Lord Shiva once had a Bhakta who was a kingórich and powerful. Every year he would worship at the shrine of Shiva, and the occasion would turn out to be a big festival. People would roam the streets like holiday-makers. Brahmins would flock from all parts of the country. The king would distribute rich gifts to them. The poor would gather for free food and clothing. Thus the king would spend lavishly each year, performing elaborate ceremonies to worship Lord Shiva.
"Sambhoo Mahadeva Deva SivaSambhooMahadeva Devesa Sambhoo Sambhoo Mahadeva Deva."
After one such worship was over, the king went to his palace to rest. He was completely satisfied with himself. Was he not a great devotee of Lord Shiva? Had he not spent great wealth for the worship? Had he not acquired great merit by distributing food and clothing, gold and gifts, horses and cows? Had he not fed and filled the poor? Could Lord Shiva ever hope to have a greater devotee on this earth ?
The King, thinking thoughts of his own greatness and goodness soon fell asleep.
As he slept, he had a dream. In the dream, Lord Shiva appeared to him and said, "0 king, you are not a true devotee. You are proud and vain of your achievements. I do not recognise your worship at all. Such show and pomp do not please me. If you want to see a true devotee of mine, go to the edge of the forest. There lives a poor wood-cutter. He is my real Bhakta."
Master. He would run errands, cook the meals, clean the room and look after all the physical needs of the Mahatma.
After many months of such dedicated service, the Mahatma called him one day and said, "My son, I am going away from this place. Here is a magic stone. Any iron object you touch with it will immediately turn to gold, I am giving you this as a reward for all your service to me. But I will come back after two days and take back the stone. So you have two days to make yourself rich for the rest of your life." Tamasapriya bowed his head in gratitude and the Mahatma left.
When the Mahatma had gone, Tamasapriya thought to himself: "I have got two days to make all the gold I want. Today I will rest after all the hard work I have done. Tomorrow morning I will go and get a mound of iron and convert it to gold." So saying he went to sleep and got up towards noon the next day. Immediately he went to the market-place. The iron-monger's shop had closed for the afternoon, so he decided to have a good meal at a cheap hotel. After the meal he felt drowsy and laid down his head under shady banyan tree. By the time he woke up, the sun had set, the shops had closed, and the people were heading home. So he too started winding his path home, consoling himself that he still had a day at his disposal.
Next morning he got up early and went to the iron-monger's shop. The iron-monger weighed him a mound of iron, but the problem wasóhow to get it home. He sought the help of some people, but they all had their own work to do, it being a busy market-day. So he decided to go home and get his brothers to help him with his load. Now, the market place was quite a distant from his house. The afternoon sun shone fiercely overhead, so Tamasapriya rested for sometime under a shady tree. Refreshed after his rest, he continued on his journey home and reached at sun-down.
Imagine his dismay when he saw the quiet figure of the Mahatma on his doorstep! The man fell at his feet and begged the stone for another day. The Mahatma just smiled and said, "0 fool, why did you go so far to get iron? Why did you not convert the iron objects in your own home to gold? What, not even the latch on the door have you touched!
Opportunities not availed are, indeed, opportunities lost! Never be a Tamasapriya,
Moral Of The Tale:
No doubt, through dedicated service of the teach we can gain his grace, and get from him the "Mystic-Stone" that can turn everything base into the higher-metal, gold. But if the student is not industrious enough in his own Sadhana he cannot become "rich" in his spiritual life. Indolence, and the consequent un dynamic spiritual life will be a mere running about with the "Mystic-Stone" is one's pocket. It becomes an unprofitable and disappointing pursuit, and soon the inspiration will dry up.