MYSTIQUE OF PROSPERITY
Prosperity and poverty are opposite to each other. Poverty of thought, subservience and slavery are associated with destitution. A person caught in the cycle of desires, yearns for new objects of desire all the time. With advancing age, his desires also wax. He wants to possess the objects of his desire and hoard them. Desires, however, are endless like the sky. More the desires, more the wants. This leads to endless sorrow.
Men can have two types of wealth, material and spiritual. Collecting objects of desire is material wealth. A person with a chaste heart owns spiritual prosperity. Qualities like forgiveness, absence of greed, simplicity, humility, generosity, patience and equanimity are all ingredients of spiritual wealth. As material wealth may increase or decrease, so is the case of spiritual wealth. Indubitably, spiritual wealth is far more significant. Material wealth gives momentary pleasure. Our interest in it gradually wanes. Contrary to this, spiritual wealth generated by a pure heart and virtuous conduct is lasting. It gives us happiness, while material objects, give us mere titillation. A person given to material pleasures is destined to experience sorrow.
People make incessant efforts to be joyous and happy. In so doing, we lose discrimination between the ethical and the ignoble. Ignoring our duties, we indulge in accumulating objects of desires, forgetting that lasting joy comes only from a true heart and virtuous actions, not from material acquisitions. This is the reason why both the poor as well as the rich have to undergo spells of sorrow. We are subjected to sorrow, if we chase sensual pleasures. We have to shed pleasures and pursue the doubly-blessed course of renunciation and sacrifice. A person who abandons pleasure completely, is the one who is truly cheerful and happy. Equanimity brings joy. Pauper is the one, who is in the grip of desires. “Aparigrahi” (non-acquisitive) is the one, who has renounced desires and who gets no pleasure in accumulation of things. Outwardly, both, a pauper and an “Aparigrahi” do not accumulate. There is a big difference, however. A pauper has not shed his desires for wealth, while an Aparigrahi is like the lotus in water, surrounded by objects, yet totally, unattached to them. A pauper is a “Bhogi” (indulgent) while an “Aparigrahi” is a ” Yogi” . Poverty makes one dependent, while “Aparigrah” makes him free. In poverty the desires and consequent association with objects continue to exist, like a shelterless person who daydreams of mansions. A saint is totally different, with no attachment to palatial building, even though, he happens to reside in such a one. Once there is severance of connection with all gross objects, then the “Vitraga” does dwell in lasting peace and freedom.
There are some who believe that wealth gives joy. However, it is a sheer fallacy. When we understand the riddle that joy is not dependent on objects, persons or circumstances, but on the purity of the heart, then we get a glimpse of our true self and volitionally shrink from all kinds of objects and circumstances. We are rewarded with chastity of heart.
It is true that when there is “Kama” (craving) there is no “Rama” (the Supreme) and when there is “Rama” there is no “Kama” (craving). Impurity of heart and lack of equanimity land us into sorrow, not into Rama.
Sensory pleasures are like the vast horizon. It appears that the sky and earth are meeting there, but they never do. The more we proceed towards the horizon, the more distant it gets. Horizon is an illusion. Likewise, accumulation of goods and objects for pleasure and believing that they will give us joy is an illusion.Complete renunciation from ” Parigraha” is available only to saintly beings. What, then, lies for the house-holders to do, who do have some requirements? Firstly, these requirements should be treated as fetters on our self. We should try to limit them. We should also reduce attachment to accumulated objects. We should adopt a chaste vocation to earn our living. Our assets should be used for the welfare of others. We have to constantly remember that “Parigraha” leads to sorrow. Peace and freedom lie in renouncing “parigraha” and hedonistic pleasure.
Absence of want is true prosperity. People with good conduct and character are the real prosperous ones. Whatever such people earn is for reducing the suffering of their family, society and the world at large.
“Sadhana” (Spiritual pursuit) has little to do with a particular uniform, ritual or sect. They are mere fences to protect the harvest of “Sadhana”. True “Sadhna” lies in renouncing evils like anger, ego, greed, attachment, enmity etc. One can rid oneself of these shortcomings by being simple, generous, friendly, forgiving and loving. A house-holder should adopt these qualities. He should try to reduce the sorrow of others without expecting any returns. Household is the training ground of good qualities. A house-holder, who cannot adopt good and pious qualities would attain nothing by resorting to a saintly garb.