“Then what…Then what?…..Then what?…….”

This is a story on how to be Happy. I heard it from a representative of the Vipassana (1) foundation at Hyderabad (capital of the Southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India) in the year 1997. He was giving a talk to the senior managers of our company.

A group of smart managers from the city were visiting a village. They found a middle aged man sitting under a tree, playing his flute. There was a cow grazing at a distance. The managers could not imagine a person sitting and playing music all alone.

One manager asked him curiously “what are you doing here?”. The man replied “I am employed as a cow keeper. I am watching that cow grazing over there for my employer till evening”. Their dialogue continued.

Manager: How much do you earn for the 8 hours you sit here?
Cow keeper: Rupees 20 (about half a dollar)
Manager: You can earn 100 Rupees in the same time if you watch 5 cows instead of 1 cow.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: You will earn 80 rupees extra money every day.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: Over an year, you will earn extra 20,000 rupees.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: You can buy some cows for yourself with the extra earnings, instead of watching other people’s cows.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager:You can sell the extra milk and earn 40,000 rupees a year.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: You can buy more cows and make 80,000 rupees a year.
Cow keeper: Then what?
The managers were now thinking the cow keeper was crazy but patiently tried to enlighten him on how to expand his wealth.
Manager: You will have a lot of extra milk with which you can start an ice cream parlor.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: Your earnings will be 120,000 rupees a year.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: You can start franchises for your ice cream parlor and earn 200,000 a year.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: (Impatiently) By repeating this model, you will earn so much extra money which you can put in secure deposits and earn lot of interest.
Cow keeper: Then what?
Manager: (Irritated) You will earn so much interest that you need not work at all. You would be able to simply sit, play your favorite flute music and enjoy your life.
Cow keeper: (with a smile) That is what I am doing right now without going through all the extra steps you described!

(1) Vipassana

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Parent page: On being happy

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