Striking a balance
By Sukhi Sivam
While giving to those in need is important, the gesture must not be such as to encourage laziness, and while it is important to save, it is equally important to know how and when to spend. The important thing is to have a balanced outlook towards money and wealth.
One day a zamindar rode his horse, with a servant behind him holding an umbrella to shield his master from the sun.
After a while, the zamindar dismounted from the horse and rested in the shade of a tree.
A poor man who was passing by told the zamindar, “You travel on horseback. But I have to walk, and will therefore be exposed to the sun for longer. Don’t you think I should have your umbrella?”
The zamindar saw the logic of his words, and gave the poor man his umbrella. Then the poor man said, “Why do you need slippers?” And the zamindar parted with his footwear. Then the poor man said, “Why do you need this horse? Give that also to me.” But the zamindar now drove the poor man away.
Far from being unhappy, the poor man was happy. The puzzled zamindar asked him why. The poor man said had he gone home without asking for the horse, he would have felt miserable, wondering if he should not have asked for that too. But now that he had asked and was refused, he felt relieved.
He now knew that even his asking wouldn’t get him the horse.
The moral of this story is that when we work hard for something, we are happy with the results. But when something comes easily, we become demanding.
In another instance, a rich man had a big gold bar, which he buried in his garden. Every day he would dig it up and have a look at it. One day his neighbour stole the gold bar.
When the rich miser confronted him, the latter replied that since the rich man was only going to look at the gold bar and not use it anyway, what did it matter whether it were brick or gold?
The moral of this story is that while we must save for a rainy day, it is also important to spend.