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The Gita, declares that a person who repeatedly takes from the totality, but never contributes to it, is a thief. Here, Sri Krishna has used a very powerful word.
The commonly understood meaning of ‘thief’ is one who breaks into your house and steals things. However, there are different types of thieves (chor). One is the person who is paid for eight hours, but works for only four. He is a kam chor. He does not work fully, but takes a full pay! Another type is one who evades tax – kar chor. There are also those who steal the ideas and designs of others. All of them are categorized as thieves.
In the spiritual sense, we take everything from the Lord and forget Him. We refuse to give Him any acclaim and take credit for everything. In modern terms, it relates to the disturbance of the entire ecosystem. Plants, animals and birds can all live without us. Actually, they will be very happy if we are not there! But humans cannot live without them; in innumerable ways we are totally dependent on them. Yet, we continue to exploit and destroy them. We call ourselves smart and intelligent but in reality, we are dumb. This according to the Bhagavad-gita is ‘stealing’.
On the other hand, those who understand the injunctions of the scriptures and live accordingly are liberated from bondage. The Lord points out that good people who enjoy or partake the remnants of yagna are liberated from their sins; but others who do things only for their own selfish ends, their own benefit, pleasure and power are ‘eating sin’.
Sri Krishna uses the potent words ‘yagna shista.’ The meaning of yagna shista is to be understood from different standpoints. At the individual level, it involves performing one’s own duties dedicated to the Higher and subsequently sharing the fruits for the good of society. Let us take the simple example of the owner of a lucrative company. After deducting the costs and overheads, he shares the profits with his employees. He will be called a yagna shista. Earlier, proprietors took all the proceeds for themselves; the concept of sharing did not exist. It is now recognized that the wealth of the company should be shared with the workers, shareholders and so on. In addition, the town or city where the factory is located should also benefit. Known as Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, this has become a law and a percentage has to be used for the welfare of society.
There is a thought-provoking incident from Guru Nanak Dev’s life. One day, on his travels, a poor man offered him some dry, unappetizing bread. Guru Nanak accepted it joyfully. He was eating it with relish. Just then a prosperous man arrived on the scene and offered him an array of delicious food. However, Nanak Dev did not accept this. The rich man was upset and offended and asked the Guru why his bread had been rejected. Nanakji showed him the difference: when he squeezed the bread offered by the poor man, milk poured out; but when the rich man’s bread was pressed, blood came out of it. The wealthy man had earned money by abusing and exploiting many people.
Remember, when we ignore the advice of the Creator, it shows disrespect to Him who has given us everything. For instance, in a household, the will of the elders becomes compulsory for others to fulfil. If we disobey their bidding, it shows disregard to them. Similarly, in organizations such as the Chinmaya Mission, the Guru’s words are sacrosanct. Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s words are commands for his followers. His wish was our command.
By presenting different perspectives, Sri Krishna has convincingly pointed out that there is no running away from one’s duties. One has individual duties towards oneself to gain purity of mind, but one should also not forget one’s duty towards the peace, prosperity and happiness of everyone around.Today, not only in our country, but all over the world, this altruistic and caring spirit is getting lost.