Indian history tells of many iconic kings. Emperor Ashoka, was one such king. Every year on his birthday his subordinate kings would assemble and give gifts at his court and he would give gifts to them in return.
This time on his birthday, all the kings had assembled in the capital. One of them said, “Oh virtuous king! I have good news for you. This year I have collected three times the revenue of the previous years and I offer it to you as a gift!” The king smiled.
The next king said, “My Lord! This year we have grossly reduced the salaries of the employees and cut down on public expenditure in a big way. Resultantly, I have brought six times the amount I have been paying in previous years. Please accept it as my gift to you!” The king nodded.
The third king said, “Mercy my Lord! The monsoon has failed this year. There have been very meagre crops. My farmers don’t have enough even to feed their families. Please forgive me. I have nothing to offer, this year.” As the king hung his head down, Ashoka looked at him benevolently.
The next king, said, “Your Majesty, we have had to deal with rebellion and revolt within the provinces. Many a head had to be quietened. With a lot of difficulty we have been able to bring peace and stability to the province. This is the only gift I can offer to you. Revenue collection has not been possible in the strife torn state.”
The king smiled and half closed his eyes, as if trying to understand and absorb the lesson of peace and distress alternatively.
Last in line was the king of Magadha. He said, “Oh Mighty Emperor! I have collected huge amounts of tax from my people. But, have spent it all in building hospitals and schools, wells and guest houses. I got tanks dug; store wells too. My people now have clean drinking water all the year round. Trees have been planted along all roads to provide shade to travelers. The public officials are well paid, so they conduct their duties with zest and zeal. All public monies collected have been spent for the benefit of the people. My people are happy. I offer the love, peace and the well-being of my people, to you on your birthday.” The Emperor stood up and embraced the king. He gave him the choicest of gifts, much more valuable than those given to others.
Money is not the be-all and end-all of everything. Surely taxes have to be collected for a country to function, but the well-being and progress of the people is so important too.
The Almighty Lord too is happy when you care for the well-being of others. Bhagwan Baba always guided us to feel the pain of others and work for the benefit of the under privileged. Not only did He guide us to work for others, but also to pray for others, by reciting every day, the prayer for Universal peace – “Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu”, which means, ‘May all the beings, of all the worlds be happy!’