“The personality of Kali asked for something more, and because of his begging, the King gave him permission to live where there is gold because wherever there is gold there is also falsity, intoxication, lust, envy and enmity.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.17.39)
पुनश् च याचमानाय
जात-रूपम् अदात् प्रभुः
ततो ऽनृतं मदं कामं
रजो वैरं च पञ्चमम्
punaś ca yācamānāya
jāta-rūpam adāt prabhuḥ
tato ‘nṛtaṁ madaṁ kāmaṁ
rajo vairaṁ ca pañcamam
Both in the pursuit and the subsequent possession, honesty does not necessarily yield success and auspiciousness. Take the often-depicted case of a group of travelers reaching an island in search of a treasure chest. Each person has their idea of where to go. Perhaps there is a map. The problem is that one person going towards the actual destination attracts followers. Therefore, lying might be the better option.
“Who, me? I don’t know where the treasure is. I’m just wandering aimlessly. If you get a clue, please share with me.”
If one person happens to find the treasure, the announcement of the success might not be welcome news. After all, it means that others have failed. It means that one person has everything and everyone else is left with nothing. Therefore, it might be better to lie.
“Oh, no, I did not find it. This chest I’m carrying? It’s just some clothes and books. Nothing to worry about.”
Gold is a real commodity. It has value in any time period and any situation. The market prices are of no issue. The inflation or deflation of a particular currency can drastically affect a person’s net worth, but physical gold will always be in demand.
What is the purpose of wealth? To enjoy the senses; at least that is the consideration unless taught otherwise. Intoxication is part of sense gratification, and so where there is gold people tend to gravitate towards intoxication. This is actually a loss of common sense. It is like turning off the computer when an important calculation is needed. The brain goes to sleep, and though the temporary escape brings a sensation there is the harsh return to reality later on.
This is uncontrolled desire. Known as kama in Sanskrit, combined with krodha [wrath] it is the all-devouring enemy of this world.
काम एष क्रोध एष
विद्ध्य् एनम् इह वैरिणम्
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)
Save a trip to the psychologist. Avoid the need for mind-altering drugs. Solve the depression problem in a second. Simply keep an eye on kama. Control lust and so many other problems will go away.
Lust tends to increase in the presence of gold. One ounce is not enough. The chest should be filled with pound after pound. From the Shrimad Bhagavatam, we learn of a case where an amazing jewel that could produce almost endless quantities of gold still did not make the owner happy. Their lust could not be controlled, despite having the presence of the enchanter of desire nearby.
As every person is destined for death, there is no reason to envy others. Shri Hanuman makes the comparison to a bubble. Like those that rise from the surface of the ocean, the duration of existence is not long. The body of the living entity in the material world is something like this bubble, so no one is actually superior to anyone else.
शोच्या शोचसि कं शोच्यं दीनं दीनाऽनुकम्पसे।
कस्य कोवाऽनुशोच्योऽस्ति देहेऽस्मिन् बुद्बुदोपमे।।
śocyā śocasi kaṃ śocyaṃ dīnaṃ dīnā’nukampase।
kasya kovā’nuśocyo’sti dehe’smin budbudopame
“Whom are you lamenting for when you yourself are pitiable? Why do you pity the poor when you yourself have now been made poor? While in this body that is like a bubble, how can anyone look at anyone else as being worthy of lamentation?” (Hanuman speaking to Tara, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 21.3)
Yet when in the presence of gold, a person cannot help it. They see that another has so much and they wonder why the same fortune is not with them.
“Does that other person really need such a large quantity? Should they not be willing to share? Perhaps if I take some of theirs it won’t be that big a deal.“
Two people happened to be great friends. They shared so many wonderful experiences together. They were there for each other, in the good times and the bad. They would sacrifice up to the point of life, if required.
Then everything changed. One person came into the possession of a huge sum of gold. The envy on the other side was too much, and so enmity was the natural result. Quarrel for no reason, since the gold should not have changed the situation.
Maharaja Parikshit told the personality of Kali to live where there is gold, specifically because of these characteristics. Being a material element, and thus connected to the origin of all things, the substance itself is neither bad nor good. Gold can be used in the service of the Supreme Lord. It can be used to remember the complexion of His beloved Shrimati Radharani, who is devotion personified.
At the same time, saintly people, taking their direction from Krishna, provide hints on how to succeed in the mission of life: liberation. Gold happens to be an indication of Kali-yuga, the age in which the tendency is to forget God to the point that theories develop stating that there is no supreme controller or intelligent designer to the amazing creation.
By avoiding the pitfalls of the current age, there is a better opportunity to succeed. Kali-yuga has the strongest influence where there is intoxication, gambling, meat eating, and illicit sex. Therefore, the guru in the Vaishnava tradition advises against these activities. The potency in cleansing the heart through chanting the holy names thereby increases: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
By King Parikshit told,
To go where there is gold.
Kali-yuga, age of quarrel known,
By certain indications shown.
Enmity, envy and dishonesty too,
Racing to acquire more than you.
Better choice to just stay away,
With shelter of Divine to stay.
Categories: the five