“Ishvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity), prakriti (nature), eternal time and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, Introduction)
Within general conversation in modern times, there is the saying, “More money, more problems.” This appears to be the antithesis of reality. After all, the lack of money sounds like the primary cause of distresses. If only we had a few dollars more, we wouldn’t have to worry about the future.
If only the employer paid a little bit higher salary, we wouldn’t have to look elsewhere for a job. If only the reserves in the bank were greater, we could move to a better neighborhood. We could pay to have our children attend private school, shielded from the madness of the current state of affairs.
The problems from increased wealth are likely unforeseen, but they manifest, nonetheless. At the heart of the issue is maintenance. Trying to sustain the new lifestyle is not easy. There is more to protect. If you buy that expensive automobile, the annual insurance premium increases. The larger house carries higher property taxes.
If friends and family find out you are in better sorts, they might treat you differently. Out of nowhere, distant relatives make contact. You hadn’t heard from them in years, but now they are asking for money. The immediate family demands one thing after another, to the point that you desperately long for the previous days of supposed poverty.
On the occasion of Gaura Purnima, we celebrate the appearance of an individual who gave endless wealth in the form of spiritual connection. This seemingly violates the rule, as the more a person has in terms of devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the less distresses they have.
Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the wealth of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Unlike other mantras from the Vedic tradition, which have specific rules for time of utterance, qualifications placed on the individual speaking them, and a chosen purpose, this sequence of words was for everyone.
If I am not able to comprehend the basic distinction between matter and spirit, I have little chance of realizing the amazing truths of Vedanta philosophy. If I cannot see the maya which stands between me, who is individual soul, and Brahman, which is the spiritual energy, how will I understand the scientific rules governing the world around me? How will I know the cycle of birth and death, the effect of karma, the three modes of nature, the influence of time, and the great controller standing above it all?
Mahaprabhu is so kind that even if I can’t get to first base in philosophical understanding of a sacred text like Bhagavad-gita, all hope is not lost. I can still connect to God through sound. Regardless of my state of being, my country of origin, the language spoken by my family, and the traditions in ignorance passed down through the generations, there is the opportunity for full and complete purification.
आनन्दाम्बुधि-वर्धनṁ प्रति-पदṁ पूर्णामृतास्वादनṁ
सर्वात्म-स्नपनṁ परṁ विजयते श्री-कृष्ण-सङ्कीर्तनम्
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
“Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Krishna expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.12)
As asceticism is the wealth of the saintly person, so this devotion is the greatest wealth for a person looking to connect with God in a mood of love. Mahaprabhu gives it away freely, at the risk of public derision, of personal poverty, and even physical harm. He inspires others to do the same. They follow His example and behave as ideal saints, who are the real kings of this world.
Desperately wanting more,
But additional problems in store.
Solving not from money to count.
Where increased distresses to mount.
Mahaprabhu freely wealth giving,
Mantra for supreme happiness living.
At risk from derision and negative look,
But that sacrifice for my benefit took.