The value of what we drive doesn’t matter as much as the values that drive us

We live in a materialistic culture that determines our stature by externals such as the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the phones we use.

Such externals can show our outer wealth, but not our inner wealth. Inner wealth refers to the values we cherish. As long as our values are materialistic, the craving to get externals keeps us forever discontented, no matter how much outer wealth we have. But if our values are spiritual, we value our consciousness and strive to elevate it by realizing our spiritual core and our loving connection with our indwelling Lord. By such realization, we find lasting fulfillment. Thus, the values that drive us determine our happiness far more than the value of what we drive.

Moreover, worldly infatuation can impel us to pursue externals at great costs – not just financial, but also ethical. The Bhagavad-gita (16.14) outlines how the materialistic worldview of the ungodly makes them degenerate from covetous to murderous: to get to the top, they remorselessly destroy their competitors. Such extremes may seem far away from what we would ever do. Still, this verse serves as a cautionary note about the power of materialism to deform our character.

This doesn’t mean that driving something valuable will degenerate the values that drive us – it just means that we need to examine and elevate our driving values. We can cultivate higher values by studying time-honored spiritual texts such as the Gita. The Gita reminds us that as the material is peripheral to our core identity, material things can offer fleeting titillation at best – only by realizing our spiritual nature can we relish enduring happiness.

When we thus let spiritual values drive us, we find deep inner fulfillment independent of the value of what we drive.

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The Gita’s concluding prophecy answers its starting enquiry
Desires go away not by gratification or repression but by purification
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