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Some time back, a reader asked us if we could carry some articles in the pages of The Mother on how to gain wealth. We wrote to him that we are not averse to carrying material about Ma Lakshmi; in fact, in one way or the other, we have done that already. However, our focus is on things spiritual, and it may not suit the character of this magazine to carry pieces such as How to Make a Million in a Month.

Every reader of this magazine is aware of the emphasis we lay on the timeless wisdom. Wealth as a theme, especially in its monetary form, is relatively new interest of the human civilisation. But its obsessive rationalisation defies the prefixes that the people of old values used such as ‘ill gotten’ wealth, ‘black’ money, ‘filthy’ lucre, ‘filthy’ rich, ‘stinking’ rich, ‘obscene’ wealth etc. The philosophers of today’s materialism find neither the quality nor the quantity of wealth filthy. Money is a million dollar virtue! Even the middle classes now do not seem to discover anything filthy about money.
There’s a virulent strain of extreme disparity of income, wealth, and opportunity being pointed out by some economists. Just 400 billionaires have as much wealth as nearly two-thirds of American households combined. And just three individuals — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates — have as much wealth as half of all U.S. households put together. This phenomenon has trickled down to India as well. It’s not America alone that is suffering from excessive wealth disorder. Or for that matter, excessive wealth-interest disorder. India is following suit.

Not just quantum of money, but it is also speed at which it must be earned that is of great concern. The millennials are often characterised by hurry to make money. The new generation is in such a hurry that they say they are dying to make money.

What is the answer to these questions then? What does the ancient Indian wisdom point at?
Even if we do not enter great depths of the subject and limit ourselves to a single popular subhashita, a moral proverb, which is surely not a scholarly but a pedestrian way of education, we still find wisdom that is being sorely missed. Look at this subhashita for instance:

उत्साह सम्पन्नं अधीर्घ सूत्रं क्रियाविधिज्ञं व्यसनेष्वासक्तं
शूरं कृतज्ञं दृढ़सौह्रदं च लक्ष्मीः स्वयं याति निवासहेतोः

Utsaah sampannam adheergha sutram kriya vidhigyam vyasaneshva saktam
Shuram krutagyam Dhruda Souhrudam cha lakshmeehi svyam yaati nivasa hetoho

The goddess Lakshmi (wealth) comes all by herself to stay with a person who has the following virtues: Utsaah (enthusiasm), Adirgha sutrataa (non-procrastinating and continuously working attitude), Kriya vidhijnataa (skill and knowledge of work mechanism), vyasana-anaasakti (disinclination towards vices), shurata (courage, perhaps risk-taking ability), kritajnataa (gratitude), dhridhataa (firm determination), souhridataa (friendliness in dealings).

It is not by chance that utsaah comes first in the list. Utsa, a veritable fountain, the one of enthusiasm, must precede all wealth creation. Not a desire or seed of greed, but genuine interest in the material objects alone can create that enthusiasm. The richest diamond merchant is as enthusiastic about diamonds as he is about money, richest food dealer is no less enthusiastic about food than money. Those who do not relate to their work, or do not enjoy their work, will find the fountain of enthusiasm, utsaah, drying and dying. Lakshmi (wealth) will either not visit such a person, or leave him like a terribly disappointed guest.

After enthusiasm, comes adheergha sutram. This can be read in conjunction with Patanjali. One of the yoga sutras says:

स तु दीर्घकाल नैरन्तर्य सत्कारादरासेवितो दृढभूमिः
Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara asevito drdha bhumih.

Success can definitely be achieved through sound and continuous practice over an extended period of time, carried out in a serious and thoughtful manner.

Patanjali says one must work for dirgha kala, long period of time. Quick money is therefore out of the question. It has to be adhirgha sutra. A long term commitment. Adheer in Hindi is impatient and that’s not favoured by Lakshmi. Unless a person is willing to give large part of his life to the material (or spiritual) pursuit, there is unlikelihood of accruing substantial wealth.

The third quality kriya vidhigyam is reminiscent of the Bhagavad Gita’s maxim योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् - Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam – Yoga is excellence/ skill at work.

The word vidhi is crucial in the Lakshmi subhashita. Vidhi means the exact modus operandi. How do things work? What is the procedure of work? Unless the vidhi is known, there is no chance of doing things better. The whole purpose of education is to know the vidhi. All science and technology is nothing but vidhi. Without the proper understanding of science and technology, we all know, success has evaded all sorts of entrepreneurs.

The fourth quality is vyasana-anaasakti (disinclination towards vices). The wealth has been deserting people for ages because of vyasan or addictions. A wealth manager recently said, ‘most of my rich clients are really immoral people – too much time on their hands, and all the money means they have no limits. Wealthy are drug addicts, gamblers and philanderers.’

First of all, Lakshmi will not come to those who are full of vices. To those who she comes to, if the wealthy person now starts resorting to vices, she leaves swiftly. The puranas speak of another character entering the scene under these circumstances. Lakshmi’s bad sister, Alakshmi. Alakshmi is depicted as someone who has antelope or hoof-like feet, bull teeth, shrivelled body with sunken cheeks and beady eyes. She is seen riding a donkey. Lack of hygiene, discord at home or work, and vice, are said to be her abodes.

If we try to discern the bearers of old money versus those with new money, landed gentry versus those who are nouveau riche etc., one finds that the old money folks were hardly spendthrifts, they didn’t gamble and they led conservative lives without vices. How the nouveau riche live is common knowledge, it does not need to be qualified.

The fifth quality is shurata or courage. This one clearly is not the quality of a Kshatriya alone, there is a kind of courage that the vaishya also displays. He is not afraid of putting the money on the table for instance, or investing in something that he sees promise in. The financial cowards are not in the good books of Lakshmi. This is the reason, the courageous are seen losing at times, sure, but it is just a turn on the road and soon enough they are going to gain. This is the kind of person who practices true dispassion when he says ‘money comes, money goes - one has to keep working.’

or gratitude is the sixth quality. And it sits here rather well because gratitude is closely linked to the concept of debt or rina. It must be paid, not given. In the classical Hindu rinas, we owe it to the gods, deva rina; to the sages, rishi/ brahma rina; to the ancestors, pitri rina; to the humanity at large nri rina or manushya rina and to the plants, animals and nature, bhuta rina. The concept of gratitude is deeply ingrained in the Hindu civilisation. Lakshmi will not let you walk over those who have done you favours. She will raise the grateful to great heights and fling the ungrateful to the ground.

The seventh quality is dhridata, or determination. If we go back to Patanjali’s quote we find the last word in the sutra is दृढभूमिः or a firm grounding. Lakshmi who is Sri Devi is also Dhri Devi. Those of fickle mind and indecision and caprice, will find themselves out of favour. Once all the seven virtues, from utsaah to kritagyataa are established, dhridhataa or determination follows naturally. This is the reason it may have been listed later.

Now with seven qualities, Lakshmi has indeed smiled upon the devotee. This is a tricky time. Success can go to one’s head and the first outcome is to be proud and give up being friendly and loving towards all. This is lack of सौह्रदं (good-heartedness). Those who are good-hearted and warm in their disposition, ever amiable and friendly, make for good businessmen and soon earn great wealth. Similarly, those who continue with their universal amity, despite their elevation due to wealth, continue to remain wealthy. Those who lose out on this quality, lose out on wealth.
May goddess Lakshmi bless all our readers!


Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda) 
Editor, The Mother.