Published on June 16th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Life’s Only Goal

As living entities we are eternal, and hence the desire for permanent happiness should be our prime motive. Yet we souls change millions of bodies, going up and down the fourteen material planetary systems, chasing after illusory peace and pleasures, expending huge amounts of blood and energy.

Our objective is not the temporary peace and happiness available in the material world. As living entities we are eternal, and hence the desire for permanent happiness should be our prime motive. Yet we souls change millions of bodies, going up and down the fourteen material planetary systems, chasing after illusory peace and pleasures, expending huge amounts of blood and energy. The permanent peace and happiness we demonically run after eludes us constantly; we do not know where real peace and happiness are available. As Prahlada Maharaja says in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.25),

In this material world, every living entity desires some future happiness, which is exactly like a mirage in the desert. Where is water in the desert, or, in other words, where is happiness in this material world?

In search of truth we become deviated and, taking shelter of the boat of the material body and mind, travel aimlessly in the ocean of material existence, with no land in sight. Mercilessly tossed about, we brood, “In the dispensation of providence, man cannot have any rest.” If only we knew that our ultimate destination is Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead! Then we could end our suffering. To dispel our ignorance about this fact, Lord Krsna has informed us that we must perform all activities as a sacrifice for Lord Visnu’s satisfaction. The Rg Veda confirms this: “Lord Visnu is the Supreme shelter of everything. All the demigods are constantly meditating on Him.” Thus we see that the demigods also consider Lord Visnu’s lotus feet their supreme destination, and they become liberated simply by performing all activities for His pleasure. One who wants release from the vicious karmic cycle must have Lord Visnu’s lotus feet as his final objective. Otherwise, he will have to become demoniac.

The followers of the varnasrama way of life, or sanatana-dharma, are now being called Hindus. Their forefathers, especially those who belonged to the upper castes—the brahmanas, ksatriyas, and vaisyas—centered their lives on Lord Visnu. In every stage of life, especially in the householder stage, people worshiped Lord Visnu in their homes, performing devotional service for His satisfaction. A few very devoted souls continue to do so even today. They collect money only for the Lord’s service. The money buys grains and vegetables, which they cook with devotion and then offer to Lord Visnu. Later the devotees honor this prasadam, the Lord’s mercy in the form of food, by eating it. In all these activities Lord Visnu is the enjoyer, and one seeks to please Him. In the past, the times were conducive to such activities, and even now they are practiced in many places. Actually, such devotional service is applicable to everyone, to all places, and to all times.

Lord Visnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the goal of everything. Performing all works for His satisfaction is the only way to open up the path of liberation from the cycle of fruitive action, or karma. It is recommended that all progressive and beneficial activities be executed for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord, Visnu.

Echoing the words of the scriptures, the learned sages proclaim “the attainment of Lord Visnu’s lotus feet is the same as becoming liberated.” The final step in the karma-yoga process is to satisfy Lord Visnu, at which point one’s own desires are automatically fulfilled. While delineating this point, Lord Krsna says that if work is not performed for His satisfaction, then all activities are tainted with sin and result in sinful reactions, which created havoc in society. In the Bhagavad-gita (3.13), Lord Krsna says, “The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is first offered for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.”

Preparing and eating food in the way just mentioned is service to the Supreme Lord, Visnu. Sometimes it may appear that some sin is being committed in its execution, but if one takes and honors the remnants of the sacrifice, or offering to Lord Visnu, then one is automatically exonerated from all binding reactions and becomes liberated. Though we may live very carefully, trying to avoid sins and strictly follow the path of nonviolence, still our lives are controlled by the cycle of karmic reactions. Hence, unwittingly we are forced to commit many kinds of sin. We commit so many sins in business transactions, common human dealings, daily chores, and especially political and administrative activities. It fine to vociferously support nonviolence, but in actual life one is compelled to commit acts of violence. One may succeed in avoiding many kinds of sin, but it is impossible to escape committing the five great sins called panca-suna. While walking on the street we may crush many ants to death against our wishes. While cleaning house, we may squash many insects to death. While grinding food grains or lighting a fire, we destroy many tiny lives. In this way, while executing our ordinary, daily chores we are forced to commit violence and take many innocent lives. Willingly or unwillingly, we commit sins.

Thus, when a religion fabricated by the human brain prompts one to embrace the path of nonviolence for its own sake, it inevitably gives advantage to one and difficulty to another.

It is impossible to be exempted from the adversities caused by mentally concocted beliefs. According to man-made laws, if one person murders another he is condemned to the gallows, but no action is taken against a man for killing animals. Such is not the law of providence. The law of God is such that it punishes the killers of both man and animals; both acts of murder are penalized. The atheists deny the existence of God because in this way they think they can commit sins unhindered. But all the revealed, authorized scriptures say that by killing innocent creatures, the householders commit many sins willingly or unwillingly while performing their normal daily activities. To get release from these sins, the householders are enjoined to perform certain sacrifices. Foremost of these is to eat and honor the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu. As for those selfish householders who cook food only for their own sensual pleasure and not for the service of Lord Visnu, they have to suffer all the sinful reactions incurred while cooking and eating. This is the law of providence. Therefore, to get rid of these sins, the followers of the Vedic religion dedicate their household activities to Lord Visnu’s service.

The leaders of society are therefore advised to perform devotional service for Lord Visnu’s satisfaction—both for their own benefit and for the benefit of those they lead.

As Lord Krsna says to Sri Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita (3.21), “Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” Because everyone follows their example, the leaders are required to carefully study the process of devotional service to Lord Visnu. This is their duty. Thus for the benefit of human society, there is a great need to construct universities that will impart knowledge of devotional service.
Alas! The times are such that those who are considered leaders and stalwarts of society are more viciously inimical to God than others. Therefore, what devotional service for Lord Visnu’s satisfaction can they perform? And if they cannot perform devotional service, then how will they gain release from their innumerable sins? If the stalwarts of society are not willing to declare that Lord Visnu is the omnipresent Absolute Truth, and that He is all-pervasive due to His being both a person as well as formless, then what can the lesser men, the man on the street, understand about this esoteric subject matter? The Supreme Lord is the sole proprietor of everything. We cannot take the position of the enjoyer and proprietor of this material world. Whatever the Supreme Lord mercifully gives us as His remnants, that alone should we accept. We must never desire another’s property. As the Isopanisad states,

Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”

Only when the leaders of society center all their activities on the Supreme Lord, Visnu, will these activities bring good fortune and benediction to the leaders themselves, as well as to their followers. But if the leaders avoid performing their activities for Lord Visnu and instead pose as Lord Visnu themselves—taking worship, wealth, and praise from their followers and returning the same to them as remnants—then others might become attracted by their pretentious renunciation and thus follow their path to doom. But nothing further will be achieved. Such leaders uselessly excite their ignorant sycophants, inducing them to perform many sinful activities. In this way such selfish leaders bring about their followers’ doom simply to increase their own distinction, adoration, and wealth. Unfortunately, the leaders do not know that these miniscule portions of distinction, adoration, and wealth will be burned to ashes with their death. But the sinful methods used to acquire these temporary material advantages will beget results, which will then very subtly mix with their subtle body, namely mind, intelligence, and false ego. And these results will later become the seeds of further sinful activities, which will entangle the soul in the cycle of karmic reactions birth after birth, forcing him go through many different species of life.

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

14 Responses to Life’s Only Goal

  1. Archishman Mishra says:

    I heard that if we chant bare foot and foot is touching the ground or floor then it works like antenna and the benefit reaches to earth and we don’t get benefitted. Is it true ?

    • Rubbish Rubbish Rubbish. Read Prabhupada’s books and hear from Prabhupada, a pure devotee of Krishna, and Krishna and Lord Caitanya and so many pure devotees who most mercifully appear in Prabhupada’s books.

      There is no point hearing from others, they only speak rubbish nonsense and speculation.

      Bhumi, mother earth, she is a devotee. It is very good to be in contact with her, with bare feet. Like we chant on Tulsi Japa beads, to keep in touch with Srimati Tulsi Devi, a pure devotee of Krishna. So very good to stand on Mother Earth with bare feet.

      That is the proper way. For example in Vrindavan and other holy places the tradition is to walk bare footed. So we are in touch with the holy ground that Krishna walked on…

  2. Archishman Mishra says:

    Is chanting by sitting directly on floor without any asana wrong ?

    • No. There are no rules when it comes to chanting Hare Krishna, there is no restriction as to time and place where you can or can not chant Hare Krishna. You can chant Hare Krishna anywhere and everywhere at any time in any conditions.

  3. Aman Pandey says:

    So everybody is in distress these days because they are not making sacrifices for Lord Vishnu….. time to chant Hare Krishna, that’s the easiest sacrifice to make in this age!

    • Yes. You are very correct Aman. This Sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books is the only way to counteract the bad effects of Kali-yuga. We are not doing it, so Kali-yuga is marching on with full force.

    • abc says:

      In Kali Yuga we lose power to use fire of sacrifice to make sacrifice to Vishnu (directly or indirectly through demigods) but the advantage is we can easily access highest stage bypassing all the nonsense of sense gratification through sacrifices directly to devotional service through chanting of Radha Rani (hare krishna) and krishna similarly for hare rama and rama

  4. kristen Quaker says:


    It has been three years that I am losing my dignity , my job, my relatives, income to take care of basic things in life like rent and groceries. I know you might say that it is all my fault that I am being repaid back according my karma, but prabhu h how do I implore Krishna to have some mercy on me and get me a breakthrough that I could earn livelihood for my family. Just recently I crossed all round of interview and I am still nowhere with regards to my work. Unemployed and in grief for c close to for years now. Why is my life so hard and painful. I wish to die but I am afraid what body would I get next life time. So I am alive to better my next life.

    I have been chanting but everything in my life is inching closer to survival. Why Krishna why? Why could not you give me a tiny breakthrough? Do you exist? Do I pray each day to a non existing God?

    Prabhu what should I do? I am moving towards ruin each day. Isn’t Krishna supreme controlleR? Why would he let suffer so much. Forget my body normalcy, am I not to fend for my family and child?


    • Hare Krishna Kristen

      Yes. This world is a miserable place. The only benefit is this human form of life is a great boat that we can use to cross over this ocean of ignorance and suffering and easily go back home, back to Godhead. That is the breakthrough you are looking for.

      Devotees accept everything as Krishna’s mercy. So you have time now. You can chant Hare Krishna. You can read Srila Prabhupada’s books.

      The thing is we have to do our best to do our duty and support the family, etc, but we can only get what we are destined to get by karma as you suggest. So we have to ‘make the best use of a bad bargain.’ Our prayer should be “Krishna please engage me in your service, please engage me in the service of your pure devotee Srila Prabhupada.” Like that.

      When we are truly engaged in the service of Krishna then there is no problem for the necessities of our life. We do not actually need very much. Some prasadam and a bit of space to lie down and take rest in the evening. And a facility for chanting Hare Krishna.

      So the point is you have to become a devotee and you will not be depressed and thinking like this any more.

      All your problems will vanish when you become an actual devotee of Krishna. And actual devotee of Krishna is not such an easy thing. We have to be prepared to undergo some tapasya. That tapasya means we have to voluntarily accept some suffering for the sake of advancing in Krishna consciousness. So we have to make a very serous vow that we will strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. This is just the beginning. We have to actually surrender to and really follow these basic points. And if you do this then you will find all the material anxiety and concerns do not bother you any more.

      We have to ‘do our duty’ but we can only do what we can do according to our karma and the position we find ourselves in. So do your duty but do not be concerned if things do not go very well or do not turn out the way you want them to turn out. It does not matter. We can not control the results. We just do the duty. So you can make some effort to maintain your family, etc, try your best, but do not become very anxious about this. We have the faith that Krishna will protect us ultimately. And if Krishna does not protect us that is also alright.

      But you know these feelings of a devotee we have to develop them actually. Devotee is detached from these things of the material world. Of course it may appear that he is living in the material world, but he has no concern actually with the material world, he is not bothered by it, he is transcendental to it.

      So it is a question of elevating your consciousness and transcending the material world. And that can be done by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, chanting Hare Krishna and following the regulative principles.

      The frustrating thing for me is I give the solution but people do not want to take the solution. If people are not prepared to surrender to these basic points, if they are not prepared to spend 2-3 hours every day chanting Hare Krishna, if they are not prepared to spend at least 1-2 hours a day reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, if they are not prepared to strictly follow the four regulative principles, then they can not become Krishna conscious. It is not possible. They will remain suffering in the material world. But as soon as one becomes actually Krishna conscious he transcends the material world and there is no more suffering or anxiety for him.

      So the solution to is to become Krishna conscious. The method of becoming Krishna conscious is very perfectly described by Srila Prabhupada. So read Srila Prabhupada’s books and become Krishna conscious and all your problems will be solved. It is the only way to solve your problems. There is no other way.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  5. gowri says:

    Hi, I would like to know 2 things :
    1) Can i read gayathri mathra at work place and morning what time is the best time ? Is it ok if i chant mantras at 5am ?

    2) My marrieage are being delayed because of my past life’s sins as per volaichudi…may i know what should i o the get rid of this sincs ?

    Finaly, would appreciate if you could email me these answers to my email add as im not able to view your web page at my place.

    Thank you

    • Hare Krishna!

      Best time for Gayatri mantra is sunrise. It is done 3 times daily, sunrise, noon and sunset. Personally I do after Mangal Aroti which is about 5:00 am, before lunch and before going to bed. So you can set up some practical schedule like that. But more important than gayatri is chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra at least 16 rounds a day.

      The only practical way to get rid of past sins in this Kali-yuga is chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra, according to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, (and He quotes this from the Brhad Nradaiya Purana), He says this is “the only way, the only way, the only way.” He repeats it three times for emphasis.

      So my suggestion to you is that you take up the chanting of:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      And that will solve all your problems.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  6. sanjay sinha says:

    How can I manage the time for family & for chating, presentaly I am doing four mala in a day, but I would like to increase , pls guide me how it is possibel after giving the sufficent time to my family member. I working with a MNC company.I have two kids son & daugter they are 17 & 13 year old. I am not able to manage the required time for all. pls help me.

    • Best thing is to get up early in the morning when everyone else is sleeping and chant Hare Krishna then. That way you still have time to do the things you need to do. It requires a bit of practice and determination. But it can be done. And that is the best time of the day for spiritual activities, the Brahma-Muhurta, 1.5 hours before sunrise. So it is better to be out of bed and chanting Hare Krishna then and there are no time conflicts with the family or work in this way.

    • abc says:

      Keep trying you will work a schedule i failed for many many years before succeeding in making a working schedule

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