Free Essay: Hinduism Views on Wealth and Poverty
Wealth and poverty both exist in Hinduism just in the same way as other religions. However, the concepts or rather arguments on the two subjects are quite different. According to Hindus, theirs is much less of a religion but a way of life and culture to the adherents. This way of life impacts the kind of view that they have towards wealth and poverty. Hinduism is based on a caste system to which the members belong by birth and not wealth or power as it is in other religious societies.
The groups to which Hindus belong are called varnas, each with its own set of rules and duties to live and work by. Too much mixing between the groups like the case of intermarriages is highly prohibited. The four groupings in Hinduism are called Brahmin (priests, teachers and wise men), Kshatriya (warriors, rulers and leaders), Vaishya (merchants, traders, agriculture and other commercial forms of employment) and Sudra (manual labor and service). Looking at these groupings, you can notice that there is a significant difference in social class and even wealth; there are those who seem to be highly placed than others.
In several religious circles, the difference in social status and even wealth has caused great trouble as a result of the discontentment of the poor to keep living the lives that they lead. However, that is not how it is in Hinduism that gives every believer the hope and promise of being born into a better life when they die, and a higher caste if they follow the set rules and duties; dharma.
The varnas exercise limitations on the kinds of jobs that Hindus can have since one can only undertake a job that falls within their caste system. However, there are certain parts of the world where such laws are no longer being followed to the latter. Hindus do not view money or wealth as evil, in fact, earning and enjoying money is one of the four aims of life in Hinduism (purushartas). It is required that every Hindu has a duty to earn enough money to support those around them after competing school, before becoming a monk. In Hinduism, it is acceptable for one to pray for money directly to the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi.
India, the home of Hinduism is ranked among some of the poorest nations in the world. Thus, poverty is not something that is new to Hindus. Giving to the poor is a way of life to them. Hindu teachings point out that money alone is not the most important thing. Hindus believe that sharing with the poor is a way of creating good Karma.
Hindu literature teaches that money or wealth alone is not the only way of achieving the ultimate happiness especially if it is kept and not shared. Mahatma Gandhi in his teachings hinted that, everyone was part of God and people should recognize that the world is shared and need to care for one another.
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