The best of countries and corporations are so because they have the best of budgets. It is but natural therefore, that many people are concerned about our local, national budget. But if they spent as much time worrying about their domestic budget as they did about the national one, the world would be a far better place. People remain glued to their TV sets for hours listening to the budget speech. They spend even more time criticizing it afterwards. But very few focus inwards to analyze the very poor way in which they have budgeted their own hard-earned money! Many continue to spend well beyond their income, inviting debts and sometimes bankruptcy. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has advised in His Shikshapatri, "One should keep a daily record of one's expenditure and income and should always live within one's means…and all - including the poor - should give something to charity." This is practical, grassroots budgeting.
Still fewer people have shaped a life budget for themselves. A life budget includes committing time to self, family, society and God. The lives of those who do this become richer - not just financially - but also socially and spiritually. Just as a country's budget must be well balanced for its economy to be healthy, so too does life have to be well balanced for it to be lived fruitfully.
Many corporate executives - like single-minded one-eyed cyclopes - invest all their time and effort in pursuing their careers and climbing the professional ladder. When they reach the summit however, most realize it wasn't worth the toil. They discover that the victory is empty and that they won it at an irreparable loss to their health, family and psyche: obesity, heart disease and fatigue on the physiological front; separated spouse, estranged children and uncared for parents on the familial front; frustration, depression and stress on the physio-psychological front. In US, Canada, China and Japan, this phenomenon has resulted in a tragic burgeoning of suicides and cardiovascular and cancer related deaths. The Royal Bank of Canada devoted one of its monthly letters to this problem with the title Let's Slow Down. "We are victims of mounting tension," it enunciated. "We have difficulty relaxing: we are not living fully."
For many in India too, life has become similar - like going downhill in a truck without brakes. Indians must awake. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that stress will be the number one killer in the world by 2020. And stress is usually nothing more than an individual's failure to balance his or her lifestyle. Living healthily and fully requires one to maintain regular food habits and diet; regular exercise and rest; spending time with family; working for charity and spending time in self-reflection, meditation and prayer.
There is only one way to survive overwork or burnout. Be brave and bail out! Or you will be a loser. The rat race of life only produces losers. It has no winners. Even if it does, the winner is still a rat. And usually a very large one. Asked a great sage to a prosperous king, "If you were about to die of thirst and starvation and someone offered you a glass of water and a loaf of bread in exchange for your wealth and kingdom, would you give them to him?" "Of course I would," replied the king. "Anybody would." "Then why," asked the sage, "have you wasted your entire life amassing all this land and wealth when they are worth no more to you than a glass of water and a loaf of bread?"
Consider deeply the value of your life. In the US, compensation for an injured knee is approximately $200,000. Then what to say for a damaged brain, injured eye, amputated leg, broken marriage or a mental breakdown? No price can be put on these things. What price, then, can we put on the entire, fully functioning human body?
Human life is priceless. God has bequeathed this limitless treasure trove to all. And as diversification is one of the secrets to successful investment, so is it the secret to a joyous and blessed life. Reach in to your soul, and out to your family, society and God. Budget well..