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From: Venkat Nagarajan (NAGARAVE_at_fin.gov.on.ca)
Date: Mon Jul 05 1999 - 08:27:25 PDT
Dear Bhagavatas, I have been reading the postings on the pursuit of wealth with interest and would like to augment the posts with a few points based on my experiences. What follows is based on opinion to a ceratin extent; because I am subject to delusion from avidya-karma to a great extent, it may not be 100% correct. However, I think that there is some truth in what follows: Being subjected to delusion from avidya-karma we are all associated with wealth to varying degrees. Anything that provides pleasure (sensory and non sensory) can be thought of as wealth. Tangible goods, such as money and jewellery, that provide transitory pleasure only constitute a small subset of the universal set of wealth. Brahmajnanam is also part of the universal set of wealth, if one defines wealth as anything that provides pleasure. However, it has a unique property; it is the sole element of the universal set of wealth which is not subject to diminishing marginal returns (i.e., the amount of pleasure derived from each extra unit is always positive and increasing.) It is not easy to shun wealth that is subject to diminishing returns! Only the great mahans can do that as their mature set of karma allows them to do so. However, reality is that such subsets of karma are the result of millions of janmas of punyas. Given our limitations, we should attempt to continuously strive to perfect the following. Continuously keep reminding ourselves that real wealth is the Brahmajnanam, all else is useless by itself, even mundane knowledge! A Baddha jivAtman, who aspires for moksha, should cultivate Brahmajnanam, for that alone helps to develop the conviction required for unconditional surrender to Brahman. Wealth in the form of (mundane) knowledge or wealth in the form of material goods are only helpful in the sense that they aid in the cultivation of Brahmajnanam. In isolation both are useless, they only further misery (that is if one realizes that transitoriness (cycles of ups and downs) is misery.) Example from my own life: For instance, not long ago, my level of delusion was very high that I was leading a purposeless life (i.e., when I say purposeless I mean only recognizing finite (worldly) goals.) First I use to crave for money and other tangible material pleasures. In fact my level of nescience was so high that I use to tell my parents that contentment is the lack of ambition and so on. Subsequent to that I became very academically oriented and began to lose some interest in tangible pleasures and starting craving for publications in a prestigious American Economic journal, recognition and so on. Even this is wealth. Anything from which pleasure is derived is wealth. Not to say I have no cravings now, but they are significantly diminished, for the fact that these elements of the universal set of wealth are transitory is slowly but steadily manifesting. This knowledge, manifests through experiences in life (i.e., contact with mundane objects.) However, the experiences (objects) differ from individual to individual and so does the speed with which it occurs (it is dependent on each ones prArabdha karma, and on how one uses his or her free will to earn the grace of God.) adiyEn, Venkataramanan (Venkat) KrishNarpaNam P.S. Many times we perceive events in life as being negative, in hind sight every event is positive; if one contemplates on them in the right spirit, there is a lesson to be learned from each.