Don’t let the wealth without wipe out the wealth within
Our thoughts determine our inner wealth level. When materialism drives us, our thoughts obsess over outer things, gradually impelling us to indiscriminate actions.
The Bhagavad-gita (16.13-15) outlines how greed makes people merciless mercenaries. Significantly, that description of the mercenary mentality is preceded (16.11) and succeeded (16.16) with caveats that greed tears us apart with anxiety. No matter how much outer wealth we acquire, anxiety about getting what we want and protecting what we have makes us feel insecure, incomplete, impoverished. Over time, obsession with outer wealth can even wipe out our inner wealth.
Thankfully, inner wealth is not difficult to secure – we become enriched when our thoughts start focusing on a satisfying subject. The best such subject is Krishna, whose all-attractive nature makes contemplation on him pacifying and fulfilling. However, our thoughts can’t rest in him as long as they are enamored with externals.
Introspection can reveal that our thoughts determine our happiness far more than our possessions. Yet, we hardly ever introspect – instead, we ignorantly value our bank balance far more than our thought balance. The Gita counters this ignorance by providing us spiritual knowledge to gain the inner wealth of devotion, thereby relishing peace and bliss. Moreover, its bhakti wisdom harmonizes the material with the spiritual. So, to cultivate devotion, we don’t have to give up external things – we just need to give the internal due priority. The Gita (11.33) assures Arjuna that if he becomes an instrument of the divine, he will enjoy a flourishing kingdom.
When we prioritize devotion, we find the inner stability to cope with the uncertainties innate to the pursuit of worldly things. More importantly, devotion grants us the inner clarity to strive intelligently for acquiring material resources and for using them for our and others’ ultimate good.
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