Srimad- Bhagavatam: Canto 7: Chapter 6: Verse 4
tat-prayāso na kartavyo
yata āyur-vyayaḥ param
na tathā vindate kṣemaṁ
Translation: Endeavors merely for sense gratification or material happiness through economic development are not to be performed, for they result only in a loss of time and energy, with no actual profit. If one’s endeavors are directed toward Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can surely attain the spiritual platform of self-realization. There is no such benefit from engaging oneself in economic development.
This is a very beautiful verse from Srimad Bhagavatam from canto 7 chapter 6. Here Prahalad Maharaj, a 5-year-old boy is teaching his school friends the science of Bhagavad Dharma in a very simple form. He says,
- Do not just work for sense gratification by accumulating more and more, because either you get frustrated when you don’t get the results or if you get the results, you will have limitations of senses.
- Working for sense gratification is useless and waste of time and energy because it is temporary. Nothing is permanent.
- If you want to attain real peace of mind then you have to practice Krishna consciousness (Mukunda- carana-ambujam)
Example) If you are too much attached to Laddu. If it is not properly cooked, you get frustrated, and if it is cooked properly with ghee, sugar and all you feel like eating more, but you can’t eat more. This shows desire is there, but at the same time limitations too.
If we see there are several verses from Scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita talking about the purpose of human life should be to do devotional service to the Lord and do not be after material benefits. Some examples are:
In Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.2, The Lord says:
yathā hi puruṣasyehaviṣṇoḥ pādopasarpaṇamyad eṣa sarva-bhūtānāṁpriya ātmeśvaraḥ suhṛt
Translation: The human form of life affords one a chance to return home, back to Godhead. Therefore, every living entity, especially in the human form of life, must engage in devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. This devotional service is natural because Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the most beloved, the master of the soul, and the well-wisher of all other living beings.
In Bhagavat-Gita, Chapter 9 (The Most Confidential Knowledge), text 17, The Lord Says
pitaham asya jagato
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca
Translation: I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support, and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Rk, the Sama, and the Yajur [Vedas].
In Bhagavat- Gita, Chapter 18, Conclusion-The Perfection of Renunciation, text 66, The Lords says
sarva-dharmān parityajyamām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajaahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyomokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Translation: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
The reasons Prahalad Maharaj giving to his friends to practice Bhakti is:
- Vishnu is the most beloved we can find, he loves everyone unconditionally, whatever we do he never leaves us
- He is Atmeshwara, meaning match of the soul
There will be well-wishers in our life who always think that we will give them something. As long as we meet their expectations, they are happy with you but the moment you don’t give them what they want they are going to go against you. That is the nature of this world. Our genuine well-wisher is only Vishnu no one else. So, attaining spiritual knowledge is the highest knowledge. Prahalad Maharaj’s friends after hearing this got really excited and started to chant the holy name of Vishnu. That is the effect of hearing from a pure devotee. Our heart will melt and invokes bhakti and we will just start to worship Krishna.
Prahalad Maharaj’s friends after hearing this asked the question how did he get this knowledge and presenting it so well at the age of 5. So Prahald Maharaj tells them that he attained this knowledge by the mercy of his Spiritual Master, Narada Muni. When Prahalad Maharaj was in the womb of his mother Kayadhu, there was a great war between Demigods and Demons. Hiranyaksha got killed and his elder brother Hiranyakashipu got very angry with Vishnu and other Demigods. He wanted to have power so that he can go and defeat Devatas and so he decided to do Tapasya in Mandarachal mountains to invoke Lord Brahma, by standing on one leg. At that time the ministers of Hiranyakashipu were ruling the kingdom. The Devatas thought that this is the right time to defeat the Demons. There is always war between good and evil. So, the Devatas defeated the Demons and they captured the city of Asuras. That time Indra and other Devatas when to Hiranyakashipu’s palace, saw Pregnant Kayadhu. Devatas got very frightened. They knew that Hiranyakashipu was doing severe Tapasya, hence he is going to be more powerful, his son is coming so they have to deal with two powerful demons in future. They decided to take Kayadhu as a prisoner and bring her to the heavenly planets or Indra Lokha and will think about her child later. One lesson we can learn from this is that abortion was completely prohibited in Vedic times. The Devatas did not think of killing the baby inside the womb. They decided to wait till the baby comes and later deal with it. So, when they were taking Kayadhu, Narada Muni appeared and said what they are doing is sin because Kayadhu is a chaste woman and said a MahaBhagavata devotee will be born to her and asked them not to kill the baby. So, the moment they heard that the Devatas decided to leave Kayadhu with Narada Muni and went back to Indra Lokha.
One lesson to learn here is the difference between the Demons and Devatas. Devatas even though they have material desires and want to enjoy things, they have utmost faith in saintly devotees and Krishna. That is why even If Devatas make mistakes Krishna forgives them because they listen to senior authorities. In Samudra madana leela too if we see the Lord said all the Devatas go to the tail side of Vasuki, and all the demons should go to the head side. The Devatas never questioned. During churning process, lots of wonderful gifts will be coming out, don’t be greedy about it, just be patient in the end you will get the Amrut, they just obeyed Vishnu. Even when Rakshas took the Amrut from Lord Dhanvantari, the Lord told them to be patient, he will get it for them. They just listened to the Lord. The opportunity, endeavor, the goals everything is same for the Demons and Devatas. In the end Devatas got the Amrut, the Demons lost it, because they did not obey the orders of Krishna. That is why Devatas are always protected by Vishu. They have faith in Krishna, Krishna’s words and senior devotees’ words.
Another important point is Narada Muni’s prediction. We are living in a very scientifically advanced world actually. The Modern-day science is advanced so much that now the Doctor’ scan a pregnant lady and say if the child to be born is a boy or a girl. But science is still not advanced to say what behavior the child will be inheriting in future. Science can go to gross physical level, but it cannot go to the subtle physical level, meaning mind, intelligence and false ego. But Narada muni was able to predict that child born to be a boy and he is a Mahabagavata devotee. How did Narada Muni get that power of transcendental knowledge or Divya jnanam or Transcendental vision. This is called as Bhakti Shakthi. When we practice Bhakti sincerely, do all the regulative principles, chant whole heartedly and obey the instructions of higher authorities we get the Bhakti shakti.
Narada Muni took Kayadu to his ashram and everyday used to talk about the science of Bhagavad Dharma or Bhakti to Kayadhu. She was hearing, same time the baby in the womb, Prahalad Maharaj was also hearing the science of Krishna Consciousness from a pure devotee. That is how he developed the spiritual consciousness or Bhakti and he remembered it and practiced it every day. This type of enquiry in scriptures is called as Sad-Dharma-Prichha. When we associate with devotees in the temple or in come in contact with any saintly person or advanced devotees our topic of interest should not be mundane subjects. It should be based on how can we advance in Krishna consciousness, conquer anarthas, envy or anger, how can we practice Bhakti so that we can advance in our spiritual life that should be the kind of enquiry. We should ask only long-term benefits like to show mercy on us, save the mankind, as well as to attain liberation not temporary benefits. Also, we should learn from great personalities that what enquires we should make (Example Vyasadeva, Parikshit Maharaj, Bhisma Dev, Rishabhdev, Suniti etc.)
Now Hiranyakashipu is back. Prahalad Maharaj is born. Hiranyakashipu defeated all Devatas. He sends his son, Prahalad Maharaj to Gurukul where he was taught by two teachers Sanda and Amarka, how to make money, how to be powerful, the history of demons. Simple put in modern world, they were teaching him Economics, Warfare, Demonic history. Young Prahalad was not happy about this, he was completely fixed on Atma tattva, the knowledge of soul and the destination of the soul. He knew, that we are not this body but spirit soul and our constitutional position is to serve the Supreme soul Krishna. He was fixed on ultimate goal of life not the intermediate goal of life. He was a special child, he was the only son of Three Lokapathi, the Lord of all Lokhas, so powerful, lot of name, fame, Aishwarya, have all opulence’s in the world, he could have misused the power, be proud. But Prahalad Maharaj did not have any tinge of these kinds of distractions towards material things but was completely focused on Bhakti towards the Lord. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita (chapter 2, verse 42-43) bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati. For people who are engaged in sense gratification they think that Bhoga and Aishwarya (means opulence) is ultimate goal of life, nothing beyond that.
The parents and spiritual teachers play a major role in shaping the child’s future, in building their character. We need to teach them material science in order to function in this world but we should also give Spiritual knowledge as well. By achieving intermediate goals, they have to move to the ultimate goal, which is love for Krishna. Great examples of ideal parent in Srimad Bhagavatam is Dhruva Maharaj’s mother Suniti who taught him how to surrender to Vishu.
Surrender to Krishna comes in two ways:
1. When everything goes well in life surrender like Arjuna. Use every opportunity to do every duty of yours for the satisfaction of Supreme Lord. He fought the war for the satisfaction of Krishna.
2.When things go out of control: Surrender like Draupadi, you are doing everything and not getting results and things are out of your control pray to Krishna to guide you and take care. It is like I will do my best, God you take care of the rest.
To be successful in life 4 Q’s are important
- Physical Quotient: How to be healthy: Eat sattvic diet, exercise to be fit, relax
- Emotional Quotient means: Understanding your emotions first, how do you express your emotions in a situation, how do you interpret the situation, how do you let your mind process it and understand things in perspective,
Second part of Emotional Quotient is Understanding from where people are coming from, what are their emotions, so how you can interact with them effectively.
- Intellectual Quotient: Science defines it differently. How quickly you can solve the problems and come up with solutions to the problems like Math, Physics etc.
- Spiritual Quotient: Means understanding who we are, spirit soul. Understanding the principles of spiritual dharma and values and inculcate that values in our kids and us, so that we can bring all other Q’s properly. If we know whom we are, the privilege we got in this human body, we will take care of Physical Quotient (PQ) because we want to use this body to serve the Lord, then we will know the values or relationship of devotees in our life. It is the causeless mercy of Krishna. He blessed us so we can build on our Emotional Quotient (EQ) by controlling our anarthas, then having spiritual values our Intellectual Quotient will develop.
Scriptures say that we need Intellectual Quotient powered by Bhakti to know what is right and wrong and to make right decisions/choices in life. If you are driven by mind you make emotional decisions only. We are not going to be in a protected environment all the time or with devotees. When we go to work, or college we will associate with different people in our life so how do we teach children to make right decisions when parents are not there that is more important
Any discoveries of science you take it the scientist got an inspiration of a flash or intuit power in their heart.
It is not the scientific process or a methodological method they followed to find something. That inspiration came from the super soul. If you hear the Super soul loud and clear then you have a strong SQ or Spiritual Quotient and Intellectual Quotient or IQ will be built on top of the SQ. Srila Prabupad said for devotees seeing the Super soul means hearing the Super soul’s voice or hearing the good instruction and implementing in life. That comes from the mercy of Shiksha Gurus and Diksha Gurus. These “Q’s” are essential to bring peace and happiness in life. Spiritual Quotient is the foundation and all are built on top of it.
In Bhagavad-Gita chapter 5, Karma-yoga- Action in Krsna Consciousness, Text 29
jnatva mam santim rcchati
Translation: The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.
So Prahalad Maharaj is saying going after sense gratification is like rolling a big boulder up the hills. If you take ancient Greek culture, they used to give punishment for the criminal who did abominable crime. Roll the boulder up the hills, then from top you have to come down rolling the boulder again. You will do this until you get exhausted completely, losing all your energy and finally die a miserable death.
If you engage yourself in sense gratification is like rolling the boulder up the hills, there is no Krishna in life. Finally, you reach the top of hill. It is like this all responsibilities are over, family is settled, you think you can relax now but you will go away. It is matter of time. So, what happens if we work like dog and cats, our conscience will go down and will degrade eventually. You will lose taste for Spiritual life. If you practice spiritual life properly, Krishna says that the desire to serve him increases by chanting and doing various devotional service and if you don’t practice properly the quality of desire to serve Krishna decreases and then our quality of life will go down and our consciousness will be on bodily things like to gain attention, name , fame, beauty, be healthy etc., . You develop more passion and passion will give you the qualities which are not good finally we go away from
Krishna. So, for any activity measure your conscious before you perform that activity and measure your consciousness after that activity is performed. And if you feel if you are going away from Krishna that means it is not balanced actually
There is a principle called labho jiveta yavata principle in Srimad Bhagavatam in 1.2.10
lābho jīveta yāvatā
nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ
Translation: Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.
kāmasya nendriya-prītirmeans don’t just be engaged in sense gratification only. But we need to have some sense gratification to keep body and soul together so that we can make spiritual advancement. Material life alone cannot satisfy us. We need spiritual life too.
A simple formula is if spiritual life becomes subordinate to your material life then we are heading in a wrong direction in life. If material life become subordinate to spiritual life then we are headed in right direction. This is how we measure which direction are we going. Prahalad was telling his friend please take up the worship of Vishnu. Devotional service is what going to give you ultimate goal or happiness. He was thinking what is ultimate benefit for my friends. One point to note here is Prahald gave one Bhagavatam class, the entire class of students got it and they started practicing Krishna consciousness at a time that is due to Prahald Maharaj purity. The purity comes only when you practice it not just only speaking. Walk the talk. Prahald Maharaj was walking the talk. He was not only preaching but practicing to the core that is why he was able to melt all his friends’ heart and they also started chanting the holy name of the Lord.
What happens if we don’t put in to practice what we preach to others. This can be explained by a story. There was a business man who was working very hard, earning lots of money. He had only one son. When his son was 21 years old, he went to his dad and said he wanted to have a very powerful racing bike, and the dad brought the bike for him. One day the boy was killed in the accident due to drunken driving. The business man when he came to know about the death of his son, he was completely collapsed and devastated because putra shoskham is the toughest shokam. He was sitting in his home and crying that time one of his neighbor who was a saintly person, came to meet him and consoled him and said don’t be attached to the body, you and your son are spirit souls. Your son got a new body and you focus on ultimate goal of life. He was preaching all the philosophy. So, the business man felt pretty convincing so he decided to move on with his life practicing spirituality. The saintly person gave him Bhagavad- Gita and asked him to read it every day and implement the teachings in his life and so his life will become meaningful. The business man took Bhagavad Gita and read every single day he felt solace. After few months once the business man was driving in the neighborhood he heard a very loud cry. He felt very bad, he stopped the car next to the house only to be shocked to see the saintly person crying. The man said his goat died. The business man was surprised, to see him in sorrow and to hear this from him because this same man consoled him when his son died and gave him Bhagavat Gita. So, the business man now went out and brought the Bhagavad Gita and gave it to him and said Sir, you need this Bhagavad-Gita more than me. We can see here that the teaching is not always for others. First, we have to follow it and then you speak then only it be affective. So, whatever we learn we have to implement it, we may not be perfect though at least we are trying and have the desire so preaching will be affective. Prahalad Maharaj was practicing the science of Krishna consciousness in day to day life.
When Prahalad Maharaj was teaching his friends, they told him it is not for them, since they are very young for spiritual life. This is for old people. Prahald Maharaj said it is for everybody. He was able to convince them and change their hearts due to his Purity and authenticity. Spiritual practice at very young age is good it can change our vritis and vasasnas, samsaras, inclination, tendencies, propensities, and behavior. For example) take a green bamboo stick, you can easily bend it, but when it is dried out it will break when bend. So, the spiritual life is more important for youngsters so the foundation and values can be built. We can see that sometimes due to Brahmacharis book distribution in college campus in India, young people are getting attracted to Krishna consciousness and they want to live in the temple, and lead a Brahmacari life. But sometimes they get pressure from their parents and grandparents to lead a materialistic life. They think that spiritual life should start when they are old. But once they are old, also they will find difficult because when we are not used to something it is tough to change. But if we practice Bhakti regardless of age then only it will be affective so we have should have faith in the words of devotees, spiritual master and Krishna.
There are 2 type of materialism in this Kaliyuga.
- Eat drink and be merry and no religiosity
- The religious materialism: In religious materialism there are different layers.
- Worshipping Krishna for material benefits like to have more money, house.
- There are some people who try to take material benefits out of people’s sentiments and religious beliefs. Pujaris in India asking money to do some special puja knowing you are very religious.
This can be explained as follows. There is sweet stall owner who was a very religious man, but no one was coming to buy sweets from his sweet stall. The business was going down. He was very much concerned regarding this. Then he decided to put Ganesh ji in front of his store and put a board telling if you buy sweets like laddu and offer to Ganesha and go to work then that day will be great for you. So, people started to come to his stall, buy Laddu and offer to Gansesh ji and went for work, and everyday there was a big lane to offer laddu for Ganesh ji. After everybody is gone this guy will bring back all the Laddus to the store and resell them the next day. This way he made lots of money.
- Seasonal worshipers: means for Janmashtami they go to Krishna temple, For Ganesh Chaturthi they will go Ganesha temple, Lakshmi puja will go to Lakshmi temple. It is like having an account with everybody so that someone will fulfill their needs and wants. The problem here is if you are in a relationship with someone, your beloved expects you to be loyal with them. If you say you want to be in relationship with them and want to be relationship with someone else too then it won’t work. Relationship should be committed to each other and loyal to each other. Otherwise it will be cheating only which means we are not having a genuine relationship with Krishna.
What happens if we try to cheat someone? If our intension is not pure and if we try to cheat someone, sure we will be cheated in the end. This can be explained by a story. There was a student, who was from a wealthy family. One day he decided to go to his native town for summer vacation. He carried a bundle of cash in his wallet. He found out that there was a 5 Rupee note which was torn. In India no one will take a torn 5 Rupee note so he wanted to get rid of that note somehow. He had other options too to get rid of that note. He could have gone to the bank and exchange it but he didn’t want to do it. He went to a store to buy some snacks with that note and the store keeper also did not accept that note, and finally he had to give a good note to buy the snacks for the travel. Then he thought of tricking someone. He got in to a bus heading to his native place and caught hold of a seat near the window. He saw a Newspaper boy coming, and the bus also started to move slowly. He asked the Newspaper boy how much is the cost of the Newspaper and it was 5 Rs and he gave that money to him and the newspaper boy told him to pick up the paper from the basket kept on top of his head. But it so happened that previous day newspapers got mixed with the current newspaper accidentally. This student picked up the newspaper, and was so happy thinking that he tricked the newspaper boy only to realize that he himself got tricked by picking up the previous day’s newspaper not the current one. He even did not think how tough was the person to sell the newspaper under the hot sun. He was thinking only of himself. Like that way we are thinking we are tricking Krishna in the process by going to other Demigods and to him, thinking Krishna is also like any other Demigods without trusting that he is the Supreme Personality of God head but if we do that then we will be tricked, this is called religious materialism. Krishna says he is the root, water the roots everything is taken care of. We can respect other Demigods and Devatas because they are purer than us. If problems come, they can go and see Lord Brahma and Kshirodakshayi Vishnu, but we cannot do that.
Prahald Maharaj concept of Bhagavad Dharma is simple and easy to practice. We don’t have to go to a forest, meditate and practice any big Agnihotri sacrifices only we have to do some simple things
- Associate with devotees or like-minded people
- Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita reading. Means reading of scriptures is very important
- Chant the Holy Names of the Lord, the Hare Krishna Maha mantra everyday
- Diet: Follow regulative principles and eat food offered to Krishna. Attend Sunday feast or whatever programs in the temple. This is the science of devotional service (ABCD). If we do this, we will get all auspiciousness or Shemam that is what Prahalad Maharaj talking in this verse.