A disciple once sought the permission of his guru to go on a pilgrimage alongwith some brother disciples. The guru gladly consented. He even wrote number one on a slip of paper and told him that he would get one rupee every day to meet his expenses. The disciple sought the blessings of the guru and carefully preserving the piece of paper, joined the group of pilgrims. He would get, everyday, a rupee. In those days, a rupee was very valuable. The disciple would not only purchase eatables for himself, but would also serve a saint from it. After a few days when he was about to leave the spot, as he sought the saint’s blessings, the saint took from him the slip of paper given to him by the guru. The saint added a zero to one with the result that it became ten. The saint then told the disciple that thenceforth he would be getting ten rupees everyday. The disciple felt deeply delighted. He would now be in a position to serve more than one saint.
The disciple moved on from place to place till he reached Haridwar. On the way he kept serving many a Rishi and Muni he came across. One Rishi was so pleased with him that he added another zero to ten and said, “You will now get hundred rupees everyday.” The disciple’s delight knew no bounds. Now that he would be getting such a handsome sum everyday, he thought of purchasing gifts for his guru. He thought that the figure one written by the guru had now reached a hundred, all because of him, made him swell with pride. He became egoistic. When he met his guru, he proudly declared that the figure one had reached the figure hundred.
The Guru quietly took the slip from the disciple and erased the figure one. Now only two zeros stared at the disciple, and he got nothing. The Guru explained, “You have become vain as you were getting hundred rupees everyday. This was only because of the figure one that I had written. You failed to realize the worth of the figure one. Had I not written it, the zeros would have served no purpose, as they were valueless.”
Yes, God is the figure one and we petty human beings are but zeros that have no value without God!