Whatever We Own, Owns Us
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
The following is notes from His Holiness Mahavishnu Gosvami Maharaja’s class on Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.30, given in London, July 10, 2008. Srila Gurudeva is here speaking the direct truth for the benefit of all, about the crime it is to claim any kind of material ownership.
matir na krsne paratah svato vaa
mitho ‘bhipadyeta grha-vrataanaam
adaanta-gobhir visataam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvanaanaam
Prahlada Maharaja replied: “Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.”
Maharaja said, “They make a show, you know, that they are Krishna conscious. Mangala arati and cricket and soccer; we have puja in the same place as we play cricket and soccer. This is impersonalism, which leads to destruction. If the Deities are not respected and glorified, They will go away after some time. Sometimes he, the householder, wants to please the child, the wife, the son etc., and sometimes he’s fed up all together. Because of uncontrolled senses, they will force us to do these things. There is only one way to control the senses:
sa vai manah krsna-padaaravindayor
karau harer mandira-maarjanaadisu
“Maharaja Ambarisa always engaged his mind in meditating upon the lotus feet of Krishna, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Krishna or about Krishna.”(SB 9.4.18)
Please avoid this show. Show-bottle devotional service will only entangle us more and more. Better do whatever little you can do sincerely. Cricket and soccer, there is so many other places we can do that, but why in front of Krishna?
Grha-vrata (persons too addicted to the materialistic, bodily conception of life): it is a fact that whatever we own, owns us. The world is like this. They’re fed up because they’re not with Krishna. That is the only reason. Like in Israel, it’s called “muddy lakes”; the more you struggle to get out, the more you’ll sink down into it.
We have a very high estimation of ourselves. That’s why we don’t understand: whatever we own, owns us. You cannot really safeguard anything material. Because it belongs to Krishna! Until we don’t claim ownership over anything, we’re quite all right. The day we decide “this is mine”, police will come, because it’s a false claim! Instead, whatever we own – offer it to Krishna. There is no alternative to this.”
Maharaja said, “As long as the body is in order, one is not suffering; everything has a meaning to you. But as soon as you’re suffering, the body is not all right; nothing has meaning. Because there is no self-enquiry, one thinks like this. One’s whole life’s lineage is there in the mind, so there is no place for Krishna in the mind. Please look up this verse, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.9:
naaraadhanaaya hi bhavanti parasya pumso
bhaktyaa tutosa bhagavaan gaja-yutha-paaya
Prahlada Maharaja continued: “One may possess wealth, an aristocratic family, beauty, austerity, education, sensory expertise, luster, influence, physical strength, diligence, intelligence and mystic yogic power, but I think that even by all these qualifications one cannot satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one can satisfy the Lord simply by devotional service. Gajendra did this, and thus the Lord was satisfied with him.”
Srila Prabhupada says in his purport, “No kind of material qualification is the means for satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, only by devotional service can the Lord be known (bhaktyaa maam abhijaanaati [Bg. 18.55]). Unless the Lord is pleased by the service of a devotee, the Lord does not reveal Himself (naaham prakaasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samaavrtah [Bg. 7.25]). This is the verdict of all sastras. Neither by speculation nor by material qualifications can one understand or approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
The last point here is very nice. Material conditions can never satisfy us. Like Arjuna when he was defeated by the cowherds. After Krishna left, he became disempowered. Please look up this verse, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.15.21:
tad vai dhanus ta isavah sa ratho hayaas te
so ‘ham rathi nrpatayo yata aanamanti
sarvam ksanena tad abhud asad isa-riktam
bhasman hutam kuhaka-raaddham ivoptam usyaam
“I have the very same Gandiva bow, the same arrows, the same chariot drawn by the same horses, and I use them as the same Arjuna to whom all the kings offered their due respects. But in the absence of Lord Krishna, all of them, at a moment’s notice, have become null and void. It is exactly like offering clarified butter on ashes, accumulating money with a magic wand or sowing seeds on barren land.”
Krishna said, “Now you should become a pure devotee,” so for devotion he didn’t need all these things. There is nothing needed for devotional service – that is the point. Our Ambarish Prabhu once said that one is cursed to become rich, just so that one’s mind always has to think of banks etc. The more material qualification we have, the more it is an impediment for devotional service. So we better become fool in front of Krishna. That’s why Jada Bharata acted like he did. So please try to understand these things. These things are not needed. Devotional service means devotional service only – no conditions. Only devotional service is required – that’s all.
We never know when our passing away will take place; we don’t consider it. This passing away should be daily in the background of our mind at least, so that we will correct our behaviour. Materially, we love people. But spiritually, if you loved everybody, you would be equipoised and peaceful, Shanta, always. We also have to be careful in our dealings with people: particularly with women, secluded meetings should be avoided, including phone calls, which is no different.
Prahlada Maharaja emphasises that nothing but devotional service is required! The illiterate man in South India crying with the Bhagavad gita open was recognized by Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a pure devotee. But there are preachers who are very knowledgeable but their eyes are always roaming. Their eyes go here and there like a pigeon, so how can they be peaceful?”
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.