There are many stories we read but then there are some that remain etched on our minds forever. Many years ago I’d come across one such story. You may have heard it from me already as I narrated it in a Christmas discourse a few years ago or you may have read it elsewhere. Either way, the message and newness of this story never seems to fade. As follows:
An ultra wealthy man shared his passion for art collecting with his devoted young son. Together they traveled around the world, adding fine treasures to their collection.
But then the world went to war, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that pulled the earth beneath his feet. It read that his son had been killed while carrying a fellow soldier to safety.
His days became longer and life unbearable as he grieved and mourned the death of his son.
One day on a snowy winter morning, someone knocked on his door. It was a soldier with a large package in his hand.
“I am the one your son died rescuing,” the visitor said and handed the gift to the old man. “I am not much of an artist but I wanted to give you this gift on Christmas.”
The man unwrapped the package and broke into tears. Unlike the Picasso and Monet on the wall, this would be an unremarkable painting to everyone else in the world, but him. There it was, his son’s portrait. Those kind eyes, that youthful appearance, as if he would walk out of the frame any moment and give his father a hug. As days passed, this became his most prized possession.
The following spring, the old man passed away after a brief illness. As per his will, his estate and everything in it was readied for auction. Various rich enthusiasts, loaded with pride and possessions, were eyeing different pieces of art from his vast collection.
“The will explicitly states that the auction must begin with the deceased’s most favorite painting,” the auctioneer announced. “The portrait of his son.”
A hush fell over the room. In the world of the art collectors, no one in their sane mind would want a painting by an unknown artist.
“Who will open the bidding with $100?” the auctioneer said.
No one responded and a minute later the attendees shifted in their chairs impatiently. They told him to first auction the other famous pieces but the auctioneer reminded them that the portrait of the son had to be sold first.
Finally, a friend of the old man stepped forward, “I knew the boy. He died serving the country. So, I’d like to bid $100 for the portrait.”
“I have a bid for $100,” called the auctioneer. “Will anyone go higher?”
“Going once,” he hollered after several moments of silence. “Going twice. Gone.” And the gavel fell.
Cheers filled the room as some in the relieved audience said that it was time to get on with the real auction.
“The auction is over,” the auctioneer announced to the stunned audience with the executor of the will standing next to him.
“The will unequivocally states,” he continued. “Whoever takes the son, gets it all.”
While this story of belief in Christ, beautifully referred to the value of faith, I felt it is the same with life, too. The one who discovers that reservoir of inner peace, finds everything else automatically.
While there are various things and people we hold dear in life, the truth is that our actions are primarily driven by the object of our chief attachment. It is fame for some and wealth for others. It may be family for someone and health for another. Most of us want all of these, and you have the right to pursue a life of ambition. But it helps to know that the quest for fleeting pleasures in a transient world does not bring lasting peace.
यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं तत: । यस्मिन्स्थितो न दु:खेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते॥ yaṁ labdhvā chāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ । yasmin sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vichālyate ॥ BG 6.22.॥ The one established in that transcendental state [where their mind is yoked to the supreme consciousness] does not consider anything else to be more worthy of attainment. As a result, such a person remains steadfast even in the face of great adversity.
So what would you consider your greatest accomplishment? Or in other words, what do you hold most dear in your heart?
Whatever it may be, just remember it is going to have a profound effect on your consciousness. The kind of things and people you will attract in the Universe are directly influenced by the object of your chief attachment. Petty thoughts don’t lead to great outcomes. Therefore, if you wish to abide in a state of super consciousness, a state where you become extremely effective and efficient at whatever you undertake without losing your sense of peace, just ensure that your attachment leans towards the highest good for humanity. It may take a while for this altruism to settle in your heart, but once it does, your life will never be the same again. For, a deeply spiritual intention is your only true anchor in the worldly ocean.
After all, whoever takes the son, gets it all.
1. More than 12 years and 500+ posts later, I wish to make a minor change. From next month onwards, I will be publishing only one post per month on os.me. It will be on the 2nd Saturday (6 AM IST) of each month. This will remain my schedule indefinitely.
2. I will continue to engage with you on Wildr. So if you haven’t done it already then you can download Wildr and connect with me there. It’s a beautiful, always-free, app. Full of positive and kind people. My Wildr handle is @os.
3. All those who applied for initiation between 1-Aug and 31-Oct will hear from me on 12-Nov. Thank you for your love.
A GOOD STORY
There were four members in a household. Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. A bill was overdue. Everybody thought Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it.Don't leave empty-handed, consider contributing.
It's a good thing to do today.