Bhaja Govindam 30: Wealth only brings sorrows; not joy (verse 29)

Arthamanarthaṃ bhāvaya nityaṃ nāsti tataḥ sukha leśaḥ satyam |

Putrādapi dhanabhājāṃ bhītiḥ sarvatraiṣā vihitā rītiḥ || 29 ||

Meaning – Understand that troubles and difficulties arise from wealth itself. There is absolutely no happiness that wealth can give.

Isn’t it true that all sins originate out of wealth? Fights, disputes, sins all stem out of wealth. There is a very well knowing saying that ‘wealthy people are afraid of their own sons’. Many in this world believe that money can buy them anything and everything that they want. Very often we come across this statement ‘Sarve gunāh kānchanam-āshrayanti’– which means ‘all virtues reside in gold (wealth)’. Such statements sound true when a person is in troubled times, yet the well-known truth is that money cannot achieve everything. In spite of this knowledge, the fascination for wealth retains its strong grip over man.

Maharishi Vashistha, who was the Guru for the Ikshvaaku clan, did not live in mansions. He did not chase money and earnings. Although Chanakya ensured that Chandragupta was crowned the king of the land, he himself chose to live in a dilapidated hut. This is a well-known fact. When asked about this choice, he replied, “If I decide to live in a palatial building, then my focus will be on wealth and money to be earned. I will stop thinking about the citizens and the needs of the kingdom.  Hence I find this hut comfortable”.

We have heard many stories of people who have got completely ruined because of their arrogance of being wealthy. Yet, our attraction towards wealth does not lessen in any way. The reason behind this is not wealth in itself; our mind craves for the comforts and for the position (power) that wealth can grant. Wealthy people end up in having disputes not merely with their relatives but also with their own immediate family members. This is something that we come across often. The entire Mahabharata war took place for wealth.

Apart from Valmiki many others have also composed Ramayana. In one of them it is mentioned that Ravana was aware of the fact that Sita was none other than Mother Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Therefore he believed that if She were to enter his kingdom, there would be no shortage of wealth ever in future. With this desire he kidnapped her. This led to his death. This and many other similar stories teach that desire/ greed for wealth is very bad. In this world we hear incidents about children murdering parents for wealth or parents killing their son/ daughter for wealth, people forging signatures so as to acquire the other person’s wealth and so on. Wealth will say, ‘You acquire me, then see what all I can shower upon you’. The truth is that it only leads him towards destruction.

This stanza therefore reminds us that wealth is very bad.  Wealth is the cause of all troubles. Excessive wealth can take a person to a state wherein he has no food to eat. A person once sought a boon that everything that he touched should turn into gold. What happened due to this? Heaps and heaps of gold were lying everywhere. He was very pleased. He was very hungry but when he touched his food, it too turned into gold. He couldn’t eat. He then thought, “Of what use is this money that cannot give me the ability to eat?” It is a myth that money brings joys; the truth is that it cannot grant even an iota of happiness and joy.

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