In his time he may have been the most powerful man in the worldHe came in fashionably late and occupied his cushioned seat atop the intricately carved marble structure upon which his throne rested. It was a hot tropical morning but his heavy robes actually kept him cool and shielded from the searing wind. His diadem laden crown felt heavy and he refrained from turning his head for fear that it would fall. He looked at the pulsing, seething crowd below and, instantly, they fell to their knees in homage. A far larger crowd had gathered outside the mammoth, red sandstone, walls of his palace. There was anger in the air but it was rapidly changing to fear. He was about to help that transformation accelerate. Today was not an ordinary court day. Today he would let his subjects know what happened when they forgot that he, and he alone, was their divinely appointed ruler. He leaned forward slightly to look directly below him. A dozen naked men were there, each held in chains by two burly guards. They were in sorry shape. Many had broken limbs with white bones showing through torn skin. Flesh, charred with branding irons, was suppurating. One was comatose and only the chains kept him upright. They had all confessed. Under enhanced interrogation from his most skilled intelligence officers they had given up comrades and exposed the conspiracy. Even now his horsemen were pursuing the one surviving leader. He would soon be captured. Now it was time to teach his subjects a lesson they would never forget.
Buddhist sages have exhorted lay followers to practice Dharma and consciously follow a spiritual path. The Indian sage Shankara spoke about the endless striving after pleasure, sex and wealth and how this led persons astray and away from the path of genuine happiness.
St. Timothy beseeched everyone to flee youthful passions, pursue righteousness and call on the Lord from a pure heart.My mother knew about all of them and more and tried hard to get me to read works by the Great Masters and live by their words. I wasn’t having any of it. I wanted ‘success’ now. Far from fleeing youthful pleasure, I indulged to the hilt. And I continued to batter my head on brick walls until I realized a great truth.