“Victory is always with persons like the sons of Pandu because Lord Krishna is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present, the goddess of fortune is also there because the goddess of fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore, victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna, as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Vishnu, or Lord Krishna.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 1.14 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
The spiritual guide says that renunciation is the key. The Sanskrit word is vairagya. This means the absence of attachment. A teacher is required because otherwise seeing the benefit of giving up the pursuit to gather stuff is not so easy. The idea is that there will be more happiness when there is less to think about. More stuff essentially results in more problems.
I’ve heard the advice. I’ve accepted it. I understand its validity. There is one problem, though. I can’t shake my material desires. I want money. I think I will be happier as a result. If I earn a certain amount, I can breathe easier. As much as I hate to admit it, I like fame. I prefer to have people say nice things about me. I enjoy wearing new clothes. I want a big, spacious house.
In Vedic culture there are so many options for worship. There are different paths a person can follow, as well. Even in this situation, where I can’t get rid of material desires, the wise choice is to worship Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the personal side to the Divine; He is God the person instead of God the energy or God the abstract. While usually the object of worship for those who have renounced material desires, Vishnu is fit to be honored by every kind of person.
1. He is the most opulent
Another name for Vishnu is Bhagavan. This Sanskrit word refers to a person who possesses every fortune, to the fullest extent and simultaneously. One of those fortunes is aishvarya, which is opulence. Vishnu is essentially the wealthiest person in the world. This is because He owns the entire universe, which He creates by merely exhaling.
“The gigantic form of the Maha-Vishnu is the source of generation for innumerable universes. Innumerable universes are coming out of His exhaling breath, and the same universes are going back in with His inhaling breath.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 23)
If I seek wealth, it makes sense to approach someone who has the most of it. Vishnu is a Divine figure, which means that He can be worshiped. Just maybe He will be kind of enough to give me benedictions. Perhaps those benedictions will include some of the fortune that He possesses.
2. He is married to Lakshmi Devi
Another word to describe Vishnu is atmarama. This refers to a person who is satisfied in the self. He doesn’t require anyone’s association to feel happy. Still, Vishnu is not alone. He is married to Lakshmi, who is known as the goddess of fortune.
The aishvarya of Bhagavan is shared with others through the favor of Lakshmi Devi. Essentially, God is married to fortune personified. It is through her that amazing wealth can be bestowed on those who are chosen to receive it.
3. His association is purifying
You go to the store. You want to purchase a specific item. You make the required payment. You then leave the store with the item. That is the extent to the interaction. The nature of the store doesn’t really matter. It is a business transaction, after all. The store owner doesn’t ask how you will use the specific item. There are no character judgments made.
By approaching Vishnu to satisfy material desires, there is a purifying effect. It occurs through the association alone. Other kinds of worship do not have the same benefit. It is for this reason that asuras, those of bad character, will worship other devas, or gods, first. They will stay away from Vishnu; lest their nature be changed.
4. He might say “no”
This is one way that Vishnu purifies. I may desperately want this brand new car. I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. It travels swiftly. You will be driving over seventy miles per hour and on the inside it feels as if you are driving thirty.
Interaction with other devas is like visiting the store. The lone requirement is the ability to pay. With Vishnu the requests are assessed. If the car that I want will bring me great harm in the future, Vishnu will say “no.” Even if I have worshiped properly, done tremendous austerities and the like, there is no guarantee that I will get what I want.
5. He looks after the devotees the more pure they become
The assessments are made in terms of the impact on devotional life. With Vishnu the worship continues, because it is the worship that brings tremendous joy. Vishnu is all-opulent, and in His original form of Krishna He is all-attractive. The joy from worshiping God the person is more than the fulfillment of any material desire can bring.
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form - to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
Vishnu grants or denies requests to the devotee and then looks after them. He supports the devotional life, and so He might take away things that obstruct. The devotee may not be happy with the results at first, but if they stay on the path then soon their material desires and every other unwanted experience will vanish, clearing the path for the blissful devotional life.
For higher benedictions to earn,
In which spiritual direction to turn?
With many devas plentiful a test,
But Vishnu worship considered the best.
Created world, by His expansion carried,
And to goddess of fortune married.
The requests for impact assessing,
Discrimination most wonderful blessing.