With global recession on our doors, it is critical that individuals take time to understand better how the economy works. If prosperity is not within our grasp, dharma will fail. It is only in prosperity that we can strive toward dharma and take to learning the arts and expanding our consciousness.
As Hindus celebrate Divali and worship Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, it is not enough to do pooja and light deeyas, eat sweets and bhojan; we must also put plan in place to eradicate poverty among Hindus in the diaspora. No one respects you however wealthy or successful when the community they identify you with is poor.
While India is making progress economically and there is increasing respect for Indians as professionals in medicine and technology, we cannot deny that there are still hundreds of millions of Indians living in poverty, squalor and steeped in ignorance. This is the soft underbelly of Hindu society that the Christians and Muslims have been targeting for conversion. In fact, these new converts become weapons in the hands of the enemies to destroy Hindu society. So, the enemies of Hindu society are not any longer from outside but home grown and brainwashed to carry out the biddings of their overlords.
Without education we are going to be like bats, not seeing where we are going during the day. We don’t wish to be creatures of the dark, more so vampires reliant of drug peddling, human trafficking and other adharmic means to earn a livelihood. We already have become brokers in the sale of alcohol which continues to destroy our families and community. This is a social menace that must be addressed. While our dharma lauds the creation of wealth, I doubt very much it lays down that this adharmic enterprises should be the backbone of our economy.
While wealth creation is good, there is the need of some clarification on the term wealth. Sadly, wealth has come to be associated with real estates, goods, and all material objects. It is less associated with education-knowledge, learning of skills and the arts. Research and development are also critical to development. Sadly, in Trinidad and Tobago research and innovation have not gone beyond the steel pan and moko jumbie!
The creation of the Tulsidas Campus by the Chinmaya Mission led by Swami Prakashanand is a source of pride not only for Hindus but the entire Trinidad and Tobago. To construct the first paperless learning institution in the Caribbean is an achievement that must be saluted. One would have expected this innovation to come from the pehalwans in the community who sing the Ramcharitmanas from the singhasan and not from a feather weight Swami.
Bhadase Sagan Maraj, the founder of the Maha Sabha was a visionary. He not only accumulated wealth but redirected it to build schools for the Hindu community that was wallowing in ignorance. Bhadase understood the value of wealth and hence used it to improve the community. Today he would be proud of the number of students coming from Hindu families who are graduating as professionals.
It is low cast charmaar behaviour to use money to indulge the senses only and not to give toward the common good of the community. Too many live their lives akin to hogs where eating, mating, and eating is the order of the day. It is like George Orwell’s Animal Farm coming to reality with the pigs in charge! No wonder these revolutions failed in no time!
Charity is out as they do not see beyond their personal needs. Others have chosen to horde their money, not even eating a balanced meal, or wearing clean clothing.
Politically we are failing to unite to install a government that would be more efficient in managing the economy and generating wealth. Our leaders are failing to put aside their petty squabbles and come together for the greater good. Without a government knowing what it is about, all of us would be at risk. Runaway crime, rising inflation, increasing unemployment and a heap of social issues make it the more urgent for our leaders to work together for the prosperity of all.
Creating wealth by borrowing loans with high interest rate is like putting a noose around one’s neck. This is what is happening when we see beautiful mansions and SUVs on the road. Even those who travel to exotic destinations do so by borrowing cash and repaying at high interest rate.
As we celebrate Divali let us adopt a culture of arduous work, saving and investing. Let’s also reach out to the NGOs that are engaged in doing social outreach programs like SEVA TT and Hindu Prayer Hotline. We must also establish food banks and shelters to ensure that a Hindu family is cared for when fallen on challenging times.
May Mother Lakshmi continue to bless us all!