(as told to and interpreted from me from Mr. S. Gupta)
There once was a man who lived in a small room. In the room was a basin, a chair, a table, a bed, and a blanket. This man would get up from bed, get washed and dressed, leave for his job at the factory, and return home to write about his day, and go to bed only to do it again the following day.
This routine went on for several years.
One day while at work, the man spoke to someone else about how his evenings were. The man told his friend about the routine and how he would go home from work, sit in his chair, write on his writing table, and then go to bed at the end of the night. His friend told him “You should go on Pilgrimage. Going on Pilgrimage would be a nice change from such a boring routine. You would get to be enlightened and have a better life.”
So the man went home after work and decided to himself that he would go on Pilgrimage. He said to his writing table, his chair, his bed, blanket, “I will say goodbye to you, for tomorrow, I go on Pilgrimage.”
His furniture heard this and said, “Ok, this is good for you. But where is this Pilgrimage?”
The man thought to himself. He then answered, “I do not know. I was speaking to a friend at work about my routine and about all of you, and he said that my life is boring and that I need to go on Pilgrimage. Before I go out on Pilgrimage, I will ask people where to go and how to find what I am looking for.”
This sounded good to the furniture, and the man finally retired and went to sleep.
In the morning, the man got up and got ready to leave for The Pilgrimage.
Each of the furniture took their turn to say goodbye to the man.
The basin said, “For years I have washed and bathed you. I have brushed your teeth and made you clean. If you leave, I will be sad to see you go, but if you return, I will bathe you again.”
The chair said “For years I have supported you as you rested from a long day. I have helped you as you wrote your thoughts on the writing table. If you leave, I will be sad to see you go, but if you return, I will be here to support your weary back again.
Likewise the table “For years I have been here as your sturdy friend. I have held your food as you ate, and I have provided a place to write as you put your thoughts on paper. If you leave, I will be sad to see you go, but if you return, I will still be here to serve you again.”
The blanket had his turn, “I have for many years covered you from the cold. I have kept you warm when the weather was not to your liking. If you leave, I will be sad to see you go, but if you return, I will still be here to shelter you and keep you warm.”
The man then said with tears in his eyes, “I will miss you all, but I promise you that I will think about you often.” And with that, he left.
The man left his house went to the corner and saw a man selling the newspaper. “How do you get to The Pilgrimage?” he asked. The newspaper man stated, “I do not know, you will have to ask someone else.”
The man went on to woman selling vegetables in the market. “How do you get to The Pilgrimage?” he asked. The grocer stated, “I do not know, you will have to ask someone else.”
The man went on to the train station and spoke to the ticket attendant. “How do you get to The Pilgrimage,” he asked. The ticket attendant stated, “I do not know, you will have to ask someone else.”
This went on for some time, and it seemed that this question took the man from town to town to city to city, around the country. There was still no clear answer. But as he traveled, he spoke with many people in many different ways. Finally, he began to miss his friends back at his room, so he decided to return home and leave The Pilgrimage behind.
When the man returned to his home, he was welcomed by the basin and the chair, the table and the blanket. They were all so happy to see him, as was he to see them. In celebration, they went back into the routine. He washed in the basin and spent extra time cleaning as it had been so long. He then sat in the chair and wrote at great length on the writing table many thoughts and many experiences that he received as he traveled. However, he was sad that he had not gone on Pilgrimage. So he cried and went to lie on the blanket.
The blanket asked him “Why are you crying, Man?”
“I did not find out where The Pilgrimage was and as a result, I did not go.”
“Where did you go,” asked the blanket
“I went to many places. I spoke to a newspaper man, a grocer, a ticket taker; I traveled to different cities and regions, asking my question to many people, but no one had the answer to the question. Some people welcomed me, some people spurned me, but they all answered that they were not sure.”
“What was your question?”
“Where is the Pilgrimage?”
The wise old blanket replied. “But I think that you have gone to The Pilgrimage. You left on a journey to reach someplace, but what you were not looking for was not a place, but the journey to the place. It was not an important city or temple or the relic that you wanted to visit, but the fact that you tried to go there and have gotten all this knowledge from your travels. And you came back, which means to me that you learned something very wise.”
“What wisdom is that?” sobbed the man
“You realized that everything that you were searching for was right here all along.”
The man stopped crying. He looked at his basin, and remembered that he never had a basin to wash while he traveled. He looked at the writing table and chair, and were glad for them because they were unlike any table and chair he had ever used or seen as he journeyed. He then looked at his blanket and recalled many cold nights where he did not have that blanket to keep him warm but now has given him such great insight.
There was no need for him to go away, he had everything he had right there.
Happily, the man continued his routine and still does to this day. he lives in the same small room with a basin, a chair, a table, a bed, and a blanket. He would get up from bed, get washed and dressed, leave for the day, and return home to write about his day, and go to bed only to do it again the following day, but his perspective had changed.
And he no longer worked at the factory, because his perspective changed. What happened? That is another story for another day.