We discussed that where adherence to righteousness (dharma) does not create love towards God and His divine plays in the person, those deeds are nothing but a waste of his resources. Only physical exhaustion remains. Apart from that there is no other benefit. There are many who read sacred books. Very often people remark, “We have read Bhāgawatam many times”. “I have got many people to read Bhāgawatam”. “We have been listening to Bhāgawatam stories regularly”.“We have conducted Bhāgawata pārāyana (reading the scripture from beginning to end) at our house. As such it is as good as attaining liberation”.
Undoubtedly they have read or heard Bhāgawatam. But their concentration would have been elsewhere for example on some phone call or on observing the people who are attending the program. Finding faults in the actions of the Pouranika (the person well read in Puranas) who is chanting the sacred text is a grave mistake. Finding grammatical mistakes at every step is yet another great headache. All these knots are inter-connected.
“Today I am expecting some guests. Let us begin only after they arrive”. Or “I have to make arrangements for the guests who are coming in today to listen to Bhāgawatam. Let us begin the program a little late so as to accommodate them all.” “Please cut short today’s program. I have to visit Krishna temple today and perform annadana (distributing food). As we have chanted Rukmini Kalyanam chapter today I want to do annadanam. Or today we chanted the chapter on Krishna’s birth. So I have to perform annadana.” At every step in this way people talk as if they are performing deeds related to Paramatma.
But of what use are these actions if they are devoid of love towards God? Even if these divine stories are read millions of times, even if Bhāgawatam chanting is conducted many a times at the house, even if Bhāgawatam books in all languages decorate the shelves in your house, what is the use? They are nothing but waste of material and bodily resources. Only the effort remains. It will be tiresome. It is like conducting bhajans endlessly and then collapsing due to tiredness. What purpose does it serve?
Along with these noble deeds, simultaneously the mind should be focused entirely upon the Lord. When with total love and devotion these deeds are performed, they yield proper results. Such reading of Bhāgawatam is true reading!
What is the purpose of dharma? Why should a person adhere to dharma (rules of righteousness)? The end result of adherence to dharma is to attain liberation (moksha)! Step by step we should progress. By step by step progressing on the path of dharma we will attain liberation in the end. All these steps of dharma are the penance (tapas) that is filled with love and devotion.
Although it is said that dharma (rules of righteousness) showers the person with ‘artha’ (materialistic earnings) in reality it is not the ultimate auspicious result. Attaining liberation (moksha) is the ultimate auspicious result for adhering to righteousness (dharma)!
“I have gained a lot by performing these good deeds. Ever since I began this yagna, luck is by my side. I have gained a good house, my children have been lucky” –in this manner people often speak. Is this the reason why you began performing meritorious deeds? Good tidings may come your way irrespective of whether you perform the good deed or not. Likewise bad tidings may come even if you perform good deeds. Even in this there could be joys as well as sorrows. Don’t we understand all this? Don’t we experience this in life? We see joys or sorrows landing on the head of a person who is extremely devoted to God. We also see similar joys or sorrows landing on the head of a person who does not believe in God.
‘Today I have performed Sahasranama chanting a crore times. That is why this good result I have attained.” Do you think chanting a powerful Sahasranama will give small benefits in the form of lottery earnings or a lost child returning home? Is that all? Lottery money can be lost. The child who has returned will grow up and once again leave home. None of these are permanent. They are temporary answers. That’s all.
You may have been able to build a house, your may regain health, you may have been blessed with a child, your child who ran away may have returned home, all these are joyful no doubt, but they are trivial in nature. They will get scattered and lost. We are wasting our dharma. We are wasting and diluting our bhakti in this manner.
We should not behave thus. Instead we should accumulate and store our result. Even if some good or joyful event comes your way, do not link it to your meritorious deeds. Do not think that it was the outcome of your good deeds. Perform every action without expecting any result. “I do not seek anything. Only with extreme love and devotion I am chanting or reading this holy book. I want to love and revere my God.” Think in this manner.
Of what use are these actions if there is no devotion (bhakti) and dedication towards the Lord? What is the benefit from your meritorious deeds when love towards God is absent? When all these trivial expectations are given up, then the true result of liberation is attained. Liberation is the true and most suitable result for adhering to dharma. All others are trivial results. Only liberation is the true result.
“My chanting paid off. My task is complete”. If you look up to good deeds only to give you temporary materialistic benefits, then you will stop your good deeds once result is attained. “O Lord irrespective of whether my problem is solved or not it does not matter. Give me the strength to withstand the problem. Let my mind never deviate from Your holy feet. Help my mind to be fixed at Your feet”, this should be the prayer. Never seek trivial results.
We will keep recollecting this message time and again. I will keep repeating this again and again. Even after listening to this many times we are unable to realize our mistakes. Therefore again and again one should recapitulate this message. This is just like standing in front of the mirror many times in a day. Morning afternoon and evening you stand in front of the mirror. Every time you have to go out you check your face in the mirror. Why do you need to check your facial beauty so many times in a day? In the same manner every moment recollect this message. I will keep reminding you many times about this. Do not wonder- why is Swamiji repeating this same message every time? I feel it is not enough to preach it once.
Everyone should be alert in this matter. We have to be very cautious. Attaining liberation is the most auspicious and rightful fruit of dharma! In the same manner the purpose of ‘artha’ (materialistic earnings) should solely be adherence to dharma (righteousness) and it should not be for ‘kāṃa’ (fulfillment of desires)!
One of the meanings of artha is earning money. Thus the sole and only purpose of earning money is to use it for dharmic activities and it should not be used for satisfying desires. This is what out Maharishis dictate. We have understood dharma. We are now trying to understand what artha is. What should be done with money earned?