A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called his sages to him.
He said: “I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state. I must have such a ring, and this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy it will make me joyful, and at the same time, if I am happy and look upon it I must be made sad.”
The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation. Finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king.
The ring which they devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend:
“THIS TOO WILL PASS.”
This is a great story – great because it has been used for centuries by Sufis. And this story has helped many people towards enlightenment. It is no ordinary story; it is what I call the objective art. It is a device. It is not just for reading and entertainment, it is something which should become your very style of life, only then do you come to know the meaning of it.
On the surface it is so simple anybody can understand it; nothing of special intelligence is needed. But if you contemplate over it deeply, then deeper and deeper layers are revealed to you and the story becomes a weapon in your hand; you can cut by it the very knot of ignorance. It is a powerful device. Once understood, it becomes a master-key to open the innermost door of your being. It is very potential, pregnant with deep meaning. But one has to contemplate over it, meditate over it, intensely. With consciousness, one has to make every effort to find the innermost meaning of it. And only that won’t help much; that will help in the beginning – but if you really want to understand the story you will have to live it. You will have to live it – only then will you come to understand what it means.
A few things before we enter into the story.
Religion is not ritual. It is not something that you do, it is something that you become. So there is always a possibility of a false religion existing somewhere in the society. False religion is when the inner transformation has been substituted by outer ritual. Then you go on doing things, and those things will become a deep-rooted habit with you but nothing is achieved. People go to the church and the temple, they repeat the same prayers again and again, and nothing is happening to them. Somewhere on the way they have missed; somewhere on the way they have lost the real coin – and they have substituted it by a false coin.