Once upon a time, in the Himalayan mountains, there lived an old saint and his young disciple. The saint was frequently in deep meditation and during his meditation he would have visions of the future which always came true.
One day, the saint hada disturbing vision. He saw that his little disciple was going to die thirty days later. The saint called his disciple and said, “My child, I am going to give you a holiday for thirty days so that you can go home to see your family. However, you must remember to come back here before the end of the thirtieth day.”
Delighted at the prospect of meeting his family again, the young disciple went down the mountains without realising that his guru was sad and was actually reluctant to let him go. After a long walk, the young boy stopped at a stream to drink water. There he saw an ant cave, which was a home to countless ants. He observed their activities with great interest and, just as he was about to leave, he saw the water level of the stream gradually rising because of the torrential rains upstream. Very soon,the water would enter the ant cave and drown all the ants.
He quickly took off his shirt and put some hard soil in it to make a protective wall along the cave. Not only did he manage to stop the water from entering the cave, but also skillfully diverted the flow of water elsewhere. Thus, he saved the life of countless ants.
Twenty-nine days passed by quickly. The old saint was strolling in the mountain sadly when he saw his little disciple running back to ashram cheerfully. Convinced that these were the last few hours he would ever have with his favourite disciple, he showered him with lots of love and affection and dreaded the break of dawn.
The morning sun rose, the whole day passed by and young boy continued to go about his chores as cheerfully as he had done in the past. That day-the thirtieth-too passed uneventfully, and so did the next few days! It was the first time that his vision of the saint had not come true.
Obviously, he was elated, but also curious. He knew that there had to be a reason for this ‘vision’ to have failed.
Happily, he asked the disciple to narrate the events that had taken place while he was away from the ashram. When he heard about the incident with the ants, it became clear to the saint that because the compassionate young boy had saved the life of countless ants his lifespan had increased.
The young disciple, thereafter, lived a long and happy life full of compassion.