This Too Shall Pass

King Someswara of Ashoknagar once called a special meeting of scholars. All the scholars in the kingdom occupied their honoured seats. Among these were scholars, some had expertise in the Vedas and some were experts in Upanishads, some had a deep knowledge of the Shashtras (scriptures) and some of them were scholars of astrology and astronomy. Some were experts in arts and some had knowledge of hypnology. Some were experts in grammar and some were foreseers. 

The King honoured them with due decorum and prayed to them with folded hands, “Oh respectable scholars, I have been confused by a problem for many days. Kindly permit me to submit my inquiry for your kind consideration. Please suggest a formula, a dictum or a cardinal principle, which can inspire us in our adverse times. It may guide us in our happiness and sorrows and help us in defeat and victory.” 

All scholars were taken aback at such a question from the King. They applied their mind and reason but found no clue to this universal riddle. Then a senior among them said politely, “Oh King, your inquiry is very helpful to mankind, unfortunately we know nothing about it. There is one small hut at the riverside and an elderly saint resides there in seclusion. We should see the saint personally for our enlightenment. We should submit to him this question to get a solution to our riddle.” 

The King agreed to the proposal and they went to the saint. 

They came to the river and had darshan of the saint and submitted their riddle. The saint said nothing in answer but gave a ring to them and advised them to wear it forever. He asked them to remove the stone on the ring as and when they faced adverse times or got lost on the path of life. He said that the instruction written on the paper under the stone would guide them in the right direction. The formula written on the paper would be helpful in solving the problem. The King wore the ring happily and left the place. 

Once, the King of the neighbouring kingdom invaded Ashoknagar. King Someshwara lost the battle and fled for his life. Some guards lost their path in the forest and they became separated from the king who they were guarding in the maze of the wild forest. The King was trapped alone with his horse. Enemy soldiers checked every corner of the forest to arrest the King but their efforts were futile. The King was hidden in a dark and dense grove. The chasing riders found no trace of the King or his attendants, as it was the darkest portion of the forest. They went away to search him elsewhere. King Someshwara was in a pitiable state of shock and trauma. His royal majesty was lost with no palace, no royal powers, no royal luxury, no wealth and no servants. The disheartened King prayed to God to save and protect him in this time of adversity. As he looked at his hand he saw the ring on his finger. The sight of the ring reminded him about the saint and his advice. He opened the seat of the stone mounted on the ring, picked out the paper and read – “This too shall pass.” His tension receded and he felt more comfortable and better when he read the words of wisdom. He realized that pains and torments were not permanent. Those were to end in days to come. Reading this made him regain his self-confidence. Within hours he found his companions and attendants. They reorganised the army and forcefully attacked the camps of the enemy forces. The enemy was defeated and the kingdom was restored to King Someshwara. As he graced the imperial throne he remembered the wise words, “This too shall pass.” 

This world is a laboratory where mankind is tested on the measuring rod of pains and pleasures. God has provided pleasures at the end of each slab of pain. Pleasures too do not last long or forever. The story of King Someshwara teaches us that Man should live poised in the confluence of pain and pleasures. Live with solace and peace.