Trustees Not Possessors of Wealth

We have the mistaken idea that we “possess” wealth, and that somehow we can “acquire” it and “hold onto it” over the long-term. This idea stems from the ego-centric viewpoint that similarly holds that the sun revolves around the earth. We recognise at some point that we “cannot take it with us” upon our death, and we try therefore to find ways to pass it along to either our descendents or our favored organisations to utilise when we are gone.

But so long as we believe we possess wealth we wind up with a standpoint that can quickly become counter-productive and distracting. We then put inordinate efforts into the process of acquiring it, and maintaining it, and finding ways to “hold” it. Since money is a universal force however, it is intended to “move” and “do work”, and thus, those who try to sit on it, rather than put it to work, eventually find that it destroys both their inherent joy of life and their very ability to maintain it.

Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint is that “All wealth belongs to the Divine and those who hold it are trustees, not possessors. It is with them today, tomorrow it may be elsewhere. All depends on the way they discharge their trust while it is with them, in what spirit, with what consciousness in their use of it, to what purpose.”

Such an attitude not only provides a healthy way to deal with the temptations and pressures of living in the world, but also provides a key to an ideal attitude that avoids both the extreme of ascetic denial and the extreme of materialistic greed for the seeker of spiritual realisation.

Sri Aurobindo,