Cheat and the Cheated: The Chit Fund Meltdown in Bengal
My city by adoption – Calcutta has been experiencing and documenting the meltdown of a chit-fund. There is nothing new in the modus operendi . The same method, the same process and the same kind of people – charbita-charbanam – chewing the chewed. As usual in this degraded and devolved age, nobody is asking the fundamental question: Why we find an eternal cycle of cheats and cheated in all aspect of our life – from birth to death.
This is the most important question. If we escape this question, there will be no progress how much safeguards we put in place.
No human being, however powerful or intelligent can give you a perfect answer to this question because every conditioned living entity has four fundamental defects – the propensity to commit mistakes, propensity to be under illusion, having limited and imperfect sense organs and propensity to cheat.
Cheating chit-funds are just an example of the imperfect nature of a living entity.
Let us look into this meltdown from another angle:
- Suppose I go to a gambling den and put INR X (a sum of money I earned by selling my labour through body, mind and intelligence). The gambling process can potentially multiply it 10 times in say 2 minutes. The return will be INR 10X and this is nothing but multiplying labour. INR 10X return will be combination of labour of 10 such people like me. I am actually cheating 10 people of their labour through a process called gambling. This process can be a private enterprise, Government protected enterprise, run by Government or through a shady connection between the gambling den owners and Government. The whole lure of gambling comes from this attraction of cheating other people’s labour.
- In the cheating chit-funds, the idea is essentially same. There is a more subtle cheating process in place. Instead of the verdict being decided in few minutes through the roll of a dice as in gambling, the process may take months and years and a front-ended declaration that this is not gambling. But it is. As we move up the ponzy pyramid, we find increasing concentration of cheated labour of other people culminating into the very top where this concentration becomes maximum.
In Vedic Culture, gambling is considered a sinful activity for common people and concession was given for kings and politicians. The seed of the War of the Mahabharata was sown in the gambling assembly of the Kurus. Lord Krishna, who was well apprised of the situation and also played a part of a mediator, declared just before the War, when He delivered the Bhagavad Gita
dyutam chalayatam asmi [ I am also the gambling of the cheats]
and Srila Prabhupada writes in His purport
There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Krsna. As the Supreme, Krsna can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Krsna chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided–it is all-sided.
There are four sinful activities for a living entity as per Vedic Literature
- Illicit Sex
In the devolved age where we live, these four pillars are running the economy.
The most-wonderful thing we observe that Governments and leaders of the society are completely unaware of it and making all foolish and childish plans to prevent that.
The propensity to cheat is inherent in a conditioned living entity. No legal, economic, social methods will be fully successful for all time. The leaders of the society needs to first come to a platform where they can understand the situation as it is, in reality. Rest are all cosmetic.
In Madoff Case, very rich men were cheated.
In the Bengal case, cheated were mostly from poorer classes.
This cheating propensity is independent of one’s economic position or educational qualification.
What is the solution then?
The common sense says that one needs to understand one’s own factual position. Next one has to approach a controller who can train to control this propensity.
About this propensity, its root and its control,. Lord Krishna says,
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]
In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has innumerable energies, and all these energies are divine. Although the living entities are part of His energies and are therefore divine, due to contact with material energy, their original superior power is covered. Being thus covered by material energy, one cannot possibly overcome its influence. As previously stated, both the material and spiritual natures, being emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal. The living entities belong to the eternal superior nature of the Lord, but due to contamination by the inferior nature, matter, their illusion is also eternal. The conditioned soul is therefore callednitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned. No one can trace out the history of his becoming conditioned at a certain date in material history. Consequently, his release from the clutches of material nature is very difficult, even though that material nature is an inferior energy, because material energy is ultimately conducted by the supreme will, which the living entity cannot overcome. Inferior material nature is defined herein as divine nature due to its divine connection and movement by the divine will. Being conducted by divine will, material nature, although inferior, acts so wonderfully in the construction and destruction of the cosmic manifestation. The Vedas confirm this as follows: mayam tu prakrtim vidyan mayinam tu mahesvaram. “Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Mahesvara, the supreme controller.”
Another meaning of guna is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated. Therefore, only Lord Krsna, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature. Devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, can help one gain such release. Krsna, being the Lord of illusory energy, can order this insurmountable energy to release the conditioned soul. He orders this release out of His causeless mercy on the surrendered soul and out of His paternal affection for the living entity who is originally a beloved son of the Lord. Therefore surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only means to get free from the clutches of the stringent material nature.
The words mam eva are also significant. Mam means unto Krsna (Visnu) only, and not Brahma or Siva. Although Brahma and Siva are greatly elevated and are almost on the level of Visnu, it is not possible for such incarnations of rajo-guna (passion) and tamo-guna (ignorance) to release the conditioned soul from the clutches of maya. In other words, both Brahma and Siva are also under the influence of maya. Only Visnu is the master of maya; therefore He can alone give release to the conditioned soul. The Vedas confirm this in the phrase tam eva viditva or “Freedom is possible only by understanding Krsna.” Even Lord Siva affirms that liberation can be achieved only by the mercy of Visnu. Lord Siva says:
mukti-pradata sarvesam visnur eva na samsayah.
“There is no doubt that Visnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.”