Book Review: What Is True Wealth?
How to Attract What You Need When You Need It
by Swami Kriyananda
The yogi who feels hopelessly out of tune with money will learn much from Swami Kriyananda’s early resistance to having to think about making money, and what he gained when, out of necessity, he transcended that resistance. During the beginning years of the Ananda community, when money was clearly needed on many fronts, Kriyananda experienced the need to raise it as a “great burden on my mind.” He resisted what he perceived as becoming enmeshed in materialism.
Interestingly, many of us who came to Ananda in the formative years shared Kriyananda’s attitude toward money. I arrived in 1974 with thirty dollars—and no thought except to serve the community. My income was about four hundred dollars a year. (I had cashed in my worldly goods and my father had kindly used the proceeds to purchase public utility stocks for me.) My life was one of hard work, very simple living, gardening, and rebuilding after the fire of 1976. We lived in teepees, old trailers, and homemade shacks. It was a great day when we had spigot for water and no longer needed to carry gallon jugs over the hill from “downtown” Ananda.
Kriyananda showed the way
It was in this atmosphere of extreme “simple living” that Kriyananda undertook the considerable task of leading us to understand the world in which our service was to lie—material, money-based twentieth century America.
As always in his guidance of us, Kriyananda himself undertook the spiritual discipline required before asking it of others. He overcame his own resistance and learned how to deal with money. But by so doing, his real gain, he tells us, was in developing tremendous strength of will.
From that experience, and many others, came the central principle of Money Magnetism: How to Attract What You Need When You Need It. Money is a form of energy. In learning to attract money, to use it rightly, we learn to attract energy, and to use energy rightly. In the process, we develop will power and concentration—essential attributes not only for success in the world but also on the spiritual path.
A wonderful sadhana
Money Magnetism is of course intended for a much wider readership than only those who resist the very idea of prosperity. I have spent the last several months going through the book slowly and meditatively—taking notes not only on the principles themselves but also on the episodes in my own life that illustrate, or become clear, in light of the principles.
It has been a wonderful sadhana. A special blessing comes with such an undertaking—for we have not truly understood a teaching until we have practiced, and ultimately become that teaching. Such a practical book as Money Magnetism, Kriyananda writes, exemplifies Yogananda’s insistence that “the search for God includes uplifting one’s consciousness in whatever one is doing. As he once said to me, “You must be practical in your idealism.’” An interesting sidelight: I have noticed that my best meditations often come in the transition from active work to rest, as though the energy of work were preparing the way for a deeper, more interiorized spiritual practice.
A daily guide
In a more immediate sense, Money Magnetism can be used as a daily guide—particularly the summarizing paragraphs at the end of each chapter—each one suitable as a focus for meditation, and as a principle to be practiced in the midst of workaday activity.
In the first chapter, “What Is True Wealth?” Kriyananda lays down the foundation principle: money is energy. It is in fact an expression of our energy. If we allow this energy to flow freely, like water from a mountain spring, it will remain fresh, life-giving. If we bottle it up, it will grow stale and lifeless. That is, money can be used constructively to do wonderful things; or it can be hoarded. Hoarding, however, blocks the energy flow and warps the consciousness of the hoarder.
Energy must flow
I thought of my mother’s recent passing. She was as kind and generous a soul as I have known. She loved Ananda, and the people who lived in and visited the community quickly became her friends and extended family. And yet, after her passing, when a packet of materials relating to her estate arrived, from the pages there rose a peculiar odor— musty, moldy, decaying, and depressing. I had to keep the packet outside. When I attempted to read and understand the contents, I would feel my mind being pulled down into depression. What was this?
The moldiness could not be a reflection of my mother’s bright spirit. My sense was that the smell of these “wealth management” bank materials and their depressing effect were simply an expression of trapped energy, and the concomitant stagnation of consciousness. The answer lay clearly in the first principle of Kriyananda’s book—energy must flow. My mother had understood the teaching perfectly. What came to her she shared, as her heart guided her.
I followed her example. Once I’d plowed through the bank documents enough to have a sense of the income, I simply added the increase to certain Ananda fundraising efforts, and to equipment for the work I do caring for the land in the community. Immediately my spirits lifted. What has happened? The “wealth management” people send statements, and checks. By redirecting those checks to ends that inspire me—the nauseating smell has disappeared.
A doorway to opportunity
Kriyananda writes in Money Magnetism: “The purpose of this book is to help you to attract money in such a way as not to make it a burden on your peace of mind, but a doorway, rather, to genuine opportunity. It is to help you to learn how to use money wisely, in such a way as to acquire the greatest possible benefits for yourself and for others.”
I have imagined myself stranded with only this one book for spiritual nourishment. There is of course much that cannot be addressed in such a book, and Kriyananda himself urges the reader to continue his study particularly with his course, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga. And yet I find all the basics present in this single book—energy, magnetism, will power, concentration, levels of consciousness, affirmation.
Someone who reads Money Magnetism to find practical help in financial matters ends up finding help that extends all the way to the search for God and inner joy. This book, like so much that Kriyananda has written, is a doorway to the ancient teachings of Sanaatan Dharma, the eternal religion at the heart of all true paths to God.
Money Magnetism – How to Attract What You Need When You Need It by Swami Kriyananda is available from Crystal Clarity Publishers. To order click here
Nayaswami Prakash is a long-time member of Ananda. He currently serves at Ananda Village doing forestry and landscaping work.
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