Mansukh was quite famous – for the wrong reasons though. He was famous as the ‘Ill omened one’. It was believed that whoever saw his face, first thing in the morning was sure to go hungry the whole day. Poor Mansukh led a miserable life- ridiculed by all, due to his simplicity bordering foolishness. How wretched it must have been- being called the ‘Ill omened one’, all the time.
Somehow the King came to know about the presence of the Ill omened Mansukh, in his kingdom. Some sycophants instigated the king to act against Mansukh. “Maharaj, how can you allow an ill-omened person to live in your kingdom? Such a person should not be allowed to live at all.”
“Summon him to our court. We shall take a decision after meeting him”, ordered the King.
Mansukh was called to the palace and asked by the king to sleep overnight in the palace. “Do not move out of your room till I open your room’s door in the morning”, the king ordered.
Next morning, as soon as the king woke up, he went straight to Mansukh’s room, knocked his door, talked to him for a while and came back. As luck would have it, on that day the king had to skip his breakfast due to some urgent work. By a mere co-incidence, as soon as the he was ready for lunch, a renowned vendor from the neighbouring state came to the palace to show his special merchandise, and the king had to forego his lunch too. In the evening just around the dinner time, a maid of the palace got seriously ill and the hungry king had to go even without dinner. In short, the king did not get anything to eat the whole day.
After the day’s work was over, Mansukh was summoned by the king. The annoyed and hungry king was full of anger. As soon as Mansukh was brought before him, the king’s anger burst out. “He is hereby sentenced to death. Hang him.”
Mansukh was stunned for a moment. “My lord, what kind of justice is this? I have not committed any crime. Why such a harsh sentence for me?” He cried aloud.
The king was unmoved. “You are definitely the ill-omened one. I have seen it for myself. Such an ill-omened person is dangerous for the people of the state. You will have to die”, he replied.
A date was fixed for hanging. It was to be held after a week. Till then Mansukh had to live in the prison.
The Pandit of the King’s court was a wise and prudent man. He was perturbed by the judgment. Poor Mansukh has been sentenced to death without any fault of his. The Pandit’s mind was engaged continuously, thinking of some way to save Mansukh. Finally, he was thought of a plan. He met Mansukh in the prison and disclosed his strategy to him. “Tell the king fearlessly, what I have told you to say”, he asked Mansukh.
Finally, the day of hanging arrived. In those days, hanging of people used to be held in full public view. The hangman put the noose around Mansukh’s neck. “What is your last wish Mansukh?” he asked Mansukh, as was customary.
“Convey my message to the Honorable king”, said Mansukh, shouting at the top of his voice, making sure that all the people gathered there heard what he said. “Tell him that the death sentence awarded to me is justified because I am ill-omened. But I have question. The king did not get any food for the whole day when he saw my face in the morning. But look at me, I saw the face of the king in the morning and got a death sentence the same day. This means that the king is much-much more ill-omened than me. Please request the king to think over and see whether he too deserves a harsh punishment at the hands of the almighty, for being so ill-omened.”
The executioner was speechless. Mansukh had a point.
The king got the message of Mansukh. He too was stunned. “Mansukh is right”, he thought. “Going by his logic I too am ill-omened. He saw my face, the first thing in the morning; and what did he get? A death sentence.” Better sense prevailed upon the King. The sentence was reversed and Mansukh let free.
Let us see around ourselves. Don’t we find the tale of Mansukh being enacted time and again, here and there? The only difference is that the sanity that prevailed over the king at the end of Mansukh’s story, is missing. The rich and the powerful, proud of their power, leave no stone unturned in proving others as the ‘ill-omened ones’. While ignoring their own biggest shortcomings, they see even the molehills as mountains when it comes to judging others’ faults.
We tend to attribute all our sorrows and adversities to others. Be it family matters, business or any other field of our life, we hold others responsible for all our woes. We see some ill-omened behind every problem that we face.
But we have to stop and think, “By any chance, don’t I too happen to be the ‘ill-omened one’? Am I responsible for someone somewhere being branded as the ‘ill-omened one’ due to my thoughts or words?” If so, then it is me who is the ill-omened one. Just think over.