A king used to ask three questions of all people who came to him. The first question was: 1. who is the best of persons? The second was: 2. what is the best time and the third, 3. what is the best of all actions? The king was very anxious to know the answers to these questions. One day, he went to the forest and was moving about the hills and plains. He saw an 'âshram' and wanted to take some rest there. By the time the king reached the âshram, a sadhu was watering some plants. The sadhu saw that the king was rather tired, stopped watering the plants, ran up to the king and gave him some fruits and cool water. At that time, an individual wounded all over the body was brought to the âshram by another sadhu. As soon as the sadhu saw this, he went to the individual, cleaned all his wounds and gave him some herbs which could cure the wounds. He was also telling him sweet words which could console the person. The king wanted to express his gratitude and take leave of him. The sadhu blessed the king but the king was still troubled by his three questions and wanted to see if the sadhu could enlighten him on that matter.
The sadhu stated that the answers to the three questions were contained in the actions which the king had witnessed in the âshram. The sadhu said that when the king came to the âshram he was watering the plants and that was his duty. At that time, on seeing the king the sadhu had given up his duty and come to the king and gave him water and fruit. This was in accordance with correct traditions, as the king was his guest. While relieving the king of his thirst and suffering, another injured individual had come to the âshram and therefore the sadhu had given up the duty of serving the king and went to the other individual and began serving him. Whoever comes seeking service from you is the best individual at that time. Whatever satisfaction you can give him by serving him will be the best work you can do. The present, when you can do something, is the most sacred of all times.