Opulences— given and taken by the Lord

May 23, 2020 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Hare Krsna-This is a special pastime by Vamana Dev with Bali maharaja regarding many points but this one pertains to material opulences. Prabhupada explains that material opulences may be due to past pious acts or devotional activity and Krsna may or may not take something away from His devotee-just to increase his devotion for the Lord and to disentangle him from maya.

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SB 8.22.17-Material opulence is so bewildering that it makes even a learned, self-controlled man forget to search for the goal of self-realization. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of the universe, can see everything by His will. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.

PURPORT-The words ko vicaṣṭe gatim ātmano yathā indicate that when one is puffed up by the false prestige of possessing material opulence, he certainly neglects the goal of self-realization. This is the position of the modern world. Because of so-called scientific improvements in material opulence, people have entirely given up the path of self-realization. Practically no one is interested in God, one’s relationship with God or how one should act. Modern men have altogether forgotten such questions because they are mad for material possessions. If this kind of civilization continues, the time will soon come when the Supreme Personality of Godhead will take away all the material opulences. Then people will come to their senses.

SB 8.22.20 purport.…Bali Mahārāja’s wife accused Bali Mahārāja by saying that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead had arrested him, showing him extraordinary mercy, and although Bali Mahārāja was offering his body to the Supreme Lord for the Lord’s third step, he was still in the darkness of ignorance. Actually the body did not belong to him, but because of his long-standing demoniac mentality he could not understand this. He thought that since he had been defamed for his inability to fulfill his promise of charity, and since the body belonged to him, he would free himself from defamation by offering his body. Actually, however, the body does not belong to anyone but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whom the body is given. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (18.61):

SB 8.22.25 purport-The Supreme Personality of Godhead is fully independent. Thus it is not always a fact that a living being’s loss of all opulence is a sign of the Supreme Lord’s mercy upon him. The Lord can act any way He likes. He may take away one’s opulence, or He may not. There are varieties of forms of life, and the Lord treats them according to the circumstances, as He chooses.

SB 8.22.27 purport....The Supreme Personality of Godhead never takes away material opulences achieved because of devotional service, although He sometimes takes away opulences achieved by pious activities. He does this to make a devotee prideless or put him in a better position in devotional service. If a special devotee is meant for preaching but does not give up his family life or material opulences to take to the service of the Lord, the Lord surely takes away his material opulences and establishes him in devotional service. Thus the pure devotee becomes fully engaged in propagating Kṛṣṇa consciousness.