[Advaita-l] Interest Collection is Wrong according to Dharma?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 8 09:54:26 CDT 2013

> Namaste
> The Pravrutti Marga and Nivrutti Marga are there but for different people.
> Householders have to follow Pravrutti Marga because they have to support
> family and society. They have to follow the four Purusharthas like Dharma,
> Artha, Kama and Moksha. But there should be perfect balance in the four.

I have not been active on the list for quite some time, because of other pressing
commitments. Speaking as a member, not a moderator, could I request that threads
like this avoid sweeping generalizations?
1. pravRtti and nivRtti are meant for individuals, but the same person can transition
from pravRtti to nivRtti. There is no question of perfect balance in four purushArtha-s.
There has to be balance of three for people in society, namely dharma, artha and kAma.
An over-emphasis on moksha can be injurious for those in pravRtti mArga. However, if
one is serious about moksha, then nivRtti mArga dictates that artha and kAma first have
to be left behind, not brought along, in some misplaced sense of balance. For a single-
pointed focus on moksha to develop, even dharma has to be left behind at some point.

Far from a situation of balance among four goals, moksha as a goal stands alone,
separate from the other three, not with them. In fact, a lot of problems arise precisely
because people want to talk about moksha but are not ready to leave the other three
purushArtha-s behind. If this basic requirement is not understood, then one is not even
ready for the A B Cs of vedAnta.
2. The very question about interest collection and dharma is ill-posed. Unlike other
religions, which want to give only one set of rules to everybody, our view of dharma is
much more nuanced. Whose dharma are we talking about? The ideal brAhmaNa or
vaiSya, as per classical conceptions or the actual brAhmaNa or vaiSya in today's
circumstances? Or should we think about the dharma of institutions such as banks,
corporations and governments? Talking of idealized situations is simplistic and quite
futile, when the ground realities are too complex.
3. Intrinsically speaking, there is nothing wrong with money earning interest, as per
traditional conceptions of dharma. It is a combination of who, what, when and how
much that makes some kind of interest rates acceptable and other kinds unacceptable.
In fact, if one borrows some money from another person, it would be dishonorable not
to return something extra to the lender when the time comes. dharma is multifaceted,
not a monolithic, single-dimensional thing.

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