“Start this spiritual discipline as early as possible in life, do not postpone it any further. For, no one knows when the span of life will be brought to a close.”
In ancient times there was a king who wanted to know everything about the ‘History of mankind’. He appointed a scholar in his court, to write a book on the said subject, for the king to read. The King also named a team of juniors who would assist him in the research to be done for writing the book. The scholar worked tirelessly for years before he was able to compile a huge volume to be presented to the king. With much fanfare, the book was brought to the king’s court and unveiled by the king. The king gave it one look and said, “Oh! This is a huge text. I am extremely busy in the discharge of my duties as a king. How do you expect me to read this enormous text? Take it away and give me a concise version that I can read.” The scholar took the book back. He worked on it for years together, till finally, he was able to prune the text to make an easily understandable, concise version, taking care to put in all the important facts and figures.
When the king saw the new book, he exclaimed, “What is this? This doesn’t seem to be significantly shortened! It seems you have been idling away your time. How on Earth do you think, I have the time to read this Tome? If I were to start reading this, who shall look after the affairs of the kingdom? Why don’t you understand? Make it shorter, my friend!”
The dejected scholar lowered his eyes and picked the book up. He spent the next couple of years again, in further cutting and pruning the text. Finally he was able to produce a thin book. He was very pleased with himself and he was sure he would please the king too. The king opened the book and said, “Uh! Uh! What small handwriting! How can I possibly read this with my weakened eyesight? Anyways, it’s still too long. Summarise it further. I am a king. I have no time for frivolous pastimes. This book will take up much more time than I can afford to spare.”
The scholar was at a loss for words. The book contained merely a few tens of pages. How could he possibly encapsulate the history of mankind into something even more concise than this? Well! He had no option but to start all over again and further refine his work.
Years passed. The scholar returned with his work. It was a single sheet of paper that he presented before the king. The king had become old by now. He said, “My friend, you seem to have summarised it well this time. But I am an old man now and my eyesight is just not the same. I am afraid I shall not be able to read it now. Will you be kind enough to read it aloud for me?”
The scholar bowed before the king and cleared his throat. He read:
‘Man is born in this world.’
‘For some time he stays here.’
‘Then he dies!’
That is the story of mankind! Three sentences are all it took, to tell the story. Birth and death are common to all. How we fill up the intermittent years, depends upon us or on our karma!