Who is close to God – Superrich Gurus or Superrich Businessmen? – 1 Mar 11


I was very happy to see a piece of news in one of the last weeks’ newspaper. Two of the richest men of the world, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are making plans to visit India this year. Actually the fact that they will come is not so much what made me happy but rather the reason why they will come. They want to encourage Indian’s millionaires and billionaires to donate more money to charity!

Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have started this campaign, the ‘Giving Pledge’, urging rich people to donate 50% or more of their money to charities. They themselves have pledged that they will give away freely and they have already convinced many rich people that this would be the right thing to do. They don’t talk about giving to a certain organization or for a certain cause, they just talk about philanthropy, about charity, about giving and sharing with those who need it. I love this idea of a campaign and wish them the best of success!

Especially here in India there are many people who could give a lot and could see their donation used in front of their own eyes, in their own country, if they had the compassion for others to do it. This campaign is urging anybody who has gathered wealth to do good with it and it particularly addresses businessmen. In my eyes, some of the biggest businessmen in India are those who do the business of spirituality and religions.

Most Gurus and religious leaders would never like being called businessmen but they are among the most successful ones in India. It is the ‘Business of Gods’, as nicely stated in this article. I don’t even want to start listing religious people who are rich because the list could get very long. In the article they only mention a few and the figures are already four years old, today they would be much higher already.

There are just so many people who receive donations by claiming they build temples or are some kind of Gods. They even live like Gods, building multiple Ashrams and enourmous temples in India and around the world.

Do they forget that there are not only people who want to hear lectures or perform spiritual rituals but people who need food and struggle to survive? They don’t need temples, they need a roof over their head! They don’t need your blessing, they need your money!

Some people will tell me now that many of these gurus also build hospitals and schools or give in another way to charity. This however is such a minimal part of their wealth, a tiny part of what they could give that they should feel ashamed to advertise their charitable attitude in this way. Ideally they should be able to leave 100% of their wealth because they show themselves as sanyasi, only devoted to God and having renounced from material belongings. Instead they take what they can get and distribute it most generously among their family members. They preach detachment but seem much more attached to their Rupees than Bill Gates to his Dollars!

All these people are businessmen, the gurus as well as the founders of this campaign. But now there seems to be a switching of roles – the spiritual people become more and more involved in and obsessed with business while the business people become more and more spiritual, giving away to helping others. Who do you think is closer to God, those who sell God and make this their business or those who make real business and then donate what they have so that others have a better life?

I don’t want to say much about money in the spiritual business these days but if all those rich super-gurus with all their wealth could also donate 50% or more of what they have, they could make a significant change in this society and make this world a better place to live in for so many.

18 Replies to “Who is close to God – Superrich Gurus or Superrich Businessmen? – 1 Mar 11”

  1. It is such a great idea for rich people to give half of their wealth to the poor! Some of the people who already joined the pledge have promised to give even 90% of what they have when they die. The rest is enough to ensure their sons and grandsons a life in luxury!There is more money in those pockets than most of us can imagine!

  2. I just read the article you linked to and had to wonder:Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Asaram Bapu, Mata Amritanandamayi ‘Amma’, Baba Ramdev, Sudhanshu Maharaj and Murari Bapu have all shown their turnover and profits to this journalist? Is the height of those figures an estimate or proven?
    I actually guess it could be much much more, especially seeing how much support they get from rich Indians from abroad!

  3. I totally agree!! When I was in India a couple of years ago I was saddened by the way that the rich people treated everyone else. Even people that weren’t rich but weren’t poor treated the poor people horribly. I felt so bad about it. I… couldn’t imagine living in a country w/ so much poverty and then go around flashing my wealth and showing such disdain for people struggling to survive. It happens here in the U.S., too but in India the contrast is much more extreme. Heart breaking. Actually, one of my tour guides was amazing. He showed love, compassion and generosity everywhere he went. How would it be if we all lived that way? Thank you so much for this entry.

  4. Thanks to write this Swami ji, as being Indian I know and have seen many billionaire Gurus and Swamis who them selves do not know how much money they have got? Just in last 1 or 2 years so many Gurus and Swami has been exposed for so many aligation and they are multi billionaire and are involv in sex, fraud, crime and cheating there are so many names we all know as Nithyananda, Aasaram, Kripalu, Ravi Shankar, Ramdev, Bhimanand, Vikasanand, asimanand and many more who have not been expose yet but some day they will be. If I will be in power I will take over there all money and will use for real charity work in India. I know that you have ment to them but kept silent on the time of calling their names but I and my kind of millions knows their names.

  5. I would suppose Gates and Buffett will not even approach the rich gurus with their suggestions, because they know they won’t get much from the rich gurus, who already consider themselves a charity, and who only give to their own organization. Spirit is free, folks. You don’t have to pay anyone to get to Spirit. You already have Spirit with you.

  6. Dear Cathy, If you have read my blog and this website then you will know I am not a Guru. And if you actually refer to what I said about charity work, I will try and give you an answer through my blog. Continue reading… 🙂

  7. Super rich gurus, televangelists and spiritual healers – all making money with God as their commodity. But Swami ji they do so only because there are more than enough gullible people – rich, poor and otherwise – who fall for their sales pitch.

  8. A very thoughtful article. Really made me to think. Yes, businessmen getting involved into charity acts, this is getting very common these days. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and I am sure there are many more in the list. It is high time for others to learn from these people and get into the noble act of helping poor and deprived.

  9. Yes dear Aswani, I hope these religious businessmen will also learn something from those real Business Gurus like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

  10. I know that many of those gurus’ family members get big benefits from their relation! These gurus’ brothers, uncles and cousins roam around in mercedes benz and bmw cars, living in mansions and palace-like houses, not caring the least bit about all the poverty around them!

  11. Swami ji, It is a great post. Everywhere, businessmen who are ethical and people oriented serve the common cause of helping others. Warren Buffet and BIll Gates are examples of such businessmen. In India too TATA and BIRLA have done a lot of work for welfare. In these times however it is difficult to imagine who would share their illgotten wealth. People who have done honest work and make money honestly are more likely to donate it for charity
    Thanks for the post.

  12. Dear Ashvini, Thank you for your comment and I learned a new word from you: ‘ill-gotten wealth’. I think this money could be also healthy if honestly these Gurus can confess and repent and give all of it to real charity instead of using it for their and their relatives’ luxury life style.

  13. Who do I think is closer to God?Those who know God … and who have God in their spirit, mind, and consciousness. Those who know God do the right thing regardless of its outward appearance to others in a world where everyone sees according to what they believe or what they think they know.

  14. I feel that any of these people could be equally close to God. Just because they do or don’t give to charity doesn’t determine how close to God they are. This is an internal spiritual matter, unique to every person. Some may be more globally aware, more kind and generous, or more pressured by social image– but their connection to God is not something we can know. …Just my thoughts.

  15. This “Business of Gods” is a insolent one. In this instance you can truly say, that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are closer to God. Being close to God means also being close to others and their lives and to have an open heart, for those who need you. Isn’t this trait of character likable? 🙂

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