Chapter 5: The Unity of Emptiness
The beggar said, “Because servants are themselves beggars and I don’t want to be rude to anybody. Only masters can give. How can servants give? So if you are ready, you can give and I will accept it. But then too I have a condition, and that is: my begging bowl has to be completely filled.”
A small begging bowl! The emperor started laughing. He said, “You seem to be mad. Do you think I cannot fill your begging bowl?” And then he ordered his ministers to bring precious stones, incomparable, unique, and fill the begging bowl with them.
But they got into a difficulty because the more they filled the begging bowl, the stones would fall in it and they would not even make a sound, they would simply disappear. And the begging bowl remained empty.
Then the emperor was in a fix, his whole ego was at stake. He, a great emperor who ruled the whole earth, could not fill a begging bowl! He ordered, “Bring everything, but this begging bowl has to be filled.”
His treasures. For days together all his treasuries were emptied, but the begging bowl remained empty. There was no more left. The emperor had become a beggar, all was lost. The emperor fell at the beggar’s feet and said, “Now I am also a beggar and I beg only one thing. Tell me the secret of this bowl, it seems to be magical!”
The beggar said, “Nothing, it is made of the human mind, nothing magical.”
Every human mind is just this begging bowl: you go on filling it, it remains empty. You throw the whole world, worlds together, and they simply disappear without making any sound. You go on giving and it is always begging.
Give love, and the begging bowl is there, your love has disappeared. Give your whole life, and the begging bowl is there, looking at you with complaining eyes. “You have not given anything. I am still empty.” And the only proof that you can give is if the begging bowl is full - and it is never full. Of course, the logic is clear: you have not given.
You have achieved many, many things - they have all disappeared into the begging bowl. The mind is a self-suicidal process. Before the mind disappears, you will remain a beggar. Whatsoever you can gain will be in vain; you will remain empty.
And if you dissolve this mind, through emptiness you become filled for the first time. You are no more, but you have become the whole. If you are, you will remain a beggar. If you are not, you become the emperor.
That’s why in India we have been calling beggars “swamis.” Swami means a master, an emperor. You cannot find a better word for sannyasins. When I was thinking what name to give, to the new sannyasins, I couldn’t improve on it. Swami seems to be the best. It means one who has thrown himself off so completely that he is no more; he has become the whole world, the master of all. Otherwise even emperors remain beggars; they go on desiring, asking and suffering.