Happiness has nothing to do with wealth and poverty. Always remember that there is no one in this world who is completely happy. Even one who has money, children, a good house, respect and no enemies is afflicted by pain. There is death in every house. Hope and despair are everywhere, and wealth and poverty are everywhere. A rich person goes through the same distress that a poor man does. A poor man cannot sleep at night because he has to get his daughter married and rich people who can spend millions on their daughters wedding are unable to fall asleep without a sleeping pill. Those who can get any kind of delicacy prepared in a clean and hygienic way cannot digest it without a pill. And those who have the facility of doctors are sure to get diseases. If the doctor is assured, sickness is also assured.
The most organized and safest country in the world is Sweden. Whoever needs a job there, gets a job immediately. That is the law there. Whoever needs a house gets it immediately, and it comes equipped with all facilities. If someone does not wish to get married, they can still adopt a child. Its acceptable. In short, all conveniences are at their beck and call. This is called a welfare state. However, Sweden is the country where the maximum number of suicides takes place. What this indicates is that if your life is secure in terms of money, property, family, love, everything, that does not guarantee happiness.
Money does not guarantee happiness. That is for sure. Of course a poor person has his own troubles. If he falls sick, he cannot go to a doctor because he does not have the money to pay the doctors fees or buy medicines. So, happiness and sorrow have nothing to do with wealth and poverty. If someone is unhappy due to dearth of money or a job, they will not necessarily become happy by acquiring money. Happy is one who is contented. If there is contentment in the mind, all kinds of riches are like dust.
Therefore, whatever circumstances you are in, try to remain contented and thank God for what He has given to you. Kabir says:
Oonche-oonche saba koee chaahe, neeche chaahe na koee,
Eka baara jo neeche chaale sabase oonchaa hoee.
Meethaa-meethaa saba koee chaahe, karavaa chaahe na koee,
Eka bara jo karavaa chaahe saba se meethaa hoee.
Everyone wants to rise high; no one wants to go low,
One who lowers himself once, becomes the highest of all.
Everyone wants to taste sweetness; no one wants to taste bitterness,
One who is willing to taste bitterness once, becomes the sweetest of all.
You may argue that if one is content with what one has, one will not progress. Then you have to choose whether you want progress or happiness. You can choose the path of progress, but know that there is no contentment in progress. If there is progress, there is sorrow. If you progress but become unhappy, I will say choose happiness. A human being wants happiness. To acquire happiness and remove sorrow is the nature of every human being and every creature. Look at a dog if it is cold, he will crawl under the bed or sit next to a fire. This is natural behaviour. God has sent us down to this world with this nature.
Today we have a large ashram. But there was a time when I had neither money nor an ashram; I did not have any place to stay and no guarantee of a meal. When I left my gurus ashram I decided to walk alone. I did not know anyone. I possessed only one jhola and one danda. Wherever I was, it was my home.
One should not make a display of ones wealth. A rich person should also live like a poor person. One should live as if one has no connection with money. One should lead a simple life, a natural life. A human being needs only two meals a day, clothes and shelter. So, your living standards should not change with money. How did you live when you were poor? There should be no difference when you acquire millions.
Joy and sorrow are equal among all. Everyone goes through them. Dont think that if you get a lot of money, you will become happy. That is merely an aspiration. Yes, the day you think, God, whatever riches you give to me I will use it for a good cause, for the sake of others, your wealth will bring you happiness. There is nothing wrong in aspiring for riches, but if we use our wealth, ability and education for the sake of others, then there will be no heart attack and high blood pressure. In this case we simply become agents. We take what is necessary for our own use, and utilize the rest for others.
Make sure that your wealth is redistributed in society as far as possible. There are many people in society who are handicapped in different ways: there are orphans, physically challenged people, poor girls and widows. Is our obligation in society only towards our own children? Is our social responsibility not beyond that? The rich must understand that society has a greater right over the wealth they have acquired because it has been taken from society. Children and family have a lesser right over it because it has not come from them.
The money earned from society belongs to society. There is a class of society in every part of the world which is powerless. They exist in thousands the physically challenged, the blind and so on. However, in the West they are looked after by the government and society; here, no one looks after them. This is because the rich here think that their family has a natural right over their money. That is wrong. You did not earn this money from them, so return the money where it came from.
Be like the river that returns the water to the ocean; it gives a little to the fields, but returns most of its water to the ocean. So give a little to the children, but do not presume their right over all of it. If you have this attitude, then the children wont get spoilt, unnecessary things wont come into the house, and an artificial market will not be created in a country where seventy percent of the population is poor. Understand who the right heir of the money is.
The goddess of wealth is Lakshmi and her vehicle is the owl who is blind, so she may enter anyones house at any time. She may also go away at any time, you wouldnt even realize when she leaves. Its only after she is gone that you realize that she has left. Vishnu, on the other hand, arrives on Garuda who can see far even at night. So the wise say, dont call Lakshmi alone; call her along with Vishnu. Then she will come with him on his vehicle and stay while Vishnu stays. And if Vishnuji is caught once, he is caught forever. Lakshmi does not get caught, she is capricious like a drop of water. But if Vishnu is there, she will not go anywhere because she is devoted to her husband. This has been said in the Puranas.
What this means is that it is necessary to have bhakti in a house that has wealth. It is necessary to have good samskaras and good thoughts, and then the wealth is utilized for the right purpose.