Is Money Evil?


Is Money evil? Once a spiritual guy told me money is evil! To which I replied no it is not! It is greed that is evil! How can mother goddess of wealth can be evil! She has been taking care of her kids since time immemorial! Though she has no favorites! She only gives what her children has deserved through their karma of many lives! Recently in India two multimillionaire brothers killed each other for a piece of land! So it money evil or ego evil? Is greed for salvation more holy?

—Aditya Joshi, USA/India


Dear Aditya,

Money is a double-edged sword: one edge decapitates us, if we love money. The other edge blesses us, if we use money wisely. The first edge cuts us to pieces, as money is one of the main tools of satan (maya). The other edge is an intrument of God, or as you say, of the “Mother Goddess of wealth.”

This is why Swami Kriyananda created a full course on Material Success Through Yoga Principles, to show how to attract abundance in a blessed and uplifting way, rather than in an “evil,” self-harming way.

Yogananda wrote an inspiring article in his East-West Magazine (1928), in which he explains the double-edged sword of money:

“It is virtue to make money to help God’s work and thereby be worthy of the name of being created in the image of God. Money-making is the next greatest art after the art of realizing God. All the good and philanthropic works of the world, all noble successes, have to be accomplished through money. No saint lived who directly or indirectly did not use money.

But the great paradox and riddle of life lies in judiciously acquiring money. To love money is to be lost. That is the snare. You must use it rightly. You must use the right voltage of prosperity to shine through the bulb of your life-if you send a mad desire for prosperity, the bulb of your life will burn and become dark with the lust for money. Money is the source of infinite evil to those who rely on it as the lasting means of happiness. To those, it promises much until they have it. When they have it, they find themselves spent out-too late realizing that they have served a false God of the will-o’-the-wisp.

Yet money gives power, and, if judiciously held with non-attachment, one can use it to bring happiness to many and can himself outgrow the desire for material happiness.

It is easy to be idle or filled with hopelessness and thus desist from making a financial success. It is easy to earn money dishonestly when such opportunity presents itself. It is wicked by dishonest, organized craft to draw money away from the more needy. It is common to make money just for yourself. It is common to hoard money to satisfy the gold-craving.

But to earn money abundantly, unselfishly, honestly, quickly, just for God and God’s work and making others happy is to develop many sterling qualities of character that will aid one on the spiritual as well as the material path. Responsibility, knowledge of organization, efficiency, order, leadership, and practical usefulness are developed in business success and are necessary for the all-round growth of man.”

You also ask, “Is greed for salvation more holy?”

That kind of “greed” is a sign of holiness. Yogananda teaches to be highly greedy for God, in the same way “as the miser loves money; as the drowning man yearns for breath; as the desert wanderer craves water.”

Wishing you divine God-greed,