Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.13 - Fortune of Human Life (download mp3)
by Keshav Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
na narah svar-gatim kanksen
narakim va vicaksanah
nemam lokam ca kankseta
A human being who is wise should never desire promotion to heavenly planets or residence in hell. Indeed, a human being should also never desire permanent residence on the earth, for by such absorption in the material body one becomes foolishly negligent of one’s actual self-interest.
One who has achieved human life on the earth has an excellent opportunity to attain spiritual liberation through Krsna consciousness, or devotional service to the Lord. Thus one should not desire promotion to heaven or risk residence in hell, where excessive enjoyment or punishment deviate one’s mind from self-realization. On the other hand, one should not think, “The earth is so nice, I can stay here forever.” One should develop thorough detachment from all aspects and categories of material existence and go back home, back to Godhead, where life is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge.
Lord Krsna now begins to develop His conclusive proof that actual human progress lies beyond material piety and sin. The Lord first clarified that there are basically three methods of human elevation, namely jñana, karma and bhakti, and that the goal is transcendental knowledge and ultimately love of Godhead. Now the Lord explains that promotion to heavenly planets (the final goal of piety) as well as residence in hell (the result of sinful activities) are both useless in fulfilling the actual purpose of life. Neither material piety nor sin establish the eternal living entity in his constitutional position; therefore something more is required to achieve the actual perfection of life.