Once a king disguised as a merchant was on a tour of his kingdom. When he, along with his ministers, was passing by a hut, he overheard joyful laughter coming from the humble abode.
The king was astonished!
He had all the riches at his command, yet, he didn’t quite remember the last time he had such a hearty laugh; the kind of laughter that was emanating from the walls of the hut.
The king enquired from one of his ministers:
“What is the secret of this laughter and joy for a family that’s poor in material wealth?”
The wise minister said, “O King, for me to reveal this precious piece of wisdom to you, I would need 99 gold coins.”
The king granted the minister’s request. After all, 99 gold coins was a meagre price to pay to get the knowledge of joy.
The minister collected the coins from the King’s treasury, put them in a sack and put them outside the happy family’s hut.
When the family heard something drop outside their house, they went and found the sack of gold coins.
The family members were ecstatic!
None of them had even dreamt of possessing gold coins, and yet, the divine had bestowed an incredible grace upon them. They began counting the coins and found that the bag only had 99 gold coins.
“God would surely give us 100 gold coins. Maybe one slipped out of the sack and fell somewhere.”
“God has granted 99 coins, we should endeavour to complete the set. We shall work hard and earn another gold coin. Then, we will be happy.”
Such kinds of discussions started ensuing amongst the family members.
The family started working harder day in and out to ensure that they could get that extra coin. This sack full of 99 coins was kept safely away.
When amongst themselves, the family couldn’t manage to gain the extra coin, arguments erupted. They kept blaming one another for failing to complete the God-given set.
The minister took the king near the hut once again. This time the king heard bickering within the family. The king was taken aback.
“How come these people have now started fighting?”
“It’s all because of the 99 gold coins, my king.”, replied the wise minister.
Post dating happiness
Most of us strive to work hard in our respective areas of work so that we can earn wealth and be happy in the future.
In the above story, the wise minister cleverly demonstrated how the pursuit of perceived happiness leads us astray from happiness itself.
The secret of the poor family’s joy was contentment.
As soon as the ’99 coins’ arrived in their lives, they started striving for that extra coin to complete the set. Their joy was now dependent upon that extra gold coin. In their minds, they could only be happy once they gain that extra coin!
Is it not our life story?
As kids, we fell into the trap that adults have a good life. We felt that growing up was the panacea of all our issues.
As adults, we reminisce of carefree days of childhood or look to invest for a carefree retirement.
When we place our happiness in the hands of external circumstances or the achievement of specific goals, we are vulnerable to missing the present.
“Ye Andar Kee Baat Hai”
Joy is in an inner phenomenon; joy is a feeling that’s generated from within.
No goal or external validation is capable of bringing joy in our lives unless we choose it.
Does that mean we should stop striving for goals and be content with whatever we have?
But, can’t the process of working for the achievement of desires itself be made joyful?
Can we stop obsessing about what we lack and start being MORE GRATEFUL?!
The idea of a bright future is what keeps us all working. It’s what led to wonderous innovations and advancements. It’s also apparent, though, the current generation despite all the material well being can’t claim to be the most joyful.
Ease of communication via technology has led to more discords.
We have connected gadgets but disconnected hearts.
Industrial advancement has ravaged the planet.
The Internet has eased access to information, but, it’s also been used for the spread of pornography, trafficking and spreading hate.
“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”Oscar Wilde
The happiness doesn’t lie in that one extra coin; happiness lies in the 99 that we have.
“Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.”Shri Krishna, Bhagwad Gita, 2.48
I thank you for investing your time to read until the end of this piece. May you be blessed with happiness in the present.
Love, laughter, joy and harmony