Material Opulence is Impediment to Spiritual Life

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.02.54 - Material Opulence is Impediment to Spiritual Life (download mp3)
by Dayal Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.2.54
bhagavata uru-vikramanghri-sakha-
 nakha-mani-candrikaya nirasta-tape
hrdi katham upasidatam punah sa
 prabhavati candra ivodite ’rka-tapah

How can the fire of material suffering continue to burn the hearts of those who worship the Supreme Lord? The Lord’s lotus feet have performed innumerable heroic deeds, and the beautiful nails on His toes resemble valuable jewels. The effulgence emanating from those nails resembles cooling moonshine, for it instantly relieves the suffering within the heart of the pure devotee, just as the appearance of the moon’s cooling light relieves the burning heat of the sun.

When the moon rises, the expansion of its rays drives away the distress of the sun’s fierce heat. Similarly, the cooling rays emanating from the lotus nails of the Personality of Godhead’s lotus feet vanquish all distress for the Lord’s pure devotee. According to the Vaisnava commentators it is to be understood from this verse that material lust, exemplified by uncontrolled sexual desire, is exactly like a blazing fire. The flames of this fire burn to ashes the peace and happiness of the conditioned soul, who perpetually wanders in 8,400,000 species of life, vainly struggling to extinguish this intolerable fire. The pure devotees of the Lord place the Lord’s cooling, jewellike lotus feet within their hearts, and thus all of the pain and suffering of material existence are extinguished.

The word uru-vikramanghri indicates that the Lord’s lotus feet are quite heroic. Sri Krsna is famous for His incarnation as Vamana, the dwarf brahmana, who extended His beautiful toes up to the outer limits of the universe and perforated the universal shell, thus bringing the waters of the holy Ganges into the universe. Similarly, when Krsna was entering the city of Mathura to challenge the demoniac King Kamsa and His entrance was impeded by a ferocious elephant named Kuvalayapida, Lord Krsna kicked the elephant to death and peacefully entered the city gates. Lord Krsna’s lotus feet are so exalted that the Vedic literatures state that the entire material manifestation rests beneath His lotus feet: samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam mahat padam punya-yaso murareh (Bhag. 10.14.58).