Money versus Relationships

Almost every Indian student must have read and learnt this popular hymn by rote in the childhood.

This hymn is the last part of Saranagati Gadyam, a hymn written by Ramanuja, the great 13th century teacher of Vishnu Bhakti and Vedanta from Tamil Nadu.

The hymn is as under:
त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव,
त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव
त्वमेव विद्या च द्रविणं त्वमेव,
त्वमेव सर्वम् मम देव देव..

(twameva mata cha pita twameva,
tvameva bandhushcha sakha tvameva
tvameva vidya dravinam tvameva,
tvameva sarvam mama deva deva..)

अर्थात, हे ईश्वर! आप ही मेरे माता और पिता हैं, आप ही मेरे भाई और साथी हैं, आप ही मेरे ज्ञान और धन हैं, प्रभु, आप ही सर्वस्व हैं।

The simple meaning of this hymn is: Oh Lord, You alone are my mother and father, You are my brother and companion, You are knowledge and wealth, O my Lord, You are everything to me.

This simple looking hymn has the deeper meaning in its ‘order of priority‘- mother, father, brother, companion, knowledge and money.

Mother first, because if she is there, nothing is needed.

Then comes father, who fulfills daily needs.

If both mother and father are not there, then brother is there to help.

Those who have neither of the three, then help from a companion is indeed.

But if destiny leaves one alone in the struggle for life, knowledge extends a helping hand. Then knowledge becomes God.

And lastly wealth or money that helps when no one is near.

The best thing is to have all of the above, as mentioned in the last line. Therefore, Lord is everything.

But all are not so fortunate in this world. UNICEF estimates that 153 million children worldwide are orphans  for reasons like war, crime, poverty, accidents, natural disasters etc. Incidentally, this week is being observed as World Orphan Week.

Even if we have relatives, they are at times not near to help us out the moment we need. Then comes the order of priority, as seen in this prayer.

But in the real life situations, the last priority assumes the top position leaving behind everything else including mother, father, brother, friend and knowledge.

Why does it happen?
There is no doubt that the money is precious, but more precious are our own people.

This prayer gives the life formula, the meaning of relationships that are based on love, trust, patience and commitment.

Today the fight in the world is not for the bread, but for the silver or golden plate. The disputes are for wants, not for needs, and wants have no limits. Whenever temptations for more wants start reversing this order of priority, this prayer needs to be remembered.

–Kaushal Kishore


    1. Hinduism is a way of life, David, it’s inclusive rather than exclusive. This hymn is an example. It’s applicable to all religions. Hinduism is eclectic rather than intolerant. In English, we call our God either God or Lord. What’s there in the name? I don’t think Lord is applicable to a specific sect or religion only.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you, Kaushal, for this profound lesson on the meaning of life. You are right about the inclusiveness of your country as it was proven by the Maharaja when he saved the lives of 5000
    orphans from a country on the other side of the world, and in India there is a mixture
    of faiths, rituals and belives, yet, people on the whole live in democratic harmony.
    You know, Kaushal, where this hymn is going, don’t you? Straight into my book of the wonderful quotes! Thank you!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joanna for such a wonderful comment. I’m glad that you have included in your book of quotes. I agree with you on the point of inclusiveness. Gandhiji in his prayers, used to say, Ishwar Allah tero naam, sabko sanmati de bhagwan. (Both God and Allah are your name. Let better sense prevail in everyone, my God).
      Like others, I also go to churches, gurudwara and Jain and Bauddh temples. During my last visit to Kochi, I also visited a synagogue. We try to gather something good from every religion. That’s why we live in peace and harmony despite diversities. Thank you also for mentioning Maharaja Jam Saheb.


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