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Published on April 13th, 2014 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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It is Very Difficult to Escape from the Material World

In the previous verse (Bhagavad-gita 7.13) we have seen Krishna explain to His friend Arjuna that here, in the material world, everyone is enchanted by the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Because of this influence of the three modes of material nature the people of the world are bewildered and blinded so they can not know Krishna who is beyond the modes of material nature.

After describing this almost hopeless conditon of the people of the world Krishna continues:

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it. (Bhagavad-gita 7.14)

So although it is very difficult, almost impossible to overcome the three modes of material nature, for a devotee who is actually surrendered to Krishna overcoming the modes of material nature and crossing over them, going back home back to Godhead, becomes very easy.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has innumerable energies, and all these energies are divine. Although we, the living entities, are part of Krishna’s energies and are therefore divine, due to contact with material energy, our original superior power is covered. Being covered by material energy, we cannot possibly overcome its influence. Both the material and spiritual natures, being emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal.

We, the living entities, belong to the eternal superior nature of Krishna, but due to contamination by the inferior nature, matter, our illusion is also eternal. The conditioned soul is therefore called nitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned. No one can trace out the history of his becoming conditioned at a certain date in material history. Consequently, his release from the clutches of material nature is very difficult, even though that material nature is an inferior energy, because material energy is ultimately conducted by the supreme will, which the living entity cannot overcome.

Inferior material nature is defined herein as divine nature due to its divine connection and movement by the divine will. Being conducted by divine will, material nature, although inferior, acts so wonderfully in the construction and destruction of the cosmic manifestation. The Vedas confirm this as follows: “Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Mahesvara, the supreme controller.”

Another meaning of guna is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated.

Therefore, only Lord Krsna, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature. Devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, can help one gain such release. Krsna, being the Lord of illusory energy, can order this insurmountable energy to release the conditioned soul. He orders this release out of His causeless mercy on the surrendered soul and out of His paternal affection for the living entity who is originally a beloved son of the Lord. Therefore surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only means to get free from the clutches of the stringent material nature.

The words mam eva are also significant. Mam means unto Krsna (Visnu) only, and not Brahma or Siva. Although Brahma and Siva are greatly elevated and are almost on the level of Visnu, it is not possible for such incarnations of passion and ignorance to release the conditioned soul from the clutches of maya.

In other words, both Brahma and Siva are also under the influence of maya. Only Visnu is the master of maya; therefore He can alone give release to the conditioned soul. The Vedas confirm this in the phrase tam eva viditva or “Freedom is possible only by understanding Krishna.” Even Lord Siva affirms that liberation can be achieved only by the mercy of Visnu. Lord Siva says: “There is no doubt that Visnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.”

So the summary is that the material energy, the three modes of material nature, although they are the inferior energy of Krishna, still the material energy is the energy of Krishna and therefore it is divine and also very, very strong. Because of this strong bewildering power of the material energy it is practically impossible for anyone to escape from the material world. However for a devotee who surrenders to Krishna, overcoming the modes of material nature and crossing beyond the material world to the spiritual world becomes very, very easy.

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32 Responses to It is Very Difficult to Escape from the Material World

  1. Vishal says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    Tomorrow there will be a solar eclipse. I want to know whether eclipse is auspicious or inauspicious? Whether we can see it or not with appropriate eye-glass?

    • Sorry, eclipse is gone now. Eclipse is inauspicious and we should not see it actually. But if you do see it then chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna…

  2. pillalamarri satyanarayana says:

    23 Nov. 2015

    Hare Krishna Prabhu

    Dear Sirs: Namaskarams.

    I read with interest your Newsletter. You rightly said about the material world and its bondage to the human beings is inescapable. I well understood the following summery of the newsletter.

    Quote:

    However for a devotee who surrenders to Krishna, overcoming the modes of material nature and crossing beyond the material world to the spiritual world becomes very, very easy.

    Unquote

    As an ordinary human being with many weaknesses towards material world, I pray Lord Krishna sincerely and try to follow the spiritual guidelines to the extent possible to overcome such material bondage. Your Newsletter is a good inspiration to me with devotion to Lord Krishna to guide me at all times.

    Hare Krishna Prabhu.

    P. Satyanarayana. ISKCON Life Patron

  3. sushma ananthapadmanabha says:

    thanks a lot prabhuji
    Your clear explanations on how to surrender to lord starting from initial stages ,made my confusions less.. I’ll honestly try for that..
    hare krishna sushma.

  4. Sri Sri Lisa says:

    are there any devotees who are school teachers that would have suggestions for using spiritual principals without being overt. I want to improve behavior, of course, and just thought maybe like-minded teachers with experience could offer some suggestions.

    • You have to get the students to hear and chant Hare Krishna and get them to taste Krishna prasadam and get them to hear, read and discuss Srila Prabhupada’s books. These are the ways to help them advance in Krishna consciousness. If you want them to advance in spiritual life actually you have to engage them in these activities. There is no other way.

  5. Gates kenjale says:

    Hare krishna prabhuji,
    I have been very much impressed from your regular email. I read them thoroughly. Thank you very much

  6. shruti says:

    I would like to know if somebody has had a glimpse of spiritual world and sees lord in everything ,what should be his next step?I mean that is the ultimate goal of human life and after experiencing God, there is no desire or goal that possibly motivates the person to work or study or perhaps enjoy any activity per say.Pursuit of any aim seems meaningless and futile.How should a person find meaning in life on this earthly plane?

    • Hare Krishna Shruti

      We can only serve. That is all. That is what we do. So it is not a question of getting a glimpse of Krishna. No. It is a question of being engaged in the service of Krishna 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That is the purpose of our lives eternally. To be eternally constantly engaged in the service of Krishna under the direction of a pure devotee of Krishna. That is all. If we are fully engaged in serving Krishna under the direction of a pure devotee of Krishna that is the perfection of our lives.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  7. raju Kalita says:

    Nice to motivate and reconnected to Sri Krishna

  8. Joe Milosch says:

    Hi, I have let the email of this article, sit undeleted in my Inbox, so that everyday, when I check my mail, I get reminded of it.
    My original question, was going to be “Why can’t one achieve liberation from say Satyaloka, Brahma’s home planet?”. Or any planet higher up in the material world. But on a re-read, I see the article specifically stating that Brahma’s and Siva’s home planets are in the material world, and under the infulence of maya.
    But now my question becomes, why Earth? Why do all souls need a human incarnation on earth, in order to attain liberation? Is it a test to decide their our true merit?
    I recall reading something from Prabupada, that even the residents of Brahma and Siva’s home worlds, envy us, mere mortal humans, because we get the chance to leave the material world. But they, must still reincarnate at least one more time on earth to be liberated.
    So what is so special about earth? Is it the closest to the Vaikunthas? Mention of the Vaikunthas has me thinking, can you move forward
    toward Krishnaloka once you attain a presence in the Vaikunthas? What I mean is, if your soul is not good enough to be with Krishna, on Krishnaloka, but you still make it past the Brahman Effulgence into the Vaikunthas, do you ever have to come back to earth?
    Hare Krishna, and may Visnu guide me to the Truth.

    • Hare Krishna Joe

      It is not that it is impossible to go to the spiritual world from the heavenly planets. But it is more difficult than on Earth. Earth is a middle planet. So although basically the whole material world is suffering there are some apparently pleasing aspects some some apparently painful aspects.

      So here on Earth we see both sides of the coin. We get to experience both the suffering and the so-called enjoyment. Whereas on the hellish planets there is only suffering and the people are just struggling always there and in the heavenly planets there is almost always material enjoyment. So both the constant suffering and the constant material enjoyment are not so conducive to spiritual advancement as the situation we have here on earth where we experience both the happiness and distress.

      Of course this Earth is special in this universe because it is only on this Earth planet that Lord Krishna and Lord Caitanya appear. There are other incarnations of Krishna that appear on other planets in the universe but Vrindavan, Mathura, Mayapaur, Navadvipa, these places are on earth. So we are very fortunate to have taken birth on Earth, particularly at this time, so soon after the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and we are so fortunate to have come in contact with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We do not understand how fortunate we are.

      We should take full advantage of this great fortune and become completely Krishna conscious in this life and go back home, back to Godhead…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  9. Namrata says:

    Jare krsna. Thank u for the beautiful explanation about krsna & his energies( maya & jiva) . But if we commit actions under the influence of the modes of nature, & repent later & surrender to krsna, still we will have to bear the consequences of the sins commited. Is there any fool proof way out of this cycle, or will krsna himself stand by us all the time?

    • Hare Krishna Namrata

      Krishna consciousness is a foolproof way out of the cycle of birth and death. And when we become Krishna conscious we will then be free from the influence of the modes of material nature, so when we are Krishna conscious there is no question of the modes of material nature. Krishna consciousness is transcendental to [above] the modes of material nature. So we have to become devotees, then we will be transcendental to the modes of material nature and we will not fall down. That is the only way out. To become actually Krishna conscious, actually transcendental to the modes of material nature.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  10. deepesh says:

    Respected master,
    I have a brother who had a terrible accident few years back and lost his both leg. By only this reason there is always a sorrow in all of our heart. There is nothing in this world that can make his this life normal, except Krishna Consciousness and i know it very well. But it’s not happening. So prabhu tell me, what can i do?

    • You have control over your own life, you do not have the control over other’s lives. So what you can do is you can become a pure devotee of Krishna yourself by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and actually following the instructions you find Srila Prabhupada giving you while you read them.

      Do not worry if your brother has legs or not. It is only the material body. We are not the material body. We are the spirit soul within. He can hear and he can chant so he can become Krishna conscious, legs or no legs. So you become a pure devotee of Krishna yourself and then you will have some spiritual potency and you can introduce Krishna consciousness to your brother also.

      But if he does not take it then that is not your fault and it does not matter. There are so many people. You can preach to anyone. This idea of family is maya, illusion. We have no particular connection to these family members. If they have no interest in Krishna consciousness then we have no interest in the family. That is all. Our interest is in serving Krishna and Krishna’s pure devotees. Not the family.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  11. vanshika says:

    Hare Krishna
    very nice explanations.
    thanku prabhu ji
    deep respect…

  12. Yogananda das says:

    Illuminating article, thank you Madhudvisa das Prabhu. I specifically loved the analogy “A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated.” Some curious aspirants accept a “guru” on sentiment, fashion or popularity, usually without being clear about one’s inner desires. I’ve always thought that if we do not check our material desires, we will be lead to materialistic teachers and so forth… Initiation by a truly liberated Guru is a very serious mutual commitment.

  13. yasharth says:

    what does surrender mean practically.should we give up our jobs and renounce?or what?kindly guide me?

    • No. Surrender does not mean giving up your job. Surrender means surrender to Srila Prabhupada and follow his instructions. I say it all the time. I am surprised you do not know it. The beginning of surrender is to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day and strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and to read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. This is the beginning of surrender. You have to do this, otherwise there is no question of spiritual life. And once you have surrendered to these points and are following them automatically Srila Prabhupada will guide you from his books and Krishna will guide you from within your heart and you will know what to do.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • yasharth says:

        Jai Shri Krishna!thank u so much Swamiji.now i know how to start.

  14. Devang says:

    Hare Krishna,

    Madhudvisa Dasa,

    The article is outstanding simply.

    Normally no one likes to surrender to anybody that is the basic nature. But the below quotes makes very clear why and to whom we should surrender.

    “A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated”.

    It also makes clear that we do not have otherwise any option then surrendering to lotus feet of lord as we are bound.

    Thank you very much.

    Hare Krishna

  15. DPS YADAV says:

    I have not been getting regularly your articles on “LORD KRISHNA”. I shall be grateful if the same are sent uninterruptedly. Kindly enlighten me on whether a person who has committed countless sins in his life one after the other and seeks the shelter of the lotus feel of Sri Krishna, can he be delivered from the sins committed by him.

    • Yes. A person who has committed countless sins for many lifetimes can immediately be freed from all of his past sins by Krishna consciousness. So become a pure devotee of Krishna and the reactions to all your past sinful activities will be cleared away.

  16. LAKKU RAMANAREDDY says:

    you are sending those e-mail ,keeping my with in the lord SriKrishna consciousness .
    Thank You

  17. Laxman Orashad Adhikary says:

    Respected Dasji,
    I have been very very much impressed from your regular email. I read them thoroughly.I want to see you
    personally. Will it be possible? I f possible,where and when. Please suggest me.
    Pranam

    • No. I am only available on email. You can see and meet Srila Prabhupada personally though, and he is so much, much better than me. Just get Srila Prabhupada’s books and read them…

  18. kvrangaswamy says:

    Respected Master,
    I agree. it is very difficult to escape from the three modes in this material world.You suggest to surrender,
    I would like to know how to surrender, Is it by thinking of Visnu or Krishna in our mind always or by reading books on Krishna,What is the way to surrender? Please explain in detail. I am your Shishya and want to know more about Krishna, By reciting Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Mantra 16 times a day,
    I read the article and it is very nice to read but how to follow to reach Krishna abode.
    Regards,
    Hare Krishna K.V.Rangaswamy

    • Hare Krishna

      You have to find a bona fide spiritual master and surrender to him. I suggest you find Srila Prabhupada by reading his books and surrender to him.

      It is not ’16 times a day’ it is 16 rounds a day. One round of the Hare Krishna mantra is:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      chanted 108 times

      So 16 rounds is the Hare Krishna mantra chanted 16 * 108 = 1728 mantras

      It takes 2-3 hours, it usually takes me at least 3 hours.

      So you can start with these things. Strictly following the four regulative principles: no illict sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication, chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. If you actually do these things you will find that everything becomes clear for you and Krishna will help you from within your heart.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  19. R.RAMACHANDRAN says:

    It is very easy to know krishna through this article

    • Narendra Tirumale says:

      If God could be known through one article He would be a very small person.
      But to know Him as The Supreme Personality of God Head but still approving the smallest of the smallest things is the cue.

      Naren

  20. R.RAMACHANDRAN says:

    It is very each to know krishna through this article
    thanks



About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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