Irrespective of the times, mankind has always chased prosperity. Even the cave men cherished certain possessions. While India ruled the top of GDP for the first 1800 years since the last two millennia, its decline has been equally dramatic during the British colonial exploitation. The British damage to the industrial ecosystem, which was horrendous, is exceeded by many times in magnitude to the thought process and value system that evolved in India. The momentum of decline still continues as we continue to be mentally colonized. To liberate from this self imposed punishment and to take on the sepoys, who suffer from a deep malady of insecurity pertaining to the roots, one must look deep within. Yet this is clouded and distorted by the media and agencies inimical to the dharmic interests. The only option left is to revive the highly cherished values which made India great as a civilization.
The minute one suggests revival of values, the sepoy brigade goes into hyperdrive. The propaganda machinery of casteism to intolerance and other deliberately distorted ideas are deployed to confuse the masses. Contrary to the sepoys’ nonsensical stance, the values spoken of highly in all Sanatana Dharma scriptures are far beyond in reach, even the most modern ultra secular. The West shamelessly copies without even attributing its source in a greedy process of digestion, yet the ashamed fools we have been trained to be are given the path of guilt to not even follow the great values. Until few generations ago, reading Mahabharata or Ramayana daily was part of the daily routine. The society was not only prosperous, but also peaceful. Good values were infused into the psyche of the masses through arts and literature, culture, religion and even political system
The western system of education has trained us to become clerks for the colonial masters and its legacy continues as education has become a low quality mass produced money making enterprise. To effectively counter, we need more men and women of character. The only way character is built is by being chastened by the fires of discipline and time, just like a piece of coal under pressure and time morphs into a diamond. Though there may be many diamonds amongst us, it needs to be cut and polished by the times we live in and by the magnanimous, charitable attitude towards the society. This can only happen when we can live a life that is in the spirit of the scriptures, lives of great rishis and mahatmas that have adorned Bharatvarsha over the eons.
Prosperity is commonly misunderstood as the piles of cash or mounds of gold. This has been disagreed even in the West. Napolean Hill through this powerful research of successful people’s lives and his books – Think and Grow Rich; Master key to riches has rekindled the idea that riches are not mere money. Yet this idea has a much hoary past. In Tamil, it is customary to bless a newly married couple as “பதினாறும் பெற்று பெரும் வாழ்வு வாழ்க“, meaning they be blessed with 16 different types of wealth (Click the link for details). It is very evident that in our culture, money was not the only wealth.
In Katha Upanishad, Nachiketas has a dialog with Yama, the God of Death, the ultimate source to know about afterlife. In Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva (Book 13), chapter 11, Yudhistra wants to know where śrī – Goddess of Prosperity, Lakshmi resides. Bhisma responded with an anecdote from Lakshmi, herself, answering the same question to Rukmini, the consort of Krishna.
The chapter can be studied in original Sanskrit for better insights. For the sake of our easier understanding, we will not be going by a line by line translation. Lakshmi offers clear, lucid steps to inform what will attract her presence and what turns her off. As she is the embodiment of prosperity, it is customary to understand her presence means prosperity and her absence indicates daridratha, lack of prosperity, not merely poverty. We will compile Lakshmi’s secrets to her presence or absence as a list of DO’s and DON’Ts. For a more simplistic and quicker read it makes sense for us to evaluate ourselves using this checklist.
Lakshmi ALWAYS resides in:
- Eloquence of speech, activity, skill and efficiency.
- In one who is steadfast in Dharma, committed to Dharmic actions, in mahatmas, one who serves the elderly, one who has self-restraint and is always Truthful.
- Among women, who have patience and forbearance, self-restraint; who are respectful of devas and dvijas (wise) and scholarly and who are devoted to truth and are sincere.
- In women rooted in truth, having smiling pleasant countenance, having good traits and character. In women who are blessed and accomplished. In women who are pativrata, devoted to their husbands, (we can humbly extrapolate it as men and women), decked with ornaments. (Until recently, it would have been very difficult to spot a women without any jewelry, in ears or neck or hands, as this has been drilled into the psyche of the masses as culture. We can see its impact in India being the largest consumer of Gold in the world)
- In all forms of transportation, maidens, ornaments, yajnas, rain clouds, fully blossomed lotuses, stars and in sharad ritu (early autumn which translates to mid-September to mid-November)
- In elephants, goshalas, forests, good asanas (seats, modern world furniture). In waterbodies with fully blown lotuses, rivers, water bodies with water birds like heron, deep and broad rivers with flowing waters rendered turbid with lions and elephants playing in them. (The implication that these water ecosystems being full of life and richness) In tapasvis and siddhas, infuriate elephants, bulls, kings, thrones and pious men.
- All houses where sacrificial fires are burning (In vedic times, fire rituals were central to daily life) and where there is respect for brahmanas (one who is absorbed in Brahman or aligned in its direction), acharyas, devatas and where there is worship and devotion.
- In Brahmanas or anyone who is devoted to study of scriptures (Vedas) and who is into svadyaya, in Kshatriyas who uphold dharma, in Vaishyas devoted to cultivation and in shudras devoted to service.
- In embodied form, Lakshmi resides only in Narayana, in whom there is completeness and perfection of righteousness, friendliness to Brahmanas (again this is not the caste, but one’s attitude, outlook and actions – Read more about Varnas)
- That person in whom Lakshmi resides in spirit increases in righteousness, fame, wealth and objects of desire, is the firm proof of her blessing.
Lakshmi ALWAYS ABANDONS:
- Non believer of Cosmic Consciousness; not having oneself in control; ungrateful; thief; one who cherishes malice towards gurus and venerable ones.
- Ones with little energy, strength, life or honor.
- One who leads a bad life, basically it means adharmic.
- No alignment of thoughts, words and deeds.
- Easy to get stressed or angered.
- Contented with small acquisitions or one who makes no effort.
- Women who scatter their furniture and provisions (basically one keeps their house tidy, not feng shui or careless extremes); (Wo)men who are always in constant opposition with their spouse(quarelling); women fond of others’ houses (gossip, in today’s context immersed in TV, media, soaps, internet) and ones devoid of modesty.
- Women who do not take care of themselves or their clothing/ornaments, sinful and unclean.
- Women who are into gossip, sleepy or lazy, always lying down.
Many of these teachings have blended with our culture. We usually do not know the source for example why culturally Indian women gravitate to gold or have been stressing on cleanliness. But in today’s India, we brush aside the cultural inputs, do not have time or brains to research the roots and real reasons, but we gladly are ready to the exact opposite. For example, Cleanliness is one of central traits of the Indian civilization. From the vedic times to Saraswati Valley civilization, cleanliness has been a key cultural trait as it opened the doorway to spirituality. Yet due to loss of our understanding, India is the largest open toilet society, civic understanding at its abyss, clouded by pure selfishness. The only way one can combat this is by having a proper understanding of our roots and reviving values.
If we condense the simplified teachings of Goddess Lakshmi into a simpler philosophy, we can call it Harmony, Dharma. She has reiterated that a society can be made prosperous by focusing on its smallest unit, the individual. The individual has to focus on maintaining harmony within by aligning thoughts, words and action. Actions must be efficient and not a reaction to the situation. She has emphasized the importance of Nature and its care. How can we have fully blown lotuses when we are so greedy in burying every waterbody for mindless real estate development? Resources must be respected and developed holistically. From the importance she places on animals, it is evident about having a eco friendly lifestyle for prosperity. Today we are ready to learn the same by making repeated mistakes or by some NGO who gives us back the same idea reimported from the west with a twist. How about having a holistic understanding by studying our own scriptures properly, not by listening to sepoy translations of some mythmaker?
From the importance Lakshmi has placed on women in every household, it is very evident that wealth and prosperity require women at its primacy. When women relinquish this importance by chasing trivial gossip or media or internet, they may have lots of wealth around them, but they are destroying PROSPERITY – aishvaryata which is possible only by them. Ever since women voluntarily (thanks to useless NGOS, westernized mindset, liberalism) or involuntarily (backdated customs, bad cultural history, lack of awareness or tamas) ignored the proper roots to prosperity, the ills of Indian society have quadrupled. Women can influence the generations. Prosperity can be grander, quicker and lasting with women at its helm.
Dharma and Satya are very essential to the enduring prosperity of any civilization. India, being the oldest, continuous living culture is rapidly losing its connection to its richer past. We have been trained to look at anything from our past is highly inferior. This might have been due to the colonial legacy and the brutal Islamic rule. Yet what we have been inflicting upon us since independence due to the colonized minds is having far greater impact than those external forces. We pondered at the loss of dharmic values in detail in the Kshatriya – do you still exist article. Unless we revive kshatriyata back in our society, reviving dharma is virtually impossible. Kshatriyata doesn’t imply bringing monarchy, as evident from the article link.
We have thus established PROSPERITY is possible only in Harmony and Dharma. Dharma can be upheld by reviving the extinct kshatriyata. Since in the modern world, each individual is a combination of all the varnas – we are doing chores like a shudra, money oriented like vaishya. Yet the emphasis can be placed on dharma revival within each individual and also cultivating a passion for understanding Brahman. We already do these two in limited qualities when we defend our home or study respectively.
Lakshmi has promised her presence when we follow her advice as a practice. With this clear understanding, let us put her words into our daily reality. May She bless us in implementing her advice. Prosperity is a real byproduct of Dharma. May Lakshmi and Narayana bless us with dharmic thoughts. But as Krishna keeps reminding in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Sloka 5, success, prosperity, be it in the material realm or spiritual is left to our exertion.
The last secret from Lakshmi nails it all. She lives in the embodied form only in Narayana, who alone can grant us Moksha. When we aim for the spiritual realm, founded on dharma, we get both. Inner spiritual wealth effuses in the material world as Prosperity. For the history buffs, we have seen the greatest periods of wealth generated during reign of dharma, though tyrannical rule or plunderers like Ghazni or Ghori or Timur may have exposed this opulence to the world. So let us focus on DHARMA and its revival, starting at the individual level which will scale up to the societal and national level and Bharat can once again lead the way as a beacon, amidst the clouded selfishness of the glittery westernized world.
Om Tat Sat