Thursday, May 13, 2010

TEXAS FAITH 27: Should gambling be expanded to cover state shortfall?

Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, recently described expanding gambling in Texas as the "elephant in the room" that no one wants to talk about as a way to deal with a momentous looming state budget shortfall. He called for a bi-partisan ad hoc committee to study "any and all" gambling proposals - no doubt including casinos and slot machines - before the next legislative session.

If Texas is looking at cutting spending on education, health care, and other vital services, is it wrong to turn to more gambling as a way of minimizing the damage?

That's the question we posed this week to Texas Faith panelist.   Here's how they responded:

 NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

Gambling, being based on untruthfulness, cheating, and open thievery, has no place in a government guided by spiritually enlightened leadership. How is gambling thievery? Gambling is a type of open theft - trying to get something for nothing. One should work honestly and accept what comes as God's mercy. One who understands the Law of Karma, that your reap what you sow, works honestly within this world knowing that one will get what they actually deserve. By dishonest work one may accrue more, however one becomes karmically obliged and produces karmic debts. Such a person gaining money by cheating will be then forced to lose his money by cheating, either in this life or the next.

A society is like a body, with working class the legs. The mercantile business class is the stomach for distribution of energies and supplies. The administrative class is the arms to provide protection and law. The intellectual class is the head to provide guidance. Currently society does not go by the direction from the intellectual class but rather from the stomach class. A body without a head will not survive; similarly a society without intelligence cannot prosper. What is intelligence? Intelligence is the ability to distinguish between the body from the soul. Those with this intelligence, who can comprehend the needs of the soul, not just the needs of the body, understand that the real damage to society is dishonesty, mercilessness, and lack of God consciousness.

Fuel does not put out a fire; rather, it only increases it. Similarly gambling only increases greed, which in turn increases the problems of the world. In retrospect, devotional service, serving God with pure love and devotion, is like a great cooling rainstorm. Such a rainstorm is the only effective means of putting out the forest fire of excessive material desires.

Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here

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                                  Q: Can someone attain God without the institution of religion?

                                  A: I would approach it in a different way. If someone desires to love God, he will naturally seek the association of others who also desire to love God. You develop compassion, as your love of God is developing, because you want to love others. When we reach the stage you want to help other people, you naturally organize. Ultimately to love God, you just have to love God. It is not some commandment is coming down from the sky, “Thou shalt join an institution.” “The community of the wise, is the welfare of the world.” For me it is just a practical thing, we have to organize.

                                  By Hridayananda Dasa Goswami

                                  Taken from Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk: Travel Journal#6.7: Tallahassee, Pennsylvania, and Delaware