Growing organic produce, like these purple Japanese eggplant, is easy, profitable and a sober reminder of the temporary nature of material existence. The young plants suffered through 15 weeks of rainy weather amidst days of scorching summer heat.  Next came  repeated infestations of  flea beetle attacks which skeletalized the leaves, Somehow the plants survived those onslaughts and eventually grew to nearly six feet tall. Beautiful magenta colored flowers attracted pollinator bees and wasps.  flourished and yielded bushels of marketable eggplants.

The life cycle of an eggplant and that of a human being are similar experiences. Their iridescent purple hue attracts farmer market shoppers like bees to honey. Then, he weather turned cold, they stopped producing fruits and we tore them out of the ground just as the first frost hit the Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast region. That heap of plants just behind Bhakta John and Bhakta Steve is the evidence of the last of six bodily transformations.  directly behind Bhaktas John and Steve is a wagon full of eggplant we had to yank out of the ground with great force. Like a dying old man, attached to his family and wealth, the eggplant root systems were holding on to dear life.  the last change of the body, death.

After heavy rain showers, the fields and forests in all directions appear green and healthy. Thus they resemble a man who has undergone severe austerities for some material gain and has achieved his end, for such a man is strong, hearty, and good-looking.

The greenery of the rainy season is but a temporary show.

It looks very pleasant, but we must remember that it will not last. Similarly, there are persons who undergo severe austerities for some material gain, but those who are sane avoid this. Severe austerities for temporary gains are simply a waste of time and energy.

Material loss and gain are destined in accordance with the formation of each particular body. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and each type of body is destined to enjoy and suffer in accordance with its particular formation. The bodily enjoyments and sufferings of a wealthy man’s son are different from those of a poor man’s son. Although no one undergoes severe austerities to obtain distress, it comes upon us uncalled. Similarly, the happiness we are destined to enjoy will come upon us even without our desires. Even though we may be able to avoid distress and artificially enjoy some material happiness by temporary achievements, this represents no factual gain in life. Our duty is to achieve permanent happiness and eternal life, and it is for that purpose only — for the ultimate gain — that we should undertake all sorts of penances and austerities.

– Srila Prabhupada, Light of the Bhagavata (Verse 4)



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