Ayaz and the King

October 9, 2017

A slave named Ayaz was one of ten brought before the king, to select one to be his personal attendant. The wise king gave each of the ten slaves a wineglass and commanded all to throw it down. Then the king asked each one of them, ‘Why did you do such a thing?’ The first nine answered, “Because your Majesty gave me the order.” Then came the tenth slave, Ayaz, who said, “Pardon, Sire. I am sorry.” This beautiful expression enchanted the king so much that he selected Ayaz to be his attendant.

It was not long before Ayaz won the complete trust and confidence of the king, who gave him the charge of his treasury, in which precious jewels were kept. This made many of the court jealous. No sooner did people know that Ayaz had become a favorite of the king than they began to tell numerous stories about him in order to bring him into disfavor with the king. One of the stories was that Ayaz went every day into the room where the jewels were locked in the safe, stealing them every day, little by little. The king answered, “No, I cannot believe such a thing; you have to show me.”

So they brought the king to a place where he might surreptitiously look into the treasury. Ayaz entered the room and opened the door of the safe to remove from there his old ragged clothes, which he had worn as a slave. He kissed them and then put on these clothes and looked at himself in the mirror, and said, as one might be saying a prayer, “Listen, O Ayaz, see what you used to be before. It is the king who has made you, who has given you the charge of this treasure. So regard this duty as your most sacred trust, and this honor as your privilege and as a token of the love and kindness of the king. Know that it is not your worthiness that has brought you to this position. Know that it is his greatness, his goodness, his generosity which has overlooked your faults, and which has bestowed that rank and position upon you by which you are now being honored. Never forget, therefore, your first day, the day when you came to this town; for it is the remembering of that day which will keep you in your proper place.”

Ayaz then took off the clothes and put them in the same place of safety, and came out. As he stepped out, he saw that the king waiting eagerly to embrace him. The king said to him, “What a lesson you have given me Ayaz, one we all must learn. Because before that King in whose presence we all are but slaves, nothing should make us forget that helplessness through which we were reared and raised, and brought to life, to understand and to live a life of joy. People told me that you had stolen jewels from our treasure-house, but on coming here I have found that you have stolen my heart.”

From the Ribhu Gita