Let the light enter

This week, in my country, on every little street, in every little home, it is Diwali. The festival of lights. The celebration in the name of Lord Rama, the just and holy prince, and his homecoming with his gracious wife Sita, after 14 long years of exile.

On this occasion, let me tell you (or remind you of) a beautiful story. There once lived a king so just, that his virtue was known among kingdoms across the world.

When he knew that he was living his last days, he decided to pen his will. The ailing king had two sons, and didn’t want to divide the kingdom equally between them just because both had the equal stature of being the King’s son. He wanted to deliberately divide the kingdom unequally, and place his sons’ integrities and virtues to such a test, that would decide which one of them truly deserved to rule a bigger state.

And after a few days of thorough contemplation, the just king had a plan.

He summoned his sons into his room. “My dear children, as you see everyday, my strength is deteriorating. And I see no revival of good health. I reckon its time for me to write my will, and to divide this great empire between the two of you. And since I as a father, will never be able to decide who amongst you is more able than the other, I leave it to a simple test to reveal it to me.”

Saying this, he signalled both his sons to come closer to him, and he stretched out a closed fist before them. When he knew he had their curiosities rising, he opened the fist. In it were two rusty copper coins.

“Pick one each. And fill your room with whatever you can buy with this coin.” The sons stood there, looking at the coin, the father, and then at each other, clueless. The elder one silently belittled his father’s consideration and wisdom, the younger one pondered over the intention behind such a test.

“You have time until tomorrow evening. Now go on, and prove your mettle.”

Both sons retired to their rooms, and spent rest of the evening and the following day roaming from street to street, hawker to hawker, looking for something an old copper coin could buy, that was plenty enough to fill their room with.

The following evening, the outcomes were revealed and the judgement was made. The elder son opened his room and a horrid stench filled the entire hallway. He had stuffed the room with garbage, which he traded with a rag picker for the copper coin. And the younger son? The younger son opened his room, and it radiated soft light originating from inside it. In the centre of the room, on a little table, stood a half-molten lit candle. The younger one had sold the coin for a candle, and filled his room with light.

Life is that copper coin. True, it may appear to be too little. But what you make it worth, is upto you. Light a candle. Happy Diwali!


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