By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuapada
Lecture given in Honolulu, May 6, 1976
Our proclivity to enjoy here under the influence of the material nature keeps us bound to material existence.
“O great sage Sukadeva Goswami, unless the living entity is freed from the infection of the material modes of nature, he receives different types of bodies in which to enjoy or suffer, and according to the body, he is understood to have various inclinations. By following these inclinations he traverses the path called pravritti-marga, by which one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, as you have already described [in the Third Canto].”—Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.2
Parikshit Maharaja is trying to understand pravritti and nivritti. Anyone in the material world, beginning from Lord Brahma down to the small ant, has come here on account of pravritti, which means, especially, the inclination to enjoy sex. As long as we engage in sense enjoyment in different varieties, we have to remain within the material world.
Krishna is so kind: We wanted to enjoy the material world; therefore He has given us full opportunity: “Yes, enjoy.”
But Krishna does not want us to enjoy the material world. Sometimes foolish people say, “Krishna has given us this facility for sense enjoyment. Why shall we not take it?” Sometimes the so-called rishis and yogis also say, “Yes, we have senses, and they are meant for enjoyment. Why should it be stopped?” But if you want the real life of eternal enjoyment, then you have to stop sensual enjoyment. If you don’t stop, then you remain here. You have to be born according to your desire, either as Brahma or an ant, a cat, a dog, a demigod. And according to your capacity, Krishna will provide for you. If you want sense enjoyment from Krishna, He will give you all facilities. But Krishna does not want to do this. His opinion is “You will never be happy in this process of pravritti-marga.”
When we turn away from Krishna, we are caught by maya, the condition in which we enjoy material sense gratification. There are two things: light and darkness. If you remain in light there is no darkness, and if you prefer to remain in darkness there is no light. Maya is darkness, and Krishna is light. That is the motto of Back to Godhead: “Godhead is light. Nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience.” That is our position.
There are different pravrittis, or inclinations. One animal wants to eat something, and another animal wants to eat something else. The hog is satisfied with stool, and an enlightened human being is satisfied with nice halava. Each inclination comes according to the modes of nature. The food of a person in the mode of goodness is different from that of a person in the mode of ignorance. Therefore we find so many varieties of food, because of the varieties of taste.
Vegetarianism Is Not Enough
This morning we were talking about vegetarian and nonvegetarian. Our mission is not to make a nonvegetarian a vegetarian. No. Our mission is “Whether you are vegetarian or nonvegetarian, it doesn’t matter. Become Krishna conscious.” That is our mission. To become vegetarian is not a very good qualification. It is better than being nonvegetarian, but that is not the ultimate solution. The ultimate solution is to become a lover of God. We are not preaching vegetarianism. Jainism, Buddhism, and other religious systems are trying to make people vegetarian.
The law of nature is that one living entity is food for another living entity. The animals are eating each other. Living entities with hands eat those without hands. Living entities with legs eat those without legs, such as trees.
Trees have “legs,” but they cannot move with those legs. Their legs are used for drinking water. That is God’s creation. You cannot think how it is possible to drink water with the leg, but it is God’s creation. You see? You pour water on the leg of the tree, and it becomes very luxuriant, healthy.
As for God, He can eat with His legs; He can see with His hands; He can eat with His eyes. That is God. His senses are transcendental. He is not under any restrictions. If you offer some food to Krishna, simply by seeing it He is eating it. That is Krishna. “If He is eating, why is the plate still full?” Krishna is not a hungry man like me. If you give me some food, I will eat everything, and it will be finished. But Krishna can eat the whole plate, and it will all remain for being distributed as prasada.
Try to understand Krishna in this way. If you actually understand Krishna, you are liberated immediately. How Krishna eats, how Krishna thinks, how Krishna works—if you understand all these things, then immediately you become liberated.
“One know knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode O Arjuna.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.9) We are rotting in this material world because we do not know Krishna. You’ll not be admitted into the spiritual kingdom unless you know Krishna. As soon as you understand Krishna, you are fit to go to Him and never return to the material world.
Krishna Comes Here
Therefore Krishna comes here. We have the inclination to enjoy the material world, so Krishna comes personally and says, “This will not help you. Give up this habit and simply surrender to Me. I will take you back home, back to Godhead.” We are inclined to enjoy the material world, but if we stop material enjoyment we are fit for spiritual life. That is the philosophy.
Therefore Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.3),
“Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of enemies. Therefore they return to the path of birth and death in this material world.” In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna is saying, “Surrender unto Me.” But if one has no faith in Krishna’s words and rejects His proposal, what is the result? Aprapya mam: “He’ll never get Me.” He will have to continue the process of being born and dying, being born and dying. That will continue.
So you have to give up the mentality that “I am the master. I can enjoy. I am independent.” You have to give up that idea. Then you will be eligible to go back home, back to Godhead.
Thank you very much.