The Sweet Chilli
Here is an apocryphal story, I heard long back, whose inner meaning had a profound positive effect on me :
On his first visit to India, a rich merchant saw a man selling a small green fruit which he had never seen before. It looked fresh and juicy and the merchant was tempted, and curious, he asked the vendor,“ What is this ?” “Chillies, fresh green chillies,” said the hawker.
The merchant held out a gold coin and the vendor was so overjoyed that he gave the merchant the full basket of chillies.
The merchant sat down under a tree and stared to munch the chillies. Within a few seconds his tongue was on fire, his mouth burning and tears streamed down his cheeks. But despite this discomfort, the merchant went on eating the chillies, chewing them one by one, scrutinizing each chilli carefully before he put it into his burning mouth.
Seeing his condition, a passerby remarked, “ What’s wrong with you ? Why don’t you stop eating those hot chillies ? ”
“Maybe there is one that is sweet,” the merchant answered, “ I keep waiting for the sweet one.” And the merchant continued eating the chillies.
On his way back, the passerby noticed that the merchant’s condition had become miserable, his face red with agony and copious tears pouring out of his burning eyes. But the merchant kept on eating the chillies, in his search for the ‘sweet one’.
“ Stop at once, or you will die,” the passerby shouted. “ There are no sweet chillies ! Haven’t you realized that ? Look at the basket - it’s almost empty. And have you found even one sweet chilli yet ? ”
“I cannot stop until I eat all the chillies. I have to finish the whole basketful,” the merchant croaked in agony, “ I have paid for the full basket and I will make sure I get my money’s worth.”
Dear Reader – Read this story once more, reflect on it, apply it to your life. Don’t we cling on to things that we know we should let go ( at first hoping to find ‘sweet one’ and even when we discover that there is no ‘sweet chilli’ we still continue to shackle ourselves to painful people, harmful habits, negative careers and detrimental things just to ‘get our money’s worth’ when we should let go, move on and liberate ourselves).