Reimagining wealth beyond money

By Ram Krishna Sinha

Normally, in our day-to-day-life, we are preoccupied with or remain overly obsessed with wealth. There is nothing wrong or unethical about accumulation of wealth, if it is created lawfully and with noble  intentions. But the entire yearning and craze for accumulation of wealth will have a sobering effect, if we expand the concept of wealth beyond money and material possessions.

We usually see wealth from the prism of ‘price’. The more the possessions and belongings are pricey or costly, more is the formation of wealth. However, if wealth is seen from the prism of ‘value’, our entire idea about wealth may get a new meaning and perspective. Many new categories of wealth then get their due pride of place. We need to explore these largely unrecognised, unsung and undervalued categories of wealth which should be cherished as precious possessions.

The first is good health. Health gained is wealth earned. The growing medical cost and health concerns not only rob us of our money, but happiness also. It is a major impediment in the path of progress and prosperity not only for us, but for our nation too.

The second aspect of wealth is relationships. Wealth loses its shine if kinship is diminished. Family and close friends, through love, affection and care, make our life wholesome. Even if all wealth is gone, the treasure of relationship and kinship will still exist as support.

The third aspect of wealth is wisdom. Wisdom comes with experience and learning. But more often than not, we fail to use this wealth. What else would otherwise explain the loss of wealth by people, even the educated, due to trusting dubious financial instruments and falling prey to fraudsters? Yet, we have seen in the epic Mahabharata, wisdom in full play when the Pandavas choose Krishna and not his big army when faced with a choice.

Reputation, that is, goodwill, is the fourth facet of wealth. Rama said, “Pran jaye par vachan na jaye.” Goodwill is an asset and is recognised as such in corporate balance sheets. For an individual, corporation, or nation too, it is hard to raise resources or invite investment with a tainted scorecard, image, credibility or brand.

The fifth feature of wealth is contentment. Contentment engenders satisfaction and blissfulness. In contrast, greed is a vice, and with its enmity with need, acts as impediment to contentment. Sixth, blessings create another reservoir of wealth. Blessings of parents, elders, teachers, gurus and also of those who are poor and disadvantaged are valuable. These gifts emanate from our acts of goodness, humility, selfless service, gratitude and prayers. With such noble and righteous acts, we also become beneficiaries of grace, manifested and showered in our life in various ways, particularly in challenging times.

The seventh aspect is the wealth of natural resources. Human life is part of divine life force and has ‘blood ties’ with Nature. Air, water, forest, mountains, wildlife, all make our life sustainable and rich. In fact, our richness, in monetary terms, will fade into oblivion if we lose this bio-diversity and natural wealth.

Albert Einstein once said “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” We just need to be mindful and look at wealth from a different prism.

The writer is a former bank executive

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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