Don't Be Proud Of Material Opulence

Srimad Bhagavatam 08.22.12-16 - Don't Be Proud Of Material Opulence (download mp3)
Braja Candra Prabhu ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 8.22.12
sri-suka uvaca
tasyettham bhasamanasya
prahrado bhagavat-priyah
ajagama kuru-srestha
raka-patir ivotthitah

Sukadeva Gosvami said: O best of the Kurus, while Bali Maharaja was describing his fortunate position in this way, the most dear devotee of the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja, appeared there, like the moon rising in the nighttime.

SB 8.22.13
tam indra-senah sva-pitamaham sriya
virajamanam nalinayateksanam
pramsum pisangambaram añjana-tvisam
pralamba-bahum subhagarsabham aiksata

Then Bali Maharaja saw his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja, the most fortunate personality, whose dark body resembled black ointment for the eyes. His tall, elegant figure was dressed in yellow garments, he had long arms, and his beautiful eyes were like the petals of a lotus. He was very dear and pleasing to everyone.

SB 8.22.14
tasmai balir varuna-pasa-yantritah
samarhanam nopajahara purvavat
nanama murdhnasru-vilola-locanah
sa-vrida-nicina-mukho babhuva ha

Being bound by the ropes of Varuna, Bali Maharaja could not offer befitting respect to Prahlada Maharaja as he had before. Rather, he simply offered respectful obeisances with his head, his eyes being inundated with tears and his face lowered in shame.

Since Bali Maharaja had been arrested by Lord Vamanadeva, he was certainly to be considered an offender. Bali Maharaja seriously felt that he was an offender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Certainly Prahlada Maharaja would not like this. Therefore Bali Maharaja was ashamed and hung his head.

SB 8.22.15
sa tatra hasinam udiksya sat-patim
harim sunandady-anugair upasitam
upetya bhumau sirasa maha-mana
nanama murdhna pulakasru-viklavah

When the great personality Prahlada Maharaja saw that the Supreme Lord was sitting there, surrounded and worshiped by His intimate associates like Sunanda, he was overwhelmed with tears of jubilation. Approaching the Lord and falling to the ground, he offered obeisances to the Lord with his head.

SB 8.22.16
sri-prahrada uvaca
tvayaiva dattam padam aindram urjitam
hrtam tad evadya tathaiva sobhanam
manye mahan asya krto hy anugraho
vibhramsito yac chriya atma-mohanat

Prahlada Maharaja said: My Lord, it is Your Lordship who gave this Bali the very great opulence of the post of heavenly king, and now, today, it is You who have taken it all away. I think You have acted with equal beauty in both ways. Because his exalted position as King of heaven was putting him in the darkness of ignorance, You have done him a very merciful favor by taking away all his opulence.

As it is said, yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih (SB 10.88.8). It is by the mercy of the Lord that one gets all material opulence, but if such material opulence causes one to become puffed up and forget the process of self-realization, the Lord certainly takes all the opulence away. The Lord bestows mercy upon His devotee by helping him find out his constitutional position. For that purpose, the Lord is always ready to help the devotee in every way. But material opulence is sometimes dangerous because it diverts one's attention to false prestige by giving one the impression that he is the owner and master of everything he surveys, although actually this is not the fact. To protect the devotee from such a misunderstanding, the Lord, showing special mercy, sometimes takes away his material possessions. Yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih.