Prosperity and Spirituality
An article from the book ‘Money Wealth Abundance’ by Manoj J Lekhi.
A few years ago, a dear friend and SSY meditator, Nirav, questioned me: “I am a businessman; I want to continue doing business, not leave it in the name of spirituality! I do not want to go to the Himalayas and become a saint. Isn’t there any way I can grow spiritually and yet continue doing my business?”
I answered, “Why not? You can grow spiritually, irrespective of the field you are in; you could be a businessman, an employee, a carpenter, a plumber, a musician, an architect or anyone, for that matter, even a sweeper. You can grow spiritually wherever you are. First of all, understand what spirituality is. Spirituality comes from the word ‘spirit.’”
As ‘Mother’ from the Aurobindo Ashram says, ‘We are not human beings; we are spiritual beings who have come here for a spiritual purpose, and a human experience.’
From this context, spirituality is you being able to experience yourself in other human beings or others in yourself. If you are able to see all humans, the whole humanity, as yours, that is, all creatures as yours, and see no difference between you and the entire species of the world, then you are highly spiritual.
I have a very simple definition and barometer for the question “How spiritual are you?” The more people you can include in your life, the more people you can get connected to and feel one with, the more people you love, the more highly evolved a person you are.
I told my friend not to measure success with how much money you make, how much wealth you have. How wealthy you are depends on various factors.
I feel that the first level of wealth is directly proportional to how many times you smile in a day; that shows how wealthy you are. The second level is related to how many times you laugh in a day. Still wealthier is the third level, which are all about how many times and how many people you hug in a day. There is an even higher state which concerns the following: how many people hug you in a day.
This is how you measure your success: not by your monetary accumulation but by the number of hugs you get in a day. It means that you are so happy with yourself, you are so happy with life; you are spreading so much happiness around you just by being present that people are hugging you. After I told my friend all about this, he asked me, “Give me a tangible way out.”
I explained, “I have told you to share 10% of your wealth with society; give it back to your society. If you want to grow more spiritually, start sharing 25%. If you want to be even more spiritual, start sharing 50% and, then, keep on increasing it to be as close to 100% as possible of your wealth.”
The more spiritual you are, the more spiritual you want to be, and the more you begin to share tana, mana and dhana, through actions, ideas and wealth.
The last part is the most important. Most people in the world say they are spiritual, but when it comes to wealth, the ‘dhana’ part, they are very guarded, as far as the sharing goes. Somehow, this aspect of money has its own maya (illusion) attached to it, and people are caught up in it.
I told him, “Why would a person share his wealth with another, or with the society, or with the world? Why would anyone share anything? They would when they feel that the other one is theirs. It is only when they feel connected; when they feel that everyone is part of them, that they would. It is like in a family: in a family, the members would share their wealth with one another. So, the higher you grow, the more spiritual you wish to be, the more you share.
The vice versa is also true: you start sharing and you will get a certain feedback which will reinforce the beauty of sharing. The more you share, the more positive blessings you get from all the people around you, which encourages you to share more and more.
Then there comes a stage when your life is dedicated to people – tana, mana and dhana included. There comes a stage when you understand that money comes from the world. Then, money itself loses the value with which you held it earlier; money just becomes a tool for you to share your happiness. This is real prosperity. This is what I call ‘living in abundance.’
To live in abundance, the first step is that one must grow in vairagya (detachment).
This is something that my master told me 18 years ago when I had proudly told him, “Guruji, my shop has burnt down, yet I am cool and calm.” He smiled and told me, “Yes, dear, it’s good, but grow more in inner vairagya.” I went home and asked my mother, “What is vairagya?” She explained it to me, and from then on, my journey started.
Today, with my master’s grace, I feel that I am the wealthiest man in the world. This is what I call prosperity, living in abundance.