“There are two classes of men. One is called the kripana, and the other is called the brahmana. The kripana, or the miserly man, has no estimation of his material body, but the brahmana has a true estimation of himself and the material body. The kripana, having a wrong estimation of his material body, wants to enjoy sense gratification with his utmost strength, and even in old age he wants to become a young man by medical treatment or otherwise.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.13.25 Purport)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that when a person is interested only in sense gratification, the tendency is to turn into a miser. A simple shift in interest changes everything. When everything is done for the benefit of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the same person becomes more liberal than can ever be imagined.
This is the nature of the brahmana, who is realized in the spiritual energy, Brahman. The idea is that the human being should tend towards the vision of the brahmana. Even if they may not be recognized as part of that occupation, the outlook is more towards the godly side.
The kripana, on the other hand, is riddled with fear, worry, concern, and consternation. We can take a few examples from modern-day living to see how the distress never ends.
1. The spread of disease
“Seriously, I get it that you all want your freedom. You love waving the flag around and pointing out the tyranny of government. You are sick and tired of the impositions during the past year and a half.
“I have asthma. I am immunocompromised. At least when you are around me, can you put on a mask? Do you brush your teeth in the morning? That is for everyone else’s benefit, including your own. Covering your face and obstructing your breathing is the same; it’s a matter of etiquette.
“Yes, I realize that if you set off a bug bomb inside your house, you can’t just go inside five minutes later wearing a mask. You will still be at risk of poisoning. I understand that firefighters can’t enter a burning building wearing one of these cloth protectors; they will still suffocate from the smoke inhalation.
“But seriously, I already try to avoid enough people. I don’t want to be another statistic. Stay at least ten feet away from me, and if you get any closer make sure you have something covering your face. Screw your freedom.”
2. Preferential medical treatment
“Yes, we have a doctor that we go to. We like them a lot. They have been really good to us. We feel comfortable with them. My kids have been going there since they were born.
“You want the doctor’s name and number? Eh, I don’t know. It’s better if you just search for yourself. Find someone who is close to where you live, who takes your insurance. My wife is not too keen on everyone sharing the stuff we enjoy.”
3. My car
“Seriously, can you make sure your shoes are clean before you get inside the car? This is a top of the line model. You guys are lucky that I am allowing you in. You see how far away I park it every day? This is to make sure no one accidentally dings it. People are the worst, especially the drivers around here.”
4. My seat in power
“I have held this seat for generations now. It took hard work to get elected in my area. I came from nowhere. I did not have the big money, special interests supporting me. I was something like a longshot candidate.
“People are asking me to retire now, but why should I? I think I am doing a good job. Let someone come along and defeat me in a free and fair election. Don’t worry about an illegal ballot dump in the middle of the night. We don’t use computers and their cheating algorithms here.”
5. My rituals in karma
“I have been fasting for several days now. Don’t bother me. The more interference I get, the more chance I have of failing. I am following this particular ritual for good health. I have heard remarkable success stories along these lines.
“The only thing that can mess it up is outside interference. No, I can’t tell you the procedures. Go figure it out yourself. I am not about to reveal this secret to the world, especially since no one will appreciate it.”
The saints of the Vedic tradition are the most liberal in their distribution of transcendental knowledge. As they have given up sense gratification in favor of serving the Supreme Lord, they have no fear over falling into this condition or that.
प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते
स्व्-अल्पम् अप्य् अस्य धर्मस्य
त्रायते महतो भयात्
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)
They realize that the worship continues from any position. Whether elevated to the top of society based on wealth and influence or demoted to the point of travelling long hours each day just to earn a living, they always see the all-attractive one in front of them, smilingly accepting their dedicated efforts in worship.
यत् करोषि यद् अश्नासि
यज् जुहोषि ददासि यत्
यत् तपस्यसि कौन्तेय
तत् कुरुष्व मद्-अर्पणम्
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)
Saintly people follow the advice given directly by Shri Krishna. They do everything as an offering to Him and thereby automatically avoid the kripana mentality. Bhagavan is the road to happiness, and liberal saintly people guide us towards His lotus feet.
Guiding towards lotus feet,
If saintly person to meet.
Who most liberal in sharing,
Not for personal fortune caring.
Such that of death not even afraid,
Obeisance with every action made.
Removing miserly tendency in me,
Such that always Bhagavan to see.
Categories: the five