Link to the Tamil Podcast
Welcome to Sankara's Smithy, the Forge Shop where we have commenced our transformation process by receiving the first hammer blow. The hammer did strike the very core of our misbelief that we are nothing without our body and our physical body is permanent. It shatters that misconception.
Now comes the second hammer blow. This deals with the impermanence of wealth - “Dhana” as we call it. This blow will remove our wrong notions about acquisition, storage and distribution of wealth. We will realise that wealth is after all a “means” and not an “end”.
Mooda jaheehi dhanaagama trushnaam
Kuru sadbuddhim manasi vitrshnaam
YallabhasE nija karmOpaattam
Vittam tEna viNodaya chittam
Meaning in English
Meaning of the Sanskrit Words
1. मूढ - Mooda - Oh! Ignorant mind.
2. जहीहि - jaheehi - Win over
3. धनागमतृष्णां = dhanaagama trushnaam - धन + आगम + तृष्णां
a) धन - dhana - wealth - This includes money and all worldly things.
b) आगम - aagama - receipts/inflows
c) तृष्णां - trushnaam - thirst, yearn, uncontrolled desire
4. कुरु सद्बुद्धिं - Kuru sadbuddhim - develop noble thoughts
5. मनसि - manasi - in the mind
6. वितृष्णाम् - vitrshnaam - detached, not thirsty
7. यल्लभसे - YallabhasE - यत् yat + लभसे labhase - which is + obtained
8. निजकर्मोपात्तं - nija karmOpaattam - निजकर्मणा उपात्तम् - nija + karma + upaattam - with your own efforts. It means that whatever actions that are prescribed to oneself by the scriptures and what you are destined to perform as residual fruits of actions from your previous births.
9. वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् - Vittam tEna viNodaya chittam - wealth (vittam) , that (tEna), rejoice (vinodaya) , mind (chittam) - rejoice your mind with that wealth)
The philosophy behind these words
As a householder, one has to earn money and acquire various possessions to support one’s family and also to meet one’s obligations to society.
The great poet Tiruvalluvar said that those without possessions do not really have a world here — பொருளில்லாற்கு இவ்வுலகு இல்லை (“porulillaarukku ivvulaku illai”).
It is human nature to think that wealth brings happiness in everyday life. This thinking is due to the fear that how one can one live without wealth.
While we accept proverbs which highlight the importance of wealth/money, we conveniently choose to forget the fact that anything in excess is a poison. Because of this misconception, we have more money cravings.
The first sentence of this Sloka can be misinterpreted as Adi Sankara holding worldly pursuits in such disdain as to call everyone shun wealth, worldly pursuits and opt for sanyaasa.
No, the approach towards wealth is brought out in the second sentence.
As an admonition against indiscriminate indulgence in wealth for their own sake at the expense of one’s growth into a higher plane, Sankara “advices to keep one’s pursuits legitimate and in conformity with dharma, making adequate room for the contemplation of higher goals”.
Simple living & great thinking is the need of the hour.
Tamil literatures like THIRUKURAL, Naaladiyaar, Thirumanduram, Valayapathy etc have given innumerable explanations including separate Chapters on the impermanence of wealth. A few of them are highlighted in the Tamil Version of this blog.
Adi Sankara drives home the point that wealth like our body is not eternal and is perishable. It is not an end in itself and cannot be the goal of our life. It is only a means to lead a Dharmic life to achieve our higher goal of sorrows free permanent happiness.
What a great impact it will have on our lives, if only we could absorb this second strike and start our journey with this fresh rethinking.
With that rethinking, let us proceed to the next strike which will be on the first day of the new year (01-01-2023).
Until then, take care. Introspect and turn a fresh page in life.