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Insight - "Shemushi": [06] Death: The Greatest Leveler

Published: 11.01.2009

Death: The Greatest Leveler

Arrogant people are full of pride. But everything in this world is transient. Therefore, man should try to contemplate on this impermanence of things.

Once there was a king. His fame and influence spread across neighbouring kingdoms. One day he was lying awake in bed. Unable to sleep, he kept on thinking about his wealth and fame. Incidentally, the king was also a learned Sanskrit scholar and a very good poet. He started composing a verse to give expression to his pride. He completed the first three lines, which went like this:

I have enchanting madams. I have a loving family. I have obedient servants. I have scores of mighty elephants. I have the fleetest horses in my stable. He was unable to come up with the last line of the verse. Without the last line, the verse remained incomplete.

At that time a thief had entered the palace and succeeded in reaching the royal bedchamber. He hid himself underneath the king's bed. The thief was also well versed in the Sanskrit language. He heard the king repeating the first three lines of the incomplete verse. He could not resist completing the verse. He forgot that he was a thief and spoke the fourth line: "When the death comes, I have nothing."

The king was awakened on hearing this line and thought - Who is this? Where did the words come from? Who solved this problem? As soon as the king looked around, he spotted a man under his bed. He ordered him to come out. On hearing the thief's story, the king accepted the thief as his teacher and said - "you have opened my inner eyes and have provided me with righteous knowledge."

On hearing the king, the thief also developed detachment to worldly goods. As a result, both of them renounced their worldly possessions and became ascetics.

Sources
Edition: June, 2003

Publisher: Jain Vishva Bharati Ladnun

English Translation: Samani Mudit Pragya

Price: Rs. 50.00
Printed by: Shree Vardhaman Press

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  1. Pride
  2. Sanskrit
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