Mudha jahīhi dhanāgamatrśnāṃ kuru sadbuddhim manasi vitrśnām |
Yallabhase nija karmopāttaṃ vittaṃ tena vinodaya cittam
Meaning – O fool! O ignorant person who lacks the discriminative intelligence between permanent and impermanent objects! Give up this desire to earn money & wealth. Cultivate a noble intellect (buddhi) that is totally free of transformations (vikāra) of any kind. Be content with the wealth that accrues to you based on the actions of your previous births.
The first stanza taught about spiritual ignorance (avidya). To escape from this ignorance, reciting the names of the Lord was the suggested remedy.
Now the second stanza warns us against entertaining excessive desires (kāma) and on the necessity of controlling the mind.
The word ‘kāma’ is not limited merely to lustful desires. ‘Kāma’ includes desire of every form i.e. desire to obtain wealth, position/ title and possession of any kind are all part and parcel of kāma. This is also known as ‘trishna’. Trishna means thirst. Only water quenches thirst. Where a person is excessively thirsty and water is unavailable, his life will be in danger. Likewise when desire crosses all limits, it causes the person to fall to unimaginable levels! For this reason, Swami preaches that we should not allow desire (kāma) to come anywhere close to the mind.
Bhagavad Geeta explains the dangers of kaama in the following way- sangāt sanjāyate kāmah kāmāt krōdhō ‘bhijāyate.
Meaning- Association leads to desire; desire in turn paves the way towards anger. Anger causes the person to forget himself. This delusion causes faltering of intellect (buddhi). Complete destruction occurs in the person whose intellect is weakened and is in a very poor state.
As all these have their origin in desire, it is very important to ensure that the mind is untainted by desires.
People erroneously believe that fulfilling the desire is the best and only way to drive away the desire from the mind. Bhagavad Geeta however disagrees. It compares desire to fire. Offering ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) only increases the strength of the flames in the holy fire (homa). Likewise fulfilling of a desire only multiplies craving towards it. The person who is truly desirous of putting off the flames should pour water on it. What is the use of supplying it (desire) with ghee hoping that the flames will subside?
This ‘Moha Mudgara’ is not some preaching meant merely for saints or for very knowledgeable persons who are walking on the path of the Supreme. This holy text is equally important for people of all castes and communities irrespective of their social status and gender. For this reason, Shankara Bhagawad-pādāchārya Swami does not declare that earning wealth is bad.
He instead states that every person has some merits and demerits (punya-paapa) that he has brought forward from earlier births. Earning of money on earth is totally dependent on the merits and demerits that have thus been brought forward. Hence he preaches that every person should be content with whatever is earned by him with his efforts in this world. Do not entertain excessive desires.
People of this generation cannot be preached that earning money is wrong. Such preaching is not suited for present times. Instead the person is asked to be content with whatever is earned righteously with his hard work. That’s all. Secondly we should get over the misconception that fulfilling the desire will bring it to an end. As explained above, desire only multiplies once it is fulfilled. The craving increases. To control fire water or some other substance which puts out the flames should be used. Likewise the efforts that are needed to curtail the desires should be practiced. Only then desires will disappear.