Normally the more materialistic a person is, the more sinful activities they perform, especially in the present day and age. So therefore, in the next life it is very unlikely that a rich person is again going to be rich unless he actually performs spiritual activities. It’s says that a devotee who fail to complete their spiritual activities, they can take birth as a son or daughter of a yogi, of a brahmana, or a rich vaisya. So some people they may take birth even in wealthy family. That’s to give them an opportunity to engage in spiritual life, because they have no material worries. But anyone knows that in the modern day that someone is born in a very wealthy family they become very pampered, very what they call, foot loose and fancy free, accustomed to just doing whatever they want, going anywhere, and especially in the modern… they run so many bad habits because of that.
Like in the South what they call, filthy rich or something. Even though they are wealthy, their character becomes rotten because of uh, not having proper association. So this is a problem, that someone may have had spiritual credit from their previous birth before in a wealthy family, not have material… any material problem, but due to the present materialistic period they get sucked into all kinds of uh… uh, materialistic activities, intoxication, gambling, illicit sex, and so on… meat eating. So even though a person might have had some devotional credit, because otherwise uh… thus causing one to get that type of a pious birth. If one is born with wealth, good looks, with uh, an education or any aristocratic family. That is considered to be result of any previous pious activities of previous births, and some of the people may be devotees from their previous life.
When they come in contact with devotional service they become immediately attracted, that is the symptom that have performed devotional service in their previous life. Some people when they come, they are not so much attracted, they have to… it’s just like pulling teeth, they have… by association, they may also become devotees, but for them it is very difficult to practice the sadhana. Even people might be friends, one person may not be a devotee in the previous… another person may have done hardly any devotional service, so even though someone may have been a devotee for ten lives, and therefore been a full devotee, just always been doing something, but not very perfectly. But today they may be able to advance very rapidly, because one will take off where one leaves off, while another person who is actually having very little credit from previous lives, but then it might be more of a struggle. They have to take the mercy given by a pure devotees, and then they can also make rapid advancement, by mercy of guru and vaisnava, or even if someone is born in a good situation because of having been a devotee in the past, one has to be very careful because of course even for the short time we are in this material uh, wealthy family for instance, we may get so many bad habits, and we may adopt an enjoying attitude, which would be a impediment for in advancing in Krishna consciousness.
H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj
1984, 30 th May, SB Class, New Orleans @ USA