Greed, a sin of excess

Most of us have routinely heard or read somewhere that greed is a vice. We all have the potential for greedy tendencies, but in people with a strong fear of lack or deprivation, greed can become a dominant pattern. Not many realise, how lowly and mean a person can become under its influence. Few are aware that it brings more grief and sorrow to its perpetrator than to his victim. Remember the moment greed enters, bliss exits.

Greed, like gluttony and lust, is traditionally considered a sin of excess. Both gluttony and greed correspond closely with what Buddha called desire, that is an over attachment to the material world and its pleasures which is at the root of all human suffering. Greed is about never being satisfied with what one has, but it is all about wanting and expecting more. It is an insatiable hunger and a profound form of gluttony. It makes man blind to the stark reality that he is a mere mortal with a limited span of life and his body is subject to disease and aging and the functioning ability of its organs is limited by the laws of nature. He forgets that his lifestyle may bring grief in place of joy if he crosses certain limits. There is a wise old saying that ‘too much of anything is bad’. Hence, overdoing anything will bring disease and cut short the normal span of life. That is why the greedy are responsible for making the vast majority of Homo sapiens needy to the point of abject poverty.

So where and how does greed breed? Well greed grows from ignorance of one’s self. It is closed to all reason and reasoning and shuns advice from all sides. It pollutes the mind, perverts the intellect and suppresses the voice of conscience, thereby resulting in spiritual darkness at noon. With the fuse of divine insight blown-off, the intellect begins to confuse and the mind begins to sink in the quagmire of illusions. The ghost of greed plays havoc with the lives of millions, even billions, when it possesses those who wield power and authority. Not satisfied with their lion’s share of income, these individuals or corporations are always busy in refining their tools of exploitation. Little do they realise that not only are they depriving more and more of the vast majority of their fellow beings, spiritual brethren of even their bare necessities of life, but their misdeeds automatically recoil on their own lives, as per the Law of Karma (as you sow, so you reap) and greed, in fact, is a curse that has befallen them. The sooner this truth dawns on the leaders of our times, the closer will come the dawn of the new golden era of purity, peace and abundance.