It was a wintry night. Some coal had been brought to be burnt in the fireplace. The lady of the house relaxed herself, took off her diamond ring and placed it on a stool near the fireplace. A piece of coal looked up from the heap and awed at the diamond's beauty; "Ah! You look so sparkling and beautiful!"
The diamond looked at the coal and said "I am just like one of you. Just that I underwent some transformations."
The coal could not believe what the diamond said and in utter amazement said, "Nay I am just a humble coal and you are a precious diamond! Is it really possible to have a form like you after this so called transformation?!"
The diamond said, "Yes, but it isn't worth much."
This surprised the coal even more and it asked, "Why do you say so? We all coals will perish in this fire and turn to smoke while you will continue to live longer and will be more cherished by men and women all over the earth."
The diamond replied, "You all will be liberated, while I will be bound to this silver ring. Men and women will cherish me but will fight with each other to possess me. They will lose their peace and I shall be the cause, while you in your burning will provide them some warmth and a good-night's sleep. Brother, the fate of both of us is; ash. The only difference there is, is our value in cash. The years under pressure of layers of Earth have made me glittery and that glitter yields more cash, which is no use to me, and has made people fight and lose their sleep. The happiness they find in possessing me lasts few moments, which is not even a small fraction of the years I have undergone to attain this form.
Besides, this form has placed me in an entirely new category, where those that were mine find me inaccessible. You want to look like me; there are many more who desire this form. This form breeds jealousy and distances kin from kin. This is more of a trap than a reward. I cannot give you a form like myself, but we can look alike and be one in this moment. Come give me a hug, give me your fire and burn out my trap, at least in this moment I can look like you and we can celebrate our likeness in the fire, smoke and ash. Seeing you burn has made me realize that fire was liberation then, and fire is liberation now!"
At this the coal replied, "You say there is no difference between you and us, but there is a world of difference! All coals fear the fire, we all fear our death. You are so willing to die, as you know that all is ash, but all of us will die wanting to be diamonds and die with unfinished desire. We will die in want of transformation while you; having attained transformation will see true liberation as you are free from the fear of death. Do not devalue your transformation, see it from my eyes and stay where you are to be an inspiration for all of us. Be an example to aspire to.”
And the coals burnt brightly and the fire consumed them before the diamond could fall upon them and they looked alike.
Contributed by Jyoti Prateek