Why are Spiritualists Against Material Ambitions?
Short Answer: Spiritualists are not against material ambitions; they are against our granting materialism a monopoly on our ambitions.
All of us are naturally ambitious to do something wonderful. But not all of us realize that we have not freely or objectively chosen our definition of what is wonderful; our definition is shaped, even determined, by what people around us consider wonderful. As our mainstream culture is largely materialistic, we subconsciously equate ‘wonderful achievement’ with ‘materialistic achievement.’
But does this subconscious equalization withstand conscious scrutiny? Let’s find out:
1. Might materialistic achievements be not so wonderful?
All materialistic achievements are:
- Scarce: We want to be number one in our field, but the number of people who can be number one is one.
- Short-lived: Even if we become number one, others will soon end our reign at the top. As records are made to be broken, so are the hearts that seek their happiness in records.
- Superficial: Even if we stay briefly at the top, will that stay do anything more than bloat our egos? Will it satisfy our hearts? Our hearts long for love, so it is agonizing to discover that people love the top spot far more than the topper.
Thus, materialistic achievements are not so wonderful: there’s no guarantee that we will achieve the top reward, but there’s guarantee that, even if we achieve it, it won’t satisfy us.
2. Might non-materialistic achievements be wonderful?
Gita wisdom reveals a vast non-material realm where we can find happiness through spiritual love. It informs us that we are souls, beloved children of Krishna and can find life’s greatest happiness by making Krishna the supreme object of our love. Developing this loving relationship with Krishna is life’s most wonderful achievement because it is:
- Abundant (not scarce): Krishna has a place in his heart reserved for each one of us. As he is infinite, so is his heart. That’s why in loving Krishna we don’t have to compete with anyone else for his love or encroach on anyone else’s happiness for our happiness.
- Eternal (not short-lived): As both we as souls and Krishna as the Supreme Soul are eternal, so is our mutual relationship and so is our happiness therein.
- Fulfilling (not superficial): Krishna possesses fully all the endearing qualities that attract our hearts. Moreover, he loves us for what we are, not for what we have. That’s why loving him satisfies our heart like nothing else – completely and perfectly.
Thus, spiritual achievements are far more rewarding than material achievements – and they don’t require us to give up all material achievements. What they do require is that we don’t restrict our ambitiousness to only the material realm.
Is that too much of a demand?