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Re: pursuit of wealth

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Jul 09 1999 - 19:06:57 PDT

I thank all of you who have contributed your thoughts
to my question.  In particular, I found Murali's approach to 
see this as part of the gradual process of karma-yoga 
extremely enlightening.

I also appreciate other respondents' statements about 
how accumulating wealth through righteous means fits into
the ashrama-dharma. But I think my question is more of
a psychological one.  If I am daily thinking about the
value of my investment portfolio, how to join the next
start-up company, or how to pay for the diamond necklace
I need to buy my wife in a few years, can I truly make
spiritual progress? Does this not precisely force one
into the cycle of samsAra, trying to build more and
more wealth?

Sure, we may contribute 5 or 10 per cent to our religious
cause of choice.  Is this way of "paying off" our guilt
the right rationalization? Is this really living within
our means?

In other words, to what extent should we try to build
wealth to live comfortably, and how should we define
comfortable, without falling into the trap of chasing
wealth?

My gut feeling is that the example of Sri Desika and other 
gRhastha-s is not an ideal that is to be left merely for saints,
but something to which all true mumukshus should sincerely
aspire. Is this still practical? Could Desika have survived
today? (What few disciples he had certainly couldn't have
given him enough money to pay the rents in San Francisco!)

Mani