Radhanath Swami Answers: Suppose you achieve your goal, you achieve the position you are longing for, you achieve the popularity and prestige you always wanted, and you achieve wealth, house, car and children — everything perfectly the way you always wanted. Yet, even if one thing goes wrong in your life, you cannot enjoy any of what you have achieved. You simply suffer. That is the nature of the world. The reality is, at any given moment, whoever you are, whatever you have achieved, there are unlimited varieties of ways in which material nature can create something that goes wrong in your life and make you suffer.
Radhanath Swami quotes from Srimad Bhagatam: “This world is a place where there are dangers at every step.”
Radhanath Swami gives an example: Sometime ago I visited a very wealthy person in India. His house was beautiful, made completely of pure white marble. The gate keepers were better dressed than most Presidents of nations. The big beautiful doors were of teakwood and bedecked with golden ornaments. The floors, the walls, and the ceilings were of marble with handmade engravings on them. And in the hallways there were very beautifully carved statues from Italy, from Germany and from different parts of India. There was so much furniture in the house and every piece was like a throne built for a king.
At the elevator, a beautifully dressed man pressed the button for me. And when we got to the fifth floor, another doorkeeper opened the door and I went into this beautiful room with chandeliers and wonderful silken furniture. There I found the owner of the house. And he was crying! He was totally miserable because he had a boil on his foot. He said, “This boil on my foot is so painful. I have all these big doctors whom I am paying thousands of rupees, but they cannot make this boil go away.” He said, “I cannot enjoy anything in my house because of this boil. My mind is just completely occupied with the pain of this boil. At this point I will be willing to trade everything I have to take this boil off my foot.”
- Radhanath Swami