Walking With The Hermit
A king used to visit a hermit regularly. He learnt many things from the hermit. The king wanted to repay the hermit for all that he had gained from him. He got a beautiful palace just like his own, made for the hermit. He gave him horses, elephants, chariots, servants, maids, ornaments and jewels; all akin to his own.
One day the king and the hermit were taking a walk on the outskirts of the city. The king said, “Oh venerable one! Now what is the difference between you and me?” The hermit was quick to understand what the king was thinking. He replied, “Let’s walk a little further and I shall tell you the difference. So they walked together for some more time. The king seemed to be getting tired but the hermit was walking with vim and vigor.
The king said, “Oh revered one! It’s time to go back. Let’s turn around; it will take us at least an hour to get back to the palace.”
The hermit said, “What is the need to go back? Let’s keep walking further into the jungle, wherever night falls, we shall sleep. Wherever we are hungry, surely we’ll find something to eat. I am enjoying the walk in this beautiful jungle, aren’t you?”
The king widened his eyes and said, “Oh holy one, I have a wife and two small children. I have an empire to rule and govern. I have duties and responsibilities towards my subjects and my kinsmen. I have made no arrangements for the day’s work to be executed. You are a free man with not a care in the world. It may be inconsequential to you whether you walk ahead or turn back, but I certainly have to go back.”
The hermit smiled and said, “Oh King! That is the difference between you and me.” One may live in a jungle and his mind may still be in the palace. Or one may live in a palace and his mind may still be in the jungle.
Two people may appear to be equal on the outside. They may have similar homes, clothes, servants etc. But what is outside is not important, what counts most is what is in your mind!