“It is said ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’. In your corrupted form, you will become arrogant, overconfident, boisterously proud and ruthless. You will develop a short fuse and tend to lose temper on facing even the slightest challenges and provocations from your critics. You will tend to speak without thinking, as your thinking capability will be eroded. Your will be drunk and intoxicated with power. You will become mentally imbalanced and stagger just like a heavily drunk alcoholic.
Once you are corrupted absolutely, your doom is certain and it is only a matter of time before that happens. In the scheme of things, you – as an individual – don’t really matter, except to yourself and your family, and your doom will be of no consequence to anyone, again, except to yourself and your family. But, as it happens more often than not, before you really bite the dust and disappear, you will have caused immense damage to many other people because you don’t exist in isolation. You are a part of several systems – family, community, organisation, country and the wider world. The extent of damage that you will possibly cause depends on how tall you are in terms of your stature (professional, social and political) and, therefore, how wide is your circle of influence. The higher you are, the greater will be the extent of the damage that you will potentially cause to others. History is full of examples of many such corrupted powerful individuals who caused immense damage to the world during their lifetime and long after their death.
Power on its own is highly whimsical, unstable, inflammable and volatile. It uses you without taking any blame on itself. It will make you do many wrong things when you are intoxicated. An unholy combination of unbridled power and immense wealth is the most dangerous cocktail and a toxic recipe for disaster. It will cost you your head, destroy your judgement and prudence, and bring you, and the wider world, nothing but doom. With power, therefore, it will be extremely imprudent to mix wealth. Prudence demands that wealth be kept away from power, just as a lighter is kept away from petrol or matches are kept away from gunpowder. Instead, mix power with wisdom so that it can be kept under heavy check and used solely for noble, selfless causes. Learn how nuclear power is kept carefully under check for reasons of unacceptable consequences.
Therefore, if you have the blessings of Goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of power, and are drenched in power and strength, it will be prudent for you to also worship Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, instead of following Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Distant past generations of Pandits in Kashmir firmly believed and advised their children: ‘If you follow Saraswati, Laxmi will follow you. But if you follow Laxmi, Saraswati will abandon you.’
In nutshell, Kashmiri Pandits advocated that wisdom and knowledge can always bring you wealth and prosperity but wealth alone will not make you wise, and because wisdom is essential for your overall progress, follow Saraswati. Note that Intelligence and wisdom are entirely two different terms. Intelligence can work in both positive and negative domains but wisdom only operates within a positive domain. There can be intelligent criminals, villains and demons, but there can only be wise saints.
In conclusion, your preference between Saraswati and Laxmi will decide whether you will become a saint or a demon, a hero or a villain, a leader or a tyrant. Figuratively, Saraswati will help you as a probiotic when you take antibiotics, or like a coolant in a radiator that keeps a hot engine cool and healthy. Choose wisely and write your destiny.”… Bill K Koul (26 July 19)