Money: A Force, a Power
Money represents a great power of life which must be conquered for divine uses. Therefore you must have no attachment to it but also no disgust or horror of it.
Wealth is a force… —force of Nature; and it should be a means of circulation, a power in movement,… It is something which can serve to produce, to organise. It is a convenient means, because in fact it is only a means of making things circulate fully and freely.
Purpose of Money
Money is meant to increase the wealth, the prosperity and the productiveness of a group, a country or, better, of the whole earth. Money is a means, a force, a power, and not an end in itself. And like all forces and all powers, it is by movement and circulation that it grows and increases its power, not by accumulation and stagnation.
…from the financial point of view, the principle on which our action is based is the following: money is not meant to make money. This idea that money must make money is a falsehood and a perversion.
Money does not bring Happiness
Money does not bring happiness. The Sannyasi who possesses nothing and usually eats only one meal a day is perfectly happy if he is sincere. Whereas a rich man may be thoroughly unhappy if he has ruined his health by all sorts of excess and over-indulgence.
I repeat, it is not money that makes a man happy, but rather an inner balance of energy, good health and good feelings. Stop drinking, smoking and over-indulging, stop hating and envying, and then you will no longer lament your lot, you will no longer feel that the world is full of misery.
Who is fit to possess money? How should money be used?
Money is something one ought not to have until one no longer has desires. When one no longer has any desires, any attachments, when one has a consciousness vast as the earth, then one may have as much money as there is on the earth; it would be very good for everyone. But if one is not like that, all the money one has is like a curse upon him. ….It makes you stupid, it makes you miserly, it makes you wicked.
It is infinitely more difficult to be good, to be wise, to be intelligent and generous, to be more generous, you follow me, when one is rich than when one is poor. I have known many people in many countries, and the most generous people I have ever met in all the countries, were the poorest. And as soon as the pockets are full, one is caught by a kind of illness, which is a sordid attachment to money.
So the first thing to do when one has money is to give it. But as it is said that it should not be given without discernment, don’t go and give it like those who practise philanthropy, because that fills them with a sense of their own goodness, their generosity and their own importance. You must act in a sattwic way, that is, make the best possible use of it. And so, each one must find in his highest consciousness what the best possible use of the money he has can be. And truly money has no value unless it circulates. For each and every one, money is valuable only when one has spent it. If one doesn’t spend it… I tell you, men take care to choose things which do not deteriorate, that is, gold – which does not decompose. Otherwise, from the moral point of view it rots.
Wealth is a force—I have already told you this once – a force of Nature; and it should be a means of circulation, a power in movement, as flowing water is a power in movement. It is something which can serve to produce, to organise. It is a convenient means, because in fact it is only a means of making things circulate fully and freely.
This force should be in the hands of those who know how to make the best possible use of it, that is, as I said at the beginning, people who have abolished in themselves or in some way or other got rid of every personal desire and every attachment. To this should be added a vision vast enough to understand the needs of the earth, a knowledge complete enough to know how to organise all these needs and use this force by these means.
If, besides this, these beings have a higher spiritual knowledge, then they can utilise this force to construct gradually upon the earth what will be capable of manifesting the divine Power, Force and Grace. And then this power of money, wealth, this financial force, of which I just said that it was like a curse, would become a supreme blessing for the good of all.
For I think that it is the best things which become the worst. Perhaps the worst also can become the best.
But still, certainly, the greatest power, if badly used, can be a very great calamity; whereas this same very great power if well utilised can be a blessing. All depends on the use that’s made of things. Each thing in the world has its place, its work, a real use; and if used for something else it creates a disorder, confusion, chaos. And that’s because in the world as it is, very few things are utilised for their true work, very few things are really in their place, and it is because the world is in a frightful chaos that there is all this misery and suffering. If each thing was in its place, in a harmonious balance, the whole world could progress without needing to be in the state of misery and suffering in which it is.
So there is nothing that’s bad in itself, but there are many things—almost all—which are not in their place.
How can one know if one’s way of using money is in accordance with the divine Will?
One must first know what the divine Will is. But there is a surer way – to surrender money for the divine work, if one is not sure oneself. “Divinely” means at the service of the Divine—it means not to use money for one’s own satisfaction but to place it at the Divine’s service.