How to Deter Rats from Shredding a Loincloth

A Guru left one of his disciples in a hut on the banks of a river. The disciple's sole possession was a loincloth. He begged in the nearby village for sustenance. Every day when he bathed in the river, he washed the loincloth, let it dry, and then wore it. One day, a rat chewed on the loincloth, leaving a large hole in it. Understandably upset, the disciple now had to beg not only for food but also for a new loincloth.

To deter the rat, he acquired a cat. However, he then had to beg for milk to feed the cat. To provide milk for the cat, he got a cow. To feed the cow, he cultivated the land around his hut with grass. With the increasing chores, he found little time for meditation. Because he couldn't manage the animals on his own, he felt the need for a companion. He married. In due course, he became one of the richest men in the town.

The Guru happened to pass by the village one day. He was surprised to see a palatial house where the hut once stood and remarked to his followers, "Wasn't there a hut here before?"

The disciple emerged from the palace and acknowledged, "Yes." The Guru, clearly taken aback, asked, "What is the meaning of all this?"

The disciple replied, "Guru, you won't believe it. I simply didn't know how to protect the loincloth from the rat."