Hindu and the Fish Prince

Hindu and the Fish Prince
Advent 8
Skillet Veggie Casserole

Once upon a time in a land that would become known as India, a man, his wife, and his two sons lived. The elder son was short of stature and had only one eye placed rather in the center of his forehead. The younger son was tall and said to be very handsome. The father knew that his subjects often talked disparagingly about his older son who, by law, should inherit and rule his kingdom. However, he also knew that the people would never follow and obey the son who had grown into a bitter and jealous man. The elder son lamented to his wife that his brother was his father’s favorite and she used her powers as an enchantress to change the brother into a fish. Certain that he no longer posed a threat, the elder son tossed the little fish his brother had become into the river.

Several days passed and the younger brother found himself swooped up in a basket. Because the little fish was too small to make a meal, it was given to the queen who loved animals and had many pets. The queen adored the small fish, not knowing it was really the missing son she grieved. As time passed, the fish grew and the queen would order a new tank made for his comfort and pleasure. She named his Athon-Rajah, the Fish Prince, and as many of us do, often talked to him. One day she inquired as to whether or not her fish pet was happy. The fish calmly answered he was but would like to have a wife. The queen was overjoyed and set about trying to find her beloved pet a wife.

The people, however, feared the fish wanted to eat the young women and no family would let their daughter be married to Athon-Rajah. Then a beggar man happened to hear about the bag of gold the queen had promised to the father who would allow his daughter to marry her pet. IT seemed his first child, a daughter, was being offered to the fish prince. The man explained his second wife did not like her step-daughter and the man was tired of being caught between the two. He told the queen’s men his daughter was down by the river’s edge washing clothes.

The girl was indeed down by the river, talking to an animal friend of hers, a seven-headed cobra. The cobra told her she was to be married off and the girl became afraid. The cobra comforted her, explaining that the fish prince was really a human prince under a spell. He gave her three stones with which to break the spell. The girl was taken to the queen and did marry the fish prince. She then used the three stones to break the spell and the two lived happily ever after, enjoying sunshine and happiness forever.

According to the Kauai Hindu Monastery, there are nine basic Hindu beliefs in this ancient religion of india. “Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality. Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion. Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution. Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds. Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny. Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods. Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation and surrender in God. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, noninjury, in thought, word and deed. Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.”

Hindu is often considered the world’s oldest religion. The Hindu religion, portrayed in the ancient writings known as the Vedas, believes in reincarnation. Therefore, one’s beliefs determine one’s thoughts and attitudes about life, which in turn direct a person’s actions. Those actions then create a person’s destiny. To the Hindu, beliefs about sacred matters–God, soul and cosmos–are essential to how a person approaches to life.

To the Hindu, God takes on many forms and so, to some, Hindu is a religion of many gods. Dharma is the Hindu natural law of the universe and every action a Hindu takes must be in harmony with Dharma. Written Hindu scriptures are known as the Vedas. The caste systems of India throughout its long history are said to be the organization of Dharma, and are in keeping with the Hindu orthodoxy that the four thousand year old Vedas proclaim.

Mahatma Ghandi once said: ““If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth… Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”

I like the story of the Fish Prince because he made the best of the situation in which he found himself. He neither wept over being turned into a fish but swam about in the water. Once taken to the queen, he lived as her pet and had all his needs met. Eventually he once again regained his rightful place in the palace of his youth as a man with a loving wife and helpmate. He used his energies for acceptance over what he could not change and sought to do good as best he could. AS swami Vivekananda is quoted as saying: “The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”

Skillet Vegetable Casserole
Most Hindi are vegetarian, though it is not strictly necessary as long as one is reverent and gives thanks for the food eaten. This also, of course, depends on which school of Hinduism one practices. This skillet dinner is not only easy to make but also reheats and travels well, making it ideal for a potluck dinner or a brown bag lunch.
2 tsp cooking oil
½ cup diced onion, celery, and bell pepper
½ tsp paprika
¾ cup frozen lima beans
¾ cup frozen green beans
¾ cup frozen corn
½ cup diced tomatoes (canned diced tomatoes may be used)
½ tsp oregano (Italian seasoning may also be used in place of the oregano)
½ tsp basil
½ tsp parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook for about five minutes. The bell pepper and celery should be tender and the onion translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and simmer for about twenty-five minutes.

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