The Seven Jars – A Short Spiritual Story

The Seven Jars - A Short Spiritual StoryLong ago there lived in Northern India a merchant whose wife had died and who went daily from his lonely house in the foothills to the town below, for buying and selling.

“I must have a holiday,” he said to himself one day, and he began to climb up into the hills to enjoy the view and the sounds of the forest. In the hot afternoon, feeling sleepy he looked for a quiet place for a nap. Soon he discovered a kind of hole in a cliff, actually a cave; so he lay down in the dark interior and slept. Waking up, he felt there was something with him, in the cave.

Crawling back inside he found a large earthen jar. Then another, and another and another — there were seven jars there, altogether! Now the merchant wondered if he dared to open them. There was no sound of anyone about, still it seemed a bit risky. But curiosity, as you know, is powerful indeed. He found he could lift the lid of the first jar.

What do you know! It seemed to be full of gold coins. So were the second, third, fourth and fifth. Under the lid of the sixth jar he found an aged piece of paper.

On it was written, “Finder, beware!! The seven jars of gold are yours, but there is a curse. No one who takes them with him can leave the curse behind.” Now, next to curiosity, greed is the most powerful urge. Our merchant overjoyed with his luck, wasted no time in borrowing a two-wheeled cart to carry the jars of gold to his house. It was exhausting and next to impossible. Bulky and hard to lift, they had to be taken two by two; in the dark of night he lugged them to his house. On the last trip, with the seventh jar alone thankfully the load was lighter, and he noticed nothing.

“Let me count the coins,” he thought, “and see how great my fortune is.”

But when that seventh jar was opened he found it was only half-full. “What!” he cried, “I was promised seven jars!” He had thrown the note away and forgotten about the curse. The merchant was overcome and obsessed by a spirit of grasping and greed. Now, in the town, he went at his money-making hand and fist; it was all he lived for.

“I must fill the seventh jar with gold,”: this was his constant thought. Yet the more he put into the jar, strangely the more it remained half-full.

He lived some years more, but never did he enjoy spending the gold he had found, because it was never enough.

The author of this spiritual story is unknown and greatly appreciated. If you know who wrote this, or can provide a source that we can cite then please contact us and let us know!

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What Is the Spiritual Moral / Message of “The Seven Jars” Story?

The story illuminates the the pitfalls of human desires and the insatiable nature of greed. It delves into the intricate dance between material wealth and the deeper essence of fulfillment, urging us to contemplate the significance of contentment and the consequences of relentless pursuit.

At its core, this tale serves as a cautionary fable, unraveling the complexities of human desires. The merchant, lured by the allure of unexpected wealth, becomes ensnared in the web of greed. The promise of abundant riches, encased in the seven jars, becomes a gateway to his undoing, as he succumbs to the relentless pursuit of filling the half-empty seventh jar.

Greed, a potent force that eclipses contentment and peace, takes hold of the merchant's being. His relentless pursuit of filling the last jar mirrors the human quest for more – an insatiable craving that can never be sated by material possessions alone. Despite the accumulation of wealth, the merchant's life becomes a relentless cycle of accumulation, devoid of the joy and satisfaction that true abundance brings.

This tale holds a mirror to the human condition, inviting introspection into the nature of desires and their impact on our lives. It underscores the spiritual truth that contentment doesn't stem from external accumulations but from the richness found within. The more the merchant tried to fill the seventh jar, the more apparent it became that external wealth could never satisfy the depths of his longing.

Furthermore, the curse embedded within the warning note speaks volumes about the spiritual repercussions of unchecked desires. The curse, a metaphorical warning, signifies the spiritual consequences of allowing greed to govern our lives. It reflects the inherent truth that an unbridled pursuit of material wealth leads to spiritual poverty, leaving one trapped in an endless cycle of dissatisfaction and yearning.

The merchant's obsession with accumulating wealth stifles his ability to truly enjoy the riches he acquired. His life becomes a testament to the hollow pursuit of materialism, devoid of the joy and fulfillment that arise from inner richness and contentment.

This story beckons us to examine our own lives, to ponder the nature of our desires, and to discern whether our pursuits lead to genuine fulfillment or merely perpetuate a cycle of endless craving. It invites us to reflect on the essence of abundance, emphasizing that true wealth is not measured by external possessions but by the richness of our inner being – by love, compassion, contentment, and spiritual fulfillment.

Ultimately, this narrative serves as a spiritual compass, guiding us towards a deeper understanding of true abundance. It implores us to seek contentment within, to recognize that genuine fulfillment transcends the accumulation of material wealth, and to embrace a life enriched by inner harmony, gratitude, and spiritual abundance.

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. As you reflect on the merchant's decision to take a holiday, consider moments in your own life when you felt the need to pause and escape the routine. What drove that desire, and what did you hope to discover?
  2. In the peaceful hills, the merchant encounters a mysterious cave. Think about the hidden places in your own life that you may have stumbled upon unexpectedly. What did you find in those moments of exploration, and how did it impact you?
  3. The merchant faces a choice when he discovers the seven jars of gold. Have you ever been presented with an unexpected opportunity that required a difficult decision? What factors influenced your choice, and what did you learn from the experience?
  4. Reflect on the role of curiosity in the story. How has curiosity played a part in shaping your own journey and decisions? Are there instances where curiosity led you to valuable discoveries or unforeseen consequences?
  5. The warning on the aged piece of paper speaks to the consequences of greed. Consider instances in your life when the pursuit of material wealth or desires may have come with unintended costs. What lessons did you learn from those experiences?
  6. Explore the symbolism of the half-full seventh jar. How does this image resonate with your own aspirations and pursuits? Have you ever felt the dissatisfaction of constantly seeking more without finding fulfillment?
  7. The merchant becomes obsessed with filling the seventh jar, even though it remains perpetually half-full. Reflect on moments in your life when you pursued a goal relentlessly, only to find that it didn't bring the expected satisfaction. What insights did you gain from those experiences?
  8. Think about the merchant's transformation from a man enjoying the view in the hills to one consumed by greed in the town. Have there been shifts in your own life where your priorities changed, and you found yourself pursuing different goals? What prompted those changes?
  9. Consider the theme of the curse and its impact on the merchant's life. Are there aspects of your own life where you feel trapped or burdened by decisions made in the pursuit of desires? How might one break free from such self-imposed limitations?
  10. Reflect on the broader message of the story. How does it resonate with your understanding of happiness, contentment, and the pursuit of meaningful experiences in life? What wisdom can you draw from the merchant's journey to apply to your own quest for fulfillment?