Friday, April 13, 2007

True Equality

A husband and wife were walking down the road. He had been a highly successful industrialist, who had tasted extraordinary success in life. He had grown stale with it all-the money, the popularity, the fast cars, mansions, planes, speed yachts, he had them all….His kids were grown up and settled in life. It was at this point that he began thinking: What next?

He could achieve anything he set his eyes on. There was the presidency of the country. Well, he was not interested in dominating a position of power anymore. It would mean more power struggles with lobbies in the administration... He wasn’t that interested in reforming the nation as such. It was a question of survival. Let the fittest survive. As for the homeless on the streets, the prostitutes, the unemployed youth, the drug addicts …well there could be time for that later. Let me first find out the meaning of life. Then if there is time I will try to do something permanently good for this country and the world at large, He thought.

He distributed all his wealth among his children and various charities. With just one set of shirt and pants, he set out on his search for the truth. Oh, we forgot to mention: His wife accompanied him, just as she had through the long 43 years of his eventful marriage. She had been with him through his ups and downs, right when he started as a small time seller. She had been preparing with him for this big day by doing spiritual practices at their home. He had no idea of her spiritual development. He presumed himself to be her guide and mentor in spirituality too, as in everything else. But this day he was going to receive the shock of his life.

They had crossed several towns where they spent time at several temples, meditating and praying for guidance. This day had been particularly hot and they had been walking since morning.

Towards noon they approached a vast paddy field. The green stalks were swaying in the mid day breeze, smiling at the sun. They were walking along the side path when he noticed the shimmering stone that lay ahead of them on the track. He knew it immediately: it was a diamond, rarest of the rare; precious beyond compare. It could be worth several times their entire life earnings. In a moment he regained composure. He discarded it from his mind: nothing could deter him from his set goal. But he was afraid for his wife. She was a woman. Would she be swayed by this jewel and want to possess it? She shouldn’t swerve from the path of renunciation.

An idea dawned in his mind: as they approached the diamond, he scooped a handful of dust and threw it on the diamond, in an attempt to cover it.

What are you doing? Asked the wife.

He had to tell her.

She looked at him for some time. Her eyes seemed to go right through him.

“Do you still make a distinction between a pebble and a diamond?” She asked.

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