Once a king called upon all his wise men and asked, “Is there a mantra or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and at every time, something which can help me when none of you are available to advise me. Tell me is there any mantra?”
All the 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.
After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the king and gave him something written on paper. But the condition was that king was not to see it out of curiosity. Only in extreme danger, when the king finds himself alone and there seems to be no other way, only then can he see it. The king put the papers under his diamond ring.
After a few days, neighbouring kings attacked the country. 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. His enemies were following him. His horse took him far away into the jungle. He could hear many troops on horses following him and the noise was coming closer and closer.
Suddenly the king found himself standing at the end of a road – that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley a thousand 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 and the king became restless. There seemed to be no way out.
Then suddenly he saw the diamond in his ring shining in the sun, and he remembered the message hidden in the ring. He opened the diamond and read the message. The message was very small but very great.
The message was – “This too shall pass.” The king read it. Again read it. Suddenly something struck him- “Yes!
It 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 it’s pleasures have gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. However, as those days of luxuries have gone, this day of danger too will pass.”
Calm came on his face, he kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of natural beauty. He had never known that such a beautiful place was also a part of his kingdom. The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about those following him.
After a few minutes he realised that the noise of the horses and the coming enemy was receding. They had moved into some other part of the mountains and were not on that path. The king was very brave. He reorganised his army and fought again. He defeated the enemy and regained his lost empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fan fare at the door. The whole capital was rejoicing in his 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 kings. It is not easy to defeat me.” With all the reception and celebration he saw an ego emerging in him. Suddenly the diamond of his ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message. He opened it and read it again:
“This too shall 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 perceivers. Life comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes.”