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Money is the visible sign of a universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of the outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose. This is indeed one of the three forces—power, wealth, sex—that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them. The seekers or keepers of wealth are more often possessed rather than its possessors; few escape entirely a certain distorting influence stamped on it by its long seizure and perversion by the Asura. For this reason most spiritual disciplines insist on a complete self-control, detachment and renunciation of all bondage to wealth and of all personal and egoistic desire for its possession. Some even put a ban on money and riches and proclaim poverty and bareness of life as the only spiritual condition. But this is an error; it leaves the power in the hands of the hostile forces. To reconquer it for the Divine to whom it belongs and use it divinely for the divine life is the supramental way for the Sadhaka. [1]

What is Money?

A Force of Nature

...when one thinks of money, one thinks of bank-notes or coins or some kind of wealth, some precious things. But this is only the physical expression of a force which may be handled by the vital and which, when possessed and controlled, almost automatically brings along these more material expressions of money. And that is a kind of power. It is a power of attracting certain very material vibrations, which has a capacity for utilisation that increases its increases its strength through utilisation. [2]


Money is meant to increase the wealth, the prosperity and the productiveness of a group, a country or, better, of the whole earth. Money is a means, a force, a power, and not an end in itself. And like all forces and all powers, it is by movement and circulation that it grows and increases its power, not by accumulation and stagnation. [3]


Wealth is...a force of Nature; and it should be a means of circulation, a power in movement, as flowing water is a power in movement. It is something which can serve to produce, to organise. It is a convenient means, because in fact it is only a means of making things circulate fully and freely. [4]


Wealth doesn't depend on the amount of money you have: it depends on the proportion between that money and what you have to spend.[5]


The whole creation is made externally by external things, but behind that there are divine forces...What men have invented—paper or coins or other objects—all these are but means of expression... it is not the force itself, it is its material expression as men have created it. But this is purely conventional. For example, there are countries where small shells are exchanged instead of money...

...even gold, you know... men have given a certain value to gold, because of all metals it deteriorates the least. It is preserved almost indefinitely. And this is the reason, there's no other. But it is a mere convention. The proof is that each time a new gold-mine is found and exploited, the value of gold has fallen. These are mere conventions between human beings. But what makes money a power is not this, it is the force that's behind.

...wealth is represented by bits of paper which become very dirty, and on which something is printed. They are altogether disgusting, most often good only for lighting the fire. But it is considered a great fortune. Why? Because that's the convention.

...It is really paper or gold or sometimes just written things... because many large fortunes are only numbers written on paper, not even these papers which circulate, only books! There are immense fortunes which govern the world and are just written on papers, like that, with some documents and conventions between men. The fortune may increase, become triple, fourfold, tenfold, or else it may be reduced to nothing. They sell everything, they sell cotton, they sell sugar, they sell corn, coffee, anything at all, but there is nothing! There is no cotton, no sugar, no corn, nothing. Everything is on paper! And so you buy millions of worth of cotton: you don't have a wisp of cotton there! It is all on paper. And so, sometimes later, you sell it off again. If the price of cotton has increased, you gain a fortune, if it has gone down you lose a fortune. And you have with you neither money nor cotton nor anything, nothing but paper. It is entirely a convention. [6]

A Collective Possession

Money is a force and should not be an individual possession, no more than air, water or fire. [7]


Money does not belong to anybody. Money is a collective possession which should be used only by those who have an integral, comprehensive and universal vision. I would add something to that: not only integral and comprehensive, but essentially true as well; a vision which can tell the difference between a use which is in accord with the universal progress, and a use which could be termed fanciful. But these are details, for even the mistakes, even, from a certain standpoint, the waste, help the general progress: these are lessons learned the hard way.[8]

~ is a force and belongs to nobody, but it must be used by the most disinterested and clearsighted person (or persons) in the country.[9]


The conflict about money is what might be called a "conflict of ownership", but the truth is that money belongs to no one. This idea of possessing money has warped everything. Money should not be a "possession": like power it is a means of action which is given to you, but you must use it according to... what we can call the "will of the Giver", that is, in an impersonal and enlightened way. If you are a good instrument for diffusing and utilising money, then it comes to you, and it comes to you in proportion to your capacity to use it as it is meant to be used. That is the true mechanism. [10]

Misconceptions about Money

There are two things. Death, it doesn't at all understand what we mean by that, the importance we attach to it—but not at all. And then, money, to this consciousness, is buffoonery: this system of money, the invention of this system, which prevents you from doing anything unless you pull out a banknote, to it, really it's buffoonery. Strange, I suddenly realize that the psychic being (dominating gesture behind)... the psychic being is almost like a witness, it's a witness to the whole evolution of things, and it KNOWS (it understands the deeper reasons, it knows how things are). It's in the body that this Consciousness is so active, and so, every time the body goes on with the little habits from the time when there was a mind and a vital, really it feels it as buffoonery. And the attitude with regard to money is like... Death, food and money: this Consciousness feels those are the three "awesome" things in human life, that human life revolves around those three things—eating, (laughing) dying, and having money—and to it, the three are... they are passing inventions which derive from a wholly transitory state that doesn't correspond to anything very deep or very permanent. That's its attitude. And then, it teaches the body to be otherwise. [11]


In this material world, for men, money is more sacred than the Divine's Will.

The financiers and businessmen have been offered the possibility to collaborate with the future, but most of them refuse, convinced that the power of money is stronger than that of the future. But the future will crush them with its irresistible power.[12]


Perhaps it is a kind of ... it can hardly be called an intuition, but a kind of divination of this idea that made people speak of 'selling one's soul to the devil for money,' of money being an evil force, which produces this shrinking on the part of all those who want to lead a spiritual life—but as for that, they shrink from everything, not only from money! [13]

Why is Transformation Necessary?

This Yoga does not mean a rejection of the powers of Life, but an inner transformation and a change of the spirit in the life and the use of the powers. These powers are now used in an egoistic spirit and for undivine ends; they have to be used in a spirit of surrender to the Divine and for the purposes of the divine Work. That is what is meant by conquering them back for the Mother. If anyone feels himself too weak to resist the clutch of the egoistic money-force he need not make the endeavour. [14]

Money and the Vital World

The money-power belongs to a world which was created deformed. It is something that belongs to the vital belongs to the vital and material worlds. And so at all times, always it was under the control of the Asuric forces; and what must be done is precisely to reconquer it from the Asuric forces. [15]


The power of money is at present under the influence or in the hands of the forces and beings of the vital world. It is because of this influence that you never see money going in any considerable amount to the cause of Truth. Always it goes astray, because it is in the clutch of the hostile forces and is one of the principal means by which they keep their grip upon the earth. The hold of the hostile forces upon money-power is powerfully, completely and thoroughly organised and to extract anything out of this compact organisation is a most difficult task. Each time that you try to draw a little of this money away from its present custodians, you have to undertake a fierce battle. [16]


It is not that those rich men who are more or less toys and instruments in the hands of the vital forces are averse to spend; their avarice is awake only when the vital desires and impulses are not touched. For when it is to gratify some desire that they call their own, they spend readily; but when they are called to share their ease and the benefits of their wealth with others, then they find it hard to part with their money. The vital power controlling money is like a guardian who keeps his wealth in a big safe always tightly closed. Each time the people who are in its grasp are asked to part with their money, they put all sorts of careful questions before they will consent to open their purses even a very little way; but if a vital impulse arises in them with its demand, the guardian is happy to open wide the coffer and money flows out freely. Commonly, the vital desires he obeys are connected with the sex impulses, but very often too he yields to the desire for fame and consideration, the desire for food or any other desire that is on the same vital level; whatever does not belong to this category is closely questioned and scrutinised, grudgingly admitted and most often refused help in the end. In those who are slaves of vital beings, the desire for truth and light and spiritual achievement, even if it at all touches them, cannot balance the desire for money. [17]

Why Change One’s Approach to Money?

For Overcoming Greed

Greed for money: the surest way to decrease one's conscience and to narrow one's nature. [18]

...these three things: ambition, with the need to show off, to dominate; self-esteem or vanity (being hurt when you aren't appreciated at your true value: then you lose your temper, you quarrel, there's grating and friction); and, last, the thirst for money, "greed", the desire to possess, cupidity: you want to "make the most" of the occasion—"I want to profit, I want to profit...." With these three things, everything is muddled.[19]


It is a catastrophe to have money. It makes you stupid, it makes you miserly, it makes you wicked. It is one of the greatest calamities in the world. Money is something one ought not to have until one no longer has desires. When one no longer has any desires, any attachments, when one has a consciousness vast as the earth, then one may have as much money as there is on the earth; it would be very good for everyone. But if one is not like that, all the money one has is like a curse upon him. This I could tell anyone at all to his face, even to the man who thinks that it is a merit to have become rich. It is a calamity and perhaps it is a disgrace, that is, it is an expression of a divine displeasure. [20]


Take, for instance, the passion of a miser for his fortune. He dies. His vital being is dissolved, but his passion for his money remains alive. It gathers around itself a certain number of elements to form a living and conscious entity in the vital world. If this man has in his lifetime hidden a treasure somewhere, that entity goes and installs itself just above the place where the treasure is, as if to guard it and stop people from coming near it. But there are sensitive people who, when they know that a treasure is hidden somewhere, feel the presence and say, "The treasure is there." That is the first effect. The other effect is that the entity, not wanting the treasure to be touched, always brings about some catastrophe to guard its property. It makes those who approach it ill or it causes an accident, even an assassination; any means is good for it; or if the person is very sensitive, it gives him such a fright that he goes mad. [21]

For Overcoming Attachment

It is infinitely more difficult to be good, to be wise, to be intelligent and generous, to be more generous, you follow me, when one is rich than when one is poor. I have known many people in many countries, and the most generous people I have ever met in all the countries, were the poorest. And as soon as the pockets are full, one is caught by a kind of illness, which is a sordid attachment to money. I assure you it is a curse. [22]


You know, there are lots of people who put money in their walls (they hide it with curtains or papers). There's a fortune, several crores of rupees: millions hidden away in walls! And then they worry themselves sick, they constantly fear a police raid; while if they gave it away, they would become quite respectable people! They wouldn't be scared anymore, they would have a peaceful life.... I have the possibility of saying that they are anonymous gifts, as in temples; so that's a way for them to turn honest, it would be all to their advantage, but they are more attached to their money than to their life! I said several times (I know some people who have money hidden in their walls), I let it be known through intermediaries that they only had to put it in a suitcase and come and leave it at my door. And I'll say it's an anonymous gift, that's all. And they will be free—not only free, but ("smiling") with a blessing, because it's for the divine work.... No, they are prisoners, prisoners of their money. [23]

For Overcoming Unhappiness

Moreover, one is unhappy only when one is not generous—if one has a generous nature which gives of itself without reckoning, one is never unhappy. It is those who are doubled up on themselves and who always want to draw things towards themselves, who see things and the world only through themselves—it is these who are unhappy. But when one gives oneself generously, without reckoning, one is never unhappy, never. It is he who wants to take that is unhappy; he who gives himself is never so. [24]


For example, you imagine very easily that a man who is craving for wealth and tries to deceive people in order to get money... According to your idea of justice, this man ought to be deprived of all his wealth and reduced to poverty. We find that usually just the opposite happens. But that, of course, is only a matter of appearances. Behind the appearances, there is something else.... He exchanges this for other possibilities. He may have money, but he no longer has a conscience. And, in fact, what almost always happen is that when he has the money he desired, he is not happy.... And the more he has, usually the less happy he is! He is tormented, you see, by the wealth he has gained. [25]


Money does not bring happiness. The Sannyasi who possesses nothing and usually eats only one meal a day is perfectly happy if he is sincere. Whereas a rich man may be thoroughly unhappy if he has ruined his health by all sorts of excess and over-indulgence. [26]

For Divine Transformation

Win this victory over the power of money, and by so doing you will be freed from all your personal difficulties. [27]

~ the past, all those who wanted to do Yoga or follow a discipline, used to say that one should not touch money, for it was something—they said—diabolic or Asuric or at least altogether opposed to the divine life. But the whole universe, in all its manifestation, is the Divine Himself, and so belongs entirely to Him; and it is on this ground that he says that the money-forces belong to the Divine. One must reconquer them and give them to Him. They have been under the influence of the Asuric forces: one must win them back in order to put them at the disposal of the Divine so that He may be able to use them for His work of transformations. [28]


This force should be in the hands of those who know how to make the best possible use of it… people who have abolished in themselves or in some way or other got rid of every personal desire and every attachment. To this should be added a vision vast enough to understand the needs of the earth, a knowledge complete enough to know how to organise all these needs and use this force by these means. If, besides this, these beings have a higher spiritual knowledge, then they can utilise this force to construct gradually upon the earth what will be capable of manifesting the divine Power, Force and Grace. And then this power of money, wealth, this financial force, of which I just said that it was like a curse, would become a supreme blessing for the good of all. [29]


And yet one signal victory somewhere over the adverse forces that have the hold upon money would make victory possible simultaneously and automatically at all other points also. If in one place they yielded, all who now feel that they cannot give money to the cause of Truth would suddenly experience a great and intense desire to give… To win money from their hands for the Divine means to fight the devil out of them; you have first to conquer or convert the vital being whom they serve, and it is not an easy task. Men who are under the sway of vital creatures can change from a life of ease, cast away enjoyment and become intensely ascetic and yet remain just as wicked as ever and even by the change turn worse than before. [30]


In the supramental creation the money-force has to be restored to the Divine Power and used for a true and beautiful and harmonious equipment and ordering of a new divinised vital and physical existence in whatever way the Divine Mother herself decides in her creative vision. But first it must be conquered back for her and those will be strongest for the conquest who are in this part of their nature strong and large and free from ego and surrendered without any claim or withholding or hesitation, pure and powerful channels for the Supreme Puissance. [31]

How to Develop a Right Attitude towards Money? who is capable of attracting this and using it for something good, to increase the welfare of this world, the welfare and well-being of the world, that man has a hold on the money-power, that is to say, the force that is behind money. [32]


As for financial matters, that is, finding a means of exchange and production which is simple—"simple", well, which should be simple, simpler than the primitive system of exchange in which people had to give one thing to get another—something which could in principle be world-wide, universal; this is also altogether indispensable for the simplification of life. Now, with human nature, just the very opposite is happening! The situation is such that it has become almost—intolerable. It has become almost impossible to have the least relation with other countries, and that much-vaunted means of exchange which should have been a simplification has become such a complication that we shall soon reach a deadlock—we are very, very close to being unable to do anything, to being tied up in everything. If one wants the smallest thing from another country, one has to follow such complicated and laborious procedures that in the end one will stay in one's own little corner and be satisfied with the potatoes one can grow in one's garden, without hoping to know anything at all about what is going on and happening elsewhere. [33]


When you are rich and have a lot of money to spend, generally you spend it on things you find pleasant, and you become habituated to these things, attached to these things, and if one day the money is gone, you miss it, you are unhappy, you are miserable and feel all lost because you no longer have what you were in the habit of having. It is a bondage, a weak attachment. He who is quite detached, when he lives in the midst of these things, it is well with him; when these things are gone, it is well also; he is totally indifferent to both. That is the right attitude: when it is there he uses it, when it is not he does without it. And for his inner consciousness this makes no difference. [34]


The true attitude is this: money is a universal force meant to do the work on earth, the work needed to prepare the earth to receive the divine forces and manifest them, and it must come into the hands (the utilizing power, that is) of those who have the clearest vision, the most general and truest vision.[35]

Educating Children on Money

When a child wants to impress you by telling you stories of the wealth of his family, you must not keep quiet. You must explain to him that worldly wealth does not count here, only the wealth that has been offered to the Divine has some value; that you do not become big by living in big houses, travelling by first-class and spending money lavishly. You can increase in stature only by being truthful, sincere, obedient and grateful. [36]

By Identifying with the Divine

...according to certain theories, the very need of power has its end in this satisfaction, and if one mastered that, if one abolished that from human consciousness, much of the need for power and desire for money would disappear automatically.

Q. Does an individual mastery over desire suffice or is a general, collective mastery necessary?

A....Human nature remains what it is—one can attain a great change of consciousness, that yes, one can purify one's consciousness, but the total conquest, the material transformation depends definitely to a large extent, on a certain degree of progress in the collectivity. Buddha said with reason that as long as you have in you a vibration of desire, this vibration will spread in the world and all those who are ready to receive it will receive it. In the same way, if you have in you the least receptivity to a vibration of desire, you will be open to all the vibrations of desire which circulate constantly in the world. And that is why he concluded: Get out of this illusion, withdraw entirely and you will be free. I find this relatively very selfish, but after all, that was the only way he had foreseen. There is another: to identify oneself so well with the divine Power as to be able to act constantly and consciously upon all vibrations circulating through the world. Then the undesirable vibrations no longer have any effect upon you, but you have an effect upon them, that is, instead of an undesirable vibration entering into you without being perceived and doing its work there, it is perceived and immediately on its arrival you act upon it to transform it, and it goes back into the world transformed, to do its beneficent work and prepare others for the same realisation. This is exactly what Sri Aurobindo proposes to do and, more clearly, what he asks you to do, what he intends us to do: Instead of running away, to bring into oneself the power which can conquer. [37]

By Viewing Money Impersonally

The true method of being in the stream of this money-power is... a sense of absolute impersonality, the feeling that it is not something you possess or which belongs to you, but that it is a force you can handle and direct where it ought to go in order to do the most useful work. And by these movements, by this constant action, the power increases—the power of attraction, a certain power of organisation also. That is to say, even somebody who has no physical means, who is not in those material circumstances where he could materially handle money, if he is in possession of this force, he can make it act, make it circulate, and if ever he finds it necessary, receives from it as much power as he needs without there being externally any sign or any reason why the money should come to him. He may be in conditions which are absolutely the very opposite of those of usual wealth, and yet can handle this force and always have at his disposal all the wealth that's necessary to carry on his work. [38]

By Not Being Miserly

You may pile up money, but it doesn't belong to you until you spend it. Then you have the merit, the glory, the joy, the pleasure of spending it! [39]


Well, this force—when it is made to move, to circulate, its strength increases. It is not something one can accumulate and keep without using. It is a force which must always be circulated. For example, people who are misers and accumulate all the money, all the wealth they can attract towards themselves, put this force aside without using its power of movement; and either it escapes or it lies benumbed and loses its strength. [40]


… there are people who love to keep it in a pile somewhere... But that's a disease. To be sure of always having money, they heap it up. But if people understood that one must be like a receiver-transmitter set; that the vaster the set (just the contrary of personal), the more impersonal and generous and vast the set is, and the more forces it can contain ("forces," that is, to translate materially, banknotes or money). And that power to contain is in proportion to the best capacity of utilization—the "best," that is, from the standpoint of general progress: the broadest vision, the broadest understanding and the most enlightened, exact, true utilization, not according to the ego's falsified needs, but according to the earth's general need in its evolution and development. In other words, the broadest vision should have the broadest capacity. [41]


Will you tell me what pleasure a man can take in keeping heaps of papers in a box or in his wall! A real pleasure he can't have. The height of pleasure is that of the miser who goes and opens his box to look at it—that's not much! Some people love to spend, they love to possess and spend; that's different, they are generous natures, but unregulated, unorganized.... But the joy of enabling all TRUE needs, all NECESSITIES to express themselves, that's good. It's like the joy of turning an illness into good health, a falsehood into truth, a suffering into joy, it's the same thing: turning an artificial and stupid need, which doesn't correspond to anything natural, into a possibility which becomes something quite natural—a need for so much money to do this and that which needs to be done, to set right here, repair there, build here, organize there—that's good. And I understand one may enjoy being the transmitting channel for all that and bring money just where it's needed. It must be the true movement in people who enjoy... (that's when it becomes stupid selfishness) who need to hoard.[42]

By Not Taking Money Seriously

The day when I can really laugh—laugh, enjoy myself—SINCERELY (not through effort—you can do anything you want through effort), when it makes me laugh spontaneously, I think it will change. Because otherwise it's impossible.... You see, we have fun with all sorts of things, there's no reason we couldn't have fun with more money than we need and do things in style! It will surely happen one day, but we should—we shouldn't be overwhelmed by the amount, and for that we shouldn't take money seriously.

We shouldn't take money seriously.

It's very hard nowadays, because all over the world people take money seriously, and that makes it very hard. Especially those who have money. Those who have money, how seriously they take it, oh, Lord! That's why it's difficult. We should be able to laugh—laugh, laugh frankly and sincerely, then it would be over. [43]

How to Deal With Money?

...if all the money wasted on preparing means of destruction were used for the progress of human well-being, we could work wonders. And he (Burmese who has just received a "peace prize") adds (I can't quote him exactly): for that to be possible, men—nations and men—must stop distrusting and fearing each other, and live in the sense of unity. And he says, if, for that, HUMAN NATURE HAS TO CHANGE, it's high time it changed and we must all work for that to happen. [44]

In Acquiring Money

Intent of Acquisition

Sri Aurobindo...says that money in itself is an impersonal force: the way in which you acquire money concerns you alone personally. It may do you great harm, it may harm others also, but it does not in any way change the nature of the money which is an altogether impersonal force: money has no colour, no taste, no psychological consciousness. It is a force. It is like saying that the air breathed out by a scoundrel is more tainted than that breathed out by an honest man—I don't think so. I think the result is the same. One may for reasons of a practical nature refuse money which has been stolen, but that is for altogether practical reasons, it is not because of divine reasons. This is a purely human is impossible to make a rule. In every case it is different. But you must not think that the money is affected; money as a terrestrial force is not affected by the way in which it is obtained, that can in no way affect it. Money remains the same, your note remains the same, your piece of gold remains the same, and as it carries its force, its force remains there. It harms only the person who has done wrong, that is evident. [45]


One must first know what the divine will is. But there is a surer way—to surrender money for the divine work, if one is not sure oneself. "Divinely" means at the service of the Divine—it means not to use money for one's own satisfaction but to place it at the Divine's service. [46]


My whole effort is to live from minute to minute. I mean, to do every minute exactly what should be done, without making plans, without thinking, without... because it all becomes mental; as soon as you start thinking something out, that's no longer it. But quite instinctively and spontaneously, I do what needs to be done: this, that, this.... When something needs a response, it comes. As for money, it's the same thing; the only thing I am led to do is to say, "So-and-so has asked for so much, such-and-such Service needs so much," like that (not a long time in advance, but when it becomes imperative). And that's all. It's like that. So I don't know what will happen tomorrow; I don't at all seek to know what's going to happen. [47]

Praying for Money

All depends on whether the outer things are sought for one's own convenience, pleasure, profit etc., or as part of the spiritual life, necessary for the success of the work, the development and fitness of the instruments etc. It is a question mainly of inner attitude. If for instance you pray for money for buying nice food to please the palate, that is not a proper prayer for a sadhak; if you pray for money to give to the Mother and help her work, then it is legitimate. [48]

Accepting Gifts

A gift made through vanity is profitable neither to the giver nor to the receiver.

I wanted to make him understand and experience that the thought, the feeling and the force that is in a gift is much more important and valuable than the thing given itself. [49]


"A practical problem comes up more and more often: should one who is preparing to do Yoga and has made it a general rule to offer You everything and depend entirely on You, accept gifts, in money or kind, coming from others? Because if he accepts, he is put under personal obligations and duties. Can a sadhak allow this? Can he say to himself: "The Divine has many ways of giving"?

What is to be done if a person begins to quarrel because one has accepted a gift in one case and refused in another? What is to be done to avoid such bitterness around one, provoked by repeated refusals?"

"The Divine has many ways of giving."

This is the correct thing. One never has any obligation to anybody, one has an obligation only to "the Divine" and there totally. When a gift is made "without conditions", one can always take it as coming from the Divine and leave it to the Divine to take care of what is needed in exchange or response.

As for ill-will, jealousy, quarrels and reproaches, one must "sincerely" be above all that and reply with a benevolent smile to the bitterest words; and unless one is absolutely sure of himself and his reactions, it would be better, as a general rule, to keep silent. [50]

In Directing the Flow of Money?

I am sure that if someone is advanced enough on the path to receive the knowledge that money is an impersonal power and should be used for the progress of the earth, this person will be developed enough inwardly to receive the knowledge of how best to make use of the money. [51]

Purpose of Money

Money is not meant to make money; money is meant to make the earth ready for the New Creation. [52]


Money is not meant to generate money; money should generate an increase in production, an improvement in the conditions of life and a progress in human consciousness. This is its true use. What I call an improvement in consciousness, a progress in consciousness, is everything that education in all its forms can provide—not as it's generally understood, but as we understand it here: education in art, education in ... from the education of the body, from the most material progress, to the spiritual education and progress through yoga; the whole spectrum, everything that leads humanity towards its future realization. Money should serve to augment that and to augment the material base for the earth's progress, the best use of what the earth can give—its intelligent utilization, not the utilization that wastes and loses energies. The use that allows energies to be replenished.

In the universe there is an inexhaustible source of energy that asks only to be replenished; if you know how to go about it, it is replenished. Instead of draining life and the energies of our earth and making of it something parched and inert, we must know the practical exercise for replenishing the energy constantly. And these are not just words; I know how it's to be done, and science is in the process of thoroughly finding out—it has found out most admirably. But instead of using it to satisfy human passions, instead of using what science has found so that men may destroy each other more effectively than they are presently doing, it must be used to enrich the earth: to enrich the earth, to make the earth richer and richer, more active, generous, productive and to make all life grow towards its maximum efficiency. This is the true use of money. And if it's not used like that, it's a vice—a 'short circuit' and a vice. [53]

Personal Use of Money

In your personal use of money look on all you have or get or bring as the Mother's. Make no demand but accept what you receive from her and use it for the purposes for which it is given to you. Be entirely selfless, entirely scrupulous, exact, careful in detail, a good trustee; always consider that it is her possessions and not your own that you are handling. On the other hand, what you receive for her, lay religiously before her; turn nothing to your own or anybody else's purpose. [54]


The earning of money and family affairs have only to be looked after if the circumstances are such as to compel it. They should then be done in a spirit of entire detachment, dealing with them so as to develop in oneself the consciousness described in the Gita. [55]

Giving to the Divine

It is to the Divine that all riches belong. It is the Divine who lends them to living beings, and it is to Him that they must naturally return[56]


The rich man, or even people who are quite well-off and have all sorts of things in life and give to the Divine what they have in surplus—for usually this is the gesture: one has a little more money than one needs, one has a few more things than one needs, and so, generously, one gives that to the Divine. It is better than giving nothing. But even if this "little more" than what they need represents lakhs of rupees, the gift is less perfect than the one of half the mango. For it is not by the quantity or the quality that it is measured: it is by the sincerity of the giving and the absoluteness of the giving. [57]


So the first thing to do when one has money is to give it. But as it is said that it should not be given without discernment, don't go and give it like those who practise philanthropy, because that fills them with a sense of their own goodness, their generosity and their own importance. You must act in a sattwic way, that is, make the best possible use of it. And so, each one must find in his highest consciousness what the best possible use of the money he has can be. And truly money has no value unless it circulates. For each and every one, money is valuable only when one has spent it. [58]


True wealth is that which one offers to the Divine.

You are rich only by the money that you give to the Divine Cause. [59]


Prosperity stays consistently only with him who offers it to the Divine.

Unselfish prosperity: he who receives it abundantly, gives all that he has as he receives it.

Generosity gives and gives itself without bargaining.

Let money come and go in abundance for good works. [60]


If you give the money to the Mother, that can't be commercial; commerce implies personal profit, and here your profit is only spiritual.[61]

Spiritual Life and Money

You must neither turn with an ascetic shrinking from the money power, the means it gives and the objects it brings, nor cherish a rajasic attachment to them or a spirit of enslaving self-indulgence in their gratifications. Regard wealth simply as a power to be won back for the Mother and placed at her service.[62]


If you are free from the money-taint but without any ascetic withdrawal, you will have a greater power to command the money-force for the divine work. Equality of mind, absence of demand and the full dedication of all you possess and receive and all your power of acquisition to the Divine Shakti and her work are the signs of this freedom. Any perturbation of mind with regard to money and its use, any claim, any grudging is a sure index of some imperfection or bondage. [63]


It is in his view quite possible for a man to do business and make money and earn profits and yet be a spiritual man, practise Yoga, have an inner life. The Gita is constantly justifying works as a means of spiritual salvation and enjoining a Yoga of works as well as of Bhakti and Knowledge. Krishna, however, superimposes a higher law also that work must be done without desire, without attachment to any fruit or reward, without any egoistic attitude or motive, as an offering or sacrifice to the Divine. This is the traditional Indian attitude towards these things, that all work can be done if it is done according to the dharma and, if it is rightly done, it does not prevent the approach to the Divine or the access to spiritual knowledge and the spiritual life. [64]


I would myself say that no man can be spiritually complete if he cannot live ascetically or follow a life as bare as the barest anchorite's. Obviously, greed for wealth and money-making has to be absent from his nature as much as greed for food or any other greed and all attachment to these things must be renounced from his consciousness. But I do not regard the ascetic way of living as indispensable to spiritual perfection or as identical with it. There is the way of spiritual self-mastery and the way of spiritual self-giving and surrender to the Divine, abandoning ego and desire even in the midst of action or of any kind of work or all kinds of work demanded from us by the Divine. [65]


Three things are interdependent (Sri Aurobindo says here): power, money and sex. I believe the three are interdependent and that all three have to be conquered to be sure of having any one—when you want to conquer one you must have the other two. Unless one has mastered these three things, desire for power, desire for money and desire for sex, one cannot truly possess any of them firmly and surely. What gives so great an importance to money in the world as it is today is not so much money itself, for apart from a few fools who heap up money and are happy because they can heap it up and count it, generally money is desired and acquired for the satisfactions it brings. And this is almost reciprocal: each of these three things not only has its own value in the world of desires, but leans upon the other two. I have related to you that vision, that big black serpent which kept watch over the riches of the world, terrestrial wealth—he demanded the mastery of the sex-impulse...Evidently, these are the three great obstacles in the terrestrial human life and, unless they are conquered, there is scarcely a chance for humanity to change. [66]

More on Money

A very long time ago (Sri Aurobindo was still here), an old Tamil financier came here with his wife. He lived to be very old; his wife died and he stayed on. And he gave money: he paid for his expenses, made little gifts now and then, but he was very rich. And when his wife died, he thought, "Ah, what if I gave all that I have?" Then he had second thoughts: "One never knows, the Ashram might come to an end...." And he left all his money with relatives of his who were bankers or whatever, and... pfft! all gone. So he himself said, "There's my folly! I don't have it, anyway I don't have that money; if I had given it I would have had the credit of giving it; now I have neither the money nor the credit!" ("Mother laughs") [67]


" Does the economic condition of a man become stable with the betterment of his consciousness?"

If "betterment of consciousness" means an increased, enlarged consciousness, a better organisation of it, then as a result there should naturally be a greater control of outward things (including the "economic condition"). But also, naturally when one has a "better consciousness" one is less preoccupied with such things as one's economic condition. [68]


Then one day I entered into trance with this idea in mind, and after a certain journey I came to a place like a subterranean grotto (which means that it is in the subconscient, or perhaps even in the inconscient) which was the source, the place and the power over money. I was about to enter into this grotto (a kind of inner cave) when I saw, coiled and upright, an immense serpent, like an all black python, formidable, as big as a seven-story house, who said, 'You cannot pass!'—'Why not? Let me pass!'—'Myself, I would let you pass, but if I did, "they" would immediately destroy me.'—'Who, then, is this "they"?'—'They are the asuricpowers who rule over money. They have put me here to guard the entrance, precisely so that you may not enter.'—'And what is it that would give one the power to enter?' Then he told me something like this: 'I heard (that is, he himself had no special knowledge, but it was something he had heard from his masters, those who ruled over him), I heard that he who will have a total power over the human sexual impulses (not merely in himself, but a universal power—that is, a power enabling him to control this everywhere, among all men) will have the right to enter.' In other words, these forces would not be able to prevent him from entering.

A personal realization is very easy, it is nothing at all; a personal realization is one thing, but the power to control it among all men—that is, to control or master such movements at will, everywhere—is quite another. I don't believe that this ... condition has been fulfilled. If what the serpent said is true and if this is really what will vanquish these hostile forces that rule over money, well then, it has not been fulfilled. [69]