Why to Cultivate Detachment in Our Life

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.08.22-27 - Why to Cultivate Detachment in Our Life (download mp3)
by Bhakti Vasudev Swami at ISKCON Chowpatty

     SB 11.8.22
pingala nama vesyasid
 videha-nagare pura
tasya me siksitam kiñcin
 nibodha nrpa-nandana

O son of kings, previously in the city of Videha there dwelled a prostitute named Pingala. Now please hear what I have learned from that lady.

SB 11.8.23
sa svairiny ekada kantam
 sanketa upanesyati
abhut kale bahir dvare
 bibhrati rupam uttamam

Once that prostitute, desiring to bring a lover into her house, stood outside in the doorway at night showing her beautiful form.

SB 11.8.24
marga agacchato viksya
 purusan purusarsabha
tan sulka-dan vittavatah
 kantan mene ’rtha-kamuki

O best among men, this prostitute was very anxious to get money, and as she stood on the street at night she studied all the men who were passing by, thinking, “Oh, this one surely has money. I know he can pay the price, and I am sure he would enjoy my company very much.” Thus she thought about all the men on the street.

SB 11.8.25-26
agatesv apayatesu
 sa sanketopajivini
apy anyo vittavan ko ’pi
 mam upaisyati bhuri-dah
evam durasaya dhvasta-
 nidra dvary avalambati
nirgacchanti pravisati
 nisitham samapadyata

As the prostitute Pingala stood in the doorway, many men came and went, walking by her house. Her only means of sustenance was prostitution, and therefore she anxiously thought, “Maybe this one who is coming now is very rich… Oh, he is not stopping, but I am sure someone else will come. Surely this man who is coming now will want to pay me for my love, and he will probably give lots of money.” Thus, with vain hope, she remained leaning against the doorway, unable to finish her business and go to sleep. Out of anxiety she would sometimes walk out toward the street, and sometimes she went back into her house. In this way, the midnight hour gradually arrived.

SB 11.8.27
tasya vittasaya susyad-
 vaktraya dina-cetasah
nirvedah paramo jajñe
 cinta-hetuh sukhavahah

As the night wore on, the prostitute, who intensely desired money, gradually became morose, and her face dried up. Thus being filled with anxiety for money and most disappointed, she began to feel a great detachment from her situation, and happiness arose in her mind.

It appears from these verses that on this particular night the prostitute Pingala was not at all successful in attracting customers to her house. Being completely frustrated and disappointed, she gradually became indifferent to her situation. Thus, great suffering sometimes leads one to the path of enlightenment; or, according to a Sanskrit proverb, disappointment gives rise to the greatest satisfaction.

The prostitute had dedicated her life to satisfying the lusty desires of many men. Engaging her mind, body and words in the service of paying lovers, she completely forgot the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus her mind was most unsteady and disturbed. Finally, being completely frustrated, her face and throat drying up, she began to feel indifferent to her situation, and happiness arose in her mind.

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