Money gives one a sense of freedom and ownership. We think we can own anything or anybody’s services with money. Ownership of something means total control of its existence. When we pay for some land, we think we own it although the land continues to exist after the owner dies. How can you own something that outlives you?
Money 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 the services of many people. By paying a few currency notes, we abdicate the fact that we depend on them. Instead of feeling grateful, we take it for granted.
Dependence makes one humble. Most people with money are arrogant because of the independence that money brings to them. Humility is taken away by this false feeling of independence.
Human values have been eroded so much that we measure people in terms of their net worth! Can money reflect a person’s worth? Calling someone a millionaire is not a compliment; it is a disgrace to the dignity of humanness. You cannot put a value to human life.
When people lack faith in divinity, their abilities and the goodness of people, they suffer from insecurity. Money can temporarily provide an illusory sense of security. Wealthy people suffer from insecurity because they do not know whether their well-wishers are genuine.
Wealth is attained through one’s skills, inheritance or corrupt means. Each means brings its consequences. The motive for corruption is peace and happiness, which remain elusive when the means are corrupt.
But renouncing money is no good. There are people who blame money for social ills and consider it evil. Rejecting money brings arrogance. Some people renounce money and take pride in their poverty to draw sympathy.
Ancient sages never denigrated money. They honoured it as a part of the Divine and transcended the grip of its illusion. They knew the secret that when you reject something, you never transcend it. They honoured wealth as Goddess Lakshmi. She is born out of Yoga that transforms bad karma and brings out latent skills. It also brings up ashta siddhis - the eight perfections and nava nidhis -the nine types of wealth.
It is this wisdom of Yoga that transforms one from arrogance to self-confidence, from meekness to humility, from dependence to interdependence, from a limited ownership to oneness with the whole.
© The Art of Living Foundation