Saturday, April 23, 2016

Wealth and Wisdom are rarely found together among humans




As a step towards peace and happiness, humans seek many different things. Some of these are - wealth, health, fame, beauty, ability, worldly education, education of life etc. A few achieve excellence in one or more areas.

For the moment, let us confine our attention to two prominent acquisitions - wealth and wisdom. There are examples in human history when a few individuals attained excellence in both. Two famous examples of this are - King Solomon the Wise and King Rama of Asian prehistory. However both were godly personalities. More often, among humans we find persons have attained either great wealth or much wisdom but not both. Examples of wealthy persons in modern times are the billionaires of the world. Examples of excellence in wisdom are a series of saints and hermits through human history. These latter have shown the way to other humans when they were in distress.

While wealthy persons have fine jewels, clothes from leading designers, fine mansions with expensive works of art to adorn interiors, fine gardens, swanky cars and in extreme cases, private luxury yachts and planes too. However, they also suffer from stress, extreme anxiety, trauma, strife, depression and health issues from time to time. Managing the psychological impact of this paraphernalia is no mean task.

Examples of excellence in acquiring wisdom are hermits and saintly humans. In extreme cases, their dwelling may be no more than a thatched hut in the wilderness. Yet, they do find peace, happiness, knowledge and understanding in great measure. A forest hermit does not have a private garden to enjoy but one made by God as a forest filled with wild flowers. This latter exceeds in beauty any garden a human may create. A few dried wild flowers and grasses have been tied in a bunch and hang on bamboo door for decoration, yet their charm exceeds that of oils on canvas in the millionaire’s home, for these are works of art by the universe. These hermits do not suffer from health issues nor worry about them much if they happen to come by. They have made friends with their souls and know where it is headed when its present clothing, the body, changes. Men of wealth, approach such men of wisdom, whenever problems in life become too big for their CEOs getting millions in salary to handle.

One wonders why, a human cannot find both wealth and wisdom together; for while wisdom is required to attain peace, wealth if available, is good, if not to help oneself, others that one may encounter in the journey through life. If a saint has knowledge of life, can he not use it to acquire wealth too? The answer is that saintly persons have neither the need nor the interest to do so. Why waste their pleasant pursuits towards the same? In some cases, when a need does arise, wealth comes with ease. A companion blog of this author describes a Himalayan Hermit – Babaji or Baba Haidakhan. When he wished to build retreats for thousands of disciples that began to pour in from around the world, he willed for resources and millions poured in to build Himalayan retreats that are larger than many castles of the world. Since his prime retreat/ashram was at a remote location in the Himalayas, millions more poured in to build a fine road too, longer than fifty kilometers, cutting though steep mountains. However, a true lover of knowledge and wisdom does not accumulate wealth for as Saint Kabir remarked,
“I don't think there is such a thing as an intelligent mega-rich person. For who with a fine mind can look out upon this world and hoard what can nourish a thousand souls.”    Kabir
Wealth and wisdom are often not found together in humans because both paths may require effort and time to attain. Sometimes wealth can come and go in a day but it is never so with wisdom and it is because of this that the latter is a more precious thing. It does seem that what is required for excellence in one becomes a hindrance in the other. It was because of this that Prince Gautama, gave up his wealth and kingdom and left for the forest in order to seek knowledge and enlightenment. It was after many years of effort that he became the leading spiritual personality of the planet – The Buddha.

Yes the Billionaires and the Saints are fine but what about us ordinary humans?

While the super wealthy and the spiritual hermits are extremes of human condition, most humans shall find themselves lying between these two extremes while leaning on one side or the other. Most would do well if they give more emphasis to love, truth and simplicity in their lives than the mere acquisition of wealth although some would be necessary for them at least to the extent that they can meet all the essential needs of themselves and family under their care with ease. If any person abides in love and truth and lives an organized life ( a reader may wish to look up entropy yoga for suggestion in this direction) then whatever wealth is necessary for good living shall come by easily, however if one runs after accumulation of wealth even through unethical means, wealth may come for a few decades at most but peace and happiness will disappear as surely as the sun shines upon the earth, For as said by the prophets,
“You shall hear minions of devil cry, come, we shall find precious substance; we shall fill our houses with spoil. Cast thy lot among us, we shall be the oligarchy of one purse that shall rule over the world as a master rules over slaves.

“My son walk not with them, refrain thy foot from their path. For their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood even as foul war mongering leaders who keep one purse with the military industrial complex to butcher innocent babies and kill their mothers in millions around the earth. But they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk for their own lives. So are the ways of all who are greedy of gain, which takes away the life of the owners thereof in agony and pain as surely as the sun shines upon the earth.”

“On the other hand Wisdom cries, in the city, in wilderness, on the street and inside homes - I shall laugh at your calamity and mock at you when your fear comes, when your fear comes as desolation and when your destruction comes as the whirlwind, then shall you call upon me.

“If thou cries after knowledge and seek her as hidden treasures then shall the Lord fill your heart with it, then shall you understand lies from truth. Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee and deliver thee from the evil path. Let not compassion and truth forsake thee, tie them to your neck; write it upon your heart; acknowledge God and his truth in all things and he shall direct thy paths.”

“Happy is the man or woman that finds wisdom and understanding, for it is better than silver or gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies. Peace of days is in her right hand and riches and honor in her left hand and all her ways are those of pleasantness.”

“Withhold not good from those in need when it is in thy power to help. The wise shall inherit glory but shame and pain shall be reward of the fools.

based on an extract from the Proverbs of the Holy Bible with few modern interpretations added, Verses 13 -35 of the chapter on Proverbs.


In a few years, perhaps in a few decades at most, all the characters of this note shall die and leave their bodies for dust. The Millionaires and Billionaires shall not be allowed to carry their wealth with them for that baggage is not permitted on this last flight but the wise shall carry their wisdom with them to realms of bliss.

Older Postings on the super rich billionaires and millionaires here: 
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2012/11/billionaires-and-millionaires-need-not.html  
A light poem on the topic
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/08/billionaires-lament-poem.html 
A Fairy tale for adults on the topic
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/11/the-saintly-do-not-accumulate.html

It is not the giving but the love that matters more https://twitter.com/ramblingsloa/status/723892765910818820

2 comments:

Ashok said...

This one was a somewhat complex post and as has been the case with other complex ones in this blog it needed a few round of revision over the 24 hour period after it was first posted. It has been toned down a bit from its original version.

Ashok said...

The original note contained an unfortunate description about the Australian policy of putting children in distress that arrive on their shores in prison/detention under harsh conditions. However that part was not in keeping with the main theme of this note and has now been removed. That note had been composed while traveling, never the best environment for such topics, and hence became cluttered. My spiritual associates reminded me of that. With the grace of the Lord I have had the opportunity to return to serene quiet surroundings to edit and fix it.