From Riches to Rags …

“Money can’t buy happiness.”

Yeah, yeah, we all know that famous saying. In theory, it sounds right, but putting those words of wisdom into action isn’t so easy. Lets’ face it, most of us have no greater attachment than we do to money, and no greater fear than not having enough of it.

Every once in awhile though, I hear a story of someone who, for whatever reason, has been able to touch the profound depths of this kind of wisdom, and actually find the strength to act upon it.

In this case, it was a businessman from Austria named Karl Rabeder. His lifetime spent in pursuit of wealth and his realization after achieving it of the futility of his efforts, drove him to do what most of us could hardly conceive of. He walked away from it all!

Karl grew up in poor family and was determined to become financially successful. He eventually succeeded in amassing a 4.7 million dollar fortune. But, ironically, after lifetime of hard work he realized that he was unhappy … so he giving it all away.

“My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing … Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness.”

He’ll move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains, and assign his entire wealth to charities he set up in Central and Latin America.

“For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness,” he said. “I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years.”

But over time, Karl had another, conflicting feeling.

“More and more I heard the words: ‘Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life’,” he’s quoted as saying. “I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need. I have the feeling that there are lot of other people doing the same thing.”
Some food for thought the next time you’re pondering whether or not to get another pair of black shoes …

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Yogacharya is Director of International Yogalayam and Editor of “The Yoga News

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