What Bitcoin and Ahimsa Have in Common

As yogis, we could be forgiven for not knowing the ins and outs of the global financial and currency system.  We’re more worried about fully crossing our heels in Bhujapidasana or establishing mulha bandha than we’re concerned about where all this paper money comes from, where and why its printed, and if a particular group of people benefit while another group of individuals may suffer due to the currency system that we operate under.   Well, I am here to break the bad news that once you read this post, you will no longer be able to claim ignorance.  So please stop here if you wish to remain blissfully in the dark!

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, fiat currency (think dollars/euros/yen/etc…) are printed by the wealthy, for the wealthy.  Its this very printing of money that creates inflation, raises food and energy prices, and ultimately keeps the cycle of poverty and suffering firmly established and nearly impossible to escape from.   This system forms the basis for samsara as we witness it in the material world.

As the vedic scriptures prescribe, indifference is the attitude that should be taken towards all forms of evil.  Bitcoin represents the indifference we as yogis have a duty to take on towards those that are in control of the monetary system.   We can simply circumvent the evil by adopting a brand new currency that is decentralized (meaning no one has control over it) and cannot be created out of thin air (bitcoin has a defined limit of coins that can be produced).

Now bitcoin certainly isn’t the end all, be all.  There are also new cryptocurrencies now under development (i.e. Litecoin).  On top of that, adopting barter systems and hyperlocal currencies are both options for taking an approach of ahimsa towards our economic system.  But the point here really is, we should be increasingly aware about the way we transact business and understand that by using dollars, euros, etc.. we are supporting a military/industrial complex that causes much suffering around the world.

So I am calling on all yogis to start developing this awareness.  In particular, it would be awesome to see highly influential yogis thinking about accepting bitcoin at their shalas.  This act puts the world on notice that we are practicing indifference towards the evils of our current currency system.

(Full disclosure – I do not currently own any bitcoin)

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