The critical travellersA man owned a huge and splendid mansion. Indeed, it was the most beautiful mansion in the entire town. One day this man was picking up some grains that had fallen on the ground in front of his house. At that moment, five travellers were passing by. Seeing the wealthy man performing this trivial task, they called out to him, “Sir, it seems that you are very rich. Why then do you have to carefully collect those tiny grains from the ground as if they were pieces of gold?”
The wealthy man looked up and replied, “It is not good to waste anything. By the way, it appears from your dusty appearance that you have been travelling for a long time.”
“Yes,” said the travellers. “We have been travelling for many days and our destination is still quite far.”
The wealthy man said, “Perhaps it will do you good if you come and eat at my place. I am sure that a nourishing meal will give you the strength and energy to proceed to your destination.”
“That is a splendid idea! You are so kind,” said the travellers eagerly.
The wealthy man opened the gate and said, “Please come in.”
They all went inside the house and the wealthy man invited them to be seated at the dining table. He said, “Please do not mind waiting for a short time. I am asking my servants to prepare most delicious food for you.”
As the travellers waited for their meal, each one was imagining what kind of dishes they would be served. They were all extremely happy and excited. Finally, the servants appeared carrying trays which they placed before the travellers. On the plates was not rice or any kind of vegetable. Each plate contained only a few pieces of gold.
The travellers were deeply dismayed. They asked their host, “What have we done? How do you expect us to eat gold?”
The wealthy man said, “You valued gold so much while I was collecting the grains that I have given you gold to eat. You did not feel that the grains were of any importance. You thought I was a fool for picking them up. It did not occur to you that perhaps we might want to eat the grains. So now I am giving you gold, since you value it infinitely more.”
The travellers got the point of the rich man’s gesture, and they felt ashamed and embarrassed for having mocked him earlier. Their host continued, “Even if you are rich, you must value things that are around you. Gold has its purpose and grain has its purpose. You were laughing at me when I was collecting the grain, so I gave you gold to eat. Do not try to find fault with people in season and out of season. It is always advisable to be sure of what you are saying.”
The rich man saw that the travellers were genuinely sorry for what they had done, so he asked his servants to bring them real food to eat. This time they ate to their heart’s content. As they were finishing their meal, their host appeared once again and said, “I am showing you my compassion and concern because I feel it will help you to make progress. That is why I gave you real food. Now you are ready to continue your journey. Try to value each and every thing that you see and do not find fault with others.”
With a new illumination the travellers went on their way.