Everybody wants to make it big.
Today, laden with ambitions of our fathers, and forefather we carry forward into directions generations ago our ancestors would not have called healthy or wise. Pure greed is now openly masquerading as ambition. Gone are the lofty ideals of previous generations where people looked up to a good man, with strong moral backbone or ethics, a wise one. But now wisdom is seldom promoted only the knowledge crammers.
Look around crime and pollution, environmental, societal, mental and emotional, is clear sign than somewhere in this zeal to climb the economic Top 100 lists, we have bereft ourselves of gems our souls have gained over lifetimes. Kindness, generosity, compassion and empathy. These all appear to signs of weakness today. Heartless, calculating ready to kill competitors is the sign of big man today. But really?
A famous photographer whose work I admired for years, turned out to be a rude woman. A highly evolved and spiritual friend turned out to be ordinary cheater. He was only well read. A renowned Gita teacher I met who give discourses all over the world, secretly hates Muslims, and talks of oneness the very next moment in a class of his. A bold spiritual guru with millions of followers turns out to be an utterly self-conscious person privately. A prominent teacher became insecure with his students.. These examples are common. A seeker who confused her position in the hierarchal structure of a spiritual sect she followed. She thought the trustees of the organizations were Gods and enlightened beings, turns out they are equally prone bias and prejudice.
But the most revelatory experience came to me years ago, when in meditation I connected with recently deceased mother-in-law of an acquaintance. As we started taking and I was asking her about her wealthy son-in-law, whom I really admired for having a successfully career and loads of money. She simply said, “He just made money in his life, nothing else!” It turns out at the soul level how much we make each month is hardly of any consequence. What matters is that we learn our lessons for this lifetime, fulfil our life purpose. And mind you, no one is born with a purpose to just make money. No one. We are all born to grow in this earth school, to challenge ourselves into growth and not blame the world and family members for the ills in our lives. Worse still, they try to change others. That is a perfect recipe for disaster especially in close relationships. For we have closed ourselves to the possibility of growth.
Being a financially poor nation we have chosen getting financially big as the only aim in life. Both nationally and individually. Humble beginnings in small towns or villages receive repeated mention, just as rags to riches stories. Just as migration to big cities and countries followed post-independence and liberalization era. Earlier this ambition was exemplified by the collective desire to view English as a sign of the educated. As if, vernacular or regional languages can’t provide a person proper education. Again misplaced ideals. A legacy of Raj era, perhaps of centuries of bondage. Nowhere do we listen, that migration to light from darkness is newsworthy. Or spiritual richness to the poverty of heart. The warning our ancestors left behind in the form of ancient literature is often ignore for being purely fictitious or just mythology.
A pundit who used to come to our home to do pujas, had a habit of bragging about rich clientele.. Whose son has how many houses or who is in US. Finally he said of a certain client’s son, “He made money too fast, he must be doing something wrong..” Somehow he knew about the corrupt practices the guy was indulging in but financial success seemingly justified everything. All is fair in love and war is being taken too seriously.
A rich man born in super-rich business house is unhappy because instead of following his passion he wants to match up to family social order where the richest cousin has supposedly arrived. While the rest are working at it. Leading mediocre lives. He saw a past life where he was a King, who couldn’t make his kingdom bigger, so thought of himself as a failure. Just as in this life. Turns out he was an excellent painter in that life, and just because he was the only son, he had to become the King and all the duties thrusted upon him. He followed them diligently but in time lost his spirit. Became depressed and dejected by himself. More than the people of his kingdom, he called himself a failure. As we reprogrammed the lifetime to chart out a different trajectory, he chose to follow his passion instead following his fathers dictates, he saw happy life panning out in front of him, and smile, and bliss came upon his face. Now he has decided to do the same his present life.
When a soul dies no one asks: “How much money did you make or how popular you were?”
God’s home is not like a famous shrine or guru where money will give us a VIP darshan. God only sees karma and heart, and the pure of heart and the innocent are dear of God. Those who do not believe in God, God doesn’t bother or loses his sleep over them. He knows it is the individual journey of souls’ evolution. All happens in good time. God is in no hurry. His time is eternity.
It is an age-old question of misplaced ideals, only financial ambitions without wisdom turns people to greed, which in turn leads to corruption and politics at workplace and business world alike. Just as power without compassion turns people dangerous. Sports for example, was a place for leisure, but now money has slow corrupted sports like politics. Look at a football match it appears to be a battlefield of brutality. At least Rugby is honest, it doesn’t pretend to be a peaceful sport, we know it is about sheer brute force. Even in cricket, sportsmanship is hardly promoted, as someone coined the apt term for them ‘Gladiators in blue. They struggle to success, excel otherwise the same fans vilify them publicly, burn their effigies. Past cricket idols had to face to this ugly side of fickle stardom.
Kids these days want to be famous or celebrities. They have no idea what will they do or how will contribute to the society and the world at large. A plethora of social media celebrities are prime examples, who are famous for being famous. No other talent than hiring a good PR machinery to project a successful brand image as advertising has done for years. Doing supposedly public-service advertising for the big corporates.
Now decide what do you want to be remembered as? Better still, Are you making your creator proud?
To paraphrase a TV commercial tagline.. You have made it big, but have you made it Large?
Years ago I heard a couplet which sums it up beautifully…
“सदियों से दुनिया का रहा है दस्तूर,
के शहेंशाहों की क़ब्रें रहती है सूनि
और फ़क़ीरों की मज़ारों पे जलते हैं
सरे शाम चिराग़।”
For centuries this has been the tradition..
Mausoleums of great kings lie empty,
and lamps are lit each sunset at graves of fakirs (wandering mendicants).