Sunday, May 31, 2009

Earn More and Give Back More

Ambition, the desire to acquire wealth and material goodies and issues as these were on mind after reading Smitha's post titled "Thinking Big with Honesty". This post is about, some of what our scriptures say about wealth and material acquisition. Before I go ahead, I want to say that all my understanding (which is still very little) of Vedant comes from my Teacher.

I am aware, that Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma is probably one of the few philosophies or teachings where wealth is celebrated. We worship Lakshmi,the Goddess of wealth. Shree Suktam is one of the most beautiful and lyrical hymns where one invokes Lakshmi and asks for wealth. Our scriptures ask us not to hate the rich, be friends with our equals and have compassion for the poor.

So is Sanatan Dharm or Hinduism which is traced back to some 4000-5000 years ago blatantly pro-capitalist in nature? We do Lakshmi Puja during Diwali, but might be unaware of the fact that Vedic philosophy does not stop at approving the wealth generation but also lays down the code of conduct after acquiring that wealth. We have conveniently hung on to invoking God for ever increasing personal wealth, but have overlooked the qualities one should inculcate after amassing all that wealth. Therein lies the source of troubles that ail the society today. Hence it is not surprising that there are many in the world who live in abject poverty.

Ambition and a desire for the worldly goods takes on a darker color when we become a slave to our worldly possessions and also when we sacrifice the core values and barter our souls in exchange for money,power,fame,career.......Our scriptures say that wealth if used correctly can be a tremendous social force. I guess the same applies for power and fame amongst other things.

Our Scriptures have distinguished between ,Alakshmi,Vitt,Dhanlakshmi,Mahalakshmi.

Alakshmi: To simply put, wealth spent for wrong things.

Vitt: Wealth spent on oneself.

Dhanlakshmi: Wealth spent on someone else.

Mahalakshmi: Wealth spent for God's work.( This does not mean money spent in building ostentatious temples though. More like helping a needy family, but minus the unequal equation between giver(superior)-receiver(inferior).

It is said that when wealth is spent on God's work or given back to the society generously, the money stays in the family for generations. One example is the Raghuvansh Dynasty.


Tam M aavah jatvedo lakshmimanapgaminim
Yasyam Hiranyam Vindeyam Gamashvam Purushanham

Roughly and Literally Translated: Hey Jatvedas, I want to own a golden cow, horse and great friends, so grant me indestructible wealth.

Having siad that Shlok I must add that great wealth and power come with great responsibility. Owning upto the responsibility is what our scriptures ask of us. We maybe forgiven for our sins but we are always responsible for our actions. Wealth sans responsibility cannot become a positive social force.

I ask for wealth for all those who will spend it wisely and judiciously and worship it and treat it as Dhanlakshmi and Mahalakshmi.


Sanjeeb Sahoo said...

I agree with you. It's important to ask Goddess Lakshmi to give "santoshi dhan". If a person doesn't know how to best utilize the resources can never lead a meaningful life. One can be at the giving end only when one is satisfied with his/her current state. Satisfaction doesn't come from perfection but from a happy attitude.

Anonymous said...

With great wealth and power comes great responsibility - True indeed. And if we don't own the responsibility for it, we will have to pay back dearly! This is especially true for people who inherit wealth with out working a bit for it and flaunt their wealth.

Destination Infinity

Patricia Torres said...

Nice post... I sure agree with everything you said.. and I will start the asking process today!!!

Hey.. thanks for the comment on my blog.. I painted the Warli using the normal acrylic paint on the wall... Its just that I keep changing how the wall looks and dont really want to spend too much.. Let me know if you are going to try.. and I can give you some more info.. Take care!!

manju said...

Nice discussion about the concept of Wealth or Lakshmi in Hindu philosophy.

Yes, the importance of taking responsibility has always been stressed in our Dharma.

Chrysalis said...

Sanjeeb: Welcome here and yes u r right satisfaction is elusive allright for most of us.

DI: Payback is something I totally believe in. 'Karm' and its 'phal' is there to stay.

Patricia: Thanks. And happy praying :)

Manjuji: Yes we tend to forget about our responsibilities and talk only of Rights and wants.

Anonymous said...

I seem to have missed this post of yours :(

Agree with everything you say here.. We have to give back to the society what we can.. in whichever way we can..

Piper .. said...

heyy just dropped in to say hello. How`ve you been? shall go over the posts I`ve missed reading.

Chrysalis said...

Smitha: Yes Give Back we must.

Piper: Welcome back and take your time.You are welcome to read the posts but I strongly recommend if I may, my post titled "No Apologies for Being Religious"
You might find it interesting.

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