“Without pious activities, if a man is in a distressed condition he becomes an agnostic, communist or something like that. Because he does not firmly believe in God, he thinks that he can adjust his distressed condition by totally disbelieving in Him.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 3)
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“Why should a person follow dharma? What will they gain from it? What is the appeal, especially if they are skeptical to it? What can someone aligned with dharma offer them that they haven’t already considered?
“Do you see what I am saying? Suppose someone is going about their life. They eat, sleep, mate, and defend. This is the way of the animal. Humans are like animals. There is spirit soul on the inside. There is the constant changing of bodies, due to the factor of time, kala, applied on the external covering, prakriti.
“What is the objective of pious activities to such a person? They might want to keep enjoying, in the manner they see fit. They don’t want to follow dharma simply because someone tells them to. They need a better reason. What can you offer?”
There are many reasons. For starters, we can fast forward one hundred years. The person will most likely not be around. They may or may not believe in God. They may think that dharma is a waste of time, that the people following it are less intelligent, that only in primitive times did man believe in a higher power.
Irrespective of the point of view, the passage of time is real. Just as there was life on earth one hundred years in the past, so there will be some condition of the world one hundred years into the future. That person will no longer be around. Neither will I.
The many conditions and issues of the present will not exist. Perhaps those trees in the local forest will still be standing tall, but the surrounding population will be gone. The concerns of the day will be replaced with new issues.
Just what will happen to the person? To where will they go? In what condition of life will they live? In what state of being will they find themselves?
Dharma is for addressing these issues. In one sense, believing in God is one of the smartest things a person can do. It is the only way to address the long-term future. In Sanskrit this is known as paramartha. It is the supreme interest, addressing the way of living in a condition beyond human control.
In that respect, Nectar of Devotion provides another justification for following pious activities. If a person tries to do everything on their own, they will inevitably meet frustration. In distress, they will then curse at God and those who follow Him. They will think that they can remove their distresses by turning away from God.
When in reality, a higher power is the only way to put attention on the long-distant view. Life will continue. The spirit soul moves on. In the way that the air carries aromas, the conceptions of life travel from one existence to another.
शरीरं यद् अवाप्नोति
यच् चाप्य् उत्क्रामतीश्वरः
वायुर् गन्धान् इवाशयात्
śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti
yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ
vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt
“The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.8)
A secret known to those who follow dharma simply for the pleasure of the beneficiary of all pious activities is that there will be a simultaneous removal of distresses in the immediate term. That is to say, a person will always be happier following dharma than if they go against it.
It is something like the thief getting away with their crimes. They may be happy they took something valuable, but the torture in the aftermath is too much to bear. They are always thinking about possible apprehension and the punishment that will follow.
There is a wonderful presentation given by Goswami Tulsidas in this regard. He compares different kinds of people and the cause of their restlessness. For example, the king has trouble sleeping because they are worried about maintaining their kingdom. The vairagyi is always concerned about keeping attachment at a distance. The bhogi is always wondering what they will enjoy next.
Tulsidas has no issues in sleeping because he knows the Supreme Lord, as Shri Rama, will always take care of everything. If there are distresses, they won’t last long. If there is gain, there will be loss. If we are down, we will rise again. The temporary conditions are not as important as maintaining the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of dharma.
Pious activities needed,
Otherwise in atheism proceeded.
With sadness now to contend,
And also into future to extend.
Whereas dharma the afterlife addressing,
And even today with tranquility blessing.
Because ultimate beneficiary is He,
Who my greatest welfare can see.
Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare