There lived a wealthy sheth, but he was a scrooge – mean and miserly. He never spent a rupee, never donated a paisa, and always wore worn shoes and tattered clothes. One day, he fell seriously ill and became bedridden. During his whole life, it was said, he had only one friend, his personal tailor. But unfortunately, he had died a few months earlier. Everyone knew the sheth’s days were numbered. One by one his family and neighbours came to pay their formal respects. When the tailor’s son arrived, the sheth said, “It seems that I will not last long here. My moment to rise to Swarg has come.”
The young boy, though only 15 years old, was very wise. He knew of the sheth’s craving for wealth and miserliness. He replied, “O sheth, my father is already in Swarg. He often told me that he wished to sew rich garments for the Lord. But he forgot to take his needle with him. Will you please take this needle with you and give it to him.”
“Oh, alright, I’ll be happy to do that,” he agreed.
The sheth was happy to do anything as long as it did not involve any giving. He took the needle and gave the boy permission to leave. Alone, in his bed, he began wondering “Where shall I place the needle? Pin it to my shirt? No, that won’t do. All my clothes will burn away on my funeral pyre. In my mouth. Yes, I’ll place the needle in the bulge of my cheek.” Then again, he had second thoughts, “But my whole body will be burnt to ashes. How am I to carry this small needle to Swarga?” The more he thought about it the more confused he became. Finally, he called the tailor’s boy and said, “Son, here, take your needle back. I won’t be able to take it to Swarg.”
“But,” the boy looked amused, “if you are going to carry all your millions of rupees to Swarg, then why can’t you carry one little needle?”
The sheth’s inner eye was opened. He realized that none of his wealth or property would accompany him after death. He prayed to God to forgive him for all his past wickedness and promised to profusely donate his wealth in charity should he survive the illness. God cured him and he kept his word. He built a grand mandir, fed thousands and comforted the less fortunate people.
Remember that only wealth which is spent in the service of God, his holy Sadhu and the needy is worthwhile. Our good deeds alone accompany us after death and nothing else will join us.