Srimad Bhagavatam 12.03.01-04 - Spirit of Detachment (download mp3)
by Radhadyuti Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
dṛṣṭvātmani jaye vyagrān
nṛpān hasati bhūr iyam
aho mā vijigīṣanti
mṛtyoḥ krīḍanakā nṛpāḥ
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Seeing the kings of this earth busy trying to conquer her, the earth herself laughed. She said: “Just see how these kings, who are actually playthings in the hands of death, are desiring to conquer me.
kāma eṣa narendrāṇāṁ
moghaḥ syād viduṣām api
yena phenopame piṇḍe
ye ’ti-viśrambhitā nṛpāḥ
“Great rulers of men, even those who are learned, meet frustration and failure because of material lust. Driven by lust, these kings place great hope and faith in the dead lump of flesh called the body, even though the material frame is as fleeting as bubbles of foam on water.
pūrvaṁ nirjitya ṣaḍ-vargaṁ
karīndrān asya kaṇṭakān
evaṁ krameṇa jeṣyāmaḥ
na paśyanty antike ’ntakam
“Kings and politicians imagine: ‘First I will conquer my senses and mind; then I will subdue my chief ministers and rid myself of the thorn-pricks of my advisors, citizens, friends and relatives, as well as the keepers of my elephants. In this way I will gradually conquer the entire earth.’ Because the hearts of these leaders are bound by great expectations, they fail to see death waiting nearby.
To satisfy their greed for power, determined politicians, dictators and military leaders undergo severe austerities and sacrifice, with much self-discipline. Then they lead their great nations in a struggle to control the sea, land, air and space. Although the politicians and their followers will soon be dead — since birth and death are all inevitable in this world — they persist in their frenetic struggle for ephemeral glory.