THE RICH MAN IN THE DESERT

THE RICH MAN IN THE DESERT

"There was a Perfect Master, and he had some followers.  They would garland him, bow down to him and give him presents.  Every day, this program would be there with the Perfect Master.  The Perfect Master would only give a short discourse, and then his followers would go away.

"One day, a rich man came.  He did not bring anything.  From a distance, he observed people garlanding the Perfect Master, bowing down to him and giving him presents.  Then the Perfect Master gave a short discourse, and the people dispersed.

"After the people left, the rich man went to the Perfect Master.

"He did not garland him, did not bow down to him, did not give him any presents.  He was teasing the Master and said, 'O Master, what a comfortable life you are leading.  People come, they garland you, they bow down to you, and they give you presents.  Whatever you need, you get.  You are leading a very comfortable life without working.  You receive all respect from people.  How fortunate you are!'

"The Perfect Master said, 'One day you will come to know.'

"'Why one day?' the rich man asked.  'What is the secret behind it?  There is nothing.  Just see, I work and work and work.  I perspire, then I earn.  And without doing any work, you are better off than I am.  You get everything!

"'One day you will come to know,' the Master repeated.

"Three or four times this happened.  This rich man would come to the Perfect Master, but he would not pay him any respect.  He would not give him anything, and he would tease him.  Each time the Perfect Master would say, 'One day you will come to know.'

"Eventually, the rich man had a whim that he should go on some adventure, such an adventure that no one had done up until now.  He was thinking and thinking, until he decided, 'Why not cross the desert?  No one has done it.  If I do it, I'll become very popular.  Because I am very rich, I can afford it.'"

This is an ancient story -- at that time, there were no means of transport other than walking.  Sometimes when people would go to the desert, they would use camels, but they would not cross the desert.

"This rich man called his workers and said, 'Get 100 camels ready.  Load eatables and water on them in a large quantity.  We have to cross the desert.'

"The workers did as instructed, and then they all started off.

"When they reached the desert, it was very hot.  The rich man started pouring water on his body, continuously.  The caravan went a certain distance, and the workers thought, 'He is using so much water.  Suppose we find ourselves in the midst of the desert, and there is no water.  We will die.  It is better to warn this rich man not to use so much water.'

"The workers went to him and said, 'Master, you are using so much water.  Suppose we are in the midst of the desert, and there is no water?  We all will die.'

"This rich man was very, very proud.  He said, 'I am paying you.  Therefore, you should not make any complaint.'

"The workers said, 'When there is no water, we will not be able to drink the money which you are giving us.  We will want water.'

"'Either listen to me without complaint or go away!' the rich man told them.

"All the workers left, and the rich man was alone.  But because he was proud, he was going ahead, pouring water on his body.  When he was in the midst of the desert, there was no more water.  He was very, very thirsty.  He was dying.

"Then he said, 'O God, I am dying.  Give me water to drink.'

"And a man appeared with water.  When he saw him, the rich man said, 'Please, I am dying of thirst.  Give me a little water.'

"The man said, 'Give you water?!  You have to pay if you want water.'

"'Yes, yes,' the rich man replied.  'I will pay you.  How much do you want?'

"'Whatever you have here, you have to give me.  Then I will take you back.  Otherwise, you will die.  When I go back with you, whatever you have -- your business, property, everything you own, you have to give to me.'

"The rich man said, 'You want so much for water?!'

"'Then die if you don't want to give this to me.  I don't care,' the man with the water answered.

"But the rich man was dying of thirst, and he had to accept this offer.  Then the man started supplying him water.

"He brought the rich man back home and said, 'Now give me charge of everything.'

"The rich man had to give over his property, business, money, everything, to the man with the water.  And the rich man was on the street.  He was penniless; he had nothing.  'What to do now?' he asked himself.

"Then he remembered the Master.

"The rich man thought, 'He is the only one who can help me.'

"He went to the Perfect Master, who looked at him and said, 'You look so miserable!  What happened to you?!'

"The rich man told the whole story to the Master.

"The Master said, 'For water, you have given everything to that man.  He deceived you!'

"'I gave everything to him because I was dying,' said the rich man.  'I would have died had he not supplied water.'

"And the Master said, 'This shows that water is more valuable than your property, business, everything!'

"'Yes, Master, I realize this.  I was attached to what I was doing.  It is good that that man has taken everything away.'

"The Master said, "You are not free from attachment.  It is still there in you.  You are suffering externally and mentally.  If the situation changes, you will be just the same.'

"The rich man said, 'No, Master, now I have realized.'

"And what happened?

"The man who had taken everything from this rich man was approaching.  When the rich man saw him, he said, 'This is the man, Master, who has taken everything from me.  But don't say anything to him, because he has saved my life.'

"When that man came, the Master said, 'You took away everything from this rich man?  You charged so much for the water?  Have you no shame?'

"The man replied, 'Master, he was dying, but he wanted to live.  He could not live without water.  So I put my conditions before him:  If he wanted to live, he had to give everything to me.  And he did.  So it is not my fault.  I did not do any injustice to him.  On the contrary, he wanted to live because was attached to this world.  That's why he gave everything to me.'

"The Master listened, and then he said to the rich man, 'Do you remember when you were dying?  What did you say?'

"The rich man said, 'Yes, Master, I do remember.  I prayed to God:  'Please give me some water, I am dying.'  Then this man appeared.'

"The Master said, 'Do you know who heard your voice?'

"'No, Master, I don't know.'

"'I heard your voice,' said the Master, 'and I sent this man to you to supply you with water.  And you say that I don't do anything?  That I just sit here, and people come and garland me; they bow down to me, and they bring presents.  That you could see, but what I really do, you cannot see.'

"The rich man said, 'Master, I now realize.  Please give me shelter near you, and I will do whatever you ask of me.'

"'It is a very difficult life.  You have to obey my order.  You have to walk on the edge of a sword.  So be careful, because you are not ready to do whatever I like.'

"'Master, I have realized it.  I will never leave you.  I will do my best to please you.'

"So the Master said, 'Now that property, business, your money, everything, belongs to Me.  Nothing belongs to you.  And this is my order.  I make you the caretaker of my property, business, everything which is in your possession.  I am the owner.  You are only my caretaker.  You eat, you have a good life, but never think that it is yours.  Whatever you had, it belongs to me now.  Will you do it?'

"And the rich man accepted these conditions as the Master's order.

Gist:

Never think that anything belongs to you.  Everything belongs to the God and you are the caretaker.  If you have this attitude, then God helps you, because whatever you do you do it in order to please Him.