Does It's A Common Struggle For You & Me?
धर्मस्य ह्यापवर्ग्यस्य नार्थोऽर्थायोपकल्पते ।
नार्थस्य धर्मैकान्तस्य कामो लाभाय हि स्मृत: ॥ ९ ॥
dharmasya hy āpavargyasya
kāmo lābhāya hi smṛtaḥ
“All occupational engagements (dharma) are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service (dharma) should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.9)
In spite of working so hard, there is frustration. No one is satisfied, I am not satisfied, nor is the person for whom I work so hard satisfied. Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. Bha means always fearful. We are always wondering what danger is coming next. Ma means death, mrtyu. This is material life: You work very hard, so hard that foam will come from your mouth, and still you feel frustration and are always fearful. In this way you live, and then one day comes and you die.
This is called pa-varga. Dharmasya hy apavargyasya. Pavarga: a means “just the opposite.” By taking to dharma, or religious principles, one can nullify the principles of material life. No one wants to work very hard, but everyone has to because in the material world a person cannot even get food without working hard. A small ant only needs one grain of food a day, yet he still has to work, going hither and thither trying to find his food. Similarly, the elephant needs a hundred kilos of food at a time, and he also has to work. Material life is like that; no one can live idly. Nahi suptasya simhasya pravisyanti mukhe mrgah. (Hitopadesa) The lion is a very powerful animal, and he is called the king of the forest, or the king of the animals. When he sleeps, no animal will come near him. Although a king, no animal says, “Please, Mr. Lion, please open your mouth and I shall enter.” Mr. Lion has to work very hard, and although he is very powerful, he doesn’t always get food. Similarly, when a tiger is in the jungle, every animal knows it and avoids the tiger, so they don’t always get food either.
Mohammedans are especially proud to become like a sher. Sher means lion or tiger, and it is said that if one can become like a sher, he will be considered very powerful. Even in England the British lion symbolizes power, but at the end of the Second World War, the British lion was badly bandaged. Now in Trafalgar Square there are only large stone lions. In this world these symbols of power are all false. There was Napoleon, the French lion, and there was the British lion, and there was the Roman lion. In this way and that the people are simply wasting their time. Srama eva hi kevalam.(Srimad Bhagvatam 1.2.8) They are all rascals because they do not know the value of life. Nor do they know what is to be done. Even religion is taken for some material gain. However, in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that religion is not for material gain, for religion is meant for apavargyasya. One has to get liberated from these four principles of material life: hard labor, which causes one to foam at the mouth, frustration, fear and death.
Such is material life, but people are so foolish that they think that these principles represent advancement. Is this advancement? By working very hard a person may get a very nice large house and a car, and in this way one may think that his life is successful, but after fifty years, the house is only good for demolition. One matchbox goes up, and another comes down. This is constantly going on. Punah punas carvita-carvananam. “All right, you require a house, and now you have a nice one. Why are you demolishing it again?” “It’s a new fashion,” is the reply. This, then, is contemporary civilization. Houses are constructed with hard labor, and again they are demolished with hard labor, and once again they are constructed with more hard labor. And people have become such rascals that they do not think, “What am I gaining by this hard labor?” Real religion shows one how to get out of this cycle of hard labor.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said: nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye. The word kaman indicates the fact that we require some necessities of life, for in this material body we require to eat, sleep, have sex and defend ourselves. So we do this, for there is no prohibition; we eat, sleep, have sex and defend, and do them all as easily as possible. But we do not have to labor very hard for these and make it difficult. We have to eat, and that’s all right; we can eat. The birds and bees are also eating without hard labor, and why have we manufactured such a nonsensical civilization that we have to work so hard simply for a piece of bread? And why must we work in order to be able to sleep peacefully? There is so much hard labor for these things that now people have become disgusted and have given them up. Thus the hippies say, “We don’t want to work.” But after a while, when they find it very difficult to live without work, they again come to work. Punah punas carvita-carvananam. People work, then they leave work, saying, “We shall not work,” and again they take up work and work very hard, then again they give it up. This is called punah punas carvita-carvananam: chewing the chewed. We give up work, but we return to work because there is no other way to live. This is the problem. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum. Foolish people do not know what the aim of life is. Everyone says that he is interested in his own welfare, or self-interest, but no one knows what real self-interest is. Therefore people are mistaken and are simply frustrated by working hard. They work so hard that foam comes from their mouths. All this is going on.
Dharma indicates the end of such a civilization of rascals. That is real dharma. Therefore Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita:
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: ॥ ६६ ॥
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (BG. 18.66)
“Just come to this side,” Krishna says. “Simply surrender you rascal, and just give up all these so-called religions. They are not giving you any relief, and you are simply wasting your time.” Srama eva hi kevalam. By so-called religions, no one really develops an understanding of what God actually is. People are going to temples and churches and mosques, but they do not know what God really is. If we ask anyone, any religious man, “so you know what God is?” he will say, “Oh, He is sublime… He is this, and He is that…” All we get is a vague idea. However, one who is devoted to Krishna knows definitely that here is God—Krishna. Here is His eternal consort—Radharani. Here He is, enjoying in this way. Thus the Vedas give definite information about God and His activities.
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows and fulfilling all desires in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of Lakshmis, goddesses of fortune.” (BS. 5.29)
In this way we know that God has His own abode, which is made of touchstone, and we learn of the houses there and the wish-fulfilling trees (kalpa-vrksha). Not only is there one, but there are millions of such wish-fulfilling trees. Surabhir abhipalayantam: Krishna is engaged in tending surabhi cows. One can take as much milk as many times as he likes from a surabhi cow. Lakshmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune. We all want the favor of the goddess of fortune, but in the spiritual sky the Lord is served by millions of goddesses of fortune. Nor is it that God is asking their favor. We may ask a favor of the goddess of fortune, “Dear Mother, goddess of fortune, please give me some money.” Even though Krishna does not care, the goddesses are rendering service to Him with great veneration (sambhrama).
In this way the Vedas give information: “Here is God.” Govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami. “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord.” This is real religion. Real religion means knowing God, knowing where God is and what He is doing. Thus we must receive all information from Vedic literature.
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksham
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, who has blossoming eyes like lotus petals, whose head is decked with peacock feathers, whose body is the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of Cupids” (BS. 5.30)
In this way we learn that God is engaged in playing His flute, and that His eyes look just like the petals of a lotus flower, and that He is so beautiful that He can defeat millions upon millions of Cupids. Thus He is called Madana-mohana. He is so attractive that even Madana (Cupid) is attracted to Him. Cupid attracts everyone, but He attracts Cupid. That is the meaning of Madana-mohana. And Radharani is Madana-mohana-mohini, for She attracts Madana-mohana. Here, then, is God—what do people know of Him?