The Stunning Gift



There was a young man who was an architect by profession. He married an heiress, the only daughter of a wealthy and powerful man.

Soon after the wedding, the father-in-law called the architect and said to him, “I am going to offer you a challenging assignment which anyone in your profession would love to accept!”

The architect was a greedy man. He would have preferred a more materialistic wedding present! However, he asked his father-in-law to tell him more about the project.

The wealthy man had acquired a large plot of land atop a green hill, overlooking a magnificent view of a river. It was what any architect would call a dream location. On this site, he wanted his son-in-law to design and construct a beautiful bungalow for him.

“I am going abroad and I shall be away for a year at least,” he said to his son-in-law. “I leave this project entirely in your hands. I want you to build for me the most beautiful villa you have ever designed. Money is no consideration! Just send the bills to my office. I have left instructions that you be paid as soon as the bills are submitted. No one will ask you any questions. Just give me the house of my dreams when I get back.”

The unscrupulous architect saw the assignment only as an ­opportunity to make money. He used sub-standard material; he took all possible short-cuts; he made a fortune out of the assignment, and built a bungalow, beautiful to look at, but with a hundred unseen structural flaws.

Dada Vaswani, born Jashan ­Pahlajrai Vaswani, is a spiritual leader and heads the Sadhu ­Vaswani Mission, that has its ­centres spread out across the world. A recipient of U-Thant Peace Award, he has addressed the ­British House of ­Commons, the World ­Parliament of Religions, Chicago and the ­Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations, New York, and several other gatherings.
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“My father-in-law is such a rich man,” he thought, “it is no sin to fleece him!”

The father-in-law returned at the end of the year.

Meeting him at the airport, the son-in-law said to him, “Sir, your bungalow is ready for inspection.”

The father-in-law shook his hand warmly. “We will all go together to take a look at it tomorrow,” he said.

The next day, father, daughter and her husband drove up the hill to see the bungalow. The architect had taken care to give it a ­magnificent elevation and painted it beautifully, on the outside —never mind what lay behind the appearance!

The car stopped outside the wide gates. The rich man looked at the bungalow and smiled in satisfaction. Handing over the keys of the house to his son-in-law, he said, “This is my surprise gift to your wife — my precious daughter!” The architect was stunned into silence.

This is the great law of life — our dishonesty recoils on us!

When we think we are cheating others, we are only cheating ourselves.


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