Rightful Investment of Wealth

Once a disciple approached his Gurudev and says, “My entire life is being spent in taking care of my family and earning money to fulfill their desires and needs. I don’t get enough time to practice sadhana. What should I do?”

Gurudev says, “Money is required to run the family. For that, you must take efforts. The question is how much effort should be put in? There must be a limit.”

Disciple says, “No matter how much is earned, it is never enough.”

Gurudev says, “It isn’t true that what you earn isn’t enough. It is about how wealth is spent that matters. Most often we waste a lot of our wealth on futile things. Jagadguru Shankaracharya says, ‘You make efforts to earn a lot of money. If you squander it, all your hard work becomes worthless, useless. On the other hand, if you just keep earning money, but don’t spend it at all, you are a miser. You will rejoice because you have so much accumulated wealth, but now you will constantly worry that someone may steal it. In both these circumstances, a squanderer or a miser, you are nothing but a fool.’ Wealth has three qualities –
Excellent – used for donation; 2. Medium – used for worldly luxuries; 3. Ignoble – used for destruction.”

Disciple says, “But Gurudev, isn’t it our responsibility to save for our children?”

Gurudev says, “Yes definitely, but if money isn’t spent well, then, even your children can turn into your enemies. I will explain this to you with a story. There was a man who worked hard to earn a lot of money. But he was a miser and he refused to spend any of it.”

Disciple says, “Then what happened?”

Gurudev says, “He didn’t have any children.”

Disciple says, “Then why did he earn so much money?”

Gurudev says, “He was hoping for a better tomorrow. He was praying to different Gods for a child. He was so desperate that he would do whatever anyone said to have a child. Someone asked him to pray to a tree and he did.”

Disciple says, “How can someone get their desires fulfilled by praying to a tree?”

Gurudev says, “But this man did, and eventually his prayers were answered. He was blessed with a boy.”

Disciple says, “This man must have been extremely happy.”

Gurudev says, “Yes, he was. But his inherent personality of being a miser didn’t change. The boy grew up and began yearning for all his father’s wealth. But he was only going to get it after his father’s demise.”

Disciple says, “That means, the son was now looking forward to his father’s demise.”

Gurudev says, “Yes. He shared his thoughts with his friends. They advised him, ‘Your father prayed to a tree and his prayers were answered. Why are you waiting for your father’s demise?’”

Disciple says, “The son turned out to be heartless.”

Gurudev says, “The son asked his friends to show him the tree that answered his father’s prayers.”

Disciple says, “What happened next, Gurudev?”

Gurudev says, “Oh, my child! The moral of the story is to earn wealth but not out of greed because greed only makes us extremely selfish and this only burdens our sins. Only do the needful to earn money. The moment you understand this, your mind becomes peaceful. You will then find the time to practice sadhana. You will be completely satisfied with whatever you have. Are you convinced?”

Disciple says, “Yes, Gurudev.”

Gurudev says, “Alright then, come, sit here comfortably, and close your eyes. Relax your body and just focus on your natural breathing. Be a witness to whatever happens.”