Radhanath swami explains how greed for wealth can ruin us
The fact this whole material creation was ultimately arranged by Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead and the purpose of giving the chance for all living beings to come to the realization of totally surrendering our body, mind, words and lives at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna through the process of always thinking of him, bowing down to him, always chanting his glories and always aspiring to be in the association of Vaisnavas.
It is explained by Sukadev Gosvami that while Krishna was just a tiny little child, His lila of Bal Gopal- He would be very fond of stealing the butter from the pots of the gopis. On this particular occasion on the day of Diwali, Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur explains that Mother Yasoda was feeding Krishna her milk and meanwhile the milk that was boiling on the fire stove began to boil over. So she placed Krishna down in a comfortable place and went to tend to her duties. And Krishna took this opportunity to perform one of the most beautiful and loved pastimes that is forever enacted within the hearts of His devotees.
Radhanath swami further explains how “THE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IS NEVER LOST”
He wanted to show us that there is no occupation superior than pleasing Krishna. Then we can let all the rest of our world fall down but we should never neglect our service to Krishna because ultimately everything of our world will fall down by the power of time. But as Krishna explains in Gita- BG 2.40
pratyaväyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
träyate mahato bhayät
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
There is one thing that is eternal in our lives- one thing that is never lost and that is- whatever spiritual progress we make be engaging in devotional service, be performing bhajana and seva at the feet of Krishna and His devotees.
YOU CAN’T CATCH KRISHNA!
So Lord Sri Krishna, He broke the pots of butter and He began to eat the butter and when Mother Yasoda came and saw what type of mischievous act He had performed she began to chase after him and He ran away and when ran and that personality who cannot be captured even by the great yogis who perform tapasya for millions of births keep fasting and giving up sleeping and sitting in one position and focusing one’s mind on one point who cannot be captured by those jnanis who study the Vedic literature birth after birth scrutinisingly memorizing and reciting each sloka with perfect Sanskrit meter which cannot be captured by those karma yogis who perform grand grand yajnas even to the extent of the Gomedic and Ashwamedha yajna which is impossible to be performed in this age of Kali. He was captured by the simple gopi of Vraja, Yashoda devi because she was empowered by bhakti by pure love unmotivated uninterrupted by any selfish desire and when she went to bind Krishna for the sake of His own safety, however much rope she would bring it was always two fingers small and the gopis were going from place to place and they were bringing more and more ropes and it was all being tied together but each time it was two fingers too short and Mother Yashoda and the other gopis they were laughing having such a wonderful amazing joy just seeing the incredible mystery of this Child but who due to Yoga Maya potency were not able to recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But at last He allowed himself to be bound and Mother Yashoda, she went to her activities all for the service of Krishna. There is nothing she could ever do that wasn’t directly and specifically for Krishna’s pleasure and at time Krishna who was tied to a wooden grinding mortar-Udkala. He began to crawl and along with Him, He began to drag this very very big and heavy grinding mortar and He saw two trees very very large trees that had been there for hundred celestial years and He crawled between those trees and by His small act of crawling. As the grinding mortar got caught between them, the trees began to tremble, the leaves began to fall, all the branches began to shake and within an instant the entire trees fell to the ground with an immense crashing sound. And then two beautiful personalities as brilliant and as effulgent as fire appeared and began to offer prayers to the Lord.
WHAT CAN PRIDE DO TO US?
Maharaj Parikshit asked who were these two personalities, and Shukdev Goswami explained that they were the two sons of the treasurer of the devatas-Kuvera and they had due to their father so much of fortune, they had so much facility to enjoy everything they liked and besides that they became intimate associates of Lord Shiva. And because of this very high position of being an associate of Lord Shiva as well as the immense fortune they had, they had become very intoxicated with pride ‘ahankara’. And once at the residence of Kailash and close by there was a garden and in that garden there was a lake, river which is called the ‘Mandakini Ganga’. And they with beautiful young ladies they were sporting in that water without any clothes. At that time the great sage Narada happened to appear. You see one cannot find such a guru as Narada Muni, nor can one find such a guru who is a representative of Narada Muni in this Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. It is only by the mercy of Krishna that He somehow by His causeless mercy makes this arrangement by which we could come in contact with such a great personality.
håd-deçe ‘rjuna tiñöhati
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.
That Krishna within our heart is directing us according to our desires and according to ultimately what is best for us,
CC madhyalila 19.151
brahmäëòa bhramite kona bhägyavän jéva
guru-kåñëa-prasäde päya bhakti-latä-béja
“After wandering about so many universes for countless lifetimes ultimately by the grace of Krishna we are given the association of a real devotee and by the grace of that devotee, he plants the seed of bhakti within our heart and gives us the chance to perfect our life.”
So when Narada appeared the young girls, because they were shy and basically pious, although misled, they became very much ashamed that they were standing naked before such a great sadhu. This is very shameful, so in great anxiety of heart they came out of the water and began to cover themselves with clothes. But these two proud demigods- ‘Nalakuvera’ and ‘Manigriva’, they were so intoxicated by drinking a celestial beverage called Varuni. Their heads were rolling and they didn’t care anything whether there was a sadhu, whether there was a vaishnava standing before them or not. They showed no respect. When Narada Rishi saw this he became very angry. But Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur explains that this type of anger is actually anger of love. He gives the example that just as a father, when he sees his child is sleeping and it is time for the child to take a particular type of medicine, sometimes he pinches the child which causes the child some pain just to wake him up to take his medicine.
In a similar way Narada Muni appeared angry only for the benefit of these two lost souls. And he began to speak, “Just see, because of so much wealth how your lives have been spoilt”. One of the most dangerous and implicating of all attachments of this world is attachment to too much money, in fact in the western world it is said that money is the root of all evil and even in Srimad Bhagvatam we could understand like this. In the Bhagvatam it is explained that Kali the personification of illusion and degradation is always present where there is illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating. Maharaj Pariksith told Kali-“You can be in the places nowhere else”, but Kali with folded palms he said-“These four sinful activities cannot exist in your presence my great king”, and he said, “all right, wherever there is the hoarding attachment to too much wealth there you can rein supreme.” Because wherever there is attachment to too much money the tendency is for illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating and we find in the western countries such as America the whole society is based around these sinful activities.
As far as illicit sex goes, there is no such thing in their vocabulary as illicit sex, because if you are not having sex by the time you are a teenager, there is something wrong with you. Sometimes you are sent to a psychiatrist that there must be some sort of a fear or phobia in this person’s mind, that he is not living a normal life. I am telling you honestly, it is considered strange. And generally people- they just try out one partner after another, after another and then after sometime if they think this is nice then they may get married. But nowadays it is become fashionable just to forget about the formality of marriage. Because with the formality of marriage will undoubtedly will come the formality of divorce. So better to just live like animals; how this has come about? This is such a wealthy country, so much opulence and the richer and stronger, they get more, and there is illicit sex. What to speak of intoxication amongst the upper classes? Any type of social occasion, there is a cocktail party. I don’t know what cocktail means, but it means that they get intoxicated. If you don’t do it, there is something wrong with you. When you talk business, when you visit relatives, it is always centered on drinking alcohol and some social circles. And other social circles, it is always centered on in taking some drugs, intoxicating drug and it is rampant. Intoxication is eating the country away through illicit sex, the major cities are rampant with epidemic of AIDS, unwanted population, then there are so many quarrels about abortions, nobody talks about controlling the senses. They only talk about what to do after the fact, whether you should or shouldn’t. And gambling, intoxication is the largest money making industry in the whole planet, Earth right now. Cities are infested with drug addiction. Massive gang war, crimes based on drugs, and as far as gambling people are bored to death. “I must start gambling.” Wealthy people, especially in the western world and those who follow the western ways, even here in India, they become addicted and intoxicated by gambling. They have so much money, that they have to do something with it, that gives them some sense of excitement. And once they get addicted to such gambling, even if they have nothing they can’t give it up. Again it is born out of too much wealth, too much pride and as far as meat eating, meat is expensive and the wealthier countries of the world are generally those that have the largest quantity of slaughter of innocent animals. Why is that?
GREED- CENTER FOR SINFUL ACTIVITIES
Srimad Bhagvatam explains that when you have too much money, you don’t realize what type of suffering poor and unfortunate persons are enduring in their life. You just become so much infatuated in yourself, that your heart becomes hard and cruel toward others. So where there is too much greed and hoarding of riches there will follow illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating and especially false pride. So Narada Muni, he explained that when you are in such a condition of false pride, thinking yourself to be the proprietor, thinking yourself to be great and opulent, thinking yourselves to have such capacity to enjoy, you forget that this body is not yours, it is not your property at all. Ultimately this body is eaten by vultures and turned to stool. Or it is burned in a fire and turned to ashes or it is buried turned to dust. So whose property is this body? Is it our mother and father’s who gave life to it? Is it our employer or master? Who claims possession over it? Giving us orders, does it belong to material nature, of whose elements it is all derived from? One becomes illusioned and in that false condition of prestige, that is born of too much aristocracy, high birth and wealth. One also is prone to not respect properly the great devotees of the Lord, the Sadhus. One is always suspicious. One is always thinking that I have so much, whoever approaches me, and they must want something from me. And they can’t have simplicity or faith in their lives in anyone. They can’t trust anyone as they are always thinking that everyone wants what I have. And reality is in the material civilization. Everyone does not want what you have. Money wealth, prestige, but a saintly person is not like that. For him gold is not different than the yellow color of stool. That is passed by one who is jaundice. That’s what the saintly people think of your wealth and they are not concerned with anything but helping you to become liberated from your illusion, from your bondage. We cannot trust them because we think that they are after our money. Of course in Kali Yuga so many, so called sadhus actually are after your money. They are not concerned for you. They are concerned for what they can get from you. But a real sadhu, a real devotee, he will utilize whatever you have, in Krishna’s service for your benefit and for the benefit of others. But most of all he wants to elevate you because he has compassion, he feels sorry for you rather than the rest of the world envies a rich man, the sadhu pities the rich man. Look at all this bondage, unless of course that rich man is a devotee. That is a different story.
DISQUALIFICATIONS OF BHAKTI
But to the degree we are enamored by some high position, Queen Kunti prays to that degree we cannot approach Krishna.
naivärhaty abhidhätuà vai
That those who are too much intoxicated by attachment too much wealth high birth, too much education, strength and beauty, due to their false pride, they cannot approach Krishna with feeling humility and devotion. They cannot chant properly the holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In fact Narada Muni said to Nala Kuvera and Manigriva that among all the attractions of material enjoyment, the attraction of riches bewilders one’s intelligence more than having beautiful bodily features, taking birth in an aristocratic family and being learned. When one is uneducated but falsely puffed up by wealth, the result, one engages one’s wealth in enjoying wine, women and gambling leads to degradation of the soul. But a poor man, his door is always open for a sadhu to come in and he is grateful, “Oh obviously you are not coming to take something from you, but must be coming to give me something.” He gives him a little sitting place and washes his feet, if the sadhu lets him ofcourse and offers him some water and enquires, “how can I serve you, please give me the great gift of Krishna katha.” But in a wealthy man’s home when a sadhu comes, there are guards and there are gates and there are electrical securities devices, there are dogs barking, “What do you want? Go away, go away.” If I don’t exploit you, go away and even one’s best friends and intimate relatives all become objects of our competition and suspicion and it creates chaos in our lives.
Radhanath swami explains the importance of “MERCY OF A DEVOTEE”
So Narada Muni, out of compassion upon them he said, “You are so much illusioned by your great wealth and prestige that you are standing naked before a sadhu. You have no respect for the representative of God. Therefore I curse you to take your birth in such a way that you can stand naked, for one hundred celestial years as trees. But please know that my curse is ultimately a benediction”. Because after weathering the miseries throughout all of those hundred years, Narada Muni benedicted them that they could have full consciousness of their previous lives as demigods which makes it even more miserable. How does a tree tolerate that it is going through? Tarorapi sahishnunam- because it has such a low state of consciousness he could stand in the burning heat of the summer all the day long with no relief it can stand in winter, covered by ice for seven to eight months at a time, with no relief, we would certainly die if we were in that situation, because our consciousness would not tolerate the misery. But the tree’s consciousness is so low on the scale of consciousness evolution that it hardly feels anything. But these two Arjuna trees were endowed with full consciousness of their previous births as demigods. But with the bodies of trees you can imagine how bored they must have been , standing there not being able to move, some of you may have at one time broke your leg or had some injury in your back where you are told to have strict bed-rest for one month and you have to just lay there and you realize that you just can’t wait till the doctor lets you move and go somewhere and you are just lying and your consciousness, because you are used to so much activity and so much dynamic experiences, it is very very difficult to just lie in one place. But atleast you can chant your rounds but as a tree you can’t do anything but stand. You cannot even move anything. If the wind comes and moves your leaves then you move, otherwise you have no power. Now what is a celestial year? It is explained that six months of our human calculations is one day of celestial time. So a hundred such years to stand as trees! But Narada said, “After getting sufficient realization in that condition, you will have the supreme fortune of the darshan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna face to face.” And they became twin Arjuna trees and when Krishna was pulling the grinding mortar, He looked at those twin Arjuna trees that were standing in the courtyard of Nanda Maharaj and He was thinking, “Who these trees are? It is Nalakuvera and Manigriva, the sons of Kuvera, the devotees of Lord Shiva, such proud, puffed up people they were! I have nothing to do with these proud puffed up people, but because they were blessed by the benediction of Narada Muni, for that reason only I must give them, my special mercy and liberate them.” This is very, very instructive, if some how or other we get the blessing and the favor, some times the favor of a great vaishnava comes in different forms, but if we get the favor of a great devotee, then only will Krishna recognize us, otherwise due to our stay in this material world for so many births Krishna wants nothing to do with such rebellious people like us, but will always show his special mercy upon on who is favored by his devotees. So in this way, BalGopal pulled the grinding mortar through the trees. And trees came crashing down and Nalakuvera and Manigriva appeared and then with folded palms began to offer obeisance’s to Lord Sri Krishna in full realization that he was the supreme truth, the Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. They had to be put in a state of utter poverty to realize this, to come to their senses. This was the grace of Narada and then they surrendered to the Lord, they had plenty of time to contemplate their previous life and their sins and their mistakes. And they were ready to give their lives to the loving service of Krishna. And they began to glorify and pray to Narada Muni for his kindness and they offered this beautiful prayer,
“Hence forward may our words describe Your pastimes, may our ears engage in oral reception of Your glories, may our hands, legs and other senses engage in actions pleasing to you and may our minds always think of your lotus feet, may our heads offer obeisance’s to everything within this world because all things are also Your different forms. And may our eyes see the form of vaishnavas who are non-different from You.”
Here were these two beautiful shining demigods, offering prayers to this little baby Krishna, who was just chased after and punished by mother Yashoda. And Krishna, He was pleased upon them. He said that, “The great saint Narada is very merciful. By his curse he showed the greatest favor to both of you, who were mad after material opulence and who had thus become blind. Although you fell from the higher planet, ‘Swaraga Loka’ and became trees, you were most favored by him. I knew all these incidents from the very beginning.”
When one is face to face with the sun, there is no longer darkness for the eyes. Similarly when one is face to face with a sadhu- a devotee who is fully determined and surrendered to the Supreme Personality Of Godhead, one will no longer be subject to material bondage. “Oh! Nalakuvera and Manigriva! Now you may both return home since you desire to be always absorbed in my devotional service, your desire to develop love and affection for Me will be fulfilled and you will never fall from that platform.” So we should know that,
jïätvä mäà çäntim åcchati
Everything is the property of Krishna, we should never think in terms of I and My. Never claim this body to yourself, never claim to think that anything in relationship with this body belongs to you. It is all Krishna’s, it is all by Krishna and for Krishna. If we simply have this understanding, we will never be bound by the shackles of birth and death or all the miseries that come between. So in whatever situation we are, Akinchin Grashitam-whether we have great material wealth due to some past karma or whether we are in a poverty stricken state due to some past karma, is not really important at all. What is important is that we are Krishna conscious, that we are not attached to anything except service to Krishna, the association of Krishna’s devotees and the chanting of Krishna’s name, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
WHAT IT REQUIRES TO RECIPROCATE WITH KRISHNA
We read of great Kings’ Kings like Rishabdev, Prithu Maharaj, Yudhistir Maharaj, Amrish Maharaj. They had such fabulous wealth, but they were always gentle to the sadhus, they were always humble and always in a mood of serving the Lord with whatever they had. And we read about Sudama, who was so poor that most opulent offering that he could give Krishna was some broken chipped rice, but because they had spirit of devotion, they were perfect. And the Mahabharat explains, Duryodhana was the King of Hastinapur and Vidhura, he was classified often as a sudra. He didn’t have much, and Duryodhana invited Lord Sri Krishna to have lunch at his house, to have prasad, but Krishna said no, “I will not go to this house.” Although he had prepared and arranged so many delicacies and palatable foods with the finest ingredients and the best possible cooks preparing them. At Vidura’s house all he had to offer was some fruits, some bananas or something but Krishna was happy to go Vidhura’s house. Why? Because he was humble, he respected the vaishnavas, he was the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord’s servants. But at the same time Krishna, He also took prasad in the Kingdom of Mithila in the house of Bahutashva who was a great royal King with all riches because he had bhakti, he had respect for the Lord’s devotees and he was a humble servant.
So we should know that whatever situation we are in is due to our previous Karma, good or bad is not important,
bhaktyä mäm abhijänäti
yävän yaç cäsmi tattvataù
tato mäà tattvato jïätvä
Krishna will accept us and reveal Himself to us if we have the simple, sincere spirit of devotion, if we feel ourselves to be the grateful and humble servant of His servants then Krishna will accept our offerings through the blessings of His devotee. That should be the goal of our life, the purpose of our life because in that spirit we can in the proper consciousness chant Krishna’s name and Krishna is non different from His names Krishna reveals Himself to those who chant His name in a humble mood of being a servant of His servants not intoxicated or proud by any situation that may be around us then Krishna will so kindly make our whole life beautiful and perfect when we call out His holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
FOCUS IS REQUIRED IN DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
So let us not allow our minds to be diverted by any of these circumstances of this world we must keep our mind fixed,
bahu-çäkhä hy anantäç ca
and that takes place by making the priority of our life to associate with devotees and to have very good sadhana at all times. Without regular satsang of the true devotees of the Lord this material energy will definitely divert your attention away from the proper goal and intoxicate you with pride and prestige and we should know the more we have in the form of wealth, control or prestige in this world, the more Maya is around us surrounding us in these forms and therefore the more it is absolutely necessary to have proper association with devotees regularly. Otherwise we will certainly be distracted and our priorities will just become completely bewildered and we must have good sadhana and chant Hare Krishna and be Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. We are not going to achieve a transcendental state by simply being pious because being pious can also aggravate our false pride and actually Manigriva and Nala Kuvera they were actually associating with Lord Shiva. He is a great Vaisnava but they were proud, that they were so close to him they weren’t in a mood of being the humble servant of his servants they were using their relationship with such a great soul just to increase their prestige and not only that but they were bathing in the river Ganges, the Ganges purifies everyone but they did not go to the Ganges to be purified, but they went to the Ganges to commit sinful activities and they were not associating with Lord Siva to hear him explain the glories of chanting the maha mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. They were associating with Lord Siva because it gave them even more prestige so how he approached the association of devotees is very important and they had the association of Narada Muni but it didn’t mean anything to them they knew that he was a great Sadhu, they knew that he was a great saint it wasn’t until they had to spend so many tens and thousands of years as trees that they realized how great of a saint Narada was and then in their hearts they understood that they were humble servants of the servants of his servants. So do not allow your mind to be diverted by the temptation of Maya which are all around, associate with devotees in a humble mood of service, hear from them submissively, render service to them and follow their instruction as your life and soul, hear the glories of Srimad Bhagvatam everyday and chant the holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.