This is a theme common in all religions and scriptures because it usually bears a very essential lesson to anyone whether rich or poor. In the ancient times the persons who became Enlightened were very skillful in devising means to reach out to the common man in order that he may learn something of essence about Awakening.
The mysteries of Enlightenment are hard to understand since it seems that the more the inner rewards the more is taken from one, materially. Hence you will see that most men appeared as beggars but that was their device to act as a touchpoint with the persons they would teach.
Usually, the men and women who manage to climb to the top of the ladder of Awakening exhibit much disregard for the material, having attained to the Deathless realm of supreme Enlightenment. As such, their lessons remained for many generations due to the uniqueness of their expedient means of teaching the Supreme Truth.
Hence, while most would be quick to judge such persons as mere nihilists there is much one can learn from them on the inner workings of the path to the Highest Nirvana. A humorous story is provided below to paint this picture with much clarity.
Setting: Ancient India
The great Buddhist Guru Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loincloth and, incongruously, a golden begging bowl gifted to him by the King, who was his disciple.
One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. “Here, take this,” said Nagarjuna, holding out the begging bowl. “That way you won’t disturb me once I have fallen asleep!”
The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off — only to return next morning with the bowl and a request. He said, “When you gave away this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of light-hearted detachment possible.”