"Bali Mahārāja appreciated the actions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although all the members of the demoniac families except Prahlāda Mahārāja and Bali Mahārāja considered Viṣṇu their eternal traditional enemy. As described by Bali Mahārāja, Lord Viṣṇu was actually not the enemy of the family but the best friend of the family. The principle of this friendship has already been stated. Yasyāham anugṛhnāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ: (SB 10.88.8) the Lord bestows special favor upon His devotee by taking away all his material opulences. Bali Mahārāja appreciated this behavior by the Lord. Therefore he said, daivena nītaḥ prasabhaṁ tyājita-śrīḥ: 'It is to bring me to the right platform of eternal life that You have put me into these circumstances.'

Actually, everyone should fear the so-called society, friendship and love for which he works so hard all day and night. As indicated by Bali Mahārāja by the words janād bhītaḥ, every devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should always be afraid of the common man engaged in pursuing material prosperity. Such a person is described as pramatta, a madman chasing the will-o'-the-wisp. Such men do not know that after a hard struggle for life one must change his body, with no certainty of what kind of body he will receive next. Those who are completely established in Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy and who therefore understand the aim of life will never take to the activities of the materialistic dog race. But if a sincere devotee somehow does fall down, the Lord corrects him and saves him from gliding down to the darkest region of hellish life.

     adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
     punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
     (SB 7.5.30)

The materialistic way of life is nothing but the repeated chewing of that which has already been chewed. Although there is no profit in such a life, people are enamored of it because of uncontrolled senses. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (SB 5.5.4). Because of uncontrolled senses, people fully engage in sinful activities by which they get a body full of suffering. Bali Mahārāja appreciated how the Lord had saved him from such a bewildered life of ignorance. He therefore said that his intelligence had been stunned. Stabdha-matir na budhyate. He could not understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead favors His devotees by forcibly stopping their materialistic activities."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 8.22.11, Purport)

Guest: Is Śiva milk or dahī? Just now you said something about dahī and milk. Is Śiva milk or dahī?

Prabhupada: Dahī.

Guest: That is what I wanted to know.

Prabhupada: Yes. Śiva is dahī and Kṛṣṇa is milk. Dahī, the preparation of dahī, that you take milk, pure milk, and mix it with little sour thing, then it becomes dahī. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is pure spirit, and when this pure spirit is mixed up with māyā, that is Śiva. Lord Śiva is the māyā-adipati. There are many, I mean to say, narrations. This was inquired by Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, that 'Lord Śiva, he appears to be like a beggar. He does not possess even a house. He lives underneath a tree. And the devotee of Śiva becomes very rich, opulent, materially, although he's a beggar, whereas Viṣṇu is lakṣmī-pati, vaikuṇṭha-pati, and the Vaiṣṇavas become beggar. Just opposite. By worshiping the beggar one becomes rich, and by worshiping the rich one becomes beggar. What is this contradiction?' So this is answered that Kṛṣṇa answered, yasyāham anugrhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ (SB 10.88.8): 'My first benediction to My devotee is that I take away all his riches. That's all.' Then when he becomes helpless, he becomes firmly convinced, and he has no other shelter, then automatically he takes shelter of Kṛṣṇa, what Kṛṣṇa demands, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām (BG 18.66). When he has no other help, he fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa's special mercy. And so far Lord Śiva is concerned, he is the husband of mother Durgā, and Durgā is the supreme material power, sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya sādhana-śaktir ekā chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni vibharti durgā (Bs. 5.44). So he gets all material benediction, and Vaiṣṇava, instead of material benediction, he gets all spiritual benediction. That is the difference.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Hyderabad, April 13, 1975)

"In our material existence we accept a higher form of life as a blessing and a lower form as a curse. This distinction of 'higher' and 'lower' only exists as long as the different material qualities (guṇas) interact. In other words, by our good activities we are elevated to the higher planetary systems or to a higher standard of life (good education, beautiful body, etc.). These are the results of pious activities. Similarly, by impious activities we remain illiterate, get ugly bodies, a poor standard of living, etc. But all these different states of life are under the laws of material nature through the interaction of the qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance. However, all these qualities will cease to act at the time of the dissolution of the entire cosmic manifestation. The Lord therefore says in Bhagavad-gītā (8.16):

    ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ
    punar āvartino ’rjuna
    mām upetya tu kaunteya
    punar janma na vidyate

Even though we elevate ourselves to the highest planetary system by the scientific advancement of knowledge or by the religious principles of life -- great sacrifices and fruitive activities -- at the time of dissolution these higher planetary systems and life on them will be destroyed. In this verse the words īśa-vidhvaṁsitāśiṣām indicate that all such blessings will be destroyed by the supreme controller. We will not be protected. Our bodies, either in this planet or in another planet, will be destroyed, and again we will have to remain for millions of years in an unconscious state within the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu. And again, when the creation is manifested, we have to take birth in different species of life and begin our activities. Therefore we should not be satisfied simply by a promotion to the higher planetary systems. We should try to get out of the material cosmic manifestation, go to the spiritual world and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is our highest achievement. We should not be attracted by anything material, higher or lower, but should consider them all on the same level. Our real engagement should be in inquiring about the real purpose of life and rendering devotional service to the Lord. Thus we will be eternally blessed in our spiritual activities, full of knowledge and bliss.

Regulated human civilization promotes dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa. In human society there must be religion. Without religion, human society is only animal society. Economic development and sense gratification must be based on religious principles. When religion, economic development and sense gratification are adjusted, liberation from this material birth, death, old age and disease is assured. In the present age of Kali, however, there is no question of religion and liberation. People have taken interest only in economic development and sense gratification. Therefore, despite sufficient economic development all over the world, dealings in human society have become almost animalistic. When everything becomes grossly animalistic, dissolution takes place. This dissolution is to be accepted as īśa-vidhvaṁsitāśiṣām. The Lord’s so-called blessings of economic development and sense gratification will be conclusively dissolved by destruction. At the end of this Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as the incarnation of Kalki, and His only business will be to kill all human beings on the surface of the globe. After that killing, another golden age will begin. We should therefore know that our material activities are just like childish play. Children may play on the beach, and the father will sit and watch this childish play, the construction of buildings with sand, the construction of walls and so many things, but finally the father will ask the children to come home. Then everything is destroyed. Persons who are too much addicted to the childish activities of economic development and sense gratification are sometimes especially favored by the Lord when He destroys their construction of these things.

It is said by the Lord: yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ. The Lord told Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja that His special favor is shown to His devotee when He takes away all the devotee’s material opulences. Generally, therefore, it is experienced that Vaiṣṇavas are not very opulent in the material sense. When a Vaiṣṇava, pure devotee, tries to be materially opulent and at the same time desires to serve the Supreme Lord, his devotional service is checked. The Lord, in order to show him a special favor, destroys his so-called economic development and material opulences. Thus the devotee, being frustrated in his repeated attempts at economic development, ultimately takes solid shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord. This kind of action may also be accepted as īśa-vidhvaṁ-sitāśiṣām, whereby the Lord destroys one’s material opulences but enriches one in spiritual understanding. In the course of our preaching work, we sometimes see that materialistic persons come to us and offer their obeisances to take blessings, which means they want more and more material opulences. If such material opulences are checked, such persons are no longer interested in offering obeisances to the devotees. Such materialistic persons are always concerned about their economic development. They offer obeisances to saintly persons or the Supreme Lord and give something in charity for preaching work with a view that they will be rewarded with further economic development.

However, when one is sincere in his devotional service, the Lord obliges the devotee to give up his material development and completely surrender unto Him. Because the Lord does not give blessings of material opulence to His devotee, people are afraid of worshiping Lord Viṣṇu because they see that the Vaiṣṇavas, who are worshipers of Lord Viṣṇu, are poor in superficial material opulences. Such materialistic persons, however, get immense opportunity for economic development by worshiping Lord Śiva, for Lord Śiva is the husband of the goddess Durgā, the proprietor of this universe. By the grace of Lord Śiva, a devotee gets the opportunity to be blessed by the goddess Durgā. Rāvaṇa, for example, was a great worshiper and devotee of Lord Śiva, and in return he got all the blessings of goddess Durgā, so much so that his whole kingdom was constructed of golden buildings. In Brazil, in this present age, huge quantities of gold have been found, and from historical references in the Purāṇas, we can guess safely that this was Rāvaṇa’s kingdom. This kingdom was, however, destroyed by Lord Rāmacandra.

By studying such incidents, we can understand the full meaning of īśa-vidhvaṁsitāśiṣām. The Lord does not bestow material blessings upon the devotees, for they may be entrapped again in this material world by continuous birth, death, old age and disease. Due to materialistic opulences, persons like Rāvaṇa become puffed up for sense gratification. Rāvaṇa even dared kidnap Sītā, who was both the wife of Lord Rāmacandra and the goddess of fortune, thinking that he would be able to enjoy the pleasure potency of the Lord. But actually, by such action, Rāvaṇa became vidhvaṁsita, or ruined. At the present moment human civilization is too much attached to economic development and sense gratification and is therefore nearing the path of ruination."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.22.36, Purport)

"Hari. Hari means 'who takes away all your miserable condition.' Hari, haran, harati. Harati means take away. He comes here just to give you benediction, to save you from all kinds of miseries. Therefore His name is Hari. Yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi... er, yasya aham anugṛhṇāmi, anugṛhṇāmi... Kṛṣṇa says that 'When I show to somebody special favor, I take away all his possession.' That is special favor.

This question was asked by Parīkṣit Mahārāja to Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi, harer dhanam. Because here in this material world, the more we possess material wealth, it is our bondage. Ahaṁ mameti (SB 5.5.8). Because our bondage is we are entrapped here by material opulences. Material opulences are not very good for spiritual advancement. Just the Western people, they are materially advanced. They possess... They do not possess, but their energy is utilized for converting things from one shape to another, that much, the energy being wasted. It is good credit for you, materially, that you have so nice cars, nice skyscraper building, and so many nice things you have created. That is good credit -- good credit materially. Spiritually, it is not good credit. Spiritually, it is waste of energy. Waste of energy. Because however nicely you have made all these material facilities, amenities, you cannot stay here. You cannot... You have got a certain amount of energy. So that energy is meant for some other purpose. So your energy is not being utilized for the real purpose of life, if you utilize it for increasing your so-called material happiness... Actually, they have not become happy. Otherwise, why so many young boys and girls, they are disappointed? Because this kind of advancement will not make us happy. That is a fact. Therefore, if you waste your energy for things which are not wanted, then you are not advancing, you are being defeated. That they do not know."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Honolulu, January 19, 1974)

"We are now entangled. Actually, our position in this material existence is not very good. Everyone sees it practically. Still, they want to adjust, 'Let us make it good. Let us make it good.' That is called punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30), again and again chewing the chewed. Just like generally a father, especially in India, he wants that his son may be well situated. Therefore we don't get Indian youth very much, because the father and mother settles them. What is that? Get them married and give them some earning capacity, either by service or business. So he becomes satisfied, 'This is the end of life.' Gṛhamedhi. Just 'Now I am married. It is my duty to stick to the gṛha and enjoy senses, that's all.' Gṛhamedhi. Sacrifice for Kṛṣṇa, brahmacārī, sannyāsī... Sannyāsīs have become rogues. And there is no brahmacārī nor vānaprastha. Therefore it is very difficult to get Indian workers. They have no...

Your qualification is -- I told in the beginning -- that you have got a renouncing spirit. That is a great qualification. Tyāga. Renunciation is opulence also. Kṛṣṇa, six opulences. One of the opulence is renunciation. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ, jñāna-vairāgya (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47). Vairāgya means renunciation. You have enough of this material enjoyment. You have enjoyed. Or you have seen that there is no actually profit. Therefore you are in a spirit... That is natural. That is natural. If one has enjoyed very much, the next stage will be renunciation. This is natural. So because you have got a renouncing spirit, you are understanding or taking Kṛṣṇa consciousness very nicely, at least, very eagerly. Jñāna-vairāgya, that is required. This vairāgya then... I therefore sometimes like these hippies, because they have a spirit of renunciation. That is very good position. Simply they require jñāna, or knowledge. Then their life will be successful. To bring one to the platform of renunciation, that is a very difficult job. Especially when one has got nice wife, nice home, nice bank balance, it is very, very difficult.

So there is a version by Kṛṣṇa that one who is anxious to take Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but he is entrapped with this binding -- nice wife, nice children, nice home, nice bank balance -- so Kṛṣṇa, in order to give them... give such devotee facility, He takes away. Hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ. Yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ (SB 10.88.8). Just like He did with the Pāṇḍavas. The Pāṇḍavas were devotees, but at the same time they were king. There was attachment. So therefore Kṛṣṇa took away their everything -- their kingdom, their wife, their position, their honor -- test him, and still, they did not give up Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they came out victorious. So Kṛṣṇa sometimes tests His... that how much one devotee is, He forcibly makes him renounced in order. That is Kṛṣṇa's special favor.

So this vairāgya-jñāna, it is required. We were discussing the last night also, vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodha (BG 4.10), these things are required. Unless one becomes completely... what is called? Averse?

(Devotee): Detached.

Detached: 'So what is this nonsense material life?' That's a very good qualification. If one understands this perfectly -- 'This is all rubbish, this material enjoyment' -- it is a great qualification. Akiñcana. Akiñcana. Akiñcana means do not possess anything material. Akiñcana-gocara. Kuntī, Kuntī, Queen Kuntī, when she was receiving Kṛṣṇa, she said, 'My dear Kṛṣṇa, You are akiñcana-gocara. You are realized by a person who has no material possession. And You have given us now so much material possession. How we can understand You?' That was... Kuntī was regretting that 'When we are in distress, You are always with us. Now You have given us kingdom and everything. Now You are going away to Dvārakā. What is this, Kṛṣṇa? Better let us go to again to that distressed condition so that You remain with us.' Akiñcana-gocara. Kṛṣṇa is akiñcana-gocara. Anyone who wants to enjoy material life, it is not possible to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. This is very secret."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Geneva, June 2, 1974)
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