Episode # 329 – Commercializing spiritual practices – Is it acceptable???

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In the previous episode we had commenced yet another important and an interesting discussion on Vidura’s point that Goddess Lakshmi never comes near few categories of people. Yesterday we had witnessed three such categories of people and today we shall continue this forward to witness the remaining categories as well. For the convenience of our readers, let us witness the sloka once again. Vidura explains thus:

Athya athi aaryam athi daathaaram athi shooram athivratham!

Pragnyaabhimaanam chaiva shreerbhayaan noba sarpathi!!”

In this, we’ve witnessed the first three categories of “Athya-aaryam”, “Athi daathaaram” and “Athi shooram”. Now let us continue to witness the fourth category of people near whom Goddess Lakshmi hesitates to come. Vidura explains, “Athi-vratham” If a person is excessively involved in spiritual practices like performing “Homam”, “Japa”, etc. Goddess Lakshmi hesitates to come nearby. It is a fact that we keep emphasizing even today that we should never “commercialize” spiritual practices. Those people who are taking up the profession of offering spiritual practices should note this point keenly here – As a “Pandit” who is an expert in performing various spiritual practices, it is not advisable to “demand” money from people who call us for performing them. Of course I’m not saying that a Pandit shouldn’t receive money for what they do. The “Pandit” should have the mindset of “accepting” whatever “Dakshina” (Money in this case) that people offer to him, rather than him demanding people to pay a certain sum of money. Nowadays it is a common sight wherein those people who practice this profession, having “Packages” of various spiritual practices for different sums of money. For instance, if we’ve to perform a marriage ceremony or a “Shraadham” (Spiritual offering for our parents who had left this world), etc., pandits come up with different “Packages” according to the amount of “Mantras” they chant and the time they invest. This is what I’m saying, should be avoided as much as possible. If we’ve to start commercializing everything like this, there is never going to be any spiritual benefit that we’re going to get out of this.

If this is on one side, the people who perform the offerings with the help of the “Pandit”, should be generous enough to offer more money to them, as they should realize that this is the Pandit’s only source of income to run their lives. Given the increased inflation levels and expenses in the current day, we should be generous enough to understand all this and thus, should never hesitate to pay Pandits for their service. At any point in time, we should never think that Pandits are exploiting us and taking more money from us. We should have that generosity to understand that even Pandits lead a normal human life like us and they too require sufficient money to make a decent living. Thus as normal people, we should make it a point that we be generous in our payment to Pandits who come to make spiritual offerings on behalf of us. The more we give to our Pandits, the more peaceful and prosperous the world will become. The biggest danger today is that, owing to lack of income in this profession, many Brahmins are hesitating to take it up and instead, go into the normal education stream as we do. If this trend continues for the next few years, we are inviting a huge shortage of qualified Pandits who can take this noble spiritual profession forward to the next generation. Hence we should understand this risk and should do the needful accordingly.

Moving to the next category, Vidura explains, Pragnyaabhimaanam” – Here Vidura explains that Goddess Lakshmi never comes near those people who think too much of themselves in whatever he/she does. If we have that self-pride within us, wealth will never sustain and we’ve witnessed innumerable explanations and examples in the past with regards to this point.

Thus to all these categories of people, Goddess Lakshmi never comes near. There is an interesting detailed explanation for this entire sloka put together. We shall wait till the next episode to witness this interesting discussion as to why is Vidura specially picking out these categories of people to drive this point home. Stay tuned! 😊

 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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