Satisfaction - The Greatest Wealth

22nd Feb 2008
Narahari Krishna das

Hare Krishna Devotees,
Please accept my dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

We are all aware that satisfaction is the key to happiness in life. And whatever wealth one may possess, unless he is satisfied, he can never be happy. Maharaj was once telling, "We should earn money through honest endeavor and should learn how to be satisfied with that income. That satisfaction will protect us throughout our life". Though Maharaj is putting it easy for us, it is difficult for passionate persons like me to take it. Whenever I see somebody having more material assets than me, the first thought which comes to my mind is "If I have what that person is having, I'll be very satisfied". The reality is that whomever we see as a role model for prosperity and assets, they also have dissatisfaction since the wealth they possess is not enough for them. Even if they feel that their wealth is enough, they feel inadequate in terms of power or fame or influence and so they are dissatisfied. And when there is no satisfaction there is no happiness.

In the Mahabharata there is a famous section called Yaksha prashna wherein Lord Yama, the god of death asks glorious questions to King Yudhistira and the King gives fitting reply to them. One such question is "What is the greatest happiness?". The reply is "Happiness derived from satisfaction is the greatest happiness". So satisfaction is the greatest wealth that one can possess at any point in time. This is possible only by developing the mode of goodness and subduing the modes of passion and ignorance. When we're charged with passion and ignorance, hankering and madness results and we're always dissatisfied. Developing mode of goodness is possible by nityam bhaagavata sevayaa (regular chanting of the holy names and reading of the scriptures and associating with devotees who are situated in the mode of goodness).

Recently I came across one wonderful experience in my workplace, which proved that unless one develops mode of goodness by spiritual practices, any amount of wealth will not give satisfaction and lead to more lamentation only. One of my colleagues is a software project manager. He has very good knowledge of real estate business and has invested lot of money in buying land in several areas of Chennai and has made lot of money in that business. He was telling about 2 plots of land near our office which was sold out by a person for 90 thousand rupees (45 thousand per plot), 4 years ago. The seller approached my colleague at that time and made the offer and my colleague did not buy since the locality was like a forest with no roads or anything at that time. So he referred the seller to his sister and she was also not very happy about the locality. However she gave 45 thousand and bought only one plot out of the two plots. After that due to software boom, the area developed like anything with beautiful road, transport etc and the land prices went up like anything. Last month my colleague's sister sold that same plot for 58 lacs (nearly 150 times more than the cost price. No share market or investment can fetch this return in a span of 4 years). My colleague told me this incident and lamented very much "I really missed that golden chance. Had I bought the plot, I would be having 58 lacs with me now". I also felt bad that I didn't know about it and my colleague also missed it. I consoled him, "It's good that at least your sister is happy now since she made this huge profit". He replied "She's much more upset than me because she is feeling bad that she didn't buy both the plots and bought only one. So she also lost 58 lacs". Here we see that the person who just heard this incident (myself), the person who saw the plot and did not buy it and the person who bought the plot and reaped the benefits are all miserable. The person who reaped the huge money is the most miserable of all.

The Mahabharata (13.94.271) explains that all the wealth in the earth is not sufficient to satisfy person who is in the lower modes of passion and ignorance.

yah prithviyam vreehi yavam hiranyam pashavah striyah
naalam ekasya tat sarvam iti matvaa samam vrajet

Understanding that all that is available on earth in the form of food, gold, animals and women is not enough for one person, one should go about with a peaceful mind.

However a person in the mode of goodness can easily obtain satisfaction by the money obtained by honest endeavor and regulating his sensory activities according to his earning.

Though the above sloka from Mahabharata is presenting a very lofty idea, it is difficult for people like us to take it considering the competitive society we're living in, where day in and day out we're bombarded by passionate thoughts and ideas. Maharaj was giving a very practical approach to this problem as follows. "Actually we should be satisfied with whatever money we get by honest endeavor. However, the attitude in conditional life is to always look for more. In this case, there is nothing wrong in making more endeavor honestly for earning more wealth. However even in spite of our endeavor, if we're not getting anything extra, then we should be satisfied with whatever we're getting and we should be never frustrated. If we don't get something in spite of honest endeavor, then it is not meant for us and so we don't want it."

I pray at the lotus feet of Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada so that I will give up this hankering and lamentation developed by seeing other's wealth and be satisfied with whatever that comes by honest endeavor and focus on spiritual development.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das