In the city of Mathura lived a merchant
named Dhanasar. He was very rich, but he would not offer a penny to anybody.
He was well known for his wealth, as well as, his stinginess. Dhanasar used
to hide his wealth underground. One day, he went to check on it, and he
found that all of it was changed into charcoal with snakes crawling all over
it. Within a short time before he could get over this loss, he received the
news that all his cargo ships had sunk in the sea. As if that was not
enough, he also learned that a convoy carrying all his possessions had been
robbed. He felt so helpless and sad. He decided to challenge his fate, by
going abroad for business himself with left over one hundred thousands gold
coins at home. But with his bad luck and bad karmas, the ship was wrecked
and all his gold was lost in the sea. He saved himself by floating on a log
which took him to the shore.
He spent the next day on the seashore,
then he moved to a park. This is when he saw a muni (monk) preaching under
the shade of a mango tree. He joined the crowd. When the sermon was over,
the merchant went to the monk and said, "Oh muni! Due to which karmas did I
acquire so much wealth, and due to which karmas did I lose it all?"
The muni narrated Dhanasar's past life to
him, "In the country of Dhatakikhand, there was a city called Ambica. In
Ambica lived two brothers. The elder brother was always helpful and generous
to the needy, while the younger brother did not like to give to charities.
The younger brother had a very bad temper, and he often displayed it when
his elder brother helped other people. After a while, when the younger
brother could not tolerate this kindness any more, he left the house. The
elder brother continued his life style of giving to the needy and, instead
of his wealth decreasing, it increased. The younger brother could not stand
this, so he made up a story, went to the king, and convinced the king to
take over his brother's wealth. The elder brother was saddened by this and
renounced the world. After his death because of his good deeds, he was
reborn as an angel in heaven."
"The people did not approve of the younger
brother's behavior, and he could not take their criticism. So he left the
town and joined some hermits. After his death, he was reborn as Asurkumar
(demon) in hell. You are that younger brother. Because in your previous
life, you did not approve of gifts and charities, you are still a miser.
Because you made your brother lose all his wealth, your wealth is lost now.
While your elder brother, after spending his life in Saudharm heaven, was
born as a merchant in Tamralipti. He gained a lot of wealth, but gave it all
up to become a monk . You are talking to him now."
Dhanasar felt sorry and was troubled to
hear this. He bowed down to the muni, and asked him for forgiveness. He took
a vow, that he would not get involved in any sinful activities and would
only keep one-fourth of his income. The rest he would donate to charity.
Soon a miracle happened. All his wealth
was recovered. Dhanasar kept his promise. He became a devout shravak and
spent his wealth on seven items: Jain abodes, temples, and literature, and
well beings of Jain monks, nuns, shravaks, and shravikas (female
householders). This was the turning point in his life, and he lived a noble