Greed

Dear esteemed readers,

Welcome to another week of informative blogs, I hope you all are faring well. Today we shall deliberate on a topic which we can all admit is having a negative toll on our relationships, communities, countries and even our planet as a whole. This crucial subject matter is none other than Greed.

At some point in time or another we have either accused someone of being greedy or maybe we have also been called greedy at some time due to certain actions or behaviours we exhibited. When we say someone is greedy what do we actually mean? In general we are saying that the person is not considerate of the feelings of others and cares too much about themselves, that they feel the need to over accumulate resources which could serve a larger number of people, just for themselves. So key words are too self-centered, inconsiderate, and over accumulation.

In the sacred texts of the Bhagavad-Gita it is mentioned that there are three gates leading to hell; lust, anger and greed. One would admit that if a person is lusty, angry and greedy or exhibits these tendencies then it is difficult to deal with them on a deeper level. Without digressing too much, why do people feel the need to over accumulate resources, things, money etc? The answer is because they lack self control and they fail to acknowledge the real owner of these things. It is mentioned in the revealed scriptures that everything we survey on this planet belongs to the Supreme Lord and thus we should take that which is our quota, knowing well to whom they belong. The sticky part in here is that many people fail to realize that we actually do not possess anything and all that we seek to acquire through over accumulation is actually the Supreme Lord’s property. We are but custodians of all we have, and the moment we forget this salient fact we begin to have problems.

Every now and then, we hear over the media of how much debt the planet is plunged into and how much poverty the world is facing, and sometimes I wonder “to whom do we owe this money?” Well I guess it’s more of a rhetorical question because I don’t expect anyone to give me a solid answer. On one hand we cry at the poverty level of many countries and put up banners and ads all over the internet to “raise” money for them, but on the other hand we celebrate a few individuals as the “world’s richest people” and every year we so diligently keep record of their earnings and publish them in the best of media outreach. Please do not get me wrong and feel this is a subtle attack on those who are rich and have made a name for themselves, I am a strong believer in people getting the results of their labour. However what I still do not understand and I guess most of you don’t too, is why a Man, who has so much money that it, is estimated to be practically impossible to spend all in one life time, be so keen on getting more and more?

If one is not satisfied with the little he/she has, even if you give them the whole world they won’t be satisfied. There is a saying that “there is enough for everyone’s need but there is never enough for one person’s greed”. Thus we can see that day in day out the more we put our greed first at the expense of other people’s needs we are making a choice, knowingly or unknowingly. It doesn’t matter how much we try to pretend it is all about “competition, having the winning edge, etc” the fact remains that people will suffer from our choices and actions. The other side to this spectrum is the fact that even though some people feel the need to over accumulate resources etc, you find out that they are never satisfied and are seldom really happy. So you begin to wonder, if you have so much money and you still aren’t satisfied and happiness in its deepest sense is far from your reach then why continue this futile chase? If greed and over accumulation was really fulfilling then the world would be a better place, but we all know this is the opposite today.

Furthermore, there is the subject of conscience that comes into play and I ask when you over accumulate due to greed and lack of self-control and you see people suffering at your expense, don’t you have any sympathy? Nowadays, there is the publicity stunt of trying to give some large sums of money in “charity” by some very rich people, and many people feel well this has to count for something. Of course it does but it that the solution? Every one of these businessmen knows for a fact that the best way to help a man is to teach him how to “fish” and not to feed him with “fish”; meaning teach people how to fend for themselves. If I constantly give you money instead of teaching you how to make yours then you are unconsciously allowing yourself to be at my mercy for as long as I continue. Is this truly “liberating and philanthropic”?

Well without sounding political and passing across the wrong ideas, the message here is we all have to evaluate our position and stance when it comes to our motives, interests, and reasons for accumulating resources. If we begin to see that these resources have been given to us as a tool for our subsistence on this planet and not as a medium for dominance and oppression then maybe we can begin to redirect our greed and focus on our needs. I was hoping to go deeper into this subject matter and try to link it to the spiritual aspect of greed and our duties as spiritual practitioners; however that would make this lengthy so I guess we have a second part coming next week.

Till then, read, internalize, share, and follow for more.

Cheers

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