Jains, Wealth And Ethics. Lessons For A Godless Capitalism

“It is as hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven as a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” This was one of the pictorial worms inserted in our minds by an earnest and persuasive Sunday School teacher. It was a fantastical image that I turned over in my mind while walking home with my brother. Our parents had just moved from the valley of Coulsdon to the uplands of Purley, which seemed to indicate they might be in trouble needle-wise. The house was bigger and it had a D shaped drive – though we did not yet have a car. Eyes of needles are small. My mother would often summon me to thread her needle when sewing, saying ‘your eyes are so much better than mine’. I saw the problem. The Sunday School teacher was not so graphical about heaven and hell, so as a kid it did not develop into an existential quandary.

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