“There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger, and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.21)
How did it happen? You were doing so well. Next thing you know, it’s like you got thrown deep into a hole that is impossible to get out from. Immense regret. Promises made to never fall into the trap again. Lesson learned. Message received; I’m moving out of this environment.
Greed is known to destroy. A situation that should have made someone happy didn’t. There was a desire for more. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that greed is one of the gates leading to hell. It should be avoided. Desire should be controlled. There are several triggers, warning signs to keep mind of.
1. The words “limited edition”
Only so many of this particular product will be made. That’s it. No more, no less. Better get your hands on it while you can. The law of supply and demand says that those things which are rare and desired by others will increase in value.
Greed in this situation is the byproduct of the hoarding mentality. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wisely points out that if a bag of food accidentally falls and breaks open in the street, the pigeons will surely come to partake. But they will only take what they need. They will not think to stock up, to grab everything before another pigeon arrives.
With increased intelligence the human being looks beyond the present time period. Yet greed brings little happiness. Even if I secured thousands of the limited edition product, I can’t really tell anyone. They will get jealous. I must keep it to myself, and I will have something to constantly worry over.
Someone else has so much of that particular product, so let me stock up on something else of value. Previously, I didn’t care. I was content with what I had. But I don’t like this person being so proud of what they have. Let me keep pace.
Greed increases in this way, and the result is the same. If I surpass others, then they will become greedy. If I fail to reach them in the race, then I will be disappointed. It shouldn’t really matter what others have, as that does not affect me at all. I have my own life to live.
3. The temporary nature of the world
Knowledge of this should actually bring vairagya, which is detachment. Whatever I work so hard to accumulate, the fruits of my work driven by greed, will eventually wither away. They will be victims to the falling hourglass of time.
Instead, in ignorance I use this as more impetus to feed greed. I don’t have much time, so let me keep chasing. Let me become as rich as possible, before it is too late.
As the material world is a reflection of the spiritual world, and as everything within a person originally comes from God, greed can have another side to it. It can be spiritualized, in a sense. How, exactly?
See the lives of the saints. See what was important to them, how they were renounced from gathering possessions but fully attached in surrendered service to the Divine. The same Krishna who warns against lobha, or greed, is the person to be worshiped. In the purest way, on the highest platform, that worship is without personal desire.
Not that I set up a worshiping routine in order to get something. Not that I put everything together only to fulfill a particular desire. His association is enough. It is the most valuable possession, and it can come through something as simple as sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Let me be greedy for what the saints have. Let me possess a strong desire to keep the image of the Supreme Lord in the mind, where He can be remembered constantly. Such greed will do the most good for me and for others, as the saints have shown.
“Limited edition” words to feed,
Inside me the insatiable greed.
Also when others seeing,
Envy to higher level being.
Or world’s temporary nature recalling,
Hurry now before hourglass falling.
Lives of saints studying and learning,
Real happiness when God’s grace earning.
Categories: the three