There once lived a very wise man in a small village. He was the head of the local administration and respected by all for his views and opinions on varied subjects.
People came to him in times of need or just to seek some good advice on the different aspects of life. But ironically his only son was a lazy lad, who whisked away his time eating, sleeping or enjoying with his friends outside.
No amount of advise or even threat made any difference to his attitude. As the years passed and the wise man grew old he got more and more worried about his sons future and realized he needed to give something to his son to take care of himself and the family, so one day he called his only son and said” My son, you are grown up now, you need to understand life and your responsibilities by yourself now.”
Amazed by his fathers sudden anxiety his son said, “Father, you have always been by my side to guide me always, how will i ever manage without you…I will be so lost without you…..” His father drew him close, hugged him and said, ” I want you to find the real purpose of your life and when you find it remember it always and you will lead a life full of happiness and joy.”
The son was greatly amused, what could be this important lesson that could cure all his problems in future, he wondered!
The next day, his father gave him a bag. The son was greatly surprised as he opened the bag, as it had 4 pair of clothes one for each season, some raw food, grains, lentils, some money and a map. As he wondered what he was supposed to do with the stock, his father declared…. “I want you to go find a treasure”. I have drawn a map of the place where the treasure is hidden. You need to go and find it.”
Aha, so this is what father was referring to earlier, the real purpose of my life is to find this treasure that will solve all my problems in future, the son thought to himself, greatly pleased at the idea. The next day, he set out early on his journey eager to find the mystical treasure. The place described in the map was far, far away and he had to cross many rivers, forests, plateaus, and mountains to reach his destination. He prayed he would meet his father, when he returned to show him his findings.
He set out on his travel, days, weeks and months passed, as he travelled, he met a lot of people on the way, some helped him with food, some gave him shelter, he also met thief’s and robbers who tried to cheat him and rob him of his belongings. As he moved through landscapes, Slowly the season changed…fall gave way to winter and spring led to summer.
When the weather got harsh, he would pause his journey for some time and again set out moving towards his destination continuously. He wanted to find the treasure before anyone else did.
Finally, after a long year, he reached the cliff below which his father has told him he would find his life’s treasure. He spotted the tree, his father had described in the map and started looking around it, he searched and searched but found nothing. He spent two days looking and digging for the treasure around that tree, exhausted he decided to go back on the third day.
Tired and devastated by his father’s lie, he headed back home. On his way back, he experienced the same changing landscapes and seasons. But this time he stopped to wonder the blooming of flowers when the spring came, the birds dancing in the falling rain. He witnessed glorious sunsets and reveled in peaceful summer evenings.
He learned to hunt for his own food, sew his own clothes and protect himself from the harsh weather. He learned to calculate the time of the day with the suns position and plan his journey accordingly. He also learned how to protect himself from wild animals and harmful plants and herbs.
He met the same people who had helped him on his way, this time he stopped and spend some days with them to help them with their chores to show his gratitude. He realized how wonderful they were in their sense of trying to help the passers by on that route without any expectations in return.
When he reached home, he realized he had been out of his house for 2 years now. He went straight to his father’s room and was relieved to see him resting. He walked up to him and slowly whispered to him, “father”, careful not to disturb him in his sleep. The wise man opened his eyes, he got up as he saw his son and embraced him.
“So how was your journey my son, did you find the treasure” he asked. “The journey was fascinating father,” the son quipped “but forgive me father, as i have disappointed you, I could not find any treasure, at the place described in the map. Maybe somebody took it before i reached.” He was surprised at his own answer that instead of getting angry he was asking for his father’s forgiveness. His father smiled and signaled him to sit down on a chair next to him.
“That is because there was no treasure at that place my son” he answered smiling. “But why did you send me to find it then”, he asked. “I will surely tell you why but first you tell me, how was your journey when you were going to find the treasure. Did you enjoyed the varying landscapes, experienced living in the out on your own amidst new people and changing season, did you made good friends on the way?”
Of course not father, I did not get distracted for a second, I had no time to do all that since I was always focused on reaching my destination as soon as possible before anybody else and find the treasure, I had no time to experience the landscape, the weather or to make any friends. But yes I did all this on my way back. I must admit I really enjoyed my journey back, I learned many new skills and mastered the art of survival, so much so, that I forgot the pain of not finding the treasure.”
His father held his hand and said “Exactly my son, you wanted to know how to lead life and find your goals…but if you lead your life going after a goal on this journey called life , you miss out the real treasures on the way because you are so focused on finding the goal. When the truth is that life has no goal at all, other than to just live it and grow with it each day.”
Moral: It is when we set out in life without trying to associate any meaning or greater purpose to it that we find the treasure of true joy in each moment.
“To be what you were born to be and to explore your full potential each day is life’s only goal”.