CHENNAI: In ancient India, one of the rulers was Yudhishthira. He lived at a time when spiritual values prevailed and people were filled with virtues. It was a period when spirituality was considered to be more important than material wealth.
In the 10 years of Yudhishthira’s rule, he started noticing a change in the people. People began answering the call of their lower self and they stopped listening to their conscience. He knew that the kali yuga or the dark age, was on the horizon.
As Yudhishthira was sitting in his kingdom, two men came to have an audience with him. They had a grievance they wanted to be redressed, and hence came to him for advice. One man said, “I have bought a plot of land from this man, and after he sold it to me, I discovered that there was a treasure buried there. Since I had only purchased the land from him, I want to return the treasure to him because I did not buy it from him and he is the rightful owner.”
Yudhishthira was pleased at the honesty of the man who bought the land since he told the other man about the treasure found and even wanted to return it. The man who sold the land said, “It is true that the treasure was mine, but when I sold him the land, he became the owner of the land and whatever is in it. Therefore, I would like him to keep the treasure.”
The man who bought the land said, “Please take your treasure back. I do not want to carry the sin on my head of taking what is not rightfully mine.”
The seller said, “Look, I have sold you the land along with whatever is in it. I cannot accept the treasure that now belongs to you. Please do not tempt me and lead me into greed.”
Yudhishthira was highly pleased with the noble behaviour of both these men.
The men said, “We cannot agree on what to do since we both want to give the treasure to the other. We have been arguing over this for days and we would like you to settle the case.” Yudhishthira thought about the situation and said to himself, “These two people are behaving nobly and ethically. I can see that the Kali Yuga has not yet come. Let me wait and see what happens.” Yudhishthira said to them, “I want you both to come back to me in a week with this case.” So the men left.
A week later, they both returned. Something had drastically changed. This time, the case they presented to the king was different. Now they were both arguing to keep the treasure themselves.
The seller said, “I decided the treasure belonged to me. I sold him the land, but not the treasure.” The buyer said, “That is not right. Since I bought the land, everything in the land belongs to me.” Yudhishthira saw that greed had now taken over their ethical sense. He realised that this was a sign that the kali yuga had come.
Yudhishthira ultimately settled the case by arranging the marriage of the son of one of them to the daughter of the other to keep the treasure in the family. But he knew that the age of spirituality and ethical living had come to an end.
Every day we have a choice — whether to succumb to greed or temptations of the dark age, or choose to live according to the spiritual values of the golden age.
Living a spiritual life means putting in time for meditation so that we can reunite our soul with god. It means behaving in an ethical manner. It means choosing good over bad, non-violence over violence, love over hatred, selfless service over greed, and truth over falsehood.