… so we stumble along …

Drawing by Claire Finaz

Siva and Shakti, the Divine Couple in Hinduism, are in their heavenly abode watching over the earth. They are touched by the challenges of human life, the complexity of human reactions, and the ever-present place of suffering in the human experience. As they watch, Shakti spies a miserable poor old man walking down the road. His clothes are shabby and his sandals are tied together with rope. Her heart is wrung with compassion, touched by his goodness and his struggle. Shakti turns to her divine husband and begs him to give this man some gold. Siva looks at the man for long moment. ‘My dearest Wife,’ ‘I cannot do that.’

Shakti is astounded. ‘Why, what do you mean, Husband?’ You are Lord of the Universe. Why can’t you do this simple thing?

‘I cannot give this to him because he is not yet ready to receive it,’ Siva replies.

Shakti becomes angry. ‘Do you mean to say you cannot drop a bag of gold in his path?’

‘Surely I can,’ Siva replies, ‘but that is quite another thing.’

‘Please, Husband,’ says Shakti.

And so Siva drops a bag of gold in the man’s path.

The man meanwhile walks along talking to himself, ‘I wonder if I will find dinner tonight – or shall I go hungry again?’ Turning a bend in the road, he sees something on the path in his way. ‘Aha,’ he says. ‘Look there, a large rock. How fortunate that I have seen it. I might have torn these poor sandals of mine further.’ And carefully stepping over the bag of gold, he goes his way.

*    *    *

‘The Bag of Gold,’ like many wisdom tales, has layers of meanings, one being: within each stumbling block is also a treasure. Gold, of old, is associated with the inner sun.

The above version of the story is shared by Elisa Pearmain in ‘Doorways to the Soul.’ See the link in my blogroll at the right. One page on her site features publications. 

To the above story she adds: … Before going to sleep each night, think about all the gold encountered during the day. You may feel quite rich …

The longing remains, expressed in this song by Neil Young:    … I want to live, I want to give. I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold …

One of my New Year resolutions is to practice tunes on my G Blues Harp – a magical instrument that fits into my pocket –  however bad things get, a little breath and a harmonica can cheer people.

The drawing is by a friend – Claire Finaz – on a Christmas Card many years back. It depicts the inner sun very well.


Filed under Blog

19 responses to “… so we stumble along …

  1. yet another to share, dearest Deborah… 🙂


  2. This story is a small bag of gold in itself. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jenny

    This sounds like a book worthwhile getting and working with in shaky times
    Thank you Dear

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We all have a particular picture of ourselves (and our predicament); seldom the same picture others have of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A delightful and wise story… to look for the gold in small things. Thank you for that reminder. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was actually playing Neil Young “Natural Beauty” as I began reading your story Ashen. Won’t be too taxing to follow up “Heart of Gold”.

    This story reminds me of earlier years and an encounter with “Acres of Diamonds”, which was a reference made for the number of diamonds which go without our exploiting while most of our time is spent tripping over ourselves to get ahead.
    Over recent months, my elderly mother and mother-in-law have both been subjected to more pots of gold placed strategically in their pathways than they have ever encountered in their long lives. They not only avoid picking up and using the gold, even admiringly touching it for fear they will be seen as less than independent. I suppose our journey is for all of us to decide and make of it what we wish.

    Do keep playing Neil Young Ashen. As I play it I will have warm thoughts of you, a generous and gentle friend. Happy Christmas.B

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s frustrating watching dear ones tripping over themselves. I do it frequently myself, despite knowing what it feels like to get out of my own way 🙂
      What’s there to do but to daily remind myself to tune the heart. What brings a smile often has the miraculous effect of adjusting a slack tuning – today it’s watching a family of Robins while I’m typing these words.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gillian

    Dear Ashen,
    What I notice about your blog is the eloquence of expression. Something I have difficulty with. Just commenting about the pot of gold. I will keep myself open to pots of gold in any form in 2017. I have a feeling that 2017 will be a new beginning for many. 2016 was all about facing our subconscious and bringing what has been hidden to the surface, so that we can move forward in 2017 and start again. We lost so many people (celebrities) in 2016. 2016 was about endings and here’s hoping we find our pots of gold in the new beginning which is 2017.
    Much Love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheered by your visit, Gillian. You well express the essence of 2016.
      And yes, there’s to the hope of new beginnings after the revelations of resentful feelings and thoughts in so many people, which no doubt contribute to the increasing sense of depression around the world. Maybe with the exception or those who are cushioned by plenty means. Our dysfunctional economic and political systems require a total overhaul. For this to happen it may have to get worse before it gets better. And each of us must find our own little gold (light) inside.


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