Published on July 9th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Advancement of Civilization Means Advancement of Sense Gratification. Bhakti Means the Opposite

Everyone in this material world is engaged in sense gratification. This is material world. And spiritual world means there is no question of sense gratification. Simply they want to satisfy Krsna. Just like Vrndavana. Vrndavana means there mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, Radharani, the gopis, the cowherds boys, Sridama, Sudama, the land, the water, the trees, the birds–everyone is trying to satisfy Krsna. That is Vrndavana.

Nitai: “Thus consciously engaged in devotional service in the association of devotees, a person gains distaste for sense gratification, both in this world and in the next, by constantly thinking about the activities of the Lord. This process of Krishna consciousness is the easiest process of mystic power; when one is actually situated on that path of devotional service, he is able to control the mind.”


bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyad
drsta-srutan mad-racananucintaya
cittasya yatto grahane yoga-yukto
yatisyate rjubhir yoga-margaih

So the whole process of understanding the Absolute Truth… Absolute Truth means the Supreme Person, the Supreme Being, Absolute. There is no contradictory. Krsna and Krsna’s name, Krsna’s form, Krsna’s activities, Krsna’s paraphernalia, Krsna’s attributes–everything Krsna. That is called Absolute Truth. There is no difference. Krsna and Krsna’s form is not different. Krsna’s hand and Krsna’s leg not different. Just like we have got difference: this left hand is different from the right hand; the nose is different from the ear. We have got. Because this is called sagata-vigata-vibheda(?). Krsna hasn’t got that thing. That is called Absolute. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita, angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti. Angani, we have got different parts of the body, limbs, for different purposes. But Krsna can serve any purpose from any limbs of His body. Krsna can eat by seeing only. Krsna can go by thinking only. There are so many description that Krsna is Absolute. So these contradictory things, how one can understand of the Absolute? He is absolute, advaya-jnana. Absolute means no duality; everything is one.

So viraga, bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyad. Here our material disease is that we want to satisfy our sense. This is material life. The whole material civilization is going on, we have repeatedly said… Advancement of civilization means advancement of sense gratification. That’s all. So bhakti means just the opposite. So, so long we are, I mean to say, very much interested in sense gratification, there is no question of bhakti. That is not possible. So we have to reduce the tendency for sense gratification by increasing our devotional activities. That is the process. Therefore it is said, bhaktya puman jata-viraga. Viraga, from where? Viraga means distasteful. Virakti. The other word is virakti: “No, no, I don’t like.” That is called viraga.

Raga means attachment, and vi means vigata. Vigata-raga. And from viraga–vairagya. Jnana-vairagya. This is wanted. Human life is meant for jnana and vairagya. Two things required. We are continuing this material existence on account of raga, attachment, attachment for sense gratification. That is the cause of material bondage. Material bondage means, we have explained several times, to accept one body, then create another body. We have got now this human form of body, and according to our, I mean to say, affection or infection to different qualities of the nature, we are creating another body. So in this way we are entangled. So unless we become viraga, viraga aindriyat, sense gratification… These different changes of body are being possible on account of sense gratification. Nature or God or Krsna will give me full facility. Just like in the Western countries especially, they are now trying to become naked, nudies. So nature will give them to stand naked like a tree, or tree, for many years. “You are so fond of become nudie. All right, you stand up here for ten thousand years without any dress.” Nature will give you. Those who have no discrimination for eating–“Anything, damn rascal, let me. Give me. I will eat it”–“All right, then you can take the body of a pig and eat up to stool.”

So nature will give you. Karanam guna-sango ‘sya.

purusah prakrti-stho hi
bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan
karanam guna-sango ‘sya

Why we are getting different bodies? Because we have got different tendency for sense gratification. Indriya, aindriyat. This is the disease, material disease. Everyone has got tendency for sense gratification, but not all of them of the same type. They have got different types. So our material bondage means these different types of sense gratification. Therefore we have to stop this. We have to be detestful from this sense gratification. Then our spiritual life will begin. That is possible by bhakti.

Therefore here it is said, bhaktya puman jata-viraga. Bhakti is so powerful that if you engage yourself in the bhakti-marga or bhakti-yoga… Here it is said, rjubhir yoga-margaih. Rjubhih means very easy to perform. How? Now, drsta-srutan mad-racananucintaya. Drsta. You can see Krsna. Krsna is kind enough. Although Krsna is beyond our vision–we cannot see with these eyes Krsna–but Krsna has agreed to be seen by you or by us. How? He has assumed this arca-vigraha. Krsna, this vigraha–don’t think it is stone. Even it is stone you think, but Krsna can become visible before you like a stone, because you cannot see beyond stone. That is Krsna’s mercy. Because your eyes or senses are so imperfect that you cannot see Krsna present everywhere in His original spiritual… We have got difference between spiritual and material. We have got because we are imperfect. But Krsna has no such distinction. Because He is Absolute, He can become spiritual, He can become material, as He likes. That does not make any difference of Krsna. Then how Krsna is almighty, all-powerful? He can change matter into spirit, spirit into matter. That is Krsna. So don’t think that, as the atheist class men, they think, that “They are worshiping an idol.” Even it is an idol, still Krsna. That is absolute. That is absolute nature of Krsna. Even you think it is stone, it is metal, it is wood, still, He is Krsna.

So how He is Krsna, that will require your bhakti. Here it is said, bhaktya, anucintaya. If you are thoughtful, if you are philosopher, and plus bhakti, then you will understand that even Krsna is present here just like a stone, but stone is also Krsna. How stone is also Krsna? Now, Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita,

bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

Me prakrtih: “It is My nature.” Bhinna me prakrtir astadha. So stone is another formation of earth. Earth, water, air, sky, mind, intelligence–they’re all Krsna. Because Krsna says, bhinna me prakrtir astadha. (aside:) That’s all right. Get up. Nothing is different from Krsna. Everything is Krsna’s energy. The Mayavadi philosophers, they think that “Because everything is God, everything is Krsna, then where is Krsna? Krsna is finished.” But actually that is not. Krsna is Krsna; at the same time, He is everything. That is Krsna. That we can understand by bhakti. Therefore it is said, bhaktya. Bhaktya. In Bhagavad-gita also, Krsna said, bhaktya mam abhijanati. These things can be understood not by ordinary person without any devotion. One who is bhakta, he can understand that Krsna is everything and everything is Krsna. Krsna is everything–that is drsta. When a bhakta sees a tree, he sees Krsna. That is bhakta’s vision.

It is explained in the Caitanya-caritamrta,

sthavara-jangama dekhe na dekhe tara murti
sarvatra haya nija ista-deva-sphurti

A devotee, sthavara-jangama… Sthavara means which cannot move. Just like tree, it cannot move, or a mountain, it does not move. And jangama means moving. Just like we are moving, animals are moving, and other, so many other, living entities, they are moving. So a advanced devotee, he sees both of them, the standing, immovable and movable, but he does not see immovable or movable; he sees Krsna. There is another statement in the Brahma-samhita, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. Sadaiva means always. Sada eva, sadaiva. Who sees? Now, one who is devotee, one who is fully absorbed in love of Godhead, premanjana-cchurita, or whose eyes are anointed with love of Godhead. Not this eye. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilo… That bhakti required. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. Santah, saintly person, sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. That is the position of santah, always seeing Krsna. He does not see anything else except Krsna everywhere, but in everything, everywhere, the energy of Krsna.

I will give you a practical example. If you love your child, if you see the shoe of the child, immediately you see your child. If you see the toy of your child, you see your child immediately. If you hear the voice of your child, immediately you see the child. This is practical. Similarly, if you have actually developed love of Krsna… And Krsna has explained that everything is expansion of His energy; therefore nothing exists except Krsna.

And if you have developed your love for Krsna, whatever you see, you will see Krsna. That is called bhaktya. Bhaktya, drsta, and sruta. Sruta means Vedic literature, sruti. You hear from authentic literature. Just like in the Brahma-samhita it is stated, cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam. Now, apart from Brahma-samhita, we have heard, devotees have heard, that Krsna in Vrndavana used to go with His cowherd boyfriends in the pasturing ground. So hundreds and thousands of devotees are there in Vrndavana. They have not seen, but they have heard. They have not practically seen, but they have heard only. And they have seen the picture of Krsna with His boys, cowherd boys, or gopi friends. So a devotee can see and hear and immediately realize Krsna. That is possible because he has developed love. Premanjana-cchurita.

Unless one is advanced in krsna-prema, love of Krsna, he cannot see. He cannot understand. There is another verse in the Srimad… Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. So these blunt senses… By these blunt senses even we cannot understand what is the name of Krsna, why these people are chanting Hare Krsna. We cannot understand. Atah sri-krsna-nam… Because Krsna realization begins from the name. Therefore name, Krsna’s name, and Krsna is not different, absolute, but we cannot realize. But the practice, if you practice chanting Hare Krsna, then you will realize. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah. When you actually, in devotional attitude, chant Hare Krsna mantra… Therefore it is advised that you should avoid the offenses in chanting. Then you will… By simply chanting Hare Krsna mantra, you will realize. Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Jihvadau. Now, krsna-bhakti begins from jihva, from the tongue. People will be surprised, “How is that?

” Yes. You can utilize your tongue simply by chanting and tasting krsna-prasadam. Then you will become krsna-bhakta.

Therefore it is so easy. Susukham kartum avyayam, in the Bhagavad-gita. Susukham kartum avyayam. To execute devotional service it is very easy and susukham, very nice and pleasing also. Just like this chanting and dancing. Even the child takes pleasure, what to speak of others? Others may be sophisticated, but a child is not sophisticated. When there is dancing and chanting, a child comes in front and he dances. Unless he feels pleasure, how does he do it? This is practical. He has not been taught, but he comes. As soon as he comes, he also takes part with the elderly person, chanting and dancing. And if you give him prasadam, he will also accept. Anyone will accept. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said susukham and kartum avyayam. Kartum avyayam. Avyayam means whatever little service you render, that is permanent settlement. If you come here and dance and chant or ring the bell or anything about the aratrika, if you see, drsta–anything you do, that is your permanent credit.

Therefore, for the common man, this chance is given. This temple is meant for that purpose, that people will come see the Deity. The Deity is Krsna. Don’t think otherwise. Krsna has agreed to be dressed by you. If you think of Krsna, about His virad-rupa, you will fail to bring dress for that virad-rupa. His head is on the sky; another leg is on the Patala. That is also true. But you cannot conceive of Krsna in His virad-rupa and at the same time dress Him and give Him something to eat. That is not possible. Therefore Krsna has become so merciful. Here, of course, the Deity is very big. Not very big. In Hyderabad we have got three times bigger Deity, like… But you can have a small Deity. Many Vaisnava, they carry Deity with them, a small Deity in a small box, and they worship. So Krsna… Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan. He can become bigger than the biggest and the smaller than the smallest. That is Krsna.

So real thing is bhakti, bhaktya. Therefore it is said, bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. And the more you serve Krsna, serve Krsna… You give Krsna to eat; you give Krsna to be dressed nicely. Then you will forget dressing of yourself. Now see these devotees. They are dressing Krsna so nicely, they are satisfied with that dressing of Krsna. They are not very much busy for dressing themselves. This is bhakti-yoga, viraga. Everyone is very busy how to dress himself very nicely so that he may be attractive, but if you try to dress Krsna nicely, then you will forget yourself how to dress nicely. Is it not practical? Anyone will agree. These Vaisnavas, these boys, they are young boys. The girls, they are… They don’t care for their dress because they are dressing Krsna. This is the way. You dress Krsna nicely. You give Krsna nice foodstuff. Then you will forget, “Oh, I will have to satisfy my tongue in this way and that way, by chop, by cutlet, by going to restaurant.” You will forget. Therefore it is called bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. The materialistic persons, they are simply busy for satisfying the senses. Go to the hotel; satisfy the tongue. Go to the cinema; hear the cinema song, see nice girls, and so on, so on. But these devotees, they are not interested at all. The cinema is here, a few steps away, but you will never see a student or a disciple of Krsna consciousness will go to that nonsense place. Practical you can see. Why it has become possible? Bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. It is practical. The more you engage yourself in devotional service, the more you will forget your sense gratification process. And as soon as you become completely detestful for sense gratification, then you are liberated person, fit for going back to home, back to Godhead. This is the process.

So the bhakti gives you chance to see Krsna, as you can see now. On this seeing or any other kind of seeing, they are the same thing. There is no difference. When Arjuna was seeing Krsna face to face–Krsna was teaching Bhagavad-gita–that seeing of Krsna and when you read Bhagavad-gita, it is the same thing. There is no difference. Somebody, they say that “Arjuna was fortunate enough to see Krsna face to face and take instruction.” That is not correct. Krsna, He can be seen immediately, provided you have got eyes to see. Therefore it is said, premanjana-cchurita… Prema and bhakti, the same thing. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. I will recite one story in this connection, that one brahmana in South India, in Ranganatha temple, he was reading Bhagavad-gita. And he was illiterate. He did not know neither Sanskrit nor any letter, illiterate. So the people, neighborhood, they knew that “This man is illiterate, and he is reading Bhagavad-gita.” He is opening the Bhagavad-gita, “Uh, uh,” like that he was. So somebody was joking, “Well, brahmana, how you are reading Bhagavad-gita?” He could understand that “This man is joking because I am illiterate.” So in this way, Caitanya Mahaprabhu also happened to be that day in the Ranganatha temple, and He could understand that “Here is a devotee.” So He approached him and He asked, “My dear brahmana, what you are reading?” So he could also understand that “This man is not joking.” So he said, “Sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gita. I am trying to read Bhagavad-gita, but I am illiterate. So my Guru Maharaja said that ‘You must read eighteen chapters daily.’ So I have no knowledge. I cannot read. Still, Guru Maharaja said, so I am just trying to carry out his order and opening the pages, and that’s all. I do not know how to read it.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that “You are crying sometimes, I see.” Then, “Yes, I am crying.” “How you are crying if you cannot read?” “No, because when I take this Bhagavad-gita book, I see one picture, that Krsna is so kind that He has taken the chariot driver, sarathi, of Arjuna. He is His devotee. So Sri Krsna is so kind that He can accept the position of a servant because Arjuna was ordering, ‘Keep my chariot here,’ and Krsna was serving him. So Krsna is so kind. So when I see this picture within my mind, I am crying.” So Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately embraced him, that “You are reading Bhagavad-gita. Without any education, you are reading Bhagavad-gita.” He embraced him.

So this is… How he was seeing the picture? Because he was a lover of Krsna, it doesn’t matter, he could read these slokas or not. But he was absorbed in love of Krsna and he was seeing, Krsna was sitting there, and He was driving the chariot of Arjuna. This is required, not that education. Bhaktya mam abhijanati. Krsna said, “Not by passing M.A., Ph.D.” Bhaktya: “Simply by bhakti.Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah. And bhaktya, the practical example, if you become pure bhakta, then you will forget all this material sense enjoyment. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat. This is the test of bhakti. But if you have got taste for material enjoyment and at the same time you advertise yourself that you have become a bhakta, that is not bhakta. One who knows who is a bhakta, immediately detect that “Here is not a bhakta.Ei dharma dadi.(?) He has got the tilaka and kanthi simply for advertisement. He is not a bhakta, because he has got material taste.

So the bhakti means bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. From indriya, this word has come, aindriya, “pertaining to indriya.” Everyone in this material world is engaged in sense gratification. That is the only… The cats, dogs and so-called civilized man is simply nunam pramattah kurute vikarma, doing all kinds of sinful activities. Why? Yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti, simply for sense gratification. Simply for sense grat… This is material world. And spiritual world means there is no question of sense gratification. Simply they want to satisfy Krsna. That is spiritual world. Just like Vrndavana. What is the picture of Vrndavana? Vrndavana means there mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, the Radharani, the gopis, the cowherds boys, Sridama, Sudama, the land, the water, the trees, the birds–everyone is trying to satisfy Krsna. That is Vrndavana. Vrndavana means nothing. When Krsna left Vrndavana for Mathura, all of them become dead. That is Vrndavana. Similarly, you can live always in Vrndavana, always in Vaikuntha, if you are mad after Krsna. That was the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By His practical example, He showed. When He was in Jagannatha Puri, He was mad always, day and night. Last twelve years of His life was passed in madness. Sometimes He was falling down on the sea, sometimes somewhere, sometime, day and night, just like mad. ^

So of course, that is not possible. But that is sunyayitam jagat sarvam. When you will find everything vacant, govinda-virahena me, without Govinda, that is the highest state of devotional service. But that is possible. That is possible, that bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyad drsta-srutan mad-racananucintaya. If you become a bhaktya, you will find… Anything, creation, you will find Krsna’s intelligence. If you take one flower and see the constitution, how this flower is made, how the color is displayed, how it has come into existence, if we are intelligent, we can see Krsna’s racananucintaya, how Krsna has created intelligently. That is premanjana-cchuri… Actually, it is created by Krsna. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. Don’t think like rascal, “It has come out automatically.” Does thing come outs automatically? Why not your luci, puri, and everything comes automatically? Why you have to take so much trouble? No automatically. It has Krsna’s hand, but you cannot see. You cannot see. But those who are learned, they can see. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate svabhaviki jnana. This is the Vedic instruction. Everything, in every creation, there is hand of the Supreme Lord. Isavasyam idam sarvam. But one who has got eyes to see, he can see Krsna, anucintaya, by thinking, by thoughtful, not like rascal, “It has come automatically.” Why? Nothing comes automatically. How it comes automatically? That is rascaldom. It has come through the intelligence of Krsna. But His power is so fine and so accurate that svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca. If you paint one picture of flower, you will have to arrange for so many things. Still, it will not be perfect. And this flower has come so perfectly. Does it mean there was no brain behind it? You nonsense. There is brain. And Krsna says that mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: “Don’t think prakrti, nature, is working automatically, no. Under My direction.” So one has to eye, one has to develop that eye.

Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. Then one can see how things are going on. That is required, bhaktya. Bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. This will be possible. ^

So as you engage your indriyas, senses, in the service of Krsna, so it is very easy, that first of all you engage your tongue. Chant Hare Krsna and eat bhagavat-prasada! You will become perfect. Nothing, no other things required. That we are doing. We are distributing prasada and engaging people, “Chant Hare Krsna.” This is Krsna consciousness.

Thank you very much. (end)

[741126SB.BOM] Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.26 Bombay, November 26, 1974

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

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