June 11, 2021
Question: Will it be possible for the Indians to improve the economy of their country with the help of the practical, all-uniting idea of yoga, one day?
Swami Venkatesananda: this is not an isolated Indian problem, it is a global problem. We are called Indians only outside India, especially where Indians are not very much liked or wanted! Within India itself, all are not treated as Indians by one another — either they are South Indians or North Indians, Bengalis or Biharis, etc., till you come right down to 'my' family and 'his' family. Hence we treat the 'Indian problem' as if it is the problem only for the Indians to worry about, and they that are not actually affected treated as if it is the problem of only those that are actually affected — the poor, starving, suffering people. This negligence in due course leads to violent and revolutionary changes. Instead, if we cultivate 'humanity' and look upon all human beings, sharing the problems of all human beings everywhere, there would be no hunger, no poverty, and perhaps there would be no wastage of food and subsidizing of the farmer not to produce more food in other parts of the world.
Yet, man will accumulate wealth and strive his utmost to obtain more. My Gurudev, Swami Sivananda, once said, “Even sannyasis (swamis) need money nowadays." Again, our Scriptures insisted we should produce more food and more wealth. Yet again, one is unable to resist the temptation to regard that 'earned' (often by exploitation) wealth as his own and to look with suspicion upon anyone who asks for a share of it.
Gurudev suggested the way out of this tangle: "Consider that you are only the trustee of the wealth that has been entrusted to you by God." You are certainly not going to take it away with you when you leave this world! So why make yourself and others miserable by hoarding it? Do not bring in silly 'philosophical arguments' to support your miserliness: e.g. "Charity promotes laziness," "Let him suffer the consequences of his own past evil actions (karma)." Put yourself in the other man's position, sincerely and truly.
What would you expect? Compassion? Be compassionate. Turn accursed wealth into a great blessing by sharing it with all.