Devotee's Opulence

Devotee's Opulence

Tusta Krishna Das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Mathajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev.

Pariksit Maharaja asked Sukadeva Gosvami: "My dear Sukadeva Gosvami, it is generally found that those who engage in the worship of Lord Siva, whether in human, demoniac, or demigod society, become very opulent materially, although Lord Siva himself lives just like a poverty-stricken person. On the other hand, the devotees of Lord Visnu, who is the controller of the goddess of fortune, do not appear to be very prosperous, and sometimes they are even found to be living without any material opulence at all. Lord Siva lives underneath a tree or in the snow of the Himalayan Mountains. He does not even construct a house for himself, but still the worshipers of Lord Siva are very rich. Krsna, or Lord Visnu, however, lives very opulently, whether in Vaikuntha or in this material world, but His devotees appear to be poverty-stricken. Why is this so?"

Sukadeva Gosvami began to reply to King Pariksit's inquiry about the apparent contradictions regarding the worship of Lord Siva and that of Lord Visnu. Lord Siva is the master of the material energy. The material energy is represented by goddess Durga, and Lord Siva happens to be her husband. Since goddess Durga is completely under the subjugation of Lord Siva, it is to be understood that Lord Siva is the master of this material energy. Although he is in association with these qualities for the benefit of the conditioned soul, Lord Siva is the director and is not affected. Although the conditioned soul is affected by the three qualities, Lord Siva, because he is the master of these qualities, is not affected by them. Similarly the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma including Lord Indra, Candra, Varuna and others, are apt to become very quickly satisfied and very quickly angered by the good and ill behavior of their devotees. But this is not so with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu."

Srila Prabhupada gives a perfect example to help us understand the point - If we serve jailer in a prison he can at the most provide best facility in a jail room but can't release anybody from jail. Similarly, those who worship the material energy receive the suitable reward for such activities, and those who worship the pitas receive similar results. But those who are engaged in devotional service or worship of the Supreme Lord, Visnu or Krsna, go to the Vaikuntha planets or Krsnaloka. One cannot approach the transcendental region or paravyoma, the spiritual sky, by worshiping Lord Siva or Brahma or any other demigod. They can go there only by worshiping the Supreme Lord Vishnu.

Material happiness or opulence means gratification of the senses, specifically the genitals, the tongue and the mind. By exercising our minds we create many pleasurable things just for enjoyment by the genitals and the tongue. The opulence of a person within this material world is estimated in terms of his exercise of the genitals and the tongue, or, in other words, how well he is able to utilize his sexual capacities and how well he is able to satisfy his fastidious taste by eating palatable dishes. Material advancement of civilization necessitates creating objects of enjoyment by mental concoction just to become happy on the basis of these two principles: pleasures for the genitals and pleasures for the tongue. Herein lies the answer to King Pariksit's question to Sukadeva Gosvami as to why the worshipers of Lord Siva are so opulent.

Lord Sri Krsna has therefore stated in the Bhagavad-gita that to take blessings from the demigods is less intelligent because when one takes benedictions from the demigods, the results of such benedictions are temporary. It is easy to get material opulence by worshiping the demigods, but the result is sometimes disastrous. As such, the benedictions derived from demigods are appreciated by the less intelligent class of men. But S.B. 2.3.10 states what persons with broader intelligence does:

akaama sarva kaamo vaa / moksha kaama udaara-dhih
tivrena bhakti yogena / yajeta purusham param

"A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead."

Udaara-dhih means one who has a broader outlook. People with desires for material enjoyment worship small demigods, and such intelligence is condemned in the Bhagavad-gita (7.20) as hrta-jnana, the intelligence of one who has lost his senses. One cannot obtain any result from demigods without getting sanction from the Supreme Lord. Whenever a devotee wants something from Lord Visnu, Lord Visnu first of all considers whether such a benediction will ultimately be good for the devotee. Lord Visnu never bestows any benediction which will ultimately prove disastrous to the devotee, He is, by His transcendental nature, always merciful; therefore, before giving any benediction, He considers whether it will prove beneficial for the devotee.

We should realize how devotional service has made our life so simple. We have only one God (Krishna) to go for everything and only one mantra (Hare Krishna Mahamantra) to chant to obtain anything from Him, especially Shuddha-bhakti.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Tusta Krishna Das