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Re: pursuit of wealth

From: Mohan R Sagar (msagar_at_uswest.net)
Date: Thu Jul 15 1999 - 21:45:06 PDT

Mani Varadarajan wrote:
> 
> 
> 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 compliments, both to Mani, who has raised such
a thought-provoking question, and to all those of
you who have responded, so far, with such
insightful answers.

Inspired by all these postings, and trying to
understand the wisdom in the discourses of HH Sri
Tridandi Jeear Swamy on similar topics, I would
like to share my two cents worth:

The idea of pursuing wealth - or even giving it up
for that matter - really rests on the prinicipal
that it belongs to us in the first place.  HH Sri
Jeear Swamy states that through a proper
understanding of vEdanta, one comes to realize
that samsAram is not due to the outside world at
all, but rather our response to it, i.e., the
ahankAram.   It is this ahankAram, this false
identification of the soul with the body, that
throws one headlong into the ever increasing
vortex of self-interested pursuits.   

Our bodies and our minds, products of our karmas
and guNas, delude us into believing that we are
one with them, and that our sole purpose is to
satisfy their insatiable material hungers.  And it
is in feeding this hunger, that poor jiva, deluded
into identifying itself with the body, feels "this
wife, this home, this car, this bank account, this
job, this family, these friends, all is MINE, to
be enjoyed in any way I please, because I earned
it."

So the goal is not to try and escape the world,
but to try and escape this ahankAram.  Once this
is done, nothing on a physical level really
changes, except our attitude.  For what we see is
our svarupam, our True Nature.  From this vantage
point, we realize that only "property" that is
really ours is our subservience to the One who is
the True Owner of Everything, Sriman Narayana. 
And, all that once seemed to be ours is now His
gifts to us to pursue what is our True Happiness,
Serving Him.  Our body is the instrument which we
use to serve Him, our spouse is a soulmate to
support and guide us in His service, our children
are our heirs who can carry on the tradition of
praising His Lotus Feet.  And, money - it is only
needed as a means to support all of these and to
do good deeds in accordance with Dharma, once
again for His Service. So, no aspect of worldly
need be given up at all, nor should it really be
pursued.  It should only be accepted as His
Kindness.

And how to develop this philosophical attitude? By
removing the ahankAram.  Easier said than done, of
course. Trying to do so through self-effort runs
the risk of taking us on to another egotistical
tangent. And, trying to follow any of the yogas as
described by in Srimad Bhagavad Geetha has so many
qualifications.

Many of can probably remember Archimedes'
principle. The best way to dissipate a substance
is to displace it with another substance. 
Similarly, the best way - indeed the only way - to
rid ourselves of ahankAram is to replace it with
Love for Him.  Remembering His Compassion, His
Beauty, His Goodness, His Strength, His Desire to
Save Us, will nurture in us the natural feeling of
love that we all, in our True Nature, have for
Him.  And, through this process, our focus on
ourselves and our over-inflated egos will be
forgotten.

In this way, material life becomes peaceful as it
is only used as a means to serve Him, and
spiritual life becomes fulfilled by realizing our
love and servitude towards Him. 

I hope to learn more from this very interesting
discussion.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

Mohan