Human civilization should help us love God, and not pull us down into ignorance.

evam manah karma-vasham prayunkte
avidyayatmany upadhiyamane
pritir na yavan mayi vasudeve
na muchyate deha-yogena tavat

“When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vasudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.”
—Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.6

This is an important verse. It presents the problem of our contact with the material body: deha-yogena. This is the real problem of life, but nobody knows it. Especially these days, people cannot understand that “This material body is a foreign element, and somehow or other I am victimized by it, entrapped within it.” This is the real problem, but people do not know it. That is called avidya, ignorance.

There are two kinds of strong avidya. One is the result of rajo-guna, the mode or quality of passion, and the other is the result of tamo-guna, ignorance. Tamo-guna is a very dense covering, and rajo-guna is a little more open.

Sattva-guna, the mode or quality of goodness, brings illumination. It involves the brahminical qualifications. When one is in the sattva-guna, he can understand, “I am not this body. I am different from this body.” For persons in the sattva-guna, life is easier.

Human civilization means not to drag somebody who is already in the sattva-guna, or in a family of people in the sattva-guna, down to the tamo-guna. But modern civilization does that. The allurement of material civilization is so strong and so bad that those who, because of previous pious activities, were born in a brahmana family are being dragged to the tamo-guna behavior of those not trained in spiritual culture. They are learning how to drink, how to eat meat, how to have illicit sex. These are the symptoms of the lowest level of tamo-guna.

There are different degrees of guna, and the three gunas are manifested into 8,400,000 forms of life. You can calculate it. Three multiplied by three equals nine. Nine multiplied by nine, eighty-one. So therefore there are so many varieties. But human civilization should be so arranged that everyone, despite the mixture of modes influencing him, is gradually drawn again to the sattva-guna. That is human civilization.

People in the sattva-guna should not be dragged again to the tamo-guna. Somebody, by pious activities, by good work, is already in the sattva-guna, but the social, political, and economic arrangement is so bad that he is dragged to the tamo-guna. That is not civilization. That is degradation. Civilization means elevation. The aim of life is to become disconnected from this material body. That is civilization. Otherwise, it is not civilization; it is animal life.

The Platform of Loving Krishna

The Krishna consciousness movement is an attempt to bring human society to the proper platform of civilization. It is a very scientific movement. By a gradual process, it brings one to the platform of vasudeva pritih, love of Vasudeva, or Krishna. That love is bhakti. Pritih means love of Krishna. “Civilization” means to bring one to the platform of loving Krishna.

If you love somebody intensely, your lover or beloved is everything to you. That is love, as in the mother’s love for her child. She is always anxious to take care of the child. Her whole attention is on the child.

These are examples. They are not actually love, but a perverted reflection of love. This love does not stand forever, but nature dictates that you love your child like this, you love your husband like this, your wife like this, your country like this, your society like this. There are different grades of demonstration of love. When the demonstration of love is concentrated on Vasudeva, Krishna, that is the highest perfection of life.

We have a natural tendency to love, but because we do not know Vasudeva, Krishna, we do not know where to place our love. If we place our loving tendency in Krishna, Vasudeva, then that tendency becomes fruitful and perfect. That is desired. Therefore it is said,

dharmah svanushthitah pumsam
vishvaksena-kathasu yah
notpadayed yadi ratim
shrama eva hi kevalam

“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.8)
vasudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty ashu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam

“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7) Placing your loving tendency in Vasudeva can be done perfectly by bhakti-yoga, not by any other method. There are different yoga systems—karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga. Real yoga means loving Vasudeva, Bhagavan. Therefore Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, says in the Bhagavad-gita (6.47),
yoginam api sarvesham
shraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah