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God once appeared before a man who had worshipped him for a long time to grant him a boon.
He asked God to give him something which will fulfill all his desires at all times. God then granted a big seashell and said,
“You may disclose your desires to this sea-shell and you will have them granted"
The man experimented the new wish fulfilling shell and it worked perfectly. All his wishes were fulfilled from having a big palace, beautiful women and so on.
His happiness however was short lived. A wandering monk who stayed with him disclosed the fact that God had given him a bigger sea-shell which offered double of whatever he wished for, on account of his worship for a longer time than the other.
The man grew jealous. He told the monk,
“You are a Sannyasin and I am a householder. I deserve the bigger shell as my needs are more than yours. Lets exchange the shells!"
After exchanging the shell with the monk, he tried to experiment it. When he asked for one lakh rupees, the shell said, “ I can give you two lakh rupees"
The man was glad and said “Ok, give me two lakhs"
The shell then said, “Why ask for two lakhs, I can give you four lakhs !"
The man was perturbed and said, “Give me four lakhs"
The shell then said, “Why four lakhs, I can give you eight lakhs!"
This went on and the man finally got nothing. He then rushed to get his original shell from the monk as he was to leave. But the monk had already left.
Chasing desires is to dash out blindly, one after another with no grasp of fulfillment. Contentment is hence the greatest wealth.