What is the effect of being excessively miserly?
A miser may have everything in life but cannot derive any happiness from all those possessions. Here is a small story. Once two brothers lived together. One was a great miser, and the other was a greater miser. They were so miserly that they didn’t enjoy anything they had.
One day, they received the news that one of their close relatives in a nearby village had died. The elder brother decided to go there out of compulsion. He preferred to walk rather than spend money on a bus ticket. He got up early, lit the oil lamp to get ready, and proceeded on his journey. When the younger brother saw the lighted lamp, he at once put it off lest it should consume oil. As he was groping in the dark, a scorpion bit him, and he writhed in pain.
Half an hour later there was a knock on the door. Seeing his brother standing at the door, the younger miser asked him, “Brother, why did you come back”?
The elder miser replied, “I returned to ask you whether or not the lamp was put out”.
“Brother, what have you done? The soles of your sandals would be worn out by coming and going,” the younger brother expressed his worry.
“Do you think I don’t have even that much intelligence? I kept my sandals under my armpit while covering the distance,” replied the elder miser. By developing excessive greed and miserliness, they could not experience peace and happiness in life.
Divine Discourse 28 April 1997