Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic CreationsChapter 19: Lord Vāmanadeva Begs Charity from Bali Mahārāja

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 8.19.21

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

yāvanto viṣayāḥ preṣṭhās

tri-lokyām ajitendriyam

na śaknuvanti te sarve

pratipūrayituḿ nṛpa


śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; yāvantaḥas far as possible; viṣayāḥ — the objects of sense enjoyment; preṣṭhāḥ — pleasing to anyone; tri-lokyām — within these three worlds; ajita-indriyama person who is not self-controlled; na śaknuvantiare unable; te — all those; sarve — taken together; pratipūrayitumto satisfy; nṛpaO King.


The Personality of Godhead said: O my dear King, even the entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one's senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled.


The material world is an illusory energy to deviate the living entities from the path of self-realization. Anyone who is in this material world is extremely anxious to get more and more things for sense gratification. Actually, however, the purpose of life is not sense gratification but self-realization. Therefore, those who are too addicted to sense gratification are advised to practice the mystic yoga system, or aṣṭāńga-yoga system, consisting of yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra and so on. In this way, one can control the senses. The purpose of controlling the senses is to stop one's implication in the cycle of birth and death. As stated by Ṛṣabhadeva:

nūnaḿ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma

yad indriya-prītaya āpṛṇoti

na sādhu manye yata ātmano 'yam

asann api kleśada āsa dehaḥ

[SB 5.5.4]

"When a person considers sense gratification the aim of life, he certainly becomes mad after materialistic living and engages in all kinds of sinful activity. He does not know that due to his past misdeeds he has already received a body which, although temporary, is the cause of his misery. Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body, but he has been awarded the material body for sense gratification. Therefore I think it not befitting an intelligent man to involve himself again in the activities of sense gratification, by which he perpetually gets material bodies one after another." (Bhāg. 5.5.4) Thus according to Ṛṣabhadeva the human beings in this material world are just like madmen engaged in activities which they should not perform but which they do perform only for sense gratification. Such activities are not good because in this way one creates another body for his next life, as punishment for his nefarious activities. And as soon as he gets another material body, he is put into repeated suffering in material existence. Therefore the Vedic culture or brahminical culture teaches one how to be satisfied with possessing the minimum necessities in life.

To teach this highest culture, varṇāśrama-dharma is recommended. The aim of the varṇāśrama divisions — brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa — is to train one to control the senses and be content with the bare necessities. Here Lord Vāmanadeva, as an ideal brahmacārī, refuses Bali Mahārāja's offer to give Him anything He might want. He says that without contentment one could not be happy even if he possessed the property of the entire world or the entire universe. In human society, therefore, the brahminical culture, kṣatriya culture and vaiśya culture must be maintained, and people must be taught how to be satisfied with only what they need. In modern civilization there is no such education; everyone tries to possess more and more, and everyone is dissatisfied and unhappy. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore establishing various farms, especially in America, to show how to be happy and content with minimum necessities of life and to save time for self-realization, which one can very easily achieve by chanting the mahā-mantraHare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness