The Role of Businessmen in the Transformation of India
Bharat is the land of our birth. It is a Tyaga Bhoomi (land of sacrifice), Karma Bhoomi (land of righteous activities) and Yoga Bhoomi (land of spiritual activities). We are trying to convert such a sacred country to Bhoga Bhoomi (land of extravagance and pleasure). All the sources of Bhoga (pleasure) are in fact the causes of Roga (disease). This is the biggest mistake we are committing. Our willingness to sacrifice constitutes real Yoga.
Of the four Purusharthas – the objectives of human life as expounded in the ancient Indian scriptures, (Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) – the ignorant man confines himself to Artha (wealth) and Kama (worldly desires). The Jnaani (wise man) seeks only Dharma (virtue) and Moksha (liberation). However, normally every person could seek all the four Purusharthas. This should be done by associating Artha (the acquisition of wealth) with Dharma (virtue), and Kama (satisfaction of desire) with Moksha (liberation).
The Four Avenues for Utilisation of One’s Earnings
You must earn wealth by adhering to Dharma (right action). Utilise the wealth for right ends. Our ancients laid down four avenues for the utilization of wealth or earnings. One fourth should be used for personal use and for supporting the family. Another fourth should be used for charitable and religious purposes. A third quarter should be spent on other living beings like animals, birds, etc. The remaining fourth should be offered for supporting the State. It is only when one’s wealth is utilized in this manner will it be really beneficial and meaningful.
Service to Society is Everyone’s Principal Duty
Today many persons give money for charitable purposes. But the reason for their action is to reduce the burden of taxes in one way or another through tax deductions. You all know how large temples are being built at Varanasi, Prayag, Delhi and other places. There are places of worship at many pilgrim centers. They are quite impressive and attractive. They are built in marble and are additions to the nation’s architectural achievements. Huge amounts of money are spent on them. It is no doubt good to build temples. But the real temple is one’s own body. Without purifying one’s self, what use is there in building temples? Temples built at the cost of crores of rupees are not properly maintained. Large numbers of homeless persons desecrate the surroundings of the temples.
How much better would it be if the crores of rupees spent on building places of worship are instead used for improving the plight of the poor, the destitute and the helpless? Institutions for helping the poverty-stricken are more useful than edifices for worshipping some deities. To give a helping hand to the helpless is real service. Love towards one’s fellow beings is the best spiritual discipline. Misuse of money is a great evil. Wealth must be used only for good purposes. Money is capable of leading man to any place, good or bad. Hence one should take care to see that wealth does not lead one to bad ways, or bring a bad name to this great country.
By putting a ceiling on their desires and reducing the number of amenities required for comfortable living, the wealthy should devote themselves to the service of the poor and the forlorn. One should seek to derive happiness from service to one’s fellowmen. Happiness is union with God. The Sathya Sai Organisations should not be content with conducting Bhajans (group singing of devotional songs). Their motto should be Seva (selfless service) all the time. They should take up every kind of activity and carry it out with a spiritual orientation. It is only those who are imbued with the spirit of selfless service that are fit to become leaders of the nation.
Service to society is everyone’s principal duty. Business persons should develop a moral approach i.e. they should use the right means for earning as well as the utilisation of wealth for the benefit of the society at large.
Source: Roles and Responsibilities of Business Executives in the Contemporary World, Divine Discourse to several thousand businessmen at a meeting organised by the Indian Merchants Chamber at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai on May 14, 1984