(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 21 July 2013, Cape Town, South Africa, Bhagavad-gita 14.21, Sunday Feast Lecture)
There is a story about a young girl in India who was of marriageable age and one day she was home alone and just then two unknown men came to the door of the house – there was an elderly man and a younger man. When she saw that younger man, he reminded her of the prince she had been waiting for and she decided that she wanted to impress him. So, she decided to cook since men can be impressed this way. And she made all arrangements to make a first-class meal, including first-class rice because in India, they know their rice, if you know what I mean.
So, you know, she cooked a first-class meal and in the process of trying to make first-class rice, she took the rice on a tray and then threw up the rice in the air because then the little stones and pieces of wood that could possibly break the tooth of the innocent eaters, would fly out of the rice. Of course, nowadays that is all done by machines but in the old days, it was done like that.
Anyway, as she was throwing up the rice, on her wrists she had many bangles, many bracelets and they were making a clunking noise. So, she realized, “Oh! They can hear, they can hear this noise of the bangles and when they hear it, they will realize that I don’t have a servant to clean the rice. Hmmm, that we are too poor to have servants. Then, he will never marry me. Hmmm. Not a good idea.” So, she broke off the bangles, all except for one. She left one bangle on each arm and when she threw up the rice there was no more noise. Everything perfect.
So this bangle story is speaking about ornaments and how we have many of our prize ornaments in life. Those things that we are proud of, “Ah yes, my family background, my nationality, my diplomas – three swimming diplomas. Yes, so many diplomas.”
So okay, lots of bangles are there, anything that adds to our prestige – the bangles. So all these bangles have to broken until only one bangle remains, the Krsna bangle on either arm. Then it is possible, when there is no other interest. But when there are so many other interests, so many other prized, valuable, important ornaments in life, then there will be a collision – a conflict of interest. That is what happens. The more ornaments we have in the material world, the more conflicts of interests there will be in our lives.