Wednesday, 11 January 2012

How to Deal with Opulence as a Devotee!

Prthu Maharaj is a saktyavesa avatar who is empowered by the Lord to perform exemplary activities to inspire the human beings. Different personalities have achieved perfection by performance of one of the nine activities of devotional service. So Prthu Maharaj is known by His worship of the Lord.

Prthu Maharaj was a Grihasta - Grhesu. We may think grhesu means entangled in the activities of the material world but Srila Prabhupada says we do not recognize a pure devotee simply by their asrama or their material situation. we have to look at the consciousness and the mental absorption of the devotee. Prthu Maharaj is a ksatriya and He is a king. A king cannot live in a cottage. When he is ruling a kingdom, he has to live in a palace. It is the duty of ksatriya that they collect taxes from the people and with that they perform sacrifices to please the Lord. Maharaja Prthu has to perform sacrifices, has to have opulence and use the wealth not for sense gratification but satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Opulence naturally follows a pure devotee. Pure Devotion is likened to a queen. Wherever a queen goes, the maidservants will also follow her. So wherever there is pure devotion, there is also opulence, there is knowledge, there is mystic powers. We saw this in the life of Srila Prabhupada. As a result of Prabhupada's purity and devotion, wealth followed and Prabhupada taught us how to utilize the wealth in spreading Krsna Consciousness.

Wealth is not an obstacle but it also can be an obstacle. In the minds of those attracted to material enjoyment and are deluded by such thoughts, the resolute determination for devotional service cannot take place. We remember the episode between Gadadhara Pandit and Pundarik Vidyanidhi from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita.  Sri Gadadhara Pandita was especially affectionate towards Mukunda Datta. Whenever sadhus  or sannyasis would come to Nabadwipa from somewhere, Mukunda Datta would tell Gadadhara and together they would go and visit that holy man.  One time, from Chattagrama, Pundarika Vidyanidhi came to Nabadwipa. At that time, Mukunda Datta intimated to Gadadhara that there was a Vaisnava worth seeing, and suggested they they go visit him. With great jubilation at the prospect of seeing a Vaisnava, Gadadhara Pandita went to visit Pundarika Vidyanidhi with Mukunda Datta. When Gadadhara Pandita came before Pundarika, he saw that he appeared to be a great materialist. His faith was somewhat damaged upon seeing this. He said to himself, “If he is a Vaisnava, why does he appear to be such a materialist?”

 Mukunda Datta, knowing the mind of Gadadhara, sweetly sang a verse about Krsna-lila. Mukunda Datta had known Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and by sweetly chanting this verse he awakened his  inner consciousness.  Hearing Mukunda Datta singing this verse about krsna-lila from Srimad-Bhagavatam he began crying “Krsna! Krsna!” and weeping again and again. The Caitanya-Bhagavata says that the flowing of tears from his eyes was as if the Ganges had descended.  Finally he fell upon the ground, and after rolling back and forth for some time lost consciousness. Upon seeing this, Gadadhara Pandita felt great remorse within his mind.  He began to reconsider his attitude toward Pundarika Vidyanidhi. He thought, “I thought that this great devotee, this mahabhagavata, was an ordinary sense enjoyer.  I have committed a great offense. So We also often have the tendency to judge people that they are enjoying.

Cerainly it is possible to have opulence at the same time be Krishna conscious and not be bewildered. We see opulence been bestowed upon Sudama. Krishna says that Sudama has given so much to Me so I should give him more than I possess. His small hut was replaced by a palace, jewels, wealth and he was rejuvenated into becoming a young healthy man. Not that Sudama had the desire for opulence, but the Lord gave it. Sudama accepts this in a mood of renunciation and He becomes more attached to Krishna and becomes more absorbed in Him and becomes detached to the material world.

We cannot be attached to Krishna and at the same time be attached to the material world. A devotee who is absorbed in Krsna Consciousness is so satisfied in the service of Krishna that He is not attracted to the material world.

Preaching and Chanting Hare Krishna protect us from the danger of being attracted by material enjoyment. Queen Kunti also warns that those who are on the path of material progress cannot know Krishna. Krishna is known as akincana gocara the peoperty of the materially impoverished. This does not mean that we have to be a pauper but we don't have to be attached.

The human life is wasted if one simply works hard to accumulate wealth and enjoy their senses. We do not have to be overly anxious to improve our material condition as that is arranged by our previous karma but we have to be anxious to improve our spiritual progress. The opulence of the devotee is not a big home or wealth but a peaceful mind, controlled senses free of lust and desire. This is the opulence of Krishna Consciousness which is rare in this material world. Opulence need not be a danger but it depends on how you use it.

 - Lecture by HH Bhakti Vijna Vinasha Maharaj :: Mayapur 7, 2012

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