Once a king called upon all of his wise men and asked them, “Is there a mantra or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstances, in every place, every time, in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victory — one answer for all questions? Something, which can help me when none of you is available to advise me? Tell me is there any mantra?”
All the wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. They thought and thought. After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something, which appealed to all of them. They went to the king and gave him something written on paper, with a condition that the king was not to see it out of curiosity. Only in extreme danger, if the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way, only then he can see it. The King put the small piece of paper under his diamond ring.
Some time later, the neighbors attacked the Kingdom. King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. The King had to flee on his horse. The enemies were following him, getting closer and closer. Suddenly the King found himself standing at the end of the road — that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley thousands of feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished…and he could not return because it was a small road…the sound of enemy’s horses was approaching fast. The King became restless. There seemed to be no way.
Then suddenly he saw the diamond in his ring shining in the sun, and he remembered the message hidden in the ring. He removed the paper and read the message. The message was — “This Too Shall Pass!”
The King read it. Again read it. Suddenly something struck him — yes! This too will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom. I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the kingdom and all its pleasure have gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. Like those days of luxuries have gone, this day of danger too will pass. Calmness came on his face. He kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of natural beauty. He had never known that such a beautiful place was also a part of his kingdom. The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about those following him. After a few minutes he realized that the noise of the horses and the enemy coming was receding. They moved into some other part of the mountains and were near him.
The King was very brave. He reorganized his army and fought again. He defeated the enemy and regained his empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing in the victory. Everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers were being showered on the King from every house, from every corner. People were dancing and singing. For a moment the King said to himself, “I am one of the bravest and greatest kings. It is not easy to defeat me.” With all the reception and celebration he saw ego emerging in him.
Suddenly the diamond of his ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message. He opened it and read it again: “This too shall pass!”. He became silent. His face went through a total change – from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness. If this too is going to pass, it is not yours.
The defeat was not yours, the victory is not yours. You are just an observer, a witness. Everything passes by. We are witnesses of all this. We are the observers. Life comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes.
Now as we have read this story, let us just sit silently and evaluate our own life. This too will pass. Let us think of the moments of joys and victories in our lives. Let us think of the moments of sorrows and defeats. Are they permanent? They all come and pass away. Life just passes away. There is nothing permanent in this world. Everything changes except the law of change. Let us think over it from our own perspective. We have seen all the changes. We have survived all setbacks, all defeats and all sorrows. All have passed away. The problems in the present, they too will pass away, because nothing remains forever, including the instruments called the body, mind and intellect through which we appear to function in this world. The worldly Joys and sorrows are the two sides of the same coin. They both will pass away.
We are just a witness of change.
Experience it, understand it, and enjoy the present moment — this too shall pass!