What is wealth?
Mankind has worshipped, desired and lusted for wealth since the dawn of civilisation.
Yet, history shows that "wealth" hasn't always brought happiness to mankind.
Yet, wealth, as Lakshmi, is suppose to bring us happiness !! So, what is this wealth that
can bring us happiness ?
Eastern view of wealth is far more varied than the West. In eastern scriptures, such
as Shrimad Bhagvatam, Ramayana and even the Bhagvad-Gita, wealth is seen as something far
more subtle than the metals and stones we covet. By way of parables, such as that of Lord
Krishna's friend Sudama, or king
Bali, these great scriptures show us how we can enrich our lives by
appreciating what we have.
Bhaktaraj Sudama was sent by his wife to attain material wealth from the divine ruler
of Dwarka. Sudamaji came to the golden city as a beggar, but left it as a very wealthy
man. Not just in the physical sense, but intellectually as well. When the Lord of all
Dwarka, husband of the goddess of wealth Himself washed his feet, Sudama realised the
truest nature of "wealth" he
That of friendship, patience, intellect, spirituality, knowledge of all the
King Bali's faith in God was his greatest wealth. So
much so, that when God Himself "tested" that faith, Bali did not flinch and
readily gave away everything he had. His wealth of love and devotion to
God merited immortality, a gift only God can grant.
Eastern philosophy of the Vedas insists true Wealth is happiness incarnate. The wealth
of the Vedas is more varied than the cold glimmer of gold and silver. Wealth is more than
the inanimate objects we normally associate with "wealth". It is beyond the
house, car, Hi-Fi and the numbered Swiss account. Wealth which can bring happiness to us
all is far more than any of this. It comprises of (1) health, (2) honour, (3)
intelligence, (4) popularity, (5) fame, (6) friends, (7) parents, (8) wife, (9) children,
(10) strength, (11) good looks etc..
Whether we call on Krishna or Christ, Allah, Buddha or Mahavir, we can not have peace
of mind until we know what we really want. Our mind needs to be clear as to what sort
wealth we want or need. Often our requirements are at odds with what we really need. Until
the "want" fits the "needs", we can't ever be really happy. Intellect
and knowledge, essential wealth for us all, can help us enormously in our search for peace
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of people practising meditation,
yoga, mantras etc.. The whole point of these exercises is not to suddenly have unlimited
(material) wealth, but to realise the god given gifts and talents you possess. Meditation
gives one the peace of mind, which in it self is the greatest gift of all. Yoga gives
health and balance of mind and body, while the mantras are meant to calm the sprit and
awaken the latent energies within us all.
Appreciation of the abundant natural wealth, that surrounds us, is also important if
we are to appreciate our good fortune in life. Kind weather, abundance of food and water,
absence of droughts and hurricanes, no threat of earth-quakes etc. is the wealth of nature
bestowed upon us all. Appreciation of all this, and more, can bring us true happiness.
wealth can not be and must not be limited to mathematical figures on an account's ledger.
Originally published in the Souvenir magazine for the ballet "Krishna
Sudama" 1996, produced by the Vallabha Nidhi UK.
Return to Index
Return to Bhagwat's main page
Return to ShriNathji's Haveli