A king had three sons

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“Light a candle of awareness and your emptiness will be full of light,” states Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

The three brothers

There is a story….

A king wanted to choose his successor. Ordinarily it is not difficult, the eldest son becomes the successor. But he had three sons born simultaneously. Their age was the same, their courage was the same, their intelligence was the same – it can happen in twins, triplets – everything was the same. It was difficult even to find out who was who. Even the father and the mother got confused between these three brothers.

The king was getting old; somebody has to be crowned, given the responsibility before he dies. But he could not figure out what to do, how to find out. They were all beautiful, they were all courageous, they were all intelligent. They were copies of one another.

He went to a wise old man and asked, “How have I to find my successor?”

The man said, “It is not such a difficult thing. Your three sons all have beautiful palaces, separate. You tell them… give some money to each, the same amount, and tell them, ‘You have to fill your house completely with something this money can buy.’”

The money was so little…. They thought of many things – bringing roses and filling the whole house with roses – but the money was not enough.

So the first one went to the municipal corporation of the city, because the cheapest thing he could purchase was the rubbish that the municipal trucks collect. He told them, “Rather than throwing it away, just dump it into my palace. Fill it completely, that is the condition.”

And for that much money they were ready, there was no question. They were going to throw it out anyway, outside the city: “This will save time, and he is giving money too.”

But they could not believe what he was going to do!

He said, “You don’t bother about it. It is a very decisive thing in my life.”

The second son was very much in trouble – what to do? And he was even more puzzled, because the first had already filled his palace. Something cheap had to be found.

He had to fill his house with mud. It was the rainy season and all over, mud was available; he just had to bring trucks to carry the mud and fill the house. The amount of money was enough to do that.

They both were happy, and they both were looking at the third, what he was doing, because he was not doing anything at all.

The evening came, and the king came to visit. He went to the first house. It was stinking, he could not enter it. But the son said, “The house is completely full, not a single inch has been left empty.”

The king said, “I accept your word. I will not go in.”

The second he could go in, but what did he see? A marble palace filled with mud!

Both the sons and the father went to the third son, and they were surprised – the house was completely empty. The son had even removed the furniture and everything; it was absolutely empty.

They could not believe what his idea was. They said to him, “The house is empty and you were given money to fill it completely.”

He said, “Look a little more clearly.”

They looked again: it was empty.

They said,”Don’t fool us. It is completely empty. Even the furniture, the piano – the things that you used to love – all are taken out. It is more empty than ever!”

The son said, “No. You just look at the candles which are filling it with light. It is empty, but full of light. And I thought, there can be nothing more significant than to fill it with light. And this is the remaining money I want to return to you, because candles were cheap and there was no need for so much money.”

Of course he was chosen the successor.

Your emptiness is not anything to be worried about. You just have to light a candle in it and it will be full of light, overfull with light. And then you will see the beauty of its being totally empty. There is nothing to hinder the light, there is nothing to make a shadow even.

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness – Answers to the Seekers of the Path, Ch 37, Q 2 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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