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Money, wealth

Money and Wealth

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What do we hope to gain?

Bhagavan is a name of Krishna meaning "He who possesses an infinite supply of opulences." One of Krishna's opulences is wealth; whatever wealth we have is on loan from God and meant to be used in His service. How we think about and use money affects not only our ability to lead happy, harmonious lives, but also our ability to see ourselves in relation to Krishna, the Supreme Person and the ultimate source of all wealth.

The more we use our borrowed wealth in Krishna's service—in other words, in harmony with the supreme will—the more we become free of anxieties arising from greed and fear of loss. Krishna assures us of fearlessness if we surrender to His will, and how we manage our finances is symptomatic of our faith in Krishna's ability to maintain us.

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Krishna is the Absolute Truth, the ultimate source of all energies. His energy of wealth is known as the goddess Sri, or Lakshmi Devi, His inseparable consort. Many people worship Lakshmi Devi separately from Krishna, to get Her favor in the form of wealth, without understanding who Her husband is.

To desire Lakshmi—wealth—without simultaneously worshiping Narayana (Krishna) or honoring Her relationship with Him is a shortsighted, materialistic mentality. We should remember that our wealth will ultimately be taken away. We can lose it in any number of ways, and if we manage to hold on to it till the end, Krishna in His form as time will take it all away at death.

In the words of the sage Chanakya: "Since all our wealth will be taken from us at death, we should use it for our eternal spiritual benefit while we are alive."

Scriptures recommend that we earn a livelihood by honest means, use our earnings in Krishna's service, and remember that Lakshmi Devi is Krishna's constant companion; by serving Krishna, our lives will be enriched in more ways than we can imagine.