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Inheritance of Integrity

Thursday February 17 2005 08:27 IST

By Karmayogi

Parents get concerned if there is no issue in the first year of marriage. A child is a visible, tangible extension of the bodies of parents. The arrival of a child is a fulfilment that stands no comparison. Man works hard to provide for the future of the child of which material inheritance occupies the most important place.

A rich inheritance makes for stability, formation of character, poise, the values of a gentleman, ability to manage affairs or even the country. In sum, wealth is character. In the absence of any inheritance, one has to start from scratch, work all by himself, learn to defend, husband, and build. All successful men in America are men who made it themselves, who made it in the first generation. Therefore, the general belief in America is, the son should be on his own, reliance on wealth prevents the formation of ability.

Bill Gates, having made 64 billion dollars, gives away his wealth. He has endowed each of his two sons with one million dollars each. He believes the boy will be a success if he starts from nothing and any substantial inheritance will spoil him. Our tradition is happy and proud to leave as large an inheritance as possible to posterity.

Europe has practised primogeniture, passing on the estate to the eldest son and leaving all the other children to their own resources. In England, most of the shining talents of the English came from the second sons of a Lord, as they were on their own, while the eldest mostly dissipated the wealth inherited.

Eight hundred randomly chosen individuals with a minimum of $125,000 a year income in USA were studied. It is about Rs. 50 lakhs a year, or 5 lakhs a month. Most of them are embarrassed to be called rich or wealthy. Nor do they desire to furnish their house luxuriously. They want their children to be on their own, and do not cherish the idea of their inheriting great wealth. What they want to pass on to their children is high values such as integrity and honesty.

The wealthiest nation in the world has learnt a valuable lesson that Integrity in the child is more valuable than inherited wealth. India has a richer inheritance to pass on if only the Indians believe in it. Mostly parents feel it is their duty to educate their children, marry them and get them a job. Beyond this, they try their best to give them the capacity to succeed in life.

Often it degenerates into a training in cleverness. Our inheritance is truthfulness. It is of the Spirit. It is difficult to get Indian parents enthused about passing on Spirit and Truth to their children in preference to wealth. Parents around 60 would do well to examine all the cases they know of in the light of this statement. Should they so arrive at the Truth, it will be their own study and experience. It is of value.
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