Revolution Against Greed – Part 1

“Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold?…
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed,
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: this is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again.”
(Timon of Athens)

Thus spoke Shakespeare long ago. The levels of greed seen during his era (of the early days of British colonial capitalism) have rapidly metastasized in our age and this cancer is now threatening the very existence of human beings on this planet.

Greed is a predominant innate propensity of humanity. When this propensity becomes an obsession and crushes all conscience and causes mass suffering in society it is called capitalism. If we do not stop the juggernaut of capitalism, not only will countless plant and animal species die, but this planet will no longer be capable of sustaining life due to the destruction of the soil, pollution and the war to slaughter all trees on this planet.

Capitalism was there in India but the modern, western form of extremely destructive plunder came to India on June 23rd, 262 years ago when the East India Company conquered Bengal. The greed of Clive and other Britishers was so violent that 15 years later there was a massive famine in Bengal and eastern India in which 10 million people died.

Since the western capitalist attack on India began in Bengal, it is only fitting that Shrii Prabhat R. Sarkar, the Preceptor of PROUT in the early 1960s launched a PROUT movement for the economic and cultural liberation of Bengal.

Understanding Greed

In Yoga Psychology, greed is a propensity (vrtti) of the anáhata cakra at the centre of the chest. A cakra is a psychic centre that is associated with various glands and subglands. The under-secretion or over-secretion of these glands is related to the increasing and decreasing dominance of particular propensities over the mind. The excess secretion of testosterone leads to the development in this cakra of feelings of universal love and yearnings to transform this world into a paradise of freedom, equality and justice. By specific types of meditation this cakra can be controlled and purified leading one to experience the spiritual bliss (samadhi) of divine love. It is the force of this love that alone can liberate this planet.

Shrii Sarkar explains how greed is produced saying,

If people voluntarily rub their limbs, with or without reason, their bodies immediately get heated and start sweating. This is self-generated heat in the physical sphere. Similarly, if people think of something exciting for a long period, say, if they think of their enemies for a long time, or if their minds are influenced by thoughts of greed for a long time, their mental bodies become heated and there is a temporary functional dissociation between the nerve cells and nerve fibres. In that case people lose their discrimination and become slaves of their passions. This is self-generated heat in the mental sphere. (SHIVOPADESHA 3, Namah Shiváya Shántáya)

The realisation of the dangers of greed is a part of the legacy of Indian civilisation. As Bhishma warns the moralist ruler Yudhishthira in the Mahabharata.

pápasya yad adhiśt́hánaḿ tac chrńuśva narádhipa
eko lobho mahágráho lobhát pápaḿ pravartate.
atah pápam adharmash ca tathá duhkham anuttamam
nikrtyá múlam etad dhi yena pápakrto janáh.
lobhát krodhah prabhavati lobhát kámah pravartate
lobhán mohash ca máyá ca mánastambhah parásutá.
akśamá hriiparityágah shriinásho dharmasaḿkśayah
abhidhyá prajiṋatá caeva sarvaḿ lobhát pravartate.
anyáyash cá vitarkash ca vikarmasu ca yáh kriyáh
kút́avidyádayash caeva rúpaeshvaryamadas tathá.
sarvabhúteshv avishvásah sarvabhúteśv anárjavam
sarvabhúteśv abhidrohah sarvabhúteśv ayuktatá
harańaḿ paravittánáḿ paradárábhimarshanam.
vág vego mánaso vego nindá vegas tathaeva ca
upasthodarayor vego mrtyuvegash ca dáruńah.
iirśyá vegash ca balaván mithyávegash ca dustyajah
rasavegash ca durvárah shrotravegash ca duhsahah.
kutsá vikatthá mátsaryaḿ pápaḿ duśkarakáritá
sáhasánáḿ ca sarveśám akáryáńáḿ kriyás tathá.
játao bálye’tha kaomáre yaovane cápi mánavah
na saḿtyajaty átmakarma yan na jiiryati jiiryatah.
yo na púrayituḿ shakyo lobhah práptyá kurúdvaha
nityaḿ gambhiiratoyábhir ápagábhir ivodadhih
na prahrśyati lábhaer yo yash ca kámaer na trpyati.
yo na devaer na gandharvaer násuraer na mahoragaeh
jiṋáyate nrpa tattvena sarvaer bhútagańaes tathá
sa lobhah saha mohena vijetavyo jitátmaná.
dambho drohash ca nindá ca paeshunyaḿ matsaras tathá
bhavanty etáni kaoravya lubdhánám akrtátmanám.
sumahánty api shástráńi dhárayanti bahushrutáh
chettárah saḿshayánáḿ ca klishyantiihálpa buddhayah.
dveśakrodhaprasaktásh ca shiśt́ácára bahiśkrtáh
antah kśurá ván madhuráh kúpásh channás trńaer iva
dharmavaetaḿsikáh kśudrá muśńanti dhvajino jagat.
kurvate ca bahún márgáḿs táḿs tán hetubaláshritáh
sarvaḿ márgaḿ vilumpanti lobhájiṋáneśu niśt́hitáh.
dharmasyáhriyamáńasya lobhagrastaer durátmabhih
yáyá vikriyate saḿsthá tatah sábhiprapadyate.
darpah krodho madah svapno harśah shoko’timánitá
tata eva hi kaoravya drshyante lubdha buddhiśu
etán ashiśt́án budhyasva nityaḿ lobhasamanvitán. (XII.153)

Hear, O King, what the foundation is of sin and vice. Greed alone is a great destroyer (of merit and goodness). From greed proceeds sin or vice. It is from this source that sin and vice and Adharma [unrighteousness] flow, together with great misery. This greed is the spring of also all the cunning and hypocrisy in the world. It is greed that makes men commit sin.

From greed proceeds wrath; from greed flows lust, and it is from greed that loss of judgment, deception, pride, arrogance, and malice, as also vindictiveness, shamelessness, loss of prosperity, loss of virtue, anxiety, and infamy spring, miserliness, cupidity, desire for every kind of improper act, pride of birth, pride of learning, pride of beauty, pride of wealth, pitilessness for all creatures, malevolence towards all, mistrust in respect of all, insincerity towards all, appropriation of other people’s wealth, ravishment of other people’s wives, harshness of speech, anxiety, propensity to speak ill of others, violent craving for the indulgence of lust, gluttony, liability to premature death, violent propensity towards malice, irresistible liking for falsehood, unconquerable appetite for indulging in the passions, insatiable desire for indulging the ear [in slanderous gossip], evil-speaking, boastfulness, arrogance, non-doing of duties, rashness, and perpetration of every kind of evil act,–all these proceed from greed.

In life, men are unable, whether infants or youth or adults, to abandon greed. Such is the nature of greed that it never decays even with the decay of life. Like the ocean that can never be filled by the constant discharge of even innumerable rivers of immeasurable depths, greed is incapable of being gratified by acquisitions to any extent. The greed, however, which is never gratified by acquisitions and satiated by the accomplishment of desires, that which is not known in its real nature by the gods, the Gandharvas, the Asuras, the great snakes, and, in fact, by all classes of beings, that irresistible passion, along with that folly which invites the heart to the unrealities of the world, should ever be conquered by a person of cleansed soul. Pride, malice, slander, crookedness, and incapacity to hear other people’s good, are vices, O descendant of Kuru, that are to be seen in persons of uncleansed soul under the domination of greed. Even persons of great learning who bear in their minds all the voluminous scriptures, and who are competent to dispel the doubts of others, show themselves in this respect to be of weak understanding and feel great misery in consequence of this passion.

Greedy men are wedded to envy and anger. They are outside the pale of good behaviour. Of crooked hearts, the speeches they utter are sweet. They resemble, therefore, dark pits whose mouths are covered with grass. They attire themselves in the hypocritical cloak of religion. Of low minds, they rob the world, setting up (if need be) the standard of religion and virtue. Relying upon the strength of apparent reasons, they create diverse kinds of schisms in religion. Intent upon accomplishing the purposes of cupidity, they destroy the ways of righteousness. When wicked-souled persons under the domination of greed apparently practise the duties of righteousness, the consequence that results is that the desecrations committed by them soon become current among men. Pride, anger, arrogance, insensibility, paroxysms of joy and sorrow, and self-importance, all these, O descendant of Kuru, are to be seen in persons swayed by greed. Know that they who are always under the influence of greed are wicked.

Greed thus is the root cause of all social vices and thus it is not surprising that capitalist societies are ripe with social and psychological diseases such as discrimination based on racism, casteism, religion, species-ism and economic class. In so-called educated and developed capitalist societies these diseases become a terror to humanity.

Many social scientists claim that these social diseases are caused due to ignorance. However, Bhishma further explains to Yuddhishthira that the root of ignorance is also greed and that these twin evils produce each other.

Rágo dveśas tathá moho harśah śoko’bhimánitá
kámah krodhaś ca darpaś ca tandriir álasyam eva ca.
icchá dveśas tathá tápah paravrddhy upatápitá
ajiṋánam etan nirdiśt́aḿ pápánáḿ caeva yáh kriyáh.
etayá yá pravrttiś ca vrddhyádiin yáḿś ca prcchasi
vistareńa mahábáho śrńu tac ca viśáḿ pate.
ubháv etao samaphalao samadośao ca bhárata
ajiṋánaḿ cátilobhaś cápy ekaḿ jániihi párthiva.
lobhaprabhavam ajiṋánaḿ vrddhaḿ bhúyah pravardhate
stháne sthánaḿ kśaye kśaeńyam upaeti vividháḿ gatim.
múlaḿ lobhasya mahatah kálátma gatir eva ca
chinne ‘cchinne tathá lobhe kárańaḿ kála eva hi.
tasyájiṋánát tu lobho hi lobhád ajiṋánam eva ca
sarve dośás tathá lobhát tasmál lobhaḿ vivarjayet.
pratyakśaḿ tu kuruśreśt́ha tyaja lobham ihátmaná
tyaktvá lobhaḿ sukhaḿ loke pretya cánucariśyasi.

Attachment, hate, loss of judgment, joy, sorrow, vanity, lust, anger, pride, procrastination, idleness, desire, aversion, jealousy, and all other sinful acts are all known by the common name of ignorance. Hear now, O king, in detail, about its tendency, growth and other features after which thou enquirest. These two viz., ignorance and greed, know, O king, are the same (in substance). Both are productive of the same fruits and same faults, O Bharata! Ignorance has its origin in greed. As greed grows, ignorance also grows. Ignorance exists there where greed exists. As greed decreases, ignorance also decreases. It rises with the rise of greed. Manifold again is the course that it takes.

The root of greed is loss of judgment. Loss of judgment, again, is its inseparable attribute. Eternity is ignorance’s course. The time when ignorance appears is when objects of greed are not won. From one’s ignorance proceeds greed, and from the latter proceeds ignorance. (Greed, therefore, is both the cause and consequence of ignorance). Greed is productive of all. For these reasons, everyone should avoid greed… You should also in the sight of all persons, avoid greed by a strong resolution, O chief of the Kurus! Avoiding greed thou shalt obtain happiness both here and in the next world.

The reason the Pandavas were chosen by Lord Krsna for the mission of establish the rule of sublime righteousness (Dharma rajya) was because they were freed to a great extent from the bondage of greed. For example when the fearful King Dhrtarashtra offer Draopadi two boons, she asks for the liberation of her husbands from servitude to his sons, the Kaoravas. When told to ask for a third boon for her own welfare, she refuses saying,

Lobho Dharmasya náśáya. (II.63.34)

Greed destroys all integrity, morality and spirituality.

This doctrine of the Mahabharata Age was however not followed by later scholars. In contrast to the Dharmayuddha (war of righteousness), the Arthasastra of Chanakya follows kutayuddha (war of deceit). The text was written during an age when wealthy merchants were a powerful force in society. Unsurprisingly the so-called sage Prasara says (I.7.7) in this book that Artha is the root of Dharma and Kama.

What does this mean? It means that material prosperity, power and wealth (Artha) is the foundation of material pleasure (Kama). This may seem to be common sense but is often not in fact the truth. When one’s mind becomes devoured by greed often one is unwilling or unable to enjoy one’s stolen wealth. Thus often rich people become misers hoarding wealth like snakes hoarding jewels.

But what is most dangerous about this doctrine given in the Arthasastra is that the foundation of moral courage, integrity and spirituality (Dharma) is said to be Artha or wealth. In other words only the middle-class people are righteous and only the rich and filthy rich are supremely righteous and saintly people (Dharmik).

This vile doctrine is actually the belief of capitalists around the world. The Neo-conservatives who control the American Empire believe that poor people and nations are corrupted by poverty and hence are incapable of leading the global community.

In actual fact, throughout history, the truly saintly and righteous people have lived and served humanity while living in poverty. However, the capitalists propagate their doctrine to the public that those who are rich are noble as seen in numerous propaganda news items about Bill Gates and Mukesh Ambani.

Many of these rich leeches and their politician-servants talk piously about the Gita and try to force all to worship it. However, in the Gita itself, Krsna clearly says

Bhogaeshvarya-prasaktánáḿ, tayápahṛita-cetasám
vyavasáyátmiká buddhih samádhau na vidhiiyate. (II.44)

Those who are obsessed and clinging to material enjoyment and occult powers or gurudom. Those who are pervaded by strong business (capitalist) desires (of wealth), deceit (business deals) and determined (greed) – their minds (intellect, conscience) can never become established in Samadhi (blissful spiritual trance of merger with Consciousness).

Furthermore, even Chanakya wanted society to be ruled not by voracious capitalists but instead by imperialist kings manipulated by priests/intellectuals.

“Chanakya said that a business person who becomes extremely rich is harmful to the state. If a king finds that somebody has become extremely wealthy, he should reduce the person’s wealth and property by imposing direct and indirect taxes on them. If he does not do this, the vaeshyas [merchants, capitalists] may destroy the structure of the government unless they can make it the tool of their exploitation. Chanakya also said that if the imposition of taxes faels to stop or control extremely wealthy vaeshyas, the king should poison them to death through a secret agent. These are indeed strong recommendations, but in that age of social darkness there was no alternative. Vaeshyas received the good advice that their responsibility was to earn money and undertake charity, not to hoard wealth.” (Various Occupations, Human Society)

We see the firm rejection of even this limited indulgence of capitalists by Lord Krsna. During the final attempt for peace, Krsna clearly warned King Dhrtarashtra of the danger of pursuing material power and prosperity while violating Dharma.

{PUT THIS QUOTE AND TRANSLATION IN BOX}

Indriyaeh prasrrito lobháddharmaḿ viprajaháti yah
kámárthávanupáyena lipsamáno vinashyati.
kámárthao lipsamánastu dharmameváditashcharet*
na hi dharmádapaetyarthah kámo vápi kadáchana.
upáyaḿ dharmameváhustrivargasya visháḿ pate
lipsamáno hi tenáshu kakśe.agniriva vardhate.
sa tvaḿ tátánupáyena lipsase bharatarśabha
ádhirájyaḿ mahaddiiptaḿ prathitaḿ sarvarájasu.
átmánaḿ takśati hyeśa vanaḿ parashuná yathá
yah samyagvartamáneśu mithyá rájanpravartate.
na tasya hi matiḿ cindyádyasya nechcetparábhavam
avichcinnasya dhiirasya kalyáńe dhiiyate matih.
tyaktátmánaḿ na bádheta triśu lokeśu bhárata
apyanyaḿ prákrritaḿ kiṋcitkimu tánpáńd́avarśabhán. (V.124)

The fool that from temptation giveth up virtue and pursueth greed and material cravings by unrighteous (non-Dharmik) means, is soon destroyed by his senses. He that seeks wealth and material enjoyment, should yet practise Dharma at the outset, for neither profit nor enjoyment is (really) dissociated from Dharma.

O king, it hath been said that Dharma alone is the cause of the three, for he that seeketh the three, may, by the aid of Dharma alone, grow like fire when brought into contact with a heap of dry grass. O bull of Bharata’s race, thou seek, O sire, by unrighteous means this extensive empire, flourishing with prosperity and well-known to all the monarchs of the earth. O king, he that behaves falsely towards those that live and conduct themselves righteously, certainly chops down his own self, like a forest with an axe.

One must not seek to confound his understanding whose overthrow one doth not like, for, if one’s understanding is confounded, one can never devote his attention to what is beneficial. One that hath his soul under control never, O Bharata, disregards anybody in the three worlds,–no, not even the commonest creature, far less those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu (the Pandavas).

Here Krsna clearly warns the king of one of the big Aryan empires in India, that in fact this empire is built on Adharma – on immoral looting of the wealth and freedom of the innocent Adi Bharatiyas (indigenous Indians). During this time, the Aryan imperialists conquered Bihar and were striving to conquer Bengal and South India. However, these empires and later empires like the Maurya Empire, as well as the western and Chinese Empires were built upon rapacious looting, starving and killing of countless innocent people. Countries like India today yearn to be a superpower and form their own military and exploitative empire.

The Mahabharata of Lord Krsna was different indeed. During the Rajasayujya expeditions, the Pandavas made the kings commit to the united India but did not colonise these lands and instead left them in the hands of local moralist kings.

Lord Shiva was even more vehement against the culture of greed as he fought the Aryan imperialists who had just begun to conquer India and enslave the local people. As Shri Sarkar explains this eternal truth of yesterday and especially today,

“The irrational thirst for acquisition of material things is termed “greed”; whereas the endeavour to assimilate things in the spiritual world is harmless and blameless. And the attempt to assimilate something in the psychic world, if it is directed towards the welfare of humanity, is also harmless. Otherwise, it pollutes the minds of people and makes them intolerant: it leads to conflicts between dogmas and theories and degrades people to the level of animality…

“And in the present day also, we witness clashes between one theory and another, which caose no less bloodshed; rather the bloodshed is greater than before. The degree of intolerance has increased immeasurably. People have lost faith in their fellow human beings; one state has lost faith in other states. In all spheres of life these days, people think one thing, say another thing, and do something entirely different. That is, hypocrisy is now at its peak.

“Now the question is: What is the motivation behind this? It is the tendency to assimilate ideas without the spirit of welfare – and, still more than this, the tendency to acquire the objects of material enjoyment in ever-increasing quantities.

“So whether in the material world or in the intellectual world, the predominant tendency that makes today’s people, both individually and collectively, rush headlong without control, is the instinct of greed. The propensity of greed, if not controlled by rationality, or benevolent intellect, or spiritual practices, will lead to premature death. Nothing can save human beings from this. This instinct of greed has brought the present humanity to such a state that people no longer consider anything as sinful. Rather, they consider the ‘sin psychology’ as a mental weakness, and the worst of sins are being glorified as the height of intellect, not only indirectly, but also openly.

“The omniscient Shiva observed the rampant expansion of materialism and its dangerous consequences and clearly stated,

Lobhah pápasya hetubhútah
[Greed is the root cause of all sins and vices.]
(Shivokti 5, Namah Shiváya Shántáya)

These words are so true today. Every year the number of wars, the number or refugees, the number of caste, religious and racial killings increases. But the root cause is greed. And we need a revolution against greed.

This greed must be fought first in our own minds by meditation. Only then can we overcome the ignorance, sins and violence arising from greed in our society. And when we pursue the path of morality and meditation in our capitalist society we will face obstacles from all sides. Only by triumphing over these obstacles by our moral courage and only by triumphing against (sublimating) our inner propensities and focusing all our mental energy on our innermost Self by meditation – only by this can we triumph in our personal struggle against greed – against our inner capitalist – the capitalist tendencies of our own minds. As Shrii Sarkar explains,

“Similarly, the avidyá [ignorance] force declares war on those whose desire or inclination is towards vidyá [enlightenment]; this gives rise to a hostile tendency in the recesses of their minds, against which they have to struggle. At home the husband, wife or the other members of the family become dissatisfied with them, and create various obstacles. In the field of their activities the opportunities arise for depravity, meanness, bribes etc., and they have to maintain their self-control. The locusts of desires come swarming in to destroy the very bud of their sádhaná.

“So they must carefully avoid such temptations for their own safety. But those whose movement is truly towards vidyá, who are determined to follow the path of vidyá by sacrificing their all, will eventually become immune to all obstacles. No amount of scornful taunts or diatribes will be able to check their lightning speed. They will emerge victorious, weathering and defying all storms, and eventually stand firm and erect like the Himalayas; and the storms and squalls will rebound back in disappointment. For the bud will certainly not remain the same bud forever, will it?

“When the Sádhaka or the spiritual aspirant will stand untrammelled and resolute, with the courage of his conviction, and self-confidence, all snags and dangers will gradually wither away – will timidly disappear from his path. Thus shall proclaim the Sádhaka [spiritual aspirant] thunderingly to the obstacles and dangers, “You do your work and I will do mine. I have no road behind to retrace my footsteps.” What fear of loss there can be for those who have sacrificed their all for the attainment of their goal? At whose threatening finger will they stop short?”

Conclusion

In the second part of this article, we explore the vile greed that is poisoning our society and our democracy today. How this is leading to extreme exploitation and the re-colonization of India and other so-called free nations by foreign corporate.

Finally, we will understand how it is our Dharmic duty to launch a Dharma Yuddha to liberate India and this entire planet from the true terrorism – the capitalism which is starving, destroying and killing so many innocent beings on this planet.

Part 2 of this article

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