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 fulfil your desire.
What is it? Just tell me.”
And the beggar said, “Think twice before you promise anything.”
The beggar was no ordinary beggar; he was the emperor’s past life
master. He had promised in that life, “I will come and try to wake you
in your next life. This life you have missed but I will come again.” But
the king had forgotten completely — who remembers past lives? So
he insisted, “I will fulfill anything you ask. I am a very powerful
emperor, what can you possibly desire that I can not give to you?”
The beggar said, “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 viziers and told
him, “Fill this mans begging bowl with money.” The vizier went and
got some money and poured it into the bowl, and it disappeared. And
he poured more and more, and the moment he would pour it, it would
disappear. And the begging bowl remained always empty.
The whole palace gathered. By and by the rumor went throughout
the whole capital, and a huge crowd gathered. The prestige of the
emperor was at stake. He said to his viziers, “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, his treasuries were becoming
empty. The begging bowl seemed to be bottomless. Everything that
was put into it — everything! — Immediately disappeared, went out of
existence. Finally it was the evening, and the people were standing
there in utter silence. The king dropped at the feet of the beggar and
admitted his defeat. He said, “Just tell me one thing. You are
victorious – but before you leave, just fulfill my curiosity. What is the
begging bowl made of?”
The beggar laughed and said, “It is made up of the human mind.
There is no secret. It is simple made up of human desire.”
This understanding transforms life. Go into one desire — what is the
mechanism of it? First there is a great excitement, great thrill, and
adventure. You feel a great kick. Something is going to happen; you
are on the verge of it. And then you have the car, you have the yacht,
you have the house, and suddenly all is meaningless again.
What happens? Your mind has dematerialized it. The car is standing
in the drive, but there is no excitement anymore. The excitement was
only in getting it. You became so drunk with the desire that you forgot
your inner nothingness. Now the desire is fulfilled, the car in the drive,
the money in your bank account – again excitement disappears; again
the emptiness is there, ready to eat you up. Again you have to create
another desire to escape this yawning abyss.
That is how one moves from one desire to another desire. That’s how
one remains a beggar. Your whole life proves it again and again —
every desire frustrates. And when the goal is achieved, you will need
another desire. The day you understand that desire as such is going
to fail comes the turning point in your life.
The other journey is inwards. Move inwards; come back home.
Desire – Philosophical Stories