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One day, an old lady came to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa with her 10 year old grandson. She prostrated before him and said: "Master! I have come to seek your advice. This boy is my grandson. He lost his father and mother when he was just a child of five. I have been taking care of him. He is very fond of sweets. He eats so much that his health is deteriorating day by day. The doctors have advised him not to eat sweets but this fellow does not pay any heed to their advice. However, he has great respect and admiration for you. So I have come to request you to stop the boy from eating sweets. I am sure, you alone can do this". Ramakrishna said: "Mother, don't worry, come with your grandson after a month. In the meanwhile I shall think of a plan to convince the boy that one's health is very important, more important even than wealth". The old woman thanked him and took leave of him.
She came with her grandson exactly after a month. Both of them paid their salutations to the master. Ramakrishna made the boy sit beside him and said: "My dear boy! Remember, one's real wealth is health. Unless you take proper care of your health, you will not be able to grow into a strong and healthy young man. You will not be able to do anything great in life if you are weak. When something that we eat does not suit our constitution, we should give up eating that item. From tomorrow you should not eat sweets. After some time you may eat moderately. You are a nice boy and will listen to me, will you not?". The boy nodded his head and promised that he would not eat sweets.
The old woman sent the boy on some errand just to have confidential talk with the master. "Master! May I ask you a question?" said the old woman. "Certainly mother", replied Ramakrishna. "Master! This advice which you have given today to my grandson, you could have given last month itself. Why did you ask me to come again after a month? I don't understand". Ramakrishna replied with an understanding smile: "Mother! I myself eat lot of sweets. How can I advise the boy to do something that I am not doing myself? One has no right to preach anything to others before practising it himself. So I asked for some time. This one month I did not eat sweets. So I have earned the right to advise your grandson." The old woman marvelled at the righteous conduct of Ramakrishna. She fell at his feet and took leave of him.
We should never advise anyone about anything which we ourselves have not put into practice.
Source: Chinna Katha II, 12