Suddenly a young man stood up and asked the king, “Hey Rajan! I want to be very rich but despite all my effort I am not able to do so. In today’s materialistic world people judge you by the things of luxury and splendour one has accumulated. I feel very inferior when the society mocks at poor people like me and the opulent are respected. The lives of needy people like us get spent only in worries and troubles aggravated due to dearth of money. What should I do? Is it a sin to be wanting to be rich?”
The king replied, “Money brings a lot of comforts to your life and wanting to be rich is not a sin. Desires make you ambitious and ambition inspires you to work harder towards the goal but just having an ambition and not working towards it can only brings frustration. Frustration gives birth to many of the kleshas, such as anxiety, fear, anger, jealousy, depression, etc. So first of all, always remember that never refrain from working hard. There is no short cut to hard work.”
The young man interrupted the King and asked, “Respected Rajan! I am very hard working and so are many of my companions. If only hard work brought wealth then all of us would be rich by now. Harshvardhan humbly smiled and continued his answer, “My friend money and wealth are not themselves happiness but they can be the cause of comfort and happiness. In order to achieve happiness in life we must start our effort with the acceptance that materialism may attract us a lot and may try to trap us in its vicious circle, bridling you with its hypnotic charms but only worldly possessions can bring happiness is an illusion.
It is like a mirage to a camel which creates an illusion that water is very near but actually it is not. It’s like the musk of a musk deer which is hidden inside in deer’s own belly but the deer doesn’t realise it and keep running here and there in search of it in vain throughout its life, and finally dies without the truth being unfolded. So my friend don’t chase materialism! Keep doing your effort till it comes to you by itself. It should always be the reward, not the target. I would advise you too to start chanting the Lotus Sutra with full faith. I do not guarantee that you will become instantly rich after this but it will definitely do two things, firstly it will create such an extreme positivity in you that your hard work will not go in vain by channelizing your hidden potential to create a better and quicker impact of your actions. Secondly, it will create an invincible optimism in you that you will not panic to be rich and will start to experience happiness even in small things that you already have till the time you actually accomplish the bigger possessions because ultimately being happy is the true purpose you want to earn everything for.
Learn to appreciate what you have and you will be given more. Do not yearn to be rich just because others want to see you rich or for the sense of superiority you gain over others after becoming rich, instead just because you want to be rich to seek happiness that comes out of the pleasures of life you’re able to afford after earning money and for a sense of security which money provides us. Sometimes in our endeavour to be more powerful and opulent we become thankless for what we have already been granted. The powerful vibrations of this Lotus Sutra will fill you with gratitude towards what you have already been granted. Believe me gratitude is the biggest cause of content to directly lead to happiness. Materialism is the most illusive element of life as it deludes both, those who have it and those who don’t. The more you run after it more it’ll consume you. So cherish what you have.
Show gratitude and have patience. Don’t belittle your life just because the world thinks so. You should respect your own life. The world mocks at you only because you let it do it. If you show high self esteem towards yourself you will see people’s perspective about you also elevating even if you don’t have money. So don’t forget once you become rich that a fruit laden tree always bends and what does not bend breaks.” The young man bowed in reverence and said, “Rajan I will try to abide by your teaching. Now I have understood that money alone does not bring prosperity if it is devoid of humanity and charity towards haves and have-nots of the society. And Rajan! I assure you that once I’ll see the transformation in my life I will inspire others also to follow this path.”
There was a woman sitting with veiled face in the public. She wanted to raise her hand and wanted to ask something but due to her inhibition she averted but the wise queen Sulochana had already noticed her. She went near her and asked her name and whether she wanted to ask something. As the queen went near her, she noticed that the lady had charred skin. She had a complexion as dark as coal and it wouldn’t be fair to say but she had a very ugly face. But even her ugliness couldn’t inhibit the queen from approaching towards her. The queen could see that due to lack of confidence she kept herself isolated from the crowd. She went near her and without any qualms she held her hand in her hands affectionately and as she did that she could see the awe on the faces of people sitting there as if she has committed some heinous crime. A boy standing there could not stop himself and said, “Rani Sahiba! Stay away from that witch!” with a sinister expression on his face.
Unabashed by his misbehaviour the queen clasped her hand more firmly and spoke to the lady in a confident poise, “My friend! Speak what your heart desires today. Nobody can stop you from expressing yourself. Nobody has the right to use such a foul language for you. Come what may, you will never let your voice be suppressed from today.
It must have been the first time in this lady’s life when she has been given a chance to speak. The queen, looking at the people sitting there spoke in a confident voice, “The experience of this lady tells a lot about the handicapped mentality of our society. Due to the biased and dogmatic principles laid by the society towards the women. I really feel sad to see how judgemental are we. For the superficial beauty of human being who may be actually beautiful internally we condescend to such a low level that we start branding them as witches. The intolerance of the queen to such injustice was clearly visible through her harsh tone but she paused for a while, close her eyes and started murmuring some words which were not audible to the people as if she were chanting some mantra. Her facial strain eased instantly and she wore that pleasant smile on her face again and she got back to normal. The people standing there were amazed and must have thought what powerful mantra would she have recited which had extinguished her bitterness and brought such instant peace to her mind so rapidly?
The Queen continued, “As social beings we are all created equal irrespective of caste, creed and gender. Even your king treats them equally when they come to him for justice. Even Buddha himself said that everyone is a Buddha. The only need is to recognise the buddha in yourself and others. For that we require to open the eyes of our soul which can be achieved by regular recitation of the Lotus Sutra. I urge all of you to open up your eyes to the sublime reality and start seeing the beauty hidden inside the realms of the physical appearance. How you perceive others tell less about that person and a lot about how you are and how you have been groomed. True beauty lies much beyond the superficial perception of the physical features or the colour of the skin” The queen then turned to that lady and asked her to ask what she wanted. The lady joined her hands in reverence and said that moist eyes, “Rani Sahiba! My question has been already answered. I have nothing to say. I, hereby pledge in front of you and everyone that I shall learn the Lotus sutra and will propagate the same with full faith. Thank you for giving me a purpose to live.
Then the queen turned to the lady and removed the veil from her face and held both her hands in her hands and said to her encouragingly, “Your real life begins from today. Promise me that you will start respecting your own life before others. One who cannot respect oneself and never be able to respect to others. Try to find the beauty hidden in subtle things of life beginning with your physical appearance.
The queen then turned to the public and said, “My dear fellow beings, for the kingdom we may be the king and the queen and hold the superior authority apparently above you all but as per humanity all of us are born equal even though we may have different social status, different capabilities, varied physical appearances. But the ultimate truth is, that we all are carriers of a clandestine light within ourselves which gets fuelled with wisdom, courage and compassion. Any imbalance in either of the three will make our flame dimmer than the others. And the sole purpose of life should be to shine brighter and brighter by balancing these three virtues till the time it reaches its pinnacle and does not brighten only ourselves, not only our family but permeates beyond our boundaries and enlightens the houses of other people selflessly”