“Be good,” said holy Shri Dada to a wealthy youth who suddenly inherited wealth and had received no education and believed that pleasure, sense-pleasure, ever-renewed sex- pleasure, was the chief good in life.
“I am good, Dadaji. Don’t you see I harm nobody? I do not pretend; I do not deceive. What more do you expect of me? I have brought one hundred rupees for your poor,” said the handsome youth with a smile.
“My son, what do you create? What is the standard of your good? Do you seek the good of your intellect? Do you mind the expansion of your soul-life? Have you any moral duties? Do the poor and the ignorant exercise any claim on you?”
Manna Lal replied: “Dadaji, I love well. I eat tasty food; I dress to please others. I hear the music of the public women whom I patronise. I send flowers to decorate my temple. What other good need I pursue ? “You do good by depriving yourself of the pleasures of life. You love poverty and yet you cannot see others in poverty.”
“My son, a locomotive engine is fuelled, not for its own sake, but to draw the train. You look after your horse, not for the sake of the horse, but for what it will do for you. Your body, your senses, your mind do not exist for their own sake, but to be fit instruments of your soul to create what is good, what is beautiful,” spoke the holy man with real love for his listener.
“Have I a soul? what is it? What is its good? Dadaji, you surprise me” observed the young man, as he sat down and gave his attention to the words of the holy Teacher.
“My dear Manna Lai, just think a little. You are a good boy at heart. You have a mind which thinks, which directs your senses, by which you plan your pleasures. It is your soul which directs your mind; which instructs your mind in the value of your choice,” remarked the holy Rishi as he drew puffs of smoke out of his hubble-bubble.
“Soul! Yes, I have a soul. Sometimes I question the legitimacy of my pleasures; something in me tells me that I cannot be happy, I am not happy in my life. The morning headaches, the nausea, the meaningless flattery of my parasitic friends; the artificial affection of my women friends make me doubt the validity of my life of pleasure. Will you tell me, Dadaji, what I should do?”
“My son, systematise your life, harmonise your emotions with a view to create real good for yourself and for others. Look for the lasting joys in life. Be a bit of an ascetic. Contemplate the universal good. Exercise compassion and pray to Rama for light. Study your Ramayana daily. Obey your old mother who is anxious for your welfare.”
“Dadaji, you have spoken to me so sweetly. You have not condemned me. I am sure you love me, holy Teacher. May I come and see you daily? Will you favour me with a visit?” said the youth.
“Yes, my son. Come to my Sangha meetings. Sing a few hymns of Tulsi. I hear you have a good voice.”
Manna Lai came daily. He changed his way of life.