02.41 – A business that is more serious than business
We take few things as seriously as business. Money usually makes the lazy active; the frivolous serious; the nonconformists conformists.
In marked contrast to our zealous pursuit of money is our casual pursuit of devotion. We frequently use the reason “I didn’t feel like doing it” to explain why we didn’t stick to our devotional commitments, though we would rarely use that reason for explaining why we didn’t stick to our professional commitments.
If we consider financial matters too important to be left to our mind’s feelings, then why do we consider spiritual matters less important?
It is due to our spiritual shortsightedness; we are unable to see beyond our short-term this-life concerns to our long-term next-life concerns.
Gita wisdom helps cure our myopia by clearly explaining how we are not our bodies but are souls on a multi-life journey. We take money seriously because we often think that it is a matter of life or death. The Gita’s multi-life perspective enables us to see why the pursuit of devotion is a business more serious than business: devotion is a matter of eternal life or repeated deaths. If we cultivate devotion seriously, we return to Krishna’s eternal abode. If we don’t, we continue in the cycle of birth and death for many, many lifetimes – till we finally take devotion seriously.
Those with such philosophical far-sightedness cultivate devotion determinedly, as is conveyed by the word vyavasaayatmika-buddhi (determined intelligence) used in the Bhagavad-gita (2.41). The word vyvasaaya also means “business,” especially in the vernacular languages that have emerged from Sanskrit. This meaning suggests that we invest our spiritual pursuits with a businesslike seriousness. If we thus become serious spiritual entrepreneurs, we will get a reward far greater than that available to the best material entrepreneurs: eternal devotional enrichment.