The king runs after a bag full of emeralds and diamonds

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“Whatever you have, you don’t recognize its value unless you lose it,” says Osho.

Jewelled purse

While you are alive you are not really conscious how precious life is. In fact it is one of the tricks of the mind: whatever you have, you don’t recognize its value unless you lose it.

There was a great king who had conquered many lands and had accumulated immense wealth, but was very unhappy and miserable. There was not a single moment of joy, bliss… He started asking people, “What is the purpose of all my wealth and all my kingdom? I cannot even sleep. My mind is so full of tensions, worries, there is no space for anything else. Is there someone in my kingdom who can help me?”

People had heard about a Sufi mystic and they said, “In your kingdom there is a Sufi mystic, a very strange fellow. He has helped many people, although you have to be a little alert with him because he is not predictable, he may do anything. But one thing is certain: whatever he does, finally you find that it had a reason. In the beginning it will look absolutely irrational. If you have courage enough, you can go.”

The king said, “Do you think me a coward? I have invaded great lands; my whole life has been the life of a warrior. Can a poor Sufi mystic make me afraid? I will go… and I will go alone, no body guards, no army, no advisers.”

But he took with him a big bag full of diamonds and rubies and emeralds, just to show to the Sufi mystic: “This is only a sample. I have so much money but it is not helping me at all. First I used to think that, when I have money, I will relax and enjoy. But now money is there and I’m living in hell.”

The Sufi mystic was sitting under a tree. The king went there, got down from his horse, touched the feet of the Sufi mystic and asked him, “Can you help me?”

The Sufi mystic said, “What do you want? I will help you immediately.”

He had heard that this man was strange – otherwise nobody would tell you, “I will help you immediately.” He is going to do something… The king was a little afraid: nobody wants to be helped immediately. He said, “There is no hurry, but…”

The Sufi mystic said, “Just tell me what you want. Don’t waste my time. You say it; I will give it to you and be finished.”

The king said, “You don’t understand. I want peace of mind.”

And when he was saying “peace of mind,” the Sufi mystic took his bag of emeralds and diamonds and rubies and ran away. The king said, “My God, what kind of man is he? Is he a mystic or a thief?”

He ran – in his whole life he had never run. The village was unknown to him, with small streets. The Sufi was perfectly well known; he lived in that village. The king was shouting, “Catch hold of that thief” – and people were laughing, because people knew that every day something or other happens. And it was really a laughing matter: the king was huffing and puffing and shouting, “Catch him! Why are you just laughing?” – and still running because that old fellow is taking away all his money and he is going so fast.

The Sufi mystic gave him a good round of the whole village, made the whole village aware that the mystic is ahead and the king is following, perspiring. Finally he reached to the same tree, sat there, and waited for the king to come.

The king came very tired, perspiring, and the mystic gave him the bag. He took the bag, put it on his chest and said, “My God!”

The Sufi said, “Have you got some peace of mind? Had not I told you I would help you immediately?”

The king said, “Strange is your way… but it is true, I am feeling very peaceful, as I have never felt in my life.
And the trouble is that this money was always with me, and I never felt so happy as I am feeling now.”

The Sufi said, “I have solved your problem. Your problem is that you have got everything. You need some distance, you need to lose it; only then will you understand what you had. And this is not only true about your money. This is more true about your life itself: because you have it, you have started taking it for granted. It is too obvious it is yours. You are not at all concerned that tomorrow it may not be yours, or even the next second.”

The day you become aware that death will destroy all opportunities for growth… Life is a great opportunity to grow, but rather than growing you have been simply accumulating junk which will all be taken away. People only grow old, but growing old is not growing up.

Very few people grow up.

Osho, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Ch 16 (excerpt)

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

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