A BEGGING BOWL
Once an Emperor left his palace to go for his morning walk. On the way, he met a beggar and asked him, “What do you want?”
The beggar laughed and said: “You are asking me as though you can fulfill all my desires?”
The emperor was offended and told the beggar: “Of course, I can fulfill all your desire whatever you wish to ask and get from me. What is it? Come on, just tell me.”
And the beggar said: “Think twice before you promise me anything.” The beggar was no ordinary beggar. He was the Emperor’s past-life master. He had promised in that life: “I will come and try to wake you up in your next life. This life you have missed, but I will come again.”
But the Emperor had forgotten this thing at the moment. Unmindfully, the Emperor insisted: “I shall fulfill anything you ask, for I am a very rich, generous and powerful Emperor. What can you possibly desire that I cannot give to you?”
The beggar said: “It is very simple desire. You see this begging bowl. Can you fill it with something?
The Emperor said: “Of course!”
He called one of his ministers and told him: “Fill this man’s begging bowl with money.”
The minister went and got some money and poured it into the bowl, but the money disappeared. As he poured more and more, the more and more money disappeared. And the begging bowl always remained empty, visibly empty. Not even a single thing in it.
The whole palace gathered on knowing such unbelievable fact about that begging bowl of the beggar. By and by, with the spread of the rumor, a huge crowd gathered. The prestige of the Emperor was at stake. He said to his ministers: “If the whole Kingdom is lost, I am ready to lose that, but I cannot be defeated by this meager beggar.”
Diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, silver and emeralds were brought I; his treasuries were getting empty. The begging bowl seemed to be bottomless. Everything that was put into it, immediately disappeared. Finally, it became evening, and the people stood there in utter disbelief and silence. The Emperor dropped at the feet of the beggar, admitted his defeat and sought pardon. He implored: “Just tell me one thing. You are victorious; but before you leave, just fulfill my curiosity. What is the begging bowl made of?”
The beggar laughed and said: “It is made up of the ‘Human Mind’. There is no secret. It is simply made of ‘Human Desires’.