ko ‘rthaù putreëajätenayonavidvännadhärmikaù
käneëacakñuñäkià väcakñuù péòaivakevalam
What is the value of a son who is neither learned nor religious? Such a son is compared to a blind eye that is only a source of pain.
The son should be either spiritually advanced, or at least a hero or a learned scholar. Such a son is a source of happiness for the family. Otherwise he is compared to a blind eye which only gives pain without providing any benefit for the body.
Of course, the first option, having spiritually advanced son, is better than the second. This is because Vedic culture values spiritual knowledge more than anything else. In our contemporary world money is valued above everything else because it can bring instant sense enjoyment and immense influence. The problem with the sense enjoyment however is that it is material and as such it is ultimately frustrating for the eternal spirit soul. This frustration is twofold: 1) the happiness we derive from satisfying the senses is heavily overrated by the materialistic propaganda; as a result we are always disappointed when we finally attain it, and 2) even when, by the will of the Providence, we achieve a satisfactory situation which we call “happiness”, it is temporary. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gita:
An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunté, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.
So then, what does a wise man do? He enjoys, too, but on a higher platform of existence. The happiness derived from the topmost spiritual activities of loving devotional service to God is much higher than the flickering material pleasures. It is both satisfying and eternal. As it is explained in the Padma and Bhagavata Purana:
The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Räma.
The happiness perceived with reference to the sense objects by contact with the body can be obtained in any form of life, according to one’s past fruitive activities. Such happiness is automatically obtained without endeavor, just as we obtain distress.