A Spiritual study of Greed

a spiritual study of greed

The nature of greed and its result

Recently one of India’s top politicians was convicted for amassing disproportionate amount of wealth. Many such cases are often reported in the media.

Why do people resort to actions such as this? Let us see.

Out of passion and greed, people accumulate money. Unaware of the highest value of the human form of life, not only people involve in immoral amassing of wealth for the sake of their own sense enjoyment but also for the sense enjoyment of generations to come. Therefore they are termed as ‘Asuras’ by Bhagavad gita.

Asuras are nonbelievers of God. They are faithless and therefore irresponsible. Their immoral actions are resultants of their false and egoistic thinking. Their life is based on principles of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Unwarranted pride and arrogance coupled with satisfaction of their senses are the primary principles of their sustenance.

Spiritual Perspective

Asuras are unaware of their original spiritual identity as soul. They think oneself as the body and hence the controller and enjoyer of their senses. Ignorant of their spiritual identity and the hierarchical control of their senses – as designed by God, they try to amass money for the wrong self – the body. Actually, the mind is the controller of the material senses; intelligence controls the mind and the spirit soul is above all of them.

Ignorant of this knowledge and thus being impudent asuras work towards arranging the needs of upcoming generations and plan for their perpetual sense enjoyment through legalization of their amassed wealth. Money makes them mad and deludes such people to think them self as god. Their life is spent mostly in increasing their bank balance.  Possessing such huge money, they are in the hallucination of achieving all perfection and thus being proud, they engage in activities like controlling and harassing their own social comrades.  Their aim is to destroy their so called ‘enemies’ one by one, every day.

Anger and lust generated by mode of passion drives such asuras to amass money, just for the material sense enjoyment, which is flickering and temporary. They are denoted as lowest of human beings for they are not only selfish but also envious of other living entities.  The Bhagavad gita states that such people are forced to be born in lower grades of life because they do not acknowledge the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and have forgotten him. Such forgetfulness of our eternal relationship with god is the nature of animalistic life and hence material nature awards the highest punishment to such an envious greedy man by demoting him to animal species.

Lakshmi belongs to Narayana

People possessing such huge amounts of amassed wealth illegally, seem very fortunate but actually such asuras are the most unfortunate. Actually Wealth is considered as Lakshmi, The Mother of Opulence who is the internal energy of Godhead and the eternal consort of Narayana.  Narayana is the father of all Naras (living entities) and Lakshmi accompanies Narayana everywhere.

Without the understanding of Narayana as the owner of Lakshmi, asuras can only possess the deceptive form of Lakshmi with them. Without Narayana, She is only a false representation of her real existence. Just like Sita was deceitfully captured by Ravana.  Ravana wanted to Possess Sita by Cheating Sri Rama. But he was destroyed along with his associates. Therefore we should understand the same destiny awaits all asuras.

Present age Ravanas should learn from the destiny of their celebrated predecessor and not try to do the same mistake of capturing Lakshmi independent of Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  If one has to gain Lakshmi’s favor then he has to gain the favor of Narayana, the Lord of the Universe.

The Eternal consort of Lord, Lakshmi is always engaged in Her Service to Sri Narayana. No one can dissociate her from such service and try to possess Lakshmi independent of the Lord. If one tries to do so, as was tried by Ravana, he will be doomed.

Forgetfulness of Narayana, the Godhead and possession of Lakshmi as wealth, don’t go well together. Asuras who have amassed wealth claim that Narayana has lost Lakshmi and become poverty stricken.  Such claims are made in illusion.   Neither Narayana can be poverty stricken nor can Lakshmi be separated from Narayana. The Asuras during their course of enjoyment also show some kindness by distributing their wealth among the poverty-stricken people referring them as ‘Daridra Narayana’.  All of such despicable ideas are product of impaired brains of asuras.

‘Nara’ means ‘living entity’ and ‘Ayana’ means the ‘repose’. Narayana is the Origin of all living entities. In the Bhagavad gita, the supreme lord declares that he is the supreme almighty father of all creatures, irrespective of their immediate source of birth. Material nature is an agency through which Supreme Lord acts. Material Nature is only an immediate and material source of birth for the living entities.

Everything belongs to the Supreme proprietor that is Narayana. As he is the Supreme father, everyone is eligible for their share of property of the Supreme Lord.   Supreme lord has designed this world so as to see that each and every living entity is destined to get his/her own share of property as per his/her actions.  Their actions are based on their acquired modes of nature in this world. This supreme arrangement is not recognized by the asuras.

The supreme lord is equal to everyone. He is not the creator of anyone’s destiny either personally or empirically.  Bhagavad gita reveals how a living entity associates with different modes of nature and hence engages in actions and the various results are derived. Lord is nothing to do with the material actions of men. He is aloof. We see actions of people in greed are not inspired by any scheme of Lord but it is due to the association of the material modes of passion and ignorance.  Mode of passion drives them to crave for unlimited enjoyment of their senses. Running behind such desires, they fall prey to mode of ignorance. Only mode of goodness which illuminates oneself to true knowledge of life can save them.

The Saving grace: Elevation to the mode of Goodness

None of the legislations, Police action, Inpidual or social appeal will work in checking the corruption prevailing in ourselves, internally and externally. The whole world is surrounded by the modes of ignorance and passion. Our present lives are based more on immediate wants, totally dominated by passion and ignorance. No shade of mode of goodness is seen anymore.

But, Utopian expectation of all people in mode of goodness is not possible. Most of the leaders are found wanting in their simple dealings. At least, only a few of good trained leaders in mode of goodness would be sufficient in bringing about a vast change in the contaminated atmosphere of this selfish world.  One small bulb with a burning filament is enough to light a room than hundreds of designer bulbs with faulty filaments.  Greater misfortune awaits this world if leaders of all states do not come together for developing the mode of goodness in their self.  Passion and ignorance are deep-rooted in their hearts and hence the nations are hostile over miniscule things. Tracks laid by a few qualified leaders will guide the normal public. General public will automatically try to wake up to the call without anybody’s behest, even if they are unable to do perfect it like the leaders.

Material Civilization is based on solving the problems of material body and mind. Only addressing this temporary self, it is destined to fail. Spiritual knowledge is missing. Scriptures say we are not this body but soul. Therefore there is a need to form an assembly of godly people. The association of such saintly people is an immediate need that would put a termination to the animalistic civilization. Also, such association builds god consciousness in society. If not, we cannot but expect the greedy members of society to exploit their own brothers by menacing behaviors.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita gives a solution to achieve the mode of goodness in a very clear and lucid way. We have to absorb the methodologies mentioned in the gita to rise above the inferior mode of passion and ignorance. He has to be controlled in bodily and mental activities such as aspects of speech, mind, belly, generating organ, anger and tongue. Any man with sincere effort can see the change in a year’s time. Over and above these one has to be moderate in the habits of tongue. It is said that one who is able to do so will steadily achieve the control of other senses too. We need to have trained socio-political leaders adept in mode of goodness. We have seen few Leaders of past reveal their inherent ability to control their senses without any proper training.  Normally, without such systematic training it takes three or four decades of one’s life, to achieve control.

Hence one should approach an authority of such subject and learn from him the standard process of knowledge.  The Bhagavad gita recommends one to approach a person endowed with godly qualities and learn from him. Such a person is called a ‘Mahatma’, a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only such great souls can impart knowledge to the submissive and inquisitive person and bring in the transformation in one’s heart.

Such empowered devotees of the lord can bring in the necessary change in the modern day society by providing them association, uplifting them from the darkness of ignorance to the enlightening, enriching mode of goodness. When mode of goodness is awakened, people can come to actual knowledge and lead a peaceful satisfied life, free from hankering and greed.

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