An ancient story explaining the meaning of true wealth


Paridhi Laddha

Psychology Associate

Once upon a time, Lord Krishna and Arjuna were walking by a lake. They came across a very poor brahmin who was asking for money. Arjuna gave him 100 gold coins, thinking that he will never have to beg again in the future. While donating the coins, he saw Lord Krishna smiling. Arjuna asked Krishna about the reason, to which Lord Krishna said that he would explain later.

The brahmin was very happy and went home. He gave the money to his wife and said that the next morning he would buy stuff for the house. He told her to keep it safe. She kept it in a pot. Meanwhile, a thief overheard their conversation and stole the money in the night.

In the morning when the brahmin saw that the money has been stolen, he was very sad. Having no other option, he went out to beg. Again, he met Arjun and Lord Krishna.

Arjuna was shocked! He had thought that he gave the brahmin so much, but he was still in the same condition! This time, Arjuna gave him a very expensive gem, to eliminate his poverty forever. The brahmin was very happy and started the journey to his home. Midway, he felt very thirsty so he stopped at a river nearby to drink water. As he kept the gem near the shore, and bent down to drink the water, at the same time, a fish saw the gem and mistaking it to be food, ate it and jumped back into the water. The brahmin was very, very disappointed. He had lost his good luck twice in a row!

He began crying on the banks of the river. By then, Krishna, who was all-knowing, managed to reach there with Arjun. Arjun told Krishna: I gave him so much wealth, he is still the same; maybe that's what's his destiny has in store for him.

Krishna called the poor brahmin and asked him what had happened. The brahmin told them about the incidents. This time, Lord Krishna gave him 2 copper pennies. Arjuna mocked Krishna saying: I gave him so much, it did not help him, how will your 2 pennies help him? Lord Krishna just smiled and told Arjun to go behind the brahmin and observe quietly.

The brahmin began to move towards his home. He was dejected and sad, but at least he had something to feed his family for a day.

On the way, the brahmin saw a fisherman who had just made a catch. A fish was stuck in it, struggling for her life. Having experienced pain recently, the brahmin felt pity for the fish and bought it from the fisherman with the 2 pennies he had. He put the fish in a utensil he had and filled it with water, thinking he could keep the fish at home. Unknown to him, this fish was the same one that had swallowed his gem!!

As he started walking again towards his home, the fish, which had swallowed the gem coughed it out. Seeing this, the brahmin was overjoyed! He started screaming:

'Mil gaya', 'Mil gaya' (I found it, I found it!)

But fate had another surprise in store for him. The thief who had stolen the 100 gold coins from him was travelling along the same path. On hearing the brahmin’s screams he thought that he had been identified. He gave back all the gold coins to the brahmin and begged him not to complain to the king, who would surely have him killed if he found out. The Brahmin could not believe his good luck and now ran home joyfully, with his 100 gold coins, his precious gem and a pet fish. He was now rich and would never have to beg a day in his life!

Arjun saw all this and came back to Lord Krishna. He fell at his feet and asked him why the gold coins and gem did not help him earlier but then came back to him.

Lord Krishna explained to him: “When he got the gold coins and the gem, he decided to use it only for himself. He became selfish. That’s why that wealth was of no use to him and left him. But when he used the 2 copper pennies to help that fish, his good fortune was awakened and his wealth returned to him.”

Moral of the story

Unless we strive to help others, we cannot help ourselves for long. Good deeds have the power to change our destiny. We must always try to help others from our end as much as we can. That is the reason for existence of human life. No one has ever become poor by giving to others.

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Let’s not wait for good things to happen to us. If we go out and make some good things happen, we will fill the world with hope, we will fill ourselves with hope. In the end, we only have what we give. And just like the brahmin in the story, what we deserve will come to us.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to make some difference and live life well.

View more content by Paridhi Laddha

Discussion Board

What did you learn from this story?

Amazing story Paridhi! This is the first time I read it and it's really inspiring. We must use whatever part of our wealth we can for others 😇
Kripa MR
Amazing Article. I love it. Its really inspiring and useful story
dinesh goel
Very inspiring and motivating...