Once upon a time, there was a king in the ancient city of Kashi (Benares). He had a son, and the king loved him a lot. To commemorate his son’s fifth birthday, the king came up with an idea of getting his portrait done. A stage was set and a court painter was called. However, on this occasion, the queen who always wished to have a daughter instead, thought of dressing her son as a girl!

On the day, the queen summoned for all the royal regalia – including a crown, sparkling jewellery and silk clothes. The maids started dressing up the prince in all the fineries. The little boy, who had no clue of what was going on, sat restlessly on the throne with all the make-up on his tender face and posed for the painter. When the portrait was done, everybody gasped in awe. It was a bewitching princess!

The portrait was kept in a store room of the palace. Years went by. When the prince turned sixteen years old, while strolling around the palace, he happened to walk in the store room and stumbled upon the portrait of a beautiful princess. And he fell in love with her! Every now and then, the prince would go and spend hours looking at the picture, and his love grew deeper day by day. He lost his hunger; he lost his sleep and would sit alone brooding. His mother was getting worried, but the prince would not let anybody know what was on his mind. So the queen summoned her son’s close friend to find out what was happening.

The friend enquired, ‘O prince, why are you sad?’ He replied, ‘I am in love!’ The prince took his friend to the store room to see the portrait but upon seeing the beautiful princess, the friend expressed his own desire in meeting the enchanting girl. The prince got furious, and they fought and punched each other, until the queen walked in and asked what had happened. The prince signalled his friend not to expose his secret love, but since they just had a fight, the friend told his mother all about her son being in love with the mysterious princess. The prince said to his mother, that he was going to marry none other than the beautiful princess of his heart.

Upon seeing the portrait and listening to her son’s confession, the queen just laughed and laughed. The prince got angry seeing her reaction, but the mother lovingly embraced her son and explained the story behind the portrait. She told him how she had got him dressed up as a princess. Th prince was utterly shocked, how could he be in love with himself?

The moral of the story is: All human beings are seeking ‘ananda’, bliss, and you are the prince of the story who doesn’t know that the ananda is within you. Bliss or happiness is not far away, it is right here, within you. Rise in love, by in love with your real Self. Love thy own Self, for thy Self is bliss.