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Adi & Praja 068

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 7

Issue 68: Taken over the business

Later Shano and Sundaree visited the village several times and stayed with the family for a few weeks. Shano’s mother also liked Sundaree, despite the fact that she had not even known about her existence until Marico’s return from the match. But she was very happy that her son had finally found a good place, and that her worries had apparently been unfounded. Still, she always felt that Shano kept a distance from Marico, even though they would talk normally with each other.


(Taking over father’s business)

 The time came when father was growing old. Shano was 31 now, and Marico 35. It was time for father to retire. He was suffering much back pain and since several years his hands had become rheumatic. The witch and her young assistant could help him to relieve the pain somewhat, but couldn’t cure the rheumatism. Also his eyes grew less sharp – a condition for the fine carving work he used to do. The more refined work was now always done by Marico. It was time that the house – that had been hand built by father and grandfather – of remarkable quality and beauty, and the working place an shop and the whole business would be given in the hands of the younger generation: Marico and Shano. Shano was somewhat hesitant, but he was living with Sundaree and now four children in a rather shabby house in the bad part of the city, and he was aware that not too far in the future father would leave a handsome sum of money – though that would never be his motivation to come.

So father, mother (she not without silent concern) and the brothers and their wives decided that Shano should return to the village and share the house – which was made big enough. Marico and Anna had three children now, two girls and a boy. Shano and Sundaree brought their three boys and one girl.

All went quite well the first few years, both brothers doing their own work and good business. The seven children (later even 12, but four of them died and one was mentally retarded and couldn’t communicate through language, and died also young) grew up together. One day in the future the seven built a big company famous all over the country – but that is not part of this story. The children would regard both women as their mothers – though they had quite a different character and were often quarreling also. Sundaree came from the city, and was quite careless about what other people would be thinking of her. She would walk around in the village with her face uncovered even when the men were around. Anna found that disgusting, and inviting trouble, she thought (though nothing ever happened). A village girl or women would always keep a veil in front of her face when she was out, unless she was among her girlfriends or inside the house with her family. Anna was conservative and gave much attention to live according to her standard: that was the daughter of a good handworker’s family. It was difficult for her to be spontaneous, but at the same time she was a bit jealous of Sundaree’s freedom and easy ways with her husband. Sundaree was Shano’s equal, whereas Anna was Marico’s subordinate. But still, apart from regular small tensions, the men, women and children lived pleasantly together.

Shano was thirty-four and Marico thirty-seven. Work and business was going well, and requests streamed in from remote villages and towns. Both the construction and the carving work of the brothers was widely appreciated. Moreover especially Shano had some noble character traits. He would feel into the real wishes of the clients, and do his work to perfection, even if he sometimes had to work through the night. If the work was more than expected he would see that as his own responsibility and charge nothing extra for extra work. He was always helpful, even in matters that had nothing to do with his job as such, and children always liked them, because he would still give them toys. It was really his purpose to make people happy and their happiness was enough reward for him. Deep within lived his experiences of the village temple and of the forest in the hills, and had learned to see that beauty can be found in everything, but that people were too much caught in there tense superstitions, living in a self built illusion, and looking for God in idols, unaware that everything around them and inside them was God. He believed that life was worth more than just doing your duty, and that life would not end with death. These things were just his feelings. Nobody had taught him these things, except the temple and the trees and his special experiences themselves. He was always quiet – but what nobody around him realized was that he was often lonely and angry. The old jealousy concerning Marico was still below the surface of his mind – just as if it was patiently waiting its chance.

One day a delegation from a religious community came from the city to meet Marico and Shano. They had come to know about the excellent qualities of both men, and some rich business men together with the local community in the city had decided to dedicate their earnings and devotion to their god by building a temple for him. They had formed a committee and had decided that the temple should express real devotion and love for the divinity, but also that it should emphasize the goodness of the rich (who might have thrown some unpleasant history-lines into the future while acquiring their wealth, and hoped that the god would wipe out that line at least partly – something which a real god, knowing the deepest and most subtle motivation in a man’s mind, may and will never do, because then the god would actually steal or destroy the real freedom of that person to learn in his own unique way and to ever answer the question which he really is – the Big Question of Adi’s Heart). The committee had agreed to have the temple built by the best artists and builders of the region. And therefore they visited the house of the two brothers. They also visited another good house builder in another town, and the committee decide to a contest: they asked these three men to design a temple, and the one who gave the best design would be given the assignment. In the case of Shano and Marico it would not make all that much difference who would win, because they would do the practical work together anyway: Shano the structure and Marico the ornamentation. Now that committee fully agreed outwardly, because it was everyone’s honor and interest to have that temple built. But inwardly they were divided. Many of the simple people and some of the religious people understood that a temple should be humble in outlook, but convey a feeling of real spirituality on the people; others, who harbored some secret pride, thought of a building that was big and shiny, and would attract people from far distances to see it and admire the town and the goodness of the rich people. Of course these members you found in the first place among the business people, some city officials and perhaps also under the so-called spiritual authorities and the clergy. All these sections of the society were represented in the committee. Of course when the committee visited Marico and Shano, they had emphasized the better motivations, but that did not always represents the secret dealings and thoughts of the individual members of the committee.

So Marico and Shano, and also the man in the other town, independently thought on the design of the temple, but Shano first meditated before he started drawing the design. Actually the third man in the other town didn’t have much chance. He was a promising young man, but did not yet have the experience and ripeness of Marico and Shano. But also for him it was a great challenge to do the best he could – it would no doubt be a learning process, and a basis for future opportunity. Shano worked, and Marico worked, but they did not look at each other’s work. Anna and Sundaree could watch both men at work though, and form their opinions about it. Though both of them wanted their own husband to win, they silently agreed that Shano’s work was more ensouled, and in its simplicity represented a real devotional heart. Marico’s design was bigger and contained more elaborate carvings and ornaments (of course he knew that the more he designed the more work he would have and the more he would earn). But Shano did not think of earning in the first place. He really tried to feel in himself what the god would appreciate most. The two women recognized that, and even told it to Marico. Marico knew deep inside that his brother was more spiritual, and if he had the chance his work might have been more refined and beautiful even then his own. The family, including Shano himself and Marico, became convinced that Shano would win the contest. The design had something so radiating, so real, so honest – it came from something deeper than Shano’s brain-mind alone. Also during an in-between visit of some of the committee members the family could feel that they were more inclined toward Shano’s design; except one member with a thick belly, who was talking to Marico only.


(The Choice and the disaster)

A few weeks later came the great day: all three were invited to the city and brought their wives, and the committee would decide – though there was hardly any doubt.

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