What is money? Money is defined as what one earns by working or by producing and selling things. Money is the result of our efforts and is required to meet our material needs. In Sanskrit, it is called “karmaphala”. Our pious deeds in our past lives entitle us to be born in rich families with a lot of wealth. This is called ‘prarabdha’. From this fact, one can deduce that we shouldn’t be too anxious about getting money; it shall follow in due course if our karmas entitle us. Besides, who is it that can be called rich? A person who is satisfied is rich, not one who has got bundles of cash and is continuously hankering for more.
In modern times, we have increased our needs unlimitedly. Though money or “artha” is a recognized as a legitimate step towards our desired goal of progress and liberation, it is only a path and not an end in itself. But many of us make money the goal of our lives. We try to accumulate more, forgetting that money can buy us neither peace nor happiness. Our lust is the real culprit behind this and it is due to this lust for money one does not stick to honest means to earn the same. One hopes to enjoy material pleasures and surely money can buy us that.
As far as the utility of money is concerned, it has three main uses: It helps us to meet our bodily needs, which is a sacred duty; it helps us in promoting ourselves spiritually; and it allows us to donate to the needy if we can spare. No denying, there is a natural tendency to accumulate money and leave it for our children. Accumulating money unlimitedly does not really make much sense. The time spent in such an endeavour should be better utilized in making spiritual progress. Thus the labour spent in accumulating surplus money is really wasted. And if such excess money is earned illegally it would make zero sense because sinful reactions are bound to follow. Money beyond one’s genuine needs also make a person proud. One should be looking forward to peaceful enjoyment of money and not seek all kinds of negative karma on account of it.
Therefore, an intelligent person ascertains his or her genuine needs, earns enough money to meet them, is not interested in wasting his or her labour in accumulating what he or she would never use, and importantly avoids sinful repercussions by only earning money honestly.