“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.10)
Friend1: One of God’s names is Shripati.
Friend2: Yes. The husband of Shri.
Friend1: Who is the goddess of fortune.
Friend2: Also known as Lakshmi Devi. She has non-different incarnations like Radha and Sita.
Friend1: Since He is married to her, God is the most fortunate person.
Friend2: That is the meaning to the word Bhagavan. Vishnu is Bhagavan. No one is more fortunate than Him.
Friend1: What about people on earth? Those going through the cycle of birth and death – how do we define “fortunate”?
Friend2: Well, what do you think?
Friend1: Typically, it’s if they have a lot of money. If they get a lot of stuff. It’s correlated with being lucky.
Friend2: Like winning the lottery?
Friend1: Something like that. There are terms like “lucky sperm club” and “winning life’s lottery.”
Friend2: Right. Those terms exist because so many people have the mindset that accumulating sufficient money is the goal of life. Thus those who already reach that goal without having to do anything get different terms applied to them.
Friend1: We agree that they are fortunate, right, except there is the added explanation of karma?
Friend2: Generally speaking, a person is fortunate if they can get the basic necessities of life without much effort. Food, clothing, shelter. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
Friend1: Okay, but don’t animals get those things easily?
Friend2: Well, makes you think, doesn’t it?
Friend1: In the human society I guess there can be trouble. We know of the many people in the world who are starving. Some stay alone and some can’t defend themselves from criminals.
Friend2: There is the word shrimatam found in the Bhagavad-gita. It refers to one possibility of subsequent birth for the unsuccessful yogi.
Friend1: That’s translated as referring to a rich or mercantile family, right?
Friend2: You can think of it as a household blessed by Shri, the goddess of fortune. So in that case there is a cause. The individual tried yoga in their previous life and made some progress. In the next life they are fortunate in that they don’t have to worry about the necessities of life.
Friend1: Okay, but is there a way to make people fortunate? To solve the problem, such as through redistribution of wealth?
Friend2: The only way is to give people Bhagavan Himself. That is making every person truly fortunate, because the goddess of fortune is included. This can be accomplished easily by propagating the teachings of bhakti-yoga and distributing the sacred sounds of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend1: I see. Giving people the most valuable thing, without much effort.
Friend2: For the receivers there doesn’t have to be much effort. Just hear. The people distributing are sometimes willing to sacrifice life and limb to help others. That is why the Vaishnava is the true welfare worker. They seek the ultimate benefit, shreyas, for every person, instead of preyas, which comes from your garden-variety philanthropic effort.
When easily procured,
And wellbeing ensured.
Person as fortunate is known,
Blessings from Shri to own.
Karma the cause behind,
That better situation to find.
Superior when Bhagavan’s association to get,
At whose feet Lakshmi already set.