yathā vārtādayo hy arthā
yogasyārthaṁ na bibhrati
anarthāya bhaveyuḥ sma
pūrtam iṣṭaṁ tathāsataḥ
yathā—as; vārtā-ādayaḥ—activities like occupational or professional duties; hi—certainly; arthāḥ—income (from such occupational duties); yogasya—of mystic power for self-realization; artham—benefit; na—not; bibhrati—help; anarthāya—without value (binding one to repeated birth and death); bhaveyuḥ—they are; sma—at all times; pūrtam iṣṭam—ritualistic Vedic ceremonies; tathā—similarly; asataḥ—of a materialistic nondevotee.
As professional activities or business profits cannot help one in spiritual advancement but are a source of material entanglement, the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies cannot help anyone who is not a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
If one becomes very rich through his professional activities, through trade or through agriculture, this does not mean that he is spiritually advanced. To be spiritually advanced is different from being materially rich. Although the purpose of life is to become spiritually rich, unfortunate men, misguided as they are, are always engaged in trying to become materially rich. Such material engagements, however, do not help one in the actual fulfillment of the human mission. On the contrary, material engagements lead one to be attracted to many unnecessary necessities, which are accompanied by the risk that one may be born in a degraded condition. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.18):
“Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.” Especially in this Kali-yuga, material advancement means degradation and attraction to many unwanted necessities that create a low mentality. Therefore, jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā: since people are contaminated by the lower qualities, they will lead their next lives either as animals or in other degraded forms of life. Making a show of religion without Kṛṣṇa consciousness may make one popular in the estimation of unintelligent men, but factually such a materialistic display of spiritual advancement does not help one at all; it will not prevent one from missing the goal of life.
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