The Cause of Greed – Story
A man with his wife used to live very happily in their small hut. Very happy they were.
The man used to work all day long and get a pittance to make the two ends meet.
He had no other worldly ambition, no other desire, no feeling of envy or hatred, a good honest worker he was.
He had a neighbour who was a very wealthy man.
This wealthy man was always immersed in anxiety, he was never happy.
A Vedantin monk once visited the houses of the rich man and his poor neighbour, and told the rich man that the cause of his worry and anxiety was his possessions.
His possessions possessed him and kept him down, his mind wandering from this object to that.
The monk pointing to the poor neighbour said “Look at him, he owns nothing, but on his face you find the bloom of happiness, and you find his muscles so strong and his arms so well built. He goes about in such a happy, cheerful, jolly mood, humming tunes of joy.”
This happiness the rich man could never enjoy.
He had his property fashioned and moulded in the way other people liked it.
Then the rich man wanted to test the truth of the monk’s remarks.
According to the advice of the monk, the rich man stealthily threw into the house of the poor man Rs. 99.
The next day they saw that no fire was lit in the house of the poor man. In the house of the poor man there used to be a good fire and they used to cook certain things purchased with the money earned by dint of the poor man’s labour. That night they found no fire in the house, they did not cook anything; they starved that night.
The next morning the monk taking the rich man with him went to the poor man and enquired as to the cause of his not lighting fire in his house.
The poor man could make no excuse in the presence of the monk; he had to tell the truth. He said that before that he used to earn a few annas, and with those few annas they used to purchase some flour and vegetables, and cook and eat them but on that day when they lit no fire, they received a little box containing Rs.99.
When they saw these Rs.99, the idea came into their mind that there was only one rupee wanting to make them full Rs. 100.
Now, in order to make up that Re. 1, they found that they might forego food on alternate day, and thus they might scrape up some annas and in a week or so would save up Re. 1, and thus they would have Rs.100. Hence they were to starve. This is the secret of the niggardliness of the rich people.
The more they get, the poorer they become. When they get Rs. 99, they want more, if they have Rs.99,000, they want Rs. 1,00,000.
The more you get, the more you become greedy, niggardly and less happy. Happiness lies not in accumulation of wealth but in content only.