A young man wandering about a certain town came upon an oil mill and was very much astonished to see that, instead of a buffalo being attached to the grinding stone, a man was harnessed to it and was going round and round. He asked the man, ” My good man, how long can you go on like this? ” The man replied, ” Do not worry, sir, for this shall pass away.” So the young man went away.
Seven years after this, the same man came to the same village and, being anxious to learn about the fate of that poor man, he hastened to the same oil mill. To his surprise he found that the very man who had been serving as a human buffalo was now master of the mill and was seated on a high seat, supervising the work. Being glad to see him thus, the young man congratulated the new owner who said to him, ” I thank you, sir, for your kindness. But remember, this too shall pass away.”
Five years later, that same young man, who was middle aged now, came back to the same village and found great excitement everywhere. On asking the cause of it, he was told that the old King had died recently, and according to custom the new King was to be chosen that day. The new King would be the man who would be chosen by the state elephant and garlanded by this sacred animal. As everybody was hastening towards a vast open space where the royal elephant was being prepared, our man also went there. At last among great rejoicing and chanting of mantras the elephant was released. He came down the path swaying the garland the garland which he was holding with his trunk. When he came to the place where the owner of the oil mill was standing, the elephant threw the garland over his head without any hesitation.
A great cry of joy rose from the people, and the drums commenced to beat to announce the coronation which was to take place the next day. Everybody rushed to congratulate the new King, and among them was our man also. On approaching his old friend he said, ” None is happier than myself today to witness this event. If ever anybody deserved this grace, it was you, my friend.” The new King embraced our man and whispered to him: ” Once again I repeat that this too shall pass away. “
Ten more more years went by, and our man was no longer young or middle aged. Once again he happened to pass through the same village. What do u think he saw? All that he found was a heap of rubble and over turned earth and boulders. Very much surprised at his shocking sight, he asked a shepherd who was passing that way how things had come to this sorry pass. The shepherd told him that some seven years ago there had been a terrible earthquake which had demolished everything for miles around. Not a house was left standing and thousands had lost their lives.
On hearing this story, our man recollected his friend’s oft repeated words, ” This too shall pass away. ” ” Indeed ” said he to himself, ” there seems to be nothing stable in this ever shifting world, except its Creator. Everything passes away in the course of time after fulfilling its destiny. “