Every year on the auspicious occasion of the festival of Diwali, a surfeit of some of the finest views on the significance of this day are carried by the media. There must be really something significant about it that it evokes such wide spread comments. For the scientific and the rationalist, it presents a potential case study on the subject of making money or not making money. In other words, what is the significance of money in life? If one has to leave it to heirs to enjoy or give it away in charity or philanthropy ultimately, is it worth the bother to make money? If it has to be made, what is the quantity? Should there be some limit to making money? Why should there be any limit to making money? One may neither give it to his heirs nor to philanthropy, but bury it deep in a dream Tajmahal type masoleum of himself. Well, it can be conceded that it is the individual’s choice what to do with his money. But it leaves other questions for deeper exploration, even as some other issues need to be examined before it.
The question is how to make money? The question is also how not to make money? Is there a difference between good money and bad money? Is making money through acts of robbery, drug trafficking, human trafficking, crime, exploitation etc. as good as making money through skills, labour, professional public service etc.? Depending on the position of the individual in life, answers will be as varied as human minds, for a hungry man would refuse to even consider such questions of good and bad, whereas a saint would call it a great illusion only. But it is much more than that and the Diwali celebrations ask each individual to spare some thoughts to consider this matter of money comprehensively. Everybody can’t go to a Management School to learn about the intricacies, but each one need to explore it for his own benefit, if he wants to be happy. Celebrating a festival is an expression of happiness. To celebrate a festival, money is essential. It is for the individual to consider if he should beg, borrow, steal or earn money. Since the subject demands thoughtful consideration of each one according to his circumstances, opportunities, capacities and capabilities, no single off the shelf solution can be suggested. Individual models alone would serve best. Even then, broad contours can be defined for general use. Diwali drives that point only. How?
It is a festival to worship Goddess Laxmi, who brings good luck & prosperity to the devout. One superficial interpretation would be that one conducts a ritualized worship and the Goddess will bless him and his family with the boon of prosperity. There is no such boon. The Goddess means in the purest form of distilled human consciousness one can always find ways of earning good money. The significance lies in the word good. The emphasis is on good money and not money alone. To give its original version without English translation it is Shubh Laabh and not Laabh alone! Unless money is made in the good ways, it does not bring true happiness or prosperity; rather it brings misery and never ending unhappiness. It looks to the moneyed person as if everything can be bought with money, till he reaches a stage where he casts a glance at life’s balance sheet to find that the debits exceed the credits greatly. That hardly requires a saint to see: any ordinary person can see what has been lost and what gained. If innocence is lost or humanity is gone; if love for money had replaced love for family & friends; if the age of enjoyment of the fruits of one’s labour are lost to accumulation of money- are so obvious for anyone to audit his own balance sheet. The retribution for making money through bad means visits the person sooner or later. As the fruits of good money are enjoyed by the heirs for generations, the damages for bad money too are paid by them for generations. To understand this business and management concept, we need to bring in Ravan. As is known, Diwali is celebrated on the return of King Ram to his kingdom in Ayodhya after his victory over Ravan, the king of Lanka. It needs to be noted that Ravan had acquired so much of wealth through his prowess and endless wars with the Gods that he made his country, Lanka, of gold. Gold symbolizes money and money power. Unlimited wealth tends to make the owner proud. In moments of self pride, one drops caution and humility. It is then that he is struck by notions of his own invincibility. He falls a victim to digressions in life as a gentleman or a king. Slow but consistently, this digression introduces in him weaknesses of character. Ravan was credited with ten heads. The metaphor of hydra reinforces the idea behind it. Nobody is invincible. But who can dare tell the king this simple truth? People tend to be untruthful to serve their own personal interests. Kings or commoners don’t die of their weaknesses only: they pay for the ill advice of their ministers, wrong medication by their physicians and misleading courtiers. It is not as if Ravan was born once only or Ram took Avatar only once. It is a continuing affair of life. Earlier the number was limited, but now it has grown disproportionately. There is more money than Ravan could ever accumulate. There are thousands of millionaires and billionaires and may be trillionaires too. I doubt if there are any zillionaires. So the pursuit of money has to be given up at some stage. When that wisdom dawns, man decides to unburden himself of the load of money! Charity or philanthropy administer him instant relief. In a moment of wisdom, one completes a detailed audit of his life’s balance sheet !
The festival of Diwali drives the point that it is essential to earn money. Though one can get the best food and other amenities in life from family and friends for some time, yet has to earn his own money to provide for himself and his family. He who earns not learns not to earn and lives not on his own earnings. Living on charity of family, friends, community or government should not be accepted unless one is unable to earn for himself. Earning money is no easy task. It requires skills, knowledge and training besides on the job experience. One has to work really hard to gain so much. It is the only means to earn good money. He who learns to earn good money is insured to be happy. Those losing heart early in life or under bad peer influences, take short cuts to become rich quickly. How quickly it is depends on the person, but expressions like “want to become rich overnight” suggest the extremely short time frame. Proceeds of crime alone can satisfy such urges to get rich overnight. This urge has created thousands of Ravans globally. No data is available for sure but the maximum number of such Ravans may be in India. Many of them celebrating their Diwali in jails; many more are awaiting their turn; the remaining are praying that they may never be caught. They constantly live in fear. There is no happiness in a life lived in constant fear. Diwali’s significance lies in highlighting this simple fact of the extremely complex web of money, finance and the mechanism to set right goals and achieve them. Those who acquire money through bad deeds are able to hide it from public eye; never talk about it and keep the secret in the darkest corner of their mind. It is, however, difficult to hide its shine from public view, as it is difficult to hide the sun’s light. Someone has been gifted with the capacity to see in darkness. The owl is the vehicle of Goddess Laxmi. It has the power to see in darkness. The Goddess is not going to bless those who have earned bad money.
She visits and blesses those only who earn good money, because the welfare of all lies in such money. It leads to prosperity of the individual and society. Prosperous societies are happy. Great civilizations are born and nurtured by such societies. Great cultures have been bestowed on the world by such societies. Others have wrecked havoc on human society, inflicted wars and terror in the present times. Loss of the sense of good and bad is the root cause of all human misery. All other forms of life are regulated in such a way that they don’t cross the line under any circumstance. It is only human beings who tend to forget the distinction between the two and invite unhappiness. Only if every person spared a day in his life to devote to the whole gamut of money, especially how to earn and how not to earn money, proceed accordingly to translate his ideas in to actionable plans and tasks, life will be full of pure happiness. It happens to be so because money was never nor shall ever be the only aim of life. Man lives a life to undergo several experiences, money making and proper application being just one significant aspect of it. Crossing magnetism of money is next stage in life, which automatically happens as one grows in life. The journey is regulated by our body & mind, if we refuse to admit of the existence of God or destiny in our rational frame of mind. In our celebrated finite wisdom, we want to see and approve infinity? It is like capturing space in one’s palm or bottling up air from the space. Life’s cycle is a small one, from no money to money to unloading the burden of money and experiencing the laws of consciousness.