We are Not the Body

Published on September 24th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa


Liquid Beauty

Once upon a time a prince met very beautiful young girl. He visited her house to see her but she was very chaste. The prince wanted to marry this beautiful girl but she didn’t want to marry him.

So she said to him, You want to marry me, you are attracted by my beauty, so I will distill my beauty in the next ten days.

So the prince agreed. Then the beautiful girl said, “If you still want to take me as your wife then you can take me.” The prince replied, “All right, that’s fine, I’ll come back in ten days and certainly I’ll take you as my wife my beautiful young maiden.”

As soon he left the beautiful young girl started to take very strong purgatives [medicine which would cause her to vomit and pass stool]. She kept all the vomit and stool in a big pot. She didn’t eat anything, she was simply passing stool and vomiting, so within ten days her whole beautiful body was destroyed. She was a gray color, she was very skinny, very weak, you couldn’t recognize her as the same person.

After ten days the prince came back to visit the beautiful young girl. She opened the door for him. When the prince saw her he said, “I have come to see one very beautiful lady who I am about to marry.” So the girl said, “I am that beautiful young lady.” He replied, “No it isn’t true. How could it be possible?” She said, “Yes I am that beautiful young lady, I have distilled my beauty, come and see it.” She took the prince to the place where she was keeping the big pot containing all of her stool, vomit and urine and she said, “Here is my beauty.”

This is the story of liquid beauty. In reality the material body is simply a bag of pus, stool, urine, blood, mucus, so many horrible things. And we are simply attracted to the beautiful skin and as soon as the skin is no longer beautiful we are not attracted any more.

Our society is simply going on the basis of this “skin disease.” So we see so many divorces and so many marriages. A man is being attracted to a woman on the basis of the skin. He thinks, “Oh, here is a very nice woman. She has very nice hair, a very beautiful complexion, a very nice bodily structure. She is a very beautiful woman.” The woman is thinking in the same way, “This is a very handsome man, he is very strong, very beautiful, a very attractive man.” Then they come together and for a short time enjoy sex life and soon there is some problem with the sex life, some difficulty, so they say, “I’m sorry it’s just not working any more, the magic has gone from our relationship. I have to find somebody else.” Then there is a divorce.

Everything is based on the skin, and the skin is temporary. We can never be satisfied, we can never be happy with a relationship based on the skin because our skin is a very temporary thing.

A beautiful girl is beautiful for a few years only, it is a fleeting moment only. Every body gets old, every body gets sick, every body dies. But we are not the body we are the spirit, the soul. The soul is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss (sat cit ananda). But currently the soul is covered by the material body and we are misidentifying the body with the self. We think if we satisfy the body we will become satisfied. But, no matter how hard we try to satisfy the body, the soul, the spirit is never satisfied by any amount of material so-called “pleasure.”

If we are attracted by the skin only, the beauty of the skin, we’re bound to be dissatisfied because the person, I, the self, is different from the body. Krishna describes in the Bhagavad-gita (2.13):

dehino ‘smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati

Here Krishna says the soul, even in this life, is changing bodies. In the beginning we have a child’s body, then we get a boy’s body, then a man’s body then we get an old man’s body, so the time of death is simply another change of body. A self-realized soul can understand this, he can see this.

Our bodies are always changing. You can see. No one can argue with this. It’s a statement of a very plain fact. I have this man’s body now, previously I had a boy’s body, prior to that I had a child’s body and before that a babies body. They are all different bodies.

I can see, my parents have the pictures and they can show you I had these different bodies. Now those bodies have gone. Now I have this man’s body and in due course it will also be finished and I’ll have an old man’s body and ultimately that old mans body will be gone and I will be taken away to another body at the time of death.

This is the process of life and death in the material world. The bodies are changing but the soul is not changing. I the person am the same person I was in the babies body, I’m the same person I was in the child’s body, I’m the same person I was in the boys body. I can remember things, I can remember my childhood body, I can remember my boys body. I can remember the activities I performed in these bodies. These activities are performed by me, but the body I had then is gone. So we can understand that I, the self, the person, I am permanent, I am eternal, but the body is always changing. I am not this body, I am the occupier of this body, I am the driver of this body, I am the controller of this body, but I am not the body. The body is a machine.

Hare Krishna.


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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!

20 Responses to Liquid Beauty


    If the beauty of skin is false or consider as liquid beauty then why God make one so beautiful and one so ugly

    • The point is beauty is only skin deep. The point of the story is that one who is very beautiful can become very ugly in just three days by taking strong laxatives and purgatives. And the essence of that beauty is just actually vomit and stool. So this ‘beauty’ in the material world is only an illusion and is very temporary. Now she may be a beautiful girl but in a few years she will be an ugly fat old lady. But actually she is still the same person. So the point is we are not the material body, we are the spirit soul within the body. There is no actual beauty in the material world, that is all a temporary illusion. The real beauty is spiritual only.

  2. This article, this story about liquid beauty, is so frightfully true that it grabs one’s thinking right away. During the telling of it, I could feel just like the prince eagerly awaiting the Time to return to engage the beautiful woman in my household, so to bond with her in a lifelong relationship, and naturally I instinctively feel ‘short changed’ by what I have committed myself to when that Time comes and we re-encounter.Nonetheless, because of her actions, I can see that of her revelation in myself, and envision my own body for what I am…… and I am lead to think…”Touche! ..What I am now seeing of you, you could well be thinking that of me.”. Thus, like the prince, I reconcile myself to my obligation and embrace her coming to the realization of how plastic the somatic body is and that one can reshape or re=contour it in a variety of ways that can fit in with one’s expectations once one is blessed with the funds or abundance to enable this.

    Thank you, Krishna.org, for this story and the perception of it’s message that we all need to clean up ourselves and to come to the realization that Desire, and Want, are not all. Hare Krishna!

    Namaste! Ishwara!

  3. Raghavan says:

    Hare Krishna

    Refer your response on the body contacting Alzheimer’s or dementia etc..at an early age. In such cases the body/ mind cannot function. So is it fine to conclude that such people cannot become Krishna consciousness.? Although the body is a bad bargain for the soul, it is vital to become Krishna Consciousness? So in one sense the soul cannot operate without the body in the material world, is that right? So then what happens to people who have Alzheimer’s or Demetria or go in coma at an early age? Are they unfortunate people as they cannot become Krishna Conscious?

    Generally it is said that material condition cannot impede the development of becoming Krishna Conscious. But can we say that there are some limitations in human form of life like Alzheimer’s, dementia, coma etc.. Kindly clarify.

    Thanks & regards

    • Hare Krishna Raghavan

      The material condition does limit one’s ability to advance spiritually.

      For example if you take birth in the body of a dog you have practically no ability to advance spiritually. A dog does not have the ability to contemplate spiritual things. The only hope is that the owner of the dog may be a devotee and chant Hare Krishna and feed the dog prasadam. But that is the causeless mercy of the Vaisnava. On his own the spirit soul in a dogs body does not have any ability to make spiritual inquiries.

      Similarly if humans can not function properly in their bodies that may well inhibit their ability to advance spiritually. For example hearing is so important in Krishna consciousness. So one who is deaf will be at a disadvantage.

      But you know there are nine processes of Bhakti and perfection in just one of them can result in one becoming a pure devotee. So it is possible.

      But yes. There is no material impediment to advancing in Krishna consciousness. That is true and that is generally taken to mean that one can advance in Krishna consciousness in any position in life. But really Krishna consciousness does not depend on the body. It is separate and transcendental to the body. So we have the examples of great devotees like Krishnadas Kaviraja Gosvami who wrote Sri Caitanya-caritamrta when he was very old and invalid and practically blind and deaf and his hands were not steady so ordinarily he could not write. But when he sat down to write Sri Caitanya-caritamrta he wrote so wonderfully. So for a pure devotee of Krishna he can transcend the bodily problems.

      But yes. Certainly some types of body are more suitable for the cultivation of Krishna consciousness than others…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Raghavan says:

        Hare Krishna

        Thanks for your response to my query. I did not realize that you had answered my query till I read it today. Apologize for the late acknowledgement. Noted the contents of your reply and that suffices my query.

        I had another query and wish to seek your feedback. It is said that one should give up all material desires and the only desires should be to serve Srila Prabhupada/ Supreme Lord Krishna. I see lots of devotees practicing “Sadhana Bhakti” and I also see that there are many advanced devotees. Sadhana Bhakti has a unique life style based on the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. But in my experience I have not come across anyone who one can say is in “raganuga” bhakti state. I have talked to some senior devotees but they say that one should not think on those lines. My query is that does one really attain the state of raganuga bhakti? does Krishna Consciousness propogate raganuga bhakti? does Srila Prabhupada talk about raganuga bhakti or did he give emphasis to only sadhana bhakti? What happens if at the time of death of the material body one has not attained raganuga bhakti and is still in Sadhana Bhakti, does he go back to Godhead? If he goes back to Godhead does he attain raganuga bhakti as in Goloka it is only raganuga bhakti unlike Vaikuntha where we can see more elements of regulated worship of the Lord?

        Please clarfiy.

        Thanks and regards.

        • Hare Krishna Raghavan

          Saddhana Bhakti is the path to Raganuga Bhakti. So if you walk down the road that is leading to New Delhi, for example, then as long as you keep walking on that road you are going to get to New Delhi. But if you walk on some other road then you will never get to New Delhi. There is no other way to New Delhi except by following the road that leads to New Delhi.

          So talking about Raghanuga is pointless. It is only understandable by those who have reached that platform by following the path of Sadhana Bhakti. Raghanuga can not be understood by someone who is not on that platform.

          That is why it is prohibited by the acharyas to preach about these things to the general devotees what to speak of the general public.

          You may know that Lord Caitanya, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead experiencing the highest transcendental ecstasy only spoke of these things to three very confidential devotees. He did not speak of these things to the general devotees and certainly not to the general public.

          General devotees and general public can not understand these things. So it is forbidden to speak about them.

          Therefore when a pure devotee does reach the raganuga platform he continues to perform saddhana bhakti to give the good example to the general devotees.

          So the point is the way to raanuga bhakti is saddhana bhakti. So if you properly execute saddhana bhakti you will reach the platform of raganuga bhakti.

          So we have to encourage the people to perform saddhana bhakti.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

          • Raghavan says:

            Hare Krishna

            Tks for your detailed reply. It took me some time to assimilate your feedback.

            I had some few additional queries:

            1) Why do we have four yugas? How do we understand as to why four yugas are created? We could as well have one yuga, I.e. Satyuga, for the conditioned soul to purify. Why create more yugas like Kali Yuga where the environment for self realization is not condusive.

            2) The material world consists of sinful objects & sinful activities. Everything belongs to krishna. So why Krishna created sinful activities & objects?

            3) everything needs to be dovetailed in service of Krishna. Can we dovetail sinful activities in service of lord? Like for example if one is gambling, can one use that complete money in the service of The Lord? if one is drinking liquor but at the same time chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, like that can one dovetail sinful activities in service of The Lord?

            Thanks & regards


          • Hare Krishna Raghavan

            1) You can’t ask ‘why we have four yugas’. This is not a very good question. It is not up to us. These things are determined by Krishna. So Krishna [Visnu], though His agents like Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, etc, has created the material world and He has set up the laws upon which it functions. So this cyclic nature is something that we see repeats on so many different levels. There are the big cycles like satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dvarapa-yuga and kali-yuga. And there are still bigger cycles like the Manus, then there is the cycle of Brahma’s days, then the cycle of Brahma’s lifetime, etc. It is all working on cycles. Then we see on a smaller scale we are having the cycles of summer, autumn, winter and spring. They repeat every year. And there are so many other cycles. So this is the way the material world works. In cycles. You can not ask why. That is the way Krishna has set it up. That is why.

            2) The material world does not consist of sinful objects and sinful activities. An object or an activity can not be sinful. It is sinful to do anything for ones own personal sense gratification and it is devotional service to do something for the pleasure of Krishna or His pure devotees. So the objects themselves in the material world are not sinful. They can be used for one’s own sense gratification, and that is sinful, or they can be utilized in the service of Krishna and that is devotional service. So the objects themselves are not sinful. So there are no sinful activities and objects. So Krishna did not create anything sinful. The only thing that is sinful is if we misuse our limited independence and we try to use the things Krishna has created not for His service, but for our own sense gratification. So that sinful activity is created by us, it is not created by Krishna. We create the sinful activities and object by trying to use these activities for our own pleasure instead of using them for Krishna’s pleasure. So the sin is created by us, it is not created by Krishna.

            3) No. Sinful activities can not be dovetailed in the service of Krishna. I think you understand this now from reading (2). Sinful means the activity is being performed for our own pleasure. So sinful means the activity is not being performed in the service of the Lord. So sinful means sinful. Sinful can not be dovetailed in the service of Krishna. If one is serving Krishna that is not sinful.

            You can not cultivate sinful activities and like drinking alcohol and chant Hare Krishna at the same time. The two things are opposites and one will destroy the other. If you are actually chanting Hare Krishna that will elevate your consciousness to the transcendental platform and you will no longer have any desire to drink alcohol. In fact you will consider drinking alcohol to be disgusting. On the other hand if you are drinking alcohol that will destroy your taste for chanting Hare Krishna and you will not be able to chant Hare Krishna. So sense gratification and Krishna consciousness are opposites. They can not both exist simultaneously in the same person.

          • Raghavan says:

            Prabhu Ji
            Hare Krishna

            Refer your latest reply to my queries. Due to technical problem I am unable to reply from that answer of yours and hence I am replying from here. Kindly use your last reply as a reference to my following further queries. Thanks

            (1) Refer your reply on the yugas.. noted your reply that is the way Krishna has set it up. I am still curious to know if acharyas/ sastras have given any comments and opinion as to why Krishna set up four yugas and not just one yuga? The reason is that Kali yuga is such a degraded yuga that one wonders as to why Krishna set up Kali yuga? and why not just have satya yuga for purification. Hope you don’t mind my further question on this though I have gained that this is all Krishna’s design.

            (2) On Sinful objects and activities, thanks for your detailed reply. One question I had.. you have mentioned that in this material world there are no sinful objects or activities. Krishna did not create anything Sinful. Activities part, I can understand. But Sinful objects, like Alcohol per se is a sinful object, so then one can say that Sinful objects are created by Krishna. Would like to understand this aspect more deeply. Kindly review and let me know your feedback.

            (3) Sinful activities cannot be dovetailed. Understood the alcohol part.. One question I had, suppose one is gambling and uses that money in the service of the Like,the devotee, due to past tendencies or sanskaras is having gambling tendencies but is chanting 16 rounds and following all aspects of sadhana bhakti process but uses gambling money for his service.. Is that ok?

            Thanks and regards

          • Hare Krishna Raghavan

            (1) You can not expect to understand why Krishna does things. It is enough to understand that there are four yugas and they cycling like the summer, autumn, winter and spring seasons. Now if you ask “Why did Krishna create seasons, why is it hot in the summer and cold in the winter?” These are useless questions. Kali yuga is degraded, winter is cold, but summer is hot and satya-yuga is not degraded. Is is just the nature of the material world. Duality. Heat and cold, happiness and distress, pleasure and pain. So these are useless questions.

            (2) Alcohol is not sinful. It has some practical uses also. It is a chemical and has its part to play. It is man who distills it and uses it in a sinful way. Because man wants it Krishna makes it available. Persisting on this line of inquiry is also useless and means you do not understand the point. Krishna does not create anything sinful. It is the misuse of man’s minute independence that creates sinful things. This is the correct answer. If you are not prepared to accept this that is OK. But better not to waste my time asking the same questions over and over again because you do not like my answers. I gave you the correct answers the first time.

            (3) Same thing. I have already given you the correct answer but you want to argue with me so what is the point of this? You are writing insanity. A gambler does not make any money. He looses all his money on gambling. So a gambler will never have any money to use in the service of Krishna. Your questions are not sane.

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Madhudvisa dasa

          • Raghavan says:


            Hare Krishna

            Thanks very much for your last reply. It took me some time and soul searching to understand the deeper meaning of your feedback. I greatly appreciate the answers and it has helped me in taking my understanding a bit higher.

            Thanks once again

            Best regards

      • Manas RANJAN PATRA says:

        But it is said that Krishna devotee never keep dog ,only cow is kept

        • Yes. Dog is considered unclean, but still actually Krishna devotee does not see on the material platform, he does not see the dog, he sees the spirit soul trapped in the dog’s body, and he is merciful to that spirit soul by feeding the dog prasadam and letting the dog hear the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

          There is one devotee who had a dog in Caitanya lila, and that dog got the mercy of Lord Caitanya and went directly back home, back to Godhead.

          But certainly devotees will not let the dog in the house…

          And it is an exception, devotees don’t have dogs and cats, etc. Because one gets very attached to these animals and thinks about them, and whatever we think about at the time of death, that we achieve in our next life. So if we are very attached to our dog, we think of him at the time of death and become a dog in our next life.

          Very bad.

          So devotees don’t have dogs or cats, because devotees want to become attached to Krishna, to remember Krishna at the time of death, not a dog or a cat…

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

  4. EASWARAN K says:

    very nice

  5. Yogita says:

    Nice article. I wish more people could read it. Hare krishna

  6. Steven says:

    I am very interested in krishna consciousness and would like to ask a question relating to the above story about ‘liquid beauty’ and the idea that we are not the body rather the spirit (soul)which temporarily inhabits the body. The story stated that we could think of ourselves as the ‘driver’ inhabiting this body; My question is one which is of concern to me, what happens when a person (sometimes early in life) develops an illness such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia? The ‘driver’ then appears to be absent. I would appreciate ant insight you can provide.

    • Hare Krishna Steven

      The person, the soul is not the body. So the person, the soul is not affected by any disease or problem with the body. But because the soul uses the material body to interact with the material world if the body is damaged by some disease like Alzheimer’s or Dementia then that damages the soul’s ability to interact with the material world. That is all. It is not that the soul or driver is absent, the driver is there but the machine is not working properly so he can not drive it properly. It is like if you are driving your car and the engine has a problem and stops. So there is nothing wrong with you, the driver of the car, but the car is broken, so you are stuck…

      It is like that. These things like disease are karmic reactions to sins that we have performed in this life and in the previous lives. They do not happen by accident.

      It is punishment for us. We want to enjoy in the material world but we can’t because our body is broken…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Vijay Lakshmi says:

        Hare krishna madhudvisa

        I am grateful to you  & feel privileged to connect with krishnaconnect.com.
        It’s a beautiful article.
        I am a firm believer of the supreme God & want to grow spiritually as much as I can. I am just 23 years old so dont have much experience. Its a great pleasure to learn more & more about the lord from you people as I have still a long way to grow spiritually. All I know is I love God & see he is the one who brought me in contact with you people. Can you please suggest me which shlokas of the Gita should i read daily as a student. Tears starts rolling down my face everytime I think of the Lord. I love him so much.

        Thanks for being there & enlightening me.
        Jai shree krishna!

        • Hare Krishna Vijay Lakshmi

          Very nice to hear from you.

          You need to just get Srila Prabhupada’s original Bhagavad-gita As It Is from http://www.KrishnaStore.com and just read it every day, cover to cover, a little or a lot, however much you can manage, every day. And when you finish it go back to the beginning and read it again.

          It is not that we should just pick a few slokas from the Bhagavad-gita and only recite them. No. We have to read the whole Bhagavad-gita As It Is. It is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna that flows and develops from verse to verse and chapter to chapter. Just reading some slokas individually we will not be able to get the actual message of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We need to read the whole book over and over and over again.

          Bhagavad-gita As It Is, I have read it hundreds of times and still every time I read it it is a new book. It is a mystical, transcendental book. The more you read it the more you understand Krishna.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

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