May 12, 2016

Gaurav Mashruwala’s Yogic Wealth-The Wealth that Gives Bliss!!

Gaurav Mashruwala
Financial Planner, Author, Speaker, Columnist

Prologue -Why the Mind Flickers 

Over the years, as a practicing  financial planner, columnist, public speaker and guest on TV shows, I have observed/interacted with individuals and families from varied backgrounds. They are from different strata of income, have different educational qualifications, family backgrounds; they come from a range of cultural up-bringing and beliefs, age groups, etc. To begin with, all the interaction revolves around issues concerning money. The top-most layer is money. However, simply by scratching the surface a little, t’s evident that the issue is more in the mind. It is the mind which throws up different kinds of emotions.

These emotions are manifestations of latent impressions we have in mind about the way we should live. For example, the way we should celebrate our birthdays, so that we will be happy, could stem from any of these motivations – (i) this is the way I want to celebrate (ii) this is the way everybody does it these days (iii) what will people think if I do not celebrate it this way.

The first one is an independent decision. It is absolute. It will give maximum joy. However, there is a catch here. While saying/thinking, “This is the way I want to celebrate, and hence, I will”, there should not be a tint of arrogance in it. It should not translate into, “I like it so I’ll do it, I don’t care what others feel.” Arrogance is a manifestation of ego and an inferiority complex. Feelings will be extremely subtle and hence, difficult to catch within us.

The second decision is more motivated by the need  to conform to the norms of the society we live in. Based on each individual’s surroundings at any point in time, it could change. This is dynamic. It may give happiness for some time; this happiness comes more from conforming to social norms. However, if this form of celebration does not conform to our inner most self, i.e., if at all there is discord between our inner most self and our surroundings, then there may not be happiness. Since the decision is relative, whether we are happy or not will be short lived. This is because it is taken in relation to what others are doing.

The last decision is motivated by fear. This will not give happiness at all.

No one, except our own self, will be able to say which state of mind is driving us. To each his or her own.

As I kept observing the reactions of individuals and families, I realised that in many instances, individuals and families are not enjoying their wealth. The lack of enjoyment had nothing to do with the strata of income and/or the level of wealth. The very wealthy could be reacting out of the fear of “What will people think if I do not celebrate my birthday in a particular manner?” On the other hand, someone from a middle class income background could also be saying, “I like celebrating this way and hence, I will do it.” The reaction could be vice-versa also; the very wealthy could be saying, “I like to celebrate this way and hence, I will do it,” and the family from the middle income strata could be thinking, “What will people think if I do not celebrate in a particular manner?”

To get a deeper insight into this behaviour, I started looking at our scriptures and bravo, answers started coming. The most prominent answer was that there is no right or wrong way. If it gives an individual happiness to do something, it is right for him. As long as there is no harm caused to anyone else, either physically, verbally or emotionally, it is fine. On the other hand, if there is the absence of happiness, it is time to look within.

This book discusses some of the emotions that the mind throws up when situations pertaining to money arise. These emotions are discussed in the first part of the book. As long as human beings remain, these emotions will remain.

In the second part, the discussion moves on to how today’s human beings react when those emotions arise. Those reactions will change from time to time. It is important to note that the way we react will change from time to time, based on our surroundings. However, the latent impressions in our mind and emotions that have been arising in the human mind have not changed since time immemorial.

The third section contains discussions from our scriptures. If we want to enjoy wealth, how should we deal with it? While the examples given in the section are from current times, the principles will be applicable perpetually.

This book is about enjoying the wealth we have, in a manner we like and not in relation to anyone. Absolute joy cannot be relative. Our scriptures talk about absolute joy; they are not against wealth; they advocate the enjoyment of wealth in a calm, serene, respectful way.

Lastly, nothing that I have said is my unique creation. It is all there in our scriptures. In fact, if a reader can relate to it then it means he is already aware of these facts and principles and reading this book has only awakened that wisdom within him or her. If we are not aware of something, we cannot relate to it.

This prologue would not be complete without an honest confession on my part. Since I am a human being, I fall prey to all these emotions and behave like all other human beings do once those emotions arise in my mind. I am not above all of it  yet. Whenever I fall prey to those emotions, I am not enjoying my wealth.

On a closing note, our scriptures talk about four kinds of wealth – Physical wealth (our health), Social wealth (relationship with our spouse, family, friends, acquaintances and society in general), Emotional wealth and Financial wealth. Only when all of these are in harmony, is when we will have a blissful life – Absolute joy. Yogic Wealth.


Section 1 Introduction – Money & Emotions 

Sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra defines Yoga as “yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥThis is the second sutra of Samadhi Pad. In simple terms, it means all our actions are based on various emotions that arise in our mind at a particular point in time. These emotions are manifestations of various latent impressions we have within us. They could have been accumulated over years and, as per scriptures, even past births. We perceive the world the way we feel from within, based on our emotions.

For example, if the colour of the glass of our spectacles is red, we will see everything red. If the colour is yellow, we will find the whole world yellow, and so on and so forth. Imagine a spectacle wherein the colour of the glass keeps changing continuously and automatically. One who is wearing those spectacles will have different perceptions of the colour of the world around him and it will keep changing continuously. This is certainly a disturbing phenomenon.

Only when the colour of the glass stops changing and becomes transparent is when we will be able to see the true beauty of our surroundings. Similarly, only when the flickering of our mind stops, will we be able to see our true self and enjoy our life.

Yoga is about reaching a state where the mind does not flicker at all. It remains firm, steady. Once the mind remains steady, we will enjoy the state of calmness and serenity.

When it comes to money, a variety of emotions arise in our mind. Our reactions are based on those emotions.

As human beings, we require money for some of our basic survival needs, viz. food, water, etc. Since these have to be purchased from the outside, there is need for money. For other living beings, nature provides for these needs and they do not have to go to a shop to purchase them. Hence, they do not need money.

The second set of needs comprises protection and safety. For protection and safety, we need clothing, shelter, etc. Once again, since money has to be paid for these, we feel the need for money. Other living beings do not require external clothing and shelter and hence, do not require money.

Because money is required for our basic survival needs, we fear not having money. Actually, the fear is not about not having money. It is a fear about survival. “How will I survive, if I do not have money?”

The moment there is fear, there is bound to be insecurity; the insecurity of losing what we already have or what we are likely to own in the future. Fear and insecurity will lead to anxiety. Anxiety will lead to greed – we begin to feel, “Let me get more and more so that I don’t have to worry about survival.”

As per Maslow’s Law of Hierarchy, the third, fourth and fifth states of need comprise love and belongingness, followed by self-esteem and lastly, self-actualisation. They cannot be purchased with money.

However, since the first two sets of needs are fulfilled by money, the human mind tends to imagine that other higher states of needs can also be fulfilled with the help of money. Though at some level we know that this is not true, our latent impressions, surroundings, etc., also play their role.

An advertisement showcasing a woman in a particular brand of jeans, getting more attention than another who is not wearing the brand, will leave a latent impression in our mind. Similarly, a family going out for a weekend in an SUV and feeling happy leaves an impression.

We all know that pairs of jeans cannot be the deciding factor when it comes to getting attention. Joy cannot come because an outing is in an SUV. However, those impressions in our mind do play their role. We would want to purchase that pair of jeans and that SUV. Money will be needed to purchase the pair of jeans and the SUV.

Then again, we may have heard a friend, who has more money than we do, say, “We celebrate birthdays of our family members by going out to dinner at five star hotels only.” If that statement has been interpreted by us (READ: Mind) as, “those who have arrived in life celebrate birthdays in five star hotels,” our mind will aspire for it. We will need money for it.

From here on, the mind plays havoc. The moment we feel money is needed to get attention, respect, a sense of belonging in society, etc., the mind goes into a tail-spin. Feelings related to money will arise; inferiority – “What will people think if I do not celebrate my birthday in particular manner?”; ego – “I have arrived in life because I carry a particular brand of bag,”; jealousy – “He must have acquired money by using inappropriate means,”; frustration – “When will I get enough money to go on a foreign vacation,”; anger, etc..

Those emotions do not let us enjoy our current state of being.

In the first section, we will have a look at those emotions and how we may behave when those emotions arise in our mind.

Authored by,

Gaurav Mashruwala


A Cutting Edge


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