Emperor Vikramaditya was once going somewhere in his royal vehicle together with his minister. In front of them was a bullock cart loaded with sacks of paddy which the farmer was taking to his home. In one of the sacks there was a small hole from which the grains were falling on the road. The emperor noticed this and ordered: ‘Stop this cart. There are many diamonds lying scattered on the road.’ The minister was surprised and looked around to find where the diamonds were lying. He ordered the farmer to stop. He told the Emperor: ‘I did not find any diamonds anywhere in this area. Maybe you are mistaken!’ The Emperor got down from his vehicle and walked behind the cart. He started picking up the grains one by one and kept on placing them on his royal robe. The minister was astonished. He said: ‘Your Majesty, our warehouses are already filled with food grains. There is no shortage of food grains in the kingdom. Why are you doing this?’ Emperor Vikramaditya said: ‘This grain is not a mere grain of paddy; it is a precious piece of a diamond. If we start dishonoring these food grains, one day we will be faced with famine. People will die due to shortage of food. Our warehouses will become empty.’ The minister said: ‘Loss of one or two grains will not make any difference, Sir.Even otherwise lots of these grains are lying scattered in the field of the farmer at the time of harvesting.’ The Emperor said: ‘These grains are not the grains of paddy. These represent
Annapurna – the goddess of food. If we keep on treading them under our feet, one day we will begin to starve. It is an insult to food. Our warehouses get filled with food grains just in the same way as the oceans are filled with small drops of rain. Each drop and grain counts.’
The farmer overheard the conversation that was going on between these two persons. He got down from his bullock cart and presented himself before the Emperor. He bowed before the Emperor and said: ‘We farmers are recognized only due to these grains – we produce them and we supply these grains to the Emperor and people, but we do not understand the larger significance of food grains. We remain concerned only with our own needs in the family. But you, being an Emperor, take into account your subjects and think of their welfare and needs. You can well-imagine the suffering of the people due to hunger and shortage of food grains. That is why you consider each and every grain important and of value. These grains are indeed diamonds.’ Food is precious and so are the grains. Honour them and handle them with great respect.
Through this story we must understand that in today’s scenario as well, when lots of people are
starving. Before wasting even a single grain today when you all are sitting at home and enjoying
delicacies, you must think of those left without food.