An ancient city was ruled by a great king named Brihathari- He was a king who did everything possible in his kingdom to improve the life of his people -from agriculture reforms to tax reforms to making sure that everyone is happy in his kingdom.
The reason behind this success in managing the kingdom smoothly was none other than a panel of astrologers and guru-who guided him from time to time on various matters, including social reforms.
To make sure natural calamities does not strike the kingdom, gurus used to guide everyone in the city to keep doing good and keep helping others – as when we live in a society where everyone helps each other – animals and birds tend to get their food and water easily. Also, peace and tranquility is bound to prevail in places where women are respected.
One day, a guru came up to the king and told him that it’s time you should hand over this kingdom to your son and go out in search of moksha. As when we travel, our intelligence increases and when we meet people from different cultures, castes and religions, our way of thinking changes accordingly. This was the task assigned to the king as a first step towards the attainment of moksha. He was asked to travel as a saint taking nothing along with him and depend totally on nature and the mercy of people to procure food.
Over a period of time, King Brihathari now became Saint Brihathari- he was meandering from jungle to jungle in search of the coveted knowledge and wisdom to reach the ultimate goal of moksha. Twenty years passed in this process and one fine day, destiny brought him back to the same kingdom where he began his journey from and where he was ruling as a king. As he entered the city, no one recognized him and he was no more than a saint. While passing by a sweet shop, he saw that a cook was preparing a delicious halwa(Pudding) – one of his favorite desserts – made from desi ghee. He used to distribute the halwa to the whole city on his birthdays.
Now, he went shopping and asked for some pudding, but he had no money and as a result, was denied. The shopkeeper told him “You are a saint- Why do you need sweets?” If you really need some sweets, go and work hard and make money. A water canal work is currently going on and they require some labours to complete it. Go work there and when you get money in the evening, come and buy yourself some pudding.
This seemed like a plan to the king, so he quickly walked down to the work site and asked for work- He was assigned the task of digging; after a whole day of working hard he got money for his work in the evening. He was very happy now and with great excitement, proceeded towards the sweet shop to get his cherished dessert. He handed over his money quickly to the shopkeeper and got the pudding.
It had turned dark by now, so he sat down in one corner to eat his favorite dessert in peace. As soon as he was about to eat it, he thought when I was king, this dessert was served to the whole city based on my orders. I left everything so that I could attain God, but I haven’t achieved anything over the past 20 years. Even a small desire of mine made me waste an entire day. I have been wasting practically all my life pursuing meaningless desires.
He started crying, realizing what he could have achieved over a period of 20 years. He went back to the same canal where he worked all day and threw the pudding and ate mud instead.
There are so many meanings in this story but my favorite one is that every single desire of yours is stopping you to achieve bigger goals in life. When you have fewer desires in life, you move up spiritually to achieve things you could have never imagined.
The fact remains that even your smallest desire will make you fall, so when your goals are big, you need to make sure you don’t get entrapped by them.
Every time you have a desire for new phone/laptop/car/PS4/home appliances, make sure you ask these questions and answer them honestly. This approach will help you segregate the relevant items in your list from the non-relevant ones. When you don’t feel the need for unnecessary things in life, life becomes much better.
DO I really need that? Is this particular thing going to help me achieve my ultimate goal? Repeat these two questions and trust me – your life will start getting better from day 1.
On the other hand, Maharaj Brihat hari wrote- Vairagya shatak after this incident to invoke the spirit of vairagya within him. Please do read this book to practice detachment in life and you’ll not regret your decision.
I must thank Arpit Sinha for rephrasing and editing the original article and make it more readable.