Recently, I was invited by a friend to visit his farmhouse which had been built beside an important road. It was fitted out with all kinds of comforts and luxuries. But practically, it was like a white elephant. I said to the owner that this had been a serious wastage of money and that if he had built a school on the site, it would have been a much better use of his money.
If you spend your money for some constructive purpose, that is very good, but if you spend it on ostentation, then it is bad. It requires great wisdom and hard labour to acquire money. It is very strange then that one chooses to be stupid when it comes to spending that hard earned money.
If you spend money for the betterment of society, it will enhance your goodwill and you earn respect and good karma. But if you lavish money on your near and dear ones, you will only be providing them with easy money, and easy money is the worst of all things, in terms of the consequences it could bring to them. It is good to have money, but if money makes you arrogant, then it is worse than poison. If, on the other hand, money makes you modest, then it is a great source of your personality development.
If you make money your sole concern in life, it means that you are underutilising yourself. Money, of course, is a necessity, but its acquisition should not be your sole purpose in life.
There is a saying, ‘In comparison do we understand’. If you compare money with learning, you can easily understand the difference between the two. Money is a risky form of capital, for you can lose it through an expected or unexpected event. But learning is a permanent asset. If you have an insatiable nature, apply it to learning and not just to acquiring more money, which is a dubious investment.
I know of a person who was born into an ordinary family, but who, in his later years, came by a lot of money and became rich. One of his friends complained that before he became rich, he had been easily accessible to everyone, but now it was very difficult to meet him. The wealthy person replied: ‘Mere upar daulat ki bijli giri hai.’ — The lightning of wealth has struck me. Externally, wealth seems to be a good thing, but internally, it is otherwise. Every wealthy person lives under great stress.