A merchant med Dhasar used to live in Mathura. Though the owner of a vast fortune measured in lakhs of gold coins, he was extremely stingy and would not even part with a copper or a nickel.
One day, Dhasar went to take stock of his treasure kept underground. To his great shock, he found it all turned into charcoal with reptiles crawling through it. Still staggering from this massive, inexplicable blow, there came the news of the loss of his ships loaded with cargo on the high seas. Then followed a third shock about a highway robbery in which a convoy of his carrying precious merchandise had been looted. These made Dhasar feel so helpless and wretched that he saw darkness all around.
When unfavorable Karma is prevailing, whatever a man may do will inevitably go against him. Dhasar borrowed 10 lakh gold coins from a relative and went abroad to do business. But as ill-luck would have it, there was a shipwreck, and all his gold went down the sea. He could barely save himself with difficulty by clutching onto a floating log and swimming ashore.
After spending a day on the seashore bewailing his misfortune, Dhasar took shelter in a nearby park. There he saw a Jain muni under the shade of a mango tree giving a sermon to assembled people. He too sat down to listen. When the sermon was over, the merchant came near the ascetic, paid him homage and obeisance, and said, “O Muni! For what karma did I acquire so much wealth, and for what karma did I lose it all?”
The ascetic replied, “O merchant! All these things happen according to the mysterious workings of Karma, which is all-powerful. There once lived two brothers in the city Ambika. The elder brother was generous, always helping the needy. But the younger brother was miserly and strongly disapproved of the charities made by his elder brother.
Filly, the younger brother could tolerate it no more and separated. But he was chagrined to see his elder brother’s wealth — instead of decreasing — actually go on increasing. So he lodged a complaint with the king and induced him to seize his elder brother’s property. Deeply hurt, the elder brother renounced the world. After his death, by virtue of his good deeds, he became a Dev in heaven.
The younger brother was now bitterly criticized by the people, and he could no longer remain in society. So he joined the order of some heretics, and on completion of his life was born as an Asurkumar in hell. Having completed his life there, he is reborn as you. In your previous life, you disapproved of gifts and charities, and so you are still a miser. You deprived your brother of his rightful wealth, and so you are deprived now. And your elder brother, having spent his life in Saudharmalok, was born as a merchant in Tamralipti. He earned much wealth and gave up all of it to join the order of monks. He is the ascetic now speaking to you.”
Overwhelmed, Dhasar fell at the feet of his elder brother, the Jain muni, and begged to be forgiven. There and then he took a vow to dote three-fourths of his earning to the poor and needy, and desist from all sinful acts. This had an instantaneous effect. By the mercy of a Dev, all his wealth and affluence that had been lost were restored.
Henceforth, Dhasar became a devout Jain shravak who regularly spent his wealth on religious and worthy causes. This was a turning point in his life, and the rest of it was well lived.