The Restless spirit (Hinduism)

There once was a very poor man, who woke up hungry with only 1 rupee left in his pocket. He decides to go to the market and see if his rupee can buy him some left over fruit.

At the market he meets a fancy clothed man behind a table with a beautiful brass pot on it, and a sign that reads “1 rupee”.

The poor man can’t believe his eyes, and asks the man what the catch is.

“It’s true, the pot only costs 1 rupee”, the man says. He goes on to explain that in the pot there lives a spirit, who fulfills all your desires.

“Then why do you sell it?”, the poor man wants to know.

“Well, the spirit is always active and rather impatient”, it is explained. “If you don’t pay attention to him, he’ll start taking things away again”.

“Well OK”, the poor man says. “Since I don’t have much to lose I will buy it from you”.

When he arrives back home, he calls for the spirit inside the pot and the spirit appears. “How can I serve you, master?”, he asks.

“Prepare me a meal worthy of a king”, the poor man commands. Within seconds the spirit serves an opulous meal with 87 courses.

The poor man is delighted, but when he starts eating, the spirit asks again – “How can I serve you master?”

Keeping in mind that the spirit can also take away all the goodies, the poor man commands: “Build me a beautiful castle, suitable for a maharaja!”

Only a few seconds pass by, and the man now finds himself in a beautiful palace. He likes to explore it, but there comes the spirit again, asking “How can I serve you, master?”

Every wish is immediately fulfilled, and when ignored, the spirit takes away everything.

The poor man is annoyed and goes to the village sage, where he explains his problem. After a silent conversation, the poor man steps to the spirit and says: ‘spirit, build me a large pole and stick it in the ground”.

The spirit immediately builds a pole and sticks it in the ground.

“Now spirit, I want you to climb up and down the pole, over and over again”, said the Sage

The spirit starts climbing right away. Now the man has time to eat his meal, explore his palace and do other things. When he and the sage goes out to see what the spirit is doing, they see that he has fallen asleep next to the pole.

“That is how it is with the mind of every man”, explains the sage. “It is restless in its desire to satisfy every desire, and fragments our being. The pole is a tool called a ‘mantra’. By repeating it over and over again, our restless mind is kept busy until it gets so bored that it falls asleep. This way our true self can enjoy the world.”

Author Unknown. Edited by Elan (2014)

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