The young man packed his few meagre belongings and started on his journey to the nearby village. It took him a few days of walking thru thick forest, but finally he reached his destination.
Having the cat in the hut was a big relief. No mice and our fella could sit for hours doing his meditation without any disturbance. But then, he needed to feed his cat. For couple of days, he could borrow some milk from the villagers, but that could not be a long-term solution. So, he decided to get a cow- so that the milk from the cow would feed him and the cat.
Once the cow came, life seemed to be going really great! He had not eaten a full meal in a long time. Drinking fresh milk in plentiful seemed absolutely heaven sent. But then maintaining a cow was not a simple task! He had to wash her and collect all the dung!
So, he decided to marry- so that his bride could help him with these mundane material duties. But then no girl was willing to marry a person who did not have a job!
So, he decided to start working at a near by farm. Now, his days were spent doing the farm work and his evenings were spent with his new bride.
Soon- he was so caught up in his household chores that he hardly found any time to pray- leave alone do meditation or a long sadhana. Soon, he was so caught up in all his chores and duties that he forgot why he had come to that village in the first place- which was to spread spiritual wisdom!
The year passed by in a jiffy. One day his teacher came to the village looking for him. His teacher was shocked to find him completely ensnared by the ropes of materialism.
After a few years, his village had a bad spat of drought and hardly any farming activities were possible. He lost his job and soon his lenders started troubling and threatening him to pay back his loan. He did not have the money and finally one day, he felt so low and dejected that he decided to hang himself!!
A nice young man who had started out on his journey of life with bright dreams in his eyes of starting a great spiritual-preaching practice was there hanging from the tree- ensnared by the ropes of material life!
This story has many versions and is part of ancient folklore in many areas of the world. Though details may change- the crux doesn’t- once the young man gets involved in a material pursuit, in this case- building of the hut; pretty soon, he gets pulled into more and more material obligations finally leading to pain, suffering and dejection!
So, what are we to do?? Obviously, all of us cannot live the life of a monk and stay in a spiritual facility. In fact, most of us- are real people with real lives- with family, children, business, job and so on. What are we to do?
The key is to be consciously aware of our desires, wants and wishes. Are you living within your means? Are your material goods helping to enrich your life and truly contribute towards allowing you to do and be who you really would like to be, or are your ambitions making you constantly strive for ‘more and more’- more wealth, more fame, more money and so on to the point, where your material objects and objectives ‘own’ you.
Reflect on this- what are you doing in your own life? How can you ensure that your ropes of materialism will help you to build a true and deeply satisfying life and not become your death noose?
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