“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.