Lessons from Mahabharata: Why wealth acquired through fraud never provides peace

(This is the 5th episode in our Lessons from Mahabharata series. To read the previous episodes, click HERE.)

By: Keyur Seta

It is mandatory for everyone to earn money in order to survive. It is also necessary to keep earning as much as possible to ensure a good future for our family. But problem crops up when greed appears in front of us in the guise of need. Once a person reaches this stage, s/he will be obsessed with devising newer ways to earn money, even if it means treading on the path of fraud.

His or her obsession to please the senses through every means of luxury will destroy his ability to differentiate between legal and illegal or ethical or unethical. In fact, now money will no longer satisfy that person. S/he will need is wealth. Money is required to satisfy needs. But we need wealth to satisfy our unending wants or desires.

But how much value does wealth acquired through fraud or corrupt means hold? Rather, does it hold any value? Answers to these questions are found in the great epic, Mahabharata.

Picture from B R Chopra’s Mahabharata

Duryodhana snatched away the throne of Hastinapur from the Pandavas through evil tactics. He and Shakuni invited Yudishthir to a game of dice and tricked him in losing the throne and the entire wealth and power of the Panadvas. Not just that, he also made sure they are exiled to the forests for 14 years as punishment.

What this meant was that Duryodhana had 14 years of uninterrupted materialistic enjoyments of all kinds. He had all the luxuries of the world at his disposal. But was he able to attain satisfaction through such uncountable wealth and immense power? No, he wasn’t.

Although he appeared happy, deep inside he knew he had committed grave treachery. His subconscious mind was aware that he will have to pay for his crime; karma will hunt him one day. He was the emperor only for 14 years. What after that? These thoughts never let him live in peace despite being the sole owner of such enormous wealth.

In fact, the so-called victory over Pandavas came with a baggage of some high levels of anxiety. This coupled with his sky high ego hampered his thinking ability. Hence, he refused to part with even five small villages to the Pandavas even when Lord Krishna himself appealed to him by personally visiting him.

In short, wealth acquired through corrupt means destroyed his life and how!

Mahabharata is timeless. Whatever is taught or portrayed in it will be relevant as long as there is life on earth. Therefore, the above lesson is also seen in today’s times. Most of us might think that those who have heaped crores and crores through corrupt means or scams are having the time of their lives. But that is far from the truth.

Having seen and even known people who have amassed wealth in fraudulent ways, I can assure you that their lives are far from what you are imagining. There is constant fear and anxiety of being caught. More so because the honor and the future of your family is constantly at stake.

What is the point of being an owner of such luxuries if you need a sleeping pill to put you off to sleep?