Friday, July 03, 2009

The King and The Sage

There once was a king who led his mighty army across the snowy peaks that bounded his kingdom, into his neighbor's realm. On the lofty pass thick with snow, he saw a mendicant or ascetic sitting on a bare rock, with his head between his knees evidently to protect it from the chill wind that cut across the gap in the peak. He had no clothes on his body.

The king was overcome with pity; he took off his own shawl and coat and offered them to the sage. The sage refused to accept them, for , he said "God has given enough clothing to guard me against the heat and cold. He gives me all that I need. Please give these to some one who is poor".

The King was surprised at these words. He asked him where that clothing was. The sage replied "God himself has woven it for me; I am wearing it since birth and will wear it until the grave. Here it is, my skin! Give this coat and shawl to some mendicant beggar, some poor man".

The king smiled for, who can be poorer than he, he thought. He asked him, "But where can I find a poor man?" The Yogi asked him , where he was going and why.He said, "I am going into the realm of my enemy so that I can add his kingdom to my own". The sage it was who smiled now.

He said, "If you are not satisfied with the kingdom you have and if you are prepared to sacrifice your life and the lives of these thousands to get a few more square miles of land, certainly, you are much poorer than I. So offer the clothes to yourself. You need them more than I do". At this the King was greatly ashamed and he understood the futility of fame and fortune. Returning to his own capitol, he thanked the sage for opening his eyes to his own innate poverty. Contentment is the most precious treasure, he realised.

Great men spread the light of their wisdom through their every word and deed.

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