Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Friday, September 2, 2011

Material satisfaction is necessary

In the beginning I used to think that spiritual life means complete "no" to material life. Therefore I desperately tried to deny myself things that may entice me into material life. The reason I was doing this is because while I had a desire to come out of material life, I was in fact deeply entrenched in it. So my solution out was to deny my desires...but needless to say it ended in frustration materially and spiritually. The lesson I learnt is one has to have a balanced approached towards material life and simultaneously offer our best in our spiritual life ultimately enabling us to free ourselves from material desires.

The balance can be achieved by controlling our lust and greed but at the same time fulfill our basic needs and necessities. Of course, what is basic for me may not be for someone else. Every individual is a judge of their needs and desires and what is considered "more than necessary". Bottom line, we have to regulate our material life and not imitate "renunciation". I learnt this the hard way but at least I am learning.

Srila Prabhupada in his purport explains this nicely. I was reading this purport just today and reminded my own material needs and wants and how it is also necessary for spiritual progress. At the end, if we dovetail our material desires in the service of Krishna, we can be much more happier and fulfilled versus absolute denial.

Please read the purport.

For spiritual advancement, one should be materially satisfied, for if one is not materially satisfied, his greed for material development will result in the frustration of his spiritual advancement. There are two things that nullify all good qualities. One is poverty. Daridra-doṣo guṇa-rāśi-nāśī. If one is poverty-stricken, all his good qualities become null and void. Similarly, if one becomes too greedy, his good qualifications are lost. Therefore the adjustment is that one should not be poverty-stricken, but one must try to be fully satisfied with the bare necessities of life and not be greedy. For a devotee to be satisfied with the bare necessities is therefore the best advice for spiritual advancement.

Purport by Srila Prabhupada SB - 7.15.21

In conclusion, to reiterate, one should dabble with material desires only to the degree to fulfill one's bare necessities, otherwise not.

Hare Krishna


Unknown said...

Yes, a balanced approach to material life is important. I heard that Srila Prabhupada compared sense gratification to using salt as a seasoning on food: "Too little is not good, but too much is a disaster."

The verse from Srimad Bhagavatam that starts "kamasya nendriya-pritir..." (1.2.10) is a helpful guide. We need to get enough artha and kama to be healthy and have strength in prosecuting our goal of becoming progressively more Krishna conscious.

A common mistake is to think that being a devotee means you must quit school, quit job, quit family life, give away all possessions and move into a temple and "surrender" to the temple authorities. This may be a helpful approach for a brahmacari but can be disappointing, especially if the temple economy and authorities cannot meet one's needs for materially and emotionally healthy life.

On the other hand, to live outside a temple and have school, job, independence, it may be hard to remain Krishna conscious without proper association and strong discipline.

There is one purport in the 8th Canto (story of Gajendra) in which Srila Prabhupada talks about the need to be properly situated so that one may fight sufficiently with Maya. He explains that for some people it may be necessary to live as householders and not sannyasis, or they will not get the kind of strength they need.

The new devotee tends to think, "If I just completely surrender and live as a sannyasi I can become perfect." This is correct and it is a good, enthusiastic attitude, but one must also have patience and realize that one needs a plan that fits one's own nature in order to remain steady for the long haul.

For most people, that involves a stage of productive grhastha life, and those who are qualified to live as true brahmanas simply on the charity one receives from others or the 'DM' a temple is willing and able to give, are also rare.

Devotees have to be introspective, and discuss with well-wishing senior devotees, to learn their actual needs and chalk out a good plan for a lifetime in Krsna consciousness. It will not do simply to trust temple authorities, who may not always be qualified to give the best advice, or who may be under pressure to simply get the most service out of the newcomer for the short run.

ananda said...

Hare Krishna

For some reason, I feel I am reading your comment for the first time...sorry about ignoring.

Anyways, thank you for the wonderful comment and adds more detail to the post and my thoughts.

I agree with everything you said and I think this should be explained more clearly and distinctly to new comers into Krishna consciousness.

In my own personal life, I did not get much senior advice when I was new hence was rigid beyond my means and burnt myself.

Thanks for sharing.

Hare Krishna