How To Invest Yogically
According to the World Bank, more than half of the world's population lives on less than $6 per day; and 20% live on less than $2. So you can imagine how few people in the world would likely even consider investing any spare money they may have into some security for their elder years. I was very much in that situation myself. But, as a yogi and the co-founder of VF, my involvement with the projects above taught me that if I didn't make the extra effort to invest in VF then both my plans for VF and my personal plans (which are one and the same) would not be likely to yield the future I have envisioned. In other words, I believe a test of faith for one's vision requires some investment. Nevertheless, a test of one's faith in general requires such investments to be good for the betterment of all; and not detrimental to anyone or the environment at all. True, with some projects the land may need to be plowed, but this to yield a greater crop; just as trees need to be pruned to yield more fruit.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, there is a chapter on 'the yoga of sacrifice" where Krishna gives the example of clouds giving their rain as a sacrifice, but, as you know, this sacrifice yields a countless bounty. For example, the rain can grow a stalk of corn, and a single ear of corn has hundreds of seeds, but only one seed is needed to create another stalk of corn, that produces several ears of corn and many more thousands of seeds; which reminds me of a quote from the Baha'i Writings:
The greatest mystery of sacrifice
is that there is no sacrifice.
However, we must understand that a true sacrifice is one that is for the greater good. There are many investments one can make into countless things that are seemingly good for ones self but bad for their karma. This is because there are countless "opportunities "to make money off of things that are bad for humanity and the planet. Consider all those state lotteries that are supposed to be legitimized gambling because the money is supposed to go to the public schools; and yet public schools are still a mess. Meanwhile, the poor are targeted the most with lottery games and often the addiction in brings will spend the families last dollar on a chance to to throw it (invest it) into a toxic system. Karmically speaking, you can't create good things out of bad energy; just as you can't grow healthy crops from acid rain. Such things used to make me wonder if investing is a good thing at all. But then Krishna' quote helped to realize that true sacrifice is actually an investment in goodness; which isn't necessarily the same as a "good investment". The latter replies a good return on investment, that it will come back bountifully to the investor. But again, karmically speaking, this generates more karma for oneself. And, without going into a lecture on karma, let it suffice to say that the yogi is actually trying to find freedom from karma; not good karma, not bad karma, just Moksha: freedom from karma. This is why Krishna goes on to explain in the Gita that whatever good comes from your good actions, the yogi should offer it up to the Divine. And yet Krishna also says that 'all that we truly desire will come to us thru the yoga of sacrifice'. Yes, it seems like contradiction. On the one hand He says offer all of our rewards from our good deeds (our sacrifices and investments) back to the Divine, and on the other hand He says we will get all that we desire from our sacrifices. But truly, for the spiritually minded there is no contradiction. In the spiritual life we find that it is in giving that we receive, in doing the right thing, we feel right within our self. And in raising our children well this brings us great joy and satisfaction; regardless of whether our children every pay us back for our countless hours of work, money and endless other sacrifices we have made for them.
Good Investments begin with
Investing in Goodness
In summary , an investment into a bad product that yields a zero to negative return on investment is worthy of the great disappointment it brings. It creates some bad karma that we will just have to ride out. There is no escaping it. But investing into something, not because we are hoping to get something back, but simply because it is a good thing to do, well, this is the kind of karma that does not bind you to its results. It is called Karma Yoga.
It always yields good results because it is always made from true sacrifice. And yet, we are not attached to the yield. We offer it back to God, back to the greater good. And guess what happens: It yields even more. And yet all the while, it is not so much in the return on investment that fulfills our desires, but it is the yoga itself.