As we contemplate the state of things in the world to-day, we are very deeply impressed and oppressed with the prevailing malady of spiritual blindness. Due to the contact with material senses and illusory energy our vision becomes blurred and we are unable to see the crystal clear existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
There is a insightful pastime about Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. He had a touchstone with him, and this gem was left in a pile of refuse. A needy man took it, but later on wondered why the valuable stone was kept in such a neglected place. He therefore asked him for the most valuable thing, and then he was given the holy name of the Lord. In Sanskrit, 'Akincana' means one who has nothing to give materially.
A factual devotee does not give anything material to anyone because he has already left all material assets. He can, however, deliver the supreme asset, namely the Personality of Godhead, because He is the only property of a factual devotee.
The touchstone of Sanātana Gosvāmī, which was thrown in the rubbish, was not the property of the Gosvāmī, otherwise it would not have been kept in such a place. From this specific example we can encompass that material hankerings and spiritual advancement do not go well together. Unless one is able to see everything as spiritual in relation with the Supreme Lord, one must always distinguish between spirit and matter. A spiritual master like Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, although personally able to see everything as spiritual, set this example for us only because we have no such spiritual vision.
The ultimate spiritual vision is to see God through eyes of love. This will occur when we absorb ourselves in devotional service. When we chant the holy names and engage our mind and senses in glorifying Him, serving Him, these are direct experiences of the spiritual energy within the material world. The scriptures promise that if we engage in pure devotional service, the Lord will reveal Himself in our heart and give us the intelligence to see Him everywhere.
H.G. Mathura Vasi Devi Dasi