Money gives us a sense of freedom and ownership. We feel that with money, we can own anything or put a price tag on anybody’s services. Ownership of something means total control of its existence from beginning to end. When we pay for a piece of land, we feel that we own it, although the land continues to exist even after the owner is long gone. How can you own something that outlives you?
Money also gives the idea that you are powerful and independent, blinding you to the fact that we live in a world of interdependence. We depend on farmers, cooks, drivers and the services of so many other people around us. Even an expert surgeon cannot operate on himself; he depends on others. Why are most rich people arrogant? Because of the feeling of independence that money brings. The awareness of dependence, on the other hand, makes one humble. The basic human tenet of humility is taken away by this false feeling of independence.
Today, we have gone to the extent of measuring people in terms of their net worth on the money scale ‘so-and-so is worth five hundred million’. Can money reflect the worth of a person? Calling someone a millionaire or a billionaire is not a compliment. You cannot assign a monetary value to human life. When people lack faith in divinity, in their own abilities and in the goodness of society, they suffer from a deep sense of insecurity. Then, all that appears to provide security is money. Some among the wealthy feel insecure in relationships they don’t know whether their friends are truly their friends or are interested in their fortune.
For a while, money can provide an illusory sense of security. Wealth is attained through one’s skills and abilities, inheritance or through corrupt means. Each means of attaining wealth brings with it its own consequences. The very motive for corruption is peace and happiness. Yet, peace and happiness remain elusive when the means are corrupt. Due to the illusory notions of independence, ownership and security that it brings, money is considered a part of maya: miyate anaya iti maya means “that which can be measured is maya”. Hence everything in the world that can be measured is considered maya, money being one such measure. Human values are eroded when you try to put a price tag on all that cannot be measured, like love, truth, wisdom and life itself.
On the other hand, there are those who criticise money and blame it for all the ills of society. There are some others who even consider it as evil. Not only does possessing money bring arrogance, rejecting it does, too. Some people who renounce money take pride in their poverty just to draw attention and sympathy.
However, the ancient sages never denigrated money or maya. In fact, they honoured it as a part of the divine and thereby transcended the grip of its illusion. They knew the secret that when you reject or hate something you can never transcend it. They honoured wealth as Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Narayana. She is born out of yoga (yogaje yoga sambhute). It is yoga that transforms the bad karma and brings out latent skills and talents. It also brings up ashtasiddhis the eight perfections, and nava nidhis - the nine wealths. It is this wisdom of yoga that transforms one from arrogance to self-confidence, from meekness to humility, from the burden of dependence to the realisation of interdependence, from craving for freedom to the recognition of unbounded-ness, from a limited ownership to oneness with the whole.
God is the very core of your being. The difference between Self and God is just like the wave and the ocean. Can there be a wave without the ocean? Just like your body is made up of proteins, amino acids and carbohydrates, your mind and soul are made up of love. You are made up of love and love is God. So you are made up of God! Do not think God is sitting somewhere in heaven. God is here and now.
What is the definition of God, if at all there is one? You describe it as that which is everywhere; all-powerful; responsible for this creation, its maintenance and its dissolution. God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. God is not an object of the senses, but the feeling of feelings, the presence of presence, the sound of silence, the light of life, the essence of the world and the taste of bliss. Just as love is felt in the heart, so is God’s presence. God is never an object of isolation. God is the sum totality. When you dissolve, God remains. When you are there, there is no God. Either you can be or God. When you meditate, you become one with God. God is to be felt in the depth of your heart.
God can neither be perceived through your senses nor through the mind. If you make God an object of your sight, then it is no more God. You can live God, can be God, but you cannot consider God as an object that shows you the path. The whole existence has a mind of its own. It is just like you. You have a mind and it has such intelligence, that’s why it keeps everything orderly. Similarly, this moment is seen by this big mind. This moment knows exactly what to do. There are so many activities happening in the whole creation. Right now enormous activity is happening in the mind, in the present. In the Now! This mind is what you can call atma or God and that is what you are. The mind is so used to looking to the concrete that it cannot appreciate something abstract. The mind does not believe what it does not know.
God is the very core of your being. When you peel the layers of an onion and reach the centre, there is nothingness. Similarly everything is made up of that space. The whole is God; everything is God and that consciousness is present everywhere. Life is incomplete without union with God. A matured mind and blossomed heart strives for this union. Religions, philosophies, practices, customs and austerities have all pointed to one thing — union with the Divine. The common man wakes up to the suffering in his life and wants to be free. He looks for the superpower of creation. The more he looks at the misery and shortcomings in his life, the farther away he feels from the Divinity, which is his very nature.