The rich man renounces the world

There was a man who had amassed a fortune, but not always by honest means. He had adopted foul means countless times to procure money. In the evening of his life, this man said to his family, "Look, I have done many, many undivine things in the course of my life, and now I must leave you all. I have to go into the forest and pray to God for forgiveness and for my illumination."

The wife said, "Oh no! If you go, I shall accompany you. You have to take me with you."

The son said, "Father and Mother, if you go away, then I will have nobody. I shall also follow you."

Then the rich man's mother stepped forward. She was very, very old. She said, "My son, my daughter-in-law and my grandson are leaving the house. Who will take care of me? I will not be able to live all by myself. Let me come, too."

The whole family wanted to follow this rich man into the forest and lead a life of austerity. The rich man said, "I am in such a predicament! I cannot take you all with me. All right, I shall compromise. Let me live a mile away from this house in a small hut. There I shall live alone and on very rare occasions I will allow you to come and see me. I will devote myself only to spirituality. For the rest of my life I will only pray and meditate."

Immediately his son said, "Father, then let me build you the hut." Now, instead of building a hut, the son constructed a very beautiful house. It was small, but it was very, very charming and convenient in every way.

The father said, "Is this what I wanted? All right, what can I do? I shall live here, but please do not come to visit me every day. I will live only on fruits and practise spirituality with utmost sincerity. I want to pray and meditate and nothing else. So please come only on rare occasions."

The wife promised that she would only send a small quantity of food on rare occasions and that she herself would not come. But what happened? Every day she used to bring her husband most delicious food that she prepared herself. She had many servants, but she insisted on preparing the food for her husband and bringing it herself.

Then the wealthy man's friends began to visit him quite often.

"I have come here to pray and meditate," lamented the wealthy man, "but I have not had a moment's peace."

One night he began praying to God with utmost sincerity and with tears in his heart, "O God, I wanted to give my life to You, but I have only met with obstructions. Do guide me." At that moment, he saw a cosmic god descending from Above with a chariot. The cosmic god said, "Now God wants you to be in Heaven. I shall take you there."

The rich man was so thrilled. He was fully prepared to go to Heaven. Alas, just as he was leaving his hut, his wife arrived with most delicious food.

"Where are you going? Where are you going?" she cried.

He said, "Do not bother me, do not bother me! I am going away now."

"Oh no, I have to go too!" she said. Then she entered into the chariot and started weeping.

Time had passed and it was getting late, so the son came to see why his mother was not returning home. He thought that perhaps his father was very sick. The son came running and saw that his mother and father were seated in the chariot. "I must come with you!" he said.

Then the son felt very sad that his poor wife was at home. He knew she would miss him. So he begged his parents to wait while he went to fetch his wife. When the son returned with his wife, the wealthy man's old mother also came. She said, "How am I going to manage by myself? Who will take care of me? And my other son also has to come with his wife!"

Eventually the entire family was seated in the chariot. They started flying very high on their way to Heaven. As they climbed higher and higher, the chariot began to go out of control. It was shaking because it was too heavy. It seemed that it was about to crash.

The rich man said, "I cannot remain here! It is not safe!" Then he jumped out of the chariot. When he fell down, he landed in a place full of undivine beings. They ruthlessly attacked him and tried to devour him. The rich man began screaming. Then all of a sudden he woke up. The whole thing had been a nightmare. It was not reality. But this dream had a special significance. When morning came, the rich man went to his old house and said to his wife and all the members of his family, "I want no more attachment! This time I am leaving you all for good. I need only God and nobody else — no wife, no son, no mother, only God, God, God. I am leaving this place. I will never come back and you must never, never follow me. I shall spend the rest of my days praying and meditating."

Then he left, and the family never saw him again.

Sri Chinmoy, The sage Bhrigu tests the cosmic gods.First published by Agni Press in 2002.

This is the 1433rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book The sage Bhrigu tests the cosmic gods, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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