A Healthy Kingdom

There was a small kingdom in which strangely enough all people where quite happy and very healthy. In course of time both the ruler and ruled grew proud of this rare good fortune and claimed it to be a reward of their personal righteousness. Since all of them were healthy, there was no physician in the kingdom. One day, a physician came to its capital city and was happy to find that there was no other physician to compete with him in his profession in the whole kingdom. But whenever he entered into conversation with the people and enquired after their health, they would say: "Oh! We are brahmajnanis, no illness can touch us. We are the fortunate few chosen by God and blessed by Him with health and happiness. Why do you tarry here, better go elsewhere to earn your living". The physician however did not want to leave the city and was also hopeful that this snobbery of the people will not last long.

Once the king suddenly fell ill. The physician was summoned to the royal presence. He was pleased that God had given him an opportunity to display his talent. He treated the king with reverence and great attention. The king was slowly but steadily improving. However, he said: "Sir, I really thank you for your treatment but can you not cure me quickly? I am not used to lying down like this for days together". The physician wanted to teach the king and the people a lesson. He said: "Oh king, there is a quick cure, but I am afraid, I may not be able to get what I want for preparing the medicine". The king said: "you need not doubt the capacity either of my ministers or my people. They will be ready to procure anything you may require. They are all brahma jnanis. They will not bother about any type of strain or sacrifice on their part to get their beloved king cured. Come, tell me what you want". The physician said: "My Lord! I am glad that you are so confident". I require 1/4 pound of flesh from the body of a brahma jnani - that is all". "Oh! How simple!", exclaimed the king. The king immediately sent word to his minister and commanded him to get at once 1/4 pound of flesh of any brahma jnani in the city".

The minister returned very late in the evening, very sad and dejected. The king asked eagerly "Why so late? Come on, where is the flesh?". The minister pleaded, "Oh! King, I am sorry, I could not get what you wanted. When I made the people know of what you need, everyone said: 'Oh, I am not a brahma jnani. Do you think that brahma jnanis will be found in cities such as this?' How can we say confidently that we are all brahma jnanis?".

The king was surprised to hear this and looked at the physician pitiably. The physician said: "Oh king!, do not feel sad. This is the way of the world. One may claim to be anything but to actually live up to that high ideal is extremely difficult. You are now recovered. Nothing is wrong with you. I need no human flesh. I planned this little drama, only to let you know the truth. Pardon me".

Each person is "three in one", i.e. what he thinks of himself, what others think he is and finally, what he really is.

 

Source: Chinna Katha II, 88