On hoarding and spending money- Part 2

Read the previous part here…

“If you want to hoard money and not spend it, I will make you like GuptaDhana. If you think it is better to spend the money that you have, then I will make you like UpaBhuktaDhana.” And saying this, the voice in the sky vanished.

Somilaka was surprised at this development, but decided to take it as it comes. He had lost his money anyway, and so he thought it would be better to go back to Vardhamana and meet the two people who the voice in the sky had mentioned.

It was evening by the time he reached the city gates. Tired and hungry, he started to enquire about GuptaDhana’s whereabouts. Not many people knew this person and so it took a long time, but finally Somilaka reached GuptaDhana’s house around an hour after sunset.

GuptaDhana saw him entering the gate, and shouted at him rudely. “Who are you? Get out. We don’t have any place for you here.”

“I am a traveller and dharma says that I should be allowed to spend the night here”, retorted Somilaka as he forcibly entered the house. He was determined to get to the bottom of what the voice in the sky had said. “I will stay here for just one night, and will sleep in the corner there. All I need is some food and a mat to sleep…”requested Somilaka.

GuptaDhana muttered under his breath and went inside. He returned with a small broken plate, and a few grains of rice scattered on it. “This is all I have for you”, he said as he shoved the plate into Somilaka’s hands.

Somilaka accepted what he was given, and after eating the rice, spread the mat on the floor and lay down on it. He was tired, and so within a few minutes, fell asleep.

Around midnight, Somilaka woke up with a start. He saw the same two men arguing with each other. One said “Hey Karta! Have you decided to give GuptaDhana more than what is in his destiny, so much more that he dared to feed Somilaka some food? What you have done is not right…”

“Hey Karman!”, replied the other. “This is not my fault! It is my duty to give what is due (gain or loss) to man. What he does with it lies in your hands.”

Somilaka heard this, and drifted back to sleep.

The next day, when he woke, Somilaka saw GuptaDhana lying on a bed nearby, suffering from high fever. As a result, GuptaDhana was unable to eat anything that day. It seemed that the rice that he had fed Somalika had to be earned back, by not eating this day. Strange, thought Somilaka.

He set out in the morning, and went to UpaBhuktaDhana’s house. As he entered the gates, UpaBhuktaDhana got up from his chair, welcomed Somilaka with a lot of affection, and offered him water to drink and food to eat. In the evening, he prepared a comfortable bed for his guest, and fanned Somilaka as he fell asleep.

In the night, Somilaka woke up again, and saw the two men arguing.

“Hey Karta!” said one. “UpaBhuktaDhana has spent so much on hospitality – good food and shelter for Somilaka. All the money that he spent, was borrowed from a money lender. How will you save him now?”

“Hey Karman! My work was to make the money available to him, and that I did. What he does with it lies in your hands.”

Somilaka again drifted back to sleep.

When he woke in the morning, he saw that a royal servant had come to visit. He spoke briefly to UpaBhuktaDhana and handed over some money to him and left. Somilaka observed this, and thought to himself. “UpaBhuktaDhana hasn’t hoarded money – he gives freely. Yet he seems to be in a much better position than GuptaDhana, who just hoards his money. It is rightly said – दत्त-भुक्त-फलं धनम् – The true benefits of earning money are realised when one enjoys it, as well as helps others through charity.

And so he prayed to the voice in the sky, to make him like UpaBhuktaDhana, and not like GuptaDhana. The voice in the sky granted his boon, and Somalika became a charitable person – happy with what he had to satisfy his needs, and giving the rest to others.

“And that is why I said”, concluded Mantharaka,

अर्थस्योपार्जनं कृत्वा नैवाभाग्यः समश्नुते ।
अरण्यं महदासाद्य मूढः सोमिलको यथा ॥ १२७ ॥

“So stop worrying about the wealth that you had, and lost. If you have wealth, but do not enjoy it, it is the same as not having that wealth in the first place. It is said”

गृह-मध्य-निखातेन धनेन धनिनो यदि ।
भवामः किं न तेनैव धनेन धनिनो वयं ॥ १५१ ॥

gṛha-madhya-nikhātena dhanena dhanino yadi |
bhavāmaḥ kiṃ na tenaiva dhanena dhanino vayaṃ || 151 ||

If someone believes that he is wealthy just because of money that lies buried in the centre of his house, why can’t we call ourselves wealthy as well, just by thinking about it??

Mantharaka laughed. “Buried money is not the same as having it”, he said chuckling. “Instead…”

उपार्जितानाम् अर्थानां त्याग एव हि रक्षणम् ।
तडागोदर-संस्थानां परीवाह इवाम्भसाम् ॥ १५२ ॥

upārjitānām arthānāṃ tyāga eva hi rakṣaṇam |
taḍāgodara-saṃsthānāṃ parīvāha ivāmbhasām || 152 ||

Just like water from a lake is preserved by letting it flow into the fields, earned wealth is preserved through the act of charity.

“Water that lies stagnant in the lake starts to stink, and wealth that lies stagnant in your house wastes away.”

“दानं भोगो नाशस्तिस्रो गतयो भवन्ति वित्तस्य – Wealth has three routes – charity, enjoyment and destruction. When you do not give it away, nor spend it, wealth gets destroyed”, said Mantharaka.

“And so, a wise man does not earn wealth just to store it, for that causes only pain.

सर्पाः पिबन्ति पवनं न च दुर्बलास् ते शुष्कैस् तृणैर् वन-गजा बलिनो भवन्ति ।
कन्दैः फलैर् मुनि-वरा गमयन्ति कालं सन्तोष एव पुरुषस्य परं निधानम् ॥ १५६ ॥

sarpāḥ pibanti pavanaṃ na ca durbalās te śuṣkais tṛṇair vana-gajā balino bhavanti |
kandaiḥ phalair muni-varā gamayanti kālaṃ santoṣa eva puruṣasya paraṃ nidhānam || 156 ||

Snakes live mostly on air, and are yet not weak. Elephants survive on dried grass, yet are very strong. Sanyasis live by eating just roots and fruits, yet are always at peace. It is evident that happiness is the true wealth of man.

“There is no greater wealth than happiness”, explained Mantharaka.

to be continued…

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