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The Human Struggle

“All occupational engagements (dharma) are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service (dharma) should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.9)

Despite working so hard, there is frustration. No one is satisfied. I am not satisfied, nor is the person for whom I work so hard satisfied. Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. Bha always means fearful. We always wonder what danger is coming next. Ma means death, mrtyu. This is material life: You work very hard, so hard that foam will come from your mouth, and still you feel frustration and are always fearful. In this way you live, and then one day comes and you die.

This is called pa-varga. Dharmasya hy apavargyasya. Pavarga: a means “just the opposite.” One can nullify the principles of material life by taking to dharma, or religious principles. No one wants to work very hard, but everyone has to because a person cannot even get food without working hard in the material world. A small ant only needs one grain of food a day, yet he still has to work, going hither and thither trying to find his food. Similarly, the elephant needs a hundred kilos of food at a time and has to work. Material life is like that; no one can live idly. Nahi suptasya simhasya pravisyanti mukhe mrgah. (Hitopadesa) The lion is a very powerful animal, and he is called the king of the forest, or the king of the animals. When he sleeps, no animal will come near him. Although a king, no animal says, “Please, Mr. Lion, please open your mouth, and I shall enter.” Mr. Lion has to work very hard, and although he is very powerful, he doesn’t always get food. Similarly, when a tiger is in the jungle, every animal knows it and avoids the tiger, so they don’t always get food either.

Mohammedans are especially proud to become like a sher. Sher means lion or tiger, and it is said that if one can become like a sher, he will be considered very powerful. Even in England, the British lion symbolizes power, but at the end of the Second World War, the British lion was badly bandaged. Now in Trafalgar Square, there are only large stone lions. In this world, these symbols of power are all false. There was Napoleon, the French lion, and there was the British lion, and there was the Roman lion. In this way the people are simply wasting their time. Srama eva hi kevalam. (Bhag. 1.2.8) They are all rascals because they do not know the value of life. Nor do they know what is to be done. Even religion is taken for some material gain. However, in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is said that religion is not for material gain but for apavargyasya. One has to get liberated from these four principles of material life: hard labor, which causes one to foam at the mouth, frustration, fear, and death.