Miserly people are the most miserable and poor people in the world – poorer than the poor. They cannot give: they are stuck. They go on hoarding. Their hoarding becomes a burden on their being – it does not free them. In fact if you have something you will become freer. But look at the misers. They have much, but they are burdened; they are not free. Even beggars are more free than they. What has happened to them? They have used their throat center just to receive. Not only that they have not used their throat center to give, they have not even moved to the second Freudian center, anal. These people are always constipated; hoarders, misers, always suffer from constipation. Remember, I am not saying that all people who have constipation are misers…there may be other reasons. But misers are certainly constipated.
Freud says that there is something in gold and excreta. Both look yellow, and people who are constipatory are too attracted to gold. Otherwise gold has no existential value – some psychological value, but no existential value. You cannot eat it, you cannot drink it. What can you do with it? Even a glass of water is more valuable existentially. But why has gold become so valuable? Why are people so much obsessed with gold? They have not moved from the oral to the anal. They are constipated in their inner being. Now their whole life will reflect their constipation: they will become hoarders of gold. Gold is symbolic. The yellowness gives them some idea.
Have you watched small children? It is almost difficult to persuade them to go to the toilet, they have almost to be forced to go to the toilet. And even then they insist, “Nothing is happening. Can I come back?” They are learning the first lessons of miserliness – how to hold. How to hold, how not to give even that which is useless, even that which is harmful if you keep it within you. Even the poison – it is difficult for them to leave it, to renounce it.
I have heard about two Buddhist bhikkhus. One of them was a miser and a hoarder and he used to collect money and keep it, and the other used to laugh at this foolish attitude. Whatsoever will come on his way, he will use it, he will never hoard it. One night they came across a river. It was evening, and the sun was setting, and it was dangerous to stay there. They had to go to the other shore. There was a town; this side was simply wilderness.
The hoarder said, “Now you don’t have any money, so we cannot pay the ferryman? What do you say now about it? You are against hoarding. Now if I don’t have any money we both will die. You see the point?” He said, “Money is needed.”
The man who believed in renunciation laughed, but he didn’t say anything. Then the hoarder paid and they crossed the river; they reached the other shore.
The hoarder again said, “Now remember, next time don’t start arguing with me. You see? Money helps. Without money we would have been dead. The whole night on the other shore, it was dangerous to survive – wild animals.”
The other bhikkhu laughed and he said, “But we have come across the river because you could renounce it. It is not because of hoarding that we have survived. If you had insisted on hoarding it and you were not going to pay the ferryman, we would have died. It is because you could renounce – because you could leave it, you could give it – that’s why we have survived.”