There was once a king who was kind, pious and self-giving in every way. He felt miserable that while he was the king, there were many, many homeless people in his kingdom. So he said to his prime minister, “You must bring all the homeless people here to the court and I will see what I can offer them. I will definitely give each one a house in which to live. Each one will receive a house at the very least.”
The prime minister went from village to village making the announcement, and on the appointed day countless homeless people came. When the king saw the long queue, he said, “How can I give so many people houses? O God, You gave me the heart to be of help to the poor people, but You have not given me the capacity. I made a promise and I want to keep my promise, but where is my capacity? I was so moved by the plight of these homeless people, but I never imagined that there were so many of them in my kingdom. What shall I do? I am unable to give them all shelter.”
The king felt very, very sad that he was not able to keep his promise. Then the prime minister said, “Oh, no, no! You can still do it.”
The king asked, “How?”
The prime minister said, “I will solve your problem.”
“If you can solve my problem,” said the king, “I shall remain eternally grateful to you.”
The prime minister said, “O King, listen to my plan. As you know, when you own a house, you have to do jobs around the house. If you have a house, you cannot be all the time sleeping. You have to do some housework, or you have to go out to buy food or things to furnish the rooms. Everybody has to do some work in order to live in a house. So the best thing is to ask each homeless person to do a small amount of work. I will tell them that in the very near future, each one will get a house from you. Just outside the palace is a very small hill. Those who want a house should only go up the hill and come down. That is all. And you will be thrilled to see how many people are eager to have houses.”
The king was very pleased with the prime minister’s proposal. Again, he was feeling miserable at the same time. If all of them climbed up the hill, then he still would not be able to fulfil his promise.
The prime minister made a general announcement explaining the situation to the homeless citizens. Then he said, “Now all of you go.” Alas, only ten or twenty people remained to climb up the hill. The rest all left. The king was simply shocked. He could not understand why so many people had disappeared.
The prime minister said, “O King, those vagabonds do not need a home. They are wallowing in the pleasures of idleness. Only the ten or twenty individuals who have remained behind really want to live inside a home. They will do the needful.”
The king was quite satisfied and convinced. He gave each of the people who had remained a large home. This was how the wise prime minister solved the problem. The other homeless people wanted the houses, but they did not want to do anything to earn them. Very few needed houses and deserved them. They were the ones who went and climbed up the hill.
In life, if you need something, you also have to deserve it. If you do nothing to deserve it, if you feel that something will come to you out of the blue, you will not value that thing when you get it. If we want to receive something from God, then we have to be fully prepared. We have to feel that it is our bounden duty to take care of that thing.