(17 Aug '00)
A father was approached by his grownup sons. “Father,” they said, “please divide your property amongst us. We will always look after you.”
Heeding the words of his children, the father agreed and divided all his property amongst them. It was decided that he would live with his sons, staying with each for two months at a time. So, when the partitioning of the land was completed, the father went and stayed with his eldest son. Hardly one week had passed when the attitude of his son and daughter-in-law showed signs of change. They began to neglect him. They treated him so badly that, long before the two months were over, he left them and went to stay with his second son. But there he fared no better. After only five days he had to leave them as well because he couldn’t bear the verbal abuse inflicted upon him by his daughter-in-law. His experience in the house of his third son was even worse. There, he was reduced to constant tears. Finally he took refuge in an ashram.
The guru of the ashram gave him some advice. A month later, the father returned to his sons carrying a locked box. They were eager to know what he kept inside. When they insisted that he tell them, he said, “I have some valuable jewellery in there. I will not give it away until I die. After my death, anyone can have it.”
When his sons heard this, their attitude towards him changed drastically. There are no words to describe the love they suddenly showed their father! Each son pleaded with him to come and stay at his house. Thus the father once again began went to stay with his sons, except that this time he was treated very well indeed!
Finally the father died. His sons didn’t waste any time: they rushed to the box and opened it. But what a surprise they got when they found only a few stones inside the box!
“My Children, this story describes the nature of worldly love. There is selfishness behind all forms of worldly love. If we spend our lives seeking love in the world, we will do nothing but grieve.”