“Every one of us lives his life just once; if we are honest, to live once is enough”. Greta Garbo
I wanted to appreciate a wonderful book here today titled “The Empty Pot” written and illustrated by Demi.It was published by Henry Holt and Company.I wanted to clarify that i am not a book reviewer but i consider it one of the best inspirational picture books with a good moral lesson, and a brilliant gift for our new generation of young readers.It has beautiful illustrations and adds color and feel to the story .
The book is a Chinese folk tale about an emperor who is in search of a successor, as he has no heir to the throne.He loves flowers, so he decides to distribute empty pots and seeds among all the children in his empire.Whoever shall grow the best flowers shall be the next emperor and worthy for the throne.
The main character in the story is a boy named Ping, who also loves flowers, and brings the pot and the seeds home in the hope to grow the best.But to his disappointment, the seeds in all the pots in the empire start to bud, except his.He takes good care of the pot, waters it regularly but to no avail.All around lovely, sweet smelling flowers are visible, but all of his efforts remain in vain.
Finally, the day arrives when the emperor is to inspect the pots and choose an emperor to his throne.All the children stand with their fully bloomed pots, with delightful faces, but Ping is vexed and dismal as he holds an empty pot.The emperor observes each pot and the child carefully.In the end when he sees Ping and his empty pot, he smiles and tells everyone that the seeds were never meant to grow at all, because they were cooked seeds.He wanted to test their honesty, and Ping proved successful. The emperor proudly declared him the new emperor, not because of his gardening skills but due to his honesty.
How many times are we honest to ourselves?Do we judge ourselves honestly?Our potentials, deeds, words, actions, reactions, emotions, relations, strengths, weaknesses, dreams ?Not all of us can have sound judgments, but without being honest we do not deserve honesty in this world.People who surround us in this world seek honesty in us, and so do we in everyone.Honesty exhibits strength of character, because being honest needs courage, bravery to deny cheating, lying, deception, evil intentions.The biggest hurdle is our own evil side, we hate going through so much self control, lies and malice are hard to escape!But, how can we be honest to others if we prove dishonest to our own selves?
“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth”. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Next, is being honest to others.Being truthful, straightforward,trustworthy, just and honorable.Honesty requires solemnity, chastity.
It is not easy being honest, there are no easy victories, shortcuts, easy money for an honest person.Honesty costs him his integrity, pride and sanctity. Honest people face slander, people judge their honesty, they can’t seem to digest that there can be an honest man in this world!But just like a chinese proverb says:
“Slander cannot destroy an honest man – when the flood recedes the rock is there”. Chinese Proverb
But honest people achieve greatness, no lie or treachery can achieve.They are exalted than the rest, and humanity can easily be proud of them.Honest people acquire self satisfaction, their conscience is upright and wide awake, therefore their soul is free and burden less.
“Kindness and honesty can be expected only from the strong.” Anonymous
History has recorded one such honest man, worth mentioning here – Abraham Lincoln, known as the “Honest Abe“.Once while he was store keeping , he noticed he had returned a lady too less for her money the night before.He calculated the due amount and walked all the way to return it much to the surprise of the lady.
But it is true that honest people are rare,and hard to find especially in today’s times.Most of us are dishonest, some become dishonest as a retaliation to dishonesty they are faced with.But dishonesty cannot fight dishonesty, we need to face dishonest individuals with honesty:
“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained…” Lao Tzu
But Honest people are the need of the hour.It is said that Diogenes of Sinope, a cynical philosopher was often seen on the streets of Athens holding a lantern in broad daylight. When asked, he replied:”I am just looking for an honest man”.