There were two very close friends who lived in the same village. The time came when one of them, for some reason, had to go and live in a distant village. Inwardly the two friends maintained their love for each other, but outwardly they were unable to be together. Finally, after twenty years, the friend who had gone away returned home for a visit. Both the friends were so happy and delighted to see each other.
“Ahh!” one friend said to the other, “You look so nice! Twenty years ago you did not look so smart. You look healthy. How did you become so strong? As a matter of fact, you look younger after twenty years than you did previously! You look so much younger and very, very strong!”
The other friend said, “To tell you the truth, I suffered so much for nineteen years. Only last year something happened, and that made me very happy and very strong.”
“What was it?” asked the first friend eagerly.
“Let me tell you the whole story,” said the second friend. “I opened up a shop and it failed. Then I went into other businesses and failed. I only failed and failed in my attempts to make money. Then I decided that I would not think of money any more. I decided to live a very simple life. The moment I gave up the idea of becoming very rich, I was inundated with peace. Peace entered into my mind and my body. I immediately became healthier. I look so much better because I gave up the idea of becoming rich. If you give up the idea of becoming rich, you have no worries or anxieties. You become very peaceful, happy and strong.”
The first friend said, “You are a radiant example! I should also do the same. I must not think of money and all kinds of material things. Then I will look younger and I will become stronger and happier. My difficulty is that my wife will not allow me to lead a simple life. My wife wants to be very rich. Now that I have learned from you about the benefits of leading a simple life, I also want to do the same. But I know the nature of my wife. My wife will be pleased only if I make lots of money. How I wish I was not compelled to earn so much money!”
“You have my complete sympathy,” said the second friend. “I gave up the idea of becoming rich, but my wife now wants us to open a new business. She wants to become very, very rich. I know that she will not be peaceful and happy like me by leading a simple life.”
The first friend said, “Both our wives want to become rich and we want only simplicity. What are we going to do?” Then he had a brilliant idea. He said, “I have the solution! Let the wives stay together. Since we do not want money, you and I will live together. We can be happy and peaceful in our own way and they can be happy in their own way.”
So the two friends went and informed their wives of their wonderful proposal and the wives gladly agreed. Both the wives were quite smart and they felt that they would manage far better without their husbands. So the two wives lived together and the two husbands lived together. The two husbands had next to nothing. They survived on very little money, but they were very happy and they had peace of mind. Meanwhile, the two wives were struggling under the pressure of running their businesses.
In the course of time, the husbands became quite old, and they developed all kinds of ailments. Eventually they needed to go to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, the hospital did not want to accept them. The hospital authorities and the doctors said, “Unless you pay, we cannot treat you.”
The two husbands said, “We do not have money. We are poor. We do not even have insurance. What are we going to do?”
But the hospital authorities were adamant. They did not want to accept them. Then the authorities asked, “Do you have any relatives?”
“We have wives,” said the two husbands.
“What are your wives doing?” asked the authorities. “Can you not take help from them?”
“Oh no,” said the two husbands. “We wanted to become happy by remaining poor. So we separated from our wives.”
“But are you happy now?” asked the authorities. “You have all kinds of diseases. You badly need medical treatment and you cannot afford it.”
The two husbands said, “We know we need medical treatment, but what can we do? We are helpless.”
So the doctors went to the two wives and said, “Your husbands are suffering so much. Do you not feel obliged to help them?”
One wife said, “They are fools!”
The other wife said, “We do not care for them. They left us. They said they wanted to have peace. Let them have peace! Why should we be responsible?”
“But now they are both suffering from diseases. They are in dire need of your help,” said the doctors.
Finally the wives began to feel sorry for their husbands, so they decided to pay their husbands a visit. When they saw their poor husbands, they said, “You fools! Who wanted you to become very, very rich? Not us! You had the wrong impression, so you left us. Now you have nothing. It is not good to be greedy, but as long as we are on earth, we need money for our basic daily needs. Now we have to save you. If we pay for your medical treatment, then only can you be cured.”
So the wives paid for their husbands, and the husbands were cured. Then they went back to their respective wives, and both couples again started living a normal life.
The wives said, “We shall give you whatever money you need, and you will help us to run our business. We need money not only to keep you alive but also to keep both our families alive. We are not asking you to be extremely rich, but each of us should have the money that we need to live on earth.”
So this was how the two husbands received illumination from their wives. In the beginning, both the wives did want to become very rich. That is why they gave up their husbands. But then wisdom dawned on them. They realised that too much money creates problems in our lives. We need money-power to live on earth, but we should not constantly cry for more wealth.