I am referring to money, when I speak of wealth in this short article.
Money is said to be everything. Without money its extremely hard to live comfortably in this world. In other words, one needs money to acquire goods or avail services. At the same time, we do know that Money is not EVERYTHING. In the sense that money is not the most valuable aspect of life. There are many other facets to life which occupy a much higher place in our minds and hearts. We know this and feel extremely sad and angry when we hear of stories where some people go to any extreme to make money. Thats because we value goodness and humanness.
A samskrit subhashitam says:
विदेशेषु धनं विद्या व्यसनेषु धनं मतिः । परलोके धनं धर्मः शीलं सर्वत्र वै धनम् ॥
In a forgien land knowledge is an asset, during difficult times intelligence comes handy, Righteousness is most valued to secure a safe life here-after (life after death), where as character is the true wealth (asset) at all times and in all situations.
This insightful and simple to understand subhashitam in samskrt lets us know that true wealth depends on the situation. After all, whats the use of all the money when it cant be of help when in need.
Now, lets try and understand the nature of money. This can be understood by reflecting on the nature of blood and water.
Blood – As long as it flows freely, regularly and systematically in our body through days and nights we should not be worried. However, if there are any obstacles in its flow or clots, it will definitely land us in trouble. Hence, its our job to ensure that there is good circulation of blood in our body. Food habits, excercise and good sleep are some important aspects to facilitate good blood circulation throughout the body.
Water – Flowing water creates life, beauty and bountiful prosperity. Stagnant water is always a big risk. It creates a habitat conducive for many organisms that can eventually cause various diseases. Also storing water in great quantities need strong fortified infrastructure (as in man-made dams and reservoirs). More the water, more effort and resources are needed to safeguard it.
Although the glaciers in the himalayas are the origin of the great Ganges and the ocean is its destination, both pale way in comparison to the flowing Ganges when it comes to creating beauty, prosperity and benefitting all the living beings.
Let me make use of two beautiful samskrt quotes in this regard.
दातव्यं भोक्तव्यं धनविषये सञ्चयो न कर्तव्यः। पश्येह मधुकरीणां सञ्चितार्थ हरन्त्येव ॥
Money should either be given in charity or spent for consumption. It should not be just collected and accumulated. See what happens to honey that is laboriously accumulated by the honeybees. In the end it gets taken away by someone else.
दानं भोगः नाशः तिस्रः गतयो भवन्ति वित्तस्य । यो न ददाति न भुङ्क्ते तस्य तृतीया गतिर्भवति ॥ There are only three things that happens to wealth (money). 1. Charity - Donation of money 2. Enjoyment - Money spent for any kind of needs or wants 3. Losing Money - Theft, destruction, loss and such other Money that is neither given in charity or spent for needs/wants, will definitely meet its third end - destruction.
Money, Blood & Water – It creates more value when it flows continuously. Not just for others, but for oneself also. While it flows it creates and sustain life. Thus benefecial for the individual and the ecosystem.
To lead a peaceful and prosperous life, we also need our neighbourhoods and society at large to be peaceful and prosperous. Its not enough otherwise. We know this very well, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Are we assured of safety if we alone wear masks while the rest don’t care much? Individual prosperity is linked to societal prosperity in many ways. And hence ancient wisdom goes a step further and places importance on charity, that is spending money for the welfare of others.
गौरवं प्राप्यते दानात् न तु वित्तस्य सञ्चयात् । स्थितिः उच्चैः पयोदानात् पयोधीनां अधः स्थितिः ॥
Respect and honour are earned by doing charity, i.e giving away wealth for the benefit of others and not be hoarding money. Clouds (giver of water) occupy a high status whereas the ocean (aggregater of water) lies low and down below.
Image Source: https://www.maxpixel.net/photo-5059912
Note: Infinite treasure of wisdom lies ignored and forgotten in our ancient literature. The key to this treasure is the language Samskrtam. This key has been stolen from us and our education system by the many invaders and the British. Unfortunately we have access to our literature only through its translated versions and that too those that are mostly done by foreigners. We can’t forever be lamenting our great loss. We have to start somewhere and re-posses our invaluable heritage. Begin today, begin now. Over time we can collectively make great progress. (Read this to know some very easy options for you to regain this lost key)