Greed one of the lower instincts of humans born with is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more, especially more material wealth, than one need or deserves. The origins of greed are not mysterious. Greed is not a rational force.
ਲਬੁ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠਗਿ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥
Lab Kutaa Koorh Choohrhaa Thag KhaaDhaa Murdaar.
Greed is a dog; falsehood is a filthy street-sweeper, and cheating is eating a rotting carcass. —–Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 15-9
ਹੇ ਲੋਭਾ ਲੰਪਟ ਸੰਗ ਸਿਰਮੋਰਹ ਅਨਿਕ ਲਹਰੀ ਕਲੋਲਤੇ ॥ਧਾਵੰਤ ਜੀਆ ਬਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰੰ ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਬਹੁ ਡੋਲਤੇ ॥
Hey Lobha Lanpat Sung Sirmorh Anek Lehri Klolatay, Dhawant Jeah Bauh Parkaran Anek Bhaant Bauh Dolatay.
O, Greed, under your spell, human beings crave for the greatest and worst attachments. Under your control, wander around in all the ten directions in dissatisfaction and disgust. They are engulfed in a variety of vicious thoughts. Under your spell, they cease to care about friends, teachers or parents. Like shameless creatures, they do what normal human beings do not do. O Nanak may the Akal Purkh, bestower of all favors to beings; protect us from the horrible effects of greed. This is our only supplication to the master.
—–Guru Arjan, Sloke Sahskriti, AGGS, Page, 1358-8
The positive role of greed is egotism and negative is voracity. It is caused by fear of not having enough of a particular thing, such as money, food, sex, or attention.
ਕਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ ਧਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਾ ਲੋਭੀ ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ॥
Karam Na Jana Dharam Na Jana Lobhi Mayadharee.
I do not know about karma or good deeds, and even righteous living. I am greedy chasing after Maya. —–Guru Arjan, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 624-14
Greed is sudden and spectacular. It demolishes equity, as one cannot have unrestrained greed and equality. All the wealth and inequalities are caused by greed, e.g. if you start with a society of complete equals, unrestrained greed will be sufficient to quickly render the society unequal. So, greed is the desire for material wealth or gain that ignores the spiritual realm. It is harmful to society, as the greedy often appear to disregard the welfare and even respect of the others.
No one gives proper respect to a penniless person. If a rich person wants to make any effort at treating him with proper care and regard, he may not do so with a full intention. If the penniless person were to go to a rich man’s house the latter may turn his face away from him, indicating that the poor are not welcome. But if the wealthy person goes to the house of a poor man, he may be received with a warm welcome and regards. In fact, both the penniless people and the rich persons are brothers except for the Akal Purkh’s Will, which cannot be altered by human effort. O Kabir! The poor person is only the one, who is without the support of True Name and has no love for the Akal Purkh in his heart. —–Kabir, Raag Bhario, AGGS, Page, 1159
Greed is something which everyone has to some degree. Often some people want more than the others. Primary real diseases of humans are such defects as pride, cruelty, hates, passions and lies. They also include self-love, ignorance, instability and greed. Each of these is adverse to the creation of unity. Upon reflection one can see that they can only lead to human suffering. From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Reality seems valueless in comparison to the dreams of fevered imaginations. Hence reality is usually abandoned. There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed through the three modes on Maya;
Three Qualities of Maya;
There are three qualities of Maya that are interconnected with the three vital forces of the body. These are sativa, rajas and tamas. Sativa includes equilibrium, goodness, truth, compassion, stillness and peace, Rajas includes thinking, planning and taking decisions. Tamas includes greed, anger, jealousy, and laziness. They are interrelated and interdependent
ਸਾਵਣੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਅਹਾੜੁ ਦਿਹੁ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਦੁਇ ਖੇਤ ॥ ਲਬੁ ਵਤ੍ਰ ਦਰੋਗੁ ਬੀਉ ਹਾਲੀ ਰਾਹਕੁ ਹੇਤ ॥
Saavan Raat Ahaarh Dihu Kaam KroDh Du-ay Khayt, Lab Vatr Droag Beo Haali Raahak Hayt.
Night is the summer season, and day is the winter season; sexual desire and anger are the two planted fields. Greed prepares the soil, and the seed of falsehood is planted; attachment and love are the farmer and hired hands. —–Guru Nanak, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 955-4
ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰ ਭਏ ਰਸ ਭੋਗਣ ਫੋਕਟ ਕਰਮ ਵਿਕਾਰ ਕਰੇ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਖੋਇਓ ਸਿਰਿ ਧਰਮ ਰਾਇ ਕਾ ਡੰਡੁ ਪਰੇ ॥
Khusee Khuaar Bha-ay Ras Bhogan Phokat Karam Vikaar Karay, Naam Bisaar Lobh Mool Khoeiou Sir Dharam Rai Ka Dand Parae.
A human being may have to suffer and face degradation and disgrace at the end due to his attachment to the worldly pleasures. All his tasks performed while engrossed in vicious and sinful actions may become useless. Instead of getting any benefits from his life that was full of greed and worldly attachments he may lose even the capital investment. He had forsaken the support of True Name and had wasted away his life. As a result of his own actions and misdeeds he now has to face the punishment at the hands of Yama, who strikes his head with an iron rod.
—–Guru Nanak, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1014-9
ਤਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਨਿ ਜਲੈ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥
Tisna Agan Jalai Sansara, Lobh Abhiman Bahut Ahankara.
The world is burning in the fire of desire, in greed, arrogance and excessive ego.
—–Guru Amardas, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 120-13
ਭਰਮ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਛੂਟੇ ਤੇ ਏਕੰਕਾਰ ॥
Bharam Lobh Moh Maya Vikaar, Bharam Chhootay Tay Aikankaar.
Doubt comes from greed, emotional attachment and the corruption due to Maya. Freed from doubt, one realizes the One Akal Purkh alone. —–Guru Arjan, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 736-14
Modern psychology is defined as the ‘science of mind and behavior’. In this fragmented approach, reality is perceived only at the sensory level. People’s behavior and thoughts are given rational explanations and there is a lack of individual responsibility due to greed.
ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਲੋਭਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਰਤਨ ਜਨਮੁ ਖੋਇਆ ॥ ਪੂਰਬ ਜਨਮਿ ਕਰਮ ਭੂਮਿ ਬੀਜੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬੋਇਆ ॥
Pranee Kahay Ko Lobh Lagay Ratan Janam Khoiaa, Poorab Janam Karam Bhoom Beej Naahee Bo-i-aa.
O, mortal, why have you attached yourself to greed, and lost the jewel of life. You did not plant the seeds of good actions in the earth of your past lives.
—–Kabir, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 481-18
What to Do?
The only way is to abandon greed through spirituality;
ਮਨ ਕਰਹਲਾ ਤੂੰ ਮੀਤੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਪਾਖੰਡੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਜਾਇ ॥ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਲੋਭੀ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਜਮ ਡੰਡੁ ਦੇਇ ਸਜਾਇ ॥
Man Karhalaa Toon Meet Mera Paakhand Lobh Tajaey, Pakhand Lobhee Maaree-ai Jam Dand Day-ay Sajaa-ay.
The hypocritical and the greedy are struck down. The Messenger of Death punishes the greedy with his club. O camel-like mind, you are my friend; abandon hypocrisy and greed.
—–Guru Ramdas, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 234-10
ਦੁਤੀਆ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਿ ਨੀਤ ॥ਰਾਮ ਰਤਨੁ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਬਸੈ ਤਜਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੀਤ ॥
Dutee-aa Durmat Door Kar Gur Sayvaa Kar Neet, Ram Ratan Man Tan Basai Taj Kaam Krodh Lobh Meet.
On the second day of the lunar cycle, get rid of your evil-mindedness, and serve the Guru continually. The jewel of the Akal Purkh’s Name shall come to dwell in your mind and body, when you renounce sexual desire, anger and greed, O my friend.
—–Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 296-18
ਕਾਮੁ ਕਰੋਧ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਤਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਤਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਧਰਮੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨ ਦਿ੍ੜਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸਿਖ ਲੈ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਸਦਾਇਆ ॥
Kaam Krodh Virodh Har Lobh Moh Ahankar Taja-e-aa, Sat Santokh Daya Dharam Naam Daan Isnaan Dirrhaa-e-aa, Gur Sikh Lai Gursikh Sada-e-aa.
God eradicates ones lust, anger, resistance, greed and infatuation. After the ego is erased, Akal Purkh makes one practice the truth, and bestows upon us contentment, dharma, name, charity and ablution. One adopting the teachings of the Guru is called a Sikh of the Guru. —–Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 11, Pauri, 3
People confuse greed and abundance. Abundance is one’s natural birth-right. There is nothing wrong with having one’s needs met. Suffering and lack come from misaligned egos in the absence of spirituality. Greed is not satisfied with abundance. It is not satisfied with material goods, or by using material wealth to influence the others. Greed is not satisfied in seeking happiness. If one can comprehend the teachings of AGGS, the present world order can be modified. A new world and a new race of humans can gradually emerge. There can be a change in human affairs, human thinking and in daily living. All this is possible with the proper understanding of AGGS and its application in daily life.
ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਜਾਲਹੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਚੁਕਾਈਐ ॥
Houmai Mamta Lobh Jaaloh Shabad Mail Chukaaeeai.
One should burn away the egotistical pride, attachment and greed, thus washing away the inner filth through the Word of the Sabd. —–Guru Nanak, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 843-16