Weekend Story- The Beggar’s Bowl
February 21, 2022
In a bygone era, an emperor would go out for a walk every morning. Once, when he was returning to his palace, he noticed a beggar standing by the pathway. The Emperor looked at the beggar and asked, “what do you want?”.
The beggar mockingly replied, ” you are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire.”
The Emperor was both surprised and offended by what the beggar said. He wondered what this beggar could possibly desire that he could not fulfill. “Don’t you know I am the Emperor? Of course, I can give you anything you desire. What is it you want? Just tell me.”
Looking back at the Emperor, the beggar said, “Ok. Since you insist. I have a very simple desire. Do you see this begging bowl? Can I request you to fill it with something?
The Emperor enthusiastically replied, “Yes, of course!!.”
Calling out to one of his attendants, he commanded, “Fill this person’s bowl with money.” The attendant went back into the palace, got some coins, and poured them into the bowl. But, as soon as he filled the bowl with coins, they disappeared. Surprised, the attendant brought more coins, and they vanished as soon as he placed them in the bowl. The beggar’s bowl remained empty, no matter how many coins were placed.
Soon, news spread across the kingdom that a beggar’s bowl could not be filled. As the hours passed, people gathered to check on the magical bowl that could not be filled.
The Emperor’s prestige was at stake. So he called his ministers and issued instructions- “I don’t care what happens. This beggar cannot defeat me. Do whatever is needed. The bowl should not be empty.”
The ministers opened the treasury and pulled out gold, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies to try and fill the bowl. But, no matter what was put in, everything disappeared. The begging bowl seemed to be bottomless. The day passed by, and the treasury was empty. The Emperor had nothing more left to fill the beggar’s bowl with.
The Emperor was stunned. How could this happen? He knelt at the feet of the beggar and admitted defeat saying, ” You win. I cannot fulfill your small desire to have me fill your bowl with something. But before I let you leave, can you please help me understand. What is this special bowl? Why is it not getting filled? What is it made of? “
The beggar smiled at the Emperor and said, ” Oh Emperor, there is no big secret. It is simply made up of human desire.”