Devotee: "What profiteth a man who gains the whole world but he loses his eternal soul?"
Prabhupāda: That's it. That should be the aim. That we are eternal soul. We must be again replaced in our eternal life. But if you forget this mission of life and simply become engaged how to become happy in this material world, how to avoid distress and how to get happiness... People are engaged in that way. Simply trying to get happiness and avoid distress, and forgetting that he has got a mission of life, to realize his self and go back to home, back to Godhead. This is the defect of the modern civilization.
So... bahir-artha-māninaḥ. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi... matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām. So their conferences, their United Nation, their scientific advancement, their educational system, philosophy, and so on, so on, everything is meant for how to become happy in this material world. Gṛha-vratānām. The aim is how to become happy here. And that is not possible. These rascals they cannot understand. If you want to become happy, then you must come to Kṛṣṇa. Mām upetya tu kaunteya duḥkhālayam aśāśvataṁ nāpnuvanti (BG 8.15). Kṛṣṇa says, "If somebody comes to Me, then he does not again get this place which is full of miseries," duḥkhālayam. This material world is explained by Kṛṣṇa as duḥkhālayam. Ālayam means place, and duḥkha means distress. Everything is distressful here, but fools being illusioned, covered by the illusory māyā, that distress he accepts as happiness. That is māyā. It is not at all happiness. A man is working whole day and night, and because he's getting some paper where it is written, "We trust in God. Take this paper, hundred dollars. I cheat you." Is it not? "We trust in God. I promise to pay you. Take this paper now. Not even one cent worth. It is written there hundred dollars." So I am thinking I am very happy: "Now I have got this paper." That's all. Cheaters and cheated. This is going on.
So we should not be disturbed by the happiness and distress of this material world. That should be our aim. Our aim should be how to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness. How to execute. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given very simple formula:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
(CC Ādi 17.21)
In this age, Kali, you cannot execute any severe austerity or penances. Simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That also we are not able to do. Just see. How unfortunate we are. So this is the position of the Kali-yuga. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā upadrutāḥ (SB 1.1.10). They are very rascals, manda. Manda means very bad, manda. And sumanda-matayaḥ. And if they want to improve something, they will accept some rascal Guruji Mahārāja. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayaḥ. And some party which has no bona fide contribution, they will accept that: "Oh it is very nice." So first of all they're all bad, and if they accept something, that will also be very bad. Why? Unfortunate. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyāḥ (SB 1.1.10). Manda-bhāgyāḥ means unfortunate. And above that, upadrutāḥ. Always disturbed by taxes, no rains, no sufficient food. So many things. This is the position of Kali-yuga. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu said... It is in the Vedic literature, that you cannot do the yoga practice, meditation or offering big, big sacrifices or construct big, big temples for worshiping the Deity. It is very, very difficult nowadays. Simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, and gradually you'll realize how to become immortal.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 21, 1973)