Human values are very important even in the sphere of international finance. However, the decline in ethical and moral values in the society has resulted in the degeneration of human behaviour. People have lost faith in truth and righteousness but the desire for wealth maximisation has increased. It should be remembered that if morality derails, money will come and go; but if morality prevails, money will come and grow. The main reason for poor economic development is the absence of morality. Today morality is at rock-bottom levels in every walk of societal activity be it business, profession or politics. People should understand that moral and ethical values only enhance the worldly status and authority, and not the contrary. People today should be concerned more about responsibilities rather than rights. As rains ensure rivulets, responsibilities would automatically confer rights on individuals.
The educated youth of the present times will have to carefully shield themselves from harmful influences, as they have to play a responsible role in the future in shaping the destiny of the nation. As catalysts, they have to promote moral values in society. People should have a compassionate heart and be sensitive to the problems of society and people. Education cannot be regarded as ‘complete’ as long as it fails to make an individual a ‘wholesome person’. It is not the ‘information-loaded worldly knowledge’ but the ‘transformation-oriented practical knowledge’ that makes an individual a ‘complete person’. Students should be very careful in spending money. Money, time, food and energy are all symbolic manifestations of God and as such, they should not be abused.
Insatiable Thirst for Wealth
Sri Adi Shankaracharya [i] declared in a verse in the famous ‘Bhaja Govindam’, “Oh Man! Do not be arrogant of your wealth, progeny or youth. All these will be snatched away in a trice. Destroy this world of illusions and enter the seat of the Eternal.” The Trishna (excessive thirst) for wealth is stupidity! Trishna has two meanings – thirst and desire. It is natural for an individual to have desires and thirst. But there is a difference between desire and thirst. It is natural for individuals not to be content with what they have. But, to desire more and more goods and more and more comforts is nothing but greed. In seeking fulfillment of such desires, one should take care not to cause any harm or suffering to others. Trishna is different from desire for it has no limit and is unappeasable.
|Sri Adi Shankaracharya|
The sole aim of education is the reconstruction of the nation, not merely making money by getting employed in some organisation. To realise this goal, educated youth should make all possible efforts to conquer the inner enemies (Arishadvargas) and control their minds. One can realise Divinity by controlling one’s own mind. Mind is influenced by five senses of perception and five organs of action, which can be likened to the wives of a man. It is said in the folklore that it would be quite tricky to lead an absolutely contented life with one wife itself – which means that it would be all the more problematic with ten wives. Similar is the plight of the mind of a person under the pressure of five senses of perception and five organs of action. King Dasharatha, with three wives, was subjected to many problems; so was King Utthaanapaada (the father of the famous child devotee Dhruva) with two wives [ii]. The foregoing analogy explains the importance of mastering one’s mind rather than subjecting it to the whims of the senses.
i] Adi Shankaracharya (788 AD – 820 AD) was an Indian philosopher from Kaladi of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta (the philosophy of non-dualism in Indian theology). His teachings are based on the concept of non-dual Brahman, in which Brahman (Supreme Consciousness) is viewed as Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without attributes). He travelled across India and other parts of South Asia to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He is reputed to have founded four Maths (monasteries) at Badrinath in the north, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the east and Shringeri in the south. These helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankaracharya is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmatha tradition of worship (worship of the six forms of Divinity as Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Goddess Shakti, Lord Ganesha, Lord Karthikeya and the Sun God). He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutras, in a time when the Mimamsa School established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. Shankara represented his works as elaborating on ideas found in the Upanishads, and wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, principal Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.
ii] The story of Dhruva figures in the Bhagavatam or Vishnu Purana. Dhruva is the son of King Utthaanapaada, who refused to allow his first wife’s (Suneeti) son, Dhruva to sit on his lap when he was in the court, but allowed his second wife’s (Suruchi) son to be seated on his lap. This irked Dhruva and he made a resolve to have the Darshan of Lord Vishnu and earn from Him a boon to have the right to sit on his father’s lap.
Source: Values-oriented Finance: Insights from Ancient Wisdom, Chapter 7, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective