English Essay : Greediness

S.N. Singh | March 28,2013 03:30 pm IST

Excessive desire for wealth, profit, etc. is greediness.

Someone wants to become very prosperous. Some are desirous of having power and riches. Some want to earn name and fame. Some students get greedy to earn more and more knowledge. Some leaders have strong desires to win elections and get a place in the cabinet. Some families want to have an upper hand in the village. Some persons are greedy to learn more and more so that they may do something great. Some persons want to become rich and great overnight. Greediness is always there in all these persons. To be greedy for worldly possessions is not always good as one has to deviate from the right path in order to satisfy one’s greediness. But to be greedy for virtues and knowledge is always good. In the Mahabharata the great sage Vyaas says: ‘ Greediness, anger, envy, jealousy, malice, shamelessness, and harsh words spoken against each other—these different evils/weaknesses pierce into the body of human-beings.’ As we are human-beings, not gods, we bear these evils . But at the same time we have a unique mind that helps us to get rid of these evils or to mitigate them.


There are some people who are known to have put their family in a very precarious condition only because they have been unable to resist their avaricious desire. A greedy person becomes self-centred and from every angle he tries his best to satisfy his greediness. The greedier he is, the more problems he creates for himself. To satisfy his greediness he commits blunder after blunder. There runs a story that clarifies how greediness leaves a person to repent and remorse all his/her life. There lived an old woman who had a few hens. One of them gave her a golden egg daily. One day an idea struck her mind that if she cut the stomach of the hen off, she would get so many golden eggs. She killed the hen but got no egg. She was left in remorse all her life. So greedy was she. Some persons’ mouth begins to water, when they see others eat sweetmeats or other delicacies. Children are very susceptible to chocolates, toffees, etc. But it is but natural for the children. We all know very well that some of us grow greedy and greedy after every gain. However rich a person may be, he has to run after money shamelessly and blindly if he is overpowered by avariciousness. As his greediness is never fulfilled, he becomes a poor fellow in the eyes of the people. A greedy person is a poor person as he greedily craves for what he has had not.


Some persons greedily desire for posts. One promotion makes him greedy for another promotion and then for another promotion. No end. So are the persons who crave for name and fame. Too much greediness for anything is always harmful. ‘ Even if those whose minds are overpowered by greed, see no wrong in the destruction of the family and no crime in treachery to friends.’ (the Gita) The great poet Tulsidas says that there is hardly any person who is not badly affected by greed.


‘Passion, anger, and covetousness—the three ways to hell, are to be overcome. All desires are not bad. The desire after righteousness is divine.’ (Upnishad) So is greediness. If a student is greedy for knowledge, he is always in benefit. The greedier he becomes for knowledge, the more knowledge he has and the more successful he is. The reason is that the greedier for righteous things and for knowledge we are, the more we endeavour to satisfy our greediness. And it is always good if it does not go in excess as excess of every thing is not good. But if our greediness makes us slave and we lose all our self-respect to fulfil our greed for our transitory pleasures, be it mental or physical, the greediness is always bad. ‘ It is bondage when the mind desires or grieves at anything, rejects or accepts anything, feels happy or angry at anything.’ (Ashtravakra Samhita) Baruch Spinoza says: ‘ The true slave is he who is led away by his pleasures and can neither see what is good for him nor act accordingly.’


A greedy person loses all control over himself when he is overpowered by greediness. He fails to see what is good even for him. He wants to hoard everything that may satisfy his greed by hooks or by crooks. He becomes gluttonous and sometimes falls ill. A greedy person is always poor. Truly speaking, I feel pity for a greedy person. Even if a greedy person has a lot of things, he gazes at the things of others as if he had nothing else. The holy Quran says: ‘ Do not hoard or bury or mass wealth for its own sake but use it freely for good whether for yourself or for your righteousness.’


Greediness for worldly possessions may goad a person into doing something useful to him/her ,but it is not conducive to social welfare. In the Upnishadas it is said : ‘ Whatever is not conducive to social welfare or what ye (you) are likely to be ashamed of doing, never do.’ A greedy person is not ashamed of going astray from the right path in order to fulfil his strong desires. A greedy person is hardly satisfied with anything that arouses his greedy desire. Such a person always remains rapacious and dissatisfied. The Gita says: ‘ He who is satisfied with whatever gain comes to him and equal in failure and success is not bound even when he acts.’ The best way to get rid of being greedy is to have control over one’s senses. The maxim is, ‘ First deserve and then desire’ and then you will find that you are not going to be a slave of your senses. In the Upnishada there runs a couplet that says:’ In the whole of the universe whatever is present, visible or invisible is prevalent with God. God is omni-present and omni-potent. So with a feeling of detachment do whatever good has been allotted to you and consume the fruit of your doings. And never be greedy for the possessions of anyone as the worldly possessions do not belong to any particular person.(tentyaktenbhunziitha magridhahkasyaswiddhanam)’ The great thing about not being greedy is contentment. Lao Tzu says: ‘ Health is a great possession. Contentment is the greatest possession. Confidence is the greatest friend. Never boring is the great joy.’ But ‘my motto is: contented with little, yet wishing more.’ (Charles Lamb) If you have had this motto, greediness is not going to touch you. 


S. N. Singh has taught English for more than 45 years.Facebook Profile...