There was once a wealthy man who was quite advanced in years. In the course of time, he passed away and his son inherited all his money and property. Unfortunately, this son used to smoke and drink and lead an undivine vital life. Soon he had squandered all his father’s money. Because of his desperate financial situation, he could no longer drink or smoke or enjoy his pleasure-life. He was so miserable because he had acted so foolishly and so unwisely.
One night this young man had a dream. In his dream, a most luminous being came to him. He said to this being, “Ah, you are God. I am sure you are God Himself.”
The luminous being said, “No, I am not God, but I have come from God. I have been sent by God to help you.”
The son had been cursing God for not stopping him from drinking and smoking and living an undivine life. He felt that if God had given him some common sense, he would not have behaved in this manner. Because he had been cursing and insulting God, God sent this particular angel to him.
The angel then asked him, “Do you want to have all your money and property restored to you?”
The young man replied, “Yes, I want to get back my old way of life.”
The angel said, “All right. From now on, for one full year, you have to do something. If you can do it successfully, you will get back all your wealth. You will be able to lead your old pleasure-loving way of life. This is what you must do: you must not tell a lie for one year and you must stop smoking.”
The young man said, “How can I smoke? I have no money!”
The angel said, “All right. Smoking is taken care of. Now tell me, do you have anger?”
The young man answered, “Yes, I have been literally cursing God day in and day out.”
The angel told him, “Then this is what you must do for one full year: you must stop telling lies and you must never be angry with anybody under any circumstances. Then everything you have lost will be restored to you.”
One full year passed by. True to his word, the man did not tell a single lie and he did not get angry with anybody. Then he asked himself, “Did God’s angel tell me a lie? One year has gone by since the angel visited me. In which way has the angel fulfilled his promise? Where is my long-lost wealth? Where are my former days of happiness? They have not been restored to me.”
That night the same angel appeared to the man. The man was furious with the angel. He said, “You have told me a lie! I have not told a lie for one year and I have not done anything bad. How is it then that I am not getting back my property, my money and everything else?”
The angel said, “True, they have not come back, but tell me, when you had so much material wealth, were you happy?”
“Yes,” the man said, “I enjoyed it to the fullest extent.”
“And now,” said the angel, “what is happening?”
“I cannot enjoy it,” said the man, “because you did not keep your promise.”
The angel went on, “Tell me frankly, do you think it will be possible for you to think of your life in a different way?”
“What do you mean?” cried the man. “I do not understand.”
The angel continued, “Previously, you enjoyed the world in a special way. You fell in love with material prosperity and you craved worldly pleasures. Now, can you not fall in love with yourself?”
“What are you saying?” cried the man. “Please explain what you mean.”
The angel explained, “There are two ways to derive joy. One way is through possession and another way is through renunciation. Once upon a time you possessed many things, but you misused them and you lost everything. Now you do not have anything, but you do have a heart, a beautiful heart.”
“Is it true? Do I have a beautiful heart?” asked the man.
The angel said, “You not only have a beautiful heart, but also a most beautiful soul.”
“What will happen now?” asked the man.
The angel replied, “If you continue to bring to the fore this most beautiful heart and soul of yours, then you will find that in a few years’ time you will gather many disciples. These disciples of yours will be at your beck and call. They will listen to you at every moment, they will obey you unconditionally and in every way they will make you a real prince. True, you have lost your material wealth. But, I assure you, you will gain so much spiritual wealth if you just fall in love with your soul and with your heart.”
The man was wonderstruck. “Is it true?” he asked.
“Yes,” said the angel. “Just be fond of yourself because you have such a beautiful heart and beautiful soul. I am telling you, very soon you will have so many disciples and these disciples will do everything for you. You will be like a prince.”
The man followed the angel’s advice. He did not smoke or drink and he led a very good life. He became extremely spiritual. Almost overnight, disciples began to flock to him. He was very happy that his disciples were obeying him in every way.
Alas, alas, in a few months’ time these same disciples started making his life miserable. They began making complaints against each other and displaying so much jealousy and insecurity.
For a few months, the man had enjoyed his newfound life as a Guru. Then, when his disciples started fighting and quarrelling, the idea of guruship no longer appealed to him. This time, however, he did not curse God. He prayed to God most sincerely, “O God, when I squandered all my wealth, I cursed You because You took away everything. I could no longer smoke or drink to my heart’s content. Now it seems that You have cursed me by giving me all these undivine disciples. O God, please, please, can You not save me?”
Once again in a dream God’s messenger appeared. This time the luminous being said to the man, “Indeed, you are caught. You cursed God because you were unable to lead your old life. Now you are saying that God has cursed you by giving you such bad disciples. Make up your mind. What would you like to do now?”
The man said, “I will not curse God any more and I do not want God to curse me any more. Please, please inform God that I am renouncing this whole world. I do not want to drink and lead that wild life any more, and I do not want the name and fame of a Guru. I need only God.”