The Need for a Regulated Life
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Satisfying our material needs within the bounds of scriptural rules guarantees peace and prosperity for the individual, the family, and society.
"I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]."
Krishna is explaining everything about how you can become Krishna conscious twenty-four hours a day. The one process recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu is kirtaniyah sada harih: "Always chant the glories of the Lord." And Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.14),
"Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion." These are the symptoms of the mahatmas, the great souls. They are always engaged in chanting the holy name.
This is life. Human life is meant for this purpose. We require something to eat because we have this body. But when we use bodily necessities in excessive proportion, that is called kama, lust. Otherwise, to satisfy the bodily necessities is not kama. Therefore Krishna says, dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo 'smi bharatarshabha: "I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles." Religion means regulation. Everything has got regulation. In our ordinary life we must get a license to do certain things. Even a man who keeps a wine shop-that is not a good thing-must get a license and submit to regulations. Shastra, the Sanskrit word for "scripture," means regulation. It comes from the root shas, which means "ruling, controlling." Government rule is shasana, and shastra means "weapon."
Shastra is the regulative principles, the book of laws. You cannot violate the book of laws. You must keep yourself under regulative principles and act according to the shastra.
In the shastra it is stated jivo jivasya jivanam: "Every living entity is living by eating another living entity." That is nature. Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.13.47) says, "Those who have no hands are food for the animal with hands." Even in the form of a human being, those who are eating animals are also animals. Human beings are sahastanam, "with hands." Hasta means "hand," and sa means "with." And the animals are ahastani: they have no hands. They have only legs, four legs. So those who eat meat are animals, but with hands. That is the difference. Cows, goats, and lambs are animals. Dogs are animals, and there are dog-eaters. Sva-pacah means "dog-eaters." Devahuti, the mother of Lord Kapila, says that a person who chants Hare Krishna becomes glorious even if born in a family of dog-eaters. But animal-eaters are described as animals with two hands.
Other animals eat living entities without legs (apadani), like plants, trees, and grass. They have some kind of legs because they are standing, but they have no moving power. They are called pada-pa, which means they have legs for eating. We are eating with a mouth; they are eating with legs.
The shastras give a minute analytical study of the senses and power of the various living entities. For example, fish have the sense to detect an enemy two miles away. "Somebody's coming to eat me." These things are all described in the Bhagavatam. Frogs can be in samadhi, a trancelike state, for many, many years. So to attain samadhi through yogic principles is not a very great thing. Even in the animals you will find it. I read long, long ago that in a coalmine, while the workers were digging for coal, a frog came out from the coal and jumped and died. That means the frog was buried within the lump of coal for many, many thousands of years, and he was keeping samadhi.
The Wonderful Thing
These are not very extraordinary things, because, after all, the living entity is eternal, does not die. Na hanyate hanyamane sharire [Bhagavad-gita 2.20]. If, by some process, the living entity lives for some extended period, that is not a very wonderful thing. The wonderful thing is stopping birth and death. That I am living, say, for fifty or a hundred years and another man is living for three hundred years-that is not a very wonderful thing.
If we want to make our life perfect, we must follow the regulative principles, like a good citizen who strictly follows the laws of the government. The first-class human being follows the laws of God. That's all. He's first-class. And those who are simply violating the laws of God are third-class, fourth-class, tenth-class. It will be explained a few verses later that those who are simply violating the laws of God are called dushkritinah, miscreants. There are so many classes of men, and Krishna is mentioning some of them. The dushkritinah, who are simply violating the laws of God, cannot come to Krishna consciousness, God consciousness. One must follow the rules and regulations, the shastra.
Shastra means that which gives you regulative life. The regulative principle for sex is that even with your wife you cannot have sex unless it is meant for progeny, for producing children-Krishna conscious children, not cats and dogs. That is dharmaviruddhah, not against religious principles. That is very nice. Unless one marries, how he can beget children who become brahmacaris? So if you produce brahmacaris, then you can produce hundreds of brahmacaris. That is allowed. But don't produce cats and dogs. That is dharmaviruddhah. Krishna says, "I am there."
Krishna is everything. Even in sexual intercourse Krishna is there. But how? Dharmaviruddhah: when it is not against the laws of shastra. In the shastra it is said that you can have sex after the menstrual period. But when your wife becomes pregnant, no more sex life. This is the injunction of the shastra. You cannot have sex for producing illegitimate children, varna-sankara. When the world becomes full of varna-sankara, unwanted children, the whole world becomes hell. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita.
I have seen, especially in the Western countries, that girls are not married but they have children. In this way varna-sankara increases, and the world becomes hellish. Why so much trouble now? Because the whole population is varna-sankara, and therefore there are no regulative principles.
If you follow regulative principles, there is no problem. The regulative principles are given by Krishna. Dharmam tu sakshad bhagavat-pranitam [Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.19]. He's giving. And He's saying, "I am sex life according to regulative principles." So there is Krishna consciousness even in begetting children, provided you follow the regulative principles.
Everything Is Spiritual
Everything can be employed in Krishna consciousness. I was explaining to George [Harrison] that actually there is nothing material. Everything is spiritual. As Krishna is explaining from the very beginning:
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego-all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. [Bhagavad-gita 7.4] Prakriti means "My nature." Krishna is not separate from His nature, just as smoke is not separate from fire. This material nature is coming from Krishna, so how can you separate it from Krishna? It is also Krishna. That vision is Krishna consciousness. If a man sees bhumi, land, and immediately remembers, "This is Krishna's nature," then he remembers Krishna. That is Krishna consciousness-even by seeing land you remember Krishna.
The devotee sees like that. "Oh, this land is so nice. Why not construct a nice temple for Krishna?" This is Krishna conscious vision. "Oh, there are so many skyscrapers. Why not construct a nice skyscraper temple of Krishna?" That is Krishna consciousness.
As soon as you become Krishna conscious, you become spiritual. If you put an iron rod in the fire, it becomes warm, warmer, warmer, then it becomes red-hot. And when it is red-hot, it is no longer an iron rod; it is fire. Whatever you touch with it will burn. Similarly, if you become fully Krishna conscious, there is nothing material. Your body is spiritual, your mind is spiritual, your soul is already spiritual-everything is spiritual. Sarvam khalv idam brahma. That is Krishna consciousness.
We simply have to bring Krishna into every activity. Then there will be no problems. The Krishna consciousness movement is meant for that purpose. Krishna says,
"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform-do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me. [Bhagavad-gita 9.27]. Krishna says, "Whatever you eat..." We are eating prasadam. Others, who have no Krishna consciousness, will see, "They are eating dala-bhata [rice and lentils], and they are calling it prasadam." One who has Krishna consciousness eats dala-bhata, but it is not dala-bhata. It is spiritualized, because it is offered to Krishna. Krishna has eaten it.
Krishna eats what His devotees offer Him. Don't think, "The food is still there. Krishna has not eaten." No, Krishna has eaten. But Krishna's eating and your eating are different. If I give you something to eat, you'll finish the whole thing. But Krishna is purna, the complete whole, so He can eat without taking the food away. Otherwise, is He speaking falsely? He says,
"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it." [Bhagavad-gita 9.26] He eats.
A friend who belongs to the Arya-samaj asked me, "You are offering food to Krishna in the temple, but does Krishna eat?"
"Certainly He eats. Why not?"
"No, the things are still there, so how has He eaten?"
"Why are you equating your eating and Krishna's eating?"
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be." [Bhagavad-gita 9.11]. Rascals do not know what Krishna is. They think, "Krishna is like me." They do not know what Krishna is. Why?
"Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth." [Bhagavad-gita 7.3] Rascals do not know Krishna. Krishna can be known by the mercy of Krishna.
"One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God." [Bhagavad-gita 18.55]. If you want to know Krishna tattvatah-in truth-then you have to go through this bhakti process, not your speculative process.
Krishna is not open to your sensual gratification. He cannot be revealed to anyone and everyone. He's covered. At night we cannot see the sun. That does not mean the sun is not in the sky. If somebody thinks, "Now we cannot see the sun; therefore the sun is gone, dead," that is foolishness.
Krishna is everywhere, just as the sun is always there in the sky. Now, here it is half-past eight, and in America it is half-past eight in the morning, and they can see the sun. It is now night in India, and people cannot see the sun, but that does not mean the sun is finished. If you go to America, to Los Angeles, you'll see the sun. Similarly, Krishna is always present. You simply have to prepare your eyes to see Krishna.
Therefore Krishna says, dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo 'smi bharatarshabha: "I am sex that is not against the regulative principles." One who is strictly following the regulative principles can see Krishna even in sex life. From the spiritual point of view, sex is considered abominable, but even in sex life, if you are following the rules and regulations, you can see Krishna. And children begotten with that vision become devotees of Krishna.
According to Hindu principles there are ten samskaras, reformative measures. When a man is going to make his wife pregnant, there is a samskara, a ceremony, called garbhadhana-samskara. And especially in the brahmana families, if there is no garbhadhana-samskara the child immediately becomes a shudra, or of low spiritual status. This is the shastric injunction. You must follow the samskaras. One who follows the samskaras becomes purified. This is dharmaviruddhah, "not against the religious principles."
If we do not follow the principles, then we are animals. That's all. That is the difference between an animal and a human being.
Because people do not follow the shastric injunction regarding sex, they are thinking, "The population is increasing; let us use the contraceptive method." The so-called contraceptive method is there because we are having sex against religion. But if you have sex in pursuance of the religious principles, you don't require contraception. You are not restricted from becoming a father or a mother. That is nature. You can become the father of hundreds children. But don't produce cats and dogs, because then there will be unwanted population, problems, fighting, no peace, no tranquility. Everything will be hell.
Because people are producing children against religious principles, the whole world if full of varna-sankara, and there is no peace. If you follow the principles of Bhagavad-gita, automatically there will be peace, because every child will be sober, Krishna conscious. Therefore shastra says that you should not become a father or mother if you cannot stop the course of birth and death of your children. This is called religious contraceptive.
The real soul, the real life, is within the body, and he's transmigrating from one body to another. That is called death. And when he comes out from another body, that is called birth. As soon as you get another body, you are again put into a miserable condition of life. Therefore if you can stop your children's birth and death, then beget children. This is the shastric injunction. And if the father does not know how to stop his own birth and death, then what is the use of producing children? The father should be so sympathetic with the children that he must know the pains of birth and death.
All parents desire the welfare of their children. To provide the greatest welfare, the mother must think, "This child has come into my womb; he has become my son. This is the last time. No more birth and death. He will be educated in that way." That is the parent's responsibility. Not making him eat meat and get fat. However fat he may be, he'll still die. You cannot stop his death simply by making him fat like an elephant.
Don't beget children if you have no responsibility. People think, "We'll have sex, but we shall avoid this responsibility. So then let us use contraceptives." This is the greatest sinful life. You are killing; you are a murderer. Now in the Western countries they are actually killing the child. They have made laws that allow the killing of the child in the womb. So if the society has become so awfully sinful, how can people expect peace and prosperity? That is not possible.
Those who are leading sinful lives are dushkritinah. Kriti means "very meritorious." But dushkriti means the opposite. It is not sukriti. Su means "for well-being," and dushkriti means "for creating disturbances." There are many brains nowadays. People know how to use their brain. But they are dushkritinah. Therefore it is a godless society, and there is so much restlessness in society because the dushkritinah are working. Now, in their place, sukritinah must be brought. Catur-vidha bhajante mam janah sukritino 'rjuna: "Four kinds of pious men [sukritinah] surrender unto Me." [Bhagavad-gita 7.16] Then there will be peace and prosperity.
Thank you very much.