Yes, Together We Can
by (Capt) Ravi K Mahajan
A Generous Heart, A Kind Speech, A Life of Service and Compassion, is what your True Wealth is.
Right from the time immemorial, money and wealth, is synonym to a person’s Prosperity and often, his standing in society. Money does play an important role in our lives. Money does ensure that we live a comfortable life, as with money, we can buy the things and gadgets, which do make our life comfortable and secure. It also gives us a social status in the society which is always on the lookout for clues about person’s wealth. These clues could be how he dresses, the car he owns, locality of his house where he lives in and how big it is, schools his children are studying, how big is his business, and his bank balance, so on and so forth. In spite of the fact that most of these things do not concern others, but people are quite inquisitive and curious to know about the financial standing of a person.
Right from the childhood, while bringing up the child, parents do their best to give a good education and upbringing to the child so that he is capable of earning good money, when he grows up. Understandably, many times, parents would go to any length to impart good education to their children. Parents also take great pride in how their children are doing for themselves and often they want them to be better off and avail all those luxuries and amenities, which they might have been deprived off as a child, because their own parents might not have been so well to do, who might have spent whole life securing their future by making money and would have lived a very modest life.
Apart from good education, to earn money, one has to develop right skills, knowledge and competence. Not necessarily, all those children who do well in studies, would also be capable of earning more money. Children who do better in studies and score higher marks, mostly get admitted to elite institutions and definitely stand better chance for getting better, well paying jobs, but if one is an entrepreneur or self employed or joins the family business, his chances of earning better or making more money, solely depends upon his intelligence, knowledge and flair for getting things done.
Since money does play an important part in every one’s life, it is important that we study and analyze every aspect concerning money in life, to evaluate how this important aspect of our lives should be handled and dealt with. We are about five billion people living on this planet all over. Each one of those five billion are different not only to look at but also in their habits, culture, value system, priorities, liking and disliking. Hence, all of us have to think individually for ourselves. Following paragraphs cover my views on various aspects of money in our lives, but you have to make your own assessment and analyze and apply individually for yourself and yourself alone;
One of the basic FEARS, which we all humans inherit is the FEAR OF POVERTY. This is a deep rooted universal emotion. To counter this FEAR OF POVERTY, a person is in the habit of accumulating wealth, as security for his OLD AGE, which also he fears and, since a person is naturally a negative thinker, he thinks he has to have wealth to counter the fear of Loss of Wealth or Poverty, which may befall on him at any time. Coupled with the fear of old age, which also diminishes our capacity to work and earn, the fear gets aggravated as high potential imaginary fear. As I have discussed in other lessons also, a person is in the habit of creating imaginary situations, wherein he finds himself without the security of Wealth. Thinking or imagining such situations again and again, person, in his mind, is convinced that he must earn and accumulate as much wealth as possible, through legal means, if possible, or through other means if necessary.
This is the basic cause of so many scams, misappropriations and embezzlement of public funds and many crimes done for money. They have lost all proportions of legalities and illegalities involved. All scamsters think that they can get away and would never be caught and if caught, they can always get away, because so many have got away. One does need money to counter his bad times or old age but, often, they get trapped into so many illegalities in handling the money thus accumulated, that they can never enjoy their wealth. Neither they can use it in a decent manner, nor ever have peace of mind and worst of all, is to live with a guilty conscience. I can only imagine a wretched life lived by them. Mostly even their sons and daughters do not respect them if they are sensible. Bad and corrupt wealth for which they have labored so hard killing their conscience, becomes their liability, when they see their heirs fighting with each other for the money. Apart from the physical ailments, which may afflict a person in old age, earned wealth, through legal or other means, also becomes a big liability in the old age at times.
With so many steps taken by the government, with many in the offing, handling illegally accumulated wealth often causes serious problems. As per some statistics, lacs of crores of stolen wealth finds way to foreign banks. Those banks and country become fatter and fatter by such ill gotten wealth, most of which remains with them only, since most of the times, there are no documents for anyone else to withdraw that wealth. It is very sad that so many poor people here go hungry and deprived, while part of the national wealth has found way to foreign banks.
We must have correct perspective for money, irrespective of the quantum we have. Money is a good slave but a bad master. Yes, Wealth is important for us to sustain and lead a comfortable life, but we can only enjoy the things money can buy and that too up to a limited extent. Fortunately, we cannot eat money. Spending, owning or accumulating too much of money, always have adverse effects on other aspects of life, which are equally or more important for happiness and tranquility in life.
Wisdom entails that you may earn as much wealth by honest means but also keep upgrading yourself as a human being. Here you have to guard yourself against Ego and Arrogance, which often accompanies wealth generation. Upgrading yourself means to embrace virtues like honesty, compassion, patience, emotional control, truthfulness, caring-sharing-helping attitude and focus at becoming a better human being. With growth in income, you must grow in stature also that is, be more humble, show more humility, become a disciplined person with unmatchable character. Never show off your wealth to look down others who have less. Never try to overawe anyone with oblique display of your wealth and never be overawed by any wealthy person’s presence. Be sensitive to the need of others, not only yours.
There is no doubt that money glitters and when it is happening i.e. spending, owning or accumulating, one may think of such sane advise as foolish, but fact remains which is fortified by many surveys, that after certain level of financial security is reached in life, more wealth does not add to happiness quotient at all. In fact, it becomes more of a liability. If only Material Wealth could make one Happy, rich people would have cornered all the wealth in their strong rooms and would try to be happy with it.
You would always find that the rich are invariably the most unhappy people because of their wealth, which they have taken their lifetime to build and in their advance age, they find their family members fighting over the inherited or to be inherited wealth, which is worst that can happen in old age, but in most households such fights are common. Some time back, this most unfortunate spectacle of such a fight between two super rich brothers, was splashed all over the papers. Imagine the condition of their mother at that time or father, had he been alive. Wealth is a big liability, when you want to own it all, do not want to share it with anyone, not even with your brother also.
Wealth or money, can buy us all sort of comforts and gadgetry, but we should never be obsessed with those comforts. We should never let the money take us over and become the only source of our happiness. Do not ever let money find a way to your head, irrespective of how much you have. Never judge others by their financial status. Do not start a conversation with an allusion of wealth. That would make you look very cheap, phony and snobbish. There are better ways to start a conversation.
Those who make money by rightful means, pay their taxes properly, have every right to take pride in their wealth. Often, people go to all sort of temples to propitiate the Gods, beg before them and do all sort of rituals, hoping to please their benefactor. But when they get it, they are not prepared to share the wealth provided by Him with His creatures, who are also the product of the same God. We want more and more and whether we can ever use it or not, go on accumulating it. Father of our Nation, Gandhi ji, often, used to say, ‘There is enough in this world for every ones needs, but not for greed’. We should always be Thankful to Him for His kindness and Mercy and should always be prepared to share our wealth with our fellow human beings, who are also the product of the same God. MORE WE GIVE, MORE WE GET. Simple.
Wealth provides us an opportunity to improve the ‘quality’ of our lives.
It’s not a sin wanting to have the physical comforts, which wealth provides, but right perspective of wealth is very much essential in life. Wealth, how much it may be, provides us the choice, to be selfish or generous with the wealth we have. Most unfortunate part of the wealth is that as we have more and more of it, we want more and more and the contentment, which we tried to achieve when we had less, seems far away. We never seem to have enough, specially when we see others making money quickly through fair or unfair means. This process generates restlessness, feeling of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, anger, hate and jealousy, all of which combined together, can create hell with the psyche of a person. One is never satisfied with what one has, when he sees others having more.
Our religious scriptures also advise us against greed which is the natural resultant of what is written in the above paragraph. Guru Granth Sahib, holy scriptures of Sikhs advises us ‘O God, please do not give me more than I deserve, because one is even blinded by more than necessary light’. Very true! Look at what has happened to all the high and mighty inhabiting Tihar Jail these days. Did they not have enough? They already had many many times more than what they would ever have needed. Still they wanted more and more, mostly through corruption, deceit, lies, crookedness and unfair means. They were truly, blinded by more than necessary light.
Greed is negative but natural and insatiable. Greed has the capacity to destroy what one has made during a life time. In ever unhappy dissatisfied person, Greed is the first and basic reason for all his troubles and mental condition, because Greed will always come in the way of happiness, because Greed is the mother of all evils and Vanities in life. If a person is greedy, no one may say on his face but everyone knows and observes his acts of greed, meanness, petty-mindedness and selfish pursuits. Most people live for true respect not money. And true respect comes from heart not head. Greedy people are not respected, not truly, at least. And when one is greedy, please be rest assured, everyone knows.
Here parenting comes into play. The type of parenting! At least half the blame of the flawed greedy persons goes to their parents. Being greedy and possessive of things, is child’s very negative reaction. Good parenting takes care that child is disciplined, patient, Giving-Helping-sharing type with strong character, which would help him a lot when he grows up. All greedy ones may not land in Tihar but most of those Tihar-residents, who have committed financial crimes, committed those crimes out of sheer Greed and nothing else. Irrespective of how much they already had, they wanted more and because of their poor upbringing and selfish parenting, parents definitely have to share at least part of the blame of their flawed actions against the society.
Greed has reprehensibly demonized itself in another Indian system, that is of dowry. Worst is acceptance and continuation of the evil retrograde system in spite of financial growth and education, by leaps and bound in society and country. Most unfortunate aspect in the continuance of the system is that, in my opinion, women themselves must share at least half of the blame nurturing this antisocial activity. In most of the cases where bride’s torture or death in extreme cases occurs, women of the household are actively involved, be the unfortunate bride’s sister in law or mother in law or other close relatives. By what I have seen and observed in last fifty years, I maintain that but for the active involvement and greed of women themselves, this system could not have continued, in spite of increase in education levels amongst women to a large extent.
Unfortunate part is the Greed and lure of easy money, households tend to make through this despicable system. Because of the limited space, it is not possible to keep writing about various instances I have seen, but here are few of my observations from my experience of last fifty years or more. Imagine the mental condition of poor bride’s parents, brothers or sisters coming to know that such harassment is happening to their sister or daughter. There are stringent laws these days and in case of any unfortunate incidence, be prepared for life long problems with law or otherwise. Secondly, in last fifty years I have seen many households destroyed by Greed of dowry money and other things which might come with dowry but not seen a single household which has flourished by dowry money which bride brought. A small ordinary car from your own money shall give you much more pleasure and pride, than a big car coming in dowry which will always be a blot on your personality. So my advise to readers from all over, is to dispense the greed or lure of easy money, which has the potential to destroy your family. I personally consider asking for dowry equal to begging or living on alms. So, please do not demean yourself but always look down on anyone of your friends or relatives who encourage this evil system of dowry. They are not worth your friendship. Oppose anyone who talks of dowry. Asking or acceptance of dowry is Greed at its despicable worst.
I am sure every religious scripture in the word will have something to advise against Greed. In Mahabharata it says ‘From GREED arises every conceivable attitude and acts that cause harm to one’s self and others; Anger, Confusion, Egoism, Intolerance, Shamelessness, loss of prosperity and well-being’. Kauruvas who were embodiment of Greed and its resultant evils as above, were ultimately destroyed and perished, in spite of their numbers and strength. Splendor of money should not take away your sense of judgment. Delusional lifestyle, which often results when excess money comes or a lifestyle, which resonates with genuineness, are your choice.
In the present prevailing system of acquiring wealth and material possessions by any means, sane talk of differentiation between need and greed mostly draws ridicule. This book is about wisdom and mature thinking, to enable you to think independently and rationally. This book is not about flowing with the flow. Book is to motivate you to self improve leading to self empowerment and self confidence to improve your core values, so that you can lead a satisfied, fulfilled, contented life and have peaceful existence, not a life full of stress, distress, tension, anger, jealousy, envy, one-upmanship.
Needs are natural desires which are quenched easily. For example, your being hungry or thirsty, would lead you to drink water or eat food. Moment you have water or food, your thirst or hunger diminishes. But greed for money, gold, big houses, swanky cars and other such possessions, are never satiated or fulfilled. More you have these, more you want, till a sort of self destruction level is reached. On your way to become a person of substance, a mature and level headed person, you have to draw a line somewhere. Please note that the line is for Greed with a big ‘G’, and not about doing your ‘Karma’ honestly and continued effort, which would bring you rewards you deserve to fulfill your needs. Greed is becoming a slave of money, leading to so many ills in otherwise peaceful and tranquil life.
Right proportion of money is necessary for happiness and comfort, but problem arises when more and more comes. Wisdom comes in handy then in keeping your balance in transcending greed, opulence, up-man-ship, ostentatious living and pursuing wealth blindly. All high and mighty who are residing in Tihar, never put a brake, never gave a thought but wanted more and more, not knowing where their insatiable greed will land them. Never think ‘it won’t happen to you’, because it will, if you give a free reign to your desires, ego and arrogance. That is the time to make wisdom and righteousness our way to choose right path, right conduct and right thinking. At that time, take divine help, be grateful for His mercies and benevolence and share His largesse with His creations.
Another common thing which happen to people when money comes, is the arrogance and inflated ego, that I am superior to others and they are less smart or sometimes, even lesser human beings. People tend to look down others. They never think that money keeps rolling. Today here, tomorrow there. When money comes, do not lose your sense, your balance. Be humble, and see how people respect you from their heart. Do not be overawed by anyone’s financial position and do not try to overawe someone with your wealth. It looks and feels cheap.
It is five years since largest economy in the world ‘slowed down’, which resulted in chain reaction all over the world shattering economies and progress. Banks tumbled, stock markets crashed, businesses failed and defaulted on payments and credits. Rich people became lesser rich which does not matter, but most unfortunately, people like you and me bore the brunt of heavy losses and have to face the repercussions. You do not have to be an economist or finance specialist to understand why it all happened. Main reason or rather only reason was greed, wanting to have more when already you had enough.
Americans have become used to spending more than they earn, improve their so called ostentatious lifestyle. To support that, buy now pay later, buying through credit cards, paying EMIs against your purchases, payment of heavy interests and penalties written in the agreements in small prints. You cannot continue with that kind of spending for long. Somewhere, sometime it will definitely fail. Because this system failed on a very very large scale, almost whole world had to pay a heavy price for that.
So my advise to my dear readers is that do not ever even think of raising your living standard by borrowed money, credit cards or EMIs. Limit the use of credit cards. Remember, credit cards are there only for convenience. Their use for lifestyle items must be restricted, if you want to live in peace and happiness. In fact, do not ever get into the habit of using credit cards unless absolutely necessary. If you are doing that already, get out of it lest you learn your lesson through the hard way. Always keep cash handy for routine purchases. Buying by cash, gives you pleasure of shopping as well as spending which credit card does not give. Never eat into your future by using card.
One Proverb says ‘The borrower is the servant of the lender’. Imagine yourself at a party and in comes your lender. And if you or your wife are better dressed than him or his wife, when looking at you, you will presume him saying ‘How dare to dress better than me with my money. Will see you’. Initially banks make it so easy to issue credit cards, such courteous invitations with all the facilities in the world. See and feel their tones change, if you happen to default on any payment. With more and more delay, see the frequency of their calls increasing and tone becoming more and more sinister. Unfortunately, to pay one loan, people, often, take other loan and find themselves into the debt trap, which literally buries them deep into the debt. Life can become quite miserable and fearful with all those door bells or telephone ringing at odd hours. So learn from the Americans woes and be and feel free of debt. So, next time person next to you flashes his credit card, give him a spiteful pitiable look and pay with cash with all the honour, confidence and pride at your command.
If you give free reign to your desires to buy whatever beautiful thing you see and feel, you must own, you will be in serious trouble sooner than later. Stay within your means and do not ape others. It’s hundred times better to have accumulated wealth, rather than accumulated debts. When you stay within your means, you save, resulting in ever growing accumulated wealth. And that’s a good, satisfied, contented feel to have.
Why, after all, lure for money by hook or by crook, is so great. Why people who have much more than enough by any standards, greedily chase money, and do so many ‘illegal’ things to make more money, even at the risk of destroying whatever they have earned in their life time, money, status, power, fame, influence etc. People see the power of the money in show-off, ostentatious living, looking everyone down and themselves feeling superior.
People may come out with complex answers, but actually it is simple. Having made money gives them lots of perverted satisfaction and sense of achievement. When they see moneyed people in society given all sort of respect, they also want to have and own lots of wealth. System which has been created is such, where end matters much more than the means. It is also the comparison factor which comes into play, that others have more and I also should have more than that. In fact, basically it is jealousy, when you see someone owning bigger house, better and more cars or simply, show more affluence or having made mark in society, where only wealth counts. I have seen people going out of their minds with jealousy and envy. For them all is lost when they see the other person or family better off than them. Poor self esteem becomes still poorer. Competition and comparison then starts taking them further down.
Another factor which plays a very negative role in money making is when family members, friends, relatives, who think one is incompetent if one has not made money, when in a position to do so. As soon as this tribe senses that one is in a position to give them favours and opportunities to make money, they cluster as bees to the honeycomb. Since the majority is for money making by hook or by crook, if they are repudiated, they spread all sort of lies and rumors about the person being high headed, thinking too much of himself or things like that. Since most people are of weak core, find it difficult to get out of the web created by the circumstances. It is quite heart- breaking for the person to refuse favors or trying to teach others morals and ethics.
When I look back, analyze and study umpteen people I have seen in life, I can confidently say that it is relatively easy to make money but difficult to take care of the money or handle wealth which one has created. This lesson, ‘Money and Wealth’ basically came to my mind, after having seen lots of people and families, making lots of money in business and professions, but ultimately were destroyed by the very lure and its resultant fruits, they spent entire life for. It is said wealth is slimy and does not stay at one place, others say, it rotates its owners. That’s why I insist that, for you to enjoy your success at wealth making, correct perspective of wealth and maturity at handling wealth is very important. Its not about investments or how you spend the wealth created. End shows how you have fared in life? Whether you are a winner or loser? Having made lots of money but not been able to put it to proper use, or simply whiling away the wealth generated in a lifetime of hard work and toil, would classify you a loser irrespective of how much wealth you have created.
Now comes money versus reputation. It does not really matter whether you are rich or poor in financial terms. Good reputation makes you feel good about yourself and travels faster than you, it is there even before you reach anywhere. It makes you feel good, satisfied, happy, joyful, elated and vibrant. Unfortunately for the rich, it is not sold in any market, otherwise they would have bought it all at whatever the price and kept in their safe vaults. You have to build it bit but bit. It does not require great wealth or material possessions but it does require loads of hard work, sacrifice, consideration for others, kindness, helping-giving-sharing attitude, respectful to others in the true sense and of course, altruism. Mind you, good reputation is umpteen times more valuable than money.
Money is a good slave but a bad master. In good hands, it is your slave while in bad hands, it is the master. We need money to do good as well as to do bad. In good hands, money gives and does lot for others who do not have and are needy. One can educate poor children with money, feed them, cloth them, build hospitals for medical treatment and innumerable other philanthropic work, one can do, when money is in good hands. One also needs money for improving our infrastructure, educational institutions, irrigation projects and thousand other things one can do with money to make this place a better place for everyone. Money is a boon then, bringing lots of peace, happiness, joy, vibrancy and satisfaction to its master.
But same money, when in bad hands, becomes our master. Terrorism can only be sustained by money. You can buy arms and explosives to kill people. You can buy drugs only with money. Well, so many bad things you can do with the same money, which does good when in good hands. You can also hoard it, buy lifestyle things like swanky cars, properties, eat in star hotels, go for exotic holidays. One can use the same money to fund one-upmanship projects. There are hundred modes to announce to your near and dear ones that you have ‘arrived’. Money can both be positive as well as negative. Depends on the hands which hold it.
But the real joy of making money is in sharing and giving. If you want to enjoy money’s advent, start sharing whatever even little you have, not waiting when you think you have enough to spare. Just give a packet of biscuit to a poor person, an ice cream cup to a poor child who might have never eaten it, feed the poor in an orphanage or old people home, get a tricycle or wheel chair for a handicapped person, or give anything to improve your happiness quotient. That’s when you become the true master of the money you have made. It is then, money gives you lots of joy, excitement, pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment. That’s when money turns into true bliss for you & family.
When talking of good and bad or positive and negative money, imagine another scenario. Both India and Pakistan became free more than sixty years ago. Immediately after independence, both countries were at war because of Kashmir. Since then we have fought two full fledged wars (1965 & 1971) and one limited action ‘Kagil’ war basically over Kashmir. Just imagine, how many soldiers died in their prime on both sides? How much money both countries have spent since 1947, on so called ‘defense preparedness’? If there is a way, it would be countless in rupees or dollars. You might have to spend whole day putting zero whatever figure you might imagine. ‘Colossal’ would be very big understatement.
If you lose so many of our sons or tons and tons of money spent to a justifiable cause, it may be acceptable. Apart from huge terrible loss of men and material, we have lost reputation as mature people or society or country at the international level. The continuing problem has generated another Frankenstein, which is ‘terrorism’, losing umpteen number of people and of course, spending tons & tons of precious money and wealth on countering terrorism.
Our gains? Absolutely Nothing! ‘Kashmir problem’ is where it was sixty years ago, both countries, though culturally so close, are always at dagger’s drawn, at a flash point with so much of distrust and disharmony. Only thing is that things have gone a hundred times more deadlier in last few decades with the advent of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction on both sides. Just imagine, if the kind of money used in such wasteful exercises, had been spent on the welfare of people, education, hospitals, irrigation, infrastructure, where both countries might have been.
I read these statistics somewhere. India is the second largest importers of arms in the world and has spent $ 50 billion on defense purchases in last one decade. Just imagine, if we had used that kind of money on feeding, educating our people, building roads and hospitals, how much our people had benefitted. I think this is the best example of negative and positive, good and bad use of money. It is a shame on political leadership on both sides that such huge amounts have gone to purchase of arms and defense built-up for nothing. Only if we had worked harder at human aspects like shedding ego and arrogance, generating emotional control, discipline and character, giving-sharing-helping type of people, both India and Pakistan would have been at the pinnacle of glory in the world arena.
Money is a double edged weapon. It does both good and bad. Its how you handle it. Money will give you both, temporary fleeting pleasure or joy, happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction through your mature handling of money earned through your sweat, toil and hard work. Make it work for you. Make the most of it. As slave, money can bring you everything you would cherish but as master, it has the capacity to destroy even the strongest and toughest. Choice is yours.
Best thing for a person would be, after having attained certain level of financial security in life, one must turn to strengthening old relationships and building fresh ones by helping others with an attitude of sharing his wealth and become a more mature, unbiased and truthful person. For enjoying a fulfilled, contented and satisfactory life, it is not only the wealth of money, which is necessary but also the wealth of Good Health and Well being, wealth of harmonious relationships, wealth of being treated with respect in society, not only because you have material wealth but also because you have given a lot to society and shared it, and having obedient, supporting and respectful children and spouse. Your real Wealth is in what you are. We can become rich in virtues by showing respect to all, through constant search for goodness, seeing and adopting what is good in others and ignoring their faults and weaknesses.
I have seen people getting overawed by a wealthy person. Our concern is not how he became so, but we simply get overawed knowing about his wealth. Would he give us something from his vast holding? No. Then why should you be. You are equal to him in every manner and there is no reason for you to develop an inferiority complex. Never accept the superiority of another human being just because he is rich. God has born us all equal. Give due respect to everyone irrespective of their financial standing, and expect to be treated in the same manner. Do not ever compromise on your or your family’s self respect and honour.
As much wealth we may have, own, possess or accumulate, law of nature is such that everything is left here only. We cannot carry anything with us. We leave behind memories, people will cherish after we have left. As we look to the future, it becomes past and gets ingrained in memory. Whatever we are doing now, good or bad, for our selfish end or for benefit of others or for overall good, becomes a memory next moment. Stop for a moment and think about it. Money is only an exchange medium. It can be exchanged to make comfortable living for you, but same money or surplus you have, can feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provide medical aid for the poor and so many other things, which can be done to make this world a better place for all of us. If greed takes over, then acrimony, unhappiness, jealousy, envy, results. A web of rancor, bitterness and resentment is created all around us. On the contrary, when we overcome greed and selfishness, same world is full of hope, enthusiasm, satisfaction, peace and love. You are free to choose.
Ultimately, in the end, what you want from life? Do you want to be the owner of great number of material possessions, property and wealth for your own selfish end or want blissful co-existence, harmony, peace of mind, respect, fearlessness, high self esteem, self confidence, lasting happiness, number of friends and meaningful relationships. Choose what you want? Illusory and self-defeating materialistic first way or the second, serene and tranquil way? Do extensive brain storming, because it not only affects your life, but the life of all those you love and care. Your choice will affect and reflect on a number of lives, their present and future. However, before you choose, remember one thing. To indicate that someone is born in a rich family, often used phrase is ‘born with a silver spoon’. People may come with a silver spoon, but they always go empty handed.
At many places in the book, I have written ‘the correct perspective of money’. I would like little explaining to do here. In olden days, it took long time to make money whatever you were doing, business, profession or job. For example, normally, it was only in advance age one could think of buying a house, or any other luxury items which money could buy, with accumulated wealth. Because it took long time, one would have gained lots of experience by then and became worldly-wise, mature or adept at handling hard earned wealth. Since money and age grew together, ego and arrogance did not enter in most people’s minds.
But in last twenty years, things have changed drastically. Opportunities for making well earned money have grown tremendously. One is, often, in a position to buy such things at a relatively much younger age. Since toil and prolonged hard work of earlier kind, have not gone into money making, true value of money may not be realized by the young mind. That’s what I call the correct perspective of money. With money, may also come inflated ego, arrogance, unwelcome pride or looking down others. One must guard against these evils, which would pull you towards negativity and unpopularity. Spend the money but spend it judiciously. And always give some part of it back to society in the shape of kindness, charity or philanthropy. That is graceful and mature way of handling money and what I have called the ‘correct perspective’.
This lesson will be incomplete if I do not discuss what brings real tranquility and happiness in life. THE CONTENTMENT. Well, so someone said ‘Contentment makes Poor men rich and Discontentment makes Rich men poor’. But these days, it is very fashionable to misinterpret the word ‘Contentment’ specially those who consider themselves ultra progressive. Dictionary meaning of contentment is satisfaction, happiness, pleasure or gratification, meaning thereby, that if you are not contented, you cannot be either of these. Contentment is the real bliss of life. But, once again, contentment does not mean that you sit tight contented. No, keep doing your best, the best you can, peacefully, contentedly and enjoy whatever comes your way, happily. More than the result, enjoy the effort and the intelligent hard work put in.
That’s where the true Mantra of life lies. You have worked hard to attain certain level of financial security. You should be able to enjoy it, feel satisfied by your achievements and relish and cherish those feelings.. You can keep trying for more and better. That you should never give up. But feel satisfied with what you have achieved. Believe me, real pleasure enjoyment of wealth is in sharing-giving. Try it by buying an ice cream cup to a few hungry street children and have one yourself. Seeing those children’s faces shining, while eating that ice cream cup, will give you eternal happiness, while your own pleasure will be fleeting the moment ice cream is over. You be your own judge of success, enjoy it, do a little bit of your own back slapping and feel happy about it. The feeling shall enthuse you to do better in future and help you to reach the pinnacle unconquered earlier.
A MISER IN HEAVEN
Miser had accumulated tons of money during his lifetime. Like everyone else, after death, he reached heaven to be welcomed by St Peters at the entrance. When he was being escorted to his heavenly abode, he walked past elegant mansions with beautiful gardens all around. Feeling elated and hoping to be put in one such mansion, miser was terribly disappointed when St Peters pointed to an old, run down shabby looking house for him. Not able to hide his disappointment, miser asked St Peters “ How come such a dilapidated accommodation for me while others are living in such beautiful mansions?”. “Well, with what you sent us, this is the best we could do for you” replied St Peters.
It is good to have money and things money can buy,
But, do check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.