Suka, son of sage Vyasa, did not want to live the life of a family man and wanted to renounce worldly ties. But his father advised him to go to Mithila and meet King Janaka, who was a married man, and who, because he was a king, had more duties than an average householder. Yet, Janaka was held up as an example of a man with no attachments.
Suka went to Mithila after an arduous journey, but when he reached Janaka’s palace, the guards refused to let him in. But when they came to realise that Suka was a gnani, they let him in. The guards offered their respects to Suka and asked him what was good in this world and what was bad. They wanted to know who was an enemy and who was a friend.
Suka replied that in this world everything falls into two categories. For every quality there is an opposite. There is joy in this world, but there is also sorrow. We rejoice when there is a birth, but life also brings with it the sorrow of parting, when a person dies. There are learned men, but there are ignorant men too. There are those who have many desires, and those who have none. He who has many desires is bound to be unhappy, elaborated Sengalipuram Rama Dikshitar in a discourse.
The fact that wealth does not necessarily bring with it happiness becomes evident when we look at the contentment of the poor. Many do not have even a roof above their heads; they do not know where their next meal is to come from. They do not have proper clothes. And yet one can see how happy they look.
Worries over wealth
Despite all their problems, they keep smiling. But the rich man worries about how to protect his property, about whether his children will fight over his property when he dies. He worries about how much to leave for each child. All these concerns come about only because he has desired and accumulated wealth.
Our enemies are not outside us. They are inside us. They are desire, and the anger that arises when our desires are thwarted. These enemies can be conquered only by those who have bhakti.