The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
The country mouse watched sadly as his friend the town mouse packed his bags to leave. The town mouse had just spent a few unhappy days at the country mouse’s home under a hedge in a field.
“You poor thing,” said the town mouse with pity in his voice. “You live so badly in the country, with only roots and corn to eat. Come back with me to the town and I will show you what good living is like.”
The two tiny creatures made the long journey to the house where the town mouse lived, in the great city. At first, the country mouse thought that life in the town was indeed wonderful. He had never seen such food as there was in the larder. They had just started to nibble some of the dates and figs stored there, when the door opened.
“Quick!” squealed the town mouse in a panic. “We must hide in my hole!”
In an instant the country mouse found himself squashed against his friend in a small, dark hole. It was hot and very crowded.
After quite a long time, the town mouse said that it would be safe to leave the hole. The two animals came out into the larder, trying to stretch their cramped legs and shake the kinks from their tails. Still shaking with fright the country mouse picked up a fig again. Before he could eat it the door swung open again.
“Quick! Hide!” squealed the town mouse.
Yet again the country mouse found himself pressed against his friend in the tiny hole, with hardly room to twitch his whiskers, and with his heart beating wildly.
“That’s it!” he told his friend firmly. “You may have very good food here, but what’s the point of having good food if I’m always too frightened to eat it? I’m going back home.”
So the country mouse packed his little bag and scurried back along the city streets until he reached his beloved fields again. With great contentment he crept back into his little hole under the hedge. “This is the place for me,” he said to himself, looking round at all the things he loved so much. “I like being able to twitch my whiskers and flick my tail whenever I want to. The town mouse can keep his old town!”
Throughout the world there is production of large-scale industrial and agricultural products. However despite such productive capacities there is scarcity because the world population is full of thieves. The Vedas explain- men are transformed into thieves when they plan economic development for sense gratification.
At the root of so-called scarcity and need is exploitation of one nation by another, driven by rampant consumerism. It seems we are insatiable for more and more technological marvels, for gas-guzzling cars, exotic foods, the latest in fashion, and yet another pair of shoes. But do we really need all this? Can it ever make us truly happy?
One-day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked. "Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.
The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."
So it is the endless stream of material desires and our vain attempts to satisfy them that destroy our peace of mind, impelling us to excessively exploit the earth for her precious resources. Thus we create an imbalance which in turn creates poverty for so many.
The fact is that human life has a higher purpose and that by minimising our material needs we simplify life and free time for spiritual practices. By such practices we reduce our desires and become peaceful.
I think that I have been seeing too many thing for far too long. Thank you for making me realise this. And thank you for making me remember something important that I was once ‘told’…….but had long, long since forgotten,
I feel terrible that I could have forgotten such a simple and yet vital fact. But, thanks to you, I will keep last weeks story and wisdom at the forefront of my mind for as long as I can. From Shaun – Cornwall England.
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