What is written in Bhagavad Gita on Money? Is money bad? Should a person who practices teachings of Gita should not earn money?
There is an interesting conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Here Arjuna argues with Krishna regarding the usefulness of money over relation. He questions Krishna. Are we not an idiot? That over materialistic things we are ready to kill our relatives. Below is the conversation in Sanskrit as well as English.
न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च |
किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा || 32|| Chapter 1
येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगा: सुखानि च |
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च || 33||
आचार्या: पितर: पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहा: |
मातुला: श्वशुरा: पौत्रा: श्याला: सम्बन्धिनस्तथा || 34||
एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन |
अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतो: किं नु महीकृते || 35||
O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? verse 32-33
O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? verse 34
O Krishna, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhrtarastra? verse 35
When Arjuna is disillusioned is under Moha at that time Arjuna thinks money is bad he doesn’t want material wealth. An instance where Arjuna questions the role of Knowledge i.e. teachings of Bhagavad Gita on money. This happens with all of us, isn’t it? We all think that we should let go of the money in order to preserve the relations. He furthers says in chapter 2
कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन |
इषुभि: प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन || 4||
Arjun said: O Madhusudan, how can I shoot arrows in battle on men like Bheeshma and Dronacharya, who are worthy of my worship. ||verse 4||
गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्
श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके |
भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् || 5||
It would be better to live in this world by begging than to enjoy life by killing these noble elders, who are my teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures we enjoy will be tainted with blood. ||verse 5|| ( Here he prefers begging for food rather than the teachings of Bhagavad Gita on Money )
न चैतद्विद्म: कतरन्नो गरीयो
यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयु: |
यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषाम
स्तेऽवस्थिता: प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्रा: || 6||
We do not even know which result of this war is preferable for us—conquering them or being conquered by them. Even after killing them we will not desire to live. Yet they have taken the side of Dhritarashtra, and now stand before us on the battlefield. ||verse 6||
This is what our thought process is also like. In fact, our thinking is also right, Arjuna is not an idiot. But the scenario of Arjun was different it was not just his personal interest. It was of his entire community, all his brother, their children, their relatives, their people. It was their birthright and they were Kings. They were the ruler no one was above them to whom they can go and ask for justice. So the scenario was not of yours and me but if you are intelligent enough you can learn from the scenario.
Now what does Krishna replies to this.
क्लैब्यं मा स्म गम: पार्थ नैतत्तवय्युपपद्यते |
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप || 3||
O Partha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise O Arjuna.
स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि |
धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते || 31||
Besides, considering your duty as a warrior, you should not waver. Indeed, for a warrior, there is no better engagement than fighting for upholding of righteousness.
अकीर्तिं चापि भूतानि
कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम् |
र्मरणादतिरिच्यते || 34||
People will speak of you as a coward and a deserter. For a respectable person, infamy is worse than death.
भयाद्रणादुपरतं मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथा: |
येषां च त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम् || 35||
The great generals who hold you in high esteem will think that you fled from the battlefield out of fear, and thus will lose their respect for you.
अवाच्यवादांश्च बहून्वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिता: |
निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दु:खतरं नु किम् || 36||
Your enemies will defame and humiliate you with unkind words, disparaging your might. Alas, what could be more painful than that?
And now the final words on money, i.e teachings of Bhagavad Gita on Money.
हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् |
तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चय: || 37||
If you fight, you will either be slain on the battlefield and go to the celestial abodes, or you will gain victory and enjoy the kingdom on earth. Therefore stood up, O son of Kunti, and be prepared to fight.
Enjoy the Kingdom of the earth Krishna tells Arjuna, with the Kingdom, comes power and wealth i.e. money. This is the most important statement of Bhagavad Gita on Money. With power comes responsibility and Krishna is always about following a righteous path. If you are enjoying wealth and kingdom but not following a righteous path you will be sooner be dethroned. Krishna, again and again, reiterate to Arjuna that my Bhakta is alert, clever and he always asks Arjuna to listen to teachings of Krishna but takes a decision on the basis of best alternatives available at that point of time.
If you are enjoying wealth and kingdom but not following a righteous path you will be sooner be dethroned. Krishna, again and again, reiterate to Arjuna that my Bhakta is alert, clever and he always asks Arjuna to listen to teachings of Krishna but takes a decision on the basis of best alternatives available at that point of time.
इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया |
विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु || 63|| Chapter 18
Thus, I have explained to you this knowledge that is more secret than all secrets. Ponder over it deeply, and then do as you wish.