India and Indians around the world are celebrating Diwali or Deepawali. Today is Lakshmipujan – puja of goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity! The cleaned and tidied homes adorned with flowers, diyas and rangoli and their wonderful occupants decked up in their best silks and satins, gold and diamonds, colours and perfumes will be all ready to welcome Lakshmi with open doors and open arms. As we prepare, in excitement and with all the fanfare, to worship the goddess of abundance, let us pause for a moment to reflect on the Lakshmi (money) we wish to bring to our homes to reside forever (wealth).
What kind of money are you bringing home? How is it coming in? Where are you getting it from? Is it the kind that is here to stay? Or is it short-lived? Is it bringing with it happiness and satisfaction to the family or is it the cause of tension and pressure?
Financial (and the overall) well being starts with the money that comes into our wallets/ bank accounts and homes, it continues with our good intent and practices and stays forever in our homes through the assets we build. This is the simple philosophy behind what we call financial freedom – the goal of financial planning and money or wealth management.
And this simple philosophy is beautifully illustrated in Sri Sukta, the shloka many of us will recite especially today in honour of the much loved goddess Lakshmi! So today, on this auspicious day of Lakshmi pujan, let us assess the status of our Lakshmi vis-à-vis the standards mentioned in Sri Sukta and pray and plan to meet those standards in the coming year!
The two most significant standards that can help us measure our own financial well being are;
- अनपगामिनी – the one that does not leave or go away, that cannot be destroyed.
This, in our modern financial planning terms, we call – permanent wealth creation or financial freedom!
धान्य धनं पशु बहु पुत्रलाभम् सत्संवत्सरं दीर्घमायुः
These are all assets (financial – directly or indirectly) considered of great value in those days.
Ask yourself – Am I working too hard for/ chasing money? Am I starting to build assets?
- न क्रोधो न च मात्सर्यं न लोभो नाशुभामतिः।
This is implied in the phrase ‘financial well being’ – Financial freedom that is coupled with physical, emotional, intellectual and social well being.
Ask yourself – Am I losing my sleep/ my health over money?
- Am I feeling irritable/ easily angered/ tensed/ pressured?
- Even though I’m doing well financially, do I feel envious of those who are doing better? Do I feel the pressure to earn more than what I do?
Both – financial freedom and financial well being, can be achieved, not by running after money or working day and night for money. They can be achieved by following wise financial practices and getting your money to work for you through asset building!
Even in mythology, Lakshmi is known to prefer to reside with Vishnu! Vishnu is always balanced, focused, impartial and detached and is never shown chasing Lakshmi! But Lakshmi chases him and never leaves him.
Wishing you all a very happy Diwali and May you get started/ stay on the rewarding road to financial well being!