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Materialistic life means

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 4

Materialistic life means chewing the chewed again and again.
SB 4.27.14, Translation and Purport:

Along with Caṇḍavega were as many female Gandharvīs as there were soldiers, and all of them repetitively plundered all the paraphernalia for sense enjoyment.

The days have been compared to the soldiers of Caṇḍavega. Night is generally a time for sex enjoyment. Days are considered to be white, and nights are considered to be black, or, from another point of view, there are two kinds of nights—black nights and white nights. All these days and nights combine to pass away our span of life and everything we manufacture for sense gratification. Material activity means manufacturing things for sense gratification. Scientists are conducting research to find out how we can satisfy our senses more and more elaborately. In this Kali-yuga, the demoniac mentality is employed in manufacturing various machines to facilitate the process of sense gratification. There are so many machines for ordinary household activities. There are machines for washing dishes, cleansing the floor, shaving, clipping hair—today everything is done by machine. All these facilities for sense gratification are described in this verse as sarva-kāma-vinirmitām. The time factor, however, is so strong that not only is our span of life being expended, but all the machines and facilities for sense gratification are deteriorating. Therefore in this verse the word vilumpanti ("plundering") is used. Everything is being plundered from the very beginning of our lives.

This plundering of our possessions and life-span begins with the day of our birth. One day will come when death will finish everything, and the living entity will have to enter another body to begin another chapter of life and again begin the cycle of material sense gratification. Prahlāda Mahārāja describes this process as punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). Materialistic life means chewing the chewed again and again. The central point of material life is sense gratification. In different types of bodies, the living entity enjoys various senses, and through creating various types of facilities, he chews the chewed. Whether we squeeze sugar out of the sugarcane with our teeth or a machine, the result is the same—sugarcane juice. We may discover many ways to squeeze the juice out of the sugarcane, but the result is the same.

Materialistic life means forgetting one's constitutional position as the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, and this forgetfulness is especially enhanced in the gṛhastha-āśrama.
SB 4.29.54, Purport:

Materialistic life means forgetting one's constitutional position as the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, and this forgetfulness is especially enhanced in the gṛhastha-āśrama. In the gṛhastha-āśrama a young man accepts a young wife who is very beautiful in the beginning, but in due course of time, after giving birth to many children and becoming older and older, she demands many things from the husband to maintain the entire family. At such a time the wife becomes detestable to the very man who accepted her in her younger days. One becomes attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama for two reasons only—the wife cooks palatable dishes for the satisfaction of her husband's tongue, and she gives him sexual pleasure at night. A person attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama is always thinking of these two things—palatable food and sex enjoyment. The talks of the wife, which are enjoyed as a family recreation, and the talks of the children both attract the living entity. He thus forgets that he has to die someday and has to prepare for the next life if he wants to be put into a congenial body.

SB Canto 5

Materialistic life means continuous unhappiness, but sometimes we accept happiness as it appears between the gaps.
SB 5.14.38, Purport:

By thoroughly analyzing the materialistic way of life, any sane man can understand that there is not the least happiness in this world. However, due to continuing on the path of danger from time immemorial and not associating with saintly persons, the conditioned soul, under illusion, wants to enjoy this material world. Material energy sometimes gives him a chance at so-called happiness, but the conditioned soul is perpetually being punished by material nature. It is therefore said: daṇḍya-jane rājā yena nadīte cubāya (CC Madhya 20.118). Materialistic life means continuous unhappiness, but sometimes we accept happiness as it appears between the gaps. Sometimes a condemned person is submerged in water and hauled out. Actually all of this is meant for punishment, but he feels a little comfort when he is taken out of the water. This is the situation with the conditioned soul. All the śāstras therefore advise that one associate with devotees and saintly people.

SB Canto 7

Materialistic life means attachment to the body and everything in relationship to the body. This attachment is based on lusty desires for sense gratification, specifically sexual enjoyment.
SB 7.10.2, Purport:

Materialistic life means attachment to the body and everything in relationship to the body. This attachment is based on lusty desires for sense gratification, specifically sexual enjoyment. Kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ: (BG 7.20) when one is too attached to material enjoyment, he is bereft of all knowledge (hṛta jñānāḥ). As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, those who are attached to material enjoyment are mostly inclined to worship the demigods to procure various material opulences. They are especially attached to worship of the goddess Durgā and Lord Śiva because this transcendental couple can offer their devotees all material opulence. Prahlāda Mahārāja, however, was detached from all material enjoyment. He therefore took shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva, and not the feet of any demigod. It is to be understood that if one really wants release from this material world, from the threefold miseries and from janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9) (birth, death, old age and disease), one must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for without the Supreme Personality of Godhead one cannot get release from materialistic life. Atheistic men are very much attached to material enjoyment. Therefore if they get some opportunity to achieve more and more material enjoyment, they take it. Prahlāda Mahārāja, however, was very careful in this regard. Although born of a materialistic father, because he was a devotee he had no material desires (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11)).

Materialistic life means that one is afflicted by a formidable disease called lusty desire. Liberation means freedom from lusty desires because it is only due to such desires that one must accept repeated birth and death.
SB 7.10.8, Purport:

As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, kāmaṁ hṛd-rogam. Materialistic life means that one is afflicted by a formidable disease called lusty desire. Liberation means freedom from lusty desires because it is only due to such desires that one must accept repeated birth and death. As long as one's lusty desires are unfulfilled, one must take birth after birth to fulfill them. Because of material desires, therefore, one performs various types of activities and receives various types of bodies with which to try to fulfill desires that are never satisfied. The only remedy is to take to devotional service, which begins when one is free from all material desires. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11). Anya-abhilāṣitā means "material desire," and śūnyam means "free from." The spiritual soul has spiritual activities and spiritual desires, as described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: mama janmani janmanīśvare bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi (Cc. Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4). Unalloyed devotion to the service of the Lord is the only spiritual desire. To fulfill this spiritual desire, however, one must be free from all material desires. Desirelessness means freedom from material desires. This is described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11). As soon as one has material desires, one loses his spiritual identity. Then all the paraphernalia of one's life, including one's senses, body, religion, patience and intelligence, are deviated from one's original Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As soon as one has material desires, one cannot properly use his senses, intelligence, mind and so on for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Māyāvādī philosophers want to become impersonal, senseless and mindless, but that is not possible. The living entity must be living, always existing with desires, ambitions and so on. These should be purified, however, so that one can desire spiritually and be spiritually ambitious, without material contamination. In every living entity these propensities exist because he is a living entity. When materially contaminated, however, one is put into the hands of material misery (janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9)). If one wants to stop repeated birth and death, one must take to the devotional service of the Lord.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

So materialistic life means that one is bitten by the snake of māyā, illusion, and thus, without any Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is almost dead.
Nectar of Devotion 10:

In the Garuḍa Purāṇa the stress on hearing is expressed very nicely. It is said there, "The state of conditioned life in the material world is just like that of a man lying unconscious, having been bitten by a snake. This is because both such unconscious states can be ended by the sound of a mantra." When a man is snake-bitten he does not die immediately, but first becomes unconscious and remains in a comatose condition. Anyone who is in the material world is also sleeping, as he is ignorant of his actual self or his actual duty and his relationship with God. So materialistic life means that one is bitten by the snake of māyā, illusion, and thus, without any Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is almost dead. Now, the so-called dead man bitten by a snake can be brought back to life by the chanting of some mantra. There are expert chanters of these mantras who can perform this feat. Similarly, one can be brought back into Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the deadly unconscious state of material life by hearing of the mahā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

So this materialistic life means sex life. Very, very abominable, tuccham. If anyone has understood this, then he's liberated.
Lecture on BG 2.21-22 -- London, August 26, 1973:

Yan maithunādi gṛhamedhi sukhaṁ hi tuccham (SB 7.9.45). So this materialistic life means sex life. Very, very abominable, tuccham. If anyone has understood this, then he's liberated. But if, when one is still attracted, then it is to be understood that there is still delay in liberation. And one who has understood and has left it, even in this body he's liberated. He's called jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate.

īhā yasya harer dāsye
karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu
jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate

So how we can become free from this desire? Īhā yasya harer dāsye, If you simply desire to serve Kṛṣṇa, then you can get out. Otherwise, not. That is not possible. If you desire anything else except the service of the Lord, then māyā will give you inducement, "Why not enjoy this?"

Because this materialistic life means sense gratification, so we have satisfied our senses not only in this human form of life, but in other forms of life. So when one comes to the understanding that these sense gratification activities are useless, then he can understand.
Lecture on BG 4.39-42 -- Los Angeles, January 14, 1969:

Controlling of senses means... That is also knowledge. Because this materialistic life means sense gratification, so we have satisfied our senses not only in this human form of life, but in other forms of life. So when one comes to the understanding that these sense gratification activities are useless, then he can understand. When one understands that "I have tried to satisfy myself in different kinds of sense gratification..."

Just like people are trying. The same thing which they have got at home... Just like a naked woman. They are still going to the theater to see naked dance. You see? What is that? They have no idea. The same thing. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30), chewing the chewed, trying to find out in which naked dance there is pleasure. That's all. So when one comes to the knowledge that "I have seen so many different types of naked dance and naked woman. What I have got? What I have gained? What satisfaction is there? Why I am not satisfied?" That is knowledge. That is knowledge.

The sum and substance of materialistic life means sense gratification.
Lecture on BG 6.4-12 -- New York, September 4, 1966:

A man, a person, will be satisfied when there is jñāna, knowledge, and science side by side. Jñāna-vijñāna, practical knowledge. Kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ. Then he's conquered over the senses.

jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmā
kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ
yukta ity ucyate yogī
sama-loṣṭrāśma-kāñcanaḥ
(BG 6.8)

So when he is situated in that practical status of spiritual realization, then he is to be understood that he is actually situated in the yoga. Not that I am going to a class and, weekly or twice weekly attending yoga class, and I remain the same thing for the so many years. No. There should be practical realization. What is that practical realization? Praśāntātmā. Praśāntātmā. The mind is calm and quiet, no more agitated by the attraction of this material encirclement. You see? So jñāna-vijñāna...kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ. The first qualification is called vijitendriyaḥ, sense control. Advancement in the yoga system means yoga indriya-saṁyamaḥ. Yoga means to... Because our whole life is disturbed due to the senses. Senses. This material life means sense gratification. That's all. The sum and substance of materialistic life means sense gratification. Therefore advancement of material science means giving you products for your sense gratification. Unnecessarily, so many things are produced just to satisfy my senses. That is the material advancement.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

The materialistic life means to spoil the night by sleeping and sex life, and to spoil the day: "Where is money? Where is money?" and spend it. That's all. Is it not?
Lecture on SB 1.8.45 -- Los Angeles, May 7, 1973:

Our life is being spoiled. How? Nidrayā hriyate naktam. At night we are sleeping or enjoying sex. Nidrayā hriyate naktaṁ vyavāyena ca vā vayaḥ (SB 2.1.3). Vyavāya means sex. So at night we have got two business, sleeping and sex. And daytime, divā cārthehayā rājan. At daytime, simply "Where is money? Where is money?" Artha, or self-interest. Divā cārthehayā rājan. Īhayā means searching after, desiring. Then, as soon as he gets money, then what business? Divā cārthehayā rājan kuṭumba-bharaṇena vā (SB 2.1.3). Kuṭumba means family. So as soon as we get money, we spend it, go to the store, purchase so many things. So this is our business. The materialistic life means to spoil the night by sleeping and sex life, and to spoil the day: "Where is money? Where is money?" and spend it. That's all. Is it not? This is the clear analysis of materialistic life. Cārthehayā. "Where is money? Where is money?" This is also inquisitiveness, "Where is money? Where is food? Where is shelter? Where is this, where is that?" So this inquisitiveness is there in the animals. Then what is the use of this human form of life, the, if the same inquisitiveness is there—where is money or where is shelter, where is food, where is sex? No. This inquisitiveness is already there in the animal life. Now you have got better life, human form of life, intelligent life, advanced life. Still you'll be engaged in these inquiries. This is Vedic civilization. These things are not to be inquired. They are already there. Supply is there.

That is called kāma, or sense gratification. So this is natural. Materialistic life means wherever there is some beautiful woman or girl, it is natural.
Lecture on SB 5.5.1-2 -- London (Tittenhurst), September 13, 1969:

So the whole idea here is expressed by Ṛṣabhadeva. "My dear sons," ayaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke kaṣṭān kāmān na arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye, "you should distinguish yourself from the hogs and dogs, that simply for sense gratification, this life is not meant for working very hard." That is the modern civilization. Not only here... Now, the whole material world, history is like that. People are after sense gratification. (aside:) Come on. So Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, a great commentator on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is explaining this verse that kaṣṭān, kaṣṭa-pradan kāmam yoṣit-darśana-sparśanadim na arhate naivarhati iti.(?) Kāmān. He has plainly explained that kāma, sense gratification, means to see woman with lust or to touch woman with lust. That is called kāma, or sense gratification. So this is natural. Materialistic life means wherever there is some beautiful woman or girl, it is natural. It is not... One sense, it is not bad because it is natural. There is a very nice verse written by Rūpa Gosvāmī. He is explaining, yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ yathā yuvatau.(?) Yuvatī means young girl, and yūna means young boy. So he is expressing his desire, "My dear Lord, as a young boy has got natural affection for a young girl, or a young girl has got a natural affection for a young boy..." Spontaneously. It is not to be taught or to be educated in the schools and colleges. Spontaneously the attraction is there. "...how my attraction for You will be like that, spontaneous?" It is a very nice example.

So materialistic life means sense gratification. This sense gratification process is going on life after life. So many varieties of life means different standard of sense gratification.
Lecture on SB 7.5.30 -- London, September 9, 1971:

Prabhupāda:

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
(SB 7.5.30)

Adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisram. Adānta means uncontrolled. Our materialstic life means we cannot control our senses and the mind. The mind is dictating that enjoy your senses in this way. What is this sound? (feedback) And our... We are enjoying our senses. Materialistic life means... (aside:) Stop that sound. Stop that. We don't want it.

Śyāmasundara: Turn it off.

Prabhupāda: So materialistic life means sense gratification. This sense gratification process is going on life after life. So many varieties of life means different standard of sense gratification. Kṛṣṇa is so kind that he has given us full liberty to gratify our senses. Kṛṣṇa bhuliya jīva bhoga-vāñchā kare. We are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, but we are living entities, and because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, we have got all the desires of Kṛṣṇa in small particle. As our existence is a small particle... Just like, try to understand gold and a small particle of gold. So the small particle of gold has got all the qualities of the original gold. Just like sense gratification. Kṛṣṇa has got also propensity for sense gratification. He is the original sense gratifier, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram (BG 5.29). Supreme enjoyer. Wherefrom the enjoying spirit of us comes? Because it is there in Kṛṣṇa. Janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). The Vedānta-sūtra says everything is originated from Kṛṣṇa. Para-brahman or the Absolute Truth means where everything is generated. That is Absolute Truth. Therefore our desire for sense gratification is from Kṛṣṇa.

This materialistic life means we want some profit, we want some fame, and we want some good name.
Lecture on SB 7.6.1 -- San Francisco, March 3, 1967:

Bhāgavata means from the word bhagavān. Bhagavān means the person who has got all the six opulences in full. He is called Bhagavān or God. In most scriptures of the world there is idea of God, but actually there is no definition of God. But in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, because it is science of God, there is definition, what do you mean by God. The definition is that one person who has got six opulences in full, He is God. What are the six opulences? Aiśvarya. Aiśvarya means wealth. And samāgra, aiśvaryasya samāgrasya, complete wealth. Complete wealth means, just like we are sitting here, say, twenty-five or fifty men. Everyone has got some wealth in bank balance. But if some one of us can exceed the bank balance of every one of us, he is called samāgra. Now try to understand what is the definition of God. There are many rich men, not only here in your country, in other countries also. So take the whole world as a whole, and if you scrutinize who is the richest man, you will hardly find one who is the richest of all. There is a competitor, another. But here the definition is the richest. Nobody can compete with Him, the richest. Then, aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya. Vīryasya means strength. You have got some strength, I have got some strength, but another man may be stronger than you and me. Another man is stronger than he. So nobody can say that "I am the strongest," and nobody can say, "I am the richest." So aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ. Yaśasaḥ means fame. Lābha-pūjā-pratiṣṭhaḥ. This materialistic life means we want some profit, we want some fame, and we want some good name. If I see that my name is stamped in the history, I think, "Oh, I am My life is successful." But what is the history? Your name means your body, your photo of this body. But as soon as you leave this body, what you will do with this name? You are going to another body, another name. So aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya. Vīryasya means strength. So one should have the complete power of riches, complete power of strength, complete fame. Aiśvaryasya samāgrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47), and complete beauty. And jñāna, complete knowledge, and vairāgya, complete renouncement. If you can find out somebody that nobody is richer than him, nobody is more famous than him, nobody is stronger than him, nobody is wiser than him, nobody is more beautiful than him, and nobody is more renouncer than him, when these six opulences you will find, without any competition, that is God. This is the definition of God.

General Lectures

This materialistic life means full of anxiety always.
Lecture at Harvard University -- Boston, December 24, 1969:

All the problems of our life, whatever you may say, social, political, religious and whatever... There are so many problems. The whole material world is full of problems. These problems are compared just like blazing fire in the forest. Just like in the forest, there is fire, nobody can check. Although nobody goes to the forest to set fire, it takes automatically. Similarly, in this material existence of life, we do not want any problem, but problems are created. Just like automatically there is fire in the forest without our endeavor, similarly, material problems are created automatically by our dealings, by our behavior. So if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the first result will be that you will understand your real constitutional position, for which many great mystics, sages and saints are meditating, "What I am?" That, I mean to say, procedure of spiritual realization will be the first installment, your profit. You'll understand that ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am not matter, I am spirit soul." And as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, as soon as one is self-realized, that is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am not this body, I am spirit soul. I am part and parcel of the Absolute Truth." This realization is called Brahman realization. And as soon as you come to the platform of Brahman realization, then the result will be brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). You'll be joyful. You'll be free of all anxieties. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. That is the sign. It is not that simply... I may advertise that I am self-realized, but my behavior will show whether I am self-realized or not. Everything is stated in the Vedic literature, that a brahma-bhūtaḥ person, a self-realized person, the symptom of the self-realized person is that he is joyful. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). Without any anxieties. This materialistic life means full of anxiety always. And spiritual life means without this anxiety. Just the opposite. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. And what is the symptom of being joyful? That is also stated: na śocati na kāṅkṣati. There is no lamentation for loss, and there is no hankering for gain. Everyone in this material world is hankering after some gain. And if you have got some gain, if it is lost, then he's lamenting, "Oh, I have lost so much." So these two business... Hankering, when we do not possess, we hanker. And when we possess, it is lost. Because everything... The material waves are such that whatever we possess, we shall lose it. We have got this nice body, one day we have to lose it. Everything. You possess and lose, possess and lose. Therefore the..., punaḥ punaś car..., the same thing repeatedly: gaining and losing, and lamenting and hankering, lamenting and hankering. This is the position of material life.

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