The goddess and the businessman

There was once a very rich businessman. Every morning before going to work in the city, he would pray to the presiding goddess of his family. He always prayed for the same thing: the increase of his material prosperity. Finally, after many years, he said, “At last I am satisfied. I have so much money! I have a beautiful house and so much property. Now I do not have to pray to the goddess anymore; I do not need her.”

Soon afterwards, the goddess appeared to him in a dream and said, “Because you prayed to me for so many years, I gave you your present prosperity. Now you have become so ungrateful. Everything that you have, you will lose!”

The businessman became extremely worried and frightened. “O my God, O my God,” he repeated, “what have I done? If she really has this kind of power, I will become destitute!” Then he pleaded with the goddess, “Please, please give me another chance! You have been so kind to me over the years. Now I want to perform a magnificent puja in your honour. I will spend thousands and thousands of rupees. I will bring all my relatives from different villages and everyone will see how I worship you! You just have to give me a little time to make the necessary preparations.”

The goddess agreed to the businessman’s proposal. She said, “You do not have to perform this puja overnight, but in a few months’ time you must do it.”

The businessman promised to begin making the arrangements immediately. The goddess was very pleased that he would soon worship her with great pomp. She did not withdraw as she had threatened to do. On the contrary, she continued to bless the businessman and his family every day.

Days ran into weeks and weeks ran into months, but still the businessman did not even begin making arrangements for the puja. He postponed the event indefinitely. Finally, the goddess became disgusted. Once more she appeared before him, and this time she said, “You told me that in the near future you would worship me with a very elaborate puja, but I can clearly see that you have done nothing. Your promise was empty. Now I shall leave you permanently!”

This time the businessman was not at all frightened. He told the goddess, “If you go, then I will tell the whole world that you are a liar.”

“I, a liar?” asked the goddess, greatly surprised.

“Yes,” continued the businessman. “You assured me that you would stay with me for some time. You are a divine being. You have to honour your promise.”

“But weeks and months have now passed,” said the goddess.

“Do you not know that we mortals are full of weaknesses?” said the clever businessman. “I am just an ordinary man. It is in my nature to tell lies. But you are supposed to have compassion for humanity. You are supposed to have patience to help us overcome our weaknesses. That is why we worship you. You have all the divine qualities in infinite measure: forgiveness, patience, compassion, wisdom. Alas, we can only offer you our imperfections.”

The goddess decided to give the businessman yet another chance. She said to him, “Do you think you will be able to worship me on a daily basis once again? Can you give me your sincere promise?”

“Daily I shall worship you,” said the rogue-businessman in his most devoted voice.

For a few days, he did honour his promise and he worshipped the goddess before going to work in the city. Then, somehow, he managed to forget about her. He became very irregular in his worship and eventually he ceased to worship her altogether.

Once more the goddess appeared before the businessman. This time she came with her power-aspect. She cried, “You are such a rogue! You are full of greed, insincerity and dishonesty. I have decided to withdraw from your life once and for all. I will be the presiding goddess for those who love me and value me. But I do not want to remain a goddess for you. You stay with your money-power, since you are more than satisfied with it. But, I tell you, after I go away from you, all your money-power will disappear and you will become a street beggar. That is what you deserve!”

At this, the businessman was really horrified. He said, “How can you curse me like this? Only ordinary people curse others. But you are a goddess! I shall let the whole world know that you have come down to this level. How do you dare to claim that you have any divinity at all when you hurl your curses at innocent human beings like me?”

This time the patience of the goddess had run out. With a stern voice she said, “For you, I do not want to remain a goddess. I will definitely be there for those who love me and value me. I will go to them and I will help them inwardly and outwardly in countless ways. But in your case, from today you will see how your fate has changed!”

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the goddess disappeared.