Whose is wealth?

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् । 
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ॥

īśāvāsyamidaṃ sarvaṃ yatkiñca jagatyāṃ jagat | 
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasyasviddhanam ||

Isha Upanishad

The essence of this opening verse from the Isha Upanishad is – Whatever exists in this world, originates from one source. And so, do not covet, for whose is wealth?

The Vedanta speak of this issue of perception, that is the root of all our problems. We think of ourselves to be different from the rest, and this gives rise to the concept of “mine and yours”. While we ordinary human beings may be far away from truly considering everyone and everything as the part of one commonality, the fact of the matter is that we are all part of one common source. And I am not speaking philosophically, but biologically.

As far as our genes are concerned, we are virtually identical to one another – 99.99%. Only 0.01% of our genes are different.We are a swarm (around 50 trillion in size) of cells that come together to form each of us. Every day, millions of cells die and millions are born – all this happening within us. When we die, our cell components become part of the panchabhutas – fire, air, water, space and earth. Some of these cell components come together in various combinations and this is how the cycle of life continues.

When I am changing (at a cellular level) literally every minute, who am I? And who are you?

Your body is not the same as it was a minute ago, and your mind is also not the same – we keep adding new experiences that form new memories and affect our thinking.

So this “I” and “U” concept, while helping us lead a practical and social life, ends up causing negativity as well, in the form of competition, clashing of ideas, greed and envy…realising this simple fact of life – that we are all part of the same consciousness, made from the same stuff, and ever-changing – may help alleviate this negativity to a large extent.

What is mine and what is yours, is only rented for some time…you may rent it longer than me, but once you are gone, the ownership changes automatically.

And so, whose is it? And if we are all one, then what is the use of coveting it?

Food for thought…