There once lived a king named Satyadev, who ruled over his kingdom wisely and well. One morning, as he was taking a stroll in his palace grounds, he saw a beautiful woman, decked with precious ornaments leaving the palace. The king was surprised as he had never seen this woman in the palace previously. So, he approached her and asked her who she was. She replied that she was Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and was now leaving his palace.
The king earnestly prayed that she stay on, but Sri Lakshmi refused to oblige. The king humbly bowed down and said, “If that is your wish, so be it.” The Goddess immediately left the palace. After a short while, the king saw a previously unseen man also leaving the palace. As he approached the person and enquired who he was, the man said that he was Dana or charity. He explained that since the Goddess of Wealth had left, the king would have no use for him. So, he too was leaving. The king bowed down to him and said, “If that is your wish, so be it”. Thus, the God representing charity too, left the palace.
After a little time, there was yet another man seen leaving the palace, and the king duly approached him and enquired who he was. The man said that he was Yash which means fame. He said that since the Goddess of Wealth and Charity had both left, there was no place for him to stay back in the palace. The king once again bowed down and said, “If that is your wish, so be it.” Fame too left the palace.
Soon after, the king saw a fourth person leaving. Approaching him, the king asked who he was. The man said that he was Sadachar, namely Virtue.
Now the king fervently begged him not to leave the palace.
He said, “I have always tried to conduct myself righteously and to never swerve from the path of virtue. If I had been greedy, I would have tried to stop the others who went before, from leaving, but I did not do so. “For me, virtue is more important than wealth, charity or fame. For you, I have sacrificed them. If you also leave, I will have nothing left !”. Hearing this, Sadachar decided to stay back in the palace. Seeing Sadachar residing in the palace, Sri Lakshmi, Dana and Yash returned to the palace.
The story is a pointer on the importance of virtue or good conduct in one's life. Wherever virtue resides, wealth, charity and fame follow. Without good conduct, all the others become meaningless.
Asthiram jīvitam loke asthire dhanayauvane Asthirāḥ putra dārāscha dharma kīrti dvayam sukham In this world, life is uncertain, wealth and youth are unstable. Even (association with) wife and children are not everlasting. It is dharma and fame that last forever.
Anuradha Sundara Raman