Once, a beggar while begging in a train, noticed a well-dressed businessman wearing a suit and boots. He thought that this man must be very rich, so he will surely give good money if I ask him. So he went and asked that man for alms.
The man looked at the beggar and said, “You always beg and keep asking from people, do you ever give anything to anyone?”
The beggar said, “Sir, I am a beggar, I can only keep asking people for money. How will I be able to give anything to anyone?”
The man replied, “When you can’t give anything to anyone, then you don’t have any right to ask as well. I am a businessman and believe in transactions only – if you have something to give me, then I can also give you something in return.”
Just then, the train arrived at a station, and the businessman got down and left.
The beggar started thinking about what the man had said. His words somehow reached the beggar’s heart.
He started thinking that maybe I do not get much money in alms because I am not able to give anything to anyone in return. But I am a beggar, I am not even worth giving anything to anyone. But for how long will I keep asking people without giving anything.
After thinking deeply, the beggar decided that whenever he gets something on begging, he will definitely give something back to that person in return.
But now the question was, what could he give others in return for begging? The whole day had passed thinking about this but he could not find any answer to his question.
The next day while he was sitting near the station, his eyes fell on some flowers blooming on the plants around the station. He thought, why not give some flowers to the people in return for alms.
He liked this idea and plucked some flowers from there and went to the train to beg.
Whenever someone gave alms to him, he would give some flowers to them in return. People used to keep those flowers happily with them.
Now the beggar used to pluck flowers everyday and distribute those flowers among the people in return for the alms.
Within a few days he realized that now a lot of people have started giving him alms. He used to pluck all the flowers near the station. As long as he had flowers, many people used to give him alms. But when no more flowers were left with him, he wouldn’t get much. And this continued every day.
One day when he was begging, he saw that the same businessman was sitting in the train, because of whom he was inspired to distribute flowers.
The beggar immediately reached out to him and said, “Today I have some flowers to give you in return for alms.”
The man gave him some money and the beggar gave him some flowers in return. The man liked his idea very much and was quite impressed.
He said, “Wow! Today you too have become a businessman like me.” Taking flowers from the beggar, he got down at the station.
But once again, his words had reached deep into the beggar’s heart. He kept thinking again and again about what the man had said and started becoming happy.
His eyes started shining now, he felt that he had now got the key to success by which he could change his life.
He immediately got down from the train and excitedly looked up at the sky and in a very loud voice said, “I am not a beggar anymore, I am a businessman now, I can also become like that gentleman, I can also become rich.”
When people saw him, they thought that maybe this beggar has gone mad. From the next day that beggar never appeared at that station again.
Four years later, two men dressed in suits were traveling from the same station. When both of them looked at each other, one of them bowed to the other with joined hands and asked, “Do you recognize me?”
The other replied, “No! Maybe we’re meeting for the first time.”
The first one again said, “Sir, try to remember, we are not meeting for the first time but for the third time”.
Second person, “Well, I can’t remember. When was it that we met before?”
Now the first person smiled and said, “We have met twice in the same train before. I am the same beggar whom you had told in the first meeting what I should do in life, and in the second meeting you told me who I really am.”
“As a result, today I am a very big flower merchant and I am going to another city in respect of the same business.”
“You told me the law of nature in the first meeting… according to which we get something only when we give something.
This rule of transaction really works, I’ve felt it very well, but I always thought of myself as a beggar, I never thought to rise above it.
When I met you for the second time, you told me that I have become a businessman. Thanks to you, from that day onwards, my perspective changed and now I have become a businessman, I’m not a beggar anymore.”
Indian sages probably put the most emphasis on Knowing Yourself’.
As long as the beggar considered himself a beggar, he remained a beggar and when he considered himself as a businessman, he became one. Similarly, the day we will understand our true nature, then what will be left to know and understand ?