There was a king who presented his daughter with a beautiful diamond necklace. The necklace was stolen and his people in the kingdom searched everywhere but could not find it. The king then asked them all to search for it and put a reward for $50,000 for anyone who found it.
One day, a clerk was walking home along a river next to an industrial area. This river was completely polluted and filthy and smelly. As he was walking, the clerk saw a shimmering in the river and when he looked, he saw the diamond necklace. He decided to try and catch it so that he could get the $50,000 reward.
He put his hand in the filthy, dirty river and grabbed at the necklace, but some how missed it and didn't catch it. He took his hand out and looked again and the necklace was still there. He tried again. This time he walked in the river and dirtied his pants in the filthy river and put his whole arm in to catch the necklace.
But strangely, he still missed the necklace! He came out and started walking away, feeling depressed. Then again, he saw the necklace, right there. This time he was determined to get it, no matter what. He decided to plunge into the river. Although it was disgusting, he plunged in and searched everywhere for the necklace. Yet one more time, he failed. This time he was really bewildered and came out feeling very depressed that he could not get the necklace that would get him $50,000.
Just then, a saint who was walking by, saw him, and asked him what was the matter. The clerk didn't want to share the secret with the saint, thinking he might take the necklace for himself, so he refused to tell him anything.
The saint could see this man was troubled. Being compassionate, he again asked the clerk to tell him the problem and promised that he would not tell anyone about it. The clerk mustered some courage and decided to put some faith in the saint. He told him about the necklace and how he tried and tried to catch it, but kept failing.
The saint then told him that perhaps he should try looking upward, toward the branches of the tree, instead of in the filthy river. The clerk looked up and true enough, the necklace was dangling on the branch of a tree. He had been trying to capture a mere reflection of the real necklace all this time.
Thanks to Malladi for sharing this spiritual story!