pounds of sweets. The devotee again came back to the Sage and recounted to him what had happened during this second attempt.
The Sage now asked him to fetch from some goldsmith one hundred rupees as the price of the stone. When he went to the market on this third errand, every one again laughed at him. One goldsmith, however, thought that it might turn out to be a genuine precious stone; but he offered only ninety rupees for it. The devotee was now coming to the end of his patience. In all his three attempts, he had failed. So he requested the Sage to put it back on his own robe since he could never succeed in getting for that stone exactly what the Sage wanted.
The Sage, however, now asked him to try to get one thousand rupees from some jeweler. So he went to a jeweler with that stone. The jeweler immediately recognized it to be a really valuable precious stone and knew that its real price could in no case be less than twenty thousand rupees. He thought that here was the chance of his life to exploit someone who was totally ignorant about the truth of jewels. So, in his uncontrolled greed and desire to exploit to the utmost, he offered only eight hundred rupees, thus losing the real bargain.
Now, the devotee lost all his patience; and throwing away the stone, said to the Sage, "I came to you for realizing the highest Truth and attaining union with God, not for being harassed in fruitless errands. Either give me that for which I aspire or allow me to go back to my own usual duties." The Sage then replied, "You can never attain unity with God unless you have inexhaustible patience. If you can not stand an ordinary trial like this, there is not the slightest chance of your being able to stand the severe ordeals which a real aspirant of the most High must successfully face It is best for you to go back to the world. But before you do that, I would like you to gather the meaning of what you have seen during the four attempts you made to dispose of the precious stone."
The Sage then continued, "The dealer who offered four pounds of vegetables is like the multitude who know nothing of that divine immortality which is known as God. They do not even suspect that one day they must possess this invaluable treasure. The dealer in sweets, who offered only four pounds, is like serious-minded or thoughtful persons, who sometimes becomes conscious that their mode of life needs to be changed, but who are content to accept another false thing for the false thing with which they have been fed up. They are not keen about having something real. All that they want is some change, because they are thoroughly dissatisfied with what they have been able to make of life.
The goldsmith, who offered ninety rupees, is like a seeker who knows that there is a higher life and wants to have it, but who does not have sufficient