A Hindu Perspective on Ambition and Unsatiated Lust


A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada | Dandavats – TRANSCEND Media Service

29 Dec 2023 – The Supreme Lord is said to be ‘Sachidananda Vigraha‘ in the revealed scriptures. ‘Sat’ means eternal, ‘Chit’ means fully cognizant, ‘Ananda’ means joy, and ‘Vigraha‘ means specific personality. Therefore, the Lord or the Supreme Godhead who is one without a second is eternally a joyful personality with full sense of His identity. That is the nutshell description of the Supreme Lord and nobody is equal to Him nor greater than Him.

The living entities, or the ‘Jivas,’ are so many minute samples of the Supreme Lord and therefore we find in the activities of the living entities an urge for eternal existence, a hankering for knowledge of everything that be and an urge for seeking happiness by diverse attempts in life. These three qualities of the living being are minutely visible in the human society but they are increased and enjoyed in the proportion of 100 times more by other beings residing in the upper planets called by the name Bhooaloka, Swargaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, Manaloka, Brahmaloka, etc.

So, in the material world the highest planet, where the duration of life and standard of enjoyment are thousands and thousands of times superior than what we enjoy on this earth, is also described as insignificant in comparison to the spiritual bliss enjoyed in the realm of impersonal ‘Brahma.’ And the happiness of spiritual bliss enjoyed in the company of the Supreme Lord by His service in different mellows makes the enjoyment of impersonal Brahman as much insignificant as it is a drop of water in the presence of the ocean.

Every living being is ambitious to have the topmost level of enjoyment in the material world and yet he is always unhappy here. This unhappiness is present in all the above-mentioned planets in spite of long life and standard of comfort more and more increased. That is the law of material nature. You can increase the duration of life and standard of comfort to your highest capacity and yet by the law of material nature you shall feel unhappy; the reason is that the quality of happiness which is compatibly suitable for our very constitution is different from the happiness derived from material adjustment. The living entity is a minute particle of Sachidananda Vigraha and therefore he has proportionately the necessary propensity for joyfulness which is spiritual in quality but he is vainly trying to derive it in a foreign atmosphere of the material nature.

A fish which is taken out of the water cannot be happy by any length of earthly arrangement of happiness without any aquatic habitation. It is in the same way the minute Sachidananda entity cannot be really happy by any amount of material plannings conceived by the illusioned brain. The living entity, therefore, has to be rendered a different type of happiness called the spiritual bliss. And therefore, our ambition should be aimed at enjoying spiritual bliss and not material happiness. Ambition for spiritual bliss is good but the way of attaining this standard is never possible by negativizing the material happiness. Theoretical negation of material activities as was propounded by Sripad Sankaracharya may be relevant for an insignificant section of men, but the best and the sure way of attaining this standard is chalked out by Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by His cult of devotional activities which change the very face of material nature.

Hankering after material happiness is called lust and such activities are sure to be met with frustration in the long run.

The body of a snake is very cool. And if a man wants to enjoy the coolness of the body of a snake and therefore garlands himself with such venomous snake, surely he is killed by the bite of the snake which is naturally harmful. The material senses are compared with snake and to indulge in material happiness is surely meant for killing one’s spiritual identity. A sane man should therefore be ambitious to find out the real source of happiness. A foolish man who had no experience of sugar cane by shape or taste was told by his friend to have a taste of its sweetness. The foolish man enquired of the characteristics of a sugar cane and he was imperfectly informed that sugar cane resembles the shape of a bamboo stick. The foolish man therefore began to derive juice from the dry bamboo stick but as a matter of fact he was repeatedly baffled in his attempt to have a taste of sweetness from bamboo stick.

That is the position of the illusioned living being in his search after eternal happiness in the matter which is not only full of miseries but also the quality of material happiness is transient and flickering. In the Bhagavad gita the quality of the material world is described as full of miseries. The ambition of happiness is good but to derive it from the inert matter by so-called scientific arrangement is an illusion. Befooled person cannot understand it. Driven by a lust of material happiness he thinks as follows, as described in the Bhagavad gita.

Idam, Adya, Maya, Labdha, Idam, Prapsey, Manoratham, Idam, Asti, Idam, Mey, Bhabisyati, Punah, Dhanam. (Bg. 16.13)


(A materialistic Ashura thinks) This much I have got today, this much I shall have again as I have desired. So much I have in my possession and that much wealth will be mine again.


The atheistic or godless civilization being a huge affair of sense-gratifying business, everyone is now mad after money to keep up an empty show. Money is sought after by everyone because that is the medium of exchange for sense-gratificatory objects. To expect peace in such an atmosphere of gold rush pandemonium is a Utopian dream. So long there will be a slight tinge of sense gratification, peace will remain far far away from us. The reason is that by nature everyone is an eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. He cannot therefore enjoy anything for his personal interest but he can be employed in the transcendental service for the interest of the Lord. This alone can bring in the desired peace. A part of the body cannot itself be happy but it can serve the whole body and derive pleasure out of that service only. But everyone is busy in self-interested business and nobody is prepared to serve the Lord. That is the basic cause of material existence.

Beginning from the highest executive administrator down to the coolie in the street, everyone is engaged with the thought of unlawful accumulation of wealth. To work for one’s self-interest is unlawful and destructive. Even the cultivation of spiritual realisation for one’s self-interest is unlawful and destructive! We have discussed this point already in the previous issues.

Those who are not engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord do unlawfully think that he has accumulated so much money today. This much money was accumulated day before and therefore the total money is accumulated to so much strength. He thinks unlawfully that so much money is in his possession now and it will be increased to such and such strength.

As such there is no dearth of money but there is dearth of peace in the world. The whole human energy having been diverted to this money-making business, it has certainly increased the cheap money-making capacity of the total population but the result is that such unrestricted and unlawful inflation of money has created a bad economy and has enabled us to manufacture huge costly weapons for destroying the result of such cheap money-making business.

The authorities of big money-making countries, instead of enjoying peace, are now engaged in making important plans as to how they can save themselves from the modern destructive weapons and as a matter of fact a huge sum of money is being thrown into the sea for making an experiment on such dreadful weapons. Such experiments are being carried out not only at huge costs but also at cost of many poor lives, binding thereby such nations in the laws of Karma. That is the illusion of mother material nature. With an impulse of sense gratification, the money is earned by spoiled energy and it is spent up also in as much as destructive energy of the human race. The energy of human race is thus spoiled by the law of nature because of its diversion from the service of the Lord who is actually the Lord of all energies.

Wealth and money are called and worshiped as mother Lakshmi or the Goddess of Goodluck. The Goddess of Goodluck is meant for serving the Lord Narayana the emanation of all the Naras or living being. The Naras are also meant for service of Narayana under the guidance of the Goddess of Goodluck. The Naras or the living being cannot enjoy mother Goddess of Goodluck and therefore whoever may desire to enjoy Her wrongly will be punished by the law of nature and the money itself will become the cause of destruction instead of being the cause of peace and prosperity.

Such unlawful accumulation of money is now being snatched away from the miser citizen by various taxing method of the state as contribution to the future civil and international war fund for spending the money in the spoiled manner. The citizen is no longer satisfied with money just to maintain the family nicely and for culturing spiritual knowledge, both essential in human life. He wants money unlimitedly for satisfying insatiable desires and proportionately to this unlawful act, his accumulated money is now being snatched away by the agents of illusory nature in the shape of medical practitioners, lawyers, tax collectors, societies constitutions, so-called Sadhus, famines, earthquake and many such calamities.

A miser who hesitated to purchase a copy of ‘Back to Godhead’ by the dictation of illusory Nature spent up Rs. 20,000 (€ 220) for a week’s ailments and died at the end. A similar thing happened when a man who refused to spend a pie for the service of the Lord spoiled Rs. 30,000 (€ 329) in litigation affairs between members of the home. That is the law of nature. If money is not devoted to the service of the Lord, it must be, by the law of nature, spent up in spoiled energy in the shape of litigation or diseases as mentioned above. Foolish people have no eyes to see to it and necessarily the laws of the Supreme Lord.

The laws of Nature do not allow us to accept money more than what we require for proper maintenance. There is ample arrangement by the law of Nature to provide every living being with his due share of food and shelter but insatiable lust of the human being has disturbed the whole setup of the Almighty Father of all species of life. By the arrangement of the Supreme Lord there is the ocean of salt because salt is so much necessary thing to the living being. He has in the same manner arranged for sufficient air and light so essential for the living being. Anybody can collect any amount of salt from the natural storehouse but, constitutionally, one cannot collect more salt than what one barely requires. If he takes more salt, he spoils the broth and if he takes less salt his eatables become tasteless. And if he takes only just what he barely requires, the foodstuff is tasteful and he is also healthful. Ambition for wealth, for more than what we just require, is much harmful as that of eating more salt than what we absolutely require. That is the law of nature.

Delhi, 5 Oct 1956


Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1 Sep 1896 – 14 Nov 1977) was a Gaudiya Vaishnavism spiritual teacher (guru) and the founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”. In 1959 he took a vow of renunciation (sannyasa) and started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures. In his later years, as a traveling Vaishnava monk, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology to India and specifically to the West through his leadership of ISKCON, founded in 1966, when he emerged as a major figure of the Western counterculture, initiating thousands of youngsters around the world. He received criticism from anti-cult groups, as well as a favorable welcome from religious scholars such as J. Stillson Judah, Harvey Cox, Larry Shinn and Thomas Hopkins, who praised Srila Prabhupada’s translations and defended the group against distorted media images and misinterpretations. He has been described as a charismatic leader, in the sense used by sociologist Max Weber, as he was successful in acquiring followers in all continents. After his death in 1977, ISKCON, the society he founded continued to grow. In February 2014, ISKCON News Agency reported to have reached a milestone of distributing over half a billion books authored by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, since 1965.

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