A Collection of Analogies

From the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The ass stands at the washerman’s door, eating the grass, while the washerman loads him up again. The ass has no sense to think, “If I get out of the clutches of this washerman, I can get grass anywhere. Why am I carrying so much?”

Table of Contents

Home-made lawyer

FATHER: My question was what does the Hare Krishna consciousness have to offer that other religions don’t have to offer as far as…

PRABHUPADA: This is offering that you want to be religious, so you try to understand religious principles from God. Because if one is lawyer, if one wants to become a lawyer, he must learn laws which is given by the government. He cannot become a lawyer at home. Similarly, if you want to become religious, you must learn what is religion from God. You don’t manufacture your own religion. That is not religion. This is the first principle. But if I do not know what is God, what is the order given by God, then what is religion? That is going on. Everyone is manufacturing his own religion. This is the modern method, that religion is private. Anyone can accept any type of religion. That is liberalism, is it not?

Your Tax Dollars at Work

First of all, try to understand this. Just like Krishna says, maya tatam idam sarvam: “I am expanded by My energy everywhere.” So the everywhere how you can go? You love Krishna, and your love will go everywhere. You pay tax to the government, and the tax is distributed in so many departments. So it is not your business to go every department and pay tax. Pay to the treasury of the government; it will be distributed. This is intelligence. And if you say that “Why shall I pay to the treasury house? I shall pay this department, that department, that department, that department,” you can go on, but it will never be sufficient, neither complete. So you may love humanity, but because you do not love Krishna, therefore you do not love the cows; you send them to slaughterhouse. So your love will remain defective. It will never be complete. And if you love Krishna, then you will love even the small ant. You will be not interested even to kill even an ant. That is real love.

Gang of Thieves

Just like we create favorable circumstances to enjoy even in this life. Why this struggle for existence? We are trying to make a favorable condition for enjoyment. This is struggle for existence. Nobody is satisfied with the present position. Everyone is struggling hard. But he does not know that any material arrangement, according to my intelligence, will never make me happy. That we do not know. Therefore Krishna says, “You rascal, nonsense, give up this business.” Sarva-dharman parityajya [Bhagavad-gita 18.66]. “You are rascal number one. You have forgotten your constitutional position. Now you give up all these engagements if you want to be happy.” Mam ekam sharanam vraja. “Just be under My control.” “And what benefit I shall derive?” Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah: “I’ll give you protection.” Because you’re suffering for your sinful activities… everything is sinful activities. Everything.

Just like a gang of thieves. A gang of thieves, after plundering booty from some gentleman’s house, they came outside the village, and they were dividing. So one of the thieves is saying, “Sir, let us divide it honestly. Let us divide the booty honestly.” Now, their basic principle is dishonesty, and now they want to divide honestly. So all these rascals, politicians, they are all dishonest, and they are trying to make adjustment honestly. Honestly. What is this honesty? There cannot be honesty. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. Anyone who is not a devotee of the Lord, he cannot be possessing any good qualities. That is not possible. He must be dishonest if he is a not devotee of the Lord. He must be dishonest. This is the verdict of the shastras.

Devotion to God compared to a creeper

In many places devotional service has been compared to a creeper. One has to sow the seed of the devotional creeper, bhakti-lata, within his heart. As he regularly hears and chants, the seed will fructify and gradually grow into a mature plant and then produce the fruit of devotional service, namely love of Godhead, which the gardener (mala-kara) can then enjoy without impediments.

Elephant’s bath undone

It is recommended that one honor the spiritual master as being on an equal status with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sakshad dharitvena samasta-shastraih. This is enjoined in every scripture. Acharyam mam vijaniyat [SB 11.17.27]. One should consider the acharya to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In spite of all these instructions, if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant. An elephant bathes in a lake quite thoroughly, but as soon as it comes on the shore it takes some dust from the ground and strews it over its body. Thus there is no meaning to the elephant’s bath. One may argue by saying that since the spiritual master’s relatives and the men of his neighborhood consider him an ordinary human being, what is the fault on the part of the disciple who considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being? This will be answered in the next verse, but the injunction is that the spiritual master should never be considered an ordinary man. One should strictly adhere to the instructions of the spiritual master, for if he is pleased, certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi [1].

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, is the master of all other living entities and of the material nature. His lotus feet are sought and worshiped by great saintly persons like Vyasa. Nonetheless, there are fools who consider Lord Krishna an ordinary human being. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.15.27)

The example of Lord Krishna’s being the Supreme Personality of Godhead is appropriate in regard to understanding the spiritual master. The spiritual master is called sevaka-bhagavan, the servitor Personality of Godhead, and Krishna is called sevya bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is to be worshiped. The spiritual master is the worshiper God, whereas the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the worshipable God. This is the difference between the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Another point: Bhagavad-gita, which constitutes the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is presented by the spiritual master as it is, without deviation. Therefore the Absolute Truth is present in the spiritual master. As clearly stated in Text 26, jnana-dipa-prade. The Supreme Personality of Godhead gives real knowledge to the entire world, and the spiritual master, as the representative of the Supreme Godhead, carries the message throughout the world. Therefore, on the absolute platform, there is no difference between the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If someone considers the Supreme Personality—Krishna or Lord Ramachandra—to be an ordinary human being, this does not mean that the Lord becomes an ordinary human being. Similarly, if the family members of the spiritual master, who is the bona fide representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, consider the spiritual master an ordinary human being, this does not mean that he becomes an ordinary human being. The spiritual master is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore one who is very serious about spiritual advancement must regard the spiritual master in this way. Even a slight deviation from this understanding can create disaster in the disciple’s Vedic studies and austerities.

1. “By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, I should always remember and praise the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.” (Sri Sri Gurv-ashtaka, Eight Prayers to the Guru by Srula Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur) [back to text]

How is God like a herdsman and doctor?

“Inexhaustible time, stronger than the strong, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Like a herdsman moving his animals along, He moves mortal creatures as His pastime.

The universe is created to gradually rectify the contaminated souls trying to exploit material nature. The Lord moves the conditioned souls along, according to their karma, through the various stages of spiritual rectification. Thus the Lord is like a herdsman (the word pashu-pala literally means “protector of animals”), who moves the creatures under his protection to various pastures and watering spots in order to protect them and sustain them. A further analogy is that of a doctor, who moves the patient under his care to various areas of a hospital for diverse kinds of examination and treatment. Similarly, the Lord brings us through the network of material existence in a gradual cleansing process so that we can enjoy our eternal life of bliss and knowledge as His enlightened associates.

Bed Bugs

There is the story of the bed bug. In the winter season the bed bug appears to be only skin, but in summer season as soon as it gets the opportunity of biting and sucking blood, it becomes fatty. Sometimes we may artificially renounce the world, but as soon as the opportunity of sucking blood is there, we turn again into a bed bug. Therefore it is said in the Bhagavad gita [Bg. 7.14]:

daivi hy esa gunamayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But, those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”

Unless everyone of us sticks to the regulative principles of chanting, there is no other alternative than fall-down. That is a fact. I repeatedly say this, so if people do not follow, what can I do?

Fly in the Honey

SVARUP DAMODAR: Yesterday, when I came from Manipur, there was one Bengali engineer, civil engineer, who was working in Manipur, Mr. P. K. Sanyal. Mr. P. K. Sanyal from Balliganj.


SVARUP DAMODAR: Sanyal. Sanyal. He’s in late sixties or early seventies, very old. We became very good friends. He’s a very nice man.

PRABHUPADA: On the plane?

SVARUP DAMODAR: On the plane. When I went also, we were in the same plane, because he was making a bridge in Manipur. So he invited me to come to his place in Calcutta, in Balliganj. When also I came back we were in the same plane. It just happened. So he started talking to me that he lost about forty thousand rupees because bridge was broken, and so he said he was feeling very bad, very sad. He was telling me all stories about “Whether I should prepare my life for the future, or whether I should wind up, as he is. Then I started talking about that we always want to be happy, but somehow we misunderstand about our basic position, what position we shall take up, whether… He said he has great difficulty in making decisions, “Whether I shall decide this,” so many problems, not knowing what to decide. So we started talking about the real nature of knowledge. The real knowledge is to understand the real difference between this life and matter, the fundamental principle of knowledge.

PRABHUPADA: This is explained in the Bhagavad-gita [15.7].

mamaivamsho jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah shashthanindriyani
prakriti-sthani karshati

This is our position, that I am part and parcel of God. God is happy, ananda-maya. So part and parcel should be ananda-maya. But—manah shashthanindriyani prakriti-sthani karshati [Bhagavad-gita 15.7]. I have come to this material world. I am creating so many “isms” by the mind and acting with the senses, and there is struggle. Manah shashthanindriyani prakriti-sthani karshati [Bhagavad-gita 15.7]. Prakriti-sthani, being placed in this material atmosphere, he simply struggles. Therefore we are giving the solution: “You give up this struggle. Go back to home, back to Godhead.”

SVARUP DAMODAR: That’s the basic point that I was driving that, that we shouldn’t be too much entangled in this material…

PRABHUPADA: They must be entangled. They are trying in the false way, wrong way. He is suffering on account of being placed in this material atmosphere, and he’s trying to adjust things with this material… That means he’s becoming more and more entangled. Sometimes we have seen a fly falls down in the bee honey and he becomes entangled. So how it will be possible to become free and again fly unless he’s taken and washed all these dirty things for him? Then he can fly. Freedom. And so long he’ll try to adjust things in the prakriti-sthani, that is nonsense, all nonsense.

SVARUP DAMODAR: And while talking, all of a sudden there was a very big bumping in the plane, so everyone was afraid just before we reached Calcutta. So then I mentioned that every moment we are in danger.

PRABHUPADA: Padam padam yad vipadam [Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.58]. Every step there is danger. The other day in Bombay there was accident. Just going up, and so many persons died immediately, ninety persons. Immediately. What is the…?

YOGESVARA: In Bangkok just before we came, just a few days before, a big 747 had crashed.

PRABHUPADA: Accha? So many persons died?

YOGESVARA: So many people dead, just before we arrived.

PRABHUPADA: Just see. So you have discovered such thing that any moment you can die, every one. So therefore this is problem.

Polished Animals

There are swine, dogs, camels, asses, etc., whose economic necessities are just as important as ours, but the economic problems of these animals are only solved under nasty and unpleasant conditions. The human being is given all facilities for a comfortable life by the laws of nature because the human form of life is more important and valuable than animal life. Why does man have a better life than the swine and other animals? Why is a highly placed servant given all facilities rather than an ordinary clerk? The answer is that a highly placed officer has to discharge duties of a higher nature; a human being has higher duties to perform than animals who are always engaged in simply feeding their hungry stomachs. Yet modern soul-killing civilization has only increased the problems of a hungry stomach. When we approach a polished animal in the form of modern civilized man and ask him what his business is, he will say that he simply wants to work to satisfy his stomach and that there is no need for self-realization. The laws of nature are so cruel, however, that despite his eagerness to work hard for his stomach, he is always threatened by the question of unemployment.

We are given this human form of life not to work hard like asses and swine, but to attain the highest perfection of life. If we do not care for self-realization, the laws of nature force us to work very hard, even though we may not want to do so. Human beings in this age have been forced to work hard like the asses and bulls that pull carts.

Sins in the Form of Seed

In the Padma Purana, man’s sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time. It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flowers, bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree. Similarly, a man performs a sinful act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify. There are different stages. The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the results or the fruit of that sinful action are still enjoyed. There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain, as explained in the twentieth verse of the Seventh Chapter.

A person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttamam means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttamam means that which is transcendental to material activities. Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service, however, will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.

It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Krishna (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) in course of time feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Krishna consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.

God Seen As Order Supplier

Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet. But when one takes the opposite way—namely, when one tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda without desiring to satisfy one’s own senses—then by the grace of Govinda all desires of the living entity are satisfied.

Two-legged Animals

So to understand Krishna is not very easy thing. Krishna says that manushyanam sahasreshu, “Out of many millions of millions’ person, one tries to become perfect.” Who is going to become perfect, especially in this age? Everyone is working like cats and dogs. That’s all. Whole day working for eating, sleeping, sex and defense, that’s all. They are not manushyas. Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam cha samanyam etat pashubhih naranam. Eating… I eat; dog eats. So what is the difference between the dog and me? He is eating according to his taste, I am eating also. The eating business is there in the dog also. Don’t think that because you are eating on table, chair, plates, nice preparation… It is eating. People are taking that “Because I am eating on table, chair and nice dish and nice preparation, therefore I am civilized.” The shastra says that it may be different types of taking the eatables, but it is eating. That is even in dog. It does not make any difference. You are not civilized. Similarly sleeping. The dog can sleep on the street without caring for anything. We cannot sleep without nice apartment. So eating, sleeping, mating… Similarly, sex intercourse. Dog has no shame. It can enjoy sex on the street, but we have got some restriction, but the sex is there. Similarly, defense also, bhaya. Bhaya means to take care of fearfulness. That is there in the dog and in you also. It does not make any difference. Because you have got, discovered atomic bomb for defense, it does not mean that you are better than a dog. This is shastric injunction. Because he has to defend himself according to his intelligence and you are defending yourself according to your intelligence.

So this business, four business—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—these are common. Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam samanyam etat. This is common. Then what is the special advantage of human life? The special advantage is athato brahma jijnasa. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa. You should be inquisitive to know the value of life, the Absolute Truth. The dog cannot do it. That is the distinction between dog and human being. In the human form of life there should be inquiry about Brahman, Parabrahman. That is human life. So after inquiring what is Brahman, Parabrahman, janmady asya yatah [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1], the original source of everything, when you attain brahma-jnana, brahma-bhutah, that is your perfection, not that to compete with the dog in eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That is not civilization. That is not perfection of life. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.31]. These foolish men, animalistic, dogs and cats, two-legged animals, they do not know what is the aim of life.

Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum. The aim of life is to understand Vishnu, the Supreme Lord. Durashaya ye bahir-artha maninah. They are trying to become happy in the bahir-artha, in the external energy of God, material energy. And the so-called leaders, politicians, philosophers, scientists, they’re all blind. They do not know what is the aim of life. Still, they are leading the whole society.

Wet Stool, Dry Stool

In this material world, to say this is good and this is bad has no value. To us, everything material is bad as it is lacking Krishna consciousness. Just like wet stool and dry stool. Stool is stool, but somebody is saying that wet stool is better than dry stool. What is this good and bad? The top side of some stool is dry and the bottom side is wet, but anyway that you take it, the material world is stool, and it must be given up. Therefore, we are trying to get out of the material world and go back to Home, Back to Godhead.

But, of course, everyone has got some sentiment. If you want that my sentiment be decried, what is the wrong if I say that your sentiment should be decried. In this world of duality, “this is good” and “this is bad” has no meaning, it is called manodharma, mental concoction. However, the real truth is that Krishna says that: duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bhagavad-gita 8.15], the world is a place of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. Now this is good misery or bad misery? Misery is misery; and you have to die, good die or bad die? So to us everything material, without connection to Krishna, is to be rejected as stool, otherwise we will waste valuable time needed to solve the real problems of life, namely, birth, death, disease, and old age.

Professional Holy Men Like the Serpent Who Spoils Milk with the Touch of His Tongue

A third-class devotee [neophyte], therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Shukadeva Gosvami, like Suta Gosvami, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people. A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities. Such a neophyte devotee makes a show of hearing from the professional man to satisfy his senses. This sort of hearing and chanting has spoiled the whole thing, so one should be very careful about the faulty process. The holy messages of Godhead, as inculcated in the Bhagavad-gita or in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, are undoubtedly transcendental subjects, but even though they are so, such transcendental matters are not to be received from the professional man, who spoils them as the serpent spoils milk simply by the touch of his tongue.

A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanishads, Vedanta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Gosvamis, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of shruti, smriti, purana or pancharatra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee.

Chewing the Chewed

Those who are interested in trying to get pleasure out of this material world are actually chewing the chewed. punah punash charvita-charvananam (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.30). If one picks up a piece of sugarcane which has already been chewed, he is a fool. We must know that the juice has already been taken out of that sugarcane. What will one get by chewing it? However, there are animals who are simply interested in chewing the chewed. Material life means chewing the chewed. A father educates his son to earn a livelihood, get married and settle down, but he himself already knows that by doing this he has not become satisfied. Why, then, is he engaging his son in this same business? A real father is one who does not allow his son to chew the chewed. Pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat… na mochayed yah samupeta-mrityum: one should not become a father or a mother unless one is able to save his children from the impending clutches of death. (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.18) That is the duty of the father and mother. How can this be done? A father and mother should educate their son in Krishna consciousness. Then he can be saved. They should educate the son in such a way that there is no pavarga. If we do not go forward to liberation, we promote a civilization of cats and dogs. Eating, sleeping, mating, defending, fearing and dying are all experienced by cats and dogs, but human life is meant for another purpose. Of course we have to maintain the body; it is not that we should neglect it. But we should not unnecessarily engage in the maintenance of the body.

Bird in a Cage

In human society there must be a proper balance between spirit and matter. We are actually spirit soul, but somehow or other we have been encaged within material bodies, and as long as we have these bodies we have to accept the bodily necessities of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, although the soul itself does not need these things. The soul does not need to eat anything; whatever we eat is for the upkeep of the body. But a civilization that simply looks after these bodily necessities and does ot care for the necessities of the soul is a foolish, unbalanced civilization. Suppose one merely washes one’s coat but does not take care of one’s body. Or suppose one has a bird in a cage but merely takes care of the cage, not the bird within it. This is foolishness. The bird is crying, “Ka, ka. Give me food, give me food.” If one only takes care of the cage, how can the bird be happy?

Diseased Condition of the Senses

The whole process of God consciousness is meant to rectify the conditional activities of the senses and to re-engage them in the direct service of the Lord. Lord Brahma thus engaged his senses in the Lord by re-creating the conditioned living entities to act in the re-created universe. This material universe is thus created and annihilated by the will of the Lord. It is created to give the conditioned soul a chance to act to return home, back to Godhead, and servants like Brahmaji, Naradaji, Vyasaji and their company become busy with the same purpose of the Lord: to reclaim the conditioned souls from the field of sense gratification and return them to the normal stage of engaging the senses in service of the Lord. Instead of doing so, i.e. converting the actions of the senses, the impersonalists began to make the conditioned souls senseless, and the Lord also senseless. That is improper treatment for the conditioned souls. The diseased condition of the senses may be treated by curing the defect, but not uprooting the senses altogether. When there is some disease in the eyes, the eyes may be cured to see properly. Plucking out the eyes is no treatment. Similarly, the whole material disease is based on the process of sense gratification, and liberation from the diseased condition is re-engagement of the senses to see the beauty of the Lord, hear His glories, and act on His account.

Uncontrolled Senses Like a Boat Swept by Wind

If you let loose your senses, unrestricted, then you cannot fix up your intelligence. Just like a boat on the river and there is wind, I mean to…, high wind. At the same time, the boat… That is not possible to keep it restful. It is always tottering. Similarly, if we don’t control our senses, dovetailing them in the service of the Lord, then always they’ll be disturbed, just like a boat on the river, and persuaded by, I mean to say, heavy wind.

Human Being in Family Life Like a Deer Unaware of the Tiger

Although threatened from all sides, the deer simply eats grass in a nice flower garden, unaware of the danger all around him. All living entities, especially human beings, think themselves very happy in the midst of families. As if living in a flower garden and hearing the sweet humming of bumblebees, everyone is centered around his wife, who is the beauty of family life. The bumblebees’ humming may be compared to the talk of children. The human being, just like the deer, enjoys his family without knowing that before him is the factor of time, which is represented by the tiger. The fruitive activities of a living entity simply create another dangerous position and oblige him to accept different types of bodies. For a deer to run after a mirage of water in the desert is not unusual. The deer is also very fond of sex. The conclusion is that one who lives like a deer will be killed in due course of time. Vedic literatures therefore advise that we should understand our constitutional position and take to devotional service before death comes.

Action in Krishna Consciousness Like Watering the Root of a Tree

As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Krishna consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Krishna is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.

The Senses Compared to Snakes

The snakes, kala-sarpa, indriya… Prabodhananda Sarasvati has explained about these kala-sarpas, snake… Our senses are compared with the snakes. Just like a snake, as soon as it touches somebody, it kills. It is very dangerous, touching by the lip of the snake. Similarly, a slight sense gratification is so dangerous, kala-sarpa indriya-patali, especially in the sex matter. So one… Yogis, they are training the senses how to restrain them from sense gratification, but a devotee, on account of their senses being engaged in the service of the Lord, there is no poisonous effect of the senses. Hrishikena hrishikesha-sevanam bhaktir uchyate [Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 19.170]. Krishna’s another name is Hrishikesha. Ratham sthapaya achyuta. Hrishikesha. In the Bhagavad-gita, this word is used, Hrishikesha. So Hrishikesha means “the master of the senses.” Actually, our senses are given by Krishna. We wanted a type of instrument to enjoy certain type of material enjoyment, and Krishna has given us senses. Actually, the proprietor of the senses is Krishna; therefore His name is Hrishikesha, “master of the senses.” So if we actually use the senses for the service of the proprietor of the senses, that is bhakti. Do not… we do not want to stop the activities of the senses, but it is, they are used for the purpose of the sense proprietor, Hrishikesha. That is called bhakti. Hrishikena hrishikesha-sevanam bhaktir uchyateChaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti means don’t use the senses for sense gratification. Apply the senses for the satisfaction of the proprietor of the senses.

The Soul and Supersoul like Two Birds in the Same Tree

There is statement that two birds are sitting on the same tree. The tree is compared… the body is compared with the tree. And two birds, namely the Supersoul, Krishna, and the living entity, individual soul, they are sitting together. And one is eating the fruit of the tree and the other is simply witnessing. This is our position. The other friendly bird, Krishna or Supersoul, is giving us opportunity to act with this body as I like. He’s giving us opportunity. Kshetra-jna. I am the proprietor of this body. I have been allowed to utilize this body as I like. And the facility is given by the Supersoul. So if I like, I can utilize this body for higher grade of life. Krishna will give us all facilities. And if I like, I can utilize this body for lower grade of life. Krishna will give us facilities. So He’s always friendly. And He gives us also friendly advice, that “Don’t act independently. Just act in Krishna consciousness under Me. Then you’ll be happy.” That is His actual instruction. But the living entity does not care for the instruction of the Supersoul. He wants to act independently, and he has to suffer the consequence.

Soul’s Consciousness Like the Moon

The analogy given here is excellent. During the rainy season we cannot see the moon in the sky, because the moon is covered by clouds. These clouds, however, are radiant with the glow of the moon’s own rays. Similarly, in our conditioned, material existence we cannot directly perceive the soul, because our consciousness is covered by the false ego, which is the false identification with the material world and the material body. Yet it is the soul’s own consciousness that illumines the false ego.

As the Gita describes, the energy of the soul is consciousness, and when this consciousness manifests through the screen of false ego, it appears as dull, material consciousness, in which there is no direct vision of the soul or God. In the material world, even great philosophers ultimately resort to hazy ambiguities when speaking about the Absolute Truth, just as the cloudy sky manifests only in a dull and indirect way the iridescent light of the moon.

In material life, our false ego is often enthusiastic, hopeful and apparently aware of various material affairs, and such consciousness encourages us to push on in material existence. But in truth we are merely experiencing the dull reflection of our original, pure consciousness, which is Krishna consciousness—direct perception of the soul and God. Not realizing that the false ego merely hampers and dulls our real, spiritual consciousness, which is fully enlightened and blissful, we mistakenly think that material consciousness is full of knowledge and happiness. This is comparable to thinking that the luminous clouds are lighting up the night sky, while in fact it is the moonshine that illumines the sky, and the clouds that merely dull and hamper the moonshine. The clouds appear luminous because they are filtering and impeding the brilliant rays of the moon. Similarly, at times material consciousness appears pleasurable or enlightened because it is screening or filtering the original, blissful and enlightened consciousness coming directly from the soul. If we can understand the ingenious analogy given in this verse, we can easily advance in Krishna consciousness.

Materialists Compared to Camels

There is no point in arguing that a materialistic man can be happy. No materialistic creature—be he the great Brahma or an insignificant ant—can be happy. Everyone tries to make a permanent plan for happiness, but everyone is baffled by the laws of material nature. Therefore the materialistic world is called the darkest region of God’s creation. Yet the unhappy materialists can get out of it simply by desiring to get out. Unfortunately they are so foolish that they do not want to escape. Therefore they are compared to the camel who relishes thorny twigs because he likes the taste of the twigs mixed with blood. He does not realize that it is his own blood and that his tongue is being cut by the thorns. Similarly, to the materialist his own blood is as sweet as honey, and although he is always harassed by his own material creations, he does not wish to escape. Such materialists are called karmis.

Working like an Ass for a Bit of Grass

DISCIPLE: They say we are escaping from reality.

PRABHUPADA: Yes, we are escaping their reality. But their reality is a dog’s race, and our reality is to advance in self-realization, Krishna consciousness. That is the difference. Therefore the mundane, materialistic workers have been described as mudhas, asses. Why? Because the ass works very hard for no tangible gain. He carries on his back tons of cloth for the washerman, and the washerman in return gives him a little morsel of grass. Then the ass stands at the washerman’s door, eating the grass, while the washerman loads him up again. The ass has no sense to think, “If I get out of the clutches of this washerman, I can get grass anywhere. Why am I carrying so much?”

The mundane workers are like that. They’re busy at the office, very busy. If you want to see the fellow, “I am very busy now.” [Laughter.] So what is the result of your being so busy? “Well, I take two pieces of toast and one cup of tea. That’s all.” [Laughter.] And for this purpose you are so busy?

Or, he is busy all day simply so that in the evening he can look at his account books and say, “Oh, the balance had been one thousand dollars—now it has become two thousand.” That is his satisfaction. But still he will have the same two pieces of bread and one cup of tea, even though he has increased his balance from one thousand to two thousand. And still he’ll work hard. This is why karmis are called mudhas. They work like asses, without any real aim of life.

But Vedic civilization is different. The accusation implied in the question is not correct. In the Vedic system, people are not lazy. They are very busy working for a higher purpose. And that busy-ness is so important that Prahlada Maharaja says, kaumara acharet prajño: [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1] “Beginning from childhood, one should work for self-realization.” One should not lose a second’s time. So that is Vedic civilization.

Of course, the materialistic workers—they see, “These men are not working like us, like dogs and asses. So they are escaping.”

Yes, escaping your fruitless endeavor.

Material Solutions a Burden Transferred from Head to Shoulder

When one gets tired of keeping a burden on his head, he will place it on his shoulder. this does not mean that he has become freed from the strains of carrying the burden. Similarly, human society in the name of civilization is creating one kind of trouble to avoid another kind of trouble. In contemporary civilization we see that there are many automobiles manufactured to carry us swiftly from one place to another, but at the same time we have created other problems. We have to construct so many roads, and yet these roads are insufficient to cope with automobile congestion and traffic jams. There are also the problems of air pollution and fuel shortage. The conclusion is that the processes we manufacture to counteract or minimize our distresses do not actually put an end to our pains. It is simply an illusion. We simply place the burden from the head to the shoulder.

Maya as a Cloud

In Bhagavad-gita it is said that because the whole world is illusioned by the three modes of material nature, the common conditioned soul, being covered by such energy, cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The example of a cloud is very nicely given. All of a sudden there may appear a big cloud in the sky. This cloud is perceived in two ways. To the sun, the cloud is a creation of its energy, but to the ordinary common man in the conditioned state, it is a covering to the eyes; because of the cloud, the sun cannot be seen. It is not that the sun is actually covered by the cloud; only the vision of the ordinary being is covered. Similarly, although maya cannot cover the Supreme Lord, who is beyond maya, the material energy covers the ordinary living entities.

The Sun and the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Darkness, illumination and clouds sometimes appear and sometimes disappear, but even when they have disappeared, the potency is still there, always existing. In the sky sometimes we see clouds, sometimes day, sometimes illumination, and sometimes darkness. All these exist due to the sun, but the sun is unaffected by all these changes. Similarly, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original cause of the total cosmic manifestation, He is unaffected by the material existence.

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