By Nandini Sarkar December 2011 Can we shift from being obsessed with money to a state of abundance-consciousness where we attract peace, prosperity, health, happiness and all good things, simply and effortlessly? asks Nandini Sarkar As I sit enjoying the cool breeze from the lake, the mystic hour of dusk and a refreshing cup of Darjeeling tea, I have a soothing feeling of abundance. If you play a word-imagery game and toss up the word “abundance”, most people would spontaneously say: Money! However, I have always thought of abundance as all-round prosperity brought about by a state of mind. Notice how some people enjoy good health, sufficient money, supportive family bonds, amicable relationships, satisfying business or work prospects, and a decent home they can call their own? Such lives amply manifest abundance-consciousness. Compare the lives of GS and NK: GS is a rich trader with a net worth of nearly Rs 100 crore. However, he suffers from duodenal ulcer and can only eat curd-rice; he has had a series of failed relationships and at one point even contemplated suicide. By his own admission, he has the money and the influence but not the health or the happiness. NK is a mid-level manager in a PSU. He owns a 1,500 sq ft flat in Noida, drives a Santro, is popular at work, looks forward to his daily evening tea with his wife, and is blessed with robust health. A happier man possibly does not exist and NK fits my definition of abundance-consciousness. The big question is, how can we cultivate an “abundance-consciousness”, that attracts, “what we need, when we need it”, to paraphrase Swami Kriyananda. The scriptures of the world tell us that we are Princes in the Kingdom of God and abundance is ours for the asking, if we are aligned with the laws of God and if we include others in our well-being. An abundance-consciousness does not hanker after wealth or restlessly pursue it at the cost of all other priorities. Consider this Biblical story: God appeared to the 21-year-old Solomon, who had just ascended the throne, in a dream and granted him a boon. Solomon sought wisdom and right understanding so that he could be a just king. Solomon’s request greatly pleased God, who not only granted him wisdom but also the fame and riches that Solomon had not asked for: According to the erudite Swami Satyananda of Devi Mandir, there are two reasons for suffering from a lack of abundance. Sai Baba called it Shraddha and Saburi: Faith and Patience. ‘Because you have not requested riches and honour but only that which would benefit all the people, I will give you not only an understanding heart like none other before or after you … but also riches and honour like no other king in your days.’ Solomon ruled as king for 40 years of peace and prosperity – the golden age of Israel’s history. Indeed, Solomon’s story is a telling reminder why many of us fail to attract abundance – we rarely align to a cause larger than us. If our focus is on serving the world through our work, we often attract wealth and fame as well. I am still charting my own abundance journey, but when I look back, here are the milestones. A personal journey My mother was a profound, benign influence in my childhood. With her vivid stories, she instilled a love for God in us children. God became like a cherished family friend who would always stand by us, rather than a distant object of worship. Mother also talked to us about karma, never missing any opportunity to point out whether we were getting the fruits of our good or bad karma. Another influence was a strong success suggestion planted in my mind when I was in my teens. A one-liner in my astro-chart was read to me in chaste Bengali: this native will be fortunate by the grace of God and Guru. I am grateful to the pundit, because I believed him and dreamt constantly of being in business. In our growing years, my father, an honest civil servant, had limited money, and we had no luxuries at all. But I would look at myself in the mirror and think that a successful entrepreneur was looking back at me. I read avidly about the spiritual Masters and mentally broadcast my loving thoughts to them, fervently seeking their help to manifest my dreams. However, when it came to the crunch, it was not easy. I had taken five years off after my marriage, to raise our two children, quitting a lucrative banking job, much to my father’s agony. After marriage, I got involved in a construction business, set up primarily to aid my brother-in-law, who had been forced to leave his job. The first building project was successfully negotiated by my husband, a banker, and both of us invested to get this venture going. However, after the project was completed, my brother-in-law was not interested in working jointly. Believing his need to be greater than mine, I quit. Frankly, I had no idea at that juncture, what business to launch next, except that I wanted to be in the service industry. There were many fearful, agonising moments but I did not want to give up, so I tried my luck with IT recruitments. The second effort did not succeed and I lost a little capital, but I was ready for another attempt. Sri Yukteshwar Giri said: look fear in the face and the unwelcome visitor will soon flee! The third time around, we chose management consulting and launched a new private limited company, C-Quel, in March 2001. The vision was to create a reputed, professional services company, useful to many, so we resisted suggestions from family to start small or to set up a partnership firm. I still remember knocking on many doors for work, swallowing my pride. Fortunately, C-Quel bagged a major Pan-India contract within the first month of her existence, greatly lifting our morale. Today, we work in all the major Tier I and multiple Tier II cities in India and have celebrated 10 years of C-Quel’s existence this year. Faith and service In our 10-year journey, there have been fires, betrayals, delays in bagging coveted contracts and other challenges, but I would not have lived differently. I learnt about the technical and financial sides of running a business, team building and relationship building. I was very bad at handling money, preferring to leave it to my mother or husband, but for C-Quel, I was forced to get on the learning curve. I made stupid mistakes, was sometimes cheated but I never wanted to stop learning. My experiences have convinced me that faith and a sense of service attract the right advisors, the right team, the right situations and the right amount of abundance in our lives. This aspect of abundance is also highlighted by Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Devi Mandir. An American by birth, he is often referred to as, “The Sahib Sadhu”. Swamiji’s life demonstrates all-round abundance: a brilliant student, he earned coveted US college degrees, had a very successful corporate career and became the foremost disciple of Shree Maa. Today, thousands of American homes have learnt the efficacy of puja and mantra as a route to well-being, thanks to Swamiji’s personal example. When asked about his secret, Swamiji said: “When I go into a deal or almost any transaction, my concern is what value I can add to others’ positions. I have full faith that God is going to reward me with the fruit of my karma. We arrived in the USA without a penny, and today we are invested in the global economy.” When one possesses an abundance-consciousness, adverse circumstances challenge rather than impede. Take the case of Dhirubhai Ambani, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Prannoy Roy. They set up their businesses in garages and skyrocketed to wealth and fame. Knock and the door shall be opened, says the Bible. Against the odds I had always thought of M’s wife as a timid, nondescript mouse. M, a successful solicitor, had a tragic death from cancer at 42. To my open-mouthed astonishment, this mouse showed up one day at my office, glowing in a pink sari and diamond studs. She had decided not to mope and was meeting his clients along with a trusted lieutenant, telling them that the firm was still operational and that she was in charge. She had also enrolled for a law degree and had converted a large part of their property into a guest Sri Yukteshwar Giri said: look fear in the face and the unwelcome visitor will soon flee! house, to keep the domestic fires burning. I wanted to get up and hug her for being so courageous. She was like a person reborn, bravely tackling the situation instead of complaining about misfortune. She said the Divine Mother had given her an advance premonition of her husband’s death and that she trusted Mother to take care of her family. Another person whose abundance-consciousness enabled him to prevail over staggering odds is JTA Singh, a pious Tamil Christian with a Sikh name. JTA suffered abject humiliation while at Madras University because he could not speak English. Instead of falling into depression or blaming his underprivileged origins, he made the effort, burned the midnight oil, learnt English and graduated with distinction in Economics. Accepting a job with a stock-broking firm at Kolkata, he soon won the trust of the owners with his honesty and business acumen. After a few years, he had earned sufficient capital to set up his own broking firm. Miraculously, he was able to buy a large office in the posh Park Street area of Kolkata at a ridiculously low price. JTA offers free financial advisory services to schools and colleges in the Diocese of Kolkata and organises faith camps. The last camp was attended by nearly a lakh delegates. When V’s professor husband started a live-in relationship openly with a student in their home, she didn’t take it lying down. Seeking my fat
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