Chapter 8.12 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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8.12  WEALTH


"Wealth is itself not happiness, and the rich are not always happy because they have wealth."    Zarathushtra

"The rich are not great for their riches, but they are great when they wisely and generously use their wealth to succour the needy."    Zarathushtra

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and here thieves steal. For where your treasures be, there will your heart be also."    Jesus Christ

"Wealth ruins the foolish man; to those in search of Nirvana, wealth does no harm;  -  by his craving for wealth, the foolish man ruins himself as though he has asked others to cause him harm."    Buddha

"Those who spend their wealth in the way of God and then do not follow what they spend with reminders of their generosity or with abusive treatment, they have their reward with their Lord. And there is nothing for them to fear, and they will not sorrow."    Mohammed



The Vedas lay down four goals before man: Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation). Since the first and last are difficult to attain without detachment and deprivation of sensual pleasures, man has given them up as impracticable and is struggling in all lands and climes with the middle two  -  wealth and desire. All the fear and misery of life can be traced to this dire mistake. What has to be done is to take the four as inseparable pairs, righteousness and wealth, and desire and liberation. That is to say, earn wealth through righteousness and use wealth for the promotion of righteousness. And let liberation be your only desire. (141176)

The wealthy should realise that money should be earned by righteous means and used for right purposes. True happiness can be got only from wealth acquired by fair means. Money got through exploitation of others will lead to suffering in one way or another. (191190)

The obligations of parents do not end with providing food, schooling and knowledge of worldly matters. The children should also be provided with right values. They should not be made to think that the acquisition of wealth is the be-all and end-all of life. Wealth does not accompany one when one leaves the world. Wealth is necessary only for meeting one's essential needs. Too much wealth is an embarrassment, like an over-size shoe. Too little of it is likely to be painful, like a tight-fitting shoe. So, it is desirable to have only that amount of wealth that is adequate for one's basic needs. (050284)


There is the story of a rich man, who was being led away on death to the world beyond. He pleaded with his angelic escort that he may be allowed to halt a while, and turn back once. They allowed him to do so; he turned and had a good look, then, he said, "Well, now I am ready, lead me on!". The messengers were surprised at his strange willingness to accompany them; they asked him what had happened to make him so resigned and determined. He said, "I amassed vast wealth through sin and crime; I fed and fostered a large brood of friends and kinsmen. I looked back to see whether at least one among them is now following me, eager to help in my sorrowful plight! Not a single one is worried about me. I shall now walk forward to wherever you take me."

God is the truest friend. (130571)

Just a few minutes of thought will convince any one of the hollowness of earthly riches or fame or happiness. When you are affluent, every one praises you; when the tank is full, hundreds of frogs croak all round. When the tank is dry, not a single one is there to address the tank. If a corpse had a few jewels on it, the proverb says, many will claim kinship with the dead person; if it has no valuables on it, not a single person will come forward to weep for it! Consider when you are adding to your bank account further sums of money whether you are not accumulating troubles for yourselves and your children, making it harder for your children to lead clean, comfortable and honourable lives. When you struggle to achieve paltry fame by devious means, remember who among millions of your countrymen are honoured today and for what? Don't you see that only those who gave up, renounced, sought the more difficult road of God-realisation, instead of the easier path of world-realisation, are honoured everywhere? 080963

Real Bliss can be won only by means of the transformation of the impulses which agitate the mind. It is not to be found in wealth. You think that the rich man is happy; ask me, and I shall reveal to you that they are full of grief, for they come to me in large numbers for relief. They have no Peace at all. (020958)


Society is composed of the affluent, the middle class and the poor. Social service means service to one's fellow-men. A wealthy man has been able to acquire riches only with the help of others. Realising this, he has a duty to extend help to others in need. Man derives his strength from three sources: wealth, knowledge and the physique. The power derived from these sources should be used properly for right ends.

The term wealth is usually applied to material riches. But it applies equally to the wealth of knowledge and to physical strength. One having this triple strength should devote it for the well-being of society. Joy and sorrow are like the two pots carried by a man on a pole. They are inseparable companions. No one can tell what the future has in store for any person. A millionaire may become a pauper and vice versa. These are familiar phenomena. They occur in the course of nature. Whatever sacrifices and ceremonies one may perform, these vicissitudes cannot be avoided altogether. These changes in fortune are wrought by the whirligig of time. Recognising this, one should ensure that one's actions are righteous and helpful to others. (191190)

Every human being is a fragment of the Divine. Only when a man discharges his duties will his life find fulfilment. Duty is man's primary obligation. If a man is endowed with wealth and possessions, he has a duty to enjoy them. But to covet or seize other people's wealth is a crime. Wealth is not confined to money or gold or other possessions. All the knowledge and skills acquired by a person also constitute his wealth. Even health is wealth. The power to think is also wealth. Physical strength and mental abilities are also wealth. The time at one's command is also his wealth.

Hence, it is man's primary duty to utilise his time and every other form of wealth in the right manner. Unfortunately, today man wastes the time, wealth and talents of others. This is opposed to righteousness.  ...  Righteousness implies the right use of one's time and resources. Unrighteousness is the abuse of one's time and wealth and depriving others of their wealth. (190293)

Food is essential, but it must be taken within limits for it to be wholesome. Likewise wealth is essential but within limits. Where there is excessive wealth, many dangers ensue. With excessive wealth man turns arrogant and loses the sense of discrimination between right and wrong. He becomes a Duryodhana who exemplified greed rather than a Karna who was noted for his generosity.

Together with the growth of one's wealth, one's spirit of sacrifice should grow commensurately. Increase in wealth should bring about an increase in generosity. These days wealth increases but not magnanimity.

Of what use is wealth if one cannot be happy?
Even if a river is overflowing,
A dog can lap only a little of it.
For a greedy man, there is no contentment
Even if he has large hoards. [Poem]

Today, when a man's riches increase, he becomes increasingly miserly. As a result, he forgets his true nature. When the money earned by honest means does not always confer happiness, how can you get happiness through money earned by dishonest means? Hence, it should be realised that excessive wealth can never confer peace or happiness. When you have large wealth, offer it for good causes to help others. Thereby you will derive satisfaction. (231194)

Man has been enslaved by money. He lives a superficial, hollow artificial life. This is indeed a great pity. Man should seek to possess only as much money as is most essential for his living. The quantity of riches one must own can be compared to the shoes one wears; if too small, they cause pain; if too big, they are a hindrance while walking. Money too has to be with us only just enough for a life of physical and mental comfort. When we have more, it breeds pride, sloth and contempt for others. In pursuit of money, man descends to the level of the beast.

Money is the nature of manure. Piled up in one place, it pollutes the air. Spread it wide, scatter it over fields  -  it rewards you with a bumper harvest. So too, when money is spent in all the four quarters for promoting good works, it yields contentment and happiness in plenty. But today, such deeds of renunciation and such holy thoughts are absent. We pride ourselves today as being 'modern'. Does modernism involve giving up morality and justice? Or, allowing the senses to run amok? No. Modernism means self-control and self-confidence. (170781)

Money must also circulate like blood! Otherwise, that too will cause ill health. There is no better method of using money than for promoting devotion, for then the entire system, individual and social, will benefit by it. If money is stored and not circulated, it will cause social swellings and the swellings may become boils and burst. (110757)

People may say that pilgrimages are a waste of time and money; but let Me tell you that it is the best way of spending time and money, provided one has real devotion. Devotion is no sign of weakness; it is a sign of courage, of wisdom, of discrimination; it alone can give contentment and peace. (040761)

There are in the world many great men and wealthy men. There are any number of ashrams and temples. Wherefrom are these temples and ashrams getting funds? They come from the earnings of the public. Hence, such funds, received from devotees, should be utilised for the benefit of the devotees. Whether it be an ashram or a temple or a wealthy person, their income comes from the labours of poor persons. If the poor did not do the work, how could the rich become rich? It is their labour which has enabled the rich man to acquire wealth. Hence, what has been acquired from the labours of the poor should be used for their good. Therefore, the authorities of ashrams or temples in any area should use their resources for providing education or medical relief or other amenities in their area and make them happy. This is true sacrifice. (171195)

It is often thought that charitable and philanthropic acts make for sacrifice. But there is a vast difference between charity and sacrifice. Charitable people give only a fraction of their bounty to others. Gifts of land, distribution of food, contribution of physical labour and spreading of education and knowledge belong to this category. Through acts of charity no man ever gives up all that he has. One is not cursed to be born penurious (poor) if one does not perform acts of charity. Going a step higher some retain for themselves what is just essential and give away the rest to society. Such people win the highest acclaim in the world. Our sacred texts prescribed that a portion of one's possessions must be offered to the poor and helpless. Neglecting this injunction, one should not accumulate lakhs of rupees (tens of thousands of dollars) in a selfish, callous, unfair and unjust manner like an avaricious curmudgeon. Such a miser will become a victim of disaster and degradation, sooner or later. It is inevitable.

Wealth piled up through unfair means is the result of exploitation of the blood of the poor. Young men ought not to become slaves of such unfair existence and adopt exploitation as a means of living. Even God will not forgive such selfish exploitative lives. He who piles up wealth without enjoying or giving to others will be damned after death; the progeny of such people too will be damned.

There are four inheritors for hoarded wealth. The first is Charity; the second, the king. Fire is the third inheritor and robber, the fourth. The first claimant is Charity and the major share goes to him. Students should recognise the profound significance of this truth and utilise the wealth they acquire for the welfare of mankind. (Sathya Sai V 171)

The wealth that you hoard is not yours; the wealth that you have shared is yours. For wealth that belongs to you needs not to be hidden.

The wealth that you have given away is really yours. That is the reason why the Vedas (Sacred scriptures) have declared, "Not through actions, nor through progeny, nor through wealth can immortality be won; it can be won only through renunciation". (010876)


Happiness, truth and sacrifice constitute the wealth in the treasury of God. (SSB 73,2)

Worshipping the feet of the spiritual teacher has an atmosphere of publicity, both for the teacher and the disciple; besides, why worship the body which is decaying every moment? It is also very wrong to offer cash or gold or other articles, whether they are from surplus wealth or from hard-earned property. For, after all, even these are trinkets that have no intrinsic value. Obey the teacher, follow his instructions, progress along the spiritual road, these are the best means of worshipping the feet of the teacher; when you achieve some success in these, the craving for such worship itself will disappear, must disappear. (261061)

The love of God is the foremost reward to be attained in human life. It is more precious than all the wealth in the world. All wealth and position are obtained by the love and grace of the Divine. (140188)

The Lord has endowed you with all His wealth and Divine potentialities. You are inheritors of this wealth. You have to discover what the wealth is.

Sai's wealth is pure, selfless and boundless Love. This is the Truth.  It is not the edifices you see here that are Sai's wealth. It is pure, selfless Love alone. You must inherit this Love, fill yourselves with it and offer it to the world. This is your supreme responsibility as Sai devotees.

Embodiments of the Divine! To realise the Divine, Love is the easiest path. Just as you can see the moon only with the light of the moon, God, who is the Embodiment of Love, can only be reached through Love. Regard Love as your life breath. Love was the first quality to emerge in the creative process. All other qualities came after it. Therefore, fill your hearts with Love and base your life on it. (231186)

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