The stingy rich man

There was once a rich man who was very stingy. He had lots of money, but he wanted to have much more money. He used to pray to God to give him all kinds of wealth and riches. One day God came to him and said, “I will give you more money, but how will you use it?”

The rich man said, “If You give me more money, I will give some away to charity. Giving to charity means that I am giving it to You, for I am seeing You inside human beings. So I will give You some of the money.”

Then God said, “Then can you tell everybody now that one day you will be giving away money to charity?”

“Of course,” answered the man. “I can tell the whole world that some day I will definitely give away money to charity. But right now, please, by Your Grace, let me keep all the money intact so that nobody can steal it. If You listen to my request, then I will fulfil Your request to give money away to the poor and needy.”

So God gave the man more money and the man kept the money for some time. Then God came to him and said, “You have kept your money safe. Now you can give some money away to Me — that is, to the poor and needy.”

The rich man said, “Yes, but can You not do me a favour? At least for ten years I wish to keep the money intact. Then I will give some away.”

God said, “No, I want you to give money now to the poor.”

The man said, “O God, if I give money away, then my wealth will not remain intact. I will lose some money. But if You allow me to keep the money for ten years, then I promise I will give You a very large sum.”

After ten years God came back to the rich man and said, “Now ten years are over. Will you not start giving some of your money to the poor and needy?”

The man said to God, “At least for thirty years more let me keep the money for myself.”

God said, “Now you want to keep it for thirty years! Previously you said only ten years.”

The man said, “True, I said only ten years, but now I want to keep the money for another thirty years. Otherwise, I am not going to give a thing to the poor.”

God said, “When will thirty years ever come? It will take such a long time.”

After thirty years God came again. The man was very old and couldn’t even see properly. Even then he hadn’t given any money to the poor.

God said to him, “What are you doing? Even at this time you won’t give money to the poor?”

The man said, “Still I am hiding the money under my bed.”

God said, “What will happen when you die? Do you want to give your money to your children or to the poor?”

The rich man said, “To be very honest, I don’t want to do either.”

“Why, why?” God asked.

“If my children get the money,” the man said, “nobody will know that they got the money from me. They will be very rich, but very few people will know that they are useless people and it is I who have given it to them. I have always been very jealous of both my sons. If they put the money in the bank and get interest, naturally they will become richer than I now am. After ten years, people will say that the children are richer than their father was. At that time I will feel very sad in Heaven. I will feel jealous that my children have surpassed me. O God, I don’t want my children to be richer than I am, and I don’t want to help the poor. I want everybody to say that I was the richest man, even though they hate me because of my stinginess. Who cares for generosity? I want everybody to say I was the richest member of my family.”

Sri Chinmoy, Is your mind ready to cry? Is your heart ready to smile? part 7.First published by Agni Press in 1981.

This is the 470th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Is your mind ready to cry? Is your heart ready to smile? part 7, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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