Extraordinarily courageous boy Lal Bahadur Shastri who used to cross the river Ganga everyday by swimming, in order to avoid putting any burden of expenses in traveling to school on his poor parents !
‘A boy was studying in Harishchandra High School, Kashi. His home-town was 8 miles away from Kashi. He used to walk all the way to school. On the way, he was required to cross the river Ganga. During that period, the boatman had to be paid 2 paise to cross the river by boat . That means, he had to pay one anna (Prevalent currency in those times) for crossing the river both ways, that is, around 2 rupees per month. In those days, an amount of two rupees was quite substantial.
The boy learnt to swim instead of asking money from his parents, thinking that it might cause a burden on them to spend 2 rupees per month for his attending the school. He made it a habit to swim the river to reach the school, no matter what the season, whether summer, monsoon or winter. Once, he entered the water of the river Ganga in the morning of a very cold winter day. When he was in midstream, some people traveling in a boat noticed him swimming and thought that a small boy was drowning. Therefore, they brought the boat near him, caught his hands, and pulled him into the boat. There was no trace of fear or anxiety on that the face of that boy. All the people in the boat were amazed at his extraordinary courage.
People : You would have drowned now. It is not advisable to show such courage.
Boy : Courage is a virtue; one has to be courageous. Challenges in life are inevitable, and in order to face and counter them, having courage is a must. If I do not become courageous from this moment, how will I accomplish difficult tasks in life ?
People : Why did you choose to swim at this hour ? You should have come in the afternoon.
Boy : I have not entered the river to have a swim, but to go to school.
People : Then, you should go by boat.
Boy : Four paise are required to go by boat everyday. I do not wish to cause burden on my poor parents. I want to be self-reliant. I do not wish to cause them any anxiety by increasing their expenses for my sake. It will be hard for them to run the household.
People looked at him with great admiration. Later, the same boy became the Prime Minister of Bharat. That young courageous boy was Lal Bahadur Shastri. Despite being on such a high position, he possessed virtues like truthfulness, purity, honesty, courage, simplicity, patriotism etc., and he was an embodiment of good conduct. Such outstanding persons leave a long-lasting impression on the minds of common people despite being in power for a short period.’
– H.H. Sant Shri Asaramji Maharaj