A beggar came to an emperor and the beggar said, ‘If you are going to give me anything there is a condition.’
The emperor said, ‘What do you mean? What do you mean by your condition?’
The beggar said, ‘This is my condition: I accept only if you can fill my begging bowl absolutely.’
It was a small begging bowl. The King said, ‘What do you think I am? Am I a beggar? I cannot fill this dirty begging bowl?’
The beggar said, ‘It is better to tell you before, because later you can get into trouble. If you think you can fill it, then do so!’
The King called his vizier and told him to fill it with precious stones: with diamonds and rubies, emeralds. Let this beggar know with whom he was talking!
The bowl was filled but the king was surprised, as the stone fell right into it and disappeared. It was filled many times and each time it was empty again.
Now the king was in a great rage, but he told the vizier, ‘Even if my whole kingdom goes, if all my treasuries are emptied, let them be but I cannot allow this beggar to defeat me. This is too much.’
And all the treasures, it is said, disappeared. By and by the king became a beggar. It took months. And the beggar was there and the king was there and the whole capital was there and everybody was wondering what was going to happen, what would happen in the end. Everything was simply disappearing.
Finally the king had to fall at the feet of the beggar and he said, ‘Forgive me, but before you leave just tell me one thing. What is the secret of this begging bowl? All has disappeared in it.’
The beggar started laughing. He said, ‘It is made of human ego. I have made this begging bowl of a human ego: everything disappears in it, nothing ever fulfills it.’
It is a tremendously beautiful story. We remain a beggar. The begging bowl remains empty. It seems it has no bottom to it. The ego is never satisfied. You just have to stop feeding it.