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Friday, June 8, 2007

Enjoying God's Property

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Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! At this point, a question may come up, "Daily spiritual practice is alright, but how should we go about our various duties? In other words, how should we live in this world?" The first and foremost thing to un­derstand is the most basic truth; that we are not God, but we are the eternal servants of God. We are therefore meant to utilize our whole life and all our possessions, not for our own enjoyment, but for the service of God.

This principle is graphically illustrated in the Ramayana in the way Ravana and Hanuman behaved towards Lord Ramchandra. In the Ramayana, we see that Lord Rama was served by everyone; by mother Sita, by Lakshmana, by Hanuman, by Bharata, by Sugriva, by Guha and by so many other persons. But there was only one person who was opposed to serving Lord Rama - Ravana. He wanted to take away Lord Rama's property, mother Sita and enjoy her for himself. And what was his ultimate destination? He had to meet cruel death at the hands of Lord Rama.

In the same way, nature and all the resources provided by her are the property of Lord Gauranga Krishna. If one tries to take the resources of the world like grains, fruits, minerals, water, air, 58 light, etc., provided by God and tries to enjoy them without acknowledging the proprietor­ship of God, such a person has Ravana-like mentality: he wants to enjoy the property of God for himself without even thanking God and thus he is doomed. Therefore, while liv­ing in this world, we should always humbly bow down before God and thank Him for all that He has offered us for our subsistence.

And one should never ever try to extract enjoyment from this world. If we have this enjoying mentality of dominating others and extracting pleasure from this world by engag­ing in sinful activity, then we will be inevitably frustrated. Why? Because trying to get enjoy­ment through materialistic engagement is like trying to extract nectar from the mouth of a venomous cobra. It is an inherently futile at­tempt; all that one can get from the mouth of a cobra is poison. There will be so many people who will tempt us to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy life, but, if we look into the lives of these very people, we will find that they are the most frustrated people. Apart from the propaganda of these materialistic people, our senses are also so agitated that they are dragging us in all directions to enjoy. Our tongue is pulling us in one direction to taste a variety of delicious food­stuffs. Our eyes are scanning all the directions in the search of beautiful forms. And the same is true for every one of our senses. Just like a man having five wives is dragged in different directions by each one of them for enjoyment, similarly, we are also dragged by our five senses in various directions. And if we close our eye of discrimination and go in the direc­tion dictated by the mind and the senses, then we are on the royal road to hell.

We can see with our own eyes the disas­trous consequences of material enjoyment. One who smokes is afflicted by lung cancer; one who drinks wine is struck by liver dis­eases; one who eats gutka is tortured by oral cancer in the teeth and gums; one who wants to enjoy with many women is terminated by AIDS. Thus nature gives severe slaps and kicks to those who try to extract enjoyment from this world. (Adapted from an article compiled by Radheshyam Dasa, Jaigopala Dasa, Chaitanya Charana Dasa, Sundara Vara Dasa, etc.)