(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 03 December 2016, Melbourne, Australia, Bhagavad-gita 10.10)
People are striving for wealth; they try to make material progress. This is not easy because we are not in control of destiny. One may get wealth but then, other circumstances may interfere and all the wealth may get plundered by some calamity. Therefore trying to secure wealth in the material world is an ongoing effort of hard work and one cannot be sure as to how destiny will unfold.
Today we are discussing a topic from the Bhagavad-gita of the eternal benefit of devotional service. Whatever that is cultivated on the spiritual path is never lost. In the second chapter, it is mentioned,
nehābhikrama-nāśho ’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate,
svalpam apyasya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (Bhagavad-gita 2.40)
That by devotional service, whatever spiritual activity we perform, the benefit will remain, it cannot be destroyed by any external force or by ourselves. In this way, the benefit of devotional service is lasting because it is of spiritual nature and anything spiritual in nature is ‘sat’, not bound by time.
Srila Yamunacharya said that spirit is not bound by time, space or thought. In this way, the spiritual world is never limited like how in this world where everything is limited by time. So many things are achieved but only to be limited by time and yet we invest so much energy. Therefore, it is said, that one should not waste time on these temporary things but mind you, some essentials may be required.
Previously, in India, if one could keep material needs to a minimum that was considered the highest progress, that person was held in the highest esteem in society and not someone who through business could become very wealthy. One who could become very wealthy through business was a vaishya. Vaishya was not considered to be of a very high nature.
Actually, in the Vedic culture, there were two higher classes of man – brahmana and kshatriya, and there were two lower classes – vaishya and sudra. The two lower classes were preoccupied with material things – the vaishya was busying making money and the sudra was enjoying his senses. The two higher classes were living for dharma; they dedicated their life to a higher goal, to a life of sacrifice for the benefit of the Supreme Lord.
It is interesting that in previous times, one who was making a lot of wealth was not considered to be high-class! Nowadays, this is the most important thing. Nothing else matters, if you are very wealthy then you are very aristocratic and then you matter! In this way, material wealth is valued out of proportion.
The sudras, as I said, are engaged in enjoying the senses, especially sexual activity and thus we see that the whole world is making too much out of sexuality. Sexuality has a place in life but it is not the goal of life nor is it the key to happiness. This is a big mistake! This is all going on because gradually we have lost the long-term vision and we have engaged in so many activities blindly which bind us to material life.