Four Things Desirable In This Material World

[Lord Vishnu]“Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura explains in this regard that the very word harih means ‘one who takes away.’ If one connects himself with Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord takes away all his miseries, and in the beginning the Lord also superficially appears to take away all his material possessions, reputation, education and beauty.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 8.19.32 Purport)

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada provides the list. No need to speculate. No need to ponder endlessly into the day and night about what should be desired. In terms of material life, there are four primary beneficial conditions or situations. These are desirables, but they sometimes become impediments towards the highest goal of realizing the self.

1. Good parentage

In times past, if you ran into a stranger on the road, you might ask some basic details about their background. Biographical data that today gets loaded into someone’s profile, be it online or in a customer relationship management system.

“What is your name? What do you do for a living? Where are you from? Who are your parents?”

That last question isn’t asked as much today, as the population of the world is so dispersed that getting an answer might not really help anyone. If you have come to this country from a distant one, how will I know who your parents are even if you tell me?

Nevertheless, this is a kind of desirable. I would rather be from a good family than a bad one. A family known in society for something significant, on the positive side. A family that has made a difference.

If I have bad parentage, then it might be assumed that I would continue in the line. For instance, Prahlada Maharaja appeared in the Daitya race. His ancestors were pretty bad people. They were known for harassing the innocent. Prahlada’s ancestry was nothing to boast about.

2. Sumptuous wealth

There is the old saying that an empty sack cannot stand up straight. If you are poor and destitute, how can you be expected to exhibit righteous behavior? How will you be a good citizen, however that is defined, if you are struggling on a daily basis to maintain an existence?

[empty sack]If I have sumptuous wealth, then the expectation is that one of the greater concerns in life will be absent. I won’t have to worry about money. This means that I don’t have to get a job if I don’t want to. I am taken care of. Stress-free.

I might be able to enjoy in ways that others cannot. Private airplane travel. A driver for that expensive car. Partying into the late hours. Eating at five-star restaurants.

3. Sufficient education

If you are going to spend time amongst the wealthy, you don’t want to be out of place during conversations. In order to understand societal, political, religious and economic issues, there has to be sufficient education.

Moreover, this could be one of the questions posed by that person you are meeting for the first time:

“Where did you study? What school did you go to? What was the primary field of study?”

4. Good beauty

An attractive female enters the room. No matter her situation, married or not, she will draw attention. This can give her confidence when dealing with society, at large. Who doesn’t want to look beautiful? Sometimes there is nothing that can be done. Either the higher forces have granted this wonderful benediction or they have not.

A risk pointed out by Shrila Prabhupada is that a person can become puffed up with these benedictions. This might cause them to forget the real purpose of life: becoming God conscious.

After all, these rewards will not remain forever. The soul lives on. It will take birth again, and the next time around the parentage may not be as good. Education will have to start over, and there is no guarantee of sufficient wealth.

[Lord Vishnu]Better to make this the final birth. One name for the Almighty is Hari. This references a person who takes away. For the devoted souls, sometimes He removes their opulences as a favor to them, to prevent the vulnerability to an inflated ego. I may not like it when Hari intervenes in this way, but He is much kinder than I could ever imagine.

In Closing:

In good family taking birth,
With sufficiently high net worth.

Where education not lacking,
And others from beauty tracking.

But possible also to distract,
Maya’s allure to attract.

So Hari sometimes taking away,
For my benefit His final say.

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