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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra


Updated: Feb 5

By B.E.Sampath Kumar, Sri Ramachandrji Seva Trust, Kadapa.

LOBHA(Greed) is one of the six bad vices viz., Kama( desire/passion), Krodha(anger), Lobha (greed), Moha(bondage), Mada( ego), and Mascharya( jealous).  It literally means greed.  It is the excessive desire, especially the desire to appropriate to oneself what belongs to others that too against the principles of Dharma. It is an endless sickness.  It is the condition of the mind in which one is not satisfied even after possessing what one wants. 

Sometimes it tempts people to do unethical, illegal, and immoral things in the pursuit of earning more money.  The absence of contentment even after having acquired the object of desire means the individual is greedy.

Here is a story, how a greedy person without contentment in life transformed into a great Donar and Devotee by the grace of God.

Purandara Dasa was born in a Madhwa Brahmin Community in a village near Kshemapura,  near Thirthahalli in Karnataka State.  His parents named him Srinivasa Nayaka. As he was born in a  wealthy family doing business in Gem Stones, he received a good education and acquired efficiency in Kannada, Sanskrit, and Sacred Music. He was married to one Saraswathi Bai, a pious lady. As his father became old, he was looking after the business. Though he prospered in the said business and earned abundant wealth, he was very greedy. When his father fell sick and in need of medicines, he refused to spend money to cure his ailment under the influence of his greediness, on the ground that his father is very old and will die one day anyway. He lost his parents when he was 20 years old. 

One day a poor brahmin approached him with folded hands for help that he needs money to perform his son’s Upanayana( wearing yagnopavitham, a sacred thread, and initiation of Gayathri Mantra) ceremony. Having been summarily rejected by Srinivasa Nayaka, the poor Brahmin approached Saraswathi Bai, a pious and generous soul for help. She gave her Precious nose ring to that poor Brahmin, who in turn went to the shop of Srinivasa Nayaka, to sell the same. Srinivasa Nayaka on identifying the Nose Ring as that of his wife, became furious, anxious to know the truth rushed to his house. He demanded her to produce her nose ring immediately. Realizing her husband’s anger, she prepared poison in a cup to swallow it and end her life. When she was about to drink the poison, a nose ring appeared in that cup. She gave it to her husband. Srinivasa Nayaka immediately rushed to his shop and found the nose ring which the brahmin brought for sale, missing in the shop. The brahmin was also not there. 

That night Srinivasa Nayaka could not sleep. He concluded that it could have been only Lord Vishnu, who had appeared as Brahmin for help. The next day he told his wife that  “you have opened my eyes, that I have been blind by the love of wealth. Now due to the same greed, I was going to lose you, what a miser I am,  whereas how blessed you are, showed charity by giving your nose ring studded with Gems to the poor brahmin without selfishness and showed yourself more gracious than me”.  From that day he had a great change in his heart, started donating all his wealth to the poor and the needy. Saraswathi Bai was overjoyed for the change in her husband. 

Later Srinivasa Nayaka became the devotee of Lord Vishnu, met a great Saint Vysyathirtha, who initiated Sanyasa to Srinivasa Naika, giving him the name Purandara Dasa. In due course of time, he composed thousands of melodious songs in praise of Lord Vishnu. This realization made the heartless miser a Saint and gave him the eternal peace that one should aspire to.

The story of Purandara Dasa tells us that true happiness can never be felt in acquiring wealth as an ultimate goal in life. This goal makes us so greedy and heartless that we not only lose love and respect from our near and dear ones but also society hates and points us as  Misers.  

Some people struggle with generosity because they are worried that their wealth would not be sufficient or enough for them if they donate even something to others and it is the responsibility of God to look after the poor as He gave life to them on this earth.

In Bhagavathe Githa Lord Srikrishna, taught us that Lust, Anger, and Greed are the three gates leading to Hell. So let us try to earn our living by rightful means and do not fall prey to Greed so that we can escape Hell.

Bhagavat Githa also tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. However make sure our intention of giving is to bless others, and not to be blessed with more wealth, because it is already given to us. If God is giving us wealth, then He probably wants to use us as an instrument in his hands to bless others and not to see us greedy in our lives.

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