For many devotees, it may imply a gradual process – as we associate with serious and advanced Vaishnavas and become purified at heart, we develop a taste for pure devotional service and, proportionally, we lose interest in mundane pursuits and worldly goals in life. In this way, we gradually discover the source of a higher, transcendental joy and satisfaction far superior to the futile pleasures of mundane success.
The motto of materialistic life is enjoy now, pay later. Through the convenience of using credit cards, people are enticed into purchasing and consuming goods, even though they may not be able to afford them. This modern and artificial lifestyle is based on the fact that people cannot control their senses; the advertising and marketing machinery engages psychologists who perfectly know the art of luring people into satisfying their lusty desires and greedy longings, which are again further facilitated by the modern economic system of buying things on credit. Needless to say, this is only in the interest of the banks which are charging enormous interest rates, so that the gradually paid-off purchase ends up costing twice the original price. In this way, people are being caught in a whirlpool of consumerism, with their mind and senses never satisfied and always hankering for more.
It is interesting to clearly understand that consumerism is based on dissatisfaction – not satisfaction. If consuming goods had the potential to bring satisfaction, then people would have arrived at a point of satiation and subsequently would lose interest in acquiring the latest products. However, practical experience shows that no matter how much people have – they always desire more. Krishna confirms this in His Bhagavad-gita (3.39), explaining that lust can never be satisfied and burns like fire.
In this connection, we can find another powerful statement in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (8.19.21):
"The Personality of Godhead said: O my dear King, even the entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one’s senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled."
In the name of economic progress, people are literally being cheated: They fall prey to their uncontrolled senses and greed, and the unscrupulous economic system snatches their hard-earned money out of their pockets. In this way, the modern lifestyle based on consumerism continues, leaving people disturbed, frustrated, distressed, miserable and, above all, always unsatisfied.
As devotees, we should remain alert and guard ourselves against being victimised by these modern trends and attitudes towards life, as they are damaging to our spiritual development. With sharpened intelligence, we must see through these materialistic schemes, understanding well their implications and effects on our consciousness.
On the 7th of June I flew to San Diego/California....
Your servant, Devaki dd