Sikh Teaching on Wealth and Poverty
Thedefinition of wealth is a large amount of money and valuable material
possessions or the state of being rich. The definition of poverty is
the condition of being without adequate food or money.
Sikhs believe in Kirat Karna. This is to earn a living by honest
means. Kirat Karna places on Sikhs obligation to earn a living by
honest means. Sikhs believe that work is an essential, both for the
good of the individual's family and for society in general. Working
provides for the fundamental requirements such as food, clothing and
housing. The form of work is it manual, professional, agricultural or
social is not of prime importance; but it should not involve deceit,
or any other form of underhanded dealing, or exploit other people in
any way possible. Immoral or illegal work is strictly frowned upon.
Making a living, for example, by producing harmful drugs or promoting
pornography or prostitution is not regarded as earning a living by
honest means. Sikhs believe that wealth in itself is not wrong,
providing it is gained honestly. But to become obsessed by wealth is.
The wealth created by hard work should be used for the benefits of
your family, the Khalsa (Sikh Brotherhood) and humanity in general.
For every person on this Earth, work is a moral duty and commitment.
We are seldom aware that our comfortable living depends upon the work
of several thousands of people.
We should not forget that work is our life-long companion, as well as
our greatest teacher. Honest work for a good cause is the real
'antidote to grief'. One who is involved in the selfless service of
the others does not suffer from grief to that degree as a person would
suffer who is not busy is any such selfless noble job.
Sikhism teaches that a Sikh should have an occupation. He must work to
earn his livelihood and should not be a burden on the society. Besides
earning his bread he should make himself busy in a beneficial way to
the community. By doing so the disciple then realises that the real
good lies in doing service to others.
"By shredding the ego, man emerges in God."
(Guru Nanak Dev Ji)
Wand Chhakna (sharing or generosity) is also a complimentary virtue.
Wand Chhakna means the sharing of the fruits of Kirat with others. It
is sharing of bread, of joy, of love and attainment of
God-realisation. In fact, it is a means of becoming a part of the