If Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth, why are Hindus so poor?
From Geeta Mataji:
Transcription by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Edited by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Question : If Hindus worship Lakshmi who is the Godess of wealth and fortune then why are most hindus most poor ?
Answer: Because of many reasons, primarily because of those people who believed in their own superiority of religion that is the muslims and the Christians have exploited india for centuries and for a millennia and have destroyed much of its wealth. This question is asked by Gita mataji based on the propaganda of a militant Christian preacher. I will answer this at various levels. But the start is if you want to play a blame game, if you want to do name calling then those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. The believers that there is only one God and only one way to that God those are the people who have primarily destroyed india. It was Lord macule came to india and it is not a long time ago, centuries ago, he says that I have travelled along the length and breadth of India and such character I have seen! I have not seen a single beggar in this country. This is not some follower of the vedic tradition wanting to promote one’s own tradition and saying like this. It is a person who was hostile to the vedic tradition and he is admitting what he actually saw. This was like the prosperity of India just a few centuries ago. If you look at the history of the world few countries have been so repeatedly and so violently invaded by foreign attackers as has been india. Even if you look at the last one millennia itself, there has been Islamic invaders who invaded from various parts of Asia. Some came from the north , some came from the north west, some came from the west itself. So despite these centuries of invasion practically by waves upon waves of the invaders, still india maintains its prosperity. Some of the invaders are not satisfied with invading alone, they decided to rule over here, they stayed here and ruled over here. They found the country so beautiful they stayed over here. Now again when the Britishers came over here actually it was not the Britishers alone. There were multiple countries who tried- Portuguese, French all tried to gain control over India. If India would have been a land teaming with beggars who would be fighting wars to acquire it? India was filled with wealth. This is acknowledged even by western historians in the books like “the wonder that was India”. The point is India was a prosperous country as long as it was following the principles of dharma and as long as it was not possessed by invaders. Especially during the British rule the exploitation that was done on India in various ways was devastating. The system of self-sufficient villagers was disrupted and destroyed for the sake of promoting the commercial good of the mills and the factories which the British Govt was starting. For example Dhaka was famous as a centre where hand woven textiles were made. Dhaka was the part of India at that time and the Britishers wanted to sell the cloth that was being manufactured at Manchester and other places, what did they do? On one command they sent the soldiers to Dhaka and on one command the thumbs of the weavers’ were cut off and there was a trip of their livelihood. These are just some examples of the ways in which the natural economy and the self sufficiency of the system which is the basis of the prosperity was destructed and devastated. So going further if we see that, yes the Britishers did some good work- they established railways, they did certain things but that was primarily to promote their commercial good. Overall the result was that India was devastated under the British rule. Now you may say British has nothing to do with Christianity but yes most of them were Christians and they wanted to westernise, modernise and Christianise india. Certainly the Christian values were at work where they thought that hindus are anyways worshipers of false Gods then they can be delivered or they can be destroyed. So I am simplifying things over here. This is a slightly rough description of things, they thought that they were well-wishers of Indians but despite their good intentions overall result was that India was financially devastated because of the plundering that happened during the BritishRaj. Rather than blaming Hinduism for the poverty of India, those Christian preacher who now try to reap profit from India’s poverty by making propaganda like this Ohh Indians are poor so their God must be a false God otherwise they wouldn’t be so poor, they need to remember that it is largely the believes of their own predecessors, their own previous generations that they were having the true God that destroyed the prosperity of India. This is from the socio- historic point of analysis.
Another point is that yes Lakshmi is the Godess of fortune and those who worship they do get Lakshmi. But the point is that she has to be worshipped properly. Among Christians, there are many Christian sects which consider the mainstream Christianity as deviant. So much of the worship of Lakshmi devi is not according to scripture. It is according to concoction. Such worship will not produce result. The important point is Lakshmi’s grace doesn’t come only in terms of material prosperity. Her grace comes in terms of spiritual prosperity. And that spiritual prosperity and the opportunity of spiritual growth is still abundantly available in India. That is why people from all over the world come to India in search of truth and spiritual wisdom and realization. When we go to vrindavan and Haridwar, thousands and thousands of people are there and why they are coming ? because they are looking for spiritual substance and many of them do get spiritual substance over here. So Lakshmi devi’s ultimate wealth is not just material prosperity but it is spiritual prosperity. The spiritual knowledge and realization is still available in abundance despite the poverty. And one aspect of worshiping god is also to do one’s duties. So actually its not just that you worship Lakshmi and get everything magical. When there is proper Govt, proper organisation and proper administration that also plays a role in the prosperity. Just like some of the Christians who are protestants and who believe in the prosperity theology- it is the idea that ‘ by worshipping God one will get prosperity. Indirectly their idea is that prosperity is the proof of the reality of our devotion to God. Because we are prosperous, we are actually devoted to God and our God is the true God. He has granted us prosperity. This prosperity theology which many Christian protestant theologists follow which led to the ethic of working in America and developing America. It was the protestants who went from Europe to America. The point is that it was not that they just worship God, they also work hard. They were good organisers and their organisation and planning which led to the development of America. It is not that just the worship of God produces prosperity. Worship of God is important but along with that one also has to do one’s duties. Then prosperity comes. There is dharma and artha. Dharma, artha kama is there but dharma is not just doing religious activity. Dharma also means doing one’s duties in terms of prescribed duties. So to the extent Indians take up the responsibility of their own family’s prosperity but looking beyond, at the nations’s well being; the natural resources of the country are still there. Utilized properly it can be more prosperous.
First of all philosophically the idea is that because India is poor so Lakshmi is not the Goddess of fortune, Lakshmi must be a false Goddess, this itself must be a philosophically suspect conclusion. Because there has to be a consideration of socio-historical context, there has to be consideration of the method of worship and the consideration of current socio political administrative structure. Only when all of these are taken into consideration then we can understand whether Lakshmi is the Goddess of fortune or not. And if still we want to say and go beyond that then we may look at the question that- despite having such poverty still India is continuing on and not only that India has produced people who are outstanding in many ways and many fields. And despite all the attacks and exploitations and plundering that has happened in india the resilience of india not just survival but growth and prosperity which is there and being characterised in india that itself could be seen as a blessing of Lakshmi devi. So basically there is no point in playing this game of trying to prove that some God is false just because of some fictitious reasons like that. Thank you. Hare Krishna.