To Lotto or not to Lotto?

In the eighties when the California Lottery began, everyone was optimistic. A chance to make big, quick bucks outside of Vegas! Also, a new source of revenue for government expenses with no increase in taxes.

But it took a lot of struggle to institute gambling in a state of a nation whoís founding fathers insisted on morality. It still says "in God we trust" on the very bills we toss on the counter to purchase Lotto.

A lot of people were adamantly against it. They said letís keep gambling on the other side of the Nevada border, along with other mafia related business. Letís not breed a class of people now labeled by psychoanalysts as addictive gamblers. And if gambling is corrupt, wonít it have a corruptive effect on the government?

The pros: Donít worry about the mafia, the lottery will be a government institution regulated by a contracted company. The profit will bring us those extra tax dollars we're looking for to upgrade our public schools, libraries and hospitals.

What is the Vedic Version on gambling?

The Srimad-Bhagavatam, Indiaís ancient classical text on yoga and self-realization, sites gambling as one of the four basic vices that typify social degradation. Gambling, sex outside of marriage, intoxication and animal slaughter destroy all the good qualities and culture that are the zenith of a civilization.

In California, where illicit sex, intoxication and animal slaughter were already at an all time high, it was simply a matter of karmic justice that gambling would be called in next.

However, the Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that those four activities and the places where they are permitted become the domicile of "sin in person."

Like persons haunted by a ghost, those who desire these vices are visited by a person who is deputized by God to associate with them. He is the personality of Kali, sin personified.

The Vedas are highly personal scriptures meant to eventually lead us to the realization that God is the Supreme Personality. Our ultimate happiness lies in recognizing the Supreme Personality of God and loving and obeying Him. The reciprocation of love and service between ourselves and God is the highest enjoyment for soul.

The following verse is a description of the state of Mother Bhumi when it was first discovered that sin had entered the mind of mankind:

"Now she, the chaste one, being unfortunately forsaken by God, laments her future with tears in her eyes, for now she is being ruled by lower class men who pose as rulers."
-Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.17.27

The chaste one in the above text is Mother Earth. Who could be more chaste? Human beings of all categories walk on her. They farm on her. They mine her. They cut her trees. They drill her. They march on her. They wage wars on her. Still she remains tolerantly nurturing us. This century humans have shown her some of the most extreme forms of gambling in the form of using up her resources at an alarming rate.

Mother Earthís Poem (her words from Srimad Bhagavatam put to poetry)

Iím Mother Earth, I carry high
each massive mountain range.
I do not grunt, or even sigh-
for me it's not a strain.

A million streams, and rivers, too,
just splash all over me.
I carry curling waves of blue,
I hold the heavy sea!

I nurse all creatures, great and small.
For me it is not toil.
I send the strength of rice and dahl
to mankind through my soil.

I'm baked when men make earthen pots,
I'm stomped by dancing feet.
I tolerate the parking lots,
I stay beneath your street.

A million streams, and rivers, too,
just splash all over me.
I carry curling waves of blue,
I hold the heavy sea!

I really donít mind big hotels
nor airplanes full of freight
but when mankind begins to lie-
to me thatís too much weight.

A liar never shows concern
for people heí around
to get his way is all heís learned
and ugh! That weighs me down.

Back to old Lotto. What did we say it was instituted for, anyway? Oh yeah, dollars for schools, libraries and hospitals. Well, the Vedas also say you can judge a thing by its result. Not only are the schools, libraries and hospitals suffering to the point of considered closure here in southern California, but they are in a financial crisis far greater than before Lotto was instituted.

Vedic Version