16.13-14 – Beware of the universal solvent that dissolves everything including us
Today’s materialistic culture provokes us into seeing everything in monetary terms: “There are so many good-looking things that I could enjoy if only I had enough money.”
Such a money-centered worldview leads to ominous consequences because greed for money acts sinisterly, devouring everything that blocks its way. It reduces to nothing one’s spirituality, morality, even basic human sensitivity.
Disconcertingly, this reduction usually happens not through a visible violent destruction, but an invisible insidious dissolution. Greed makes money into a universal solvent that dissolves everything else into nothing. A soluble solid placed in a solvent appears to be ok initially but it is actually dissolving away with every passing moment. Similarly, when we expose ourselves to a culture that values money over everything else, that exposure dissolves away everything else that we value.
The more thorough the dissolution of the higher values of life, the more distorted and perverted become the actions of the person. So much so that they even violently attack or destroy others, as the Bhagavad-gita (16.13-14) outlines.
We may feel that we would never become so perverse. Even if this is true – and there’s no guarantee that it is, given the dissolving and deluding power of greed, still we will almost certainly destroy one person: we ourselves. An inevitable victim of our obsession with money is our spiritual awareness: the remembrance that we are souls who can find lasting happiness only in loving and serving Krishna. The culture’s insistent fixation on money pushes spirituality from the top of our priority list to the rock bottom.
Only by regularly placing ourselves physically in a devotional culture that values Krishna over everything else including money and striving to carry that culture’s values in our heart can we build an insoluble core that protects our sacred values.
The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy.”