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From: Raghu Seshadri (seshadri_at_hpindda.cup.hp.com)
Date: Wed Mar 13 1996 - 16:10:18 PST

Recently Sri Krishnapraba had brought up the
following problem - how do we hold on to
our non-materialistic tradition while
aspiring for success in modern times with
its value system totally based on making
the most amount of money ?

But isn't there plenty of guidance from
our own tradition which throws light on
the matter ? This problem is nothing new.

Bhagavan says in the Gita that we should
act like a lotus leaf - be in this world,
but not of this world. He tells Arjuna
to aspire for complete success in his
chosen field, while practising detachment
from its fruits at the same time. He
urges that Arjuna cultivate the attitude
that he is merely the instrument thru
which karma gets played out. (Nimitta
matram bhava )

The sage Janaka was a king, whose dedication
to his job as caretaker of his people
was legendary. And yet he was the supreme
philosopher with a detachment so total
that he could claim he couldn't get
agitated even if he were 
to see his beloved Mithila burn.

Yogah karmashu koushalam - says Bhagavan
in the Gita. You must be excellent in
your work, that is Yoga for you. You
achieve detachment, not by abandoning 
work, but by dedicated performance of
work but with the crucial proviso that
you cultivate the attitude of nimitta
matram.            

To summarize, the Gita has all these
brilliant answers to this problem -
you don't become a slave to the mindless
materialistic pressures; on the contrary,
you become the master of the situation
by cultivating your mind, just as
the charioteer controls the unruly horses,
working hard in his name, surrendering
to him, performing excellently as part
of your contribution to Him, and finally
by rendering service to the world using
the money you have earned as part of
your expression of your love of Hari.

As our rituals are all calculated
to help us cultivate the desired
state of mind, why would we want
to abandon them ? ALL instruments
look useless till you understand the
problem to be solved - then their
need becomes obvious. 

So I contend that there is nothing
unique about the 20th c and its
problems that should make us say
that the old solutions don't apply.
Every generation has thought it
is faced with a unique situation -
but there is little evidence 
for it.

Regards,
Raghu Seshadri