Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 15 Aug 2004

     

PROPER USE OF WEALTH

The Gita says very clearly that the fruit of one’s work (money and wealth) should be spent only in the following two channels:

1) For the minimum requirements of living (Shareera yaatraa’pi cha te…).

2) For the mission of the Lord.

There is a third channel, which should be closed. This third channel is that of unlimited enjoyment and unlimited ambition to store for future generations. If you follow this path, the excessive enjoyment brings you diseases and all your money will go in medicines and hospitals. In this way you are not really enjoying. Storing for the future generations is also meaningless. Due to this stored wealth, your future generations will become undisciplined and lazy. Such wealth is finally destroyed and it also destroys the future generations. Therefore this channel is to be controlled. Foreigners (westerners) are advised to control their excess enjoyment. Indians are advised to control their ambition to store for the future generations.

Nobody does any work without an ambition for the fruit. Unless there is a desire to eat food, one will not prepare food. The work of preparation is done only due to the ambition (desire) to eat. The food also should be prepared for the sake of others even if you do not wish to eat it or if you eat only a little of it. If you prepare food only for yourself and eat it, it will lead to a number of diseases. You should eat but you should eat only a little. You should eat to live but not live to eat. If you are not hungry, you should not stop cooking because you have to give food to deserving people.

Similarly you should always work and earn continuously. The problem comes when you use the money only for your selfish enjoyment or store it for your future generations. When you eat too much, you become ill. If you store the food, it will get spoiled or will be stolen by some undeserving bacteria and worms. Similarly when you over-enjoy wealth, you are subjected to illness. When you store it for future generations the wealth will be stolen by some undeserving people. This is the very nature of nature (prakriti).

Leaving Money and Its Associations

The Gita says that you should leave “karma phalasanga”. The word karma phala means your self-earned money. Destruction of karma phalasanga means that one should destroy that which is closely associated with your money. Suppose you are drinking too much. The wine is associated with your earnings. Your bond with wine is associated with your earnings and that bond is called ‘Aasanga’. Similarly the ambition to store for future generations is associated with your money and therefore your bond with the ambition is also called Aasanga. Therefore the karma phalaasanga means your bond with the associated item like wine or the ambition for children etc. The Gita emphasizes cutting your bonds with the items, which are associated with your money, so that your money will be saved. The Gita does not mean that you should cut your bond with money. If you cut your bond with the money there will be no inspiration for you to earn money. Therefore you have to leave the desire for the item associated with the money and not the desire for money.

People have misinterpreted karma phala Aasanga as the desire for money (fruit of work). When the desire for the fruit does not exist, nobody can do work. Therefore “Tyaktva karma phalaasangam” means that you should leave the item that is associated with the fruit (earnings) of your work. The associated item is the ambition for the family bonds, the ambition for your body, leading to over-enjoyment etc. But people misinterpreted this as “You should leave the desire for the fruit of your work”. Such a misinterpretation led the people to lose inspiration for doing work to earn money. People have become completely lazy by leaving the work necessary to maintain themselves. Most of the present sages and saints (monks) are such lazy people. Some other people have become partially lazy by withdrawing from their work after earning barely enough for their livelihood.

Therefore the aim of Gita is that you should do full work and earn fully. Then you should sacrifice to the Lord after keeping for yourself enough to satisfy you minimum requirements. Of course devotees like Saktuprastha have donated even their minimum necessities to the Lord, but such an example cannot be practically possible. Fortunately the guest, to whom Saktuprastha donated everything, was the Lord Himself and therefore his sacrifice became fruitful. But suppose the guest is a lazy human being and if you sacrifice even your minimum necessities to him, please do not mistake Me if I call you the biggest fool.

The practical example is King Dharmaraja who sacrificed all his extra wealth in the ‘Ashwamedha’ ritual, after retaining with himself only the minimum wealth required to maintain his status as the king. There is no need of the scriptures to decide that sacrifice of the fruit of the work is the real essence of love. For a saint (monk) that fruit may be the fame of his work. For a householder that fruit may be the money which he has earned. You are sacrificing the fruit of all your work to your children only. You are doing things for God like praying, chanting His name or meditating upon Him etc., but you are not doing any such things for your children. Whatever you are doing for your children, you are not doing for God. Whatever you are doing for God you are not doing for your children. This is a clear distinction of true love and false love. It is not wrong if you love your children only and do not love the Lord. Not loving the Lord is not a sin. But showing false love to God and trying to fool Him is the greatest sin. If you can’t love God really, express the truth before Him and say that you cannot come out of your weakness for your family bonds. God will appreciate you at least for your frank expression of the truth. But you are showing false love to God and saying that you really love the Lord only. Such a lie and attempt to fool the Lord cannot be tolerated by the Lord.