One of the greatest illusions created in the world is wealth. It appears, logically, that it has come to you by your effort, while in fact it is bestowed on you. Just look at the disparity in the world. Why should someone be born in Russia? Why should someone be in America? Why should someone be born in Somalia or in China? Why should they all have different levels of wealth?
Communists thought about this for a long time. The very basis of Communism is that everybody should have the same level of wealth. They thought that no one should be rich and that no one should be poor – that all are equal. They thought that everybody is the same and that everybody should share, but the theory has failed miserably!
The principle is absolutely logical – one can say it’s wonderful – but in reality, it didn’t work. If Marx and Lenin were to wake up from their graves, they would be terribly shocked to see what has happened! They would re-write the whole Communist theory!
There is no logical reasoning or explanation behind why someone should be born in Africa and suffer for a piece of bread, while elsewhere, there is so much bread that we throw it away. Why do some dogs enjoy the comfort of a home, while others stray on the streets?
Wealth is something that is bestowed on you, and there are eight types of wealth:
1. Wealth as Material Comfort
The first type of wealth is what we commonly understand as wealth – material wealth. Some are born into rich families, some into not-so-rich families. Just by being born in the Ford home, somebody acquired all that wealth, without any effort. Why does this happen, when somebody else has to toil all his life to make money? Isn’t this the big question? Why do some people inherit, while others do not? The younger generation start blaming the parents: “My father/mother didn’t leave me anything. They drank, made merry and squandered all the money. They left me with nothing.” They are angry with the past generation, which didn’t save anything for them. Hasn’t this happened? Wealth, in the form of material comfort, is one type of wealth.
2. Wealth as Health
Just having money is not sufficient. Some people may have a lot of money, but they cannot eat well or they don’t have the time to eat. They may have diabetes or high cholesterol. Everything they eat has to be bland; they can’ eat any fried food or food that is to their taste. They have to be very careful due to ulcers or diabetes. Some people have a very good, beautifully decorated home – a great bed, but they have insomnia and cannot sleep! Of what use is that wealth? That wealth is nothing. So, the second type of wealth is health. Some people do not have money, but they have enough to eat, and they are healthy. They get plenty of grains, and they have whatever they need; like many farmers in India – they don’t have any money, but they have plenty of food. Anyone who goes to them is fed – they can feed the whole town! They can sleep well. This is the second type of wealth.
3. Wealth as Success
The third type of wealth is success. Some may be born into a very wealthy family, but any job they do becomes a failure; anything they do flops. It may be a simple thing, but it is not a success. For example, you tell such a person, “Go and get some yogurt from the shop.” He (or she) will come back with a negative answer – “I can’t get it,” or “There is no yogurt available,” or “The shop is closed,” or something like that. The third type of wealth is Vijaya Lakshmi – to be victorious and successful in any action. To have this wealth, do not start with, “What if it doesn’t work?” Tell yourself, “Come on, try and see!” Before doing something, if one says, “What if it doesn’t work?” and only thinks in a negative way that it won’t work, that it won’t happen, then throughout their lives, they plan, they think and think and think, and worry and worry…and nothing happens. Life just finishes, without acquiring anything. This is taking life too seriously.
4. Wealth as Courage
Make life a play, or a game. Go ahead! Be adventurous! Play on. Even before playing the game, don’t think, “Will I win? What if I don’t win?” So what if you don’t win?! You’ll win some time! Come on, play! Being afraid of playing, being afraid of making mistakes, being afraid of doing anything in life – one lacks the wealth of courage. This is the fourth type of wealth – courage. Lack of courage is a lack of wealth. Somebody may have a lot of money, but if they don’t have courage, there is no fun in life. One’s whole life passes, and yet there is nothing. It is good for nothing. Someone may not have any money, but look at the courage in them, the force in them! It shows that they are rich in something.
5. Wealth as Friendliness
The fifth type of wealth is friendliness – having a caring attitude, having a sense of belonging. You may have the other types of wealth, but you still feel as though you are in a tight compartment, if you don’t have a sense of belonging. If you cannot put yourself into every situation and adjust yourself, you’ll still feel alienated. That is what happens at most parties. Many rich people go to a party just to show off how rich they are, but they feel so out of place – they suffer a lot. Just look at the parties that go on in the world. It’s called “party.” What party?! You find sugarcoated misery there! People are uptight. They do not have a sense of belonging. They do not have naturalness. They don’t meet with their hearts – they meet with the shields inside them. It’s like a war field actually! Parties are like a competition ground or battlefield – everyone goes in with a shield. That is not wealth at all! Do you know how terribly frustrated some people from aristocratic families are? It is especially hard when their children see such hypocrisy. The whole hippie wave that happened was just a rebellion against this uptight attitude.
6. Wealth as Skill
Another wealth is having different skills and talents. Some are good at writing, some are good at arguing, some are good at debates, some are good at music, some are good with instruments, some have wonderful voices, some have a great talent for cooking, some are talented in bringing up a child, some are good at administration, and still others are talented in completely different things. If it is only by effort that we achieve things, then the hundreds and hundreds who put in their best efforts should all achieve their goals. But do they? If we all get our wealth just by our efforts, then how many millions must not be putting in effort? But this is not true. They should all have got what they wished to achieve if it was just a matter of effort – but it is not so.
7. Wealth as Dignity
The natural world is filled with lessons, if only we observe it with full awareness. Be as humble as the grass, then nothing can touch you – nothing! No one can humiliate you. In the eyes of the Divine, those who serve creation are true kings and queens. Walk like a king, and be a perfect servant!
8. Wealth as Memory of the Source
The eighth type of wealth is the memory of your Source. Our life is in compartments, in pieces. Each incarnation is like one piece. We are “cut off.” We only know that we were born – we don’t even know how we were born. Somewhere – from age three or four onwards – we know whatever is happening. Our memory is very short. It appears this is the only life. We are not aware of our Source. The moment you become aware of your Source and your infinite past, your whole life changes – like somebody suddenly becoming aware of how wealthy he (or she) is. It causes a shift in the awareness. Suddenly, you become aware, “Oh! I have several billions of dollars in my bank account!” Your style of walking will change immediately! This is the awareness of the Source. You don’t even have to remember all the drama that you went through – it’s enough if you just remember the Source. The memory of the Source is a great wealth. It makes life one continuous stream – not “cut off” – not in pieces.