|Canto 7: The Science of God||Chapter 13: The Behavior of a Perfect Person|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.13.31
arthaiḥ kāmaiḥ kriyeta kim
ādhyātmika-ādibhiḥ — adhyātmika, adhidaivika and adhibhautika; duḥkhaiḥ — by the threefold miseries of material life; avimuktasya — of one who is not freed from such miserable conditions (or one who is subjected to birth, death, old age and disease); karhicit — sometimes; martyasya — of the living entity subjected to death; kṛcchra-upanataiḥ — things obtained because of severe miseries; arthaiḥ — even if some benefit is derived; kāmaiḥ — which can fulfill one's material desires; kriyeta — what do they do; kim — and what is the value of such happiness.
Materialistic activities are always mixed with three kinds of miserable conditions — adhyātmika, adhidaivika and adhibautika. Therefore, even if one achieves some success by performing such activities, what is the benefit of this success? One is still subjected to birth, death, old age, disease and the reactions of his fruitive activities.
According to the materialistic way of life, if a poor man, after laboring very, very hard, gets some material profit at the end of his life, he is considered a success, even though he again dies while suffering the threefold miseries — adhyātmika, adhidaivika and adhibhautika. No one can escape the threefold miseries of materialistic life, namely miseries pertaining to the body and mind, miseries pertaining to the difficulties imposed by society, community, nation and other living entities, and miseries inflicted upon us by natural disturbances from earthquakes, famines, droughts, floods, epidemics, and so on. If one works very hard, suffering the threefold miseries, and then is successful in getting some small benefit, what is the value of this benefit? Besides that, even if a karmī is successful in accumulating some material wealth, he still cannot enjoy it, for he must die in bereavement. I have even seen a dying man begging a medical attendant to increase his life by four years so that he could complete his material plans. Of course, the medical man was unsuccessful in expanding the life of the man, who therefore died in great bereavement. Everyone must die in this way, and after one's mental condition is taken into account by the laws of material nature, he is given another chance to fulfill his desires in a different body. Material plans for material happiness have no value, but under the spell of the illusory energy we consider them extremely valuable. There were many politicians, social reformers and philosophers who died very miserably, without deriving any practical value from their material plans. Therefore, a sane and sensible man never desires to work hard under the conditions of threefold miseries, only to die in disappointment.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness