Covetousness: Your Personal Barrier To Freedom


The following story appears in one of the Puranas, the ancient Hindu scripture.

A kite and a bunch of crows were sitting on separate trees on the same river bank. A fish was washed ashore and both the species of the bird flew towards the fish. The kite snatched the fish in its beak and started flying away. A large number of crows started chasing the kite. The crows at the front pecked at the kite from behind and screeched at it. The attachment of the kite towards the fish was strong and the kite tried to change its direction.

The crows followed the kite relentlessly. In whichever direction the kite went, the flock of crows followed it. The crows constantly gnawed at the kite from behind and the kite came in a state of anxiety and panic. But it did not let the fish go for a long time. Finally, overcome by pain and exhaustion, the kite opened its beak and let the fish fall which was instantly caught by another kite flying below. At once the flock of crows turned to the new possessor of the fish.

All of a sudden, the first kite was alone and there was no one trying to harm it. It calmly flew around and sat on the topmost brand of a tree peacefully, watching the other kite being chased by the crows.

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Lessons From The Fish

The fish represents the covetousness for an object, person or any material substance that is in someone else’s possession. Humans who covet material objects or blame their fate for what is not provided to them are like the kite with the fish in the beak. The sense of longing will always keep them unsatisfied and soon they will be engulfed by negative emotions of anger and envy. The statement ‘I had no shoes and complained until I met an individual who had no feet’ highlights towards one esoteric truth.

Unless one develops a sense of gratitude for whatever has been provided and does not covet anything that belongs to someone else, he or she will always be distressed and unsatisfied, being like the panicked kite who is forever chased by crows, and lead a life devoid of peace. Often the road to our personal freedom is as easy as letting go of covetousness and expressing gratitude for what we have been provided.

Tibetan Om Singing Bowl
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Krishna is a student of Eastern Philosophy and writes about the esoteric teachings imbibed in the ancient scriptures of Hinduism. He lives in India and writes about the lesser known philosophical context behind many of the hindu rituals and traditions.

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