The Kumars and the Chaudhrays

First Limb of Yoga

Yamas, The Restraints

The following are the five main yamas: Non-violence, Non-Stealing, Non-greed, Truthfulness, Sexual self-control

In my village there were two notable families, notable because everyone knew who they were. One family, the Kumars, and the other, the Chaudharys were known for completely different reasons.

Let us first remember the Kumars. In this book there is a story about ‘Big Kumar’ and the donkey incident. Not only was Big Kumar rogue, so were all the rest of his family. The men would lie to and cheat everyone they dealt with; they even ‘double dealt’ amongst themselves. No member of the Kumar family trusted any other member of that family. Their looks were guarded; their words were sly. They would prey upon strangers in the market place. They were frequently in jail. They would argue and fight each other and did not hesitate to steal each other’s wives. They were all characterised by deeply furrowed brows. Even the children carried lines of worry and fear on their faces. Those who knew them sought to avoid them at all costs. They appeared not to understand any of the common rules of behaviour and acted more like animals than people. Everyone kept away from them except for the Chaudhary family.

The Chaudharys were a large and happy family. They had a stall at the market, as did the Kumars. They could always be trusted. They would never over charge for the food they sold. It would always be clean and pure. They would not dream of adding sand to the salt or spices they sold. They did not try to hide old stale vegetables beneath the fresh ones. If someone returned to their stall with a complaint, they put it right straight away. If anyone at market cut or hurt himself, Mrs Chaudhary or one of her sisters would immediately aid the injured person. Any fresh goods unsold at the end of the day would be given to the poor. They would never gossip or spread malicious rumours about anyone. People would come and tell them their troubles and they would listen with a sympathetic ear; they would cheer the troubled one with a smile or a joke or a good piece of advice.

The Chaudharys were the only people who would visit members of the Kumar family while they were in jail. They would bring food and blankets and listen to the prisoner’s woes. All of the Chaudharys had smiling open faces. They loved everybody and everybody loved them, all except the Kumars. They were jealous and hated the Chaudharys, in spite of the kindnesses done for them. They failed to understand why the Chaudharys were successful and popular, and why they were not.

There are no prizes for guessing which family was paying heed to the yamas: non-violence, non-stealing, non-greed, truthfulness, chastity and which acted in ignorance?