The Boy who Purchased One Brinjal for the Rupee

From Parables of Sivananda

A man had two sons. One day he gave them ten rupees each and said to them, “These ten rupees you can spend as you like, but please bring me some brinjals for tonight’s dinner.” They both went away to the bazaar. The foolish boy produced the ten-rupee note to the vegetable seller and said, “Please give me ten brinjals for the whole amount; my father wants to give a good dinner tonight.” The vegetable seller at once noticed the foolishness of the boy, gave him ten rotten brinjals and sent him away.

The wise boy went to the shop and produced a ten-rupee note and said, “Look, I want ten brinjals, the best ones at the cheapest rate. And, give me the balance.” He got the brinjals for four annas. With two rupees he did pooja in the local temple and took the Lord’s prasad. He gave away five rupees in charity to poor boys who heartily blessed him and his family. For the balance he purchased the best spiritual books available in the bookshop.

The boys returned to the father and produced what they had brought. “Look, father what I have brought! Ten brinjals for ten rupees; they ought to be wonderful,” said the foolish boy, and produced the ten rotten brinjals. The father threw away the brinjals in great disgust, remarking, “You have not only lost the money, but purchased rotten brinjals which would spoil the other good dishes. What a fool you are!” Turning to the other boy, the father asked, “What have you brought?” The wise boy lay before the father the good brinjals, the sacred prasad from the temple, the spiritual books, and added, “Father, all this cost me only five rupees. I distributed the other five rupees in charity. How happy the poor boys were! They sent up heartfelt prayers to the Lord to bless us all. Surely, the Lord is well pleased with us.” The father warmly embraced the wise boy and appreciated his wisdom. “You are my own. I am well pleased with you. I hereby make you the sole heir to all that belongs to me. You and I are one.”


The Lord gives riches to people in order that they might use them properly. Artha, material wealth and attainment, should be used in such a way that it satisfies the three other purusharthas: dharma, fulfillment of one’s duties and righteousness, kama, sensual enjoyment, and moksha, striving for liberation. Artha should not be used to satisfy only kama.

The foolish person, however, spends all his wealth, energy and time, on the enjoyment of sensual pleasures. But are these pleasures that he purchases at such expense really pleasures? No, they are pain and rotten at the very core. They are useless.

The wise person, on the contrary, spends sparingly on the necessities of life, and lavishly on those items that enhance dharma and earn moksha for him. He does charity. He spends on pooja. He obtains jnana, wisdom, with the help of his wealth. He feeds mahatmas and sadhus, and looks after their bodily comforts, so that they impart jnana to him and look after his spiritual progress.

The Lord is well pleased with the wise person. He embraces him and they become one. The person inherits divine aishwarya, spiritual wealth and attributes, and shines as His divine heir, as a saint, siddha and jivanmukta on earth.