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“The plate of Gold “by James Henry Leigh Hunt, is about a miraculous golden plate which was once found in a Benaras temple. It was written on the plate that “To him who loveth best, a gift from heaven”, which means that only that person could claim this golden plate, whom God loves the most. After the announcement, a crowd of poor and handicapped beggars stood at the streets and near the gates of the temple expecting plentiful alms from the claimants.
The Plate of Gold
One day a beautiful and glorious plate of gold fell from Heaven into the court of a Banaras temple. This plate was a reward from the God to the one whom he loves the most. The priest thus proclaimed that every day at twelve 0’clock, all who would claim the plate should assemble at the temple and justify their reasons of possessing the right to acquire the reward (the golden plate).
The news ran as swift as light and soon from every corner great scholars like munshis, hermits, scholars, holy men and the nobles gathered to claim their right on the glorious reward and the priest heard their claims in solemn council. Finally, after a long discussion and patience, the priest decided to hand over the plate to a person who seemed to be the greatest lover of mankind and for spending most of his time among the needy and poor people.
As soon as the claimant touched the plate of gold, it turned into basest lead but the same plate turned back into gold when dropped at the floor. For another year claimants kept on coming and the priest awarded the reward three times. To surprise, the same magical occurrence shocked the people present at the temple and proved that God did not consider these nobles and scholars worthy of the reward.
A large number of beggars used to gather at the temple gate in the hope that all those hermits and nobles who came to the temple to declare their authority of owning the golden plate would show their charity and shower them with coins.
Even the pilgrims used to shower coins to the beggars because they hoped that their acts of charity and kindness would help them in winning the golden plate. Though they praised the Almighty and donated their wealths to the poor, they actually had no sympathy or pity for them.
The Peasant and his reward
At last, an ordinary peasant who was unaware of the announcement and the golden plate entered into the temple to pay a vow. While he was there, he observed the handicapped beggars and their sorrowful conditions. When he saw a poor, blind, sore creature who was rejected by everyone, he literally knelt at his side and took his maimed hands in his hands. The peasant was very emotional and encouraged the blind man with his motivational words that he should not feel bad for God is good and loves all.
Then he arose and walked straightway across the court and entered where scholars, hermits and nobles were arguing about their deeds of love before the priest. The peasant was shocked to find men boasting of their kind deeds and arguing publicly. The priest who held the golden plate in his hand called the peasant to hand over him the reward.
The peasant took the plate knowing nothing about the glory of the golden plate. The plate at once shone out with three times its former splendour and the priest claimed” Son, rejoice, the gift of God is thine. Thou lovest best!” The readers here understand the God’s idea of choosing his favourite person. In the story a simple peasant was declared as the most deserving of the plate of gold because he showed genuine emotion and compassion towards the disabled and poor, sore blind man whom all had shunned.
‘The plate of Gold’ highlights the divine message that God bestows his love only on those who honestly cares for other human beings. Whether it is good or bad. God has his eyes on every individual and for him every one is equal without any discrimination. If we do good deeds then one day we will be also rewarded unexpectedly just like the peasant because Service to others is Service to God.