Discussing a reading from Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4, Chapter 26, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
These are the characteristics of King Puranjana, very graphic descriptions about how the conditioned soul is captured or entranced by the alluring features of the material energy, the center or pivot of which is sex life.
Man is attacted to woman, and woman is attracted to man. They combine, and then there are children, they need a house, they need money, and to show off one’s social status they need friends and countrymen, household, animals… Everything expands. The whole entanglement or net of material activities expands for the conditioned soul through the opposite sex. Man is attracted to woman, and woman is attracted to man. By that combination, the woman expands into children, and the children inevitably follow the same pattern. Boy is attracted to girl, and girl is attracted to boy, they combine, and expand. In this way the whole material creation is expanded by the attraction of sex or the attempt to rule over nature. The more we attempt to rule over nature, we find ourselves entrapped by the very thing we are trying to attain or capture or possess. A man wants to possess a beautiful woman, and a woman wants to possess a beautiful man. It takes a different tactics. The man takes the aggressive tactic, and the woman takes the passive tactic – “Oh, could you please help me. This is so heavy, this is so difficult, you’re so strong.” “Yes, I’ll save you.” So they combine, and instead of capturing one another, they find that they are entangled in a way that bewilders them so much that they inevitably cannot possess one another and they cannot split from one another. They are entangled.
In one of Bhaktivinode Thakur’s songs, he compares the entanglement of the conditioned soul in the material world to the fish that gets caught in the net of the fisherman. The more the fish tries to free itself by flipping and flopping, it becomes more entangled, and in this way loses its life.
We take it as normal. This is normal. Everyone is pursuing a life of sense enjoyment. They want to be comfortable or happy in a harmonious, friendly relationship with the opposite sex. Even in the homosexual community, although it’s a perversion of normal, natural male-female relationship, we find that one person will take the female passive role, and the other will take the male aggressive role. So the sex principle is everywhere. Even amongst plants there are trees of different sexes. Bugs, fish. Sex is everywhere.
And what is this sex? Sex is actually the original, transcendental principle of purusha-prakriti. Krishna is the Supreme Male Enjoyer, and Radharani and all others are the prakriti, or the Enjoyed. God is enjoying, and everyone is enjoyed by God. That’s what God means. He’s the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer. Bhoktaram yajña-tapasam sarva-loka-maheshvaram (Bhagavad-gita 5.29). Krishna says, “I am the supreme proprietor of all these planets, and all the living entities on these planets are My servants.”
When we rebel against this relationship – “Why should Krishna be the enjoyer? Why shouldn’t I be the enjoying? Why should I always be subordinate? Why can’t I be independent?” – as soon as this thought comes, the living entity, or the soul, falls into this material environment or this material condition, and he is given facility to pursue that independent enjoying spirit. Therefore in Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, “I am seated in everyone’s heart. From Me alone comes knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness.”
So to perpetuate this independent, rebellious determination, this enjoying spirit is perverse. It’s a perversity of the living entity to pursue a goal which is independent of Krishna. Just like it’s a perversity for my hand to do something which is not commanded by the body. Like sometimes we see Lokanath’s hand shaking. That means there’s something wrong. His hand is not acting in harmony with the whole body. There’s a disease, a disconnect. The material world… the whole material world is diseased. It’s like a place of diseased fellows. They are all perverse inasmuch as they are trying to enjoy independently – which is not possible. Just like my hand cannot enjoy anything independently, which is impossible. The food has to be given to the stomach. The hand is giving protection to the body. If there’s an itch, the hand scratches. The hand is writing, the hand is picking something up and placing it in another place. The hand is acting on behalf or for the welfare of the whole body. The leg is acting for the body. My ears are acting for the body. Everything is working in harmony to satisfy the whole body. But in the material world, everyone is ignorant of the whole. Everyone thinks, “I’m the whole.” Every single person thinks, “I am the center. I am the most intelligent. I’m the most beautiful. I’m the most handsome.” And so forth. Everyone is egocentric. Everyone’s attention is on himself rather than on the whole. The whole is Krishna. No one is giving any attention to Krishna. All the attention is given to the diseased individual. And what is that attention? It’s just bodily concept. “I am this body. This is my wife, these are my children, this is my car, my house, my job, my name, my reputation, my country, this is my desire. I, me and mine. Every single person is self interested. No one is interested to do anything for the whole. If they make a gesture of service to the whole, it’s because they have a motive to satisfy their individual sense gratification.
Therefore, the boy acts like he loves the girl so much, and the girl acts like she loves him so much, but actually each one has a self-centered motive. Therefore in the material world no relationship can be happy. Every relationship inevitably the motive surfaces, and then there’s conflict. But by that time, everyone is attached, entangled, burdened with responsibilities of children and house and taxes and so forth, so they are simply putting on a happy face and going through the motions day after day. In due course of time, they become old, and the senses no longer function for sex enjoyment, for eating and sleeping, and inevitably with old age comes disease, and with disease comes the inevitable end, which is death.
This simple summation is unknown to the people of this world. They are completely oblivious to it. They think, “That person got divorced, he broke up, that man ran off with another man’s woman, and he lost his money, but I will be happy.” Everyone thinks that he will succeed where everyone else has failed. “Yes, these people are all fools, but I am intelligent, I am qualified, and I will be successful and enjoy and live forever.” This condition is called maya. It’s illusion. It’s like a man sleeping on a bed, dreaming that he’s a king, when in fact he’s just a pauper without a penny.
So we’re in this sleeping condition, thinking that we are going to master and rule over and enjoy and possess everything in the environment. That is called “The premise is the problem”. This premise, this platform of action where everyone thinks of himself as this body – which he’s not -, this is the problem. All the problems we read or about or hear about in the newspaper, on tv, on the radio or computer – financial problems, political problems, health problems – they can’t be solved. These problems are all the result of one thing: “I, me and mine: I am this body, and everything here is meant for my enjoyment.” When everyone in the room thinks that this is his room, it becomes a room of madmen, like a lunatic asylum, where people have to be restrained in straitjackets. Because every lunatic thinks he’s Napoleon or President Kennedy – whatever. He thinks he’s the boss.
The solution to all problems is simply to be awakened to Krishna consciousness, and that Krishna conscious awakening begins simply by hearing Krishna’s name. Hearing it and repeating it, chanting. Just like a sleeping man hears, “Wake up!” and he comes to his awakened condition. So when we hear the name Krishna and we respond by chanting Krishna, and then taking Krishna prasadam and doing service for Krishna, associating with Krishna’s devotees, our disease goes into remittance gradually. This is the whole aim of life: simply to do this one thing. To hear the name Krishna, to chant the name Krishna, to remember Krishna. Shravanam kirtanaman vishnu smaranam pada sevanam (serve Krishna), archanam (serve the Deity), vandanam (make obeisances) dasyam satyam atma nivedanam. Actually to surrender everything to Krishna, because everything belongs to Krishna. Everything. Every single thing.
This body, every cell in this body is being kept in balance and in harmony with other cells and other bodily ingredients to make it function in a healthy and normal, progressive way. It is not being done by me or you. We say “my head” or “my hair”. But how many hairs do you have? You don’t know. How many times do you breathe in and out? You don’t know. How many times do you blink your eyes? You don’t know. When you sleep, you continue to breathe, but you don’t know. You don’t know that you’re sleeping; you think you’re awake. These are just some graphic, simple glimpses to jar us, to sober us and bring us to reality, to Krishna consciousness, and to make us determined, “Yes, I should be Krishna conscious, I should chant Hare Krishna, I should do some service, I should take prasadam.” Just like the karmi, the materialistic man, every day he listens to the radio and looks at the computer to see what’s going on. He’s always receiving input and inspiration what he should do – “Oh, you’re in America, you should join the army” and so forth. So as Krishna’s people, we have to regularly hear about Krishna from Krishna’s devotee to keep us enthused and determined and progressive. Otherwise we drift away, we get carried away by the allurements of maya, which are all over. Hare Krishna.