Once a Sadhu went to stay in a rich man’s house. During the course of conversation, the rich man boasted, “Sir, in the present life, I have accumulated so many punyas (good deeds), that in the next birth, I will be placed high in life.”
Looking at the Sadhu’s raised eyebrows, he continued, “Tomorrow I will take you to see the new temple I have built. It is the most beautiful temple in this area. You must see the way the puja is being done daily here”.
“Son, who performs the puja?”, the holy man asked. “The priests appointed by me,” said the rich man with growing vanity. “Then no doubt, the priests are acquiring their share of punya too,” said the holy man.
Now the rich man got irritated. He said, “ I have appointed them and I am paying for their services, so the punya is naturally mine.”
Just then a young child entered the room, with his school bag, obviously ready to go to school. The rich man’s expression softened and he said lovingly to his son, “Son, be careful, where is Datta?”
“Papa, he is coming, see there he is”. The sadhu asked his host, “who are these two?” The rich man replied, “The young child is my son, and Datta is my servant who takes him to school.” “Why do you send your son to school?” asked the holly man. “To study, learn and gain knowledge, of course,” was the reply.
The holy man paused and then said, “I don’t understand why your son has to go to school. You are paying your servant a handsome salary. Why does he not attend the classes in place of your child?”
The rich man fell silent. He realized that knowledge acquired by the servant could not be transferred to his child. So also, he realized his wealth could not buy him punyas. Each one will get the fruits of his own punyas. He thanked the sadhu for teaching him this humbling lesson.