Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha are the four basic purposes of life. It means earning righteously with a desire to fulfill the inner happiness. The word ‘Artha’ relates to righteous earning. Any unrighteous earning can put one into danger.
There are enough references in modern medicine describing “property disputes” as one of the main causes responsible for heart blockages. The other being “marital disharmony”.
Many Vedic texts also give reference to the meaning of ‘Artha’. As per Vedic philosophy desire only begets desire. The desire of accumulating wealth is dangerous and infectious.
As per Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, any wealth acquired more than one needs cannot make one sleep properly.
Vidur in Vidur Niti in a dialogue with King Dhritrashtra described five basic reasons for not getting sleep. Two of them being “if one has stolen somebody’s money” and “if one has lost all his or her wealth”.
Chanakya Niti mentions that any wealth acquired by unfair means will not last for more than eight years.
Adi Shankracharya in his book Bhaj Govindam, Shloka 6 warns the rich community to beware of even their own sons. He mentions, “One should regard wealth always as danger as there is not even an atom of happiness to be really derived from it. To the rich there is a fear even from their own sons. This is an established law everywhere.”
Jesus in Bible also said that the rich lacking contentment can never reach the heaven.
Every wealth one acquired should be treated as a property of the trust of whose one is the trustee and this trust should be only for the welfare of the society, said Dr. Karan Singh in one of his lectures.
Sathya Sai Baba said that wealth is like a shoe. If it is small, it brings difficulty, if it is big, then also it makes one uncomfortable.
In Bhagavad Gītā, Lord Krishna said that those who cook for the sake of their body alone, eat only sins.
Wealth is the womb of all other types of vices, said Rishi Narad in Shrimad Bhagwad. He said that along with wealth come vices like gambling, drinking and sexual perversions.
Taittiriya Upanishad also said that food will eat up the eater who eats without sharing. The Upanishad talks about importance of sharing the food with others.
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gītā said that whatever elders do, others follow the same. If one acquired money out of unfair means, it is likely that the next generation will follow the same.
Wealth should be treated as a flow of money in the universe, said Dr. Deepak Chopra. Your purpose should be only to make sure that this flow not gets diverted through your river.
Accumulating money serves no purpose unless one uses it properly for the purpose it was collected. I recall an example of a lady who let her son die for financial constraints. When asked if she had any ancestral belongings, she said she only had some gold lying in her house but that was only to be used for bad time.
Isha Upanishad also starts with the same message.
IshAvAsyaM idaM sarvaM yatki~jcha jagatyAM jagat |
tena tyaktena bhu~jjIthA mA gRudhaH kasyasviddhanam || 1 ||
All these, that are part of this world, are abodes of God. Leaving them and thus protecting (yourself).
Do not desire the wealth of anyone!
In Jainism, the term Aparigraha also says that one should not keep anything more than what is necessary.