Ramakrishna Paramahans was the greatest saint of his time. He was a worshipper-priest of Kali temple at Dakshineshwar in the outskirts of Kolkata. People from far and wide thronged near him. They offered respects to him and grasped the words of advice he uttered with utmost devotion.
Once a merchant from Kolkata came to Dakshineshwar and offered his obeisance at the feet of Ramakrishna. The merchant had brought a bag which contained 1,000 silver coins. The merchant said with modesty, “Sir, I have brought an humble gift for you. Kindly oblige me by accepting the same.” So saying the merchant placed the bag full of coins before Ramakrishna.
“What is it?” asked Ramakrishna. “Sir, it contains 1,000 silver coins,” said the merchant.
With a smile on his face Ramakrishna said “oh of what use is it to me? I don’t require them. Please take it back.”
“Sir , I will be extremely glad if you could accept it and give me the blessings,” said the merchant. “No no please take it back. I don’t want a single pie out of it,” said Ramakrishna.
The merchant made a repeated plea before Ramakrishna for acceptance of the bag full of coins. At long last Ramakrishna said, “Alright since you are bent upon offering the gift, I accept it. Let it be there where it is.”
The merchant was pleased over the acceptance of his offering.
The next moment Ramakrishna said to the merchant, “I am happy with your devotion. Your devotion shows that you have became my disciple. Isn’t it?”
“Sure, Sure” said the merchant gleefully. “Being a disciple you should obey the command of your guru.”
“Certainly” said the merchant.
“As a Guru I now order you to please lift this bag full of coins. Then go to the bank of river Ganga which is very near. Sit there quietly. Open the bag. Take out one coin at a time. Throw that coin in the Ganges. Sit quietly for a few seconds. Slowly take out the next coin. Throw that coin in the Ganges. Sit with cool and quiet face for a few seconds. Then throw the third coin…Let the process continue till all the coins are thrown in the river-water. Report to me after having done so.”
The merchant was surprised. He said “What a strange thing you are ordering me to do.”
Ramakrishna smiled and said “Yes, it appears strange. But appearances are deceptive. Please think coolly and quietly. Money spoils a man. Money enslaves a man. Desires and money are the enemies of man. A man who wants eternal peace and happiness should stay away from these. Man should earn money for livelihood. But he should never depend on money.”