Kshamä, Vinay, Saralatä and Santosh (Four Virtues)
Kashäya is the name given to the defilements of anger, ego, deceit and greed. What gives rise to Klesha (grief) is Kashäya. Such Kashäya keeps the soul wandering through Sansär (cycle of birth and death).
The key to achieving a higher level of inner bliss is to get rid of all passions (Kashäya). The basic passions are attachment and hatred; we can subdivide them into anger and ego, and deceit and greed. Nobody is free from these; and, unless checked, they build up in the individual, leading him or her to more and more destructive thoughts and behavior. It can be very hard to get rid of these unpleasant passions. It might take lifetimes, and require hard spiritual effort. Even when the individual has controlled them, it is always possible to slip back. The path is still difficult and the individual must be prepared to avoid the most harmful activities: cheating, hurting others’ feelings, killing, lusts for material things, and so on. If one gets rid of all his/her Kashäya completely, he/she will get rid of all Ghäti Karma and attain Keval Jnän.
Forgiveness is a very important part of both our religion and daily life. It is an inherent quality of the soul. Forgiveness is the antithesis of anger, which contaminates the soul. To forgive is a most difficult thing to do. Therefore, it is considered a quality of brave people. It is easy to resort to anger. Anger demolishes the very foundation of love, rational thinking, and intelligence. Anger is harmful to our physical, mental, and emotional health. One’s greatness is measured by his/her practice of forgiveness.
What Anger Does
In anger, one forgets about the difference between good and bad, and reacts blindly without discretion. Anger ruins relationships and love in a split second. Some anger causes violence. Some anger starts verbal war. Anger can be classified as follows: like a line in water, that goes away quickly; like a line in sand, that takes a little while to go away; like a line on a muddy road, that requires more time before it goes away; and like a line on rock, that stays for a long time. Anger brings in more Karma and Karma brings more anger. This cycle of acquiring Karma continues as long as we do not learn to control our anger.
Why People Become Angry
There are many reasons why people become angry. Some key ones can be listed; a) certain types of anger are due to the nature of the individual (consequences of his/her past Karma); b) the outward approach, such as someone else considered responsible when something goes wrong; c) frustration, like getting stuck in a traffic jam; d) disappointment, such as not getting desired results; e) hurt feelings, when some one said or did something which was not desirable; f) annoyance, when one does not like certain things; g) harassment; h) jealousy; i) ego; j) greed; k) lack of knowledge that forgiveness and tolerance are the best responses; and l) consideration that forgiveness is weakness.
How Anger Affects The Body, Mind, and Emotions
The upsurge of anger creates several physical reactions that develop in the body of the angry person. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated. The brain releases a flood of adrenaline from the adrenal gland, which races through the blood stream and upsets the usual business of the body. Usually 90% of our cell’s energy is spent in building new proteins and building new DNA and RNA. To become angry, our body needs lots of energy. Sugar is needed to create the energy. First, the reserved sugar from liver is used. When the liver sugar is used up, stress hormones break down proteins. Under an extreme stressful condition, additional sugar is released from muscles and consumes the muscles. Anger speeds up blood circulation, breathing becomes shallow and fast, other desires and hunger are suppressed, digestion stops, the brain becomes hyper alert, and muscles become tight. Every time the adrenal gland makes the stress hormones respond to a threatening situation, it accelerates the aging process. A prolonged stressful situation leads to fatigue, muscle destruction, diabetes, hypertension, ulcers, impotence, neuron damage, heart attacks, and so on. In addition, as mentioned before, anger results in influx of bad Karma and delays the purification process of consciousness.
Ways To Conquer Anger
During an anger-provoking situation, there are two possibilities: 1) anger is created or 2) anger is prevented. When anger is created, either there is an instant reaction or a delayed reaction. When anger is prevented, emotions are controlled, techniques are used to stop anger, and a constructive approach is used to resolve the conflict and forgiveness is exercised. To conquer anger, one should always be aware of the following key points and/or practice the same:
· Holding one’s breath, doing deep breathing exercise, or counting up to 10 when faced with an anger -provoking situation gives time to calm down, and also to reassess the situation rather than quickly respond to it.
· Anger is harmful to our body, mind and emotions, and to the purification process of our consciousness.
· Anger destroys hard-earned relationships and the fabric of love in a split second.
· Forgiveness is the sign of heroes and bravery. It is more difficult to express forgiveness than to express anger; thus, forgiveness is strength and anger is weakness. Anger brings more anger in future. Experiment with forgiveness in daily life. Make a resolution to experiment with forgiveness x times a month and avoid getting angry y times a month.
· Let some time go by. Time is one of the best healers.
· When we are criticized, we should look at the situation from others’ viewpoints (multiplicity of viewpoints, Anekäntaväda). We should look for any or partial truths in their criticism that can help us improve. Try to get their positive message even though their method of expressing may be uncomfortable to us.
· Let the other person steam out. Be an active listener.
· Anger provocative situations are external and often not in our control, and in these situations anger will not solve anything, and may only make matters worse.
· Anger provocative situations are due to our past Karma. We are responsible for everything - good or bad - that happens to us, including anger provoking situations. We are the masters of our destiny. Anger leads to a bad destiny.
· Develop clear spiritual understanding, including the understanding of the four Kashäya and separateness of the soul and the body. Develop the right knowledge.
· Develop equanimity - look at the things without attachment or hatred.
· There are constructive solutions to conflicts. Take the challenge to find an appropriate solution.
· Some Äsana Yoga exercises are also effective to develop forgiving nature from outside but to really achieve forgiving nature; one must have Samyag Darshan (right faith).
· To get relief from such situations, we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system brings out calmness in our bodies. Käyotsarga (relaxation) mediation activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
· Contemplate this thought regularly: “I will not subject myself to anger; anger is not my quality. Forgiveness is my quality. I will exercise forgiveness.” Take advice from a spiritually advanced person on what and how to contemplate.
Obstacles To Developing The Nature of Forgiveness
The obstacles to developing forgiveness include: not knowing, being ignorant of, being unaware of, or forgetting the items mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
By exercising the virtue of forgiveness, one experiences inner bliss and an increase in positive energy levels. The individual improves his/her physical, mental, emotional, social, professional, and spiritual health. The virtue of forgiveness creates an atmosphere of peace and freedom from mental sadness, external conflicts, quarrels, and abuses. Kindness and friendship, and not arrogance, must accompany forgiveness. Once anger is gone, jealousy is gone, enhancing the atmosphere of friendship and unity. The influx of new Karma stops and past Karma can be shed. The purification process of consciousness speeds up.
Humility is the external and internal respect towards all living beings. In fact, humility is an inherent virtue of the soul (Ätmä), with other virtues like knowledge, faith, contentment, forgiveness, and so on. Humility is the king of all spiritual characteristics. Humility denotes humbleness, modesty, decency, politeness, courtesy, kindness, reverence, admiration, honor, and respect. Many popular sayings such as "Ego is the source of sin," "One who bows is liked by all," and "Even the ego of King Ravan went to dust," point out that the ego is a vice while humility is a virtue. Ego makes all our fame and great work useless. Without humility (Vinay), the right knowledge, the right faith, and the right conduct cannot be obtained; hence, one cannot improve oneself and cannot achieve liberation.
Bhagawän Mahävir has said, “Become victorious over ego by humility.” Bhagawän was once asked, “What do we achieve by practicing humility?” Bhagawän replied, “With humility, our inner feelings become purified and such inner feelings eradicate the eight types of ego.”
The following is a brief description of eight types of ego:
01. Ego of Knowledge: One may acquire vast amounts of knowledge as a result of studying scriptures, discussion with other aspirants (Swädhyäy or Satsanga), and the practice of meditation. If one prides him/herself on the knowledge he/she has and looks upon others as inferior, then it is ego of knowledge.
02. Ego of Worship: When several types of human and super-human attributes become manifest within oneself, when one's fame spreads all over the world, and when one wins regard, honor, and worship from leaders, wealthy people, great ascetics, and scholars, and if he looks at himself as high and great, then it is ego of worship.
03. Ego of Family: Suppose one's relatives had been honored with a high government position, a high position in some other profession, a high spiritual position, and so on. If this individual boasts of own family greatness due to that, it is ego of the family.
04. Ego of Race: Suppose one's ancestors are of a high and noble family, or from some other respectable race, or so on. If this individual boasts of own race greatness due to that, then it is ego of race.
05. Ego of Power: One might be in the full bloom of youth and endowed with unique physical power; one might have cultivated grand eloquence that pleases and amazes thousands; one might have a sweet resounding voice; one might be blessed with the willpower by which one can stick to the activity till he is victorious. If one becomes arrogant due to one or more of these, then it is ego of power.
06. Ego of Accomplishment: One might attain a super human achievement, like far seeing, far hearing, flying, victory in a particular sport, walking on water, and so on, through self control or other means. If one becomes proud of it, then it is ego of accomplishments.
07. Ego of Austerity: While practicing various types of austerities such as fasting, reciting prayers, meditation, Swädhyäy and overcoming of taste (Ras), if one starts feeling that he/she is an unparalleled Tapasvi and experiences the sense of vanity, then it is ego of austerity.
08. Ego of Body: When various parts of the body such as the eyes, ears, nose, chin, chest and so on are quite handsome or beautiful and well-proportionate, and the elegance of the body is eye catching, if with this beauty of the body, one becomes proud, then it is ego of body.
This Eight-fold ego disturbs the social, intellectual and spiritual progress of the aspirant. One should therefore know fully this Eight-fold ego, abandon it in daily routine of life and resort to humility. If this is done, humility as a virtue will reveal itself in a short time. Humility is the ladder that leads to true philosophical, spiritual and happy life.
Types of Humility
There are numerous types of humility. A few important ones are:
· Humility of right knowledge (Jnän-Vinay); a) treating knowledge and those who have acquired knowledge with devotion, b) honoring them, c) noble contemplation on what our Tirthankar have said, d) putting in self-effort to acquire knowledge and e) putting the knowledge into practice.
· Humility of right belief (Darshan-Vinay); respect for right faith, respect for persons who have the right faith and, self-effort to acquire the right faith.
· Humility of right conduct (Chäritra Vinay); respect for right conduct, respect for persons who have the right conduct and, self-effort to practice the right conduct.
· Humility of right austerity (Tapa-Vinay); respect for right austerity, respect for persons who practice right austerity and, self-effort to practice right austerity.
· Humility towards the spiritual leaders and great people (Upachär- Vinay), One must be polite towards elders and spiritual superiors. One should do Pranäm to them. One must offer them a seat. When they are passing by, one should stand up with respect. One should behave him/herself in their presence, with decency.
Fruits of Humility
There are many fruits of adopting humility in daily conduct. Some are as follows:
Humility is the king of all characteristics. Ego destroys everything we work for. Vinay should be synchronized in all three phases: in action, in speech and in thinking. Without humility, one cannot have the right knowledge. Without the right knowledge, one cannot have the right faith. Without the right faith, one cannot have the right conduct. Without the right conduct, one cannot achieve Moksha. Let us develop this great virtue.
We have already talked about forgiveness (opposite of anger) and humility (opposite of ego). Now, we will talk about the opposite of deceit. Deceit implies falsehood, cheating, dishonesty, trickery, corruption, bribery and crookedness. The opposite of deceit is Saralatä (straightforwardness). The virtue of being straightforward (candid, forthright, sincere, straight or frank) is the virtue that we sometimes refer to as "simplicity." It entails consistency in the activities of the mind, speech, and body. To make progress, say exactly what is in your mind, and do exactly what you say. Discard negative tendencies such as complexity, crookedness, deception, trickery, and so on. Straightforwardness is the basic virtue of the true self.
Why We Should Not Be Deceitful
Let us pause here for a moment. What is the object of all this? Why try to get rid of deceitfulness? Why try to break the chain of birth and rebirth? Sometimes we are unhappy, true; but sometimes we are happy being deceitful. Is it really worth the effort to get rid of deceitfulness? Many individuals have never got around to thinking of this seriously or even to considering it. They seem to be happy, as they are.
First of all, no one likes a deceitful person. Even his/her family members, friends and co-workers view him/her with suspicion. Whatever promises such person may give, a constant fear persists that a breach of trust will follow. As we know, a person who subjects himself/herself to ignorance and greed, and follows the path of deceitful conduct, tells himself/herself, "Who can read my mind? I will make sure that nobody knows what’s in my mind and I will achieve what I desire by deceptive talk and unreliable behavior.” Such persons create a situation of deception around them that will eventually entrap them. Such persons will permanently lose the respect from friends, family members, and society. They do not succeed in professional, social, or spiritual life. A person with deceitfulness is always fearful, restless, and lacking in peace of mind. Therefore, one should try to avoid a deceitful approach. All other virtues fail completely in a deceitful person.
Like anger, ego and other passions, deceitful acts, thinking, or speech attract more Karma and Karma creates behaviors that are more deceitful. The deceitful therefore undergoes various miseries and stays trapped in the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Why We Should Have Straightforwardness
Bhagawän Mahävir was asked, “ What does a person achieve from straightforwardness?” Bhagawän replied, “Straightforwardness purifies body, mind and speech. The true religion resides only in the hearts of straightforward people.”
Straightforwardness means high ethics and integrity. Straightforwardness involves freedom from falsehood, cheating, dishonesty, trickery, corruption, bribery, and crookedness. Everyone likes a person with a straightforward attitude. The life of a straightforward person becomes natural, fearless, worry-free, devout, peaceful, and therefore righteous. Straightforward people succeed in their professional, academic, emotional, and spiritual lives. Straightforwardness is another intrinsic quality of our soul. That quality opens the doors of Moksha. Straightforwardness stops the influx of Karma. Immense peace can be experienced with the development of straightforwardness in the life.
· Be aware that there should be synchronization of action, thoughts and speech. It is not desirable to think something in our minds, yet express something different through our speech or actions.
· Be aware that greed is the root cause of deceitful behavior. The deceitful approach may have short-term material gain, but in the end, it is a losing game.
· Be aware that nobody likes deceitful person and the most trusted people are the straightforward ones.
· Be aware that straightforward people are fearless, natural, and have a peaceful life. Deceitful people are always worried, fearful, and restless.
· Straightforwardness means accepting when mistakes are made, not spreading rumors, not blaming others, not telling one’s secrets to others, not lying, not hurting others’ feelings, and so on.
· Be aware that a deceitful nature brings in more Karma and more Karma brings in a more deceitful nature, starting a cycle that is hard to reverse.
· Contemplate: “I want to be a straightforward person and be free from all deceitful activities”
For young children, it is natural to be straightforward. Older people should try to be like them. Do what you say and say what you think. Deceitful approaches put life in more misery. Straightforwardness brings immense peace, and success in every area (social, intellectual, professional, academic, mental, and spiritual). It is a quality of the soul. Straightforwardness stops the influx of Karma and accelerates the process of Nirjarä (shedding of Karma).
The state of being content is called contentment. Contentment also means freedom from discontent. To be content means to limit or free one’s own self from requirements and desires. Contentment is a pure state of satisfaction. Contentment is the very basic nature of the Ätmä (soul).
The opposite of contentment is greed. Therefore, becoming greedy is unnatural. Greed is the lust for wanting more. The more you get, the more you want. A greedy person is never satisfied with whatever they have. Other manifestations of greed are selfishness, miserliness, and stinginess.
Greed is due to unawareness that the self and non-self are different. Greed is not restricted to the lust for wealth; one can be greedy for any non-spiritual object, such as the body, beauty, power, fame, name, use, re-use, pleasures for the five senses, etc.
Greediness is a prison; it is bondage. Greed is at the root of all miseries and all sins. Greed is the father of all sins. Because of greed, we become deceitful, egoistic, and angry. A famous Indian saint, Kabir, has said, “Because of passions, anger, and greed, human beings drown without water.”
Quotes from Dash-Vaikälika Sutra
· Anger (Krodha), pride (Mäna), deceit (Mäyä), and greed (Lobha) add to demerit (Päp). He, who is desirous of his own well being, should completely give up these four passions. (8-36)
· Anger spoils good relations, ego destroys humility, and deceit is detrimental to friendship, while greed destroys everything. (8-37)
· One should suppress anger by tranquility. Pride should be replaced by humility. Deceit should be avoided through straightforwardness. One should overcome greed through contentment. (8-38)
· If anger and ego are not controlled, and if deceit and greed are allowed to increase, then these four evil passions serve to water the roots of the tree of transmigration (Sansär, cycle of birth and death). (8-39)
Quotes from Uttarädhyayan Sutra
· Anger causes the degradation of the soul. Pride leads to a low state of existence. Deceit is an impediment to progress towards a better state of existence. Greed spoils both the present and the future lives. (9-54)
· Knowing that greed has no bounds - all the rice and barley of the entire earth, all the stocks of gold and all the cattle of the earth are not sufficient to satisfy the desires of a single individual; the wise should practice austerities. (9-49)
· Greed always increases with possessions. The more we get, the more we want. In the beginning, we desire far little wealth and think that it will be sufficient for our needs. On acquiring it, we think that even millions will not be sufficient for our needs. (8-17)
· By renouncing passions, the soul attains the state of complete freedom, the state beyond attachment and aversion (VITARÄGA). On attaining the state of non-attachment and non-aversion, the soul becomes indifferent to worldly pleasure and pain. (29-36)
By conquering anger, the soul acquires forgiveness. By conquering ego, the soul gains humility. By giving up deceit, the soul acquires straightforwardness. By conquering greed, the soul attains contentment.
What Greed Is
Accumulation is not greed, but attachment to the accumulation is greediness. Greed is not only related to wealth, but also related to having more power, to becoming more famous, to having others acknowledge/respect your intelligence, your body, and your features. Greed is also a desire to use and reuse material things, desire to please the five senses and mind, desire to get what you like, and so on. People sometimes spend more money to get power, a beautiful companion, name, and fame. Even practicing religion with a desire to go to heaven or Moksha is greed. Thus, there are many types of greed, which must all be carefully avoided.
What Greed Does
Greed makes people miserable. Greed attracts more bad Karma and bad Karma makes them greedy in a seemingly endless cycle. Greed destroys love, humility, and friendship. Wherever there is greed, there is no happiness; and greed has no limits. Greediness is also subtle. Sometimes it is very difficult to notice greediness. It is more difficult to get rid of greediness.
A person blinded by greediness resorts not only to deceit, treachery, and injustice, but may even go to the extent of severe violence. When you get what you like, it can lead to attachment (deceit and greed) and when you do not get what you like it can lead to aversion (anger and ego).
Bhagawän Mahävir said, “A greedy person cannot be satisfied even if he accumulates countless heaps of gold and silver of the size of Mount Kailäsa (a peak of Himalayas). Desires are limitless like space.” He also said, “You may annex the entire universe and you may acquire the wealth of the whole world, but even these will not be sufficient to satisfy your greed. Even that treasure will not be able to protect you from the miseries of the world.”
Greed is a very dangerous passion because in the end there is no satisfaction with the accumulated goods. Similarly, it does not allow enjoyment of the wealth, power, fame, or name obtained.
A penny pinching, miserly person is not able to use his money even for his own comfort and well-being. He is afraid that in doing so his wealth may be used up and exhausted. In addition, how can a person donate money when he does not use it even for himself? Such a miser is shocked and pained even to see anyone else donating wealth to the needy. A greedy person feels jealous when others have more than he has.
How long does greed last?
There are four types of greed, and therefore, their lasting is of four types:
· Some greed is very mild, like a color that can be washed away by water. This type of greed takes hours or days to get rid off.
· Some greed is mild, like a color that can be removed by soap and water. This type of greed takes weeks to months to get rid of.
· Some greed is intense, like grease that requires special chemicals to remove. This type of greed takes good amount of time (months to years) to get rid of.
· Some greed is very intense, like permanent dye. This type of greed takes a very long time, even several lifetimes or more to get rid of that.
What Contentment Is
Bhagawän Mahävir said, “A person who is free from delusion (who understands reality) has no misery. A person who is without any longing has no delusion. A person without greed has no longing. A person who does not have possessions has no greed.”
Thus, the absence of greed is contentment. Contentment, of course, does not mean that we should not make honest efforts to earn. We should get rewarded fairly for our efforts. However, we should volunarily limit the amount we want to accumulate.
Contentment really consists of being happy, even when one has less than what can be obtained. One should make efforts to get needed things without feeling discontented. Moreover, even if, after an honest effort, one does not get what is needed due to Karma, they should feel contented. Such a person stays happy. There is a proverb: "A content person is forever happy."
We should make proper use of our wealth, power, name, fame, knowledge, and relationships. We should not become selfish, mean, or stingy. Once we have accumulated up to our limit, we should devote more time to spiritual activities and distribute additional wealth towards worthy causes. Thus, one can be happy if they are contented with whatever they possess.
Ways To Conquer Greediness
Greed is the most difficult of the four passions (anger, ego, deceit and greed) to get rid of. Therefore, first anger, then ego, then deceitfulness are eradicated; then only is greed eradicated. The methods similar to the “Ways To Conquer Anger” apply here. However, conquering greediness is indeed more difficult than conquering anger. The detection of anger is easy; it can be detected by several external signs. However, greed is usually subtle, and not easy to detect inside one’s self.
Be aware that discontent leads to sorrow and misery, and contentment leads to happiness. Contentment is a natural wealth. Wealth in the form of cash, land, houses, cars, and jewels, and other non-material items like power, name, beauty, and fame are transitory. Contentment is the highest happiness. Desires on the other hand are the worst diseases.
Be aware that as long as one has greed, he/she is trapped in this Sansär. A person free of greediness is free from all miseries. The absence of greediness is the only way to liberation. Let us review a story of Kapil Muni dealing with greed vs. contentment.
Story of Kapil Muni
In the city of Kaushambi, there lived a learned Brahmin, named Kashyap. He held an important position in the royal court. His wife Shridevi gave birth to a boy who was named Kapil. Kapil’s father passed away when Kapil was fifteen years old. Kapil was a spoiled child; he did not acquire much education. He squandered away all his father’s wealth. His father's post was given to some other scholar.
One day when Shridevi was standing at the door, the newly appointed scholar happened to pass by. Looking at him, Shridevi was reminded of the good old days when her husband was alive. She thought in her own mind, "It is very unfortunate that I have lost all my comfort and happiness, and the real pity is that my son did not get proper education." Overwhelmed by grief, tears came into her eyes and she became very depressed. Soon Kapil arrived, and on seeing his mother crying, asked, "What is the matter, Mother? Please tell me."
Shridevi reluctantly expressed to Kapil her feelings about his father's position being filled by someone else. Kapil replied, "Mother, you know I possess intelligence. I am not dull. Unfortunately, I did not make use of the opportunities that came to me. But now I am prepared to go anywhere you wish and acquire knowledge.” Although Shridevi was not very confident about her son's ability to study, she suggested that he should go to Shrävasti where his father's friend Indradatt lived and ran a school.
Kapil was very upset at the thought of leaving his mother and going to such a far away place. However, he composed himself and decided to fulfill his mother's wishes. After taking his mother’s blessings, Kapil left for Shrävasti.
After traveling a long distance, Kapil reached Shrävasti, and went to Indradatt's place. He narrated the whole story and expressed his desire to learn. The teacher was very happy to see his friend's son. He welcomed Kapil as his student. He was a little worried about Kapil's expenses. According to the prevalent custom, Kapil had to go to the city to collect alms. As he had to visit several places, he could only return in the afternoon. As a result of this, his day was spent and he had hardly any time to study.
One day, Indradatt inquired about Kapil's progress in studies. Kapil said, "Sir, I have to spend a lot of time in collecting alms. Thus I am sorry that I hardly find time to study.”
The teacher realized Kapil's difficulties and suggested that he could go to and stay with a family who can support him. Kapil's food problem was thus solved but as time passed, he got entangled in family matters of his host and started neglecting his studies. He fell in love with a beautiful maid serving at the host’s family. She gave a birth to Kapil’s child. Gradually, the host lost interest in Kapil's well being. Kapil therefore needed finance.
One day, Kapil heard that the king of the city had the practice of offering two gold coins to the Brahmin who was the first to bless him early morning. Kapil thought it was a good way to earn money. He decided to get up early in the morning and visit the king. He made several attempts but found that he was always too late and missed the opportunity to bless the king.
Finally, he decided to sleep in the courtyard with the idea that he would not be able to sleep soundly in the open. He fell asleep. Suddenly his eyes opened in the middle of the night and seeing the moon he though that it was dawn. He hurriedly dressed, and rushed towards the king's palace. Thinking that he should reach his destination on time, he started running.
As he reached near the palace, he thought to himself that he would wait outside the palace gates so that he was sure to be the first to see the king.
The guards seeing a stranger outside the royal gate in the middle of the night grew suspicious and arrested him. Kapil protested, "I am innocent, I have not done anything. I have only come to see the king.” However, the guards did not pay any attention to what he said and put him in jail.
The next morning Kapil was brought before the king. Kapil stood, stunned at the unfortunate situation. The king asked, "What were you doing outside the palace in the middle of the night!"
Kapil answered, "Your Majesty, I am innocent. I had just come to be the first one to bless you and receive the two gold coins you give to the first Brahmin who blesses you in the morning."
The king said, "You have gone through all this trouble for just two gold coins. Well, you can ask for whatever you desire."
Kapil could not make up his mind and was in a state of confusion. After a little while, he said to the king, "Your Majesty, give me some time to think over it.” The king granted him time till next morning.
Kapil sat down in a garden to think quietly. Greed got the better of him. He thought of asking the king for five gold coins instead of two. After a little while, he thought that five coins would not be enough so he should ask for twenty-five. Even this amount seemed too little so he thought to ask for one hundred. He finally thought of asking for half of the kingdom. However, the idea of the king being equal to him did not appeal to him. Therefore, he thought to ask for the whole kingdom.
As Kapil was thinking, he felt uncomfortable. He thought to himself, "I am being unfair to my benefactor. He is being so generous and gracious while I am thinking of depriving him of all his possessions. As a result of this, he started to moderate his demands. He thought of asking for half the kingdom, then he came down to one hundred coins, twenty-five, five and finally to just two.
However, all of a sudden there was a flash in his mind. He had a second thought in his mind. He said to himself, ""O, how selfish am I? The king permitted me to ask for anything so that I would be no poorer! I jumped from two gold coins to the whole kingdom! How wicked am I to contemplate about pushing that very king into poverty, what an evil retribution for his good act!”
Look at the human mind! It does not stop even when it gets what it wished for; its demand goes on increasing. There is no end to it. The world is a myth (fiction) and all desires lead to suffering.
Kapil went on thinking,' what should I make out from this?' Should one go on increasing one's needs or be free from them? In fact, I need some money to get married. Nevertheless, as the opportunity came my way, my mind gradually went on increasing the desires. Why should I marry? Why should there be all this ignoble display of worldly possessions? Is it all to derive happiness? Can one get happiness in the mundane world (Sansär)?
Kapil went on thinking along these lines and at the end, he felt that to hope for happiness in the world is as futile as running after a mirage. "Happiness," he thought, "lies in renunciation, in the absence of desires."
He, therefore, decided to be initiated as a monk and pursued the course of self -control. Then, he went to the king, who asked him for his wishes.
Kapil said, "Your Majesty! It is the nature of human mind to want more and more as one keeps on getting things desired by him. You gave me a chance to ask from you. In addition, my mind, which initially wished for 2 coins, was finally not contents even with millions of them. I realized this and so my lord, I wish to be initiated as a monk and want to renounce this world." With these words he respectfully left the king and the court and got initiated as a monk.
From the episode of Kapil we can understand, that the more a man gets, the greedier he becomes. Therefore, contentment is the most important attribute of a householder.