A Real King
Once there was a king who was both good and righteous. He was known far and wide for his wisdom and his kindness to the people of his kingdom. After many years, he began to feel bored with being a king, so he asked his adviser, "How old is my son now? I want him to become king so I can quit this job." The adviser said, "Your son is only 15 years old. The law says he must be 18 years old before he may be crowned as the king." The king said, "No, no no... that is no good at all. I want him to become king now." The adviser said, "You yourself are still a young king. If you were to wait for 3 years, you would still be very young to be retiring from your duties as a king." The king thought this over.
After a few days, the king had made his decision. He announced to all his people, "I have decided not to be your king anymore. My son, the prince, will be crowned king when he is 18. Until that time I am putting my advisor in charge. He will manage and guide my son until he is ready to become your king." The people did not understand why their king did not want to be their king anymore. His adviser asked, "Why are you so determined to retire so early?" The king explained, "Some thrones belong to the earth. Some thrones are beyond the earth. I am looking for a throne that is beyond this earth."
The king held the ceremony celebrating his son as the future king and he proclaimed his adviser to be his son's trainer. Then he climbed up on his favorite horse and galloped off all alone. The people felt very sad that their king was leaving them.
Three years passed and the prince, who was now 18 years old, was crowned as king. He showed himself to be a very good and very fair king. One day the new king set out on a voyage to find his father. Some of the people said, "We want to go with you. We want to see our beloved old king." So the prince, the royal adviser and many other people went together on a long journey to find their old king.
After several months they came to an ashram. They heard that the old king was living near this ashram. A guard said, "Welcome to this ashram. You are welcome to wait here until the holy man requests to see you." The prince said, "That holy man is my father who used to be the ruler of our kingdom. I am now the king, and I have traveled for many moons over many, many lands to find him. I wish to see him now." The guard said, "Many kings from many different lands have come to see the holy man. Everyone waits their turn, and so must you." The new king and his party couldn't believe this was happening, but they waited... and waited... and waited... They waited for many weeks; and then one day they were finally let in to see him.
When they saw the old king they were all very excited. They said, "It's so great to see you!" Everyone was happy. They asked, "How are you." He replied, "Satisfied." The adviser said, "May I ask you a question? It seems that this ashram is very similar to the palace. Look around, you are sitting here, everyone is seeking your guidance, there are people everywhere! It's like a whole kingdom here! What is the difference between this and the throne you left behind?" The king said, "The difference is that before I had my subjects all around me, but here, all around me are my fellow lovers of God. I have conquered their hearts, not just their heads. It is not a matter of ruling people. It is a matter of fellowship and love." The worst leaders make people fear and obey them. The best leaders are loved by the people.