Shri Babaji Maharaj was very fond of this story of Wali Ram, the favourite Minister of the Emperor Aurangzeb:
One day the Imperial Court of the Emperor – his darbaar– was in progress. Aurangzeb was surrounded by his ministers and courtiers. Amongst his important ministers sat Wali Ram very close to him. Wali Ram had run the affairs of state so well for the Emperor that he had rewarded him richly with wealth and status. The comforts that Wali Ram enjoyed as the minister of the Emperor were denied even the richest of men in the kingdom.
An air of solemnity prevailed in the court even as all the persons present there sat with great respect before the Emperor. There was pin-drop silence. Just then a bherr- a hornet, which had lain on the floor, entered the pyjama of Wali Ram through the ankle. It stung him sharply in the calf of his leg. The pain was so excruciating that it would have caused anyone to scream. However Wali Ram bore the insufferable pain in silence. He knew that if he got up abruptly or created a disturbance, the Emperor would be offended, and that he would be dismissed from his post as minister. Not only would he lose his wealth and status and the privileges he enjoyed, but he would also be reduced to penury and be forced into a life of beggary afterwards. The thought of his dismissal was so terrifying that he bore the deadly pain in silence without moving a finger.
When at last the court was over, Wali Ram came outside and threw the hornet out of his pyjama. The pain had lasted for the entire duration of the court. He had no idea how he had borne it. Even as he threw out the hornet he became conscious of a more deadly hornet that lay inside his shirt, and within his breast. It was the hornet of desire, which was stinging him in his heart.
Wali Ram said to himself: I have been able to cast out the first hornet, now let me also cast out this second and more deadly hornet from within my heart – the hornet of desire because of which I had to endure such agonising pain today!
Turning to the hornet of desire within himself, Wali Ram said with great feeling:
“O thou fiend! Thou wretched deceiver! Thou art a threat to my very existence! You robbed me of my wealth of contentment and made me a beggar before the Emperor. You did this because I had fallen in love with you and was not aware of your designs. But today I have seen your face! I am now bidding you farewell forever! Get thee hence and never show thy ugly face again! I am now going to reign in the kingdom within me, which was always my birthright! It was you who robbed me of this kingdom and made me bow my head before Aurangzeb. It was you who made me endure the dreadful sting of the hornet today! Alas, what a wonderful thing it would have been if I could have endured the sting of the Love of God instead!
Wali Ram thereafter left the court of Aurangzeb.
On the next day when Aurangzeb held court he asked where Wali Ram was. No one seemed to know. This was the first time that Wali Ram had absented himself from the court of the Emperor without giving any explanation. Soldiers were sent to the home of Wali Ram, but he was not to be found. The Emperor was puzzled. What had caused Wali Ram to leave the court so abruptly and where was he?
Just then, news came that Wali Ram had been found. Wali Ram was sitting in the forest. The Emperor’s courtier who found him had requested him to come to the court, but Wali Ram had refused.
Aurangzeb was perplexed as well as annoyed. He decided to go to the forest himself to see what had happened to Wali Ram. The Emperor took his royal entourage of soldiers and generals and ministers, and strode out on an elephant into the forest. After a while he came to a clearing in the jungle, where he came face to face with Wali Ram.
Wali Ram was sitting under the shade of a tree. His face was turned upwards as he looked at the heavens, lost in the thought of God. There was an unearthly glow on his face. His arms were folded over his chest and his legs were spread out in front of him.
The Emperor Aurangzeb was all at once surprised and overawed. There was something about the face of Wali Ram which suggested that he was not in the ordinary worldly plane but had entered a spiritual realm.
The moment Wali Ram’s eyes fell upon Aurangzeb, the latter got an opportunity to address him, and said to Wali Ram in a somewhat stern tone of voice: “Wali Ramji! Kab se paanv pasaare? Wali Ramji since when have you learnt to spread your legs?
Wali Ram replied at once: “Jab se haath sukerr liye! Ever since I have gathered my hands together, like this!
The meaning of the verbal exchange was clear to both. What Aurangzeb had meant was: “How did you dare to become so bold?
And what Wali Ram told him meant: “Ever since I have renounced my desires!
Aurangzeb was deeply touched by the state of Wali Ram and did not ask him to return to his court. He knew that Wali Ram had attained a spiritual state which came only to saints and sages. He left him sitting under the tree, lost in the kingdom of peace within his heart.
Dil dhoondtaa hai phir vohi fursat ke raat din
Baitthe rahen tassavure jaanaa kiye huye
The heart yearns for those restful nights and days,
Sitting alone, and lost in the thought of the Beloved!
Wali Ram had removed all the desires of the world from his heart. And the moment he had done that, he had come to his real self, his soul, in which he saw the reflection of God. The desires of a man arose because of the ego, his bodily “I” within him. The removal of the desires meant in effect the annihilation of ego, which meant union with God. And Wali Ram wrote the following verse in Persian:
Ba maute ikhtayaari har ke murdaa
Za maidaane Haqueeqat goye burdaa
He who dies a willing death
Carries the ball on the field of Reality
To die a willing death meant to annihilate one’s ego. One who had done that, had won the game of life.