is not meant to make money, money is meant to make the earth
ready for the advent of the new creation.
of all, from the financial point of view, the principle
on which our action is based is the following: money is
not meant to make money. This idea that money must make
money is a falsehood and a perversion.
is meant to increase the wealth, the prosperity and the
productiveness of a group, a country or, better, of the
whole earth. Money is a means, a force, a power, and not
an end in itself. And like all forces and all powers, it
is by movement and circulation that it grows and increases
its power, not by accumulation and stagnation.
we are attempting here is to prove to the world, by giving
it a concrete example, that by inner psychological realisation
and outer organisation a world can be created where most
of the causes of human misery will be abolished.
power is the materialization of a vital force turned into
one of the greatest powers of action: the power to attract
acquire, and utilize.
Like all the other powers, it must be put at the service
of the Divine
may say, however, that I do not regard business as something
evil or tainted, any more than it is so regarded in ancient
spiritual India. If I did, I would not be able to receive
money from X or from those of our disciples who in Bombay
trade with East Africa; nor could we then encourage them
to go on with their work but would have to tell them to
throw it up and attend to their spiritual progress alone.
How are we to reconcile X's seeking after spiritual light
and his mill? Ought I not to tell him to leave his mill
to itself and to the devil and go into some Ashram to meditate?
Even if I myself had had the command to do business as I
had the command to do politics I would have done it without
the least spiritual or moral compunction. All depends on
the spirit in which a thing is done, the principles on which
it is built and the use to which it is turned. I have done
politics and the most violent kind of revolutionary politics,
ghoram karma, and I have supported war and sent men
to it, even though politics is not always or often a very
clean occupation nor can war be called a spiritual line
of action. But Krishna calls upon Arjuna to carry on war
of the most terrible kind and by his example encourage men
to do every kind of human work, sarvakarmäni.
Do you contend that Krishna was an unspiritual man and that
his advice to Arjuna was mistaken or wrong in principle?
Krishna goes further and declares that a man by doing in
the right way and in the right spirit the work dictated
to him by his fundamental nature, temperament and capacity
and according to his and its dharma can move towards the
Divine. He validates the function and dharma of the Vaishya
as well as of the Brahmin and Kshatriya. It is in his view
quite possible for a man to do business and make money and
earn profits and yet be a spiritual man, practise yoga,
have an inner life. The Gita is constantly justifying works
as a means of spiritual salvation and enjoining a Yoga of
Works as well as of Bhakti and Knowledge. Krishna, however,
superimposes a higher law also that work must be done without
desire, without attachment to any fruit or reward, without
any egoistic attitude or motive, as an offering or sacrifice
to the Divine. This is the traditional Indian attitude towards
these things, that all work can be done if it is done according
to the dharma and, if it is rightly done, it does not prevent
the approach to the Divine or the access to spiritual knowledge
and the spiritual life.
is, of course, also the ascetic idea which is necessary
for many and has its place in the spiritual order. I would
myself say that no man can be spiritually complete if he
cannot live ascetically or follow a life as bare as the
barest anchorite's. Obviously, greed for wealth and money-making
has to be absent from his nature as much as greed for food
or any other greed and all attachment to these things must
be renounced from his consciousness. But I do not regard
the ascetic way of living as indispensable to spiritual
perfection or as identical with it. There is the way of
spiritual self-mastery and the way of spiritual self-giving
and surrender to the Divine, abandoning ego and desire even
in the midst of action or of any kind of work or all kinds
of work demanded from us by the Divine. If it were not so,
there would not have been great spiritual men like Janaka
or Vidura in India and even there would have been no Krishna
or else Krishna would have been not the Lord of Brindavan
and Mathura and Dwarka or a prince and warrior or the charioteer
of Kurukshetra, but only one more great anchorite. The Indian
scriptures and Indian tradition, in the Mahabharata and
elsewhere, make room both for the spirituality of the renunciation
of life and for the spiritual life of action. One cannot
say that one only is the Indian tradition and that the acceptance
of life and works of all kinds, sarvakarmäni,
is un-Indian, European or western and unspiritual.