Many people adopt a materialistic lifestyle without considering its implications. A materialistic worldview implies that we have come from nowhere because we didn’t exist before birth; we will go nowhere because we won’t exist after death; and while we live, we are successful if we get more things than others. Ultimately, our life has no more meaning than the trash in a river. Like trash, we will be swept away by the waves of time.
This conception of life is so gloomy as to be unbearable. We try to deny it by busying ourselves in getting more and more material things to feel good about ourselves. The resulting frantic race leads to brutal competition in which people inhumanly trample on each other to get first to their dream goalposts. Materialism makes us see others not as persons but as factors in achieving our materialistic goals. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita (16.09) deems the materialistic worldview soul-destroying.
When we recognize materialism’s pernicious consequences, we start exploring spirituality. For such spiritual seekers, the Bhagavad-gita stands ready to share an inspiring and transforming worldview. It explains that we are at our core indestructible souls, and our life is meant for a glorious purpose: the evolution of our consciousness towards eternal ecstatic love for the all-attractive source of all existence, Krishna. We evolve by cultivating service attitude towards Krishna and towards everyone in relationship with him. This service-centered vision of life benefits us not just in the next life but also in this life: it helps us find increasing inner contentment by connecting us with Krishna. And it empowers us to become truly humane, for it reveals others to be our partners, not competitors, in our shared spiritual journey.
Thus, what fosters and fulfills our humanity is not materialism, but service-centered devotional spirituality.