In the city of Mathura lived a merchant named Dhanasar. He was very rich, but he would not offer a penny to anybody. He was well known for his wealth, as well as, his stinginess. Dhanasar used to hide his wealth underground. One day, he went to check on it, and he found that all of it was changed into charcoal with snakes crawling all over it. Within a short time before he could get over this loss, he received the news that all his cargo ships had sunk in the sea. As if that was not enough, he also learned that a convoy carrying all his possessions had been robbed. He felt so helpless and sad. He decided to challenge his fate, by going abroad for business himself with left over one hundred thousands gold coins at home. But with his bad luck and bad karmas, the ship was wrecked and all his gold was lost in the sea. He saved himself by floating on a log which took him to the shore.
He spent the next day on the seashore, then he moved to a park. This is when he saw a muni (monk) preaching under the shade of a mango tree. He joined the crowd. When the sermon was over, the merchant went to the monk and said, “Oh muni! Due to which karmas did I acquire so much wealth, and due to which karmas did I lose it all?”
The muni narrated Dhanasar’s past life to him, “In the country of Dhatakikhand, there was a city called Ambica. In Ambica lived two brothers. The elder brother was always helpful and generous to the needy, while the younger brother did not like to give to charities. The younger brother had a very bad temper, and he often displayed it when his elder brother helped other people. After a while, when the younger brother could not tolerate this kindness any more, he left the house. The elder brother continued his life style of giving to the needy and, instead of his wealth decreasing, it increased. The younger brother could not stand this, so he made up a story, went to the king, and convinced the king to take over his brother’s wealth. The elder brother was saddened by this and renounced the world. After his death because of his good deeds, he was reborn as an angel in heaven.”
“The people did not approve of the younger brother’s behavior, and he could not take their criticism. So he left the town and joined some hermits. After his death, he was reborn as Asurkumar (demon) in hell. You are that younger brother. Because in your previous life, you did not approve of gifts and charities, you are still a miser. Because you made your brother lose all his wealth, your wealth is lost now. While your elder brother, after spending his life in Saudharm heaven, was born as a merchant in Tamralipti. He gained a lot of wealth, but gave it all up to become a monk . You are talking to him now.”
Dhanasar felt sorry and was troubled to hear this. He bowed down to the muni, and asked him for forgiveness. He took a vow, that he would not get involved in any sinful activities and would only keep one-fourth of his income. The rest he would donate to charity.
Soon a miracle happened. All his wealth was recovered. Dhanasar kept his promise. He became a devout shravak and spent his wealth on seven items: Jain abodes, temples, and literature, and well beings of Jain monks, nuns, shravaks, and shravikas (female householders). This was the turning point in his life, and he lived a noble life thereafter.