tapyanta ugram tapa aindriye dhiyah
rte bhavat-pada-parayanan na mam
vindanty aham tvad-dhrdaya yato ’jita
mat-praptaye—to obtain my mercy; aja—Lord Brahma; isa—Lord Siva; sura—the other demigods, headed by King Indra, Candra and Varuna; asura-adayah—as well as the demons; tapyante—undergo; ugram—severe; tapah—austerity; aindriye dhiyah—whose minds are absorbed in thoughts of superior sense gratification; rte—unless; bhavat-pada-parayanat—one who is wholly and solely engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet; na—not; mam—me; vindanti—obtain; aham—I; tvat—in You; hrdayah—whose hearts; yatah—therefore; ajita—O unconquerable one.
O supreme unconquerable Lord, when they become absorbed in thoughts of material enjoyment, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, as well as other demigods and demons, undergo severe penances and austerities to receive my benedictions. But I do not favor anyone, however great he may be; unless he is always engaged in the service of Your lotus feet. Because I always keep You within my heart, I cannot favor anyone but a devotee.
In this verse the goddess of fortune, Laksmidevi, clearly states that she does not bestow her favor on any materialistic person. Although sometimes a materialist becomes very opulent in the eyes of another materialist, such opulence is bestowed upon him by the goddess Durgadevi, a material expansion of the goddess of fortune, not by Laksmidevi herself. Those who desire material wealth worship Durgadevi with the following mantra: dhanam dehi rupam dehi rupa-pati-bhajam dehi. “O worshipable mother Durgadevi, please give me wealth, strength, fame, a good wife and so on.” By pleasing goddess Durga one can obtain such benefits, but since they are temporary, they result only in maya-sukha (illusory happiness). As stated by Prahlada Maharaja, maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan: [SB 7.9.43] those who work very hard for material benefits are vimudhas, foolish rascals, because such happiness will not endure. On the other hand, devotees like Prahlada and Dhruva Maharaja achieved extraordinary material opulences, but such opulences were not maya-sukha. When a devotee acquires unparalleled opulences, they are the direct gifts of the goddess of fortune, who resides in the heart of Narayana.
The material opulences a person obtains by offering prayers to the goddess Durga are temporary. As described in Bhagavad-gita (7.23), antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam: men of meager intelligence desire temporary happiness. We have actually seen that one of the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to enjoy the property of his spiritual master, and the spiritual master, being merciful toward him, gave him the temporary property, but not the power to preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. That special mercy of the power to preach is given to a devotee who does not want anything material from his spiritual master but wants only to serve him. The story of the demon Ravana illustrates this point. Although Ravana tried to abduct the goddess of fortune Sitadevi from the custody of Lord Ramacandra, he could not possibly do so. The Sitadevi he forcibly took with him was not the original Sitadevi, but an expansion of maya, or Durgadevi. As a result, instead of winning the favor of the real goddess of fortune, Ravana and his whole family were vanquished by the power of Durgadevi (srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka [Bs. 5.44]).
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