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(Click to enlarge painting of Alexander the Great)

Prabhupāda: People are going on in the name of nationality, big leaders, but from our point of view, that neither as nation or community or person you are the proprietor of things. Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of... so if you expand your selfishness in the name of nationality—"I possess this land"—we do not approve. We say, īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam. Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. Why you are claiming yourself, as nation or individual or community? That's not proper.

Just like pickpocket and a gang, gangsters, organized rogues, thieves. It does not change the quality. There was some talk, you know, between Alexander the Great and the robber. The robber proved that, "You are a greater robber, that's all. Why you are trying to punish me?" Alexander the Great arrested one robber, and he was going to punish him. So the robber explained that, "Why you are punishing me? You are also a robber. You are going under the name of conqueror, and because I am not as great as you are, therefore you are trying to punish me. So why you are...?" So Alexander the Great, he was very, mean, highly advanced in... he immediately released him: "Yes. I am also a robber. Why shall I punish you?"

So every... stenayor sa ucyate. Everyone in this material world, one who has no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he's a thief, he's a rogue, he's a robber. Everyone. Just like the Americans. They occupied the land of America by killing the Red Indians, and now they are claiming proprietor, and there is immigration department: "Nobody can come here. It is our land." This is going on. The first thing is stolen property, everyone. There is another story. A group of thieves stolen some things, and when they were dividing, one of them: "Kindly morally divide. Morally divide. Honestly divide." The thing is taken dishonestly, and they are dividing honestly.

This is going on, whole world. Everything is taken dishonestly, and when there is question of division, the United Nation honestly divides it. The association of the honest men, United Nation. All plunderers, rogues, thieves, and they have made an association, United Nation. You see? (laughs) Basically they're all rogues and thieves. As soon as there is opportunity, they'll commit all criminal activities. And they're doing.

So this is not philosophy. So here happiness by material possession is the happiness of the rogues and the thieves. One who is happy by possessing some material things, he is no better than rogue and thief. And one who is renouncing, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, he is a fool. Because how... what you are renouncing? When did you possess it? If you possess something, then you can say, "I renounce it." But if you do not possess, then where is the question of renouncement? So both of them are wrong.

There... there are three kinds of so-called spiritual happiness, brahma-sukha, brahmānanda. Three kinds of ānandajaḍānanda, brahmānanda. Jaḍānanda means material. As karmīs are trying to possess more and more, more and more—"Let me possess, let me possess"—this is jaḍānanda. Today I have got, say, one lakh of rupees. Idam adya mayā labdham imaṁ prāpsye punar dhanam (BG 16.13). This is stated, the asuric vicāra. "Today I have got so much money. And tomorrow I am going to increase it to so much." Ko 'sti āḍhyo 'yam. "I am the richest." This is karmī's conception. And jñānīs, because they're fed up, so they say, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: "This world is false." Grapes are sour.

You know the story, jackal? He wanted to take the grapes, jumping, jumping, jumping. When he could not get it, he says: "Oh, grapes are sour. I have no necessity. I have no necessity." Similarly, these rascals, they renounce the world. What renouncement? What you had, you are renouncing? This is also wrong. The real happiness is sevā. "This is Kṛṣṇa's, and it must be used for Kṛṣṇa's purpose." That is real happiness. Actual, that is the fact. The same example: If you pick up one hundred rupees' note, if you pocket it, then you are a thief. If you don't touch it, then it will be lost; somebody will take it. You pick up and give to the original proprietor, that will be satisfaction. That is Vaiṣṇava philosophy.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Calcutta, January 29, 1973)
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Alexander the Great and the Robber