The Bhagavad Gita & the Flawed Creed of the Entrepreneur
Since the end of WWII, the entire planet seems to have adopted the philosophy and creed of American entrepreneurship, however from the metaphysical perspective this creed religion-ideology is deeply flawed.
I grew up with the ideal of the individual entrepreneur. Like most Americans, I never questioned its value or how the creed of entrepreneurship was affecting the world - because I lived in it. I remained unconsciously inundated with no possibility of any objectivity. The American entrepreneur was embedded in my psyche as the ‘good guy,’ the hope of humanity, the ‘can-do’ man who takes charge and leads the world into a better life, and promises the freedom provided by common sense capitalism.
Now as the American Empire is beginning to unravel before our eyes, it seems to me a good time to understand the limitations and flaws of this American religion - the entrepreneur. A brilliant insightful analysis is found in a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, interpreted by K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya.
K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya
K.K. Nair was an intellectual sage and one of my favorite Indian thinkers. His pen name was Krishna Chaitanya and I have gone to great lengths to acquire everything he ever wrote, because sadly his books are now out of print. His was a mind capable of absorbing all the ideas of this world, both east and west. He had not only read everything of any consequence written in the western world, but also in the east including the Sanskrit texts.
K.K. Nair elucidates the flawed reasoning behind the American creed/religion of the entrepreneur in his wonderful commentary on the Bhagavad Gita – The Gita for Modern Man. In chapter three, he exposes the development of this ideology that had mesmerized my psyche since childhood and even today holds millions of others trapped in the ‘holy grail’ illusions of its limited webs.
The discussion begins with an analysis of verse 15 in Chapter III of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna tells Arjuna that the origin of all ‘acts’ is the Oneness. The Oneness is termed as Brahman in the Gita, and here Krishna defines Brahman as that which is imperishable and all pervading. In other words, God is Everything, there is nothing in this universe except God consciousness, the Oneness, Brahman. Therefore every act originates out of and arises from its source, which is God consciousness.
“The all pervading Brahman is eternally established in sacrifice.” The One sacrifices Its Oneness and takes on the temporal ‘appearance’ of multiplicity in order to create the Universe to play in.
Sacrifice is any act performed in the state of awareness that everything is sacred.
However, our actions lose their ‘sacred’ vibrational frequency when we forget and lose our inner connection to the Oneness within; when we forget that we are in fact a piece of God consciousness, as is everyone and everything in this universe. As our awareness sinks into differentiated perception and our real nature is concealed, so does the consciousness of our actions fall and move further into the external manifested five-sense hologram. Thus we are carried deeper and deeper into our self-created delusions.
The Sanskrit word YAGNA means sacrifice. The etymology of the word sacrifice is SACRED. The act performed in conscious awareness of our Union with the One is sacred. The act performed in the consciousness of self-interest will drive us further and further away from the awareness of the God-with us all.
This is “sin” – the only real sin is being unaware that you are the Oneness. As we forget our real nature and move deeper into illusory states of differentiated perception and delusion, we fall into sin - the miasma of amnesia that binds us in the temporal illusory hologram and entraps us in Samsara, the endless rounds of repeating birth and death.
Sacred acts would of necessity be altruistic.
When we come to know that we are the Oneness - and therefore understand that we are connected to every other man, woman, and child on the planet, and the planet herself as the oceans, rivers, flora and fauna, everything - then our actions with and for these beings, and the Earth, are actions taken for our own Self.
K.K. Nair says that the poet and author of the Bhagavad Gita, Vyasa wants man to be altruistic in whatever he does because such altruism would be derived from the very nature and structure of reality. The Creator lacks nothing, is compelled by no need, and yet works for the world. The enlightened know that they are united in God consciousness, and therefore whatever is done is seen as a sacred act performed in this understanding of Union with All.
K.K. Nair: “ The man who does not help turn the wheel thus revolving wrecks the world system, and himself too, since he cannot survive in a wrecked world. On the other hand, his own security and progress are in no way endangered if he works altruistically. For his work for others, for the world, will yield benign results for all including him. The residual yield of altruistic action is ample for his genuine needs.”
The majority of people who are caught up in the whirlwinds of consumer capitalism have no respect for altruistic thinking. Self-interest and success are all that matter. Those who work for others and the good of the world are seen as contemptible fools. Success is equated with money, no matter how that money was obtained, amassed, or grabbed.
“The productive frenzy of the outlook which has contempt for soft-headed altruism and is wholly devoted to the hard-headed pursuit of self interest has led to a war on nature and a war on fellowmen, and both now point to race extinction. [KKN]”
The words altruistic and entrepreneur are rarely heard together. Of course the usual justification is that the successful entrepreneur provides people with jobs. But as K.K. Nair points out, these jobs daily mangle the spirits of men in meaningless labor.
K.K Nair quotes other maverick viewpoints: “Modern production periodically destroys men by heaps and piles in war” - and “the cult of development practiced by the affluent really means a war on the very substance of the poor” - and “violates the inner limits of man and the outer limits of nature.”
The creed of the American entrepreneur now rules the world, so let us examine its origins and “its vast miscegenation of other equally non-human ideas. [KKN]”
In 1776 Adam Smith wrote the ‘Wealth of Nations’ and laid down the code of self-interest. The acceptance of this creed of self-interest is said to have influenced Darwin’s formulation of his theory of evolution on the basis of a competitive struggle for existence. Herbert Spencer developed the concepts of Smith and Darwin into a social Darwinism, and this became the philosophy of American entrepreneurship – which today is the economic philosophy of the whole world.
Self-interest quickly turns into selfishness and greed in the minds of lesser and more desperate fearful men. ‘Greed is good’? The mere egotist is worshipped and regaled as hero for the ephemeral acquisition of success based solely on wealth and fame – with little or no concern for integrity, wisdom, or concern for others and the planet.
Getting ahead means leaving others behind. This “creed has endorsed a psychology of unlimited desire and a theory that removed the onus from unlimited appropriation, reduced experience to instrumental terms, and encouraged a perception of the self … which defines its boundaries in competitive activity [KKN].”
Winning becomes everything. The etymology of the word ‘sport’ is play, mirth, merriment, jest. In the hands of the entrepreneur sport has become bottom-line business and the business of sports has become corporate. The ideals that once made the disciplined life of an athlete a source of character building and integrity are now mere means to profit. The owners of teams are successful in proportion to their ability to pay great athletes. These men and women have no allegiance to any team, but only to their own bank account. I can’t blame them really –their behavior is the consequence of the entire system and their career life expectancy is short.
Far more grave, sinister, and perhaps irreversibly destructive are the effects of this ‘creed of the entrepreneur’ on the planet. “Enthusiastically embracing a creed which appealed to his lower nature, man declared war on nature (thereby) threatening to pollute and use up its life support resources, and a war on his brethren in the form of exploitation through monopoly, colonialism, multinational economic imperialism and annihilation through nuclear armament. [KKN]”
Adam Smith preached the doctrine of self-interest – but when we reach God consciousness and enlightenment we realize that our own self-interest lies in the welfare of the world, because we are that. There is no ‘us’ and no ‘them’ – there is only the One. And my understanding is that we all knew this during the first cycle of time, the Golden Age or the Sanskrit Satya Yuga – and we will again.
The creed of the individual entrepreneur who has accepted self-interest as the primary motivation can only take place in the Kali Yuga, the cycle of time steeped in conflict and confusion. Far from making progress and evolving, in the last 6000 years we have progressively descended into five-sense differentiated perception, self-created delusion, and the miasma of amnesia.
This ‘forgetting’ our real nature and source is grounded in the ‘sin’ of feeling totally cut off from the God-within. We have distanced ourselves to the extreme of projecting deity out, up into some heaven, seated on a golden throne. The only functional relationship of this enthroned remote deity to us is the prospect of a terrifying final judgment on our ‘one’ life, which condemns us to an eternal hell, or some boring winged-harp heaven. This kind of thinking is ‘sin’ and a kind of madness itself.
Adam Smith’s creed of self-interest denies us the possibility of the “reciprocal respect for all individuals … to draw the closer to another in an ever more comprehensive association that would be regulated in accordance with the laws of harmonious liberty. [KKN]” This creed of self-interest and entrepreneurship has turned us into “the acquisitive society” and “has flattened man to one dimension, that of a consumer who, unlike the animals, always nurtures his appetites beyond possible satiety. [KKN]”
There was a joke in the USA you don’t often hear anymore: “He who dies with the most toys wins!” When is enough stuff enough? Giant conglomerate corporations have made useless stuff available to every level of society. Even the houses of the poor are found to be crammed with gadgets and doo-dahs. Credit cards made anything possible and now the day of reckoning may have arrived.
The future may offer an escape from this creed of the entrepreneur, which has like the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing kept a stranglehold on our consciousness and the planet. If the future brings about the collapse of the world consumer corporate economy, then perhaps we will find how little status-based consumption has served us.
You can’t be attached to material world when it is collapsing. Perhaps we will find our way Home, to the God-with us all - back to a higher way of living and the consciousness that perceives everything as everything and the world as the One. Real change will take place only when we have first changed our own consciousness.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna does not repudiate happiness. “But happiness comes from inner serenity and this can only come from the ultimate knowledge of the Self, its role in the grand design of existence. Proliferating appetites wreck the world because while there may be enough for everyone’s need, there is not enough in the world for everyone’s greed. [KKN]”
In the Kali Yuga we have forgotten our primordial connection with the essence of all life that underlies this entire universe. We have forgotten the God within that permeates all beings and Gaia, the Mother Nature we have set out to conquer. Until we reconnect to the Oneness, even the most innocent of entrepreneurs will be vulnerable to the inevitable corrupting influence of self-interest and greed.
It has become apparent to all that this planet has crossed a line of toxicity and devastation perilous to the survival of humankind. Unsustainable levels of chemical and industrial pollution are contaminating the water we must drink, the air we breathe, and the farmable lands without which there would be no food and no life. Surely the time has come for us all to look within our hearts and realize that the ideology of consumption, which was born of successful entrepreneurship, has reached a dead end brick wall.
What kind of species destroys its own planet? What will it take to wake us up? Now is the time to reconnect with our Source and realize that we are the Oneness, one people, one planet, one future. Each of us must look within, and by elevating our own individual consciousness and connecting to the God-within us, once again return to that primordial, innate, harmonious relationship with Nature and the Earth. It is up to us – each one.
The above article was inspired by, partially paraphrased, and quoted from the out of print work of K.K. Nair/Krishna Chaitanya – to whom I remain profoundly indebted:
The Gita for the Modern Man, Krishna Chaitanya (K.K. Nair); Clarion Books, New Delhi, 1986, 1992.
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