Chapter 26: Sympathy Is a False Coin
I was a professor in a university and in the whole university there was only one man who had a car, one professor. That professor had never talked to me. Then I brought another car into the university, and the day I brought the car he came to me and said, “Hello.”
I said, “What is the matter? This is so strange.I have been here for three years and you have never said hello to me.”
He said, “I have a principle: I make friends only with people who have cars.”
I said, “Great principles you have. Why do you have such a principle?”
He said, “The trouble is, if you make a friend with someone who does not have a car, sooner or later he is going to ask you, ‘Can I borrow your car?’ And I hate it. I don’t want to give my car to anybody, so I make friends only with people who have cars. They are not going to ask me.”
I said to the professor, “Then I am not going to be a friend to you. Never again say hello to me - because you are saying hello to the car. You can say hello to the car, I have no objection; but I am out of the question. I was here for three years, and you never tried to be introduced to me. You can say hello to my car - good morning, good evening, whatever you want; I have no objection at all. But as far as I am concerned, I don’t want to talk to you again. Your very mind is ugly.”
Rich people have that problem. If people don’t make friends with them, it is because of their richness; if people don’t sympathize with them, it is because of their richness. But these people have never been loved. Even if sometimes somebody has loved them it was because of their wealth - and there is such a difference. When you love a person because of his possessions, not because of himself, it hurts, it hurts tremendously.
So rich people by and by learn that love is not for them. All that they can get at the most is sympathy, and sympathy is possible only when they are miserable, suffering. Then hundreds of people will be sympathetic to them. Those people will enjoy one thing: “Although he has so much money, he is suffering. We don’t have that much money but we are not suffering, we are still in a higher state of mind than him.”
There is no harm in sympathizing with the person.but the person cannot leave his suffering because the moment he leaves his suffering all those sympathizers will be gone. He is caught in a net. And his life has not been a total lie - he has only been an earning machine. He has earned enough - at the cost of everything that is valuable, at the cost of everything which cannot be purchased with money. You cannot purchase love with money, you cannot purchase truth with money, you cannot purchase beauty with money, you cannot purchase understanding with money; you cannot purchase anything that has real value with money.