Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 5 - Chapter 1 - Verse 24


मुक्तस्ततो यदि बन्धाद्देवदत्त उपाच्छिनत्ति तस्मादपि विष्णुमित्र इत्यनवस्थिति: ॥ २४ ॥


muktas tato yadi bandhād devadatta upācchinatti tasmād api viṣṇumitra ity anavasthitiḥ.


Stealing or cheating another person out of his money, the conditioned soul somehow or other keeps it in his possession and escapes punishment. Then another man, named Devadatta, cheats him and takes the money away. Similarly, another man, named Viṣṇumitra, steals the money from Devadatta and takes it away. In any case, the money does not stay in one place. It passes from one hand to another. Ultimately no one can enjoy the money, and it remains the property of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Riches come from Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, and the goddess of fortune is the property of Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The goddess of fortune cannot stay anywhere but by the side of Nārāyaṇa; therefore another of her names is Cañcalā, restless. She cannot be peaceful unless she is in the company of her husband, Nārāyaṇa. For example, Lakṣmī was carried away by the materialistic Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa kidnapped Sītā, the goddess of fortune belonging to Lord Rāma. As a result, Rāvaṇa’s entire family, opulence and kingdom were smashed, and Sītā, the goddess of fortune, was recovered from his clutches and reunited with Lord Rāma. Thus all property, riches and wealth belong to Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29): “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the true beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, and He is the supreme proprietor of all the planetary systems.” Foolish materialistic people collect money and steal from other thieves, but they cannot keep it. In any case, it must be spent. One person cheats another, and another person cheats someone else; therefore the best way to possess Lakṣmī is to keep her by the side of Nārāyaṇa. This is the point of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We worship Lakṣmī (Rādhārāṇī) along with Nārāyaṇa (Kṛṣṇa). We collect money from various sources, but that money does not belong to anyone but Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa (Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa). If money is utilized in the service of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, the devotee automatically lives in an opulent way. However, if one wants to enjoy Lakṣmī the way Rāvaṇa did, he will be vanquished by the laws of nature, and whatever few possessions he has will be taken away. Finally death will take everything away, and death is the representative of Kṛṣṇa.