One night Shankaracharya was desperately searching for something on the street outside his small hut.
When his pupil returned from his errand, he saw this and curiously asked the Master, “Aacharya, what are you looking for here on the street at this hour?”
Shankaracharya replied, “I lost my needle, I am looking for it.”
The pupil joined him in the search, but after searching for a while, he asked, “Can you try and recollect where you might have dropped it?”
Shankaracharya said, “Of course, I remember. I dropped it near the bed in the hut.”
The pupil, utterly astonished at the strange answer, said, “Aacharya, you say you lost it inside the house, then why are we looking for it outside?”
Shankaracharya innocently replied, “There is no oil left in the lamp, so it is pitch dark inside the house. Hence I thought of searching for it outside, since there is enough street light here.”
While holding back his laugh, the pupil said, “If you lost your needle inside the house, how could you even expect to find it outside?”
Shankaracharya simply smiled back at the pupil and said, “Isn’t that what we do? We run to far away temples and walk up mountains to search for what we have lost inside ourselves. We are all seeking outside what we have lost inside us. Why? Just because it is pitch dark inside.
Silly, aren’t we?”
“Light the Lamp inside you and find your lost treasure right there in.”