I have heard a story about Mulla Nasruddin. He was coming from a faraway journey in a small ship, and a great storm arose and it appeared that there seemed to be no chance of surviving.
Nasruddin had a beautiful palace, a marble palace of which he was very proud, in the capital of his country. Even the king was jealous of him and he had offered him whatsoever money he wanted to take, “but give the palace to me”.
But Nasruddin was insistent that he was not going to give the palace to anybody at any price. Great offers had come, but he had always refused.
Now that his life was in danger he prayed to God and he said, “Listen! I will give the palace to the poor. I will sell the palace and distribute the money to the poor.”
It so happened that the moment he said it the storm started subsiding. As the storm started subsiding, Nasruddin started having second thoughts: “This is too much! And maybe the storm was going to subside anyway. I have unnecessarily risked my palace.”
But then he was in for a big surprise: the storm started rising again. Then he really became afraid. He said, “Listen! Don’t be bothered with my thoughts – I am a foolish man – but whatsoever I have said I am going to do. I promise you that I will sell the house and distribute the money to the poor.”
The storm subsided again. Again he wanted to have second thoughts, but now he was afraid.
He reached the shore and the next day he informed the whole capital that he was going to auction his palace. All the rich people, the king, the prime minister, other ministers, the general, all came, because everybody was interested in his palace. And they were all surprised at what he was doing. They thought him crazy.
Just in front of the palace he had kept a cat, and he told the people who had gathered, “The price of the cat is ten lakh rupees, and the price of the palace is only one rupee, but I am going to sell them together.”
The whole thing looked crazy: the cat, ten lakh rupees…just an ordinary cat! He must have caught any wandering cat. But people thought: Why be worried? That is not our business.
The king purchased them. Ten lakh rupees were paid for the cat, one rupee for the palace. Nasruddin gave one rupee to a beggar and said to God, “Look! What I promised I have fulfilled!”
If you do things out of fear you can’t do them with your heart. You will be cunning, you will find ways. And whenever the fear will be gone, you will be the same again.
Please, don’t be God-fearing. Be God-loving: that is my essential message.
~ Osho ~
– The White Lotus