Once upon a time in a certain village lived a prominent trader. He was wealthy, honorable and a man of repute, and yet he was restless and worried. He could not shed his fears, of failure, of losing, of unknown. He approached his spiritual master and pleaded, “With your grace I have everything yet I am always afraid and worried. Please give me wisdom so that I may be peaceful under all circumstances, no matter what.”
“So, you want to be peaceful under all circumstances?” the guru confirmed.
“Yes, your holiness.”
The master grabbed a piece of sacred bhojapatra (the bark of birch tree), dipped his pen in ink made from vermilion and scribbled something on it. He let the charm dry for a few minutes, folded it and gave it to him. “Here, always keep this with you. Open this only when you feel your worst fear has come true.”
The trader prostrated before his master and went back. A terrible drought hit that region two years later and his financial situation went into tatters. He had no stock to sell, debtors were unable to pay their dues and creditors started chasing him for theirs. They dragged him to court, made him sell his house, mortgaged his wife’s jewellery and had his warehouses pawned. He pleaded and he prayed but nothing worked. His master had already left for secluded meditation on forbidden peaks. It was time to read his guru’s inscription, he thought.
He unfolded it to see the contents; it read, “Stay firm, stay course. This will pass.” The words had magical effect on him. He decided to not lose hope. He realized that things could not stay like this forever, that it was temporary. And temporary it surely was as the following three years saw heavy rains and bumper crop. He bounced back. Wealth and honour came back in his life. He was overjoyed. His guru was back too. He promptly made arrangements to see his master with all kinds offerings.
Prostrating before the guru, he said, “With your grace, I’m so happy. Business has never been this good. To tell you the truth, I’m over the moon.”
Do you have the bhojapatra with you?” the guru asked calmly. “Open it and read again what it says.” He obeyed and the words on it reminded him that even this phase was temporary. Just like the bad times, even this would pass. From joy and excitement, his state of mind shifted to bliss and peace. “This is eternal wisdom, my son,” the master added.
“Stay even. It’s all cyclical.”
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