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  Volume 4 - Issue 06 JUNE 2006
 
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THE BOON OF BOONS

 

It was a dark rainy night. The King was riding through a narrow lane. He was in disguise for he was in the habit of dressing as a common man so as to see how his subjects lived.

Though thoroughly drenched by the rain, the King did not mind, for he was strong and healthy enough to withstand the cold.

The darkness did not bother him either for he was not afraid to face danger. And so he rode on through the stormy night.

Coming up stealthily behind him was gang of a dozen bandits. They had noticed that this stranger was riding a very fine horse and intended to steal it from him.

 

All of a sudden, the robbers surrounded the King, who was taken by surprise. The King did not panic, but just as he was about to dash off and make his escape, his horse's hoof got lodged in a crack in the road.

 

The bandits were about to pounce upon him when six young men suddenly appeared from the rear and surprised the bandits and rescued the King.

Now whenever the King traveled incognito, some of his ablest bodyguards followed at a discreet distance.

The royal guards arrived on the spot and cornered the gang of thieves, who tried to escape but were all captured.

Naturally, the King was pleased with the brave young men who had come forward to save him, even though they had no idea that they were protecting their King. After thanking them, the King insisted they accompany him to his palace.

The young men had come from distant villages. They had become friends because they were all staying at the same inn.

By morning, the news of the incident had spread. Everyone was delighted that the bandits had failed to harm their noble King. The members of the royal family, the ministers and courtiers and the public all praised the young men's courage. When the King appeared in the durbar, the six young men were brought before him. The King got down from his throne and embraced them. He expressed his wish to reward them for the help they had rendered him.

"Let each one ask me for the thing that would please him most. I promise to grant it instantly, unless it is beyond my power or capacity to do so," the King announced.

The oldest of the six friends was asked to state his desire. He thought for a moment and then said, "O King, I have only a hut for a house. For a long time I have wished to live in a comfortable house. Will you please fulfill my wish?" The King summoned the court architect and engineer and instructed them to build a grand mansion for him.

The next young man wanted to be promoted to the rank of a nobleman. The King bestowed some titles upon him and made him one of his peers.

The third young man said, "My Lord, the poor people from my village come to the town every week to sell vegetables. Because there is no good road between my village and the town, the villagers suffer, particularly during the rainy season. My prayer is, let a good road link my village with the town."

The King made a gesture of approval and the minister in charge of roads and bridges made a hurried note of it.

When the fourth young man was asked to state his wish, he blushed and replied, "O, great King, you are like my father; find me a beautiful bride, if you please."

The King's jester had a beautiful daughter. The King asked the jester to give his daughter's hand in marriage to the young man and the jester happily agreed.

The fifth young man expressed a desire for money. A bag full of gold mohurs was immediately handed to him.

Now came the turn of the sixth young man. He said, "My King, I want you to be my guest once a year until one of us dies."

 

Everyone was surprised at this strange request. Some thought him a fool. Even to the King thought it rather odd. But as he had promised to fulfil any request unless it was beyond his capacity, he agreed to spend one day and night every year at the young man's house.

Now it was left to the various departments of the King's government to make adequate arrangements for the King's yearly visits to the young man's abode. First of all, it was necessary to build a good road - a royal road - to his village, so that the King's chariot could run there smoothly. Then the question was raised: How can the King live and sleep in the young man's home which was hardly more than a cowshed? In no time a luxurious castle, worthy of hosting the King, was built for him.

 

But how would a young man with a meager income maintain the castle and play host to the King and his entourage? To solve this problem, arrangements were made for him to draw a handsome monthly allowance from the royal treasury.

According to a long established convention, the King could only be a nobleman's guest. So the young man was promoted to the rank of a nobleman with very special titles of honor bestowed upon him. He was now as dignified as any prince of royal blood.

There was yet one more factor to be considered. The lady who would be the King's hostess should be familiar with the King's habits and refined tastes. To whom could they be more familiar than the King's daughter? Soon, arrangements were afoot to wed the princess to the young man, for the young man was now rich, lordly and master of a castle.

Thus, by asking for but one boon, this wise young man had all the many boons his five companions had obtained individually, and in actuality much more. In like fashion, when we pray to the Divine directly, we receive devotion and purity and everything else we may need. As Jesus said, "Seek the Kingdom of God first and everything else shall be added unto you." And as the young man found out, one need not wait for these virtues to flourish first to make one eligible for hosting the Divine!

Illustrations: Ms Jyothi and Timothy, Seattle
Courtesy: Nava Sarathi

- Heart2Heart Team


 
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Vol 4 Issue 06 - JUNE 2006
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