Miser[ies]

10th Apr 2004
Shyam Charan das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis, 
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

We were reading the 11th canto, chapter 19 of Srimad Bhagavatam. The chapter is titled, "The Perfection of Spiritual Knowledge". It is a section where Lord Krsna gives very powerful instructions on the transcendental knowledge based on devotional service to His dearmost friend Sri Uddhava.

In verses 11.19.40-45 specifically, the Lord is giving wonderful definitions for various terms like miser, rich man, poor man, modesty, happiness etc. In particular the definition for the word "miser" (kṛpaṇā) sounded very interesting to me. The Lord says, "kṛpaṇāḥ yaḥ ajita indriyaḥ - A miser is he who cannot control his senses".

Digging further, I found another reference by the Lord Himself saying in Bhagavad Gita 2.49, "kṛpaṇāḥ phala hetavaḥ. - Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers."

But in the mundane world, the term 'miser' denotes a different meaning than Krsna's. In fact it is just the opposite. i.e., if a person has a lot of wealth or fame and does not identify with it and enjoy it, he is called a miser. When analyzing the reason for this difference, I understood that what Krsna refers to as 'wealth' is different from what a materialist refers. According to Krsna, the real wealth is the amount of spiritual advancement we make, amount of love and affection we have for Krsna and His devotees and the amount of service we do. Whereas a materialist's understanding of wealth is the properties he owns, material fame he collects, material beauty he possesses etc. These are total disqualifications for spiritual advancement as Kunti Maharani rightly prays,

SB 1.8.26
janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrībhir edhamāna-madaḥ pumān
naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ vai tvām akiñcana-gocaram 

My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of [material] progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling.

When a person tries to enjoy the fruits of his work, his senses becomes uncontrolled. As a result he sinks deeper into delusion. Hence he does not understand the importance of real wealth - this human birth, which is actually meant to be utilized in rendering loving devotional service to the Lord. Because of his misuse of this wealth he suffers from the four-fold miseries of the cycle of birth, death, old age and disease and the threefold miseries (adhyātmikā, adhibhautikā, adhidaivikā). A miser is one who suffers from miseries. Hence according to Lord Krsna, such a person is called a miser.

Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Shyam Charan das
Delhi.

Moderator's Note: HG Shyam Charan Prabhu is a very sincere devotee. He is always cool, calm and composed even in adverse circumstances. He is residing very close to the beautiful ISKCON temple in New Delhi. His good wife is also very sincere and dedicated in her service. She is just like mother Sati in following her husband and always assisting him in his service. They have a 7 year old daughter named Gaurangi who is very shrewd in learning and reciting verses from the shastras. Their family is a perfect example of how to lead a grahasta life in complete Krsna consciousness.