The moon grows from new moon day to full moon day, and it is lovely in its fullness. But we know that from the very next day, it will start diminishing in size, until new moon day, when it will not be visible at all. So it is with wealth. It grows and delights, but never remains in one place for long. It leaves the hands of a wealthy man, leaving him impoverished. Such is the fickleness of wealth.

Indeed the impermanence of wealth mirrors the impermanence of life itself, said Sarala Rajagopalan, in a lecture. Of what use is the hoarding of wealth then? A person’s shadow never leaves him, but is always beside him. Yet, does his shadow give him shelter from the heat of the sun? Likewise, wealth too is no defence against the sorrows that may befall us in life.

Just as wealth does not stay forever, so also is happiness in life. But while we are happy when something good happens in our lives, and attribute it to the virtuous deeds we performed in earlier births, why are we unwilling to accept the misfortunes that strike us?

If we expect that our virtue should be rewarded, why can’t we accept the fact that in the same manner, our vices and sins too will be punished? If you can accept your good fortune as your fate, why can’t you accept your ill luck also as fate, asks Thiruvalluvar, in a verse.

Futility of accumulation

If we contemplate on the futility of accumulating wealth, we would give generously to others. Look at the bees which move from flower to flower for storing honey in their hives. They keep on hoarding the honey, but one day someone comes along, and smokes out the bees and takes away the honey. So it is with wealth.

You may spend all your life adding to your wealth, not even pausing to enjoy what you have. But one day it could all pass into the hands of someone who has not toiled one bit for it.

So why hold on to wealth? Would it not be better to give generously to others, and have the satisfaction of seeing a smile on the faces of the needy, instead of keeping it all, and then one day having a relative, who never cared for you walk away with it all?