Vedic teachers have pointed that desire for wealth is a blessing only when the individual has been educated to entertain noble qualities of head and heart, and the enduring values of the spirit. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the Self before we can deserve wealth. Otherwise, we may not know how to view wealth in the right way. Unfortunately, we do not learn what these values are in our formative years. Instead, we see how wealth is seen as a power tool that increases the division between the haves and have nots.
(Image Credit: Miran Rijavec)
Qualities to Deserve Wealth
Wealth can be deserved by a person only when she/ he has full discrimination, good health, spirit of tolerance and great will of service. Discrimination is the true capacity to distinguish right from wrong. It is the power to understand good and evil. Discrimination is the ability to read people and circumstances in line with the scriptures. A lot of problems in the world is due to the poor discriminating skills among the rich and powerful. Look at Wars, Poverty, Corruption, Government Scams and such that is so common today. At the roots of most of these evils lies the lack of Viveka or Discrimination.
In the Kali Yuga, the man with wealth is considered wiser than the one with a pure intellect. A man with true wealth and intelligence may however realise the weakness of wealth induced illusion of wisdom. With such great powers, supreme tolerance is very relevant. Tolerance is not just allowing any unacceptable qualities and ideas pass through unchecked, but higher sense of wisdom in itself. For instance, tolerance towards disrespect to a being weaker than you are is not good. Or tolerance towards letting someone sleep hungry is again weak. However, tolerance towards listening to both sides of a religious debate is good. We can again see how tolerance has an element of discrimination in it.
A wealthy person without a spirit of service is a very unfortunate phenomenon. Wealth brings in a lot of possibilities. The unwillingness to exercise such possibilities through selfless service is to disrespect your wealth. Wealth can answer problems in health, education, hunger, child care and so many such challenges across the world. However, when we think only about our selfish needs and our own people alone, sense of service does not kick in.
Wealth in Wrong Hands
Wealth in the hands of unprepared intellects and uncultured hearts is not only suicidal to themselves, but also a threat to the very stability of society. Extravagance and exhibitionism starts with unprepared intellects. With arrival of money, if our first instincts are to buy material objects and comforts, we may defeat the very purpose of prosperity. Material goods of very high scale results in division within the minds of people. Feelings of envy and pride may arise within hearts of men with wealth. This does not always proceed in the right direction. Competition and Race also ensues with wealth in wrong hands.
Wise beings claim that there is enough resources in this planet for everyone to live comfortably and happily. Yet, why do global hunger and poverty rise? Why do the gap between the haves and have nots widen? These are very relevant questions to pose to the society. Is there a fundamental problem in the way we perceive money? Are we too personal and narrow visioned that we cannot see beyond our immediate selves and immediate family? Do we disconnect from the needs and the reality of the planet?
Means to an End
Wealth can be justified only by the mission it fulfills. It is seen more as a means to an end rather than the end itself. For instance, beings who work towards uplifting the society by building universities, reviving libraries, providing nutrition to children around the world, raising vegetables without pesticides and so on can justify the need for money. Such money has higher Karmic value than the kind of money that is used to buy your fourth house.
It is good to understand “Dharmic Economics” as well in addition to the Materialistic Economics that we are all familiar with.