Śrīla Gurudeva: You have decorated this room like Vṛndāvana, the forest of Vṛndā.
Anaṅga-mohinī dāsī: Yes.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are here, and also Gaura-Nityānanda. You have made it like Vṛndāvana.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Good morning, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Last night I read your opinion about the economic crisis.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Oh, yes.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Although I could not understand it fully, I can tell from what I did understand that it is a good suggestion for solving economic problems.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Thank you, Gurudeva. I wanted you to be proud. The Financial Times is the top newspaper on this subject in the world.
Śrīla Gurudeva: They placed so much value on your opinion.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Yes; it was very sweet, and I was happy. Thousands of people write to this newspaper, the Financial Times.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Will you be writing more papers?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Yes, if I have something intelligent to say. If not, no.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: What was the opinion you expressed?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: I said that the pollution in the world occurred because carbon emissions are not properly priced, and therefore the pollution aspect is not priced. There should be more tax. If you have oil, you should pay more tax; if you are emitting industry carbon, you should pay more tax.
Anaṅga-mohinī dāsī: He often listens to my opinion, but this is his own special opinion.
Śrīla Gurudeva: I thought that you had given him this opinion.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: The article suggested that President Obama draw parallels between our world’s dependence on hydrocarbons and, in the 19th century, our world’s dependence on slavery. Given that he is a black president, this would resonate. These two economic dependencies exhibited several similarities. First, they led to immorality, injustice, and suffering. Second, they were defended by strong vested interests. Third, they caused political instability.
The abolition of slavery may have harmed some short-term interests, but ultimately led to more economic growth. Employers had to invest in more machinery rather than rely on free labor, and this led to having more consumers to sell to.
Hydrocarbons cannot be abolished, but they can be taxed to reflect the pollution they cause. Higher costs for hydrocarbons would create predictable pricing, thus boosting investment in alternative energy. Such investment would lead to a predominance of alternative choices.
As with slavery, such political action is thwarted by the powers of vested interests, who profit from the status quo. But, as with slavery, the economic damage suffered by these vested interests would be dwarfed by the benefits to society globally. There would be less pollution, there would be ecological benefits, the dangers of sudden increases in energy costs would be assuaged, and the bankruptcy of international relations dependent on oil production would be exposed and antiquated.
Śrīla Gurudeva: How is my business doing?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Mixed, Gurudeva. Some places are stable, some have problems, and some are prosperous. We have many companies – in Spain, Argentina, Montenegro, Turkey, and Morocco. For example, Morocco is not doing so bad; it is okay. Spain is difficult, and Argentina is good. So it is mixed.
Śrīla Gurudeva: You have bought some land in Argentina?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Yes.
Śrīla Gurudeva: For what purpose?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: To develop and then sell it. We are also thinking of doing farmland in Brazil.
Śrīla Gurudeva: You have a big company.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: It’s big. Yes. We are in seventeen countries, Gurudeva.
Anaṅga-mohinī dāsī: Our business used to have forty people, and now it has twenty.
Śrīla Gurudeva: How are the employees doing? Are they free of complaints?
Anaṅga-mohinī dāsī: They don’t complain. They want to meet you, Gurudeva.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: They are all coming to meet you tomorrow.
Anaṅga-mohinī dāsī: We told them that it is your business, so they are coming to meet you. You are like the chief CEO.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Chairman.
Śrīla Gurudeva: There is good progress in the Navadvīpa construction. The construction workers are now making the domes, and the temple is almost complete. After that, they will install the cakra and flag, as well one kalaśa.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: How big is the cakra?
Brajanāth dāsa: It is as big as the one on top of the dome at our Govardhana temple.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Bigger. And vaṁśī, the flute, will also be installed on one of the domes.
Yaśodānanda dāsa: It is the biggest temple in Navadvīpa. Is that right?
Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes. The biggest in Navadvīpa. It is also bigger than our temple at Govardhana.
Will you be coming to Italy?
Yaśodānanda dāsa: Yes. I will be flying with you, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Once, Nārada Ṛṣi went to the royal palace of a great king. The king welcomed him, washed his lotus feet, and began to offers prayers. Nārada Ṛṣi kindly told him, “Now you are old. What will you ultimately gain from your kingdom and money? And after death, what use will you have for this palace? Can you take with you your kingdom, palace, queen, sons, or any farthing from this place?”
The king answered, “No, I cannot take anything.”
Nārada asked, “If you cannot take anything from this world, why are you working so hard day and night like a donkey? You work all day and night without sleep.
“O King, no one can become happy by money, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, or anyone or anything else. Try to realize that you are soul, that the Supersoul resides in your body, and that you are not this body. If you are the body, then why is it that when the soul leaves the body, the body cannot speak, move, think, or perform any activity?
“So don’t waste your time in material pursuits. Give your king-dom to your son. Come with me at once to Vṛndāvana, to chant and hear and meditate on the sweet pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. By doing this you will achieve prema-bhakti very soon. You will be liberated from this world, and you will go to serve Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana. There is no death, no birth, no suffering there – only the eternal happiness of serving Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.”
Hearing this, the King exclaimed, “My eyes have been opened. I no longer want to be in this kingdom with my family. I will give this up at once and come with you to Vṛndāvana. There, on the bank of the Yamunā, I will somehow maintain my life by begging, and I will do bhajana.”
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva is referring to King Suvarṇa Sena.
Śrīla Gurudeva: The king did this, and after some time he was liberated. In his next life, perhaps, he entered into Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes and, after that, he went to Goloka Vṛndāvana.
We must gradually give more and more importance to bhakti. Worldly persuits cannot save us. If you cannot give up worldly attachments, then somehow maintain your life and at the same time practice bhakti-yoga. By this, you will surely become happy.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2009”]