Material Problems

Can material wealth solve the problems? 

Material Compassion Long Live The Lord! divya prabandham 4000 prabhandam 4000
Material Compassion: Long Live The Lord!

Bhagavad Gita 2.8

The reason for material problems is our very material existence only. As Lord Rishabadev says ‘Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body’.

na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād

yac chokam ucchoṣaṇam indriyāṇām

avāpya bhūmāv asapatnam ṛddhaṁ

rājyaṁ surāṇām api cādhipatyam

A Jiva being spirit in nature somehow or other came in contact with matter. As Srila Prabhupada gives the example of a Fish out of Water.

Irrespective of any amount of comforts provided to the Fish he cannot be happy as for him it is unnatural to be in land. Similarly in Kunti Maharani prayers we find that janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrībhir namely:

  • High parentage
  • Good wealth
  • High education and
  • Attractive beauty

They are, so to speak, disqualifications for progress on the path of spiritual advancement. Material wealth cannot solve the problems rather aggravate the problems. Nevertheless a pure devotee who is materially wealthy knows how to utilize such wealth for Krsna. In an interview Srila Prabhupada replied a reporter that ‘we can use all the wealth of the world for krsna’s service but unfortunately you dont give money’.

Also in the life history of Goswamis we find they were super rich and Srila Sanatana Goswami had a touchstone as well yet they left everything for Mahaprabhu’s mission. When someone is materially impoverished then it is a special mercy of Krishna (yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tat dhanam shanai).

One gets the material body because of his desire to imitate the Lord. Once in the material world, under the control of the three modes of material nature he identifies himself with the body – I, me, and mine – and engages in total sense gratification. This leads to all his material problems which he tries to adjust and thinks he is enjoying material life under illusion. However, he can never solve the real problems – janma, mrtyu, jara, vyadhi – unless he comes out of the bodily concept of life. 

Can material wealth solve the problems? 

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

The problems of material existence – birth, old age, disease and death – cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present.

They are seeking peace in different ways, but they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Krsna, or the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam – which constitute the science of Krsna – through the bona fide representative of Krsna, the man in Krsna consciousness.

If economic development and material comforts could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivaled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the demigods in the heavenly planets would be unable to drive away his lamentations.

He sought, therefore, refuge in Krsna consciousness, and that is the right path for peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Even elevation into a higher planetary situation, as men are now seeking on the moon planet, can also be finished at one stroke.

The Bhagavad-gita confirms this: ksine punye martya-lokam visanti. “When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life.” Many politicians of the world have fallen down in that way. Such downfalls only constitute more causes for lamentation.

Also see:

Thiruvoimozhi 4th decade first Thiruvoimozhi

Nammalwar asserts in  the first pasuram ,oru nayakamaai pasuram ,that the material wealth is not at all  permanent  and it will vanish into thin air in no time or overnight. He quotes the example  of an emperor ,who was all powerful and suddenly looses  the kingdom in a war and all his wealth and made to beg in the streets for fulfilling his hunger .

So being the ex king,he feels ashamed to beg in the day time and hence goes in the night for begging. At that time as it was pitch  dark, he could not see a black dog and stamped on it and it bites him hard. He immediately shouts  for help and at that time the crowd comes to know that and they  all ridicule him as he was their king and now have become a pauper.

So Nammalwar advocates instead of going after such material wealth ,please surender and think of the lotus feet of Thirunarayanan immediately without loosing any time and attain salvation. Thus he establishes the futility of material wealth.

Hare Krishna🙏

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More by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada can be found here.

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