The greed to attain spiritual prowess can be as high as the greed of materialistic things. As the soul evolves, people develop powers that can manifest in many ways. In some cases the power to heal people, in others the power to tell other people’s future. Realization of these powers can lead people to lust after them. Some might desire these powers for their own personal gain, hoping to use them to attain fame. recognition and money. Another major cause of spiritual greed is envy. When you see your spiritual peers evolve faster than you, you develop a competitive mindset. You may want to do more Seva, more meditation and evolve faster than other disciples. Spiritual envy at a conscious level makes the unconscious mind of a disciple look down upon itself. It erodes self-worth and makes the climb to self-realisation steeper.
At the spiritual level greed can make a person resort to incorrect ways to gain spiritual power. For example, tantrics learn techniques to steal power from other people or cause harm to others in order to gain spiritual wealth and superiority. Unfortunately what most spiritual power thieves do not realize is that the energy earned through negative methods depletes itself through wastage and misuse or gets magnetized by someone with a stronger energy field.
A person’s insecurities and lack of confidence can also get in the way of self-realization and evolution.
Dalai Lama puts the concept of greed in a nice way:
“The interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, even after obtaining what you want, you’re still not satisfied. It’s this endless, nagging desire for more that leads to trouble. On the other hand, if you’re truly contented, it doesn’t matter whether you get what you want or not. Either way, you remain content”
I personally feel that to get rid of all desires is not possible. The very nature of desire is such that it never ends. Even if most of your desires are fulfilled there will always be a few that remain to be, which you will keep running after. Semi-satisfaction does not extinguish the cravings but rather pushes us to get more.
There is a fine line between a desire to help others that desire turning into greed. That fine line is decided by your intent. If I were to put it simply, selfishness is greed while sacrifice is service. Serve till it hurts! The desire to do as much for as many is not greed. It is Seva.
Greed restrains your intent to contribute towards spiritual pursuits.
Some philosophies do talk about greed being good. It is the greed or the desire that drives the innovation around you. If you do not desire something, how will you achieve something? That might sound true but the evolution of the material world does not necessarily coincide with the evolution of your soul. The subject of spiritualism is meant to teach us contentment, minimalism, and detachment. Many spiritual aspirants feel the quicker they can get to the top, the more productive and benefited they would be. The relevant questions are, ‘top of what?’ and ‘quicker than whom?’. Greed has no role to play in the process of spiritual evolution.
The process of spiritual evolution is not a race to finish nor a winner takes all contest. It is a process of self-evaluation and growth by observing the changes in one’s self, as opposed to running a race against others.