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Drop It

One great king, Prasenjita, contemporary to Gautam Buddha, had come to see Gautam Buddha for the first time. His wife had been a lay-disciple of Gautam Buddha for a long time before she was married to Prasenjita. She was a daughter of a greater king.

So when Gautam Buddha came to Prasenjita's capital, the wife said to the husband, “It does not look right that when a man like Gautam Buddha comes to your capital, you don't go to welcome him. I am going. He is sure to ask about you. What am I to say?”

The husband thought for a moment, and he said, “Okay, I am coming also. But because I am coming for the first time, I would like to give him some present. I have one very great diamond; even emperors are jealous because of that diamond. Buddha must appreciate it, so I will take the diamond.”

The wife started laughing. She said, “Rather than the diamond, it will be better if you take a lotus flower from our big pond. To the Buddha the lotus flower is more beautiful. What will he do with the diamond? It will be an unnecessary burden.”
He said, “I will take both and let us see who wins.”

So he came on his golden chariot to the commune of Buddha, where ten thousand monks were sitting around him. Just before he was going to start his morning talk, the golden chariot of the king stopped, so he waited for the king to come in.

The king came in front of him, and first he offered Buddha the diamond. Buddha said, “Drop it!” It was very difficult for Prasenjita to drop his diamond — that was his very life! — but not to drop it also was difficult. Before ten thousand people Buddha had said it — “and you have offered the diamond so it no longer belongs to you.”

He hesitated. Buddha said, “Drop it!” So he dropped the diamond, reluctantly, and offered the lotus flower with the other hand.

Buddha said, “Drop it!” Prasenjita thought, “Is this man crazy?” He dropped the lotus flower, and Buddha said, “Don't you listen? Drop it!”

He said, “Both my hands are empty. Now what do you want me to drop?” At that moment, one of the oldest disciples of Buddha, Sariputra, said, “You don't understand. Buddha is not saying to drop the diamond, or to drop the flower. He is saying, `Drop your personality. Drop that you are a king. Drop this mask, be just human, because through the mask it is impossible for me to approach you.'”

He had never thought about it. But a great silence, and ten thousand people… and he fell spontaneously at the feet of Buddha.

Buddha said, “That's what I have been telling you: drop it. Now sit down. Be just human.Here nobody is an emperor and nobody is a beggar. Here everybody is himself. Just be yourself. This being an emperor can be taken away from you.

Osho

What is the Spiritual Moral / Meaning of Osho's “Drop it” Story?

At its core lies the principle of humility. Prasenjita, adorned with his royal identity and worldly possessions, is challenged to relinquish his attachment to these symbols of status. Through the act of surrendering the diamond and lotus flower, he is invited to release the layers of ego and pretense that veil his true essence. In this moment of humility, Prasenjita discovers the path to genuine connection with the divine. The story reminds us that humility is the gateway to spiritual awakening, allowing us to transcend the illusions of power and privilege that obscure our inner light.

Furthermore, the story illustrates the principle of detachment. Prasenjita's reluctance to part with his prized possessions reflects the human tendency to cling to material wealth and worldly recognition. However, Buddha's insistence on dropping both the diamond and lotus flower serves as a powerful metaphor for the necessity of letting go. By releasing his attachment to external symbols of wealth and status, Prasenjita learns to embrace the freedom that comes with detachment. Through this act of surrender, he opens himself to the infinite abundance of the present moment, unencumbered by the burdens of possessions and social identity.

The story also highlights the importance of authenticity in spiritual practice. When Sariputra elucidates the true meaning behind Buddha's instruction to “drop it,” Prasenjita is confronted with the reality of his own mask-like persona. In that moment of revelation, he is called to shed the facade of kingship and embrace his essential humanity. This pivotal realization underscores the significance of being true to oneself on the spiritual path. Authenticity invites us to strip away the layers of pretense and societal conditioning, allowing our innermost being to shine forth in its purest form.

Additionally, the narrative emphasizes the principle of equality. Within the sacred space of Buddha's commune, distinctions of rank and privilege dissolve, and all are invited to embody their intrinsic worth as human beings. Prasenjita's act of prostration symbolizes his recognition of this fundamental truth – that beneath the trappings of royalty lies the same divine spark that illuminates every soul. In the presence of Buddha, he experiences the profound sense of unity that transcends societal divisions and hierarchies. Thus, the story serves as a poignant reminder of the inherent equality of all beings, irrespective of external circumstances.

It also underscores the principle of presence. As Prasenjita surrenders his royal identity and embraces his humanity, he is invited into the sacred space of the present moment. Here, amidst the silence and stillness of Buddha's commune, he discovers the transformative power of presence. In this state of heightened awareness, Prasenjita transcends the constraints of time and ego, and enters into a deeper communion with the divine. Through the practice of presence, he learns to anchor himself in the eternal now, where the seeds of spiritual awakening are sown and nurtured.

Lastly, the story embodies the principle of surrender. Prasenjita's act of prostration at the feet of Buddha symbolizes his willingness to surrender his egoic identity and submit to the divine will. In this profound gesture of humility, he relinquishes control and opens himself to the guidance of the higher self. Through the practice of surrender, Prasenjita learns to trust in the wisdom of the universe and surrender to the flow of life. In doing so, he aligns himself with the cosmic rhythms of creation, and becomes a vessel for the divine grace to flow through.

The story of Prasenjita's encounter with Gautam Buddha offers a rich tapestry of spiritual teachings. Through the principles of humility, detachment, authenticity, equality, presence, and surrender, we are invited to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. As we navigate the complexities of our own lives, may we heed the timeless wisdom embedded within this sacred tale, and awaken to the boundless potential of the human spirit.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. Reflect on a time when you have felt the weight of attachments in your life, whether to possessions, titles, or roles. How did these attachments shape your sense of identity and influence your interactions with others?
  2. Consider moments when you have been presented with a choice between material wealth and spiritual significance. How did you navigate these moments, and what did you ultimately prioritize? What insights did you gain from these experiences?
  3. Explore the significance of symbols like the diamond and the lotus flower in your own life. What do these symbols represent to you, and how do they reflect your values and priorities? How might your perception of these symbols shift in light of the story of Prasenjita and Gautam Buddha?
  4. Reflect on the concept of offering gifts as gestures of respect and honor. How do your intentions behind giving gifts influence their impact on others? In what ways do your gifts reflect your understanding of the recipient's values and preferences?
  5. Consider the role of hesitation in moments of decision-making. What fears or uncertainties often hold you back from taking decisive action? How might cultivating trust and surrender help you overcome these barriers and embrace opportunities for growth and transformation?
  6. Reflect on instances when you have been challenged to let go of deeply ingrained beliefs or identities. How did you respond to these challenges, and what insights did you gain from the process of releasing attachments? How might practicing radical acceptance and self-awareness deepen your capacity for spiritual growth?
  7. Explore the idea of authenticity and self-expression in your interactions with others. How do societal expectations and roles shape the way you present yourself to the world? In what ways do you censor or mask aspects of your true nature, and what barriers does this create in forming genuine connections with others?
  8. Reflect on moments of profound insight or awakening in your life. What circumstances or encounters have prompted shifts in your perspective or understanding of yourself and the world around you? How do these moments of clarity align with the theme of dropping pretense and embracing authenticity?
  9. Consider the role of humility and vulnerability in fostering connection and intimacy with others. How do acts of humility, such as acknowledging our limitations or relinquishing control, contribute to deeper relationships and mutual understanding? How might practicing humility support your spiritual journey?
  10. Reflect on the invitation to “be just human” and embrace your authentic self. What barriers or self-imposed limitations prevent you from fully embodying your true nature? How can you cultivate greater self-acceptance and compassion toward yourself and others as you navigate the complexities of life's journey?