A Wealthy Woman

[Listen to Asha read this story]

One of the wealthiest women in the United States became interested in Ananda. She came to several of Swamiji’s lectures, asked to see him for private counseling, and was so impressed, she invited him to stay in her house during one of his tours.

“I am so lonely,” she confided to Swamiji. “Because of my money, I never know who is a true friend and who is just trying to get something from me.”

“What a curse money can be,” Swamiji said to some of us later, “especially when you've grown up with it as she did. Her parents often warned her, ‘Don’t trust anyone outside the family. They are just after your money.’ I would like to help her, but I don’t know if I can.”

Swamiji paused a moment, then went on, “One evening, when I was visiting at her home, I deliberately brought up a subject I knew she felt strongly about: women's rights.

“Of course I think women should be treated fairly; that is self-evident, and she knew that is what I believe. But I don’t agree with much of the ‘women’s movement.’ There is too much ego in it. I deliberately spoke about the subject in a way that challenged her to meet my way of thinking.

“Because she is rich, most people cater to her. I wanted her to know that I wouldn’t do that, that she could always trust me to be sincere with her.

“Instead she decided, because my point of view differed from hers on a subject so dear to her heart, that she didn’t want me to stay in her home anymore. She soon lost interest in our teachings altogether.

“I knew I was taking a risk. But there are many things about Master’s teachings that she wouldn’t be able to understand right away, anyway. She would have had to expand her mind to accept them. I didn’t think it was fair to draw her into Ananda without letting her know what she was getting into. Better for her to find out sooner than later.

“But I felt sad about it for her sake. She is a good woman and I believe we could have helped her if she had been open to it. I would not cater to her, however, merely because of her wealth. To me, she was the same as every other devotee.”

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