Srimad Bhagavatam 11.05.12 - Using wealth In Krishna's Service (download mp3)
by Shyamcharan Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
dhanam ca dharmaika-phalam yato vai
jñanam sa-vijñanam anuprasanti
grhesu yuñjanti kalevarasya
mrtyum na pasyanti duranta-viryam
The only proper fruit of acquired wealth is religiosity, on the basis of which one can acquire a philosophical understanding of life that eventually matures into direct perception of the Absolute Truth and thus liberation from all suffering. Materialistic persons, however, utilize their wealth simply for the advancement of their family situation. They fail to see that insurmountable death will soon destroy the frail material body.
Those things that come under the control of the proprietor are called dhanam, or wealth. When a foolish person becomes addicted to spending all of his hard-earned money to increase the prestige of his material body and family, he is no longer able to see how death is steadily approaching his own body as well as the temporary bodies of his family and friends. Mrtyuh sarva-haras caham: the Supreme Lord appears as all-powerful death, which destroys all material situations. Actually, even in family life one should use one’s wealth for spiritual advancement of oneself and one’s family. In the Krsna consciousness movement there are many religious householders who live a simple, peaceful life and use their wealth for arranging Krsna conscious activities at home and for helping the renounced brahmacaris and sannyasis who are actively preaching Krsna consciousness in public places. Such householders, even those who are not able to dedicate one hundred percent of their energy to Krsna consciousness, gradually acquire a very solid understanding of the spiritual principles of life and eventually become transcendentalists firmly fixed at the lotus feet of Krsna. Thus they free themselves from all of the anxieties of conditional life, namely birth, old age, disease and death.
Life without Krsna consciousness is actually poverty, but the poverty-stricken materialist, whose intelligence is limited, cannot perceive that real wealth is the expansion of consciousness up to the highest level of Krsna consciousness, love of Godhead. Such persons raise their children to be just like animals, having as their only goal false prestige and material sense gratification. Such materialistic householders fear that excessive interest in spiritual life may damage the ambition of their children to acquire false material prestige. Actually, death will smash all of the endeavors and plans of such spiritually impoverished materialists. If family life and wealth are used for Krsna consciousness, one will learn to discriminate between the eternal and the noneternal, between spirit and matter, between bliss and anxiety, and thus the living entity will become liberated and go beyond mere theoretical knowledge to acquire the highest perfectional benediction of eternal Krsna conscious life. Limited sensory knowledge, pratyaksa-jñana, is useless without theoretical spiritual knowledge, paroksa-jñana, which gradually matures, with careful cultivation, into direct realized knowledge of the soul, aparoksa-jñana.
The word anuprasanti in this verse indicates that by spiritual knowledge (vijñanam) one achieves the most sublime state of eternal peace and bliss, far beyond the dreams of the materialistic conditioned soul.