Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems or Don’t get caught up in the game

Long ago there was a hermit who lived a solitary and austere life in a little hut. He had dedicated his life to the ultimate goal of total liberation. His only possession was a langotri (an Indian loincloth) that he wore to cover himself. Every day he would rise before the dawn and make his way down to the river. After bathing himself and washing his only langotri, he would spend the day in doing his rituals, prayers and meditation only to return to the hut in the evening. Once, when he was washing his loincloth, the thought occurred to him that it might be nice to have a second langotri so that he might alternate daily.  By some means he came to have a second loincloth and he was quite satisfied.

Sadhu wearing langotriHe used to leave one loincloth in his hut and wore the other one when he went down to spend the day down by the river. Once, when returning from the river he noticed that his spare loincloth had holes in it. He discovered that while he was away, a rat was coming in and chewing holes in his langotri. This aggravated the hermit and as he himself could not possibly forgo his practice to stay and watch, he got himself a cat to guard against the rat. He soon found that he had to feed the cat and if he had to walk to the many miles to the village to get milk, he would spend the day mostly in travel and would not get spend his time in meditation, which of course was his highest priority. To allow himself the time, he got a cow that would give milk to feed the cat. Very soon he discovered that that cow required care, feeding and milking, which would again take up his time. This time he sought the aid of an old widow that lived in the village. She would come every day and care for and milk the cow. He now had the cat, cow and widow in his responsibility and it became an increasing distraction for the hermit. He had to sometimes do odd jobs to be able to provide for those in his care and this of course took him away from the river occasionally.

One day the old widow was sick and she sent her young daughter in her stead to look after the cow. That evening the hermit returned to find a beautiful young woman in place of the old widow. The girl shyly explained the situation and the hermit was taken by her beauty and gentle speech. The following day the old widow was still sick and the girl returned but the hermit remained behind and spent the day in her company. It wasn’t long before the hermit fell in love with the girl and married her. Of course now the hermit had to find more steady work to support his wife, mother-in-law and naturally a few children, after some years. He worked very hard, the years passed and his children grew but it had been years since he had visited to river. He had long lost sight of his goal and got caught up in the game of life; All this for a spare loincloth!

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How much do we allow the things we own to own us? Naturally we have to work but we must also remember our purpose: why we work. Often we get caught up in the game forgetting why we are playing in the first place. Keep your eyes on the prize.

 

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