Bhagavad Gita and money and Hindu spirituality and wealth creation are still perceived as odd combinations and it often raises several eyebrows. If a Hindu wants to take the spiritual path, the first advice is 'give away all your money and wealth and head towards the Himalayas.' Who needs money in a Himalayan Cave? But to be spiritually oriented and to live in a society we need money and we need to generate wealth. Generating wealth through hard work is not a sin. But money is like water. Water is essential for survival but it can also drown the life it sustains.
Bhagavad Gita helps us in striking a balance – it shows us how to create wealth, enjoy it and not to drown in it.
To create wealth the brain has to be challenged continuously and we have to put to use it in family, society, market and in business deals. Family, community and business are all realities and when faced with these realities many begin to tremble. Qualifications and abilities melt and many resign to a quiet life in the corner of a large government building or in a private sector company. Some at this juncture take to spirituality – for them everything is Maya – leave children and wife and head towards the Himalayas to seek God. In Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna when faced with the realities of life wanted to take refuge in meditation and spirituality. Krishna scoffed at that Arjuna who could not face reality.
Real spirituality is the one which is practiced in society and not in caves. Look at the profile of the successful entrepreneurs in independent India, majority of them faced the reality and addressed the challenges boldly. They did not take refuge in caves or in fate.
Spirituality today is spending time in satsangs, visiting temples, donating money in the hope that the Lord will automatically make one a multibillionaire. This spirituality has no meaning at all and it is the product of ignorance. Did Krishna fight for Arjuna? No, but by sitting in the chariot, God or Brahman or Spirit was stating that it lives in the heart of every single individual. But we have to bring it out when we interact with the society, and realize the potentiality hidden in us. In Sanatana Dharma, God does not sit in the heaven instead Brahman exist in each one of us. There is no point in meditating and chanting mantras, if we cannot realize our potentiality and bring it into action. Arjuna was finally ready for action when he realized the Krishna in him.
When you are ready for action by realizing the Krishna or Brahman in you, wealth and success automatically follows. When the spiritual strength hidden inside is realized, one automatically overcomes the physical and intellectual strength that may be lacking. It is this spiritual strength that helped Gandhiji to overpower the British Empire.
Most of us does not like to work. Many are forced to work and do it halfheartedly. Learn to enjoy what you are doing, whether it is cleaning the table or writing a program or playing. When you enjoy doing something, you will automatically excel in it. Quite often instead of enjoying the work, we worry more about what we will get from it. Instead of concentrating on the cleaning of the table, the waiter is more bothered about the tip the guest will offer, the programmer is thinking about increment and player is thinking about endorsement. Net result is that we do the job badly, we don’t enjoy the work or the moment and ultimately all the monetary dreams are shattered.
The Bhagavad Gita says
Work done with selfish motives is inferior by far to the selfless service or Karma-yoga. Therefore be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna. Those who seek (to enjoy) the fruits of their work are verily unhappy (because one has no control over the results). (2.49)
Our selfishness is always thinking about the end product and to create wealth without hard work. Put heart and soul in whatever you do because it is more worthwhile than chanting mantras. When you work wholeheartedly, you are indulging in creation and it touches the spirit in you and you experience spirituality. Wealth, success and fame will automatically follow.
But what if I fail? This is lack of self confidence. This comes out of unnecessarily thinking about the fruits of your work. Rarely does one achieve success in first attempt. Each failure teaches us several lessons. Each failure takes us close to success. Every work creates a result, so work without getting attached to results.
Bhagavad Gita says
A Karma-yogi gets freedom from both vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore, strive for Karma-yoga. Working to the best of one's abilities without getting attached to the fruits of work is called (Nishkaama) Karma-yoga. (2.50)
When we succeed we are happy, when we fail we are unhappy. But what was our state of mind when we were working. Gita is more interested in the state of mind when you were working. Krishna asks Arjuna to enjoy the moment and do the work efficiently. Arjuna should think about the first arrow that he will aim at Bhishma not about the last arrow striking Bhishma. Each arrow send by Arjuna will find an answer from Bhishma, Arjuna has to answer all these arrows before reaching the final arrow. Similarly, each moment you have to stand up to challenges, take risks and by enjoying each moment, you slowly move towards the victory podium. Finally, when you reach the victory podium you will only have a smile left because you already tasted bliss.
While doing a work be rooted in yourself. Bhagavad Gita calls such a person ‘Sthiraprajna’ – a person of steady wisdom and self knowledge and who cannot be shaken. To create wealth and to enjoy it, you need to be a ‘Shiraprajna’ and then you will realize that your very nature is happiness.
These are just my thoughts and experiences. Pick up the Bhagavad Gita and read it and it will answer your problems and create wonderful ideas and thoughts in you.
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