The happiness of a slave

Once Shivaji went to a temple. To his great astonishment, he saw his Master at the temple gate begging for alms. People were giving him a little rice, some coins and so on. When the King saw his beloved Master reduced to begging, he wrote something down on a small piece of paper and put it in his Master’s bowl.

Ramdas was curious to see what his disciple had written. He opened the note and read: “I am placing my kingdom at your feet. I am here and I want to be your slave.”

Ramdas asked Shivaji, “Do you mean it?”

“I mean it,” replied Shivaji. “I am not going back to my kingdom. I shall remain here at your feet. I am your servant. Please tell your servant what to do.”

So Ramdas started ordering Shivaji about at random, saying, “Do this, do that.” The King did everything his Master asked, even the most menial work.

Finally, Ramdas beckoned Shivaji to come to him. “Why are you doing this, my son?” he asked. “Do you not know that you are a king?”

Shivaji shook his head. “I am not a king. I am your slave now.”

“But are you happy?” asked Ramdas.

Shivaji answered, “You cannot imagine my joy! To be at your feet and to listen to your command is the highest delight. You have made me the happiest person.”

Sri Chinmoy, Shivaji, Agni Press, 1997