I Need More of… Everything! ~ Vrindavan Rao

Via on Apr 14, 2013

20/365- "It does not boast, it is not proud..."

Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Greed.

Verse 1.37-1.38: O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?

We all experience it. We’re even taught as young children that it’s not good. And yet, here we are still dealing with it.

So, why are we greedy?

If we actually stop to think about it, greed often arises from some unfulfilled “need” we have, which we try to satisfy by accumulating possessions or power.

Oddly enough, greed implies that we already have something. It does not arise due a lack of something, but a desire for more. When I looked it up, one of the definitions I found was this: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

greedInteresting isn’t it? Greed simply translates to excessive desire. If we stop and take a look, the entire world is operating on this principle. Families are broken up due to greed, relationships are destroyed and feelings are hurt. Take note of those who are affected by greed and you’ll see that it’s all of us: you, me, the animals, the plants, the entire earth.

I find it ironic that society promotes happy and meaningful relationships through consumer products, romantic comedies, happily ever after stories, and celebrities. But, I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise seeing as society also operates on the principles of  overindulgence, consumerism and the “more is better” attitude. Essentially modern society is celebrating the tools and techniques, (overindulgence, consumerism and a “more is better” attitude),  which undermine what people are hankering for: meaningful relationships.

When one is greedy it is impossible to be selfless. All the energy and concentration that gets fixed on your desire for more, just means that there’s none left to spare for anything, or anyone else.

However, so far we’ve only been speaking about material greed.

Krishna and Radha
Krishna and Radha

Did you know that there is such a thing as spiritual greed?

This is what makes the path of bhakti so distinct; many of the negative qualities which we try to keep hidden away inside of ourselves can be spiritualized and thus made positive.

So, instead of excessively desiring material objects, we can choose to cultivate excessive desire to connect with God. We can excessively desire to serve other bhakti practitioners and chant with the mood of wanting to please Krishna. The list can go on and on. And you know what?

These desires will in turn help us in our relationships with others. By pleasing God, naturally one becomes blissful and that has a positive effect on our interactions and relationships with others.

Instead of trying to remove something, the process of bhakti can transform it.

So what are you waiting for? Take the challenge to become spiritually greedy for Krishna bhakti!

 

Vrindavan RaoVrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.

She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and viaTwitter.

Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.

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Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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25 Responses to “I Need More of… Everything! ~ Vrindavan Rao”

  1. Jessica says:

    "Instead of trying to remove something, the process of bhakti can transform it."

    I absolutely love the message of this post! It's really positive…and practical-which is one aspect of bhakti yoga (among others) that I have really come to appreciate. Thanks for another great article!

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Thanks so much Jessica! It's something I too love about the process of bhakti yoga. It's all about transforming even those things that we may have challenges with (i.e. greed) to something that can help us on our path of self-discovery.

  2. I called it Spiritual Imperialism….More more and more more.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Could you expand a little bit more please? I'm not quite sure if I'm understanding what you mean. Thank you! :D

  3. galenpearl says:

    I love this idea of transforming rather than rejecting or struggling. It's a very "tai chi" approach, if that makes any sense. In tai chi, you "receive" your opponent's energy and give it back. The energy is transformed. (By the way, I'm really learning so much from reading the Bhagavad-gita.) I can see how its wisdom permeates your writing. Lovely.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Thank you Galen! I'm so happy that you are learning so much from reading the Gita. I love the Gita for so many reasons, but in particular I love it because by truly understanding its message, we can learn to react to people and situations with compassion and understanding. Like you mentioned, the idea of transforming as opposed to rejecting and struggling. Was there something in particular that you are reading about right now in the Gita that you would like to share? I would love to hear it. :D

      • Matthew Gindin says:

        Beautiful post Vrindavan! Thank you for writing it. One of my teachers used to talk about "trading candy for gold". Beautiful description of the Bhakti approach, where our lower desires are transformed by the increasing love for God. I'm hoping to get a piece on the Gita published on ej this week as well, please let me know what you think.

        • Vrindavan_Rao says:

          Thanks so much Matthew. Love that idea of "trading candy for gold." It's so true…. I love how Bhakti is so practical and how it's not about "just giving up" things, but rather when we transform them, we naturally give up those things that don't help us. Wonderful that you are writing a piece. Looking forward to reading it. Anything particular about the Gita you are writing on?

      • galenpearl says:

        I'm in chapter 2 now. I'm very intrigued by the notion that fighting/killing is Arjuna's sacred duty. It's not how we normally think. There has been so much terrible fighting and killing done in the name of God. What I understand, I think, is that in this case, Krishna is telling Arjuna that his duty is tight, but without personal investment in terms of anger or hatred, or in terms of attachment to winning or losing. To put this in the context of a battle with your own relatives is striking.

        This morning, I read 2:57 about non-attachment to good or evil. The transcendence of duality is very similar to the teaching in the Tao Te Ching.

        • Vrindavan_Rao says:

          Hi Galen! Thanks so much for sharing. Maybe I can clarify a few things, if that's ok? The aspect of killing and fighting is oftentimes misconstrued in the Gita. What Krsna is really emphasizing is the aspect of our occupational work. That work which is defined by our propensity and quality. i.e. to be a teacher or a leader or an artist etc. In this case, Arjuna was a leader and a warrior, so it was his duty to protect his people. His people were under the rule of a power-hungry and unrighteous leader who was abusing his power and since it wasn't good for his people, it was necessary to take some action. In fact, if you read the Mahabharat it gives a better perspective since so many attempts were made to achieve peace. But I digress. :) That is what Krsna is actually saying (and also note – no civilians were injured at all in this battle. These were all the heads of different kingdoms and states who took part. It wasn't about leaders hiding in a secret location and sending others to do their dirty work for them). Krsna is saying that we should all perform our duty. If we are a mother or daughter or artist or lawyer etc., we should not just quit and run away but we should work to our best capacity. With respect to the aspect of violence, Prabhupada gives a very good analogy. Force can sometimes be necessary (i.e. law enforcement, police officers), but it should not be used whimsically. There is a specific time and place and definitely fighting over religion is not one of them! Does that clarify or help put things into context?

  4. findingourwaynow says:

    This was a very good way to start my Monday. It made me pause and consider the what and why of things. I really love the part about "instead of excessively desiring material objects, we can choose to cultivate excessive desire to connect with God". To transform in the light of God is alway better then to eliminate or tear down. :-)

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Thank you so much! So happy that we could be a part of your Monday. Transformation is key! Just trying to artificially repress or eliminate things is very difficult for most of us. When we transform that inclination towards God, so much magic can happen! Hope you can join us every Monday for this weekly column which will be posted on Sundays and please feel free to share it! :D

  5. @iDesignLife says:

    This is such a thought provoking post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge through the Bhagavad-Gita perspective. I also read your daily blog post for today, what an awesome lesson from the tortoise!

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Thank you so much! I always consider it such a compliment if a post made someone think! :) Hope you can join us for our daily posts and/or join us for this Sunday column here at elephantjournal!

  6. MatBoy says:

    I've learned to cultivate the desire to have 'enough', not too little but not too much. It is actually quite challenging, at least at the beginning because you have to step out and say 'This IS enough and I do not need more' or 'when I have this much I will stop trying to get more'. It is like drawing a line in the sand. Most people never get off the need to have more or do not know how to be satisfied with what they have, something is always missing. That experience of 'something is always missing' is the real issue. Nothing is missing!

    We live in a time of incomparable prosperity, certainty and physical comfort. This reality is spreading to more and more parts of the world, fewer people are starving, especially in the developed world. Learning how to be satisfied is a powerfully liberating experience. Taming the ghost of greed is a relevant challenge no matter where you live or your standard of living. That is why it is so central to all spiritual traditions.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Thank you so much for such a beautiful and insightful comment. I wish I didn't have to say this, but I couldn't agree with you more. You're speaking the words of the Gita in fact! "There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogī, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough." Chapter 6, Verse 6. It's all about moderation and becoming balanced. And what you said about satisfaction -very powerful. We need to practice satisfaction and gratitude or else our desires can just overwhelm us. As you said, "Learning how to be satisfied is a powerfully liberating experience." Hope you can join us weekly for this column here on elephantjournal!

  7. Mary Slagel says:

    I thought this post took a very interesting and enlightening turn when you went from material greed and how you can make this positive. I had not thought of this before. Thank you for sharing.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Hi Mary! Thank you so much. It's one of the things I personally love about bhakti yoga- the art of transformation through a shift in attitude and consciousness. Hope you can join us for this weekly column published on Sundays!

  8. Kelly Wade says:

    I really like when people focus more on spirituality rather than religion. Anyone can find something inside of themselves that gives them peace if they look hard enough. A greed for finding peace and calmness should be something we all strive for.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Really like how you put it Kelly "A greed for finding peace and calmness should be something we all strive for." Love it. Instead of constantly looking to accumulate and collect things we don't need, instead we should work on the important things that will have a positive impact on ourselves and those who surround us. Hope you can us join us for this weekly column published on Sundays!

  9. Jesal says:

    Haribol… My wife and I met you during your stay in Belgium nearly 10 years ago at Radhadesh… Nice blog

    The very start of Caitanya Caritamrita describes Lord Chaitanya as having “lobhat” intense greed…an intense greed to taste what it is like to be Krsna’s devotee

    So greed was His internal mood and external mood was to distribute mercy!

    Thanks for this… Dandavats

    Ys jes

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      Hi Jesal! I totally remember you and your wonderful wife Nishi! :) Great to hear from you. Yes, it's so wonderful how the bhakti texts describe how greed can be transformed into something that not only brings joy to oneself but can be shared with others! All the best!

  10. yearwoodcom says:

    What a wonderful way to refocus all of that negative energy. It takes a lot of work to be greedy for material things, so much easier to let it go.

    • Vrindavan_Rao says:

      You brought up an excellent point! It does take a lot of work to be greedy for material things. Thank you so much for sharing! Hope you can join us here every Sunday! :)

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