Wisdom is difficult to acquire. You have got to be patient and must continue to learn and persevere.
Once there lived a king who loved to hunt. While on one such expedition, he reached deep into a forest. The forest was nothing special in that the king had hunted in its fringes numerous times. He hadn’t reached so deep, however.
When he reached to one particular area, he was suddenly filled with great calmness and peace. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced. While he was a spiritual person, he had done nothing special to make him feel that way. So he realized it was not his own doing but of something special that lurked there.
He looked around until he discovered a small hut. He went inside and there he saw an old man who didn’t seem to be bothered with the arrival of the king. He stayed calm and smiled. The king was impressed. He knew why that place had such a vibe. He decided to leave everything he had and stay with that old man to learn the wisdom of calmness and peace.
He came back after a few days to live as a pupil of that old man. However, the king didn’t find life there as convenient and easy as he had thought it would be. The old man never spoke a word apart from commanding the king to do certain works. This way he didn’t let the king sit idly even for a moment. Worst of all, the old man never lectured nor taught anything. The king didn’t dare to make queries.
In a few days, the king found it intolerable. It was worse than his royal duties. He couldn’t take it anymore. So one day he amassed courage and went to the old man and asked –
‘Why don’t you teach me the secrets to wisdom?’
‘You are not ready yet,’ the old man replied.
The King quietly went about his tasks.
After a few days, the king asked again. But the old man replied that same –
‘You are not ready.’
And this continued until the king lost patience. One day while he was out on the spring to fetch water, he decided to walk away. Not had he walked a few steps, he heard a voice say –
‘Oh, look the king is running away from his duties.’
The king was surprised to hear this. He looked around but saw no one. Assuming it to be his illusion he continued to walk.
‘You are running away! The mighty king is fleeing,’ the voice said again
The king was now convinced that it was not his illusion. He looked around carefully and guessed it must have been coming from the pot. He went near and monitored the pot.
‘Where are you going?’ the pot asked.
The king was startled. He had seen nothing like this before. He looked around once again wondering if anyone played tricks on him.
‘Don’t be surprised. It’s me, the pot. Answer my question – Where are you going?’
The king nervously replied –
‘Back to my kingdom.’
‘I came here hoping to learn wisdom on how to be calm and peaceful from the old man. But he keeps telling me I am not ready. I no longer think he is special. Even the little calmness and peace I had is gone now. There’s no point,’ the king said.
‘To learn even a small thing is difficult my friend. Much more difficult than to rule, you may have observed. You may suffer your entire life yet learn nothing. Look at me as an example, I have suffered much but have remained ignorant.’
‘Really? Can you tell me more about yourself? How can you speak? Why didn’t you speak before?’ the king asked. He now seemed interested.
‘It’s a long story,’ replied the pot. ‘Once a man came up to me with his spade and dug me out of my home. He then took me to his house and poured a lot of dirty water on me. He kneaded me into a dough. Oh, how much I suffered then!
‘But that was not it. He then took me to a shed and made small balls of my parts and placed me on a potter’s wheel until I got lightheaded. When he finally took me out of it, I thought the suffering was over. But far from it. He bear me with a wooden mallet and put me in a burning furnace. He then took me to a shop and left me there. Just like that!
‘There were many like me in that shop. I looked at them and realized that all of them had gone through the same suffering and agony like me. So that gave me some solace. I realized that I was not alone in this suffering. That’s when I was full of pity for other pots too.
‘But tell you what – that was not the end of my suffering. People came and thumped me to see if there was anything wrong with me. I was surprised that an intelligent creature like man would be so indifferent to the suffering of others. I began abhorring humans. After a few days of thumps and lumps, a fellow came and bought me. He then gave me to the old man. Thankfully, I haven’t suffered since then. The old man takes good care of me.
‘You have to understand this, oh mighty king. Wisdom is difficult to acquire. You have got to be patient and must continue to think, learn and persevere. Do not despair and return to your life of power and glory. They are nothing compared to wisdom. In fact, kingship is easy. You have people to do the smallest of things for you. On top of that, you won’t get the chance to contemplate and improve. Such is the grip of power. I have seen you desire and try. I think you have a chance. Very few people get this chance. Count for yourself how many kings there are in this world and how many wise people. I don’t think you will find it difficult to see that there aren’t much around with wisdom. Don’t let go of this opportunity that very few get.’
The pot said and sighed.
The king carefully lifted the pot, filled it with water, and took it back to the hut.
The pot hasn’t spoken nor has the king returned to his palace ever since.