The Cracked Pot

Swami Shaktimitrananda Saraswati

An elderly woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck to the stream every day. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For two long years this went on every day, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. After all, it was perfect for the purpose for which it had been made. The cracked pot, however, was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it was meant to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you because this crack in my body causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Due to my flaw, you don’t get full value for your effort.”

The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path? That’s because I have always known about your flaw. I sowed flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my altar. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house. Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. But it is the cracks and flaws that make our life together interesting and rewarding, as long as we remember to smell the flowers on our side of the path!”