What Would You Do With 1,000 Crores? - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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What Would You Do With 1,000 Crores?

Jun 03, 2015

What Would You Do With 1,000 Crores? 

I was out for a walk at the racecourse one morning when I overheard a conversation between two men.

'I can't believe he is giving it all up. Do you know they say he's worth Rs 1,000 crore?' one said.

The other shook his head, confounded, yet admiring, 'It takes guts, huh?'

I later learned that they were talking about billionaire Bhanwarlal Raghunath Doshi, who had, at the age of 58, literally given it all up to take diksha.

In an elaborate Jain ceremony in Ahmedabad where over a lac people showed up with their support, admiration and devotion, this man chose to take diksha - which means to shed all his worldly attachments, his wealth, his family, his hair, even his name, to become an ascetic, assuming a life of austerity and spirituality, a life of walking barefoot from town to town across the country giving blessings in return for food and a place to rest.

He had been born the son of a small-time trader who struck out on his own intending to rise to the top of his industry, which he did. But he had always had a tendency to the spiritual and when he had made his money, and conquered the business world, he gave it all up. (source)

Why would he do that? You wonder. You spend your life, day after day working yourself to the bone to make money, night after night tossing and turning on your Dunlop mattress stressing about your family's financial needs. And along comes this billionaire, who has achieved everything you ever dreamed of, and has now chosen to give up everything you ever dreamed of, to sleep peacefully on the cold, bare, ground.

It makes you wonder, are you chasing the wrong dream?

When we think of successful people, we list the richest people on earth. Bill Gates, Azim Premji, Warren Buffett...

What do these men have in common? Other than their billions...

It's the fact that they give away their billions with the greatest of ease. They start foundations, give donations, promote education and poverty alleviation. They live simply, not lavishly. They don't seem to care much about luxuries. They don't even care about money, it seems.

Yes, of course they have a lot of money so it's easy for them not to care about it, to give it away. But they don't need to give it away. They do so because they are trying to derive some sort of satisfaction. A satisfaction that the money did not give them.

Rahul Yadav, the Housing.com CEO, cavalierly gave away his over 200 crore worth of shares at 26. I don't know why he did that. But it points to that fact that people who make a lot of money know one thing about it...

Money does not give satisfaction.

We think it will, we think if we are just a little bit richer we would be happier, more content, our relationships would thrive, our days would be more pleasant, our lives would be better... but achieving worldly success does not quell that human need to be purposeful.

'Lack of knowledge makes men chase worldly pleasures,' the former Mr. Doshi said to the Ahmedabad Mirror (I say former because he has since given up his name and identity and assumed another name as a muni or monk).

I am absolutely not saying give up moh-maya, your worldly attachment, and become a sant-sadhu, ascetic.

I am also not saying give up pursuit of wealth. How can I? I manage a Wealth Builders Club after all. I believe in achieving financial freedom.

But financial freedom is your goal - a practical one. What is your dream?

Even before you reach your goal of amassing the wealth you dream of, the wealth that will make you physically comfortable in this world, can you begin to look beyond it at the second level of wealth - a wealth that will make you not physically, but mentally comfortable in the world? The wealth of purpose fulfillment, peace of mind, of human satisfaction, of contentment?

While you go about your goals of building a comfortable life for your loved ones, ensuring security for your family and friends, can you also dig deeper within you to find the thing that gives your life purpose?

So what, if not money, do you need for that better life? When you're caught up in daily financial hell it's hard to think beyond that. To dig deeper, ask yourself this one question inspired by Mr. Doshi...

If I had 1,000 crores, what would I do?

There is literally no material pleasure that would cost that much. Unless you want to buy the pyramids of Giza or build a Taj Mahal out of diamonds.

Look beyond the things with price tags... to things you want to spend your valuable time on earth doing anyways.

Would you give it away to cure a disease in Africa, or a better education system in India? Would you give it up to pursue a path of spiritual enlightenment, or intellectual stimulation? Would you spend it to study medicine and become a doctor like you'd always wanted or travel across the world learning about new cultures, meeting people from different backgrounds, promoting world peace?

Mr. Doshi's path was entirely his own. I admire him immensely but I know mine would be very different. Yours doesn't have to be anything like his either. It has to be uniquely you, your way of leaving your mark on the earth. And you can discover this in the answer to the above question.

And once you know the answer, you will see that you don't need that kind of money in the first place.

You could pursue your passion even without a fortune. If you care about education, you don't have to start a global educational foundation... you can spend a little of your time teaching, and learning.

If you want to travel the world, you don't have to buy a jet and traverse the oceans, you can begin with traveling in this vast and diverse country you call home - meeting people from the far north and south, making connections, exploring cultures.

If you are interested in spirituality, you don't have to leave your home and family with a fortune to support them, you can continue to support them while you make it a part of your life.

The path to your uniquely satisfying life need not be all or nothing. You can focus outwards on your children and parents and employees and community. But you can also focus a little within you.

Don't forget what's inside you in pursuit of what's outside. Remember to do the things that help you sleep peacefully at night, even if you were sleeping on a cold hard ground. The path you would walk down even if you had, and especially if you had, a thousand crore rupees to your name. As the Buddha teaches...

'No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.'

Image Source: Pikoso.kz / Shutterstock


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18 Responses to "What Would You Do With 1,000 Crores?"

Amit Jain

24 Jul, 2015

Really a wonderful article Anisa. Thanks for the post. Mr. Doshi seems to be following his heart with great determination and the worldy luxuries are not able to hold him. He seems to have realized the highest purpose of life and then following it. Taking Jain Diksha is a courageous act for a billionaire like him as the Jain ascetics still follow monastic guidelines of Lord Mahaveer. Lord Mahaveer himself was a prince and relinquished everything to become a monk. This hints on the true purpose of life.

Like (1)


13 Jun, 2015

I have been following your newsletters for quite sometime. This one is the best so far, very through provoking one.

Like (1)

Eswar Santhosh

06 Jun, 2015

I would gladly follow this Chuck Feeney. He influenced Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. But, not many know about him. The main things I would replicate would be... (Quotes are from the Forbes article) 1) Maintain Anonymity Feeney never slaps his name on a library or hospital, since he can collect additional money for the project from more egocentric tycoons who gladly pay millions for the privilege 2) Set a deadline to go broke (No perpetual trusts which are only as good as the trustees that follow you) Few living people have given away more, and no one at his wealth level has ever given their fortune away so completely during their lifetime. The remaining $1.3 billion will be spent by 2016, and the foundation will be shuttered in 2020 3) Lead a simple life I don’t dislike money, but there’s only so much money you can use. As for Feeney, he flew millions of miles in coach because first class didn’t get him to his destination any faster. He wears a rubber Casio watch because it keeps time like a Rolex. 4) Watch where the money is going He forces charities to compete for his cash, requesting detailed business plans with clear milestones and full transparency. If a project runs off course, Feeney cuts funding. He chooses programs that promise exponential returns that will allow people to lift themselves up.

Like (2)


05 Jun, 2015

we many such examples in our history.all cannot create wealth. if you could enjoy it.there is no 'BEYOUND' nor 'BEFORE' so give much importance to these things.live your life and GO.

Like (1)

vinayak bagalkar

04 Jun, 2015

even though the event is dramatic, it is totally useless. majority praises because they themselves are below one crore mark. instead of giving up everything & opting sanyas, one who has made the fortune should spend it for social/good cause only under his own management, the Great Sanyasi will never admit but will regret after short period. lastly common public always applaud if somebody else is doing heroic.

Like (1)


04 Jun, 2015

Perfect! another person who has similar thoughts of Osho. I Will also leave the battlefield as a victorious solider. Do not enter spiritualism because you are afraid to take on the materialistic world. Enter spiritualism because you have conquered the materialistic world. What would I do with 1000 crores? Definitely not for the poor and needy. Once I make this 1000 crores I would spend it to teach the people who really are thirsty to conquer the world of money & spiritualisim, who are ready to kick some a## to make money and take on their chattering mind. Enough has been spend on the poor and the needy - definitely more than 1000 crores in the last 100 years and nothing has changed. It just made them more poor and needy.

Like (1)

Balaji S.S.

04 Jun, 2015

I'll be equally concentrate on two things. 1. Use the 1,000 Crores to make 1,00,000 Crores. 2. Charity for the betterment of the World in which I live. That's what Gates & Buffet are doing. Always follow the Leader.

Like (1)


04 Jun, 2015

Dear Ms. Anisa, Thank you for a nice thought provoking article !! We must know our real dream beyond wealth. Best regards, C.D. Vaidya

Like (1)

g k agrawal

03 Jun, 2015

While relinguishing his rs. 1000 crore empire and taking Jain Diksha, Shri Doshi could not contain pomp and show of diksha ceremony and as per press reports, more than r s. 5 crores were spent on it which could have been used for welfare of poor. Hindu Sanatan Dharma provides for Vanprastha ashram on attaining the age of 60, thereby leaving worldly wealth and pleasures and opting for a rishi/sadhu life.

david kamble

03 Jun, 2015

i am really surprised that in this materialistic world and being associated with financial institution you have summoned up the philosophy of lord buddha.which is the base of survival of human culture...hats of to you madam anisa...we indians many a times do not appreciate and learn from teachings of lord buddha...really what a great asset we have in lord buddha.also we forget that our motherland is addressed as land of buddha.....i submit

Like (1)

murli chari

03 Jun, 2015

I loved this article. True happiness comes from making others happy. Chasing material things is a chimera and is no guarantee for happiness. Making loads of money at the cost of health and relationships is of no avail if it makes you miserable at the end of the day. Money is good till gives you a decent life. Loads of money will make you haughty and a narcissist. I fully endorse the views. Thank you very much.

Naresh shah

03 Jun, 2015

Doshi illustrates any amount of material wealth does not make you happy.For happiness you needs should be limited and you should be in pursuit of goldly sanskar


03 Jun, 2015

A timely and well thought out article. Your letters always strike a resonant chord in me. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts. This trend of earning megamillions only to give it away does not make sense to most people, who strive to make ends meet - but to those who achieve such riches in their lifetimes, the more realised amongst them often realise that it wasn't really about the money. Your articles are always very evocatively written, and I share/enjoy many of them with my family. Thank you again.

T.F. Nelson

03 Jun, 2015

Giving up money or wealth has no meaning unless you know why you are giving it all up. We need to understand what is the purpose of our earthly life and what happens after this life. There is an eternity after this life which depends upon how we lived our life here. Only loving God and loving our fellow beings and doing good to the needy will help us.

Mohammed Abdul Nayeem

03 Jun, 2015

1,000 Crore is a huge amount ....... One thousand crore or whatever huge amount; it is a responsibility from Almighty. If you fulfill your responsibility honestly and efficiently then only you will be successful otherwise the same wealth may become a liability for your life.


03 Jun, 2015

You owe me a BIG THANK YOU for this extremely positive newsletter -- more so that educated India's General Culture is to spend evenings on the hue and cry raised by english news channels Thank you once more...keep this up...

Like (2)

Vijay Menon

03 Jun, 2015

A nice piece. Well-written, interesting, thought-provoking. Makes on reflect on wealth and values. Thank you.

Like (1)


03 Jun, 2015

Hi Anisa, Today's article was very refreshing. Humans have this innate desire and longing for meaning. But then again we are gullible and pursue material achievements that seem easy to acquire in the near future. I guess it is like learning to walk, or ride a bike. Each of us has to go through the grind, walk the same road, experience the same angst, and make the same mistakes. After all life is the name of the journey and not the destination. :-) -Manoj


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