There was a rich man (sheth) named Narottama in Bhuj. He had a daughter named Kalawati. He got married his daughter to a son of a rich man called Dhanpal of Mandvi. While sending her to her father-in-law's house Narottama Sheth addressed her in the presence of all “My dear daughter, don't forget four steps! you will reach the height of palace by stepping them one by one!”
Saying thus, he placed his hand on her head and said “Never bring out the inner quarrels of your house in public, and never take in outside quarrels in your house - this is the first step. “The second step is that - Never shout - roar - along with others. When the clouds roar, keep your ears shut. When you see a temple-flag, keep your mouth shut!
“The third step is, Make the seen unseen and the unseen seen”. “The fourth step is, praise for the food of a previous day, and fortune for the fresh food”. His daughter Kalawati bowed down her head and obeyed her father's commandment. Now, Dhanpal Sheth, her father-in-law, was listening to these pieces of advice. But he found no significance in the advice. He found the advice baseless. Kalawati came to her father-in-law's residence. She took upon herself the complete house-hold work. She always attended on her father-in-law when he was at a dinner table. Thus many days passed.
Meanwhile, once upon a time a saint with begging-bowl in his hand came to her door. Dhanpal Sheth was dining at that time. He threw a glance at the saint and concentrated at his dinner. Kalawati was thinking that her father-in-law would tell her to offer some food to the sadhu. But the `sheth' did not utter a word. Many days passed. The sadhu reappeared for begging. This time also rich man Dhanpal did not utter a word. The saint reappeared thrice for begging, yet Dhanpal kept mum.
Kalawati, this time, could not keep quiet. she said, “O saint, proceed further (visit some other house) People here are engrossed in eating food of the previous day”. The sadhu went away at once. But Dhanpal Sheth pushed back the dish and got up. he looked at Kalawati and thundered like a lightening. “You have insulted by regarding us as people taking stale food. Now you will not stay in my house for a single moment”.
Dhanpal Sheth, at once called for the leaders of his caste and told them, “I don't want this lady as my daughter-in-law”. The leaders of the caste said to Kalavati, “O dear daughter! Being so wise, why did you call Dhanpal Sheth as a person eating the food of previous days?” “I never wanted to insult him by saying thus. My meaning is that what my father-in-law enjoys is because of his good deeds done in the previous birth. Good deeds of the previous birth means the food cooked previously, and that is why it is called a stale food or the food cooked previously. Service unto saints, service unto guests, service unto the poor - such good deeds are called new or fresh food. If we do such good deeds in the present, if we do not sow such new grains now and simply live upon the food-grains of the previous years, what will happen if and when such stored grains are exhausted? The grandure of the previously stored food is so small in comparison to the lucky growth of new crop. So when a saint went away empty-handed from our door, I felt much and so I could not but say, “My father-in-law is a man who lives upon the past deeds. I ask for pardon for my impoliteness”, said Kalavati humbly.
On hearing this, Dhanpal Sheth uttered before the leaders and spoke, “It is not your impoliteness, it's mine. I ask your forgiveness”. At once the whole atmosphere was changed. The leaders of the caste said to Kalavati, “Daughter, your explanation is wise and fit to be followed. Quite correct! The pomp of the stored food is insignificant, Whereas the lucky few sow the new grains of good deed!” “O my dear daughter-in-law! If there is so much truth hidden in only one of your father's advice, how much truth there must have been in all the four? Therefore explain us the meaning of all four”. said Dhanpal again.
Kalavati said, “I do not consider myself as clever, but when you command me to explain, I will explain it to the best of my ability”. “My father advised me through the first advice that - One shall never take out the quarrels of one's house in the public, and never to take into the house outside quarrels. This means that if there is any difference of opinions the members of family or if there is any quarrel among them, they must be sorted out amicably among us, but never in any case, carry them out of one's house to be sorted out by others. Moreover, if anyone speaks derogatory about our house, never in any case, carry it at home, and never try to make it a bone of content in the home”.
“The meaning of the second advice of my father is that we should never roar along with others. We should keep our ears close when clouds roar. And keep your mouth shut when the temple flag is seen. This means that we should not associate ourselves where there is heated quarrels with abusive language. Never hear such things. And when you see a temple-flag or when you are amidst honourable persons, keep an honourable silence”. “The third advice of my father is that one should make the seen unseen, and the unseen seen. This means that we should never consider the faults of others enen if they are seen, and we should remember the good qualities even though not actually seen”.
“The fourth advice of my father is that we should, no doubt, praise the food cooked previously, but really we should consider ourselves lucky if we get the opportunity to sow new crop of deeds. This means that while we enjoy the fruits of our previous birth, we should always be ready to do the new good deeds. This you know very well”. At last Kalavati said “My father regards these items of advice as the four steps to Grihasthasharma. We can reach the palace of happiness only by crossing these four steps”.
Everyone was pleased on hearing this explanation. Dhanpal Sheth said “Daughter, I entrust the complete administration of my house to you from today. You are free to serve any saint, guest and the poor who come to our door, in the best way possible. I considered your father's advice up to this day as having no sense, insignificant. But now I think that each one these items of advice should be written in gold in the house of every GRIHASTHA.
Shriji Maharaj has already commanded in the SIKSHAPATRI(147) “They (GRIHASTH) shall offer to god one-tenth of the income received through their occupations. Householders with limited sources of income may offer 1/20 part of it”.
He has also commanded for giving food in charity and imparting knowledge. All these commands are meant for happiness of householders.