By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Just like a nation feels itself well-protected when the nation has got good defense measures, similarly, an ordinary man, he thinks that “If I have got a strongly built body and a very faithful wife and nice children, some good bank balance, some land and property, security, then these things will give me protection. Yes, they will give protection. I am now well-protected. I have got nice children. I have got nice wife. I have got good bank balance. I have got so many properties. So why shall I go to Krishna consciousness? I am well-protected. These boys and girls, who have no bank balance and no home, they should go to Krishna consciousness.”
But they are blind. How are they blind? They are thinking that these things will give them protection. Pramatta means crazy. By craziness he is thinking that “These things will give me protection.” Tesām pramatto nidhanam paśyann api na paśyati. Because he is crazy, he does not see the destruction of these things although he is seeing others, that they are being destroyed every moment. “My father has died. Naturally I shall die. Naturally my sons will also die. So why am I so much anxious of protecting this family? Everyone will die.” Paśyann api na paśyati. They see, but still do not see.
They see daily that “I am working so hard for these things, but these things will be destroyed, as they have been destroyed previously in the history.” So many empires were destroyed. The British Empire destroyed, the Roman Empire destroyed, the Indian Empire destroyed – formerly…, just like Parikshit Mahārāja – he was the emperor of the world.
They see that “They cannot give me protection. When I shall be called for death… At that time (at the time of death), all these soldiers – my bank balance, my good wife, my good children, my good countrymen – nobody can give me any protection.” Just like when you have to fly in the sky, you have to protect yourself. If you are being crushed in the airplane, no other airplane can protect you. You’ll have to come down from the sky.
Similarly, when death will come, none of you will be able to give me protection – either my good state or good family or good bank balance or good this, that. No. That’s all. Finished! You see?
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the SB 2.1.1-5 in Boston on December 22, 1969]