Sufi Story – The Begging Bowl
A king was coming out of his palace for his morning walk when he met a beggar. He asked the beggar,
“What do you want?”
“You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!”
The king was offended. He said,
“Of course I can fulfill your desire. What is it? Just tell me.”
And the beggar said, “ Okay if you insist but on one condition..so think twice before you promise anything.”
The emperor had seen many beggars – but beggars with conditions?
And this beggar was really strange, a very powerful man. He was a Sufi Mystic. He had charm, a charisma, his personality had an aura. Even the king felt a little jealous. And conditions?
The emperor said, ” What do you mean ? What is your condition?”
The beggar said, “It is a very simple one. You see this begging bowl?
I accept only if you can fill my begging bowl absolutely.”
It was a small begging bowl. The king said, “Of course. What do you think I am? I cannot fill this dirty small begging bowl ?”
The beggar said, “It is better to tell you before, because later you can get into trouble. If you think you can fill, then come start filling.”
The king called his vizier and told him to fill to fill it with precious stones, with diamonds, rubies and emralds. Let this beggar know with whom he is talking. But then comes the difficulty. The bowl was filled, but the king was surprised- as the stones fell into it, it would disappear. It was filled many times and each time it was again empty.
Now he was in a great rage, but told the vizier, “Even if the whole kingdom goes, if my all treasuries are emptied, let them be- but I cannot allow this beggar to defeat me.”
And all the treasures, it is said, disappeared. By and by the king became a beggar. It took months. And the beggar was there, king was there and the whole capital was there and everybody was wondering what was going to happen, what would happen in the end.
Everything was simply disappearing. Finally the king had to fall at the feet of the beggar and he said, ” Forgive me, but before you leave just tell me one thing. What is the secret of this begging bowl? All has disappeared in it “
The beggar started laughing. He said, “It is made of human ego, everything disappears in it, nothing ever fulfils it.”