(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 March 2014, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 2.7.50)
In the 11th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, there is a discussion between Maharaj Nimi and the Nava Yogendras. At one point, there is a discussion about the material energy where Maharaj Nimi is inquiring about the workings of the illusory energy and so on. Then, the sage who was speaking on behalf of the Nava Yogendras said, “Now you should inquire about how to get out of the material energy.” More important is the process of getting out of the material energy because we can see the limitations of the material energy. It is temporary and it is only the shadow or reflection of the spiritual world, and it does not have the full potential to satisfy the heart of the living being.
Therefore, the material energy cannot satisfy, cannot fulfill the living being. Therefore, without a relationship with Krsna there is no question of fulfillment. The word fulfillment is important because in the material world there may be some moments where happiness seems to be present. Some experience of happiness but no fulfillment. Of course, the material energy may sometimes show its enjoyable side and it may change.
I like to tell the story of when we were travelling in Europe, on a bus and with the group of people, and we were going towards Scandinavia. Since we were going to the North, the tour organizer decided to show appropriate videos so they showed videos of penguins, polar bears and all these things. We were watching these videos and we saw emperor penguins – the big ones, twenty-five meters long. We saw how both the male and female birds were sitting on the eggs; they took turns. When the polar winter came, the big dark night, it is the men that sit on those eggs and the ladies go to the South, to the warmer climate. Throughout the dark polar night, those men sit on those eggs in minus 70-80 temperatures.
At the end of the polar winter, the sun comes up and the first light comes. Then the men also go to the South and the eggs remain alone. The warmth of the sun warms up those eggs and after a while, you see maybe a thousand eggs lying on the ice. Then, they all crack and the little penguins come out and step on the ice, with their big flat feet. The ice is sort of sloping towards the water and within moments those little penguins discover that they can ski!
Within moments, they are skiing down the slope and flap their little wings – they have so much fun. The sun is shining; it is wonderful; they just go for the edge, dive over the edge and are about to plunge into the waters of the ocean when the huge gaping mouth of the killer whale comes out of that ocean and eats all the penguins! Oh my God! I am still traumatized…
That has become like the symbol of material existence. They had so much fun and at the height of their fun, they got swallowed by this nasty killer whale, isn’t that the material world!? Isn’t it like that!?
Time and time again, the material energy strikes and suddenly things turn around. Suddenly, everything changes and we get the other side of the coin – suffering! So like this, the material energy has this problem, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (Bhagavad-gita 8.15), everything is temporary and whatever happiness there is, does not offer fulfillment and therefore leads to frustration and in the end, it is all suffering duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam! It is said that the material world is an abode where ultimately everything leads to distress through suffering.
Happiness plus temporary equals misery, because the happiness does not last. So, no matter how happy we are, ultimately it will be gone…