In the Bhagwad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 49, Bhagwan SriKrishna tells Arjuna,
दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय |
बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणा: फलहेतव: || 49||
dūreṇa hy-avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād dhanañjaya
buddhau śharaṇam anvichchha kṛipaṇāḥ phala-hetavaḥ
Seek refuge in divine knowledge and insight, O Arjun, and discard reward-seeking actions that are certainly inferior to works performed with the intellect established in Divine knowledge. Miserly are those who seek to enjoy the fruits of their works. (Commentary by Swami Mukundananda).
In the above verse, a very special word ‘kripanah’ has been used to describe a person who seeks some return or fruits from his labour. ‘Kripanah’ means Miser. We all know that miser describes a person who hoards his wealth and does not spend it even if that expenditure is required. But more important than that is the realization that a miser is one who does not know how to use his wealth wisely. He does not understand that his hoarded wealth is of no use to anybody, not even himself, because when he dies he will obviously not be able to take even a fraction of his wealth with him. Therefore Sri Krishna used this harsh, stark word to drive home the message.
There is a story of Guru Nanak Dev and a very wealthy man Duni Chand who used to show off his wealth. He kept hoarding money instead of using it for any good purpose. He had flags outside his house which displayed how much wealth he had earned and stashed away. To teach him a lesson, Guru Nanak Dev gave him a needle and told Duni Chand to return it to him in Heaven. Upon contemplation Duni Chand realized that Guru Nanak was trying to tell him something. He fell at Guru Nanak’s feet. Guru Nanak said, “When you know you cannot carry a needle to heaven, what about all those other things you are accumulating? You will not be able to carry any of that either.” Duni Chand got the message. He went back home, just kept what was needed for his family, and went about building whatever was needed for the wellbeing of people around.
Both the above passages show us that in Indian culture, storing wealth and hoarding it unnecessarily was considered evil and to be shunned. How then did we turn into a Nation that believes in storing money at home to the tune of crores and that too unaccounted for? Another ugly truth is that Indians have now started believing that putting ill-gotten wealth in collection boxes of places of worship will bring them redemption or blessings. What?!! When did that happen, since no Indian scripture says that!
INVADERS : There had been invaders before the Turks, like the Greeks and the Arabs, but they only went back to their homeland and that too without causing any major devastation. In fact they only learnt a lot from India and took back knowledge. But the repeated invasions from 1000 AD onwards were cruel and they laid the foundations for destroying the cultural uniqueness of India. First came the Turks, followed by the Mongols, the Afghans and later the Mughals, the Portuguese, the French and lastly, the British. These invaders were not just cruel, they were looters to the core. They looted all the wealth that they could and what they couldn’t, they destroyed. Converting people by force was just one way of destroying the Hindu religion, the other being destroying their places of worship – the temples. And the most telling blow was by destroying their places of education (Nalanda University destruction).
Such large scale looting and destruction changed the way the people looked at money. From how money was considered an evil, it probably became a tool for protecting oneself and one’s family. People also realized that converting their wealth into gold & other precious metals made it easier for them to collect their belongings and run away in times of distress. From knowledge being the measure of standing in the society, money became the status symbol and contributed to one’s position in society. From here onwards started the decline in Sanatan Dharm and the Indian culture and way of living. Here onwards started the tradition of bribing one’s way to defeat the enemy. And with such large-scale destruction of temples, started the contribution of the common man to rebuild the temples. Till then, most of the temples were built by rulers and in fact, they did not even have ‘Hundis’ or collection boxes, because these temples & their functioning were maintained by the rulers too.
Like a tiger which has tasted human blood starts hunting humans, the common man who till then did not want to collect sins by hoarding wealth, started looking for easy ways to earn more and more wealth, only to hoard it & leave it for his future generations. The decline in society, the increase in crime, decline in morality, all can be linked to this greed for wealth. Gradually Ill-gotten wealth too reared its head and a new class of people who were not royals, but wealthy and large landowners, mushroomed. Slowly, the subsequent rulers too started depending on these people and they were respected for their wealth more than for their knowledge. By the time the Britishers’ foothold became strong, people were already used to being bribed. It is a known fact that positions and titles like Rai Bahadur, Dewan, Zamindar, Dafftardar, etc were given to people who sided with the British, did their work and many a times, tattled on the natives and later, freedom fighters. It is also a fact that those who converted to Christianity, did so, not because of cruelty, but because most of the times, they received rewards for such conversion.
When today people make fun of Hindus (actually it cuts across religions in India) who keep ‘mannat’ or pray to God to grant them their wishes in return for a favour, should know that this was not part of our Sanatan Dharm culture. Our Gods do not require a bribe to bless people. Those who complain that Marwaris, Punjabis or Gujaratis or traders are great hoarders, should understand that they were the ones most affected by the invasions and the trader classes only were the ones who helped in rebuilding our ancient temples which were destroyed. In fact, protection of Gou-Mata, the holy cow, is also possible because of devotees on one side and the trader class who donate money for this good cause, on the other. When forwards belittling our nature for hoarding gold & bribing Gods come on our phones & on Facebook, do point out that this deed of ours did not destroy any other country unlike the culture of barbarians and slick looters and racists. In fact their rapacious tendencies to loot other countries of their wealth and deprive original inhabitants of their land, has not ceased with time & entire continents like Africa and South America are still bearing the brunt of this ongoing loot.
But time and tide waits for no one. The situation has changed now in India and we should change too. Hoarding unnecessary wealth only destroys the Nation, because only if money flows will the economy of our Nation improve. Today if we want to progress and we want to take all citizens along in the path of progress, we should stop hoarding, pay our taxes and help in Nation building. Creating black money through a parallel economy only deprives us of the facilities that we could all enjoy together as a Nation – like infrastructure, clean roads, secure borders, world class education and health facilities at nominal rates, etc. Hoarding wealth is the easiest way to spoil our future generation by making them lazy. When the impetus to succeed through one’s own efforts is not there, how can inventions and brain-storming take place? Look around, how many 2nd or 3rd generation politicians or businessmen are doing as well as the 1st generation entrepreneur or statesman? Very, very few!
Let us now move to a new future, let us all build our nation with pride, let us rediscover our Cultural Heritage and become Vasudaiva Kutumbakam once more. Let us give up on hoarding and start helping the needy. May Maa Bharati help us become once more, the land where people shine in their knowledge and effort. Jai Hind !!!