By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Without artha, without money, how can we live? That is also explained here, nārthasya dharmaikāntasya kāmo lābhāya hi smrtah (SB 1.2.8). You require money, that’s all right, but not for sense gratification, not for going to the cinema. Here in Bombay city, people are earning money, lots of money. But we see there are lots of cinemas advertised — there are hundreds and thousands of cinema houses— and people go there and spend their money. They’re standing for three hours, four hours to take a ticket for going to the cinema. Therefore, actually those who are striving to be religious for getting relief from this hard struggle for existence, for them arthasya, you require some artha, money… Nārthasya dharmaikāntasya. If you are actually religious, then your artha should not be spent for sense gratification. Na arthasya dharmaikāntasya kāmo lābhāyo hi smrtah. Kāmah means sense gratification. It should be properly utilized. If you have got money, that should be properly utilized, not for sense gratification – wine, women, and hotel, and cinema. No. Then by your artha you are going to hell.
Chanakya Pandit, the great politician, he says… He was not a…, he was a religious brahmana, but he was not for salvation—he was more or less a politician—still he says, san-nimitte varam tyāge vināśe niyate sati. If you have got some money, it will be spent up. In your life or your next life, your son’s life, it will be spent up. Vināśe niyate sati: that is the nature’s way. Suppose you earn crores of rupees. It will not stay after one generation or after two generations. It will not stay, because in this material world, Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, is called cancalā. She does not remain at one place. We have got experience. Today one man is very rich; next generation is no longer rich. That is also applicable nation wise.
Just like we have seen British Empire. While I was in London I was thinking that “These Britishers brought money from all parts of the world, by business or all other means.” I saw in front of St. James Park, Lord Clive’s statue. Very, very nice buildings, but it is now difficult for them to repair. That opulence has gone. They have lost their empire. No more income, sufficient income. This is the nature of material world. So many empires were there. There was Roman empire, there was Carthaginian empire, there was Mogul empire, there was British empire, and so many empires. They are no longer existing. Sometimes when I pass by the side of the Red Fort, we see the apartments of the great Mogul emperors in Red Fort, they are now lying vacant. So, this is the material nature.
Therefore, Chanakya Pandit advises, san-nimitte varam tyāgo vināśe niyate sati: “If you are actually religious, then don’t spoil your money for sense gratification.” Use it for sat kāryam. Sat kārya means for service of Krishna. Om tat sat param brahma. That is Vedic civilization. If money comes, you don’t hate it. Welcome it. But it should be used properly. That is proper use. If you use your money properly, then you make your path parapavarga, clear. And if you misuse your money, then you become again entangled in the 8,400,000 of species of life.
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.8 in Bombay on 26-Dec-1972]