THE GREEDY MAN AND THE FOUR CANDLES (Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’) Once there lived a man who always aspired for wealth. He heard of a mahatma (saint) who was known for his immense spiritual and mystical prowess. The saint had a reputation of conferring boons on disciples he was pleased with. If a person served him with humility and total devotion he would bestow upon him the gift of the ‘four treasures’ So the greedy man went along and served the saint with unflinching dedication and devotion. The saint was delighted with the loyalty, humility and devotion of his disciple. He gave his devotee four candles together with the following instructions: Whenever you are in need of wealth take the first candle, light it and go east. When and where the candle goes off, dig that spot and you will find money and valuables. If ever you are in need again, light the second candle and go west. As before dig the spot where the candle extinguishes and you will find riches to fulfil your needs. If and when you need a lot of wealth then light the third candle and walk northwards. Again do as before and dig the earth where this third candle goes off. You will come into a lot of wealth. This fourth candle is for the south direction but do not ignite this candle whether or not you are gong south, meaning not to light it under any circumstances. The delighted man returned home with his precious gift of the four candles. He soon felt the desire to test the candles. As explained by the saint he lighted the first candle and proceeded east and unearthed the ground where the candle extinguished. Lo and behold he found a treasure as promised. Delighted he thought to himself: “well this is belongs to me now, but I’ll leave it here for the time being”. He refilled the spot and marked it. Then he lit the second candle and progressed towards the west. He repeated the procedure and again found a lot of wealth. He covered up the hole leaving the treasure there and marked the spot. His greed obviously got the better of him and he lit the third candle and made for the north. Where the candle extinguished he repeated the ritual. He was overjoyed; he had never seen so much wealth in his life before. As before he left it there, covered up the vast hole in the ground and marked it. Now he thought about the fourth and the last candle but at the same time recalled the saint’s words that he must not ignite this candle for the southward direction. However, his greed and curiosity got the better of him. “Well what harm can this do; I have done pretty well so far” he thought to himself. So he ignored the Mahatma’s advice and lit the candle and took to the south. On reaching the designated point (i.e. where the candle extinguished) he started digging and to his utter surprise he un-surfaced a small, quaint house. He went down the stairs and saw a man operating a flour grinding wheel (chakkee). The man beckoned him to come forward. The lobhee (our greedy friend) thought the man operating the wheel was going to reveal the hidden treasure. So he moved towards him. The man asked him to take over the grinding wheel for a while and the lobhee promptly obliged thinking his new friend was going to bring him a treasure of pearls and gems. Surely, he felt, as he progressed from one candle and direction to the next the treasure he discovered became bigger and better than the previous one. So the lobhi took over the grinding wheel gladly. To his utter shock and surprise the man announced that as the grinding wheel had found its new operator he was at last free to go. He explained “I have been waiting for you for many years. I came here just like you. The same saint had also given me the four candles. My greed got the better of me, and I made the same mistake of lighting the fourth and came in this direction. Now, my friend, it is your turn to wait for the next greedy person. Until then keep operating the grinding wheel”. MORAL As per guru Arjan Dev, a greedy soul (person) loses its stability as it searches for wealth in all four directions (Lobẖee jeeaṛaa thir na rahaṯ hai cẖaarey kundaa bẖaaley - GGS 876). He further says that people who are attached to the poison of greed only end up bringing pain on themselves (Lobẖ bikẖi­aa bikẖai lāgė hir viṯ cẖiṯḏukẖaahee - GGS 408). By attaching himself to greed (the quest for gems and pearls) the lobhee in the above story lost the jewel of his life 1. 1 Paraanee kaaehy ka­o lobẖ laagey raṯan janam kẖo­i­aa (Bhagat Kabir – GGS 481). The author most humbly regrets any inaccuracy or errors in interpreting Gurbani or quoting facts.