July 31, 2007

Desire end?

From Idries Shah's 'Wisdom of the Idiots'

It is related that a dervish once stopped a king in the street. The king said: 'How dare you, a man of no account, interrupt the progress of your sovereign?'
The dervish answered:
'Can you be a sovereign if you can not even fill my kashkul, the begging bowl?'
He held out his bowl, and the king ordered it to be filled with gold.
But, no sooner was the bowl seen to be full of coins than they disappeared, and the bowl seemed to be empty again.
Sack after sack of gold was brought, and still the amazing bowl devoured coins.
'Stop!' shouted the king, 'for this trickster is emptying my treasury!'
"To you I am emptying your treasury,' said the dervish, 'but to others I am merely illustrating a truth.'
'And the truth?' asked the king.
'The truth is that, the bowl is the desires of man, and the gold what man is given. There is no end to man's capacity to devour, without being in any way changed. See the bowl has eaten nearly all your wealth, but it is still a carved sea-coconut, and has not partaken of the nature of gold in any respect.
'If you care,' continued the dervish, 'to step into this bowl, it will devour you, too. How can a king, then, hold himself as being of any account?'

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