What are we doing with this human life? Are we using it for a higher purpose or are we wasting our life in only earning money? Many times, we get so obsessed with amassing wealth that we forget that this life is not just meant for amassing wealth, but it is also meant for practicing spirituality.
No doubt, money is important, but money is not everything. Money cannot solve all the problems of our life and we will have to leave everything what we earn here only after we die.
But still, we see people in spite of advanced age remain mad after earning money. At the age of 60 or even 70 some people want to start new business. What goes on in their mind, I fail to understand. It seems like they get addicted to earn money.
Just like a drug addict finds it hard to give up alcohol. Similarly, a money addict finds it difficult to give up his addiction to earning money. They do not realize that they are wasting their human life in earning money or because of addiction they become helpless and continue exploring different avenues to earn money.
An old businessman’s story who is obsessed with earning money
Once there was a businessman. He had spent his entire life amassing wealth. For him money was everything. He could do anything to get it. The businessman had two sons. They were pious as compared to their father. In due course of time the businessman grew old.
His two sons were very much concerned about their father’s hankering for material pleasure. They saw that their father is wasting his life in earning money. They felt that as their father is growing old and in his entire life, he hasn’t done any pious and devotional activity so he would definitely go to hellish planet. Being concerned about their father’s unholy lifestyle they decided to send him on a pilgrimage with a sadhu.
They requested a sadhu to take their father to all the holy places and not to bring him back home unless his heart completely changes. The sadhu agreed to take up the responsibility.
He took the old man to different holy places and tried to convince him through philosophies that material pleasure is temporary and permanent happiness is in spiritual realizations. He told him various devotional stories, but nothing would seem to change the old man’s heart.
Finally, the sadhu started to give up. He thought, “It’s beyond my capability to change this man’s heart.” So, he sent a message to his sons saying that it is impossible to change their father’s heart. But the sons insisted that at least he should try once more. Maybe some miracle might take place, they thought. The sadhu agreed to give a last try.
This time he took the old man to Varanasi. He decided to visit the crematorium.
The moment the old man saw the burning dead bodies kept on logs of wood, tears started flowing down his eyes. The sadhu was ecstatic. He thought, “Now, he has come to his senses and has realized the truth of this world.”
So, he put his hand on the old man’s shoulder and said, “Now after seeing all this how you feel?”
Wiping out his tears the old man said, “I feel very bad. It seems I wasted my entire life”.
The sadhu asked, “Why do you feel so?”
The old man said, “Because I never realized the truth”.
The sadhu said, “Do not worry. Still time is there, something can be done.”
The old man said, “No it’s impossible. I have lost a lot and it’s not possible to undo all those losses.”
The sadhu asked, “Why do you think you can’t make up the losses?”
Tears kept on flowing from the old man’s eyes. His voice was choked.
With a heavy heart he said, “Look, throughout my life I did business in clothes. I never knew that wood is in such a great demand. If I had known this I would have never done business in clothes.”
The sadhu left him never to return back again.
Moral of the story
It’s very difficult to change habits in old age. So, it’s better if one starts practicing spirituality when he is young instead of waiting for the old age to arrive.
Human life is so precious
Human life is precious because in human life only it is possible to practice devotion to God and purify our consciousness. If we fail to do so, then it could be possible that in next life we do not get a human body. Instead, we may get the body of an animal, a plant, a fish or of an insect. And we do not see any animal or insect practicing spirituality.
This is the reason that the very first aphorism of Vedanta sutra is “athato brahma jijnasa.” It means that “since you have got a human life so utilize it for realizing the Absolute Truth.” So, we should not be wasting our life in only earning money.
Yes, it is true that in this world we also need money for survival. And the scriptures do not ask us not to earn money. What the scriptures and the saintly personalities say is that while taking care of your worldly responsibilities take out sufficient time for practicing devotion to Krishna.
Devotees of Krishna earn real wealth
Sincere devotees of Krishna work hard but they always keep Krishna in the centre. They do not deviate from scriptural injunctions and do not do anything which will take them away from Krishna.
In Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.3, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva explains to his sons that those who are interested in purifying their life by practicing Krishna consciousness do not waste their time in material activities. Such intelligent people do their prescribed duties honestly and earn enough money which helps them to keep their body and soul together.
Srila Prabhupada further explains in the purport, “A householder should lead such a life that he gets full opportunity to hear and chant. He should worship the Deity at home, observe festivals, invite friends in and give them prasāda. A householder should earn money for this purpose, not for sense gratification.”
We can also check if we are wasting our human life in earning money or we are properly utilizing our human life by following the guidelines of the scriptures.
Devotion to Krishna is real wealth. By this wealth we can earn eternal peace, happiness and ultimately Krishna’s love.