16.21 – Greed makes the wealthy needy
Money, money, money. That’s the supreme goal of life for many people today.
We obviously need money to survive. But is it survival that drives most people towards money?
Not really. It’s happiness, the hope that money will enable them to live the kind of life that they have always longed for.
That longing will take a long time to fulfill. Rest of eternity, in fact.
Why will this hope never be realized?
Because it is based on the illusion created by the greed, the illusion that what we don’t have is what we need to become happy. No matter how much we get, as long as greed holds us in its grip, it will forcibly fix our vision to all that we don’t have. Greed makes the poor crave to be wealthy and the wealthy to be wealthier, the wealthier to be the wealthiest and the wealthiest to be the wealthiest in all of history… ad infinitum.
That’s how greed makes the wealthy into the moneyed poor. Their wealth may make a big difference in their social state, but it makes no difference in their mental state. In fact, the more greed is fed, the more its appetite increases. This make the wealthy crave all the more fiercely for more wealth, thereby escalating their dissatisfaction. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita (16.21) declares greed to be one of the gates of hell; the perpetual dissatisfaction induced by greed makes our inner world into a veritable hell.
What is the way out of the greed trap?
By connecting ourselves with Krishna through devotional service, we can find lasting fulfillment. This enables us to be happy with what we have while also motivating us to do our best to do justice to our talents and share that fulfillment with others.
There are three gates leading to this hell — lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.