The Biggest Problem

by Dr. Pran Rangan

A long time ago, there lived a wise sage in the mountains of the Himalayas. His popularity had spread far and wide. So, people came to him from afar traveling over difficult terrains to seek his wise advice for their problems.

Once, some people reached his hovel to seek his advice. The sage asked them to wait. Three days went by waiting for him. In the meantime, more people gathered.

Then the sage told them: "I will answer the questions of everyone. But you will have to promise that you will not tell anyone where I live since I want to spend my time meditating in solitude. Further I request you all not to come here again."

Since they wouldn't be allowed to meet him again, they began yelling to tell their problems, interrupting each other instead of telling one by one.

Sensing the possibility that there may ensue a melee, he told them loudly: "All of you write your problems on a slip of paper and give to me."

Everyone wrote their problems on a slip of paper, folded it and gave to the sage. He put all into a basket and shuffled them.

The sage told, handing over the basket to a person: "This fellow will bring the basket to everyone. You all have to pick up one folded slip in turn and read it. After reading, you will decide if you want to swap over your problem with the one on the slip."

Everyone picked up one folded paper and read it carefully. Most of them appeared to be shaken after reading the problems on the paper. Even when the sage asked them again who would like to swap over their problems, no one came forward. They all realized that other's problems were bigger in nature. After some time, they began returning their folded slips and going home.

Then the sage addressed them: "Dear friends, there is no one in the world that doesn't have problems. Some have problems related to health, money, family or something else. We must accept that problems, big or small, will continue to come. We must try to find their solutions ourselves instead of running here and there because we know better about them. It doesn't mean that we should not take other's help to solve them. We may take other's help but we must use our discretion too while accepting their help.

"Normally, we feel that our problems are big but now you see that other's problems are bigger than yours. So, you should be thankful to God for all you have, even your problems since they are smaller than others."

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