According to an ancient Sufi story, there was a king in some Middle Eastern land who lived a life of endless opportunity and bliss. His every moment was filled with peace, gratitude, and good will. With an ever growing state of enlightenment the king became aware of the gift of solace, but worried that it might slip away. The King called upon all of his wise men and asked them,
“Is there a verse, a saying or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time? Something which can enlighten me when none of you is available to advise me? Tell me, is there?”
All wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. One answer for all questions? Something that works everywhere, in every situation? In every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victory? They thought and thought, and debated, and argued in wisdom for days.
What to do? They couldn’t begin to think about it. How to make just one small maxim which is going to solve everything? They asked for time. The king waited months and then said,
‘What are you doing? Bring that advice!’
In this time they had been searching for somebody who could help, and they found a sufi master. The sufi master told them, ‘No need to say anything. This is the advice.’ He wrote it on the back of the diamond stone on a ring, and gave it to the wise men. He told them to give it to the king and to tell him not to read it unless he felt it was absolutely necessary. <This is a masterkey. It is very valuable. Don’t use it on ordinary locks which can be opened by other means.>>
The king was very happy. He waited for an opportunity to use the ring, but it never came. He waited and waited, but whatsoever problem came, he would think, <<This is not absolutely necessary. I can tackle it.>> And as time passed, he could tackle it. He became very curious about the ring. What advice was there? But he had made a promise. He had promised that he would not open it unless it was an almost life-and-death problem. Then came the time..
After a few days, the neighbours attacked the kingdom. It was a collective surprise attack of the King’s enemies. The king and his army fought bravely, but lost the battle. The king had to flee on his horse. The enemies were following him. His horse took him far away in the jungle. He could hear many troops on horses following him and the noise was getting closer and closer. Suddenly the king found himself standing at the end of the road – that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley thousands feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished. And he could not return because it was a small road. The sound of enemy’s horses was approaching fast. The king became restless. There seemed to be no way.Then suddenly he saw the diamond ring shining in the sun, and he remembered the message hidden inside. He opened the ring and read the message. There was a simple sentence: <<This too will pass.>> Just this much was written on it…
The king read it. Again read it. Suddenly something struck him:
<< Yes! This too will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom. I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the kingdom and all his pleasure are gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. However when those days of luxuries are gone, this day of danger too will pass. >>
Utter calmness set on his face.
He kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of amazing beauty. He had never known that such a beautiful place was also part of his kingdom. The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and stopped worrying about those following him.
After a few minutes he noticed that the horses and the enemy coming was receding. They moved into some other trail on the mountains and were not on that path.
The king, bravely, reorganized his army and fought back. He defeated the enemy and regained his lost empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fanfare at the gates. The whole capital was rejoicing in the victory. Everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers were being thrown on the king from every house, from every corner.
People were dancing and singing. For a moment the king said to himself,<< I am one of the bravest and greatest King. It is not easy to defeat me…>>
With all the reception and celebration he saw an ego emerging in him. Suddenly the diamond ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message. He opened it and read it again: “This too will pass” He became silent. His face went through a total change -from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness.
If this too is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours, the victory is not yours. You are just a watcher. Everything passes by. We are witness of all this. We are the perceiver. Life comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes.
Now as you have read this story, just sit silently and evaluate your own life.. Think of the moments of joy and victory in your life. Think of the moments of sorrow and defeat. Are they permanent? They all come and pass away. Life just passes away. There were friends in the past, now they are gone. There are friends today. They too will go. There will be new friends tomorrow. They too will go. There were enemies in the past. They are gone. There may be enemies in the present. They too will go. There will be new enemies tomorrow and.. they too will go.
There is nothing permanent in this world. Every thing changes except the law of change. Think over it from your own perspective. You have seen all the changes. You have survived all setbacks, all defeats and all sorrows. All have passed away. If there are problems in the present, they too will pass away. Because nothing remains forever. Joy and sorrow are the two faces of the same coin. They both will pass away. The message, in raised letters, provides a gentle reminder that the present moment is all we really have, and that it is always perfect. According to Sufi wisdom, this knowledge will bring peace.
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