Wealth is what we aspire for, what we strive for all our lives, and yet the lives of great men have shown us the insignificance of wealth.
Veeragahavan, a rich businessman, had four sons. One day, he sent for his sons and apportioned his wealth among them. He asked them to augment their share as well as they could. The first three sons, with true business acumen, added to the wealth their father had given them. But the fourth son spent his share on devotees of Lord Narayana. He told his father that his investment was in Sri Vaikuntha. The fourth son is remembered even today as Vaishnavite Acharya Tirukkacchi Nambi. He knew what true wealth was: serving the Lord and His devotees, V.S. Karunakarachariar said in a discourse.
Even as Tirukkacchi Nambi answered his father, his mother signalled to him to take some money from her and pretend that he had earned it himself. But the young man refused to resort to dishonesty. In any case, he was not interested in material wealth. Tirukkacchi Nambi then proceeded to Srirangam to serve the Lord there. He was interested in keeping the Lord cool, by fanning Him. But Lord Ranganatha said that since He was surrounded by the cooling waters of rivers, He had no further need for fanning. But Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram had emerged from the fire, and Lord Ranaganatha therefore directed Tirukkacchi Nambi to go to Kanchipuram and fan Lord Varadaraja. Tirukkacchi Nambi there, and in the Varadaraja temple, he took up the task.
It was a service to the Lord that he continued till the end of his days. But age caught up with him. One day, as he fanned the Lord, the fan grazed the Lord's arm. Sensing that Nambi was weak due to his age, the Lord suggested that He prolong his life by another 100 years, or He provide Nambi with a strengthening elixir. But Nambi turned down the Lord's suggestions and craved release from this world, and a place in Vaikuntha. The Lord granted his prayer. Thus Tirukkachi Nambi showed that true wealth is not what we usually think of as wealth. True wealth is service to the Lord and a craving for His company.