"It's not a spectator sport!"


A king had become very old. He had only one son and he wasn't certain that this son was wise enough to run his large kingdom with awareness.

His friend and advisor was a great saint, to whom he had always looked for advice. So the king asked for guidance. He said, "I am old. I have only one son. He is going to succeed me. A vast kingdom I am leaving in his hands, and I do not know if he is capable of it. Will you suggest to me someway that I can become certain."

And the wise man, the old saint, suggested something. Something very strange; but it was followed.

The prince was sent in a chariot outside the kingdom, his clothes were taken away and he was told that he has been expelled from the kingdom. The clothes of a beggar, with a begging bowl, were given to him and the charioteer started to leave.
The prince could not believe what was happening to him. He cried, "What crime have I committed?"

The charioteer said, "I know nothing. I am simply following the orders given by your father. You are not allowed to enter the kingdom. Otherwise you will be put in jail. So escape far away."

And the chariot returned to the palace.

The young man was shocked. This was ridiculous! Has his father gone insane? An hour ago the prince was ready to become the king and suddenly he has become a beggar.

Soon he was feeling hungry, thirsty. And it was shameful but he had to beg for his food and sneak into the hay at night for a place to sleep. He had no skill other than to become a prince but slowly the ways of a beggar came to him. On the street he begged like an ordinary beggar with his begging bowl and stinking rags.

Years passed.

He completely forgot that he used to be a prince. He settled in his new position. He adapted, because there was nothing else for him to do.

On a certain afternoon, in the hot sun, he was standing before a hotel - asking people, begging for a coin. He was showing his helplessness, his emptiness - that he has been hungry for two days. A few coins were dropped into his begging bowl.

And then - suddenly - he heard the noise of the golden chariot. An in a second, instinctively, he remembered his own chariot.

The chariot raced around the corner and pulled up, with a cloud of dust, in front of the prince. And the same charioteer, although he had become very old, got down, touched the feet of the prince and gave his robes and his crown back to him.

He proclaimed, "Drop everything, throw away all these beggars clothes. Go into the hotel. Take a good bath, clean yourself. Dress well. Your father is dying and he has remembered you!

"He wants you to come immediately so he can give you the kingdom and the key to the treasures by his own hand."

The face of the young man immediately changed. His eyes had a different look, his pride returned. Now he was standing there with great dignity and grandeur. The beggar disappeared in a split second.

Even the prince could not believe the difference, he watched the change in his own consciousness. The way he walked, the way he sat in the chariot. The way he looked at people. It was not the same eyes. The eyes of the beggar had vanished immediately.

Just remembering himself was enough. Just the awakening of the fact that he was the prince and was going to be the successor of a great kingdom - and suddenly he was standing as a prince, moving as a prince. Just an idea, but everything changed. This is how enlightenment comes. This awareness remained with the prince and the kingdom prospered.

The point of this story is in the moment when the beggar hears the chariot - suddenly he remembers - he has been a prince all along. It just took one sight of the chariot to remember. That is like the moment of enlightenment. Suddenly you remember - My God! I've been enlightened all along!