“One who is famous as a Krishna conscious man enjoys eternal fame. In the material world, everyone is striving for three things: he wants his name to be perpetuated, he wants his fame to be broadcast all over the world, and he wants some profit from his material activities. But no one knows that all this material name, fame and profit belong to the temporary material body and that as soon as the body is finished, all name, fame and profit are finished also.” (The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Ch 32)
1. The name to be perpetuated
Who doesn’t want their name to continue? Let it be preserved going forward. Let not this existence go to waste. Sure, sometimes bad things occur. People make mistakes. To err is human, after all. Vedic teachings say that four defects attach to a person as soon as they are born.
“Shastra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. These four principal defects in conditioned life disqualify one from putting forth rules and regulations.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 16.24)
As every person has these defects, not so much should be made about mistakes at the personal level. Let the name be known to as many as possible, for that indicates a wider distribution of the sphere of influence.
2. Fame broadcast all over the world
Social media would not exist without this tendency. Something good happens to you, like the birth of a child. You purchased a new automobile. You achieved a perfect score on an important examination. You had the opportunity to travel to some really interesting places around the world.
Why not share? Why not have those achievements known to others? Of what use is keeping everything to yourself? Especially if I have done something noteworthy, let the information be known to as many people as possible.
3. Profit for activities
This only makes sense. Does anyone open a business in order to lose money? If that is the case, there is a much quicker and easier way. Take out a loan from the bank, withdraw the money in cash, and then have a burning party. Set fire to the bills, one by one. Or throw them in the garbage.
Even if working for a corporation designated as “non-profit,” there is a desire to achieve success of some sort. The effort put in, the work, should bear fruit. Otherwise the entire endeavor is simply a waste of time.
From Vedic teachings we learn that the results of these three goals are wiped away at the time of death. Actually, a wise person realizes this on their own. They don’t need the reminder from higher authorities, the descending process of knowledge gathering originating at the person who has no origin.
Material existence means an eternal spark, an animating force, dwelling within a destructible vessel. Something like signing a lease to live in a building for a certain period of time, eventually the eviction notice arrives. That is death, which is the harshest manifestation of the subduing agent known as time.
There is a different way, however. Sometimes fame can last forever. It is possible for the name to be perpetuated millions of years into the future. There is a way to make the efforts expended profitable.
“How can I ensure that the purpose of my task does not get destroyed? How shall I avoid mental disparity, and how do I ensure that my crossing of the ocean does not go for naught?” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 30.39)
A great example in this regard is Shri Hanuman. He asked himself on several occasions how to make sure the work he put in was profitable. His work was the most amazing. It was risky, daring, and entirely vulnerable to failure.
Hanuman succeeded, and today his name is known throughout the world. His fame is at the highest level; he has a spotless reputation. What is more amazing is that Hanuman reached this position without any personal desire. That is to say he wasn’t intentionally seeking fame or notoriety.
Rather than seeking worship from others, he constantly offers it to Sita and Rama. For this Hanuman is known as a great devotee. He has various natural gifts, especially visible in the exercise of mystic yoga. He is intelligent and strong. He is compassionate and fierce. He is large and small, and he is both a quiet guardian and an expert teacher.
These seemingly contradictory features can exist in the devotees of the Lord, since God Himself is full of contradictions. Service to Him makes material existence more tolerable. It is like shrinking the size of a vast ocean to that of a puddle left by the hoof-print of a calf.
To perpetuate the name,
To spread everywhere my fame.
Profit from work to see,
How else life should be?
To wise one secret knowing,
That everything at death going.
Better with His interest to operate,
Like Hanuman for Rama to dedicate.
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