Chapter 6: Transformation: Beyond Renunciation
I used to live with a very rich man. He was a bachelor and he had no interest in women at all. His only interest was money - day in, day out he was working for money - but because I was living in his house, somehow he became interested in my ideas. He had a big house and he was alone; his father and mother were dead. He was unmarried with no children, just servants. I liked the place because there was no disturbance, no children, no old people in the house, and no fighting because he had no wife. It was really quiet, the servants would go away at night, and it was such a big house that we two were almost alone.
He was not interested in anything except money. So he would close the doors of his room - there was nobody except me, but he would lock his room from inside - and start working: counting how much he had gained, how much he had lost; how much was in this business and how much was in that business. Before he went to sleep, he would be perfectly clear where he was financially. Only then would he go to sleep - sometimes at two o’clock or three o’clock. By the time I was waking up, at three o’clock, he was going to sleep, and I would go for a walk.
I once asked him, “Do you ever think of what you are going to do with this money? You are not extravagant; you are a miser. You don’t have any children to whom you are going to leave the money. You are not so generous that you give it to your friends or to those who are in need. You are not in any way parting with a single pai. What are you going to do? Are you going to take it with you when you die? What is the purpose of this money?”
Because money really is meaningless if you don’t use it, its whole meaning is in its use. You may have the same amount of money as I have but you can use it in such a way that you are richer than me. The value of the money is in its use. Certainly those who know how to use money use it a thousandfold more than those who don’t know. They have the same amount of money, but they are poor.
Now this man was a poor man. Money was in the safe, money was in the banks, money was in shares - but he was a poor man.
I said to him, “There seems to be no reason for you now to go on earning; you have enough. Even if you live two hundred years, it will do. The miserly way you are living, it will do for two thousand years. Two hundred, I am saying if you live like me; otherwise two thousand, and still you may not be able to spend it all. You may go on living just on the interest from it forever. Why are you so worried? You cannot sleep well, you don’t have any time for anything - and have you ever thought about how this disease happened to you, where you got this cancer?”
He said, “I have never thought about it, but you are right. I have enough money, and I can live. Certainly I am not going to live for two thousand years - just seventy or eighty will be enough. My father died at seventy, his father died at seventy, so I cannot live more than seventy or perhaps eighty years. Yes,” he said, “this makes sense. But can you tell me why I am doing this?”
I said, “For a simple reason: you have avoided women in your life.”
He said, “But what have women and money to do with each other?”
I told him, “That we will discuss later on, first tell me why you avoid women.”