Good morning Darren,
I would like to further the thread of our conversation. I hope you will indulge me.
According to ancient Vedic scriptures — such as Bhagavad-gita and Sriman Bhagavatam — the current age we live in is known as Kali-yuga. It is a very inauspicious age characterized as follows:
प्रायेणाल्पायुष: सभ्य कलावस्मिन् युगे जना: ।
मन्दा: सुमन्दमतयो मन्दभाग्या ह्युपद्रुता: ॥ १० ॥
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
prāyeṇa — almost always; alpa — meager; āyuṣaḥ — duration of life; sabhya — member of a learned society; kalau — in this Age of Kali (quarrel); asmin — herein; yuge — age; janāḥ — the public; mandāḥ — lazy; sumanda-matayaḥ — misguided; manda-bhāgyāḥ — unlucky; hi — and above all; upadrutāḥ — disturbed.
O learned one, in this iron Age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy,misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.
Due to these characteristics of the Age of Kali, meditation — in the manner of a yogi sitting still in the forest in a fixed position for hours at a time — is not recommended as a means to God realization. You must be well aware of the difficulties involved since you told me you have no time to visit us due to work and other obligations.
Our first obligation in the human form of life is to know ourselves and our relationship with Krishna (God). Unfortunately, like you, most people think they either have no time, or very little time, to fulfill that obligation and natural instinct.
The book I gave you (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts) tells us about Sri Krishna Chaitanya. He is a special incarnation of Krishna who descends in this Age of Kali for a very particular purpose; to make it easy for the people of Kali Yuga to fulfill their natural instinct to know themselves, their relationship with Krishna and transcend the influence of this world of birth and death.
Krishna, being very merciful, incarnated to distribute love of God via the very personal and easy process of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
I hope you remember the card I gave you. It has this mantra printed on it. It can be chanted at any time and in any place. Thus, even those with little time to visit our Temple and meditate with us can still engage in the practice of meditation by simply repeating this mantra, either out loud or quietly to oneself.
I’ll take a moment to touch on something else you wrote to me in your last email.
I think my ambition to become independently wealthy one day stems from when i was homeless over a decade ago.
No one in this world is independently wealthy. If one thinks he is, or could be, he is living in illusion. One’s wealth is always contingent on factors beyond our control. One may temporarily control some of these factors but can never control all of them.
Everything is controlled and owned by the Supreme Lord. The Īśopaniṣad describes our real situation thusly.
īśāvāsyam idaḿ sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam
īśa — by the Lord; āvāsyam — controlled; idam — this; sarvam — all; yat kiñca — whatever; jagatyām — within the universe; jagat — all that is animate or inanimate; tena — by Him; tyaktena — set-apart quota; bhuñjīthāḥ — you should accept; mā — do not; gṛdhaḥ — endeavor to gain; kasya svit — of anyone else; dhanam — the wealth.
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.
”You can’t take it with you.” is a well known adage, and it is true. If you can’t take it with you when you die, you don’t own it. Everyone in this world is subject to birth, death, old age and disease. Anyone of these can very quickly, and without warning, eliminate all of one’s acquired wealth. It is only a matter of time until one of them does.
An intelligent person, realizing the foregoing, will purchase stock in the transcendental world where it has eternal value.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss any of these matters with you in person or by phone. Until then, if you disagree with anything I’ve said, or you wish to add your own comments, I welcome you to do so.
I hope this finds you well in health and spirits.
Swami B.K. Giri