An illustration of this principle is that many great empires which developed in the past are no longer existing because their wealth was squandered away by later descendants

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"An illustration of this principle is that many great empires which developed in the past are no longer existing because their wealth was squandered away by later descendants"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

An illustration of this principle is that many great empires which developed in the past are no longer existing because their wealth was squandered away by later descendants. One who does not know this subtle law of fruitive activities and who thus gives up the moral and ethical principles carries with him only the reactions of his sinful activities. His ill-gotten wealth and possessions are taken by someone else, and he goes to the darkest region of hellish life.

Akrūra said, “My dear son of Vicitravīrya, you have unlawfully usurped the throne of the Pāṇḍavas. Anyway, somehow or other you are now on the throne. Therefore I beg to advise you to please rule the kingdom on moral and ethical principles. If you do so and try to please your subjects in that way, your name and fame will be perpetual.” Akrūra hinted that although Dhṛtarāṣṭra was ill-treating his nephews, the Pāṇḍavas, they happened to be his subjects. “Even if you treat them not as the owners of the throne but as your subjects, you should impartially think of their welfare as though they were your own sons. But if you do not follow this principle and act in just the opposite way, you will be unpopular among your subjects, and in the next life you will have to live in a hellish condition. I therefore hope you will treat your sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu equally.” Akrūra hinted that if Dhṛtarāṣṭra did not treat the Pāṇḍavas and his sons as equals, surely there would be a fight between the two camps of cousins. Since the cause of the Pāṇḍavas was just, they would come out victorious, and the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra would be killed. This was a prophecy told by Akrūra to Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

Akrūra further advised Dhṛtarāṣṭra, “In this material world, no one can remain an eternal companion to another. Only by chance do we assemble together in a family, society, community or nation, but at the end, because every one of us has to give up the body, we must be separated. One should not, therefore, be unnecessarily affectionate toward family members.” Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s affection was also unlawful and did not show much intelligence. In plain words, Akrūra hinted to Dhṛtarāṣṭra that his staunch family affection was due to his gross ignorance of fact or his blindness to moral principles. Although we appear combined together in a family, society or nation, each of us has an individual destiny. Everyone takes birth according to individual past work; therefore everyone must individually enjoy or suffer the result of his own karma. There is no possibility of improving one’s destiny by cooperative living. Sometimes it happens that one’s father accumulates wealth by illegal ways, and the son takes away the money, although it is hard-earned by the father, just as a small fish in the ocean eats the material body of a large, old fish. One ultimately cannot accumulate wealth illegally for the gratification of his family, society, community or nation. An illustration of this principle is that many great empires which developed in the past are no longer existing because their wealth was squandered away by later descendants. One who does not know this subtle law of fruitive activities and who thus gives up the moral and ethical principles carries with him only the reactions of his sinful activities. His ill-gotten wealth and possessions are taken by someone else, and he goes to the darkest region of hellish life. One should not, therefore, accumulate more wealth than allotted to him by destiny; otherwise he will be factually blind to his own interest. Instead of fulfilling his self-interest, he will act in just the opposite way for his own downfall.

Akrūra continued: “My dear Dhṛtarāṣṭra, I beg to advise you not to be blind to the facts of material existence. Material, conditioned life, either in distress or in happiness, is to be accepted as a dream. One should try to bring his mind and senses under control and live peacefully for spiritual advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said that except for persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, everyone is always disturbed in mind and full of anxiety. Even those trying for liberation, or merging into the Brahman effulgence, or the yogīs who try to achieve perfection in mystic power cannot have peace of mind. Pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa have no demands to make of Kṛṣṇa. They are simply satisfied with service to Him. Actual peace and mental tranquillity can be attained only in perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

After hearing these moral instructions from Akrūra, Dhṛtarāṣṭra replied, “My dear Akrūra, you are very charitable in giving me good instructions, but unfortunately I cannot accept them. A person destined to die does not utilize the effects of nectar, although it may be administered to him. I can understand that your instructions are valuable. Unfortunately, they do not stay in my flickering mind, just as the glittering lightning in the sky does not stay fixed in a cloud. I can understand only that no one can stop the onward progress of the supreme will. I understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, has appeared in the family of the Yadus to decrease the burdensome load on this earth.”

Dhṛtarāṣṭra hinted to Akrūra that he had complete faith in Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the same time, he was very partial to his family members. In the very near future, Kṛṣṇa would vanquish all the members of his family, and in a helpless condition Dhṛtarāṣṭra would take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. To show His special favor to a devotee, Kṛṣṇa usually takes away all the objects of his material affection, thus forcing the devotee to be materially helpless, with no alternative but to accept the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. This actually happened to Dhṛtarāṣṭra after the end of the Battle of Kurukṣetra.