The Generous and the Avaricious

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Editor’s note: We feature here an excerpt from a conversation between a group of children and the Mother where she answers questions on an earlier passage of the Mother. She explains that both generosity and avarice are deformations of a higher truth. She adds that money is a force that one cannot possess and that power of accumulation is as important as the power of distribution.


Generosity and Avarice – Deformations of a Higher Truth

Quote of the Mother:

The ordinary social notions distinguish between two classes of men,—the generous, the avaricious. The avaricious man is despised and blamed, while the generous man is considered unselfish and useful to society and praised for his virtue. But to the spiritual vision, they both stand on the same level; the generosity of the one, the avarice of the other are deformations of a higher truth, a greater divine power.

There is a power, a divine movement that spreads, diffuses, throws out freely forces and things and whatever else it possesses on all the levels of nature from the most material to the most spiritual plane. Behind the generous man and his generosity is a soul-type that expresses this movement; he is a power for diffusion, for wide distribution.

There is another power, another divine movement that collects and amasses; it gathers and accumulates forces and things and all possible possessions, whether of the lower or of the higher planes. The man you tax with avarice was meant to be an instrument of this movement. Both are important, both needed in the entire plan; the movement that stores up and concentrates is no less needed than the movement that spreads and diffuses.

~ CWM 3: 119-120

Question: What do you mean by “soul-type”?

The Mother: Ah! it is the spirit of the type; just as we said that behind each animal type there was a spirit of the type, so behind each type of man there is a spirit of the type. This is what I call soul-type. It is a soul-type which may be progressive, but which is indestructible.

The soul-type corresponds, individually or in groups, to the dharma of things. Sometimes it is also called the truth of things, of each thing.

Question: Is generosity a deformation of the truth?

The Mother: Yes, all human qualities are deformations of a truth which is behind them. All that you call either qualities or defects are always a deformation of something which is behind, and which is neither this nor that but something else. But I say, moreover, what truth is found behind generosity: it is the movement of the spreading forces.

But in order that these forces may spread, they must first become concentrated. So there is a sort of movement of pulsation: the forces are concentrated, then they spread, and then they are again concentrated and again spread…. But if you always want to spread out without ever concentrating, after a certain time you have nothing left to spread.

Money is a force that one cannot possess

The Mother: For the forces—all forces—it is the same thing. . . money is a force, it is nothing but that. And that is why nobody has the right to own it personally, for it is only a force, just like all other forces of Nature and the universe.

If you take light as a force, it would never occur to anyone to say: “I possess the light”, and to want to shut it up in his room and not give it to others!

Well, with money people are so stupefied as to imagine that it is something they can possess and keep, as though it belonged to them, and make something personal of it. It is exactly the same thing. I am not speaking of money as paper, naturally, because that would be just like the light you put in a lamp, you may own the lamp, and so you say: “It is my light.” Money, your notes, your pieces, of silver, that is your money. But that is not money.

This is a force which is behind all that, the power of exchange which is money. That does not belong to anybody. It belongs to everyone. It is something which is alive only if it circulates.

If you want to heap it up, it decays. It is as though you wanted to enclose water in a vase and keep it always; after some time your water would be absolutely putrefied. With money it is the same thing. And people have not yet understood that. Later on I shall write about it. That won’t last always.

What is True Avarice?

Question: When there is avarice for material things…

The Mother: Avarice for all things—there is an avarice for spiritual things also. There are misers who want to keep all the forces for themselves and never give them. But I have just told you the truth about it: one must have the power to accumulate in order to have the power of spreading.

If you have only one of the two, that causes an imbalance. And it is then that it becomes avarice or wastage. One must have both in a balanced, rhythmic movement—the equilibrium we just spoke about.

For it would be quite easy to prove that in fact at present equilibrium is the true thing: one must be neither here nor there, that is what Buddha called “the middle path”. The middle path is the path of equilibrium. And so one must know how to manage as when rope-walking with a stick to keep one’s balance.

But the most generous man in the world could give nothing if he had nothing to begin with. Hence, if it is not he who has accumulated, it is someone else who has accumulated for him. But if he has nothing in his pocket, he cannot distribute anything! That is evident.

And the power of accumulation is as important as the power of distribution. It is only when these two things become egoistic that they are deformed, altogether deformed, and lose all their value.

– The Mother, CWM 5: 355-357


~ Design: Raamkumar

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