You might have heard this story several times. It is worth repeating.
A wealthy farmer has everything one can aspire for.
One day, a monk visits him and after a simple meal, tells the farmer that the most precious material in the world is the diamond.
The contented farmer now turns greedy. He wants diamonds.
The farmer sells his land and all other possessions and wanders around the world in search of diamonds. He is unable to find any and, in the process, loses all his wealth.
Despondent, frustrated, and not knowing what to do, he drowns himself.
Meanwhile, the person who bought the land from the farmer looks after the land and the animals with great care. One day, while his cattle drink water from an open well, he sees a glitter. He reaches into the water and picks up a large stone. He washes the stone, notices that it has a kind of brilliance, and places it on a table in his living room.
Sometime later, the monk visits the farm. Noticing the stone on the table, the monk picks it up and recognizes it as a diamond. The person who had bought the farm from the rich farmer now becomes rich beyond imagination.
Though this is a story, it is the background to the Golconda Diamond mines, the source of some of the most precious diamonds ever mined.
In the early part of the 20th century, Russell Conwell, a preacher traveled the world re-telling the story over 6,000 times. Each time, his audience was so impressed that they donated enough money for Conwell to establish Temple University in the U.S.A. and fund several worthy civic projects in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Most of us wander through life aimlessly looking for something elusive – it could be wealth, it could be professional success, it could be name and fame, it could be “happiness” – and in most cases, we are disappointed. We may not physically drown. We drown psychologically feeling dejected, disappointed, and crying that we did not get what we wanted.
What we forget is that what we “want” is often within us. Happiness is a state of mind. The longest study on happiness shows that there is no relationship between wealth and happiness.
A famous story related to the automobile pioneer Henry Ford comes to mind. Every day, on the way home, Ford would buy flowers for his wife, from a road-side vendor. Over time, he saw that the vendor was doing good business. Ford advised the vendor to start a “branch” on the other side of the town. The vendor politely asked, “And then what, Sir?” and Ford replied that the vendor’s income would go up, that he would be able to lead a better life, open more branches, and be happy.
The vendor politely replied: “What makes you think I am not happy now, Sir?”
The flabbergasted Ford threw up his hands.
One of the most important lessons in life is the ability to distinguish between our needs and our greed.
Nature has provided with everything to satisfy our needs.
No one can satisfy our greed.
When we realize that all that we keep looking for is often within us, when we recognize that the greatest source of happiness is not our material possession but the quality of our relationships, and when we stop comparing ourselves with the richest and feel miserable and start looking at the less fortunate and feel grateful for our blessings, we will light the lamp of happiness within us.
“I cried that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.”
Wishing each one of you happiness, and the ability to look at obstacles and problems as opportunities to try out something new,
Dilshad and Krishna