There was once this man who was very rich and powerful. He had fame, fortune, power, a beautiful wife and many children. He was envied by everyone who knew him. And indeed many people knew of him because of his wealth and power.
What most people did not know was that this man was not very happy. Despite all that he had, he just was not happy. He was worried that one day he would lose his wealth. He was constantly guarding against people who might be seeking to displace him from his position of power. He was afraid that something bad might happen his family. He was scared that he would be disgraced if he did not have all of the things that people envied him for. Oh he was very unhappy indeed.
One day, this man heard about this great wise sage. The rumours were that this wise sage was able to give advice to help any one get anything. If that were indeed true, the man thought, this sage would be able to solve my problem! The sage would be able to give him happiness!
So the man went to look for this great wise sage. He was not easy to find. But the man had many resources at his disposal. After a long search, the man finally found the great wise sage. The man then set off on an arduous journey to meet with the great wise sage. This sage had better be as good as the rumours made him out to be, thought the man. After all the effort he put in!
When the man finally met the sage, he asked, “Great wise sage, I hear that you can teach anyone how they can get anything. Is that true?”
The great wise sage replied jovially, “Yes, that is true. What is it that you want?”
“I want happiness!” the man said eagerly.
The great wise sage smiled and said, “Oh, that is easy! Just write what you want in the soil.”
With that, the man wrote the following words in the soil on the ground: I WANT HAPPINESS.
The great wise sage then went up to what the man wrote. And he first wiped off the word “I”. And looked at the man.
Then the great wise sage wiped off the word “WANT”. And looked at the man. And smiled. And said, “See, there you have it. HAPPINESS.”
The man looked at the great wise sage in complete confusion. Understanding what was going through the man’s mind, the great wise sage explained, “First, you get rid of the ego, the arrogance, the belief that you are separate from others and can lord over people. In other words, get rid of the ‘I’. Next, you get rid of deluded desires, of greed, of attachment to material things. In short, get rid of the “WANT”. Then you would be left with the only thing that truly matters – happiness. I said it was simple. I never said it would be easy. But now you know what to do.”