A long time ago there lived a king who was in search of the secret of success. He thought if he could find out the the answer of three (3) questions, he would discover this secret and would never fail. The questions were:
- What is the most important time to start some work?
- What is the most important word to do?
- Who is the most important person?
The king asked his minister to announce that whoever answered these questions, would get a reward of 5,000 gold coins. Many persons came but none gave the correct answers. He, then called the wise and learned men of his country to his court. He discussed the problem with them for many days. They too, were not able to satisfy him because they could not see eye to eye with each other. If, some of them gave one answer, the others argued against it. If one man advised one thing, the other would advise exactly the opposite. If one man came out with one suggestion, another would suggest some thing totally different. The king did not approve of their answers.
There was a jungle at some distance from the capital. In this jungle, there lived an old the wise man, who was known as a saint. His fame had spread far and wide. The king had heard of him. He wanted to ask his advice. The trouble was that this man did not like the rich people. He did not want to mix with them, but he was friendly with the poor.
At last, the king thought of a scheme to overcome the difficulty. He dressed himself in rags and set out to see the saint. He wanted to appear as a poor man. He told his servants, who were in attendance, to stay behind and went straight to the saint’s hut.
The saint was digging the ground in front of his hut. He was an old and a very weak man. He was breathing very hard and stopped frequently to take rest.
The king approached him and said, “Sir! I have come a long way to find out answer to three questions. What is the most important time to start some work? what is the most important work to do? who is the most important person? Would you kindly help me by giving answer to these questions?”
The saint, paid no attention to the king and kept digging. The king waited for a few moments and then said, “Sir! you look tired, let me dig the ground for you.” The saint thanked him and gave him the spade. The king started digging. After some time, he again asked the saint for the answers but he paid no attention. He said, “Let me dig now”. The king did not give him the spade, but kept digging. He remained calm and did not lose patience. He hoped that he would be able to get the answers. When evening fell, he stopped digging and said the saint, “Could you please, let me know the answers now?”
The saint still gave no answer but pointed to one side. The king glanced in that direction. He saw a bearded man running towards them. He was gripping a dagger in his right hand. When he reached them he fell down and fainted. The king, straight way carried the bearded man inside the hut, and gently lowered him to the ground. He managed to stop the bleeding immediately and put a bandage on his wound. The bearded man soon fell asleep.
By this time, night had fallen. The king, felt too tired to return home. The saint invited him to stay the night. The king, accepted his hospitality. The saint gave him food and a simple bedding of dry hay to sleep on.
At break of the day the king awoke. He found that the bearded man was awake. The king said to him, “How do you feel now?” The bearded man replied, “I feel better, thanks to your Majesty. Forgive me, I came here to kill you, because you had got my brother killed. I became you bitter enemy out of the grief. I was hiding and waiting for your return. As you did not return I came out of my hiding place. Your servants saw me and recognized me. The wounded me seriously but i escaped. Had you not cared for me I would have been dead. I thank you, Now, count me as one of your most faithful servants”. Saying this he saluted the king and left. When the bearded man had departed, the king again asked the saint for the answers to his questions. The saint replied, “You have already been answered. The most important time was when you wanted to help me; the most important work was the digging of the ground; and I was the most important person for you. Had it not been so, you would have returned and been killed. The second time, the most important person was the bearded man and the most important work was dressing his wound. Had it not been so you would not have won a faithful servant. You are very fortunate”.
So this is the moral of the lesson:
The most important time for doing anything is the present; the most important work is what we are doing now, and the most important person is the one whom we are with at the moment.