Material Success through Yoga Principles
Material Success through Yoga Principles
People crave different things, as money, fame or spirituality, as a result of early habits and specific environmental influences. That is why the people in the East and the West lead a one-sided life. The East is more spiritually inclined and the West is more materially inclined. Men cannot live happily by only spiritual doctrines or material riches. To bring a balance into the lives of the men of the East and the West, the method of developing an equilibrated life must be adopted.
During his lifetime Paramhansa Yogananda placed great emphasis on unifying the best aspects of East and West. To the West he brought the spiritual values practiced since ancient times in India. And to India he wished to bring western practical “know-how.” His direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda, after having created seven communities in the United States and Europe based on practical spiritual ideals, has for the past year been living in India, where he is bringing to the materially-conscious emerging Indian society a renewed sense of spiritual values as the basis of material success. His televised talks are being broadcast daily on two television channels, and he is working on a series of 26 Lessons on “Material Success Through Yoga Principles.” We are happy to share a few of his thoughts with you.
Law of Karma in Business
The Law of Karma demands that whatever benefits one receives be, in some way, returned. One of those ways is by what Swami Sri Yukteswar counseled: “by rendering grateful service.” Whatever goodness a person, or a nation, offers to others will bring expansion of consciousness in return: an expansion of sympathy, understanding and success. When one helps others to achieve prosperity, he attracts greater prosperity to himself. When he helps others to grow in understanding, he finds understanding deepening in himself. When one helps others to grow spiritually, that action brings him closer, himself, to spiritual enlightenment. The law works infallibly. Thus, in comparable measure, to harm others attracts similar harm to oneself.
Work from Your Center
It is important also, however, not to divide your life into airtight compartments: business, personal life, family interests, social obligations, and spiritual prac- tices. You, at the center of all your activities, need to be balanced as a human being. Whatever you do should receive your full concentration, but try always, at the same time, to work from your center. Be centered in yourself, always, and never fully identified with anything outward that you do. It is you who do it: don’t become a mirror to anything that you accomplish. Don’t let competing priorities enter your mind, lest you become fragmented.
I met a wealthy man in Canada years ago who was also a spiritual seeker. “My real life,” he told me, “begins after I return home in the evenings from work, bathe, change my clothes, and enter my meditation room.” When he said that, I thought (though I didn't say), “What a pity not to bring a meditative spirit also into your daily work! In that way, you’d be able to live your ‘real life’ all day long.”
Decisions and Compromises
Decisions that people claim to base on “principle” too often equate principle with mere convenience. In business as in government, compromise is often merely a question of agreeing on what is acceptable to all persons concerned. It is in the matter, however, of what is right ethically and spiritually that the question becomes serious. Unfortunately, this may be the most difficult question of all to resolve.
Again, fortunately, these difficult questions of high principle concern us here only rarely. Usually, where business or political or even familial situations are involved, the principles are not spiritual, but only human. Such situations sometimes cry out for compromise, but the issues involved are not absolute; they indicate, rather, a need for harmony, or for expanded sympathy.
Supposing a decision in business concerns an acquisition of wealth on the part of some, but a loss to others of freedom and dignity: to decide in favor of the few at a cost to the many would be unprincipled. A decision, again, that is based on self-interest but is likely to create enemies is almost always unprincipled. A decision that seems perfectly reasonable from an organizational standpoint, therefore, but that is sure to do harm, should be rejected as contrary to right principle. Often, making a right decision is fraught with difficulties.
People Are More Important than Things
Sometimes a purely human consideration is at stake. Years ago there was a member at Ananda Village who decided to leave the community. He requested a higher recompense for his home than the rest felt was reasonable. In this case, the majority were clearly in the right: This man had, admittedly, devoted many hours to building his home as he claimed, but the time he'd spent was not commensurate with the quality of his workmanship. Why, the rest of the community asked, should they bear the cost of his ineptitude? Our accountant especially argued that the value of the building should be set according to some exact standard, and of course he was right. However, no standards had been set so far. The accountant concluded his argument by saying, “It's a matter of principle.” True indeed. The principle to which our accountant referred was that to give in might establish a dangerous precedent.
I took another line, however. Admitting that his line of reasoning was both right and reasonable, I said, “But isn't it an important principle also to be compassionate?”
This introduced a different, though unbusiness like, dimension into the discussion. For reasons I won't go into here, compassion was important in this case. Everyone accepted my opinion, and eventually realized that the decision had, for a spiritual family, been right. As a precedent, moreover, that decision did us no harm at all. Rather, it helped to show those who came that our way was to do our best to follow one of our basic principles: “People are more important than things.” Our decision in his case underscored the basic fact that Ananda is run on human, and not on only monetary, principles.
See www.anandaindia.org for more on this course.