USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Vedic proverbs’
Folk speech

Wealth And Character


“If Wealth is lost, something is lost. If Character is lost, everything is lost.”


The interviewee was very open about her experience with this proverb – “My father used to tell me this all the time. He told me that an individual’s greatest asset is their character. And that if they lose everything else in life – their dignity, their money, their house, their family – as long as their morals, integrity, and humility are intact, nothing will shake them. He stressed the importance of being a good person over being a rich and materially successful person. And so I’ve tried to live by this philosophy.”


This is a Vedic proverb, which conveys a very Hindu ideal. The main purpose of the Hindu faith and its various scriptures, including the Vedas and the Bhagvadgita, is to teach people how to live a simple, honest, and fulfilling life. It accomplishes this through preaching moral values and highlighting the importance of a strong character (Dharma) over wealth (Dhana). In fact, one of the best ways to attain moksha, the ultimate state of being, where a person can be as close to the gods as possible, is by giving up all worldly attachments, including money, fame, and love, and focusing solely on living a simple, Spartan life that tests one’s willpower and devotion. Therefore, it would make sense for strength of character to take precedence over wealth in a society where such values form the backbone.