One definition of wealth is as follows:
“Wealth is the number of years one can maintain one’s current lifestyle if one stops earning.”
Another definition is thus:
“One is not wealthy in the things one has but in the things one can do happily without.”
Which definition would you want to subscribe to – the first or the second?
Whatever your lifestyle, the first definition points out that if you stop earning and yet generate a passive income to cover your current standard of living, for rest of your life, you are wealthy.
For example, if your monthly expenditure is ` 25,000, your passive income should be more than ` 25,000. Thus, even if you do not earn, you can maintain your standard of living.
By doing nothing in terms of earning and living off this passive income, a person can feel tremendously free and wealthy. Passive income can be generated by investing in areas of resource generation other than your main job or business. Even a person who earns ` 5,000 per month can invest 10% towards developing a passive income in future. It requires a certain discipline of arranging your mind. It requires you to work on the path of becoming more disciplined.
The second definition says that instead of increasing your needs and desires more and more, you need to work at the opposite end: You reduce your need for all unnecessary things; in so doing, you will feel tremendously free and wealthy.
The same person who was earning ` 25,000 has now reduced his needs to perhaps ` 10,000 or less; he no longer needs to go to work, yet he enjoys freedom and a sense of abundance and wealth.
Which option would you choose – the first or the second? Most people choose the first, and their needs slowly increase to ` 50,000, and then a lakh and so on. The first way is very effortful and the second is effortless!
The first definition looks outward; the second definition turns inward. The first definition is a huge struggle; the second is an easy way out. The first one is called materialism; the second one is spiritualism.
In the first, one is constantly anxious and tense to earn more, and consume more and more. Desires keep on increasing, endlessly.
In the second, desires keep on decreasing and, day by day, one feels wealthier and wealthier.
Let me share my experience with you. When I was doing business (from age 18 to age 28), I was earning lakhs and lakhs of rupees. My expenditure, just for myself (excluding the expenses of my family, house, car etc.), was ` 10,000 (20–25 years ago). This ` 10,000 (equivalent to ` 1 lakh today) was for partying, drinking, smoking and eating out. I believed this was ‘THE WAY’ to enjoy life.
My question was “How can anyone enjoy himself without smoking or drinking?” In this quest, I was trying to get more and more and more.
After the SSY training (refer pg. no.136), all of a sudden, my perception of life and how to live changed 180 degrees. A new journey began – a journey from outwards to inwards.
Within three months, I brought down my personal expenses, from ` 10,000 per month to ` 300 per month (equivalent to ` 3,000 today). I gave up drinking and smoking, and I started relishing very simple, wholesome food. Earlier, just because I had the money, I would travel first class, or by flight. Thereafter, I started travelling in a cheaper class to check if I was as happy, and, to my surprise, I was!
My master Guruji Rishi Prabhakar’s training on vairagya (detachment) (see last chapter on vairagya) slowly entered my system, and I became more and more happy for no reason. I followed Guruji’s second definition and experienced more and more wealth. I realised that wealth did not mean just my bank balance. In fact, the real wealth was the amount of love I received from friends and the people around me.
Operating by this second definition requires sadhana, time and the practice of going inwards and discovering the wealth there. Day by day, I feel I am wealthier than yesterday, in the true sense – inwards as well as outwards. Outwardly, I have all the wealth and money required for my projects.
Till today, I have never felt or experienced a shortage in the affairs of these projects, thanks to my master’s grace.
However, there is a word of caution here. I am not anti-desire. Desires help us enjoy the game in the playground of life. I am just in favor of first going beyond being addicted to desires and then enjoying the desires. Actually, every action flows out of a desire. It’s just the question of whether you are attached to it or not. If you are attached to it, it becomes a matter of pressure or struggle. When you are not attached to it, you experience freedom which leads to a feeling of abundance!
I invite you to dive into the inward journey of silence and vairagya, and discover true abundance. Let us all learn to be Healthy, Wealthy and Happy.