A great king asked a Sufi mystic to give him something in writing — a sutra, a small maxim which would help him in every possible situation, good, bad, which would help him in success, in failure, in life, in death. The Sufi gave him his ring and told him, “There is a message. Whenever you are really in need, in a real emergency, just open the ring, take up the diamond, and inside you will find the message — but not out of curiosity, only when there is real danger which you cannot face on your own and you need me, you can see the message.”
Many times the king became curious what is in there, but he resisted his temptation: he had given his promise, his word. He was a man of his word. After ten years he was attacked and defeated. He ran away into the forest, into the mountains, and the enemy was following him. He could hear the horses coming closer and closer — it was death coming closer. They would kill him! But he was going as fast as he could on his horse. Tired he was, tired was his horse; wounded he was, wounded was his horse. And then suddenly he came to a cul-de-sac.
The way ended; there was an abyss. And there was no possibility of turning back because the enemy was closing in, at every moment coming closer.
He could not take the jump into the abyss; that was sure death. Except for waiting there was nothing to do. Suddenly he remembered the ring. He opened the ring, removed the diamond. Inside there was a piece of paper; on the piece of paper just a simple, single sentence: “This too will pass away.” And suddenly a great calmness descended on him: “This too will pass away.”