Is it Dharmic to Sell Liquor?


If a businessmen with a liquor business wishes to do service with his money, then is it acceptable ?

If he chooses not to do the liquor business, then his earnings reduce, and by extension, so does the amount of service he does.

Is a lesser act acceptable for the "greater good" ?

A businessman asked me this query, and I'm figuring out how to convince him otherwise.

—Som, Ind


Dear Som,

The Indian scriptures counsel us, “When a higher dharma conflicts with a lower dharma, we should follow the higher dharma.”

To put it another way: the ends do not justify the means.

If your friend truly has a choice whether or not to own and operate a business whose main source of income is from liquor sales, it would not be the higher dharma to sell liquor – not even to donate more to charity or for religious purposes.

Of course there may be other considerations. But you haven’t listed any others, so, with the information we have, the response, spiritually, is clear.

Another precept involved here is ahimsa: harmlessness.

Selling liquor is to sell a product which is harmful to others on every level – physically it is toxic; mentally it distorts the personality and compels one to make serious mistakes on many levels; spiritually, it obscures the light of the soul.

The price of addiction to alcohol, and the suffering and misery that follows from its use, cannot be imagined by a single human being.

I think the counsel here is clear, don’t you?

Nayaswami Hriman