Monday, November 07, 2011

The monk who flew in a jet

The inspiring story of the second richest man in Malaysia who could not feed his own son

Something to Ponder --
The monk who flew in a jet

By business bhutan | 01 January 2011

In 2008, as my friend and I sat down in the restaurant to eat our dinner, we saw a man in the
hotel lobby. Immediately, we assumed that he was alone so decided to invite him for dinner.
“I don’t eat dinner,” the elderly man declined the offer, “I am on my way to the gym.”

The next morning, I met him in the hotel lobby and noticed that he was wearing the same
“Excuse me,” he said politely and then looking at the young monk sitting next to me, said
affectionately, “Son, it is time for us to go home.” The son obediently picked up his small cloth
bag from the floor and followed his father.

Earlier, curious to see a monk in the Uma hotel in Paro, I had started a conversation with him.
“Yesterday was my father’s 70th birthday and he wanted me to spend it with him in a special
place,” the monk informed me. The monk could have been in his early thirties. He had short hair
and was wearing saffron robes and had a pair of slippers on. “What a beautiful country you
have? They had flown into Paro in their own jet.

So who are these people? The elderly man is Ananda Krishnan and the monk his only son.
Krishnan is the second richest man in Malaysia. According to Forbes he is worth 7.6 Billion
dollars. The Tamil Malaysian of Sri Lankan Tamil origin is a self made man and is a notable
philanthropist but leads a low profile life. He and his son are both Buddhists.

Few years ago, the billionaire lost his son. He started to look for him and his search stopped in a
Buddhist monastery in north Thailand. Shocked to see his son in saffron robes, short hair with a
begging bowl in his hand the father invites his son for a meal.

“I am sorry; I cannot accept your invitation.” Like all my fellow monks, I have to beg for my
food.” Krishnan reply made headlines, “With all my wealth I cannot even afford to feed my own son.”

The son still lives in the monastery in the forest of Thailand and like all the monks in the
monastery depends on other people’s generosity for his sustenance.

Hearing stories like these one wonders if we are giving up everything that we already possess to
acquire things that we really don’t need.

This story clearly demonstrates that human contentment and well being in real terms requires us to go beyond physical, mental, and emotional dimension. Krishnan’s son clearly shows that
detachment could be a greater wealth and devotion a bigger asset in our lives.

In this world of materialism we work tirelessly to pursue something which we don't need - excessive wealth.

After years of hard work we succeed in making more than we need but our greed continues to drive us to make more and more.

In the process we forget the past,we forget all those who helped us to reach that elevated state,we forget even our own poor parents,siblings and friends.We forget the needs of those less fortunate than us.

Then suddenly,a tragedy strikes us - illness,accident or natural disaster.We lose someone we love most.

All our accumulated wealth cannot save us and then it is too late.All our happiness is suddenly taken away.

A rich man went to see a wise sage and asked,"I worked hard and made all the money I could but I am not happy.What should I do to find happiness?"

The sage said that, "How can you have happiness when you keep everything to yourself?Keep what you need and give the rest to others and you will have all the happiness we ever wanted."

I did not think much about this advice of the wise man when I was young and energetic but today I appreciate the words of that wise man as I realise the truth in what he said.

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