What is real prosperity?

—H.J.

True prosperity lies in being able to supply your mental and spiritual needs, as well as the physical. There is, however, a big difference between the things you need and the things you want.

True prosperity means to have at your command the things that are necessary for your existence. Unfortunately, very few people understand what is truly necessary. Very few people know the real meaning of “needs.”  If your needs are boiled down to certain specific things, then the need can be easily satisfied.

It is important to understand the true purpose of life. Most people spend their entire lives and energy trying to make money. Some who are successful often die of heart failure just when they are close to securing happiness.

If you have lots of wealth but also lots of difficulties with everyone — you have very little. The entire purpose of life becomes futile when happiness eludes you. When wealth is lost, you have lost a little. When your health is lost, you have lost something more. But when your peace of mind is lost, all is lost.

Money is not a curse. It is the manner in which you use money that is important. If you take a dollar bill and ask it, “Shall I buy poison with you?” it does not answer. But if you misuse this brainless dollar bill, it gives you unhappiness. When you use it rightly, it gives you happiness.

There is no saint, no savant who does not use money in his work. Whoever eats has to pay for the food, and it is better to be able to buy your own food than to have to live on charity. There is a value in all things.

Knowledge of how to become prosperous is important. True prosperity comes by increasing your mental efficiency, which will enable you to supply the things you need. If you know how to withdraw your attention from all objects of distraction and place it upon one object of concentration, you will know how to attract what you need. When you are able to find the answers to everything within yourself, you will be able to say, “I am prosperous.”

From Inner Culture, January 1939.