“The Personality of Godhead said: Under the supervision of the Supreme Lord and according to the result of his work, the living entity, the soul, is made to enter into the womb of a woman through the particle of male semen to assume a particular type of body.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.31.1)
स्त्रियाः प्रविष्ट उदरं
striyāḥ praviṣṭa udaraṁ
“I often hear His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada speak against the interest of earning a significant sum of money in a lifetime. He is almost mocking the idea; as if no sane person would ever consider venturing down that path.
“The justification is that a person will one day be forced to exit the body. Another life. A subsequent birth. The resetting of the clock. The great unknown. According to the Vedic science, we have influence in the decision-making process; we can act in certain ways to direct the next birth to a specific kind of nature.
“More or less, though, we have no say. We could end up anywhere. High or low. Moving or nonmoving. Living up in a branch on a tree. Maybe we could be the actual tree, standing in one place for thousands of years. Somewhere deep within the earth, tolerating the manmade disturbances brought on by the industrial age.
“For some reason the mocking attitude rubs me the wrong way. What is really the harm in trying to accumulate money? Should we voluntarily become poor? How are we supposed to eat? How can we survive if the focus is simply on something else? Look at the rampant poverty in these countries where the government intentionally stole the property of the wealthy. Doesn’t society need an upper class in order to remain viable?”
Money is certainly required. No one can deny that working for a living is necessary to continue an existence. The issue is on priority. Focus. Attention. What keeps a person up at night and what gets them out of bed in the morning, enthused to begin the day.
The top priority should not be anything related to the material world. As Kapiladeva explains in Shrimad Bhagavatam, karma and the Divine forces of nature operate on the conditioned living entity to place them in a particular type of body.
This change is guaranteed. Whether we enjoy money for five days or fifty years, the end will arrive. The travel to the next body will take place. What wise person would put priority on something that merely passes the time? It would be like trying desperately to earn a high score in a handheld video game, where no one else sees the achievement.
Even if they did, they are in the same predicament. They will have to one day leave the illusion created through so much intense labor and suffering. Why not strive for something more? Why not dedicate the same effort for stopping birth and death?
The controller of these forces of nature, the Supreme Lord, has nothing to do. In the eternal land of Vrindavana, Shri Krishna is always playing. The all-attractive one finds His friends, and they then enjoy the day. Sometimes they look for Him, desperately wanting personal association. When separated the consciousness remains fixed on Him. That separation is merely another feature of meeting.
As the proprietor of the spiritual world is free of responsibilities, the property extends to His devotees. In other words, they will be taken care of. They should not worry about how to get food or pay for life’s necessities. Not that in the material world they will simply sit back and hope for items to magically appear. But with some minimal effort, with a focus on pleasing Shri Krishna, they will have more than enough to continue their life in devotion.
That devotional life brings peace in the present experience and it serves as the foundation for the clear consciousness necessary at the time of quitting the body, when there is the chance to escape the strict rules of karma and repeated birth and death.
Just as the material world operates under Divine direction, so the fortunes of the spiritually aware person belong in the lotus-like hands of the great coordinator, who is creating innumerable universes through His breathing, who never has anything to do, and who crafts the best shelter for the souls surrendered at His lotus feet.
When surrendered at lotus feet,
The best future to meet.
With end already assured,
Left behind wealth procured.
So priority elsewhere giving,
In manner of eternal living.
Krishna taking care of the rest,
Devoted souls eternally blessed.