The Rich and the Poor

There once lived a poor man but he was full of love. He was loved by others in return. He had his quiet hours of prayer and meditation, and when he spoke, a smile played on his lips. Sometimes, however, he wished that he was rich.

One day he went to a forest and there came across an old man. The old man said to him, “I shall give you money and make you rich on one condition.”

“What is the condition?” asked the poor man.
“Give me your heart of love.”
“How shall I live then?” asked the poor man.

The old man replied, “I have a stone heart. It is wonderfully constructed. I shall take out your heart and put in its place the heart of stone. It will beat like a real heart of flesh.”

The poor man consented. So the old man laid a spell on him and when he recovered he found that he had parted with his heart of love and had a stone heart instead.

He returned home and found that money came to him without any difficulty. Whatever he touched was turned into gold. But he also found that he could no longer love God or man. He found that he spoke harshly and entertained thoughts of anger. Then he discerned the truth – that life without the love of God and man was not a blessing but a burden.

There are many men walking along the pathway of life with hearts of stone. Look around and see how many are chasing after worldly vanities – money, power, reputation, position, gold, the opposite sex and sensual enjoyments. They miss the loveliness of life.

Lord Yama, the God of Death, said to Nachiketas, “The way to the hereafter is not apparent to the rich man, who is foolish, deluded by wealth. ‘This is the world’, he thinks, ‘there is no other’ – thus he falls again and again under my sway.”

Therefore, dear brothers, develop a soft and loving heart and walk in the path of love and kindness. You will attain the final beatitude of life. You will be a blessing to the world and a lamp unto others. You will radiate peace, joy and comfort to those filled with pain, sorrow and suffering.

From Inspiring Stories by Swami Sivananda


About Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center

FIRST CLASS FREE Teaching classical yoga in San Francisco since 1957. This nonprofit organization, founded by Swami Vishnu-devananda, teaches methods to attain physical, mental and spiritual health based on Vedanta philosophy. Our dedicated, volunteer staff are all internationally certified teachers. We offer daily drop-in hatha yoga classes for all levels, daily satsang/meditation/kirtan, vegetarian meals after class, special events/workshops, as well as courses in hatha yoga, in positive thinking & meditation, and in related spiritual topics. Our open classes accommodate beginning through advanced students and consist of savasana (relaxation), pranayama (breathing exercises), Sun Salutations (warm-up exercises) and 12 asanas (postures). Variations of these postures are usually included and others added according to the level of the students. Classes are 90 minutes, with the exception of our beginners' drop-in class, which is 1 hour. FREE OPEN HOUSE - 1st Sunday of every month.
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