The Begging Bowl

The Begging Bowl

A beggar knocked at the court of a king for alms. The king saw the ragged clothes of the beggar and his skinny face and limbs. His eyes seemed to look nowhere. He ordered that precious jewels and gold be put into the begging bowl of the beggar. The beggar held out his bowl and the king’s men poured gold coins, rubies and emeralds into it. The bowl became half full. The king said, “Fill up the bowl; give him more.” So some more jewels were poured into the begging bowl. But it remained half full. The king motioned for more to be given. The queen got up from her throne and removed a priceless necklace from her neck and put it into the beggar’s bowl. But the bowl was still, only half full.

Everyone was perplexed. One Minister advised that the man was hungry, “Let him be given food,” he said. The huge bag of grains was poured into the begging bowl. Strangely, by the end of it, the bowl was yet only half full. The beggar stood there, not batting an eyelid! The king ordered for clothes to be given to the beggar. But the bowl just did not fill up.

Just then a poor old woman happened to pass by the King’s court and stopped to see the drama. She looked at the beggar and her eyes widened. She ran as quickly as her feet could carry her and held the beggar in her arms. “Oh! My dearest son! My precious child! Where have you been? I have been searching for you for months. Oh! I am thankful to God that I have found you at last.” The old woman, rained kisses on the beggar’s forehead and stroked his untidy, matted hair. She addressed the king and said, “My Lord, this is my son. He lost his memory. Now, I have found him; please allow me to take him home.” Tears of joy streamed down her wrinkled cheeks as she hugged the beggar to her bosom.

The king’s minister glanced towards the begging bowl. It was full! He couldn’t believe his eyes. Nothing; apparently nothing had been added into it. But the bowl was not only full, it was overflowing!

A voice seemed to come from nowhere and yet from everywhere. It said, “The begging bowl is no ordinary bowl. It is made of the human heart. Know ye man! No amount of jewels, gold, grains or finery can ever fill it. It can be filled by only one thing. And that is LOVE!”