boy. The burden of the family fell upon my sister. Although she was only a teenager, she had to become a mother to us. I don’t know how exactly she managed the family. Of course we had the support of some distant relatives, but my sister had to work all day in other people’s homes and farms to make a living.
I don’t need to tell you how hard life had been to us. I often found my sister very depressed and sad.
She was keeping herself alive only for us. One day, I remember, she embraced both of us and cried for a long time. She said she was almost going to kill herself, but somehow the thought of leaving us orphans withdrew her from that attempt.
Jesus happened to visit our village at that time. We had heard a lot about Jesus. We had heard that he was a friend of the poor and the sick. When he came to our village, we were fortunate to see him and listen to him. His words were magical. His very presence brought peace of mind. Being in his presence was like being in God’s presence. I couldn’t understand all that he said, but he always loved to tell us stories, which we enjoyed very much. Moreover, he always enjoyed playing with children.
Jesus’ arrival in our village brought about a radical transformation in Martha. She began to develop a thankful attitude. I couldn’t see her crying and depressed any more. We often heard her quoting Jesus, who had made a lasting and deep impression upon her.
After a few months, Jesus came to our village again, and we were all excited to see him. We, the children, flocked around him to laugh with him, to play with him, and to listen to the little stories he said.
Jesus, knowing all about our family, had become a special friend to us. He was so kind as to visit us. My joy had no bounds. Jesus, the man of God, was sitting there inside our home! I was so proud when people rushed in to his presence to hear him speak or just to have a peep of how he looked like. He had been a celebrity in all of Galilee and Judea. My sister was very much excited too. Being the head of the family, she was very much concerned about how to host Jesus and the people who accompanied him. She was worried about preparing food for everybody. She found herself helpless as my brother and I were still children. Being so young, I couldn’t sense what was going on in her mind. I was with the other people intently listening to Jesus. Jesus’ words mesmerized us and we had even forgotten where we were.
Martha came into such an oasis of tranquility with an outburst of anger from her mouth.
It sent tremors of shock to everyone sitting there except Jesus. He was apparently untouched by her words. All eyes fell on my sister. Obviously her heart was full of anger and frustration. She didn’t mean to make such a scene, but it just happened. In an apologetic tone she said to Jesus that she had such a lot of work at home, and that even her own sister didn’t help her with all that. That is when I realized that I was the cause of such a humiliating scene. I felt very bad. The eyes of all people turned on me. I knew what they all were saying to me in their mind: Bad girl!
I felt so much pain within me. From the heights of joy, I fell down to the depths of sadness. I had never felt such shame and pain in all my life. I began to cry. I didn’t know what else to do. Jesus saw the frustration in my sister’s heart. He also saw the pain within my heart. While all the eyes around me were looking at me with anger, Jesus stretched his arms toward me, and I walked toward him. He held me close to him and patted on my head and cheeks gently. I could feel a gush of love flowing into me and filling me.
I had never felt such love even from my own Mom and Dad. I pressed my face against the palm of his right hand. He must have felt the warmth of my tears of joy.
My sister felt guilty for making me so sad. She also felt ashamed for making such a scene while Jesus was there. We all were wondering what Jesus was going to say. Would he be angry? Would he leave our home never to return? Contrary to our expectation, he opened his mouth and spoke so gently and softly. All the darkness of anger, sadness, and frustration simply vanished from there like fog in the sunlight. His words were full of love and care. Holding me closely, he talked to my sister:
“Martha, I can see your heart. I understand your situation. I know the immensity of your burdens. God knows it too. You are within the care of your loving heavenly father.
"More than anything else, what you need is a strong mind. Your path of life is rough, and only a tough mind can lead you along that path. Do not carry any burdens within your mind. Place all of them at the feet of your heavenly father, and free yourself.
"Let your mind be on top of everything. Like Mary, this younger sister of yours, forget everything else for some time, and sit here with us.”
Hearing these words of love, my sister sat there with us and listened to Jesus. After some time, Jesus said:
“Come, let us all go and help Martha”.
Standing in the kitchen, Jesus said:
“Look Martha, how many helpers God has given you! Just tell us what to do!”
With this incident, Jesus became an older brother to us. Almost a year after that incident, my brother became sick. We sent for Jesus, but he couldn’t come right away. My brother died, and four days after his funeral, Jesus came. When he saw my sister and me crying, he also cried with us. He walked with us to the tomb, and he asked us to open the tomb. We opened. Jesus asked my brother to come out of the tomb, and he got up as if from sleep, and came out of the tomb! He is still with us alive and healthy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Lesson they Failed to Learn

The Lord made a beautiful garden in Eden, which  was filled with a variety of fruit trees and flower plants. It also had several different kinds of animals living peacefully. The garden was watered by four streams. It was almost a heaven on earth!

The Lord appointed two human beings—a couple—to take care of the garden-- Adam and Eve. They named all the plants and animals and took care of their well-being. In return for taking care of the garden, they could stay in the garden and eat from there.

They had the freedom to eat from any fruit tree in the garden except one – a special fruit tree at the center of the garden. It was called The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was reserved by the Lord for himself, for the Lord alone had all knowledge to pass the right judgments. They were told that they would not continue in the garden if they ate from it.

There was also another kind of magical tree in the garden called The Tree of Life, which stood for the amazing life they enjoyed in the garden.  In order to eat from this tree, all they needed to do was not to eat from the other tree.

Adam and Eve did not worry much about the fruit they were forbidden. They had already got enough fruit in the garden, and they thought that this one fruit was not going to make any difference in their lives. They were not aware of the magical power of this tree. They continued in good terms with the Lord, and they waited eagerly to receive the Lord daily when he visited the garden in the evenings.
As time passed, Eve got friendly with a talking snake in the garden. From the snake, Eve learned that the forbidden tree was a very special one, and its fruit would give them extraordinary knowledge and vision. Eve shared the information with Adam. Considering the advantages of eating the fruit, they forgot all about their agreement with the Lord. They probably wanted to stop being tenants there, and become the owners of the garden.

They ate the fruit, and immediately they saw its effects. They began to act like the Lord, making judgments of what is good and evil. As a result, right away they felt ashamed of their nakedness, and they tried to cover their body with leaves.

In the evening, as usual, the Lord came to the garden. When they heard the Lord’s footsteps, they hid themselves behind the bush. The Lord had to call aloud to get them out into the open.

The Lord rightly guessed the reason for such behavior from them. When the Lord asked, “Did you eat the fruit?” Adam had the option to take the responsibility for his action and to say sorry. He could have done so if he had not eaten that fruit. However, acting like the Lord, they both became judgmental. Adam placed the blame on Eve, and thereby on the Lord for letting her be in the garden as his mate. Following Adam’s example, Eve also placed the blame on the snake, and thereby the Lord for letting the snake be in the garden. They both sat on the judgment seat and passed a judgment on the Lord. They rebelled against the Lord.

Adam and Eve proved irresponsible. They were unfit for the job. How could they be trusted with bigger responsibilities if they couldn’t be trusted with such a little responsibility?

Thus they had to learn the basic lessons of life in the hard way. Adam and Eve and their descendents have been out of the garden since then, suffering the consequences of their actions. They still haven’t learned how to maintain healthy relationships. They haven’t learned the importance of being responsible either. They still place themselves on the seat of the Almighty, and they continue passing judgments on their fellow beings and on the almighty.

What a shame!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Story of Christmas

Once upon a time the earth was a part of the mighty Kingdom of Heaven. In those days earth was a place of love, joy, and peace. All the inhabitants of heaven and earth lived like a family caring for one another. Poverty and sickness were unheard of, and nobody was worried or sad about anything. No one did any crime; there were no prisons, courts, judges or lawyers. Nobody fell ill, and so there was no need of doctors or nurses or hospitals. The earth was a blessed place of plenty and prosperity.

However, this state of affairs didn’t last long. A suspicion about the motive of the Heavenly King crept into the minds of the earthlings like an ugly snake. Eventually, the Heavenly King was grossly misunderstood, and the good, father-like King was seen as a merciless tyrant. Thus a tiny suspicion slowly grew up to become a huge wall of hatred that separated the earth from the Heaven. There also rose walls of hatred among people dividing them based on gender, race, color, caste, class, and what not! Generations passed one after another, and they even forgot that the earth was once a part of heaven.
When life continued so miserable, they blamed it all on the king of heaven. They believed that the King was making them suffer for rebelling against him. If the problem is the king’s displeasure, the solution must be to please the King. From time to time they devised ways to please the Heavenly king in order for him to stop his enmity toward them. The ways they devised differed from place to place and from time to time. The proponents of each way claimed theirs to be the only true and right way to please the king, which only served to create even more walls that further separated the earthlings. They sacrificed themselves and killed others for their beliefs. Thus the earth, which was once a heaven, degenerated into a hell!
When the condition of the earth became so bad, the King of Heaven sent the Prince to the earth to let the earthlings know that he had had no enmity whatsoever to them. The prince of heaven arrived on the earth as a human child. The angels in Heaven were overjoyed at this cosmic event because they were fully aware of its importance. However, the earthlings, in their blindness, remained asleep in that night when the angels of Heaven flew around the earth and Heaven proclaiming the good news of the Prince’s arrival. They couldn’t imagine that the Prince of Heaven would arrive on the earth as the child of a poor village girl.
The Prince of Heaven grew up among the earthlings as one among them, learning their culture and their language. As he grew up, he told them the truth about the King of Heaven that he had had no enmity toward them. He told them that the King loves them all like His own children in spite of their enmity, and he advised them to love their enemies following the example of their heavenly father. He asked them to communicate to the king of heaven as follows: Our father in heaven, let thy kingdom come, and let thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
If only they had listened to him, the walls of hatred would have collapsed, and the earth would have become heaven. But their deep-rooted misunderstanding wouldn’t budge so easily. They misunderstood the Prince too. Soon they made false accusations on him, and murdered him. Bu the heavenly king raised him, and he returned to Heaven, and has been seated at the right hand of the King.
Each time we celebrate Christmas, we remember the golden past of the earth when all people lived as a family. We also remain hopeful that the earth can once again regain such a state by clearing the misunderstandings that still remain deep-rooted in human hearts.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Death, the Monster

An Ancient Easter Story

"I know what to do!" the emperor declared. The heaven was relieved to hear this statement.

The emperor of the heaven and the earth was seated on the throne of fire. Legions of angels flew around waiting to obey any command from his lips.

The emperor had appeared worried about something for a few days. The entire heaven shared the uneasiness of the emperor. The heaven had never seen its emperor that troubled about anything. The angels could guess that there must be something terribly wrong somewhere in the empire.

The emperor was concerned about the well-being of the human beings on the earth. The emperor treated them as his own children. Given the potential to grow as wise and powerful as the emperor, they had the freedom to choose their own way of life. This was a privilege even the angels in heaven couldn't dream of.

It was the presence of a fierce monster on the earth that troubled the emperor. This huge, ugly monster was called Death. It lived in a cave somewhere underground, and nobody knew the exact location of the cave. The monster had the unusual ability to appear anywhere on the earth and capture human beings. The captured ones were chained inside his cave.

The heart-breaking cry of the captives reached the throne of the emperor, which made him think of the most effective way to face the problem. Finally a solution surfaced in his mind. And he declared, "I know what to do!"

The emperor wanted to put an end to the terror of Death and set all its prisoners free. In order to accomplish this, he descended to the earth disguised as a human being. Born as a human baby to a poor village girl, he grew up just like any other human being. When it was time, the emperor walked straight toward Death to be captured by him.

While he was walking toward Death, the entire heaven looked down with apprehension. The Sun, moon, and the stars looked down with curiosity at what their emperor would do. The earth, the ocean, the plants, and the animals couldn't believe their eyes when they saw their emperor walking on the earth as a human being. Ironically, the only beings who could not recognize the emperor were the human beings although they were the beneficiaries of all the troubles the emperor was going through.

Mistaking the emperor to be just another human being, the monster captured him and threw him to his dungeon. Once inside, the emperor assumed his own real form. Seeing the emperor of heaven and earth within his cave, the monster trembled with fear. He made an attempt to escape, but the emperor wouldn't let him go. What followed was a fierce battle between the emperor and the monster. At the battle of the giants, the earth quaked violently, and the heaven thundered. The battle continued until the monster fell dead. A sigh of relief rose from all the angels and other beings who were watching the cosmic battle. It was followed by shouts of joy and victory throughout the empire.

The emperor broke the chains of all the prisoners and freed them. They all assembled before the emperor, bowed before him, and thanked him profusely for all the trouble he took to save them.

Once again there was peace and well-being all over the heaven and the earth.

A Story by John Kunnathu