Saturday, 7 July 2012

Story of Krishna and the salesman

Every town has a Saturday market, but in the whole of India, you will not find a tougher weekly market than the one that takes place in Shurasena. A dozen spice merchants compete to offer the lowest prices and, if you are planning to buy a camel, the choices are more numerous than the hairs of a squirrel.

Like all philosophers, Krishna loved to go the market. In the morning, he traded his medicinal herbs for coins, and in the afternoon, he used the coins to purchase fish and salt. Every week, he did the same, and the path he walked to the market was the path he walked to return home.

One Saturday in July, after Krishna had bought a trout and an ounce of salt and was about to leave the market, he saw a kid, barely a man, sitting on the ground and weeping bitterly. "Crying makes birds fly higher," said Krishna to the kid, who stopped sobbing and lifted his head.

"Will you have a lemonade?" asked the boy with a trembling voice, as he got to his feet and pointed at a two-wheel cart next to him. Ripe lemons and an ice bar were lying on the cart, as well as six empty glasses and a tin jar. A banner on the cart read "Dhiren's Cold Lemonade."

The kid's question was as misplaced as a question could be, since there was a public fountain
ten yards away. "I am Dhiren," he announced shyly, "and if I don't sell enough lemonade, I will not have a place to sleep tonight." The whole scene was so pathetic that, if Krishna had had any coins left, he would have given them all to the kid.

"Would you sell more lemonade if you had no fear?" inquired Krishna. Dhiren nodded and explained that he had not sold a single glass of lemonade in the whole day. The ice on the cart was melting and Dhiren had been weeping because he had lost all confidence in himself.

"I have done my best," the kid went on sadly, "but nobody wants to buy lemonade from me.
I guess that there must be something wrong with me." Krishna smiled, for he knew better. In Dhiren's doubts, Krishna recognized the feelings that he had experienced himself many years ago.

"Changing oneself is harder than changing the world," explained Krishna, laying his hand on one of the wheels and signalling Dhiren to push the cart forward. The wheels squeaked as the cart rolled away from Market Square.

When Dhiren asked where they were going, Krishna just repeated his mysterious words. An hour later, they crossed the south port of Shurasena and there, right outside the walls of the ancient city, they met a long caravan of pilgrims that had just arrived from the desert.

As soon as the pilgrims saw Dhiren's banner, they dismounted their camels, walked to the cart and ordered a glass of lemonade. By the time all ice had melted, Dhiren had sold more glasses of lemonade than in the previous three months. His success quickly restored his self-confidence and his smile.

When the day was over, Dhiren was a different man, sure of himself and fearless of the future. He searched for Krishna amongst the pilgrims, since he would have liked to express his thanks, but Krishna was already gone. When the night fell, Dhiren realized that he had changed his whole world,
even if the stars in the sky appeared to be same as the day before.


[Image by Anna_Cotta under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]