Long, long ago, there lived a king named Satyadharmi. And he was everything his name suggested—good, kind and just. He was brave and fearless, always looking after the comforts and needs of his people, protecting them from danger, rewarding their good deeds and encouraging all their best efforts. Law protects those who protect the law: "Dharmo Rakshathi akshitah."
His subjects were, therefore, extremely loyal and dutiful, hard working and truthful. There was joy and happiness, contentment and peace throughout the kingdom. Whenever people met, they sang the praises of their good king.
One day, the king felt like going for a walk. He walked in the palace gardens and then wandered off into an adjoining jungle. The jungle was cool and beautiful. The king was soon lost in its many charms. After a long time he realized that he was hungry and thirsty. He walked into a nearby ashrama. Of the Sadhu residing there, he asked, 'Tell me, Maharaj, which fruits from these trees are to be eaten? Point out to me those which are sweet and juicy and those which are bitter and poisonous that I may know the difference and eat accordingly."
The Sadhu replied, "Friend, you may eat whichever fruit you so please. The goodness of the noble king Satyadharmi is so spread, that you will not find a single bitter or sour fruit anywhere in the kingdom. Long may he live! Why, the bitter neem leaves taste like grapes and the sour tamarind fruit as sweet as a ripe mango". "Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitah"
Satyadharmi ate a handful of neem leaves. Lo! They were like big, juicy grapes. He ate the tamarind fruit. It was really as sweet as a ripe mango.
The king was very pleased. He went back to the palace full of good cheer and happy spirits. But then what happened! The dangerous little seed of ego was planted in his mind. He started, thinking, "I am such a good king. Who in the world can equal my glory? Ha! Ha!! Ha!!! It is the glow of my greatness you see spread all over."
Now he no longer cared for his people as he used to. He would spend his time, eating, drinking, sleeping; in pleasure and merry sport. The. city lost its happy air. People were dismayed. There were quarrels and fights. The crops failed. The rains would not come. And still the king continued his life of pleasure and low-living.
One day, he set out for a walk. And by chance he wandered into the same jungle as before. After some time he came across the same ashrama, the same Sadhu. Wanting to hear his own praise again, he thumped the Sadhu heartily on the back and said, "What, my good man. How are things in the forest? Which fruit should I eat this time? The tamarind or the neem? Ha! Ha!”
The holy Sadhu frowned with displeasure and said, "The death-knell has sounded! The kingdom is ruined. Everyone is thinking of leaving this kingdom and going to another. The king has become drunk with his own little self. He no longer cares for his people. There is famine and distress everywhere. There are worms in all fruits. The mango tastes like mud. Life here is no longer worth living": "Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitah."
The expression on the king's face changed. In atrice his pride left him. Hearing the criticism against him opened his eyes. He became humble. He fell at the feet of the Sadhu. “I am that wretched sinner, Maharaj. I am the unhappy man who has caused all this sorrow. From a good, virtuous king I fell and became wicked and evil. I was swayed by my wretched ego. Bless me that I may become a good ruler again, that I may never fall back on evil ways as long as I live."
The Sadhu blessed him. Satyadharmi went back, a changed man. He tightened up his own discipline. He started taking interest in his kingdom again. Slowly, the gloom lifted. Flowers budded and blossomed again. People stopped quarrelling. Crops and fruits were plentiful and sweet. Once again, the king's praise could be heard wherever people paused together in their day's work. "Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitah."
Moral Of The Tale:
"Pure disciplined mind," Satyadharmi, alone is a true king. Under such a mind every "fruit" becomes sweet—even "Neem-leaves taste like grapes." When the mind disintegrates the same "king" becomes the source of all sorrows. Realise, and re-tune up the mind, and thus be a Satyadharmi again to serve yourself and the world more efficiently, fully and effectively.