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Story – Something More Valuable Than The Philosopher’s Stone

According to legend, the philosopher's stone was a substance that could turn ordinary metals and substances to gold. But there is something that is more valuable than the philosopher’s stone. This story reveals that is more precious than the stone.

Long ago, there lived in a village, a poor Brahmin and his wife. He was devoted to God and led a disciplined life. Though he was poor, he did not desire wealth. He was content with what he had. He led a simple life with his meagre income. He helped the poor, the underprivileged, and the distressed, according to his mite. He served sadhus. Thus, he had expenses according to his income.

However, the Brahmin’s wife was quite opposite to him in her disposition. She was miles away from the idea of contentment. She dreamt of amassing more and more wealth and reveling in the comforts of the world. Since she did not have money enough to live the lavish life of her dreams, she constantly bickered about the need for her husband to earn more money. The Brahmin tried to convince her otherwise: ‘Bhagavan has given us enough wealth for our food and clothing. Don’t desire for more.’ However, his wife did not heed to his words and kept on repeating her obsessive demands for more wealth. Her nagging turned to be a hellish misery for the Brahmin.

Once a monk came to the village of the Brahmin. Large numbers of people went to have his darshan. Word spread in the village that the monk could perform miracles. The Brahmin’s wife pestered him: ‘People are talking greatly about the monk who has come to our village. It seems he has many powers of yoga. You go to him and ask him to do something to remove our adversity.’ The brahmin pleaded in hesitation: ‘How can I ask a monk to find ways for getting some wealth for us? It is only appropriate and just to ask of a monk, blessings so that I might develop the qualities of discernment, dispassion, bhakti, and jnana. To talk with him about  worldly affairs and to ask of him to fulfil worldly desires is completely inappropriate.’

However, the Brahmin’s wife was not ready to hear any advice. Mad with the desire for wealth, she chided the Brahmin: ‘You go to the monk and tell him exactly what I have told you.’ Finding no other way to calm his adamant wife, the Brahmin gave up his self-respect and unwillingly proceeded towards the abode of the monk. The Brahmin reached the presence of the monk and sat before him silently. He felt ashamed to convey his wife’s words to the monk. He sat there for a while with hesitation. At last, the monk himself talked to the Brahmin: ‘Dear child! You are jostling with something in your mind. Feel free to ask any questions that you might have.’

The Brahmin shamefacedly told the monk: ‘Sir, my wife tells me that you are endowed with yogic powers and that you can perform miracles. We are poor. My wife believes that if we could get the philosopher’s stone, we could end our poverty and roll in wealth. Please arrange for us to get such a philosopher’s stone. I have come to you to get a philosopher’s stone because of my wife’s insistence.’ Hearing this, the monk replied quite casually: ‘Oh! Is that all? Only yesterday did I throw such a philosopher’s stone in the gutter at the end of this village. If you want, you can search for the stone in that gutter.’ The Brahmin hurried to the gutter that the monk had mentioned. After frantically searching the gutter here and there for some time, he got atriangular radiating stone. He guessed that that was the stone that the monk had indicated. He touched a stone lying nearby with this radiating stone, and lo, it immediately turned into gold.

The Brahmin went with the philosopher’s stone and sat in front of the monk, and said: ‘Sir, you have thrown into the gutter, considering worthless the invaluable philosopher’s stone that turns whatever it touches into gold. Since you have thrown it considering it useless, I think that definitely you have got something that is more valuable than the philosopher’s stone. May I know what is that you possess, which is more valuable than the philosopher’s stone? Can you give it to me?’ The monk said: ‘Dear child! What you think is right. I have something that is million times valuable than this philosopher’s stone; it is the most precious holy name of God. However, your wife has not yet attained the maturity needed to receive the holy name of God. She is the abode of worldly desires. Go to her and give her this philosopher’s stone and then you may come to me. I will happily give you the holy name of God that is greater than this philosopher’s stone in all respects.’

The Brahmin decided to receive from the monk, the incomparable holy name of God that was greater than the philosopher’s stone, which would give all wealth, much craved for by worldly people. According to the monk’s advice, the Brahmin gave the philosopher’s stone to his wife and returned. He had renounced his hearth and home and wife. The monk explained to him how great the holy name of God was in comparison to worldly wealth and pleasures. Then, he gave the holy name of God to the Brahmin. The Brahmin constantly repeated the holy name of God that he had received from the monk. Consequently, he received the darshan of Bhagavan. In the end, he became free from the transmigratory existence of repeated births and deaths, which cause fear, misery, and bondage. Just like a river merges with the ocean, he attained mukti that makes one merge with God.