Suppose a beggar, who has never seen anything more valuable than currency notes, gets a priceless jewel as alms. Unaware of its value, he puts it aside and keeps begging. Tragic, isn’t it?
Vedic wisdom suggests that most modern humans are like this beggar. All of us are souls transmigrating in various human and subhuman species. All species crave for material pleasures, a craving that makes them wretched like a beggar.
A beggar’s state has three characteristics:
What he wants is not in his control; he cannot force people to give alms
Most of the time, he doesn’t get his wants; most people neglect beggars
Even when he gets his wants, he never gets it as much as he wants. No beggar can become a millionaire by begging.
The sensual pleasures we want depend on many conditions beyond our control. For example, we can enjoy food only when we are healthy, peaceful, the cook is expert and the server is polite.
Most of the time, we don’t get the pleasures we crave for.
For example, how many people can afford all the jazzily advertised food products they desire?
Even when we get sensual pleasures, they are never as much as we want, because, the body inescapably limits our enjoyment.
For example, even if a glutton is allowed to eat free in a five-star hotel, can he enjoy eating continuously lifelong? All bodily pleasures are flickering, whereas our craving is everlasting.
This poverty is imposed on us by our material desires. Fortunately we are now given human bodies, which are like priceless jewels. Why?
As souls, beloved children of the supreme millionaire, God, we are entitled to unlimited happiness. We are eternal, and so is God. Consequently when we love Him, we eternally rejoice in divine love. Only in human bodies do we souls get the intelligence to choose to love God instead of material objects. Just as a jewel, when offered to a jeweler, yields immense wealth, similarly the human body when offered in devotional service to Sri Krishna, yields everlasting happiness. And the most easy and effective form of devotional service is chanting the holy names.
Unfortunately, as we currently know no happiness other than material, we unwittingly put our advanced human intelligence aside and continue seeking animalistic sensual pleasures. Therefore, great sages like Srila Prabhupada, who know the true value of the human body, tirelessly invite us to give up begging for sensual pleasures and be reinstated in our princely spiritual status by chanting.