(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 16 February 2010, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.4.12)
Austerity is the wealth of the brahmanas. Great sages like Bhrgu had attained higher planetary systems above the heavenly planets. They were very powerful by dint of their austerity and everyone within the universe was under the control of these great sages. So also a vaisnava, by his austerity in devotional service, is gaining in transcendental strength. Spiritual strength depends on many factors but austerity is an essential element of it. In this age, it is difficult to perform austerity because we are weak and not inclined to austerity. But we see that great personalities in the past were famous because of the austerities they had performed in their spiritual practices.
When Nanda Maharaja was celebrating the appearance of his new born son, at that time Gargamuni appeared. He was sent by Vasudev to perform the birth ceremony. It is said that Nanda Maharaja was highly pleased to receive that brahmana. He worshiped that brahmana because even at such a time, 5000 years ago, such a brahmana was very rare!