Make the Best Use of a Bad Bargain
(Srila Prabhupada in New York City, 1966)

"As long as the material body exists, one has to meet the demands of the body, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But a person who is in pure bhakti-yoga or in Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not arouse the senses while meeting the demands of the body. Rather, he accepts the bare necessities of life, making the best use of a bad bargain, and enjoys transcendental happiness in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is callous toward incidental occurrences—such as accidents, disease, scarcity and even the death of a most dear relative—but he is always alert to execute his duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or bhakti-yoga. Accidents never deviate him from his duty. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, āgamāpāyino ‘nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. He endures all such incidental occurrences because he knows that they come and go and do not affect his duties. In this way he achieves the highest perfection in yoga practice."

(Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 6.20-23, Purport)

"The best way to make the best use of a bad bargain is to use everything in relation with the supreme spiritual being. Everything is an emanation from the Supreme Spirit, and by His inconceivable power He can convert spirit into matter and matter into spirit. Therefore a material thing (so-called) is at once turned into a spiritual force by the great will of the Lord. The necessary condition for such a change is to employ so-called matter in the service of the spirit. That is the way to treat our material diseases and elevate ourselves to the spiritual plane where there is no misery, no lamentation and no fear. When everything is thus employed in the service of the Lord, we can experience that there is nothing except the Supreme Brahman. The Vedic mantra that 'everything is Brahman' is thus realized by us."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.33, Purport)

"Our material bodies and our lives in that connection are bad bargains because the living entity is actually spirit, and spiritual advancement of the living entity is absolutely necessary. Human life is intended for the realization of this important factor, and one should act accordingly, accepting only the bare necessities of life and depending more on God's gift without diversion of human energy for any other purpose, such as being mad for material enjoyment. The materialistic advancement of civilization is called 'the civilization of the demons,' which ultimately ends in wars and scarcity. The transcendentalist is specifically warned herewith to be fixed in mind, so that even if there is difficulty in plain living and high thinking he will not budge even an inch from his stark determination. For a transcendentalist, it is a suicidal policy to be intimately in touch with the sense gratifiers of the world, because such a policy will frustrate the ultimate gain of life."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.2.3, Purport)

"A dhīra is one who is not disturbed by material illusion. No one can be undisturbed unless he is perfectly spiritually realized, at which time one neither hankers nor laments for anything. A dhīra realizes that the material body and mind he has acquired by chance through material association are but foreign elements; therefore he simply makes the best use of a bad bargain."

(Śrī Īśopaniṣad 10, Purport)

"Although this body is temporary, we can utilize it for the best purpose. What is that best purpose? Realization of Kṛṣṇa. If we can utilize this temporary body for utilization, for understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be fixed up in that Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the best use of the bad bargain."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, July 14, 1968)

"By the law of nature nothing in the material world is permanent including our material body and therefore the great politician Pandit Canakya who was once the Honorary Prime Minister of India, advised it that the nature of everything material being destructible the best use of a bad bargain is to utilize the temporary possessions for the cause of the Permanent.

At the present moment the people are more concerned with the temporary things namely the gross body and the subtle mind without any practical touch with the permanent soul and His Lord. The result is that we have produced a godless civilization and the whole world is unhappy for this conception of civilization."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 23, 1964)

"This body belongs to Krishna and therefore we must always keep it in healthy condition to the best of our ability, but if due to some past sinful activities, we are suffering some bodily miseries we should not become discouraged. Devotional service must continue under all circumstances. This material body is actually a bad bargain because it is prone to suffer, but we must make the best use of this bad bargain. That means to always be engaged in the service of Krishna without fail."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, April 19, 1975)
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