The following parable, as retold by Jim Bass, is one Guru Maharaj Ji has often cited in his satsang.
Once upon a time a man sat thinking about all the things he wanted but did not have. He had been doing this for some time before a strange man approached with an oil lantern, the type you'd expect to see in an Arabian Nights story. The man asked the stranger about the lamp and he replied, "This lamp contains a genie. When rubbed properly the genie will appear and grant the one who summoned it anything he asks for."
"That sounds handy," said the man, "May I have a try?"
"You may. But I must warn you. This genie is very energetic. He must have something to do at all times. If you fail to keep him fully occupied, he will turn against you and eat you alive."
"No sweat, stranger," said the man, "I could keep two of these genies going night and day with all the things I want. Here, let me try it." So, despite the warning, the man rubbed the lamp and within seconds the genie billowed out.
"Yes, master?" boomed the genie. "What can I do for you?"
"First off I'd like an estate – beautiful house, sculptured grounds and so forth. Something along the lines of the Hearst place in California. Work on that and let me know when you are done." Then the man settled in for a wait. But within seconds the genie snapped his fingers and the estate appeared complete.
"What's next, boss?" asked the genie.
"Gees, you're fast. Give me, uh, a BMW with a pretty girl sitting in the passenger's seat." As before, the request was fulfilled in seconds.
"Nice work," said the man. "Take five while I show this young lady around my estate."
At this point the genie adopted a rather menancing pose and demanded, "What's next!"
The entire morning passed that way. As soon as the man gave the genie a task to perform he would do it in seconds. And so the man was forced to keep dreaming new things up. By lunch he was hungry and exhausted and nearly out of things for the genie to do.
"Fix me lunch," he feebly ordered the genie, knowing full well that he would never have time to eat it with the genie pacing around. He was so tired and frustrated that he was about to throw in the towel and let the genie eat him when the stranger reappeared.
"Could I interest you in a used genie?" he asked the stranger. "I'm done with him."
"Sorry. I couldn't take him back even if I wanted to. Remember I warned you about this genie."
"Yeah, but you didn't tell me how fast he is. Isn't there anything I can do? I'm desperate."
"There is a solution. You seem to have learned your lesson. First tell the genie to chop down that tree and trim off the branches so that you have a pole."
The man looked over at the genie, "You heard him. Do it."
"Now have him bury it so that it sticks out of the ground like a telephone pole." The genie buried the pole as instructed. "Tell him to climb the pole and then slide back down, then climb it again. Tell him to keep it up until you tell him to quit."
So the genie went up and down, up and down, over and over again. With the genie kept busy, the man finally had a chance to survey his new posessions and reflect upon his desires. "Wow!" he told the stranger. "All of this stuff is worthless unless you have the peace to enjoy it!"
* * *
After a time the stranger then spoke, "I think it is safe. Now this incredible genie will be your servant."
Before he left the stranger spoke again, "In many ways the human mind is like this genie. It always demands you give it something to do. If you do not keep it busy it will make your life miserable. The meditation is much like the pole because it is something infinite your mind cannot control. When you can control your mind through true meditation, it too will be your servant. Good luck, my friend, good luck."