Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 22 (1989)
Story - Excerpt from Divine Discourse
Live up to your role

The King, The Sanyasi And The Dancer
Once a sanyasi (renunciant) came to a Maharaja and expounded to him the sacred truths of the Vedanta. The king was pleased with his exposition and offered him a plate full o gold coins. The ascetic declined to accept it, saying it was not in keeping with the cowl he was wearing to accept any material gifts. "What need have I for these things when I have renounced every worldly thing?" he said. The king was pleased with the sanyasi's attitude. The next day the same person turned up in court in the guise of a danseuse. She danced superbly before the king. The king was pleased and offered to her a plate of gold coins. She declared that she was not willing to accept such a meagre guerdon and wanted more. The king realised at that moment that the person in the dancer's dress was the same person who had appeared as a sanyasi the previous day. The king told her: "Yesterday you declined to accept the gift at my hands and today you ask for more than I have offered. What is the inner meaning of this difference in attitude?" She pointed out that everyone has to act up to the role assumed by him. Wearing the sanyasi's robe it was the proper thing for the ascetic to reject any material gift. But in the dancer's role she was entitled to ask for as much as she thought fit. That day she was playing the role of the dancer. When the king heard her reply, he felt that he had learnt a good lesson from her. "Here I am, a king. I should conduct myself as a king and not behave in any way unbecoming of a person wearing regal robes." He appreciated the lesson which the woman had taught him.