Beyond Material Success

You people often ask how can one achieve greater success, but remember this: the more you run after material success, the more disappointment you will face. Material success is not the cause of happiness. Someone else’s material prosperity may impress us, but it brings pain to the one who has it. It gives him stress and sleepless nights. It also gives birth to diseases: it impacts on the blood pressure, causes heart attacks, increases the crime rate and causes rifts in couples. Those who have not experienced material prosperity will not be able to swallow my words. They will understand this when prosperity actually comes to them. Then they will say, “Yes, we have let a genie out of the bottle.”

I have travelled to every city in the world and wherever I went, people would ask me: “How does one get peace of mind, how can one make the mind one-pointed, how can one get rid of diseases?” So I would say, “Stand on your head.” I only taught them asana and pranayama, and they became my disciples. These were people from prosperous countries. The kind of impact that yoga, bhakti and kirtan had there was unbelievable. Therefore, you must understand that gaining material prosperity is all right, but you cannot consider it as the basis of happiness.

I pray that God gives you immense wealth, but I also pray that you are established in spirituality, whether you have Swami Satyananda or Anandamai Ma established in your house as your guru, whether you worship Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or play the kirtans of Satya Saibaba. In this case, your numerous cars are fine. All the great thinkers, saints and sages have emphasized only one point: do not make material success your ultimate goal. You can either search for God or for God’s illusion. The scientists are searching for God’s illusion, the sages and saints search for God.

I have seen many people who were once average and came from small families and later acquired wealth. Then the women had nothing to do because the servants did all the work, so they spent their time reading magazines and watching television. Their children started getting spoilt. They could neither sleep nor digest their food without pills and many diseases began to trouble them.

All heart diseases occur in cities, not in villages. There are unhygienic conditions and a lack of education in villages, whereas in the cities there are good doctors, prosperity and higher earning; even a labourer earns more in the cities, he lives in a small house instead of a hut. So those who have nothing should get heart attacks. However, the statistics indicate a greater propensity for heart attack among those walking the path of progress: the rich and the prosperous. For there is one thing that takes birth in the mind of such persons: stress. There is always a stress on their mind.

The stresses that the poor face are simple and not even real. Their concerns are daughter’s marriage, treatment of a disease, one meal a day, if the clothes are worn out it is okay, if the house leaks it is also okay. However, the urbanized rich have many problems, and that is why they get stressed. Stress is a kind of pressure which affects the heart, the blood pressure goes up and the pancreas begins to malfunction so that the sugar level rises and one gets diabetes.

In the wealthier families, there is also a lot of wrongdoing. I have lived in their homes. I know the story of every house. Power and authority make one proud. Money also brings bad habits, whether it is coffee, cinema or smoking. These things are not necessary for you, but they become necessary for you when you can afford them. This is called an artificial need, an artificial lifestyle. One who lives a wealthy life is always troubled by the problems of wealth. So when you begin to acquire wealth, remember my words.