Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.
– Bhagavad Gita
This might look like an odd combination to certain readers. You may be wondering as to what Bhagavad Gita has got to do with achieving financial freedom.
What could be those practical lessons? Can they guide us today? Can there be some guidelines to help us on a path to richness? Are there some proven methods or some real-life stories that can prove to be insightful?
आ�मैव ्�ा�मनो ब�धुरा�मैव िरपुरा�मनः।।
By the self, i.e., by the mind, which is unattached to sense-objects, one should raise the self. One should not allow one’s self to sink by a mind which is of the contrary kind. For the self alone, or the mind alone is the friend of the self, and it alone is the foe of the self.
Well, if you are looking for some great timeless lessons which you could implement in your day-to-day life to get success in money and ultimately gain financial freedom, then this chapter is for you.
Here are nine proven lessons from Bhagavad Gita to help you achieve financial freedom:
- According to the ideology of Hinduism, opting for a spiritual path in life could mean giving away what you have today, perhaps trek to the Himalayas and pray However, why give up something and leave out of “frustration” or anger or some occult thought? I do not mean to say that the spiritual path is good or bad.
I have been practising Yoga and Meditation for years now. But if someone has decided to become a monk because he is unable to find the route to the riches, then this is something I would not recommend. Why not get that same freedom by working for money and then perhaps plan the rest of your life in the Swiss Alps, enjoying a fulfilling life? Lesson: Achieve your financial freedom so that you can go anywhere and anytime when you desire.
- Striking a balance in life: Bhagavad Gita guides us to do our karma (taking action) as well as face realities of our It doesn’t say to take action in anticipation of some specific result. Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to do his rightful duty and not worry about the consequences, even if that meant to fight against his kin.
क�म�येवािधकार�ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कम�फलहेतुभ�ूमा� ते सङ्गोऽ��वकम�िण ||
It is your right to perform your prescribed duties. However, you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.
My Story: I had witnessed an instance when I just performed my duty without worrying about the result, but with the right intention and with full expectation. The outcome was wondrous, and I was amused. Had I taken that action with the right anticipation but at the same time worrying if the result might not eventuate as I wanted, perhaps I would not have even taken any action? Fearing a bad result may have hijacked my action and my feelings wouldn’t have been otherwise. Lesson: Do not worry about what’s right and wrong or about the consequences, but it is essential to perform your duty.
- During the great war of Mahabharata, Arjuna wanted to run away and sink himself in meditation or become spiritual. That was when Lord Krishna guided him to face the reality and not run away.
हतो वा �ा��यिस �वग�ं िज�वा वा भो�यसे महीम्।
त�मादु��त�ठ कौ�तेय यु�ाय कृतिन�चयः।।
Whenever you are slain in a righteous war by your enemies, you attain the supreme bliss. If you happen to kill your enemies, you shall enjoy the great kingdom, without any obstacles. When you fight the war as your duty, when you do it without attachment to the fruits or the results, it becomes the means for winning the supreme bliss. Therefore, arise, be assured for every engagement in war ( treat it as your duty), it shall bring you “release”. Treat it as a man’s supreme goal. This act alone is the most suitable goal for you, the son of Kunti.
Same way, in our life, we face so many difficulties and sometimes, we want to run away. But the Krishna inside us guides us (if we seek guidance from the inner lord, call it “intuition” or gut feeling), to continue on our endeavours and earn our financial freedom. Freedom has to be fought for, against the external realities like inflation, economy, ups and downs of the market. Lesson: Feel the inner force and let it guide you in all the times of difficulties and when you have to make a choice.
- Indians have fought many wars for centuries. I have seen, many of my clients, who are entrepreneurs, who have fought various battles of life. They do not run away into some cave to escape from the realities of life. Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to face the challenge and not try to flee.
नयतं क� क�म �वं कम��यायो �कम�णः।
शरीरया�ािप च ते न �िसद्�येदकम�णः।।
You must perform your action which has been enjoined. For, the action is superior to inaction; and even the maintenance of your body could not be adequately accomplished through inaction.
Same way, we have to be ready and equipped to fight the challenges on our path to financial freedom. Lesson: We may not always see the right path, but the challenge has to be accepted, and the fight has to continue.
- God inside you: Arjuna witnessed the Viraat Roop of Krishna and also realized that God was inside him.
म�यावेय मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते।
��या परयोपेता�ते मे यु�त तमा मताः।।
Lord Shri Krishna replied: Those who keep their minds fixed on Me, who worship Me always with unwavering faith and concentration; these are the very best.
He was ready to fight only after this revelation. Therefore, you have to find God inside you and fight for your financial freedom. When you stop searching for God outside of yourself, you will see God inside you. Lesson: Some of the solutions to your financial freedom are already there within you. All you need to do is, take a plunge inside.
- Excel in your work: You may not like doing some of the things, but might be doing due to financial commitments. However, you can learn to enjoy what you do and excel in it. You can enjoy the financial freedom, which is the by-product once you learn the nuts and bolts of your work. If you enjoy doing what you do, you can find the path to your financial freedom at your arm’s length. Karmayogi- O Arjuna, said, Lord Krishna. “Arjuna, if you work with a selfish motive, then fruits of your work may not bring you the happiness that you desire. However, if you work with a selfless motive, you may get the contentment that you are seeking. ftis way, you will not work for the result, but for a better outcome.”
अ�यास योगयु�तेन चेतसा ना�यगािमना।
परमं पु�षं िद�यं याित पाथा�नुिच�तयन्।
He whose mind does not wander, and who are engaged in constant meditation, attains the Supreme Spirit.
Lesson: Working zealously brings you the opportunity to indulge in creativity. Freedom from working for money then comes easily. Hence, work for a better outcome; the result will be better, automatically.
- Failures in life shouldn’t make you worry about the results, but failures are yet another opportunity to try in a better way! Each time Pandavas failed, they discussed better strategies to win on the next day. Each failure enticed better success thoughts to the Pandavas. Even the mighty army of Kauravas, combined with the Narayani Sena of Lord Krishna, didn’t deter Pandavas to stop fighting. In today’s life, we must work for our Karam Yog. Working at the best of our abilities, without worrying about the result, is called Nishkam Karamyogi.
�लै�ं मा �म गमः पाथ� नैत��व�युपपद्यते।
���ं �दय दौ�ब�यं �य��वो��त�ठ पर�तप।।
O son of pratha, please do not yield to the degrading impotence. Sure, it is not your true you. So, do Give up this petty weakness of heart. Go on and arise.
I remember when one day I went to a restaurant for dinner. I observed the waiter who was serving food. He was offering the best of services, but his ultimate intention was the “tip” which customers gave. That was the time when I learned a new lesson that one should not work only for one’s benefit. If you work intending to serve others with the best of your services and not expecting the gains, you get rewarded. Lesson: Work with the right intention, without focusing only on the result. You will financially receive better remuneration.
- Power of Mind: Bhagwad Gita teaches us about the power of Mind. Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to think about the first arrow that he had to aim at the Kauravas and not worry about the last.
योग�थः कु� कमा��ण सङ्गं �य��वा धन�जय।
िस�दयिसध�दयोः समो भू�वा सम�वं योग उ�यते।।
Sanjay said - Lord said When Arjuna said: ‘What is the reason for your misplaced grief? Arise for battle now. Let all your sorrows be abandoned. Your grief has arisen in a critical situation. It can only come in men of wrong understanding. It can lead to an obstacle to reaching heaven. It does not confer fame on you. It is very mean which is caused by faint- heartedness.
Similarly, I ask my clients to take the first step towards their investments and not worry about the market conditions in the initial stage. Lesson: The amount that you save is not that important, but the first step or the habit is more critical towards your journey of financial freedom. How you will achieve it comes much later.
- Cover page of Gita: I remember the front page of my copy of the Bhagwad Gita. It has a big four-wheeled chariot driven by Lord Krishna. They can be interpreted as Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha. In our lives, we also drive on these four wheels. Isn’t it true? Lord Krishna inside is pushing and whipping us to drive better. These four wheels navigate us to a better way of life. In this battle, that rages daily within us, our Charioteer or the God or the Self, is always on the side of dharma or righteousness. It is the reality which sustains us. Instead of the delusion which could undermine us.
The Mahabharata of our lives, families and work-life is the same. Lesson: We have to learn, identify and then drive ourselves to do better every day. Learn to enjoy every day, to ride the Rath (Chariot) of our destiny and aim at winning the financial freedom war.
Let’s look at the ten components of the chariot and what it depicts for our lives:
- Chariot is our physical body or the instrument through which the Self, intellect, mind, and senses operate. It is suggested to combine these elements when looking at your money- success-happiness combinations.
- Charioteer is “Self or the higher intellect which is supposed to be the wise giver of instructions to the mind.
- Passenger is our soul or the embodied Atma. It is the pure centre of consciousness, which is always a neutral witness. Develop this mind for great money decisions.
- Horses are our five senses or “Indriyas” through which we can easily relate to the external world, by perception and action. Learn to control these five senses for better control over your money life.
- Reins is our Mind through which we use our senses to receive our instructions to act and perceive. Be clear from where, from whom and why you receive such money instructions.
- Roads: are all those countless objects of senses and desires in the present world and within our memory. Be clear of your desired, needs and wants, to be rich and successful.
- Wheels of the Chariot: are all the right efforts we take in our lives. Make the right efforts to develop keep making efforts for the right needs, wants, and desires.
- Destination: is our ideal self-realization. Be Clear where you want to go, where are you today and how you will get there.
- Kurukshetra Battlefield: is our inner battlefield. It is the only place where we can confront, and attempt to conquer our inner demons.
- Two Armies: are the two sides of our mind. The Kauravas (Demonic Nature) and Pandavas (Divine Nature). It would help to meditate frequently to unearth your right nature.
In our lives, the chariot is guided along the various roads of life through a collaboration of higher intellect, senses and mind. Similarly, our lives, we have to control the multiple dimensions of our finances.
The solution to all our problems is to retrain the charioteer (Intelligence) to pick up the reins (mind) and start giving some direction to the horses (senses). This training is called sadhana (spiritual practice). Hiring an expert to guide you and help you rein in your income - versus - expenses versus saving and investments, are all essential directions. For financial freedom, we have to train our mind to be able to take crucial money decisions. We have to trains all of the levels of ourselves, to experience the still, silent, eternal centre. Then only, shall your decisions lead you all the experiences that shall bring you joy, happiness and success in your life.
‘Put the charioteer back on the job. Allow the charioteer to serve the passenger.
Your intelligence shall then onwards be your guiding force. It shall continue to bring you that crucial awareness and bring all money-related issues together.
While the charioteer, or our Intelligence, becomes more stabilized in being back on the job, there is an ever-increasing need for awareness. Awareness is essential so that the chariot, horses, reins, and charioteer serve as instruments for the passenger. Hence, don’t drive your car with your foot on the brake, but use the brakes to control the vehicle when necessary. It is suggested that we must exercise some control when there is a danger. If we don’t have any brakes at all, you will surely come to grief. Similarly, if you cannot control the expenses of your household, you will face danger! Danger could be of taking endless loans or not being able to pay back these loans also.
While a chariot may not be brought under control like horses without reins, similarly a car without brakes or a person without sense control, is at an eminently dangerous level. He or she is heading for disaster!
May your inner guidance-force help you in this great endeavour and assist you in your path to financial freedom!
May the great warrior inside you rise and shine!
Taressh Bhatia is a CFPCM CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER CM and is the founder/partner of Advantage Financial Planner LLP – A firm Registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) as RIA (Registered Investment Advisor).
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