Friday, February 1, 2008

The Beggar's Bowl

An emperor was coming out of his palace for his morning walk when he met a beggar.He asked the beggar, 'What do you want?'

The beggar laughed and said, 'You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!'

The king was offended. He said, 'Of course I can fulfill your desire.What is it? Just tell me.'

The beggar said, 'Think twice before you promise anything.'

The emperor insisted, 'I will fulfill anything you ask. I am very powerful ; what can you possibly desire that I cannot give to you ?'

Actually the beggar was the emperor's past life spiritual master. He had promised the emperor in the previous life, that he would return and awaken the emperor to the reality of this existence.

The beggar then replied, 'It is a very simple desire. You see this begging bowl? Can you fill it with something?'

The emperor said, 'Of course!'

He called one of his ministers and said, 'Fill this man's begging bowl with some coins.'

The minister went and returned with a bag of gold coins and poured it into the bowl.The gold coins rolled into the bowl and then disappeared.

No matter how much he poured, it would disappear and the begging bowl would always remain empty.

The crowd in the palace gathered to watch this "magician's show". By and by the rumor went throughout the whole capital, and the crowd swelled.

The prestige of the emperor was at stake. The emperor then said to his ministers, 'If the whole kingdom is lost, I am ready to lose it, but I cannot be defeated by this beggar.'

Diamonds and pearls and emeralds were brought and poured into the bowl ; by now the kingdom's treasuries were becoming empty. The begging bowl seemed to be bottomless.

Everything that was put into it - everything! - immediately disappeared and went out of existence. Finally it was late evening, and the people were standing there in utter silence.

The emperor dropped at the feet of the beggar and admitted his defeat.

"Please just tell me one thing..." the emperor begged. "You are victorious - but before you leave, just fulfill my curiousity.What is this begging bowl made of ?"

The beggar laughed and said, 'It is made up of the human mind. There is no secret. It is simply made up of human desire.'

This understanding transforms life.

Go into any one desire. What is the mechanism of it? First there is a great excitement, great thrill, adventure. One feels a great kick.

Something is going to happen, you are on the verge of it.

Then you have the car, you have the yacht, you have the house, you have the woman, and suddenly all is meaningless again.

What happenend ?

The human mind has dematerialised it.

The car is standing in the driveway, but there is no excitement anymore.

The excitement was only in getting it. This intoxicating desire makes one forget our inner nothingness. When the desire is fulfilled, the car in the driveway, the person in bed, the money in the bank account - all that excitement disappears.

Again the emptiness is there, ready to eat us up in search of the next must have 'thing'.

The human mind creates another desire to escape this yawning abyss.

That is what drives us from one desire to another. It is an endless cycle that causes one to remain a "beggar" forever.

One's whole life proves it again and again - every desire creates a sense of frustration.

When the goal is achieved, one needs another desire.

The day we understand that our desires are the cause of our down fall (from the spiritual point of view) only then will come the turning point in our life.

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