Those who don’t have money are poor, but those who have only money are poorer still

To be labeled as poor and be looked down at by others ranks among people’s most dreaded nightmares.

Money is essential. However, when it becomes our primary, even sole, craving, we evaluate everything in monetary terms. The Bhagavad-gita (16.14) paints a dire scenario wherein money-mad people even become murderous towards those whom they perceive as threats. While we may think ourselves immune to such extremes, still we are very much vulnerable to the underlying mentality that breeds those extremes.

Thus, for example, we end up ruining our health by taking up too many projects that cause us stress, hypertension and other health issues. Or we become suspicious of anyone and everyone, especially our well-wishers when they urge us to seek moderation and balance for protecting ourselves from our obsession with money. By such suspiciousness, we sentence ourselves to loneliness, which makes impossible the very love that we had hoped to attract and increase by acquiring money.

Our innermost longing is to love and to be loved. Desiring to earn people’s love, we strive and slave to earn more and more money. But unfortunately, we soon discover that most of the people who are attracted to us are attracted to our money, not to us. Such experiences make us reactionary, overly suspicious of everyone, including those who are actually concerned about us, not our money. The resulting loneliness is the most heart-wrenching form of poverty.

Gita wisdom helps us arrive at a balance by reminding us of our core need of love and by giving us a spiritualized vision of everything, even money seeing it as a manifestation of the Goddess of Fortune, who is blessing us with opportunities to engage her gifts in the service of her Lord for our and others’ lasting well-being.

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