I read this article on the eve of women's day and wished i had read it quite earlier :).
An Article on Times Life,7th March,2010 by Rajashree Birla
AS a teenager, I recall a tale that has had a telling impact on me all through these years. It has a philosophical resonance that is akin to the Geeta, which is the scripture I lay great store by.
Once upon a time there lived this Jewish king named Solomon. In a grumpy mood, he thought of teaching Benamiah Ben Yehoyada, his minister, a lesson. So he assigned to him a seemingly impossible task. He ordered Benamiah to find him a magic ring with extraordinary features. And that was — if you were happy and wore the ring, you would feel unhappy. And vice-versa. If you were joyous and wore it, you would feel absolutely sad!
Solomon gave him a six-month timeline for the search. Deep down in their hearts, both Solomon and Benamiah knew that such a ring did not exist in this universe. Benamiah prayed hard for a miracle. A little before the deadline was over, and having walked all over for such a ring, he decided to go to one of the poorest places in Jerusalem.
There he saw an old merchant who was spreading out his goods on a carpet. Benamiah was quite intrigued. He thought, “Let me take a chance with him.” Therefore, he asked the merchant whether he had a magic ring that could make a happy person forget his happiness and a sad person forget his sorrow. The merchant smiled. He took a gold ring from his wares and etched four words on it. Benamiah took the gold ring. When he read the inscription he was extremely happy. He felt that his mission was accomplished. He went back to Solomon. Solomon and all his ministers began making a mockery of Benamiah, teasing him as he would have returned empty-handed. Benamiah smiled and offered the gold ring to His Majesty. As soon as Solomon read what was written, he stopped being a tease. The words were “this too shall pass”. Suddenly, Solomon felt that everything in life was ephemeral, and nothing lasts forever.
These four words - ‘this too shall pass’ — have always given me tremendous strength, resilience and a lot of hope. Subsequently, I learnt that the phrase gained global fame when Abraham Lincoln, the former US President, used it in one of his speeches.
A little aside, I believe that if you view life through the lens of a positive prism, you will only be greeted with positivity. I have found that reading books like Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… & It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, Joy 24 x 7 by the spiritual Master Sadhguru, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, also help enormously in stoking positive thoughts, which enable us to go with the flow.
(Rajashree Birla is the chairperson of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development)