Happiness comes not by making money, but by making something worthwhile with money

Money is a matter of anxiety for most people. Concern for money is understandable because we need money to survive.

But what actuates and aggravates much of the anxiety around money is the belief that it is the gateway to happiness. Today’s aggressively materialistic culture makes us believe that we can buy our way to happiness. We chase after money so that we can parade the things that money can buy, hoping to thereby gain recognition and satisfaction.

However, such pursuit of money yields not satisfaction, but dissatisfaction. Why? Because the mentality that equates money with happiness is defined by greed. The Bhagavad-gita (14.12) indicates that nature’s mode of passion, which makes us materialistic and money-minded, is characterized by greed and insatiable desire. No matter how much money we acquire, that acquisition doesn’t change the underlying mentality – we stay greedy and dissatisfied. If we still keep pursuing money, we end up perpetually anxious, dreading that money may be lost at any moment.

Tired of the lack of fulfillment, some wealthy people turn to charity, seeking in the happiness that they didn’t find in getting. When we use money to contribute to a cause bigger than ourselves, we get some higher satisfaction.

The highest satisfaction comes when we use our money for the highest cause: selfless devotional service to God, Krishna. The Gita (05.29) declares that Krishna is everyone’s greatest benefactor. So, when we serve him and strive to do his will, we become instruments of his compassion for promoting the highest well-being – for others and ourselves.

Money thus used with devotional selflessness contributes to our inner purification. It removes materialist misconceptions such as money is the source of happiness and connects us with the divine source of peace and joy at our core, thereby granting lasting fulfillment.

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