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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Reflections on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet
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Chapter 10: When You Give of Yourself

You have heard the saying - it must have been created by the idiots - that “Nothing succeeds like success.” It is not the saying of a man who has really succeeded, because, I say to you, nothing fails like success. You have reached the goal but your whole life has slipped by. There was no time for anything - not even to breathe properly, not even to smile, not even to love. What kind of life have you lived? It was like a robot, mechanical, and now that you have arrived at the desired goal there is tremendous frustration in your being, because nothing is there.

But very few have been courageous enough to say that it is a strategy of the society to keep people away from living. The whole of society is against life, against love, against songs, against dances. Trees are far happier, flowers are more joyous. Those who are sensitive can even hear the sermons in the stones. But those are not the people who are after some goal, because a goal is always tomorrow. Meanwhile, you are miserable. Who knows whether you are going to succeed or not? You have staked your whole life on success, but even if you have all the wealth of the world you cannot eat it. It cannot be a nourishment to your life and your spirit. On the contrary, it has made you a rich beggar, surrounded by riches but at the very center of your being there is just a begging bowl.

I am reminded of a small story, very ancient. A king, a great king has come out of the palace just to have a little walk in his beautiful, vast garden. As he stepped out, he faced a beggar with a begging bowl. And the beggar said, “I am fortunate to find you directly. Otherwise. I have been waiting for months for an appointment, but who cares to give an appointment to a beggar?”

The king said, “What do you want?”

He said, “My longing is not for much. Just this small begging bowl - fill it with anything that you think, as a great king, is worthy of you. Don’t think about my worth, I am a worthless beggar. Think about yourself - fill it with something that you think you are worthy of.”

The king had never seen such a beggar: who is not asking because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he has nothing to live on. On the contrary, he is saying, “Think about yourself. Your gift should have the signature of a great king, anything will do.”

This was a great challenge, and the king called his prime minister. Before he could say anything to the prime minister, the beggar said, “But remember one thing, one condition: the bowl has to be filled completely.”

The king said, “Don’t be worried. I have so much, such a vast empire, and your begging bowl is so small. Are you worried that I cannot fill it completely with something?” And just to show the beggar, he told the prime minister, “Fill his bowl with diamonds, rubies, emeralds - the most precious stones - so that he will remember for his whole life that he has met an emperor.”

There was no problem because the king’s palace was full of diamonds and all kinds of precious stones. But immediately there was a problem: the prime minister filled the begging bowl, but the moment anything went into the bowl, it disappeared. The question of filling it completely seemed to be impossible.

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