Keen to learn more about inclusive workplaces? Want to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community? Learn more & request an invitation for a very special 2-hour session here!

The Epiphany

To want is to have a weakness, but what happens when you stop wanting? A 'once upon a time' story that looks at what it is to want, and to not want.

To want is to have a weakness, but what happens when you stop wanting? A ‘once upon a time’ story that looks at what it is to want, and to not want. 

One of the top 5 entries for March’s muse of the month writing cue, “To want is to have a weakness.” (from The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood)

The king’s instructions to the prince were simple. He wanted a man who was strong, who was content and had no worries. He was happy with what he had and needed nothing else. “He will have no desires” the king told, for “To want was to have a weakness”.

March 2014The prince set about his seemingly easy task. In this huge kingdom, wasn’t it easy to find a man who needed nothing else in life? He travelled in disguise to the nooks and corners of his father’s land, to the meadows and farms where people went about their mundane tasks. He visited the fairs where all commoners had gathered for their weekly exchange of articles. He met and spoke to different kinds of people, old and young, the learned and the ignorant.

Days later, he still hadn’t found an answer. How can someone not want anything, he wondered. He thought about himself and his parents, did they have no more desires? Of course they had, his mother under the perpetual worry of finding a suitable groom for his sister and his father under the strain of wondering if his kingdom was safe from invaders.

Saints and sages? They probably needed nothing, he reasoned. And then he corrected himself. Of course they did. The difference was, the needs were not materialistic. They prayed and penanced for peace, for bodily renunciation.

He sat by the riverside pondering over these questions when there passed a funeral procession. The pallbearers carried the open wooden coffin on the four sides with people leading them in the front and another group following them at the back. In the open coffin lay an old man with a wrinkled face. The prince looked at him as the procession passed through. The lines and wrinkles probably suggested a hard lived life, fulfilling his duties as a son, as a husband and as a father. He wondered what hardships had befallen on that man during his lifetime. But whatever it was, he seemed at peace now, a strange calmness and serenity engulfing his whole frame. He suddenly had his answer.

Fifteen days later, he presented himself in front of his father.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

“So, did you find him?” asked the king. “A man who has no needs, no desires, happy and content” he added.

The prince shook his head. “No, father” he replied. “I didn’t find him. I don’t think anyone can find him”. He paused for a second and continued. “I found men and women who were happy; who were strong and also content with their lives, but all of them have a need, however trivial or small. The newborn baby wanted milk while the old man wanted an end to his suffering. People who seemed to possess all the happiness on earth also strived a little more than what they already had. Our needs start from the minute we are born; they are the forces which keep us going, which make us look forward to what the future brings, in the hope that they will be fulfilled”.

He took another long pause.

“Father, to want is probably to have a weakness, but to stop wanting is to stop living”, he said.

The king smiled knowingly. It was time to hand over the reins of the kingdom to his son.

Pic credit: [email protected] (Used under a CC license)

Comments

About the Author

Women's Web

Women's Web is a vibrant community for Indian women, an authentic space for us to be ourselves and talk about all things that matter to us. Follow us via the read more...

204 Posts | 4,601,554 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

Doing Good is #BeautifulInDeed

SUBSCRIBE

ABOUT WOMEN’S WEB

Women’s Web is THE place for the Indian woman who wants to stay engaged with the world, who believes that she has a place in the world, and ideas to offer. We focus on women’s self-development and pursuit of happiness, by offering information on career development, entrepreneurship, managing work and family, successful women, women’s health, social issues and personal finances. Our goal is to help women learn and grow!

© 2022 Women's Web. All Right Reserved.