Always in Want

Always in Want

Ramulu felt oppressed by his constant discontent. He had land, animals, good family and even modern gadgets most families of the village lacked. Yet he wanted newer things and more of them. He also wanted indulge his lust and other instincts.

He went to a learned sanyasi in a neighboring town, described his problem in detail and asked for help. The sanyasi listened with sympathy and asked a few questions. After deliberating for a long moment he said he understood the problem and would like Ramulu to return the following morning.

Next day Ramulu knocked at the sanyasi’s door quite early in the morning and found him ready and waiting with a bucket and a hank of thin but very strong rope in his hand. He appeared to be going to a well to fetch some water and asked Ramulu to come with him.

On reaching a well the sanyasi lowered the bucket, jerked it to drown and fill. Then he pulled the rope over a pulley. Both men could hear water falling in the well from the bucket. But the bucket came up empty. The sanyasi said he will lower the bucket again. But as before, it came up empty. Ramulu tried to think of the mystery and soon discovered that the bucket had no bottom. Not wanting to embarrass the sanyasi he kept quiet. But when the bucket came up empty the twelfth time he could not hold his tongue.

Sir, the bucket is bottomless. Why do you keep putting it back in the well? You know it will come up empty.

I know, but I was doing it to answer your question. Do you have it?

No, said Ramulu.

Well, it is simple. Material desires and body wants are by nature bottomless. You can neither fill nor fight them. The only escape route is through cultivating higher desires like wanting to know our real self and quest of the Truth of life. Once they get rooted in us and become strong all our attention is occupied and baser desires automatically weaken.

Ramulu understood, thanked the sanyasi, and left.

February 21, 2007