So jijñāsu. There are four kinds of men who come to God. They are all pious. The first is ārta. A common man, if he's pious, if he's in distress, he prays to God, "My dear Lord, kindly rescue me from this difficulty." But he's to be considered as pious, because he's approaching God for relief. Arthārthī, those who are poor, they are going to temple or church for some money, praying to God. They are also pious. And jijñāsu. And one is philosopher, inquiring "What is God? Let us study." Jñānī, those who are learned scholars. So those who are searching after God, trying to understand God, who are approaching God for some difficulty, approaching for some relief, all these persons who are approaching God some way or other, they are pious. And one who is denying the existence of God, trying to make solution by his own knowledge, they are all called asuras. Duṣkṛtinaḥ, miscreants, narādhamāḥ, lowest of the mankind, mūḍhāḥ, rascals.
- na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
- prapadyante narādhamāḥ
- āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
- (BG 7.15)
One can say, "There are so many big, big philosophers, scientists, they do not recognize existence of God. Then what about their knowledge?" They... Kṛṣṇa says, māyayāpahṛta-jñānāḥ, "Their knowledge has no value. Actual essence of knowledge has been taken away by the māyā."
So therefore dharma means one should be very serious to get out of this material conditional life. That is real dharma. Nārthāya upakalpate. Not that simply we go to temple or church and ask God for some material benefit. Arthāya, dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90). These are called catur-varga. That is... In the Vedic civilization a human body, or human being, is recognized when he's interested in these four things: dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa. First of all, dharma. Without religious life, animal. What is the value of? Dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ. Anyone who has no religion... It doesn't matter what religion he's following, he must follow some religion. It doesn't matter whether Christian religion, Hindu religion, or Buddha religion, and this religion. It doesn't matter. He must have some religion. Then he is human being. And religion means... Generally, they understand that "If I become religious, pious, then my life will be nice. I'll get my subsistence." Actually, that's fact. Dharma artha. And why do we want artha, money? Kāma, for sense gratification. We require money for sense gratification. And when we are baffled in sense gratification, then we want mokṣa. When one cannot get sufficiently by trying dharma, artha, kāma, economic development and sense gratification, still we are dissatisfied, then sometimes we give up this world: brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, "This world is mithyā, false." That is not actually giving up the, renouncement, giving..., or renunciation. Renunciation means you should give up your process of sense gratification and apply yourself very seriously in the service of the Lord. That is called renunciation.
That is explained in the Eighteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā. Karma-phalaṁ tyāgaṁ sannyāsam. Sannyāsa means karma-phalaṁ tyāgam. Everyone is working in this material world to get some result. The result must be there. Either you work piously or impiously, there must be result. So those who are not devotees, they will enjoy the result. So they're entangled. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ (BG 3.9). "If you do not work for Yajña, Viṣṇu, then whatever you are doing, you are being bound up by the reaction of such work." Suppose you have done pious work. Now you are elevated to the higher planetary system or you become rich man's sons. Because by pious activities we get four things: janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrī (SB 1.8.26). Janma, to get birth in nice family, rich family, aiśvarya, janma aiśvarya. Nice family means opulent, rich, riches, aiśvarya. Janma aiśvarya śruta, and learning, education also. This is also... Not that everyone is becoming very learned. But one who was pious in his past life or in this life, they can be benefited, nice education also. And śrī, and beauty. These are the results of pious activities. And just the opposite is due to impious activities: no riches, no beauty, no knowledge, no good family.
So pious and impious activities, this is going on. Generally, people understand dharma by these. But here Bhāgavata says, "No. Dharma, religious principles, should be executed to nullify..." Hy āpavargyasya. Dharmasya hy āpavargyasya na arthāya upakalpate. "Not for material benefit." Material benefit... Either you become poor or rich, you have to undergo the tribulations of this material existence. Because you are rich man, you cannot avoid death. Because you are rich man, you cannot avoid hard working. Because you are rich man, you cannot avoid fearfulness. So the same thing is for the poor man. He's also working hard. It may be that he's not getting more money; you are getting more money. But getting more money, you have to work like ass and dog. So you cannot get out of these principles, either you become rich or poor. Generally, they understand that "By becoming religious, I shall be rich." That is fact; you can become. But what is the benefit? Suppose you are rich. Do you think that you will not die? Do you think that you will not be attacked by any disease? Do you think that you will not become old? So what is the benefit? But real religion means to nullify these principles. Dharmasya hy āpavargyasya nārtho 'rthāyopakalpate. Not that becoming religious I become richer, I become, I get so many material benefits. No. That is not. But you can say that "We require some money for existence." Yes, that's a fact, that's a fact.
Therefore, our principle is yāvad artham. You can earn honestly as far, as much as you require for maintaining your body and soul together. Don't earn..., don't work hard simply money, money, money, money, sweeter than honey. That is not life. That is cats and dogs life. They're simply working hard, just like ass, mūḍha. Mūḍha means ass. This mūḍha, this word is applicable to the worker, to the karmīs, because they are working very hard. But actually, what he's enjoying? When he lies down, he requires that six feet bedstead. That's all. Although he has got land, what you were saying? One person means they have owned the whole...?
Śyāmasundara: Twenty-five percent.
Prabhupāda: Twenty-five percent of the land. Suppose we owned the twenty-five percent of the whole world, but at the time of occupying the land I require only six feet? That's all. So they..., is he not ass? He knows that "I want only six feet land to lie down. Why I am trying to acquire the whole world? And working so hard?" That is ass. Similarly, I'm so working hard. What I am eating? Perhaps I am not eating. When I come home, I take a piece of bread and a cup of tea, bas, finished. But he does not think "Why am I working hard? I am not eating more. I am not occupying more place. I cannot enjoy fully sense gra..." Simply an idea: "More money, more money, more money." Therefore he's ass. Ass does not enjoy life, but works very hard. We have got... Several times explained. In India, the washermen keep an ass, and the ass bears ten tons of loads on the backside and goes to the ghāṭa, for washing ghāṭa. And he is let loose there, and a morsel of grass, a little, few pieces of grass. And he's eating there, standing, for again returning with ten tons of load. He is given freedom. He does not think that "Why shall I work so hard? This grass is available everywhere. I can go. Why I am working for this washerman?" But he has no sense. Therefore he is called ass. Similarly, all these karmīs, they are working so hard, but they are eating, say, two pieces of bread and a cup of tea or milk. That's all. Or something else. They have been collared.