O God! Can you please increase my spending?


    By Shyam Banerji

    I once had a delightful neighbour called Gopal Da. He was a large-hearted host, and wondrous company for friends of all ages who loved to drop in on him. Gopal Da would often pray, “Ae Khuda, kharche badhaa” – “Hey God! Increase my spending!” Friends needled him by saying, “Gopal Da, you are a Varanasi-born Hindu and you call out to ‘Khuda’? Why can’t you say ‘Bhagwan’ as Hindus do?” He would reply, “Why do you fools draw this linguistic line between Khuda and Bhagwan? Beyond your narrow conditioning, it is all the same. It is all about being a good human being. That is what I am trying to be.” Someone would quip, “But at 83, isn’t it a bit too late?” He would laugh and say, “There is always hope. I spend it freely. Actually, you guys are miserable. So stingy. Clinging on to all your wealth. You don’t even spend your full quota of hope!” Gopal Da was a bachelor. Extremely well-read. What he had, he had given away with joy. Yet he kept telling God, “Ae Khuda, kharche badhaa!”

    Gopal Da passed away, but his catchphrase echoes with deeper meaning. We are like Arjun. We are so scared to spend our resources. Even when the moment is opportune. Like Arjun was scared to spend his valour and duty at the start of the battle of Kurukshetra. In Sanskrit, ‘rajju’ means rope. We are all born ‘arajju’, without ropes. We are born free. To live without fear. But we believe, ‘life is full of struggle’, ‘it is so unpredictable’, ‘save for rainy days’, ‘don’t trust wholeheartedly’, ‘play it safe’.

    In holding on to fears, in holding back on dreams, in not spending our confidence, our potential, we have roped ourselves with rajjus of so many fears. We have added ‘NA’ or ‘No’ or ‘Not’ to our arajju birth. We have roped children to create human beings programmed to believe that they are ‘Not-Arajju’. That they are ‘Arajju-Nots’, Arajjuns of the Kurukshetra of everyday life. People who do not spend their duties selflessly; who do not spend faith without doubting; who do not spend love without expectations; who do not spend their wealth of forgiveness; who do not know that God – the ‘arajju super-force’ that holds together all that one sees – replenishes only that space, that life, that potential, which empties itself joyously.

    Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth thrives as chanchalaa, the ever-moving one. She enriches only the ‘dynamic’. At one end of her spectrum is material wealth. Money that lies ‘roped’, that does not move, never grows. At the other end is the wealth of knowledge. Only that knowledge has value that is spent in productive action to benefit someone. Otherwise, the profoundest knowledge is just a burden. So, it is not about what one has or how much one needs. Spend this misconception. It is all about how joyously, intelligently and fearlessly one spends what one has.

    No one has little. Vedanta says that every human being is born with Shad-sampatti, six types of wealth: Shamah, control of the mind; Damah, control of the senses; Upareti, withdrawal of the mind; Titiksha, forbearance; Shraddha, unwavering faith; and Samadhan, single-pointed concentration. These six types of wealth are self-replenishing. Success and happiness come to those who spend them lavishly. And so the prayer – ‘Ae Khuda, kharche badhaa!’



    Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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