Thursday, April 28, 2011

Krishnamurti on Wealth and Enlightenment

All of the world's great religious or wisdom traditions address the impossibility of reaching higher states of consciousness and spiritual realization while attachments to the people and things that seem so important to our egoic self-consciousness remain.

Perhaps the most famous of these teachings are Jesus' encounter with "the rich young man" ( Matt. 19:16-22), and his saying that it is easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matt 19:23-24; Luke 18:24) - the kingdom of God which he specifically and plainly said was within us all (Luke 17:21).

Buddhist and Vedanta yoga traditions each stress the importance of non-attachment, while Judaism, Christianity and Islam each teach the importance of charity, a specific form of non-attachment. But it is perhaps the modern spiritual teacher, Jiddu Krishnamurti, who best explains why attachment to the things and people of the world are a hindrance to those who are on the path to spiritual enlightenment.

"For the rich as for the poor it is extremely difficult to find reality," Krishnamurti observed, further noting:
"The poor crave to be rich and powerful, and the rich are already caught in the net of their own action; and yet they believe and venture near. They speculate, not only upon the market, but upon the ultimate. They play with both, but are successful only with what is in their hearts. The beliefs and ceremonies, their hopes and fears have nothing to do with reality, for their hearts are empty. The greater the outward show, the greater the inward poverty."

"To renounce the world of wealth, comfort and position is a comparatively simple matter; but to put aside the craving to be, to become, demands great intelligence and understanding. The power that wealth gives is a hindrance to the understanding of reality, as is also the power of gift and capacity. This particular form of confidence is obviously an activity of the self; and though it is difficult to do so, this kind of assurance and power can be put aside. But what is much more subtle and more hidden is the power and the drive that lie in the craving to become."

"Self-expansion in any form, whether through wealth or through virtue, is a process of conflict, causing antagonism and confusion. A mind burdened with becoming can never be tranquil, for tranquility is not a result either of practice or of time. Tranquility is a state of understanding, and becoming denies this understanding. Becoming creates the sense of time, which is really the postpone of understanding. The "I shall be" is an illusion of self-importance."
Perhaps this is why it is "the poor in spirit" who are "blessed" for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven," according to Jesus in the 'Be-attitudes' which served as the introduction to his famous "Sermon on the Mount." For it is "the poor in spirit" who are non-attached to the things or people of the world, and are not interested in "becoming" anything; rather they are the ones who are simply 'beings,' and spiritual beings at that. Spiritual beings who truly dwell within their "be-ing"


Anonymous said...

Great blog! Beautiful thoughts.

Serendipity said...

Much is changing now since Krishnamurti wrote this. There is a way of creating new wealth on earth, where there is wealth for everyone, and while it is true that "in non-covetousness, all jewels present themselves", it is possible to have both expanding material wealth and expanding understanding of reality and Truth, without the confusion and conflict Krishnamurti describe above. The awakened teacher David Adelson's AwakenToWealth . org (all one word) program teaches it; you awaken to wealth with a completely different energy. This new energy and money nourishes, heals, balances everything on earth with love, joy, bliss, happiness, generosity, and spiritual