Rich Man And The Beggar

Hindu Parable (Author Unknown)

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Many years ago, a man was sitting in quiet contemplation by a riverbank when he was disturbed by a beggar from the local village.

“Where is the stone?” the beggar demanded. “I must have the precious stone!”

The man smiled up at him. “What stone do you seek?”

“I had a dream,” the beggar continued, barely able to slow his words to speak, “and in that dream a voice told me that if I went to the riverbank I would find a man who would give me a precious stone that would end my poverty forever!”

The man looked thoughtful, then reached into his bag and pulled out a large diamond.

“I wonder if this was the stone?” the man said kindly. “I found it on the path. If you’d like it, you may certainly have it.”

The beggar couldn’t believe his luck, and he snatched the stone from the man’s hand and ran back to the village before he could change his mind.

One year later, the beggar, now dressed in the clothes of a wealthy man, came back to the riverbank in search of his anonymous benefactor.

“You have returned, my friend!” said the man, who was again sitting in his favorite spot enjoying the peaceful flow of the water before him.  “What has happened?”

The beggar humbled himself before the man.

“Many wonderful things have happened to me because of the diamond you gave me so graciously. I have become wealthy, found a wife and bought a home. I am now able to give employment to others and to do what I want, when I want with whomever I want.”

“For what have you returned?” asked the man.

“Please,” the rich beggar said. “Teach me whatever it is inside you that allowed you to give me that stone so freely.”

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the spirit of detachment that allowed the man to give away a precious stone? Can you share a personal story of a time you were able to give away what others perceived as greatly valuable without a trace of attachment? What helps you develop a sense of abundance that goes beyond the material?

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15 Previous Reflections:

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    On Apr 21, 2021 Dhivyasree wrote:
    Nice

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    On Apr 21, 2021 Sally Mahe wrote:
    I love the unexpected ending. What a state of grace the man (contemplating by the river) had to give the diamond he had found away. What a blessing that the beggar "turned rich" went back to the man to learn the source of the man's ability to give the stone so freely. Thank you for this amazing parable.

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    On Apr 20, 2021 john lee wrote:
    Beautiful parable! I have a hang up doing that so freely albeit giving is in my DNA. I need to check that giving bears fruit, serving their respective causes effectively. My hang up is being mindful of the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I feel responsible for my intention not helping someone going to hell, or for that matter extending suffering. In the parable, the beggar has done well with the stone and created opportunities for others to do well. Furthermore, he has the humility to return for wisdom, and help others further.

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    On Apr 20, 2021 Patrick wrote:
    Ah grace, it is a beautiful, mysterious thing. }:- a.m.

    1 reply: Me | Post Your Reply
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    On Apr 20, 2021 Wayne Muller wrote:
    The begger discovered both his wealth and his poverty in the same stone.

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    On Apr 20, 2021 Jason Kung wrote:
    Wow. Did the story just end... I felt like I was left hanging wondering if there's a conclusion. Instead, it's a story that made me thinking. A story to hold on to.

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    On Apr 20, 2021 Neela Gupta wrote:
    Sharing a personal story of an old age couple who used to live on roadside near my house. They had a make believe hut with a plastic sheet overhead. when once it rained too heavily, my friend and me bought a loaf of bread and some snacks for the couple as we knew that they won't be able to light the fire as firewood may have been wet. When rain slowed down and we reached there, old man was not there. The woman was sitting in an only dry corner in that hut. My friend asked, Where is Dada( grandfather)? The woman said ," he has gone for begging in nearby area." We left the food there with her. Around dusk, my friend thought of just checking on them again. When she reached there, the old man was sitting and the woman was cooking Chapati with little flaur on one odd dry firewood she had found from below the pile. A dog was standing beside her. My friend asked in surprise, " why are you cooking now? Shouldn't you save that for tomorrow and right now eat what we have g... [View Full Comment] Sharing a personal story of an old age couple who used to live on roadside near my house. They had a make believe hut with a plastic sheet overhead.
    when once it rained too heavily, my friend and me bought a loaf of bread and some snacks for the couple as we knew that they won't be able to light the fire as firewood may have been wet.
    When rain slowed down and we reached there, old man was not there. The woman was sitting in an only dry corner in that hut. My friend asked, Where is Dada( grandfather)? The woman said ," he has gone for begging in nearby area." We left the food there with her.
    Around dusk, my friend thought of just checking on them again.
    When she reached there, the old man was sitting and the woman was cooking Chapati with little flaur on one odd dry firewood she had found from below the pile. A dog was standing beside her.
    My friend asked in surprise, " why are you cooking now? Shouldn't you save that for tomorrow and right now eat what we have given you. That way both your today and tomorrow are taken care of in case it rains more in the night."
    The old woman smiled and said," we can eat bread but my this little child eats only wheat chapati. He doesn't eat bread. Your Dada (grandfather) had gone to beg for him only." Saying this she she pat the dog lovingly.
    My friend was speechless. She later narrated this to me. We were wondering whether this was poverty or richness of the soul?
    We felt they were living in true abundance.[Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: David | Post Your Reply
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    On Apr 16, 2021 David Doane wrote:
    I admire the spirit of detachment. I assume the man by the riverbank had happiness within that was independent of wealth outside, and his happiness and wisdom expressed itself in his giving away the precious stone. He apparently knew he had no need for the stone in order to be happy. Perhaps he knew attachment was a source of unnecessary suffering. Perhaps he was willing to give the stone to the beggar so that the beggar could learn what he needed to learn. Giving away experience and wisdom without a trace of attachment has been satisfying and a significant gain for me. Giving away material perceived as valuable without any attachment has been seldom though also satisfying -- I have both attachment and detachment with regard to the material -- I obviously still have a long way to go with regard to detachment. What helps me is realizing through experience that happiness is within and independent of the material.

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    On Apr 16, 2021 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    I love parables. They are short like this Hindu parable containing profound wisdom. This parable reveals the spiritual way of living a precious life without attachment to material things. The man who is sitting by the river side contemplating is deeply contented with what he has. He gladly gives the precious diamond from his bag to the poor man who is a stranger to him. He is not expecting any reward from the beggar. His life is flowing like the river. And when the beggar comes back after a year in the dress of a wealthy man he welcomes him with an open heart. The wealthy man wanted to know whatever was inside him thatallowed him give the diamond freely. Detachment, offering a gift to someone unconditionally expecting no reward in return. This is an example of living like a Karma Yogi, offering a gift from unselfish heart. I have learned the art of living a spiritual life from my parents and a few wise teachers. I am deeply grateful for teaching me how to spiritualize my life. I got t... [View Full Comment] I love parables. They are short like this Hindu parable containing profound wisdom. This parable reveals the spiritual way of living a precious life without attachment to material things. The man who is sitting by the river side contemplating is deeply contented with what he has. He gladly gives the precious diamond from his bag to the poor man who is a stranger to him. He is not expecting any reward from the beggar. His life is flowing like the river. And when the beggar comes back after a year in the dress of a wealthy man he welcomes him with an open heart. The wealthy man wanted to know whatever was inside him thatallowed him give the diamond freely. Detachment, offering a gift to someone unconditionally expecting no reward in return. This is an example of living like a Karma Yogi, offering a gift from unselfish heart.

    I have learned the art of living a spiritual life from my parents and a few wise teachers. I am deeply grateful for teaching me how to spiritualize my life. I got the precious diamondof living without attachment. Living this way creates joy and contentment in me. We all have the precious diamondof happiness and fullness in us. It's by sharing it with others or offering it to others with noattachment fills the cup of my life.

    Living in the world spiritually creates abundance, inner wealth and offering the inner wealth to those who need it is a blessing to me. This is a life lesson. When any thought of what I am going to get from others goes through my mind, I recognize it and willinglyI let it go. Remainawake and aware of the mind stuff without being bound by it is my mantra. This is my self-liberating mantra. That frees me from my self-created prison.
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'


    [Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: Me | Post Your Reply
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    On Apr 15, 2021 NAREN KINI wrote:
    Kabir's famous lines come to mind, reading this.
    Baagon na ja re,
    teri kaaya mein gulzaar
    Asht kamal pe baithh ke,
    tu dekhe roop apaar

    Do not go to the garden of flowers!
    O Friend! go not there;
    In your body is the garden of flowers.
    Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
    and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.

    2 replies: Me, Ravi | Post Your Reply

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