Forest Talks: No 9

A monk had some copper cents and was about to give them away to some boys. Many poor people came to him to get them, but he would not give them. Finally, there came before the monk a king seated on an elephant. The monk threw the copper pieces into the howdah on the top of the elephant where the king was seated. The king was astonished at this unexpected act of the monk. The monk said the money was for him, the poorest man. The king enquired how he could be the poorest man. The monk said he was the poorest man, because of his possessions and of his continual hunger and thirst for more kingdoms. Hence he was the poorest man.

A man was collecting heaps of money in a box. A monk passed by. On being invited to the house of this rich man who was hoarding this money in large boxes and steel chests, the monk asked the reason of this act. The wealthy man said, “Sir, what do you care, you are fed by the public, and even if they do not feed you, you do not care a straw for your body, but for us it is necessary to lay by some money so that it may be of use to us at the right time.”The monk was silent. The next day the wealthy man had to go and see the monk in the rotten cottage where he lived. When the wealthy man came to the cottage of the monk, he found that the monk had with great labour dug a big pit and in that pit he was throwing beautiful, round stones, heaping stones upon stones in that pit, and had been labouring all day long in that manner. When the rich man came up, he said, “Swami, Swami, what are you doing here? “The monk said, “I am collecting these beautiful pieces of stone, don’t you see how round they are? “The wealthy man smiled and said, “Why are you collecting them? Here is a whole mountain full of these stones. What is the use of collecting them? “The monk said, “I preserve them for the time of need. I may require them sometime and it may be that all these mountains will be washed off the surface of the earth, so I will collect them and store them away.”The wealthy man answered, “How is that possible? How can the stones be washed away from the earth? “Then the monk jumped upon the wealthy mail and said, “You taught me this lesson, 0 fool, there never will come a time when your food will not be laid before you by God— What is the use of just wasting your energy and lavishing your precious time in this laying by of gold and silver? Learn a lesson from me. Life is not for this waste, for this spendthrift purpose. It is not to be wasted in such petty^ sordid cares and anxieties.”

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