By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
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’s of species of life. Therefore, as recommended here: nārthasya dharmai-kāntasya. [This recommendation is for the] dharmaikāntasya – not for the irreligious demons, but for those, who are actually religious, dharmaikāntasya. Your money should not be free, should not be spent unnecessarily for sense gratification. Formerly, this was the civilization in India.
We see so many big, big temples in South India, and in other places also, such as Vrindavana, but especially in South India. At the present moment, it is not possible to construct such huge, expensive temples. But actually, they were done by rich kings, rich mercantile people. That Madana-mohana temple (in Vrindavana) was constructed by a Sindhi merchant. He approached Sanātana Goswāmi, who was sitting underneath the tree, and his Madana-mohana was hanging in the tree. He had no place, no temple, no cloth. Madana-mohana was asking Sanātana Goswāmi that “Sanātana, you are giving Me dried bread, without even salt. How can I eat?” So Sanātana Goswāmi replied, “Sir, I cannot go to ask for salt. Whatever I’ve got, I offer You. I cannot help.” This was their talks. So, one salt merchant came, a Sindhi salt merchant, he was passing from Vrindāvana to Delhi side, and he offered his service, and Sanātana Goswāmi asked him to construct the temple of Madana-mohana. That temple is still existing, Madana-mohana’s temple. So this is the proper use. If you have got some money, don’t use it for constructing a big skyscraper building. Better you try to construct a very nice temple for Krishna’s situation. That is proper use.
So Sūta Gosvāmī said, nārthasya dharmaikāntasya kāmo lābhāya hi smrtah: don’t spend your hard-earned money for sense gratification. Then one may say that “After all, we have got this body, and we have to eat, we have to sleep. And because we have got senses, the senses must be a little bit satisfied.” “No,” Sūta Gosvāmī says, “it is not that you shall stop.” That is already explained. nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe. You eat in relationship with Krishna. Just like here, in this temple, what we are doing. We are also cooking. Others are also cooking at house. Then what is the difference? The difference is that we are cooking for Krishna; and others, those who have no Krishna consciousness—I don’t say everyone—they are cooking for themselves. Just like the hotel. In a hotel, they are cooking palatable dishes for the customer. So that is the difference. But Rūpa Gosvāmi says that “Dovetail with Krishna consciousness.” That is yukta vairāgya. Because in this human life we require to develop jnāna (transcendental knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation). So, if we dovetail our activities for Krishna’s service, that is yukta vairāgya. So here also it is said that nārthasya dharmaikāntasya kāmo lābhāya hi smrtah. We should not earn money for sense gratification.
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered on the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.8 in Bombay on 26-Dec-1972]