Current Events · Spirituality beyond Religion · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Show Me the Money!

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Money is the talk of the town these days, actually of the whole nation. And of course, we know the reason.

From the corrupt politicians whose stacks of cash suddenly became useless overnight to the mafia of the fake currency industry who found themselves out of business; from terrorists of all hues and their propagandists who relied on loads of cash to carry out their sinister inhumane agendas to some of the biggest tax-evaders who hoarded cash; from small and medium traders whose businesses mostly depended on cash to the poor farmer who found himself unable to sell his produce or buy seeds; from the old gentleman who stood in a long queue to withdraw money from a cashless ATM to the poorest woman in some remote village who had never stepped inside a bank; — money woes of all kinds have been in the news lately.  

There is no shortage of analysis and opinion given by expert economists of diverse intellectual orientations and also by political commentators of varied ideological leanings. Media of the old and the new kind has been abuzz, debating passionately the pros and cons of this demonetisation move.

We have seen much deliberate rumour-mongering and numerous attempts to create panic among the citizens by some with vested interests. And there have also been many good-intentioned rational attempts to call out on such needless fear-mongering and to genuinely support the ordinary citizens effected by the move. 

Underneath all the analyses and opinions, if there is one thing, the only thing about which we can be certain, that is this: only time will reveal how this demonetisation decision pans out in the months and years to come, and what will be its economic and political consequence, its gain and fallout.

But one result has already been quite visible. This drastic move has had major impact on the cash-chests of terror groups, be it of Jihadi, Moist or Naxalite orientation. The counterfeit currency mafia and the human trafficking mafia have also been hit hard. Of course, many follow-up actions would be necessary to see that the evil designs of such enemies of India don’t rise up again. 

Nymphaea, Water lily, spiritual significance: Wealth: True wealth is the wealth that one offers to the Divine.

There is, however, something more to all this outer economic and political commentary and analysis, something deeper than this surface talk about money. To unearth and appreciate that, we will need to step back and learn about the true nature of the money.

What is money after all? And how can this denometisation move be understood in the light of the true nature of the money.

Sri Aurobindo in his book, The Mother, writes: 

Money is the visible sign of a universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of the outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose. (CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 10)

Money is a force, a power, which when held by Asuric influences can create havoc.

What is an Asuric influence? What is an Asura?

The Asuras are really the dark side of the mental, or more strictly, of the vital mind plane. This mind is the very field of the Asuras. Their main characteristic is egoistic strength and struggle, which refuse the higher law. The Asura has self-control, tapas and intelligence, but all that for the sake of his ego. (Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 28, p. 467)

In the Bhagavad Gita we find a helpful and detailed description of the Asuric temperament, which maybe considered as the lowest scale of human nature. Those with such temperament are forever trying to satisfy their egos. For them ego and desire are the only real gods to serve, and their mind and will become self-deceived slaves or tools of their desires. Because of their insatiable desire and an excessive egoistic pride, those with Asuric nature persist in false and obstinate aims, and pursue their longings with an impure resolution. Dominated by the powers of desire, wrath and greed, the Asuric nature becomes the center or instrument of a fierce, violent action, a power of destruction in the world, a source of injury and evil. 

Imagine when the force of money comes under the influence of such powers of evil and destruction. The results are all too known to us – mindless violence, terrorism, human trafficking, slavery, corruption, erosion of all that is noble, good and beautiful. 

For decades and decades we have seen the working of such Asuric influences in terror-torn regions of the world. In parts of the Kashmir valley. In the Naxalite-infested regions of our country. We have heard and read about the unimaginable suffering and atrocities unleashed by the various mafia involved in child trafficking, and trading of narcotics and illegal arms. We have seen, again and again, democratic processes becoming a cruel joke because of the force of the money used by corrupt and self-serving politicians, only for the aggrandisement of their egos. We have grown all too familiar with the uncontrollable greed of some tax-evading and well-connected businessmen.

Are these not the works of Asuric influences? Was it not absolutely essential to choke the financing of such Asuric forces at work? Sure this can’t be a one-time attack on such evil forces, many more steps and many other forms of battles will be necessary.

As it is always the case, such a battle between the forces of dharma and adharma is a long one and a perpetual one. But a serious blow on their finances was necessary and long overdue to put a brake. Money is a force, which when seized by the Asura becomes a perversion and thus a grave danger to further evolution of the society, of the individual. 

Money is a force, which when reconquered from the perverted hold of the Asuric influences, has the great potential, like all other universal forces, to be an effective instrument for creating a more harmonious outer life. For an individual, a family, a group, the society, the nation, the world, the entire earth. 

Money is meant to increase the wealth, the prosperity and the productiveness of a group, a country or, better, of the whole earth. Money is a means, a force, a power, and not an end in itself. And like all forces and all powers, it is by movement and circulation that it grows and increases its power, not by accumulation and stagnation. (The Mother, CWM, Vol. 13, p. 149)

When we begin to understand money and its purpose as a force, we begin to appreciate the necessity for taking back this force away from the perverted influence of the Asura and to reconquer it for the purpose of prosperity and good of a group, a country and the world. We begin to appreciate fully the need for why money as a force and as a power needs to be in movement and circulation.

We begin to see the demonetisation move in a different, deeper light. 

We begin to see how we – you and me, individually – should re-examine and re-adjust our attitude to this force of money.

40 thoughts on “Show Me the Money!

  1. That’s a great perspective from his highness Sri Aurobindo Ji …no doubt we can’t even reach closer to that kind of thinking. It makes sense to what they said- money in the evil hands has indeed created havoc.

    I feel the long term impacts of demonetization would be beneficial, though there are many immediate hiccups. The stock market has reacted very negatively to the news.

    1. Thanks Alok for reading and sharing your perspective. I have forgotten much of my Economics to say either way what will be the long-term impact of this move, but it seems there is much divergence in the analyses that are coming out. So while my common sense tells me that the future must be about less and less cash-based transactions to enable more transparency, in that sense this seems like a great move. Though of course some difficulties will come on the way. But then nothing can be perfectly planned on paper, and especially so in a country like ours that is not only huge with a huge population outside of the banking system, but also used to a ‘chalta hai’ type of mindset which has led to such tamasic inertia in our bureaucratic and administrative machinery. But as far as the other objectives of this move are concerned – to give a big blow to terror funding, drug mafia, fake currency and other such things, I believe this is exactly what was needed! And kudos to our PM for taking such a huge political risk by going ahead with this move. And thank god that most of the country is with him! I see a brighter future for India in the coming years and decades 🙂

      1. Let’s see how it pans out. I was stunned to read that few terrorists killed recently in India were carrying the new currency…that makes me believe there are loopholes still there.

      2. Sure, loopholes will always be there in any scheme or plan. But the fact that terrorists have been reduced to stealing the money from the bank (there have been 2 or 3 bank robberies in J&K) says that their coffers have turned dry. Also, this report about terrorists found with Rs. 2000 notes – much of it was also sensationalist reporting. Only TWO notes of 2000 were found on them. I just hope that the media starts reporting things more accurately instead of creating unnecessary sensationalism. Please see this article –

  2. We human beings don’t take kindly to change. It scares us. Looking at the bigger picture though can give us some respite. Any move of this magnitude cannot come into effect without collateral damage.
    The interesting part is that the worst affected middle and lower-middle class that constitute a large part of our population have accepted it.

      1. Yes indeed! Time will tell for sure. But the initial trends look positive 🙂 The biggest positive is that it has made people realise that if we want the system to change we have to learn how to take tough decisions and go through some temporary hardships. Otherwise nothing will change and we should stop complaining 🙂

        Thanks for reading!

    1. Thanks Varsh! And I agree that the people who are supporting this decision are the ones who really have their priorities right! They don’t mind the initial temporary hardships if they feel that the decision will bring positive results in the future. And I also feel that many more steps are going to come in the months to come, in order to justify this decision even more as far as the larger objectives of curbing black money and corruption are concerned.
      Appreciate your perspective!

  3. Thanks for sharing this perspective. It’s true that money is power and a force. Which is why, in the absence of it, we feel weak.
    Demonetization – well the many opinions are floating around seem like a right vs right battle. I feel sad about the people of the country (more so the poor and marginalized section) who are spending so much time to get their own money. Having said that, this is one of those bold measures which was the need of the hour. It certainly is going to help in the long run.

    1. Yes it is a great point you bring up here, Parul. In absence of this money force a weakness comes up – on individual and collective level. That’s why we have Mother Lakshmi, who is not only a goddess of prosperity (Sri) but also beauty and prosperity. All these are connected.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective.

  4. The reference to Asuric temperament made total sense. Mother’s words that money is not an end to all is so thought provoking. I loved reading this piece, and like you rightly said it is our attitudes that needs readjusting.

    1. Thanks Shubhangi. I am so glad that you picked up with the two main points I wanted to bring up here – about our individual attitudes and about the dire need to take away the money from the asuric influences.

  5. Only time will tell what the actual impact of demonetization will be in the long run. Meanwhile, some people are genuinely struggling while some others are just griping on social media.

    1. Struggle is always a part of any big change, big transformation. Whether one person struggles or many, the fact remains that no systemic change, especially on the scale of a country as large as ours, will ever come without disrupting the normal way of doing things. It is also understandable that generally those who are most on the margins of the society pay the biggest price when any major change is introduced. But interestingly, here the biggest losers have been those who are the most vocal critics and they are nowhere on the margins of the society. As for those who love to gripe on social media – well the less said about them, the better. There is no shortage of people who just love to complain, about everything!

      Thanks Rachna for reading and for sharing your perspective.

  6. The perception of money is in the minds of the holder. Once things get streamlined, I suppose everyone will get used to the new demonetization era. In the meantime, it makes me miserable to see the daily news about people exhausted from standing in line, and sometimes even dying because the lines are so long or the ATMs are empty with no news of when their cash will be available to them. Then there’s the irony of bewildered people like the presswala and flower sellers who are chased off with a 2000 rupee note.

    I like your perspective. And yes, we need an attitude change on so many fronts, Beloo!

    1. Thanks Vidya for sharing your perspective. I agree that some people are experiencing much inconvenience and hardship because of long lines at the bank. But such an economically disruptive move (disruption in the sense that it is meant to bring in a new series of reforms in the way business of money has been done as usual in our country) couldn’t have been without such physical disruptions. Not discounting the real inconvenience on the ground, but just to bring a sense of proportion to the kind of panic some media folks have been spreading about these “demonetisation deaths” etc -may I recommend that you please take a look at this report by a senior journalist and one who knows a few things about analysing numbers and data.

      In the final analysis, of course, much will depend on how we, individually and collectively, rethink our own sense of responsibility toward our society and country, and yes our own attitudes to money.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your thought 🙂

  7. Seven quick things we have learned about India in the days following the demonetisation move:

    1. There is plenty of goodwill and cooperating spirit among Indian masses.
    2. There is no shortage of creative on-the-spot-thinking necessary to work through immediate and temporary problems.
    3. There is a great desire among the majority of Indians (regardless of class, caste, creed) to make things better for all Indians.
    4. There is an easy willingness to sacrifice short-term convenience for a long-term gain, if the cause feels right and fair.
    5. There is a bubbling energy and dynamism among the majority of Indians that when channelised in the right direction is the nation’s biggest resource.
    6. There is a uniquely Indian way of doing things which though may take a bit of time but is very effective in revealing the hypocrisy of those who had created a false image of themselves as champions of this or that cause.
    7. There is no shortage of economists in the country.

  8. Money as a force is such a great concept. Only Sri Aurobindo and The Mother could have thought of it as such! My sister always tells me that our devotion and efforts should be like the asuras without their evil intent. Reading Sri Aurobindo’s words where he says that the asuras halve self control and tapas but only tos satisfy their ego, sort of corroborate her words 🙂

    In Treta yuga and Dwapara yuga there were distinct beings called asuras, but in Kaliyuga we only have humans with asuric and daivi qualities making them the one or the other. And then there are the humans. The asuras in kaliyuga have power too – money power with which they are hurting the populace much like the asuras in other yugas did by using their boons and weapons to harass and destroy. We can take comfort with the fact that that asuric forces always get defeated in the end. So will they in this yuga too.

    1. Thanks Zephyr for sharing your sister’s view on this topic of Asuras. I think she makes a very valid point, especially when we see that in the early vedic literature the term Asura wasn’t really meant to oppose the idea of Deva. Only in the later literature, particularly the puranic literature the opposition became more explicit, as the influences of the forces of the ego and the spirit began to be spelled out more explicitly. Even in many commentaries on the Gita we find a nuanced view of the daivi and asuric qualities, because it is considered fully possible for a human being to progressively get rid of asuric nature and develop more daivic qualities. However, some Asuras (as in Asuric beings/forces/influences) must be destroyed, because they are beyond any redemption. Sri Aurobindo in his Essays on the Gita and also elsewhere speaks clearly of this, where he says that Asuras are anti-evolutionary beings, and therefore not willing to give up their nature. But such nuances of dharma and adharma have to be understood with a subtler mind and intelligence, and not to be taken literally in a text-book fashion which can lead to much misunderstanding and relativistic mumbo-jumbo.

  9. Nice thoughts. Money is definitely just the means to an end and can never be the end itself. If a shortage of money hinders in any way, then it matters, else its just a number in the bank books. If we lost a 500 rupee note and we didn’t know about it, we haven’t lost it. if we know but don’t care, we haven’t lost it.We lose it only when we get depressed about it.

  10. It is sad that the currency, which was meant to be a substitute for the barter system has created so much avarice and greed in the minds of the people that the manifestations are manifold. The post is an eye opener of sorts to take cognizance of the mindset and attitude of people, but frankly Beloo, more than the post, I liked your conclusions in the comments forum about ordinray Indians coming together for rooting out the evil that plagues our lives.

    1. Thanks, Sunita! I am always happy to hear that some of my conscientious and thoughtful readers also take the time to go through the discussion in the comments section. So you have made me doubly happy – by your appreciation of the post and of the discussion in the comments 🙂 Thank you!

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