The Rich Yogi and the Poor Yogi

Compiled by –

Gandhar Mandlik (Rishi Dharmachandra)

This is the story of two yogis, one of whom was very wealthy and the other living a very meager existence.  They had grown up together, had very similar spiritual training and when later in life they became gurus, their ashrams were located close by to one another.

The ashram of the rich yogi was quite decadent compared to your normal ashram setting.  The structures were all made of the finest materials with marble carving and colorful fabrics lining the hallways.  The food was always elegantly presented and there were often banquets and celebrations during the various festival times of the year.

The ashram on the strict yogi was run quite differently without even the smallest of luxuries.  This yogi was philosophically opposed to the kind of life style that the other yogi’s ashram entailed and he was always cautioning his disciples against such kinds of actions.  “Look at the way they go to excess!” he would preach.  “These are the evils of attachment my children.  There is no road to enlightenment with the kind of golden shackles they’re carrying around their ankles.”  In his mind there was no comparison between the life his ashram was encouraging and the misguided ways of the rich yogi and his wealthy surroundings.

The rich yogi knew how the other yogi felt about their different ashrams, but despite their divergence where this matter was concerned, they stayed on friendly terms throughout their lives and would meet on a regular basis.

One such day, they met on the road in between their two residences.  Seeing his wealthy friend approach, the strict yogi got the idea to give his rich friend a bit of a test.  After their greeting he turned to the rich yogi and said, “You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you, how would you feel about just heading off on a pilgrimage to all the important sites of India.  I don’t know how long it will take, years maybe. But if we’re truly dedicated, why not leave our homes and set out?”  Sure that his friend would never dream of leaving his lush surroundings, the strict yogi was surprised when his friend answered,

“Ok. Why not?  Let’s go.”

Feeling that perhaps the wealthy yogi was just bluffing, the strict yogi continued, “Ok, then. Let’s leave right now.”  To his surprise, the rich yogi answered calmly, “Why not? I’m ready. Let’s go now.”  The strict yogi was a bit caught off guard by the other yogi’s reaction but was still sure that before they got too far, the friend would surely realize all the things he was giving up and would change his mind, proving his worldly attachments.

They walked for a little while, mostly in silence when the strict yogi, thinking of something turned to his companion and said, “Wait right here, I’ll be right back.”  The rich yogi waited there by the side of the road until a quarter of an hour or so later, the strict yogi returned carrying his copper pot and his yogic stick.

The rich yogi turned to his strict minded friend and with a smile on his face said, “That, my friend, is attachment.”

We should become like the lotus petals.  Although they are constantly in the water, the droplets slide just as easily off of their petals.  Detachment occurs on the mental level and it doesn’t matter what possessions you may or may not have.  Make it all equal in your mind so that loss will not cause you sadness and gain will not be the source of your happiness.

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