The charioteer said, “I know nothing. I am simply following the orders given by your father. You are not allowed to enter the kingdom, otherwise you will be put in jail. So simply escape far away.” And the chariot returned to the palace.
The young man was shocked. This is ridiculous behavior; has his father gone insane? He was hoping to become the king and he has become a beggar. But what can you do? Soon he was feeling hungry, thirsty and although it was very shameful, he had to beg. He started begging on the street like an ordinary beggar.
Years passed; he completely forgot that he used to be a prince, he settled. Man has immense capacity to adapt to any condition, and when something is absolutely inescapable you cannot do anything else. A certain afternoon, in the hot sun, he was standing before a hotel asking people, “I have been hungry for two days, give me something.” A few coins had been dropped into his begging bowl…and then suddenly he heard the noise of a golden chariot. In a second, instantly, he remembered his own chariot. Strange…it looked exactly like that.
The chariot stopped and the same charioteer – although he had become very old – got down, touched the feet of the prince, gave his robes and his crown back to him, and said, “Drop it! Throw away all those beggar’s clothes. First come to a good hotel; take a good bath, clean yourself, dress well. Your father is dying and he has remembered you; he wants you to come immediately, because he wants to give you the kingdom and the key to his treasures with his own hand.”
The people from whom he was begging gathered around. They could not believe their eyes, not because of the clothes, the crown, the golden chariot, but because the face of the young man immediately changed. His eyes had a different look, his pride returned; now he was standing there with great dignity and grandeur. The beggar disappeared in a split second.
Just a moment before he was a totally different man; just a moment later a discontinuity had happened. The abruptness, the suddenness…even he could not believe it, because he could see the change even in his consciousness. The way he walked, the way he sat in the chariot, everything had changed; the way he looked at people – it was not with the same eyes. Just the remembrance, nothing else had happened; just the awakening of the fact that he is a prince and is going to be a successor to a great kingdom, just words…but all is changed.
The same kind of miracle happens through meditation: you suddenly recognize that a great kingdom belongs to you, the kingdom of the whole existence; that you are not a beggar who was ambitious for trivia, who was desiring this and that, who was hoping to have more power, more prestige. All the symptoms of being a beggar…as one enters into meditation, all these symptoms disappear. One suddenly finds one has the kingdom, one’s home; one lacks nothing, one is entire, complete, fulfilled.
It is for this reason that Ta Hui says, If you were a man, a real meditative man,