Obsession can make the covetous murderous

The greed that is present in all human hearts makes us covet for more and more things, way beyond what we need.

Such greed, though normal, is undesirable, because it keeps us dissatisfied. However, when greed escalates to the level of obsession, it becomes especially dangerous because it blinds us to everything else. In the mad race to get what we covet, we don’t consider the price it extorts from us – not just the money, time, and energy we expend, but also the values we compromise.

Our values reflect what we value, or at least what we want to value. Thus, if non-violence is one of our values, then even if we may make various schemes to get what we covet, we won’t let those schemes extend to attacking others physically.

However, when our craving for something becomes an obsession, our mind inflates that thing’s value disproportionately. With such distorted perception, we become ready to violate our own values to fulfill that obsession. Highlighting how such distortion can assume ghastly forms, the Bhagavad-gita (16.14) cautions that those obsessed with wealth can stoop even to the level of murdering their rivals.

Most of us would shudder at such dastardly acts. Yet these monstrosities lie at the bottom of a slippery slope down which we all are vulnerable to slide as long as we adhere to a materialistic worldview. Why? Because materialism makes us believe that matter is all that matters. When matter is our supreme value, our pursuit for particular material things can subvert our other values.

When we internalize a spiritual worldview, we understand that we are souls, eternal parts of Krishna, who are meant for an unending life of love with him. And when regular bhakti practice makes Krishna our supreme value, the resulting divine absorption comprises the best protection from degrading obsessions.

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