February 2010

The really poor man is not the one who lacks money, but who lacks the joy of the heart. – Chinmaya

Among the majority of us, it is a very deep-rooted wrong notion that money brings in happiness. Admitted, that money can buy all pleasures and comforts of the world, name and fame, power, position and recognition. But one’s experience of happiness has nothing to do with any of these external acquisitions.

If money means happiness, then the richest man must be the happiest one in this world, and the poorest man must be the most sorrowful. But what we find, in the majority of the cases, it is just the reverse. A stressed grim-faced worried executive hurrying his way to the office in his Mercedes Benz while an innocent child, shabbily dressed and malnourished, playing merrily with the street dogs in the slum, are not rare scenes to see.

Along with money comes fear, insecurity, possessiveness and the like. A saying goes thus, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, then just look at the people whom He gave it to!”

The suicidal rates are seen to be the highest in some of the most prosperous countries. Thus it is not appropriate to equate money with happiness.

The most important things in life are not things and hence cannot be purchased. Money can buy

sleeping-pills but not sleep, medicines but not health, books but not knowledge or wisdom, food but not hunger or appetite, insurance policy but not life!

The great scientist Albert Einstein puts it so well, “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted”!

Naturally, then the question comes as to what decides our happiness. Pujya Gurudev has put the equation of happiness in a very simple formula:

Happiness H=Desires fulfilled/ Desires entertained

The one who has minimum desires is most happy. To put in other words, one who has little and wants less is happier than the one who has much and wants more!

There was a learned man who for several years longed to be shown the way to God. One day, as he sat for prayer, he heard a Voice which instructed him to go to a particular village and meet a saintly man there. With great excitement, the learned man set out to that village seeking the man of wisdom. To his surprise, he could find only a poor man, humble and simple with tattered clothes.

To him, the learned man said, “Good morning to you!”

Quietly answered the poor man, “I never had a bad morning!”

“May God give you good luck!” said the learned man.

“I never had ill luck”, answered the poor man.

The learned man’s astonishment grew. “May you be happy!” to which the poor man answered, “I have never been unhappy!”

“I am unable to understand”, said the learned man. “Please explain it to me”.

“Gladly”, said the poor man. “You wished me good morning. I have never had a bad morning. I praise God, whether I get food to eat or not, whether it rains or snows, whether I am with or without company. Also, I have never had any ill luck. I know that whatever God sends to me is the very best that can ever happen to me. I cheerfully accept everything – health or sickness, prosperity or adversity, joy or sorrow, as a gift from God. Moreover, I have never been unhappy, for I have entirely yielded my will to the will of God. Hence God’s will itself is my will!”

Astonished, the learned man asked, “What if God’s will cast you to hell?”

“I would prefer to be in hell remembering the Lord than to be in heaven forgetting Him.”

When asked who he was, the poor man replied, “the King!”

Though he was a very picture of destitution and yet he felt he was a king!

The poor man taught him that in self-surrender and in utter humility laid the surest means to reach God.

Indeed he was the richest man on earth, because he possessed the greatest wealth – the joy of the heart.

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Posted in: Chintana

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