Greed pays the penalty18

There was once a seeker living in an ashram who developed leprosy. Nobody with that kind of disease was allowed to remain in the ashram, so the head of the ashram asked him to leave. His wife and children were allowed to stay, but he was told that he had to leave. Poor fellow, what could he do?

So he bought a ticket and got on the train which would take him back to his home town. In the compartment he was sitting in there happened to be a few other passengers and also a huge trunk which was locked very tightly.

All the other passengers got off the train at their respective stops, but nobody took the trunk. This man was the only person left in the compartment, and still the trunk remained. Since he was all alone, a brilliant idea struck his mind. “Since nobody has claimed that box, let me take it home. Perhaps there will be something precious inside.”

He could not carry the box, so he asked the taxi driver to help him take the box home. His house was empty, since his wife was in the ashram with his children. He was very excited and curious and he broke open the locks. When he opened the box he practically fainted. Inside was a dead body which was cut into four or five pieces. To see a dead body is bad enough. But what could he do with a dead body in his house? How could he bury it or cremate it all by himself? And if he asked anybody to help him, he would be arrested.

He decided to ask some of his relatives, but his relatives were frightened to death, and they refused to help him dispose of the body. “This is what you learn at the ashram — to steal somebody else’s possession? Now you pay the penalty,” they said, and they would not help him.

The man locked the box again and hired two strong men to take it to a nearby river. But the two men wanted to know what was inside. He said, “Just some rubbish, which I don’t want to keep. These are all my wife’s belongings. I want to get rid of them. She was so evil.” Then he made up a story about how bad his wife was.

The two strong men were about to throw the box into the river when, O God, a policeman happened to pass by. The man told the same story about his wife, but the policeman was curious or perhaps he was just tempted to get the things which were in the box. So he ordered the man to open it. As a result, this man who had been in the ashram was arrested and put in jail. Even today, still he has not been released. So, for his greed he is paying the penalty!

This kind of story is instructive. If you have greed, you pay the penalty. And if you are not cautious, also you pay the penalty.

GIM 178. 12 May 1979