Skip to Content

14. Unsold Stock

Perumal was a young man running a 110 year old shop. He was the son of a local rich man of a traditional type. His uncle was the richest man in that place. The wealth was traditional and the boy had the manners of an affluent, traditional, respectable family. He was very able and efficient, but he was timid and lacked initiative. He was visiting the Ashram off and on, following a friend of his who became Mother's devotee. Each time he visited the Ashram, he used to pay a visit to me. Being very timid, he spoke little. Our conversations were formal and limited, and his visits were brief.

One day when I was busy with visitors from afar, I was told Perumal had been waiting for me for a long time. I know he would wait for me ordinarily, but it appeared he had something on his mind. I excused myself from the visitors for a short while and met Perumal. He was, as usual, calm, quiet and pleasant, but sad. Casually he mentioned they were closing his shop. I explained to him that those who had come to Mother need never fail in their work. As that was not the right time for me to deal with any serious affair, I asked him to meet me at another time. He came on the appointed day.

He told me, as a foregone conclusion, that his father had decided to close the shop, since the sales were dipping. "Unless we sell for Rs.500 a day, we don't break even. Sales are far below that level. We have waited for a few months. There is no point in postponing the decision."  Being in his early twenties, it is natural that his father makes all the decisions. Though he is formally consulted, Perumal had no say in the matter. Also he seemed to fully understand and endorse his father's decision.

Closing a shop of 110 years' standing is a major decision. They seemed to have taken it already. He was not even asking me whether it should be closed. I saw he did not understand his relationship with the Ashram, his visits to the Samadhi, Darshan, etc. I was sure he would pay attention to my words. I was anxious to prevent the closure of the shop. Therefore, I said, "Perhaps you would not close the shop if the sales picked up."  He answered, "Surely not."  I continued, "If you can postpone the closure for about a month, the sales will rise to Rs.1,000 per day. You can reconsider after a month."  He asked, "Is it possible? If that is the case, then there is no difficulty in postponing the decision. What am I to do?" I replied, "It is enough you don't close the shop. Simply remember Mother. Try to spend more time in the shop. Let us see."

A month later he met me. He said, "I went home thinking about what you told me. I had no courage to open the subject with my father. I did what you said - spent time in the shop, thought of Mother, and the next day sales were better. At the end of the day father disclosed that sales were near Rs.1,000. Since then sales have never fallen below Rs.1,000."  Now that he had seen this result, I told him that we generally do not think of Mother in Life, we think of Her only when we go to the Ashram. Nor do we relate our life to our devotion to Mother. We function as if life is different and Mother is different. Devotees of Mother carry Mother's force on them. If they think of Her during their work, the work will flourish. What happened in his case was that his constant remembrance of Mother helped to pull up the sagging sales. This movement was helped by his staying in the shop longer than usual. He left pleased and beaming.

After some time, during one of his visits, Perumal said he had unsold stock worth Rs.25,000 and asked whether something could be done in that regard. I asked him to explain in detail how this accumulation had occurred.

"This is no accumulation. My father bought this particular product in huge quantities. Ever since, this stock has been lying idle. Let me explain. Ours is a state capital and there are over 100 shops of our description in the town. This particular product is sold in backward places. No one would buy substandard products in a city like ours  The company tried to introduce this product in several parts of our state and failed each time. This time the company sent two of its dynamic salesmen here. They knocked at every shop for a week. No one would buy even one rupee worth of this product. This was the talk of the town during that week. The salesmen approached our shop, too. We refused. They came again with some very attractive gifts of glassware and started on their sales pitch. My father gave in. As clever as they were, the men pushed in Rs.25,000 worth of stock. I was standing by, helpless. I could not protest. For the last seven or eight months, we have not been able to sell one piece of it. It stays there."

This time Perumal asked for my advice. I explained in some detail Mother's ideas of running an establishment, touching upon cleanliness, orderliness, soft speech, etc. For him, the one important thing was to get rid of this unsold stock. I gave him the following advice: "Mother speaks a lot about giving attention to children, things, even material objects. She says even inanimate objects respond to attention. The case you present seems to be a hard one. Let us first try attention. If it does not work, let us try another method later. You may ask how to pay attention to a dead stock. In your storeroom, try to clean up the place and put the stock in some order, particularly these cases. Dust them well and arrange them in a nice order. That is one way of giving attention. Each time you enter the storeroom, think of Mother and think of them at the same time. Whenever this idea of unsold stock comes to mind, try to think of Mother without worrying yourself. By this you are passing on your burden to Mother. That way your faith in Mother grows. Do it for a few days. Let us see. When they are sold, bring a token offering to Mother from that money."

As such things begin to show results instantaneously, I was expecting Perumal every day from the following day. He was never to be seen for a week. Finally he came and gave a token offering, saying, "Ever since I left you, I sincerely tried to follow your suggestions. In a day or two people started asking for this product. From that moment onwards only this product sells. Customers came in large numbers and asked for this product. All sales were in retail for Rs.10 or 15. I was pinned to the counter. For several days this went on till late in the night. Totally Rs.12,500 worth of goods was sold. The product had originally come to us in two lots. One lot is now sold fully but in dribbles." 

A few weeks later Perumal again visited me to say someone came and bought the rest of the product worth Rs.12,500 in one lot.

book | by Dr. Radut