A Maharaja (king or 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.”
And the beggar replied, “Think twice before you promise anything.”
The beggar was no ordinary beggar; he was the king’s guru (spiritual teacher) in his previous incarnation, in which he had promised: “I will come and try to awaken you in your next life. This life you have missed your chance, but I will come again.”
But the king had forgotten completely—after all, who remembers past lives? So the king 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 man’s bowl with money.” The vizier went and got some money and poured it into the bowl, and it disappeared. He poured more and more, and the moment he would pour it, it would disappear. The begging bowl always remained 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. In the king’s frustration he yelled at his viziers, “If the whole kingdom is lost, I am ready to lose it! I will not be ridiculed by this beggar!”
Diamonds and gold, pearls and emeralds, his treasuries were becoming depleted. The begging bowl seemed to be bottomless. Everything that was put into it — everything!—immediately disappeared, it 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 as he said, “You are my master. Please just tell me one thing before you leave, fulfill my curiosity. What is the begging bowl made of?”
The wise man disguised as a beggar laughed as he stated, “It is made up of the human mind. There is no secret. It is simply human desire.”
* * * * *
With this understanding of the fickle mind one can transform ones life. Go into one desire — what is the mechanism of it? First there is a great excitement, great thrill, 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, you have the woman or man, and suddenly all is meaningless again.
What happened? Your mind has dematerialized it. The car is standing in the driveway, but the excitement is no more. The excitement was only in getting it. You became so drunk with the desire that you forgot your inner nothingness; your atman, your soul. Now the desire is fulfilled, the car in the driveway, the spouse in your bed, 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.
One moves from one desire to another. That’s how one remains a beggar. Your whole life proves it again and again — every desire frustrates. Whenever one desire is fulfilled, another desire arises to keep your focus off of your emptiness.
Until one realizes one’s inner fullness one will always search outside of oneself.
om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnam adaya
That (God, essence, etc.) is full. This (vessel, life, etc.) is full. From that (fullness) this (fullness) is manifested (while) that and this remain absolutely full. (Just as a Mother’s love for her child is no less when given.)
When you are firmly rooted in the understanding that you are soul, pure consciousness, all selfish desires disappear and one squanders love, compassion, understanding, solace and joy.
This journey is inwards. Let go (of mind and ego) and move inwards, come back home.