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Re: Pursuit of Welath / What is Wealth?

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Mon Jul 05 1999 - 08:27:25 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

I have been reading the postings on the pursuit of wealth with  
interest and would like to augment the posts with a few points 
based on my experiences.   What 
follows is based on opinion to a ceratin extent; because I 
am subject to delusion from avidya-karma to a great extent, 
it may not be 100% correct.  However, I think that there is 
some truth in what follows: 

Being subjected to delusion from avidya-karma we are all 
associated with wealth to varying degrees.  Anything that 
provides pleasure (sensory and non sensory) can be 
thought of as wealth.  Tangible goods, such as money 
and jewellery, that provide transitory pleasure only 
constitute a small subset of the universal set of wealth.  
Brahmajnanam is also part of the universal set of wealth, 
if one defines wealth as anything that provides pleasure.  
However, it has a unique property; it is the sole element 
of the universal set of wealth which is not subject to 
diminishing marginal returns (i.e., the amount of pleasure 
derived from each extra unit is always positive and increasing.)  

It is not easy to shun wealth that is subject to diminishing 
returns! Only the great mahans can do that as their mature 
set of karma allows them to do so.  However, reality is that 
such subsets of karma are the result of millions of janmas 
of punyas.  Given our limitations, we should attempt to 
continuously strive to perfect the following.  Continuously 
keep reminding ourselves that real wealth is the 
Brahmajnanam, all else is useless by itself, even mundane 
knowledge!  A Baddha jivAtman, who aspires for moksha,
should cultivate  Brahmajnanam, for that alone helps to 
develop the conviction required for unconditional surrender 
to Brahman.  Wealth in the form of (mundane) knowledge 
or wealth in the form of material goods are only helpful 
in the sense that they aid in the cultivation of 
Brahmajnanam.  In isolation both are useless, they only 
further misery (that is if one realizes that transitoriness 
(cycles of ups and downs) is misery.)  

Example from my own life:
For instance, not long ago, my level of delusion was very 
high that I was leading a purposeless life (i.e., when I say 
purposeless I mean only recognizing finite (worldly) goals.)  
First I use to crave for money and other tangible material 
pleasures.  In fact my level of nescience was so high that I 
use to tell my parents that contentment is the lack of ambition 
and so on.  Subsequent to that I became very academically 
oriented and began to lose some interest in tangible 
pleasures and starting craving for publications in a 
prestigious American Economic journal, recognition and 
so on.   Even this is wealth.  Anything from which pleasure 
is derived is wealth.  Not to say I have no cravings now, 
but they are significantly diminished, for the fact that 
these elements of the universal set of wealth are transitory 
is slowly but steadily manifesting.  This knowledge,  
manifests through experiences in life (i.e., contact with
mundane objects.) 

However, the experiences (objects) differ from individual 
to individual and so does the speed with which it 
occurs (it is dependent on each ones prArabdha karma, 
and on how one uses his or her free will to earn the 
grace of God.)  

Venkataramanan (Venkat)

P.S. Many times we perceive events in life as being negative, in hind
sight every event is positive; if one contemplates on them in the right
spirit,  there is a lesson to be learned from each.