The wise mullah Nasiruddin owned a donkey, but he wanted to get rid of it for a younger, sturdier one. As he was unhappy with this one he led it to an animal’s market to be auctioned.

The mullah put a value of only 10 dinars on this useless donkey. However, the auctioneer ‘s eyes lit up with greed, he said, “ No, no, this one is strong and tall, he can fetch 50 dinars, one doesn’t find such a good breed these days.” When the mullah heard such praises of his donkey, and that the first bidder offered only 5 dinars , he thought, “ why not I buy this rare donkey myself?” So the bidding stepped up and finally the mullah ‘s bid was the highest at 40 dinars! He paid the auctioneer ,who kept 10 dinars as commission and gave 30  and the donkey to the mullah. Nasiruddin was delighted at his own wisdom of having purchased such a rare donkey at such a low price!

Vedanta teaches the same truth which Nasiruddin taught through a practical example. He demonstrated that man alone places value, happiness or sorrow on objects , and then  ‘feels’ happy or ‘feels’ unhappy on gaining or losing them. Never does he realise that his happiness springs from within his own desire and agitation free mind.

Nothing has value till you yourself place value on it, like the same donkey. A vedantic example is of a dog chewing a dry bone which slowly lacerates his tongue ,but the dog continues to chew it as he mistakes the blood of ‘his’ lacerated tongue to be oozing from the bone!  Nasiruddin was ‘himself ‘ unhappy with ‘his’ donkey, he was ‘himself’ the seller and ‘himself’ the buyer of ‘his own’ donkey, and then ‘himself’ was happy with ‘his’ old donkey !!THINK. Happiness is your choice, not the donkey’s.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission DELHI.