CHENNAI: There is an instructive story by Leo Tolstoy. which talks about a peasant in Russia who owned a small plot of land. He led a life of peace and contentment until one day he began to envy his brother-in-law who was a rich landlord. The more prosperous he grew, the more the peasant desired to do the same. He started saving his money to buy some land.
He heard that there was a land in a neighbouring territory, which could be got at a cheaper rate. When he travelled to see the land, he found that the people living on it lived a nomadic life.
The peasant brought some gifts for the chief in charge of that territory. The chief thanked him and made an agreement with him. The agreement was that he started out in the morning and whatever distance he could walk by sunset, the peasant could keep the land.
He walked extremely fast so that he could cover more ground. The peasant was trying to cover the largest area he could by walking in a large circle, which ended up being a long distance.
He grew so greedy and ambitious that as the sun became hotter and hotter, he refused to stop for water. As he returned to the starting point, he was exhausted and thirsty to the point that he collapsed. Before the crowd realised what had occurred, he had died. They buried him on the same spot where he collapsed.
People think that a time will come when they will finally have enough so that they can sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour. But too many end up leaving the world before they can find that peace.
The world is like a race. We run around on a treadmill or wheel going nowhere fast. Before we know it, the whistle blows and the time of the race is up.
We can go about our daily life, earning our honest livelihood and making enough to share with others, and still enjoy the peace and contentment within ourselves.
We need not sacrifice that inner peace in pursuit of outer riches which may or may not come or provide the happiness we think it will give us. The peasant did not take even a moment to take rest. Similarly, do we take moments in our lives for spiritual retreat, rest and a drink from the fountain of light within us?
There is a fountain head of bliss, love, and peace within us. Do we ever take a moment to stop and drink it? Let us not be like the peasant. Let us find time each day to stop and refresh ourselves in the fountain of divine treasures within by spending time in meditation. In this way, we will reach our worldly goals with peace and inner bliss that makes our life beautiful.