By Anuradha Azeemi
There was once a poor man who earned his living through severe hardship. He had nothing but one copper coin that he would earn every day for himself as his prized saving and treasure. In order to keep it safe from theft and loss, every single day after work, he would trek up the high mountains and climb the extremely steep walls of a fortress and hide the coin he earned, inside a carefully hidden gap in between the blocks of rock in the wall.
One day the king who ruled the area, was standing up on the tallest tower of his fortress, inspecting things around him, and saw the man clinging on to the steep and fiercely dangerous walls of the fortress. He was greatly astonished that the walls despite being so dangerously steep, attracted trespassers and he wondered that if a common peasant could dare to climb the walls, all the way to that height, then what was the guarantee of the kingdom’s safety? Surely a trained soldier would be easily able to cross over and attack the kingdom he thought. He immediately summoned the guards to have the peasant brought before his presence.
The guards immediately acted upon the orders of their king and the peasant was brought before the court of the king. The peasant not knowing what was in store for him for having dared to scale up the walls of the fortress, stood shivering in front of the king and the entire court of intellects and ministers. The king in a very authoritative tone asked him why he was climbing the walls of the fortress?
The peasant still shivering answered in a very feeble tone, “I was safe keeping the entire earnings of my life time. It is a bag of copper coins and I have hidden it in the cracks in between the blocks of rocks in the wall”. The timid reply of the peasant made the king very curious to explore and verify the truth in the peasant’s claims. The king immediately asked the soldiers to check for the bag of coins in the wall of the fortress in order to validate the peasant’s claim.
The soldiers instantly set out to execute the order and began scaling the part of the wall of the fortress where the peasant claimed to have hidden his saving and treasure – the bag of copper coins. Shortly and sure enough there it was! It was a ragged and very old bag of soiled cloth and within it they found a total of 100 coins. The king having ensured that the peasant was speaking the truth, and witnessing the meager saving he had made in his life time, took pity on him and ordered his treasurer that the peasant was to be given 200 coins of copper. He then warned the peasant, and told him to never ever try to climb the fortress walls again as it could be dangerous for him and could lead to fatal accidents. The peasant happily received the coins, agreed to never climb the wall again and left the King’s court thanking everyone profusely for their kindness.
However, the next day yet again when the King was monitoring his fortress, it was reported to him by the guards that the peasant was found climbing the wall of the fortress and that they had arrested him and if it was permitted he would be presented before the king. The king was now surprised at the turn of events, he summoned the peasant one more time before him and asked him very sternly again why he was putting his life to risk by climbing the walls of the fortress? The peasant replied fearful “Dear King, please forgive me. I am now more worried than I was before. Earlier I had only 100 coins and as of yesterday you have given me 200 more coins and I wanted to make sure they are all safe and so I was climbing even more higher up in the walls to safe guard them”.
The king smiled, he was a compassionate and very clever ruler, he instantly recognized the greed in the peasant and decided to check him further. “What if I give you a 1000 gold not copper coins. Would you then stop climbing the wall and risking your life?” he asked. The peasant replied innocently with a gleam in his eyes, “Oh! Thank you. But I wills till have to climb the walls as I have left my 300 copper coins in the wall and I will bring them down and then I will have 1000 gold coins and 300 copper coins.”
The king was really enjoying this fascinating turn of events and he kept luring the peasant with more and more gifts and the man kept adding his 300 copper coins to everything that was offered and said he would still climb the walls to get his coins and would add them to the gifts given by the king.
Really tired, the king finally asked “What if I would give you a part of my kingdom which part of this kingdom would you choose to keep for yourself, the southern, northern, western or eastern part?” The peasant replied with a smile “I would choose the northern part of the kingdom, dear king.” The king was curious and exclaimed, “The northern part? But that part of the kingdom is all rocky and steep and has no scope of improvement at all, why would you not choose the southern part, which has rich soil and you can easily harvest wonderful crops? Or choose the western part which has rich deposits of mineral and that could make you instantly rich or the eastern part that has rich forests and you could flourish a lot as a trader?” “Oh the wall where I have kept my copper coins are in the wall of the northern side of the kingdom and I would have my 60 copper coins and northern part of the kingdom. ” the peasant innocently replied.
The King smiled, the entire court was in splits of laughter. The man was not willing to give up his 60 copper coins even when he was offered a part of the kingdom! The king thought over the situation for a few moments and then decided to give him an assignment. The soldiers were ordered not the stop the man from climbing the fortress wall from then on. The peasant would from now trace the gaps in between the rocks of the fortress walls and inform the palace about them. If he could trace gaps in the walls that could easily hide a bag of 60 copper coins, he would be given a good reward. Thus the peasant earned his living and the king strengthened his fortress from the cracks that could prove dangerous for the safety of his kingdom.
Moral of the story!
You can be offered heaven in return for your personal hell but only if you are ready to give it up can you experience it!
If one continues to insist that they would like to hold on to their current situation no matter what the consequence they have to bear, then transformation would be next to impossible in their lives. Most often than not it is our insistence that we would like to have everything our way, we are not able to embrace and ride the raft of kindness thrown at us by God in our tough times. We insist on sitting on the brinks of hopelessness instead of accepting that the particular situation is not working in our favor and the best in the given circumstances is to let go. But our ego, our attachment, our greed, our stubbornness, becomes our enemy and stops us from opting to change and moving forward in life.
However, the benevolent God is so merciful that despite our insistence to hang on to our miseries, HE sends in saints and masters in our lives to guide us. It is his love that never gives up on us even when we give up on ourselves. The Masters that are sent forth in our lives, then use our weakness and harness it as our strengths until we are ready to let go of it completely. They convert our weakness as our lessons till we embrace change and awareness. Through our miserable life that is as black as a charcoal, our beloved Masters polish, cleanse and get out the diamond within us.
For once let us sit back and visualize ourselves climbing the steep, dangerous walls of the fortress that can be fatal and yet we go on for the greed of 60 copper coins. What are these copper coins in our lives? Let us introspect. Are we chasing after money? Success? Love? Attachment? Acceptance? Belief? Ego Battles? Are we risking all that we are for this chase? Have we been offered another direction time and again by God? Have we been refusing HIS kind offer? Can we now finally let go of our insistence to hold on to our bag of coins and try a new perspective of life?