A businessman’s karma


My question is about the karma of my profession. I am a stockbroker and although I am committed to making money for my clients, the nature of the business (futures) is such that if my clients make money, then someone else loses. I have a wish to move on and do other businesses in the future, but at the moment this is the only thing I can do. I work hard for my money and I also try to put my clients' interests before my own. Do you think I am incurring any bad karma?

—Neelkanth, India


Dear Neelkanth,

Thank you for your question about the karma of your profession. I’ve never had any personal experience in “futures,” but I did look it up on Wikipedia; and from my newly-gained, though very limited understanding of it, I think that what you are doing would not incur bad karma unless you approach it from an attitude of personal greed.

The law of karma has a lot to do with one’s intentions. It is impossible to go through life without unintentionally hurting someone or something. As an extreme example, a person might hurt or kill someone in a car accident, but certainly he or she had no intention doing so.

If you are deliberately hurting someone financially, that is one thing; but if your business is competitive as most businesses are, then there probably will be losses by somebody, somewhere along the line.

Another example: if a person starts a business and works very hard at the business to the point that he begins to make more money than his competitors and even causes his competitors to lose business, could you say that he is deliberately hurting his competitors? I don’t think it works quite like that.

But if he has the attitude: “I want to put my competitors out of business, so that I can have more money for myself,” this is where the bad karma might come in. Again, it all comes back to one’s attitude.

I can see why you have a wish to move on to a different way of making a living, so I’d suggest that you keep praying and working for that to happen in whatever ways you can. Meanwhile, it seems as though you are keeping your attitude as pure as possible, thinking of your clients before yourself, and so on.

I really recommend that you study Swami Kriyananda’s lessons, Material Success through Yoga Principles. These lessons would answer your question fully, plus offer you much more information about how to move through the business world in the most righteous way.