(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Melbourne, Australia, 16th May 2012)
Devotee: If everything is temporary here, then why help anyone?
Kadamba Kanana Swami: That’s very true. Why help anyone with temporary help? What will it really do? You know, someone’s out of money and it’s not really going to do much. So in one sense, mundane welfare work, or helping people solve temporary problems is not a real solution. Therefore, real help must include eternal solutions. So you can help, obviously if someone’s starving, it’s a little difficult for such a person to even pursue any higher goal. You know just like Maslow’s pyramid where Maslow says that when your basic needs are not met, you can’t deal with higher needs and that is true!
So therefore, it makes sense to help people with material needs, so that they are free to take up higher needs. If you are suffering from a horrible disease, okay then, I will cure the disease and when you are healthy, you are ready to deal with higher subjects. But just curing the disease, what will it help? Nothing, really… temporarily good health and then you get the disease again, because there is also the karma. Karma is the cause of the suffering. One gets suffering because as a reaction to certain negative activities you get negative reactions. So then, if we believe in karma then even more so, why would you help because bad karma will make it come back again… you solve the problem and the karma will bring it back.
So we must solve the temporary situation and then give eternal solutions. Like if I come around and someone’s starving and I say, ‘Chant Hare Krsna,’ and they can’t even lift a finger. Maybe it’s time for intervention and for a while plump him up and when he’s up and healthy then you can say: ‘Now you’re okay, then why don’t you chant?’