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The gold trap

Folklore has it that up in the Himalayan region, there is a field of plenty, where gold, diamonds and other gems are just strewn and can be picked up by the bagful. Girish Bhandari writes.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2011 01:00 IST

Folklore has it that up in the Himalayan region, there is a field of plenty, where gold, diamonds and other gems are just strewn and can be picked up by the bagful.

However, the catch is that it is an extremely difficult place with hazards on the way. It is said that people have reached the place. Did they bring down the riches? No, they came back with an understanding of the real nature of material wealth and thus their desire to acquire it was completely extinguished.

It is believed these people ascended the steep hills, braved the elements, disregarding any other thing but the search for gold and diamonds. They saw no beauty, no suffering of anyone they passed by. They finally reached the place, where their eyes dazzled with the glare of the limitless treasures.

But at the entrance to this field of gold they saw an amusing and almost improbable sight. A man was standing in agony, while a heavy wheel spun over his head. Try as he would, the wheel was so heavy and magically fixed on his head that he just could not rid himself of it.

The new comer, disregarding this man's great agony, would ask him to give way so that he could enter the treasure and fill his bags. And legend says the moment he asked this question the wheel would get transferred to his head, while the earlier sufferer would be freed. The newcomer would have to suffer till a new man came!

The ordeal cured the mind of the wheel bearers of any notions of collecting free riches.

They understood that their journey, actuated by unthinking greed, would only bring them to grief. The Sansar Chakra would take its toll if one disregarded the noble path of righteousness, non-covetousness and sharing.

The metaphor is profound. If we disregard the right conduct of life and concentrate on grabbing material wealth alone, the wheel of life would take control of our minds and make us suffer. The deliverance would come only when we understand the real purpose of life.