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Base qualities

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 6

SB 6.2.46, Translation:

Therefore one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance.

For the living entities controlled by the base qualities of nature, passion and ignorance, there is no possibility of understanding God. Even those in the mode of goodness, like the many demigods and great ṛṣis described in these verses, cannot understand the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
SB 6.3.14-15, Purport:

The men and other living entities within this cosmic manifestation are controlled by the three modes of nature. For the living entities controlled by the base qualities of nature, passion and ignorance, there is no possibility of understanding God. Even those in the mode of goodness, like the many demigods and great ṛṣis described in these verses, cannot understand the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, one who is situated in the devotional service of the Lord is transcendental to all the material qualities. Therefore the Lord personally says that no one can understand Him but the bhaktas, who are transcendental to all material qualities (bhaktyā mām abhijānāti (BG 18.55)). As stated by Bhīṣmadeva to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.9.16):

na hy asya karhicid rājan
pumān veda vidhitsitam
yad-vijijñāsayā yuktā
muhyanti kavayo 'pi hi

"O King, no one can know the plan of the Lord (Śrī Kṛṣṇa). Even though great philosophers inquire exhaustively, they are bewildered." No one, therefore, can understand God by speculative knowledge. Indeed, by speculation one will be bewildered (muhyanti). This is also confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (7.3):

manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ

Among many thousands of men, one may endeavor for perfection, and even among the siddhas, those who have already become perfect, only one who adopts the process of bhakti, devotional service, can understand Kṛṣṇa.

SB Canto 8

There are so many philosophers trying to understand the Absolute Truth, but since they are situated in the base qualities of material nature and are addicted to so many bad habits, like drinking, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling, how can they conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
SB 8.12.10, Purport:

Factually speaking, even those who are situated in the material mode of goodness cannot understand the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What then is to be said of those who are situated in rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, the base qualities of material nature? How can we even imagine the Supreme Personality of Godhead? There are so many philosophers trying to understand the Absolute Truth, but since they are situated in the base qualities of material nature and are addicted to so many bad habits, like drinking, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling, how can they conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? For them it is impossible. For the present day, the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi as enunciated by Nārada Muni is the only hope. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, therefore, has quoted the following verse from the Brahma-yāmala:

śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate

"Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society." (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101) Those who are very advanced in knowledge and are situated in the mode of goodness follow the Vedic instructions of the śruti and smṛti and other religious scriptures, including the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi. Without understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way, one only creates a disturbance. In this age of Kali, so many gurus have sprung up, and because they do not refer to the śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātrika-vidhi, they are creating a great disturbance in the world in regard to understanding the Absolute Truth. However, those who follow the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi under the guidance of a proper spiritual master can understand the Absolute Truth. It is said, pañcarātrasya kṛtsnasya vaktā tu bhagavān svayam: the pañcarātra system is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just like Bhagavad-gītā. Vāsudeva-śaraṇā vidur añjasaiva: the truth can be understood only by one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Vāsudeva.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Those who are associating with the base qualities of material nature, they get lower life. That is natural. Just like you contaminate a kind of disease. It will become manifest in due course of time.
Lecture on BG 9.2 -- Melbourne, April 20, 1976:

I have several times given example. There are different types of bodies: animals, birds, beasts, demigods, human being, many varieties of life, 8,400,000, higher life, lower life. So those who are associating with the base qualities of material nature, they get lower life. That is natural. Just like you contaminate a kind of disease. It will become manifest in due course of time. So this is going on. But if we understand this knowledge as Kṛṣṇa is speaking, rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ pavitram idam uttamam, then pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyam. Dharma. One meaning of dharma is the basic principle of our life or the occupational duty of our life, dharma. Occupational duty of our life, that is called dharma. Generally in the English dharma is translated by the word religion, a kind of faith. But actually dharma means the characteristic. That is real meaning of dharma, characteristic.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Unless we control the base qualities, namely the modes of ignorance and passion, you cannot be happy. It is not possible.
Lecture on SB 5.5.23 -- Vrndavana, November 10, 1976:

There are 8,400,000 of living entities, and as we have studied yesterday, how gradually evolution comes, elevated. So here it is the conclusion, the evolution must come to the topmost platform of brahminical culture. Satya śamo dama titikṣa ārjavaṁ, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). Now people are not at all interested. If you advertise that "We are opening one gurukula where brahminical culture will be instructed. Send your boys," nobody will send. They are not concerned anymore that "My son should be truthful, self-controlled, mind controlled," śama dama. Śama means mind-control, śamata, and dama means sense-control. Without controlling the mind, how you can control the senses? The yoga system is practiced to control the mind, to control the senses, because we have to evolve from animal platform to brāhmaṇa platform or spiritual platform, sattva-guṇa.

tato rājas-tamo-bhāvāḥ
kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ
sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati
(SB 1.2.19)

Unless we control the base qualities, namely the modes of ignorance and passion, you cannot be happy. It is not possible. Tato rājas-tamo-bhāvāḥ. Rājas tamo-bhāvāḥ means kāma and lobhā. So long I have lusty desire and so long I have greediness to acquire more and more and more, to enjoy senses more and more That is greediness. One should be satisfied, the minimum possible.

So budha means one who is aware of everything, jñānī. Budhā bhāva-samanvitaḥ. Such budha, intelligent person, will not accept these base qualities.
Lecture on SB 5.6.5 -- Vrndavana, November 27, 1976:

Pradyumna: "The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind?"

Prabhupāda:

kāmo manyur mado lobhaḥ
śoka-moha-bhayādayaḥ
karma-bandhaś ca yan-mūlaḥ
svīkuryāt ko nu tad budhaḥ
(SB 5.6.5)

So budha means one who is aware of everything, jñānī. Budhā bhāva-samanvitaḥ (BG 10.8). Such budha, intelligent person, will not accept these base qualities. Kāma, manyur means greediness, lusty; madaḥ—madness; lobha... Mada, mada? Kāmo manyur mada. What is mada? Madness? Mada—pride, yes. Kāmo manyur mado lobhaḥ—greediness; śoka—lamentation; moha—illusion; bhaya... Bhaya means when we are too much materially absorbed then there is bhaya. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām. So long we are interested in bodily concept of life, these things are manifested. And when we are spiritually identified, so there is no more kāma-lobha-bhaya-śoka-bhayādayaḥ. Śoka-moha-bhaya apahaḥ. Spiritual means, advanced means śoka moha bhaya, these things are not existing. These are the symptoms of karma-bandha. But if we devote ourselves in the bhakti-yoga, in the service of the Lord, then the face of these things will change. The face of these things will change.

Out of these three qualities, goodness, passion and ignorance, the ignorance and passion are base quality, and goodness is first-class quality. So the human life means we are born either in the base qualities... Nobody is born in the first-class quality.
Lecture on SB 6.1.20 -- Chicago, July 4, 1975:

So long the human history is there, there must be war. You cannot avoid it. Because it is material world, disagreement, misunderstanding must be there. You cannot avoid it. Because everyone is not of the same standard. That is not possible. Somebody is in the lower standard, somebody is in the middle standard, and somebody in the highest standard. That is division: goodness, passion, and ignorance. You cannot avoid it. So out of these three qualities, goodness, passion and ignorance, the ignorance and passion are base quality, and goodness is first-class quality. So the human life means we are born either in the base qualities... Nobody is born in the first-class quality. One who is born in this material world... May be somebody has taken his birth in the mode of goodness, but very rare. But maybe. Mostly they are born in the base qualities, ignorance and passion. But the śāstras are there. Anyone can be raised to the first-class quality by training. That is human civilization.

janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ
saṁskārād bhaved divjaḥ
veda-pāṭhād bhaved vipro
brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ

This is the process. When you take your birth, that birth is not significant—a śūdra, fourth-class man. Everyone is born fourth-class man. So if you keep them fourth class and degrade them into fifth class, sixth class, then how there will be peace? How there will be peace? Therefore in your country, in America, they are now perplexed, "Crime, Why and What to Do?" Because you kept them fourth class, and they are going down to be fifth class, sixth class, how you can expect peace? It is not possible. If you do not elevate them... He is already born śūdra, janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Now you have to reform him.

At the present moment, everyone is covered by the rajas-tamaḥ, the base qualities, ignorance and passion, so they have no interest in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not possible. One has to purify himself.
Lecture on SB 6.1.44 -- Los Angeles, June 10, 1976:

So this, my song... I was thinking on board the ship that rajas tamo gune erā sabāi ācchanna, vāsudeva-kathā ruci mahe se prasanna (SB 1.2.16). Nobody is interested. At the present moment, everyone is covered by the rajas-tamaḥ, the base qualities, ignorance and passion, so they have no interest in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not possible. One has to purify himself. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhadayaś... (SB 1.2.19). When we kill the rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ, ceta etair anāviddham... When our heart is no more contaminated by the rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ, ceta etair anāviddhaṁ sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati. There are three guṇas. If you make minus these two guṇas, rajas-tamo-guṇa, then the remaining—only sattva-guṇa. So these rajas-tamo-guṇa can be counteracted simply by hearing about Kṛṣṇa. Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ (SB 1.2.17). So therefore I wrote, tabe jadi tava kṛpā hay ahaitukī, sakala sambhava hay tumi se kautikī, that "God is all-powerful, Kṛṣṇa is all-powerful. He can do everything impossible, possible." So whatever is being done in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, don't think that it is my influence of my... It is Kṛṣṇa's. Kṛṣṇa can do everything. He can change sattva-guṇa into tamo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa into rajo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa into sattva-guṇa. That is as He likes. Just like a expert electrician: he can turn the heater into cooler and cooler into heater. The electric energy is the same. Similarly, parasya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport). He has His energy. If He likes... My point is that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has come to your country by the will of Kṛṣṇa. So here is favorable situation because the will of Kṛṣṇa is there, that "Now the Westerners, especially the Americans, they should become Kṛṣṇa conscious." That is His will. So you take the opportunity, cooperate with Kṛṣṇa, and you will be successful.

Even there is goodness, it is not pure. There is always chance of becoming polluted by the other base qualities, ignorance and passion.
Lecture on SB 7.6.9 -- Vrndavana, December 11, 1975:

In the material world there are three guṇas. Of these, sattva-guṇa is accepted as very good—the modes of goodness. But above this mode of goodness there is śuddha-sattva, pure goodness. "Goodness is goodness"—no. This goodness is polluted with ignorance and passion. Therefore we see in the material world a person very good But yesterday morning we were discussing about Brahmā: very good, but sometimes he is also polluted. Therefore it is not pure goodness in this material world. Even there is goodness, it is not pure. There is always chance of becoming polluted by the other base qualities, ignorance and passion.

Therefore here cannot be pure goodness. Pure goodness is Kṛṣṇa consciousness platform, devotional service. If you keep yourself rigidly on the platform of devotional service, then you are pure goodness. And as soon as you are slack, immediately the other two base qualities will attack you. Therefore it is very difficult to keep pure goodness. Take for example: goodness is brāhmaṇa. How at the present moment the brāhmaṇa, the hereditary brāhmaṇa, by birth, how they have fallen on account of attack of these base qualities. But they're trying to keep their brahminical platform in spite of being polluted by the other two base qualities. Therefore the Caitanya-caritāmṛta author's statement that ei bhāla, ei manda, saba bhrama: even if you are raised to the brāhmaṇa quality, there is always chance of falling down. Therefore you have to keep always in the transcendental platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati... (BG 18.54). Even from brahma-bhūtaḥ platform one falls down. One who is already mixed, or merged into the Brahman, they fall down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Why? Anādṛta yusmad aṅghrayaḥ. Unless one is very rigid devotee, even he has approached the other feature—that means the Brahman feature: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān—so he falls down, very, very easily.

Philosophy Discussions

The more you hear about Kṛṣṇa, or—Kṛṣṇa means His instruction or about Him, what He is—the more you become purified. So that is the test, that how one has become purified means one is purified from the base quality of passion and ignorance, means that he is no more attacked by greediness and passion.
Philosophy Discussion on Socrates:

Prabhupāda: If we hear Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā regularly, then we become free from the effects of the modes of ignorance and passion, gradually, although it takes... But it is sure. The more you hear about Kṛṣṇa, or—Kṛṣṇa means His instruction or about Him, what He is—the more you become purified. So that is the test, that how one has become purified means one is purified from the base quality of passion and ignorance, means that he is no more attacked by greediness and passion. That is the test. That means he is free from the base qualities, and he is situated, ceta etair anāviddhaṁ sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati. When he is no more disturbed by these base qualities of passion and greediness, then he is happy. Then he becomes happy. Ceta etair anāvi..., sthitasya, that is goodness. That is goodness. Then he is happy, happiness, that the ultimate stage of goodness is brahma-bhūtaḥ, to realize himself, realize God. So goodness, one must come to the platform of goodness. So we are therefore asking people to give up these base qualitative activities—illicit sex and meat-eating and drinking or intoxication and gambling. These are base qualities. So anyone gives up these qualities, he remains in the sattva-guṇa. And then if he is promoted farther, just like Socrates said that goodness is not all, that still you have to..., and that is bhakti. Then his realization is perfect. He becomes liberated, and then gradually he develops love of God, then he is in the original state.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Here all men are covered by these two base qualities, all men and animal, everyone, passion and ignorance. Therefore, first of all, they have to be brought to the platform of goodness. And if they can keep goodness uncontaminated, they are transferred to the spiritual world.
Morning Walk -- May 14, 1975, Perth:

Prabhupāda: He is in goodness but sometimes he is attacked by the other two base qualities, passion and ignorance. Then he falls down. Where there is chance of being contaminated, that is not pure goodness. Pure goodness is never contaminated. That is (unclear).

Amogha: So pure goodness actually means those eight qualities mentioned in the Gītā but without any contamination of the lower qualities.

Prabhupāda: Yes. In the material world, goodness is prone to be contaminated. In the spiritual world, the other two qualities, they are not existing. So there is no question of contamination. Here all men are covered by these two base qualities, all men and animal, everyone, passion and ignorance. Therefore, first of all, they have to be brought to the platform of goodness. And if they can keep goodness uncontaminated, they are transferred to the spiritual world.

The base quality, the platform of base quality is this: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, gambling. Base quality means kama, lusty desires, and greediness. In material world, generally, they are under these base quality, means always filled up with lusty desires and not satisfied, greedy. So when we conquer over these base qualities, then we become happy.
Room Conversation with Dr. John Mize -- June 23, 1975, Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: The fall down means material world, there are three different grades: the tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, and sattva-guṇa. If the... Just like the spark falls down. If it falls down on dry grass, the grass becomes ablazed. So the fiery quality is still maintained, although it is fall down. On account of the atmosphere of the dry grass, it again makes another fire, and the fiery quality maintains. That is sattva-guṇa. And if the spark falls down on the green grass, then it is extinguished. And the dry grass, if, when the green grass becomes dry, there is chance of again coming to the blazing, but if the spark falls down in water, then it is very difficult. Similarly, the soul, when comes in the material world, there are three guṇas. So if he contacts with tamo-guṇa then he is in the most abominable condition. If it falls down with rajo-guṇa then there is little activity. Just like they are working. And if he falls down in the sattva-guṇa, then he at least keeps himself in the knowledge that "I am fire. I do not belong to this dull material." So therefore we have to bring him again to the sattva-guṇa, brahminical qualification, so that he can understand ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am spirit soul. I am not this matter." So then his spiritual activity begins. Therefore we are trying to bring him to the platform of sattva-guṇa, means to give up the business of rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa: no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, so many no's, to deny him the influence of material qualities. Then, if he is situated in the sattva-guṇa, then he remains on the platform of... When he remains on the plat..., sattva-guṇa, then the rajas-tamaḥ, the other base qualities, cannot disturb him. The base quality, the platform of base quality is this: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, gambling. So tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaṣ ca ye (SB 1.2.19). When one is free from at least to these base qualities... Base quality means kama, lusty desires, and greediness. In material world, generally, they are under these base quality, means always filled up with lusty desires and not satisfied, greedy. So when we conquer over these base qualities, then we become happy. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaṣ ca ye, ceta etair anaviddham. When the consciousness is not influenced by these base qualities, ceta etair ana..., sthitaḥ sattve prasīdati, being situated on the platform of sattva-guṇa, he feels happy. That is the beginning of spiritual life. When... So long the mind is disturbed by lusty desires and greediness, there is no question of spiritual life. Therefore the first business is how to control the mind so that it may not be influenced by the base quality, lusty desires and greediness.

We are now covered with base qualities. So when these base qualities are finished, not altogether, almost finished, then one can come to the platform of sattva-guṇa.
Room Conversation with Dr. John Mize -- June 23, 1975, Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: Mode of goodness. Just like not that everyone can become a philosophy professor. It requires certain qualification. But everyone can become also. Everyone got the chance. Provided he is qualified, then he can take the post of a philosophy professor. Everyone has got the chance, not that you have got only the chance. Anyone has got the chance. But not that without having a certain qualification, one can become. Similarly, these thing will remain puzzling unless one comes to the qualification of goodness. Therefore we order our disciples, "Come to the platform of goodness. Give up all this nonsense habit." Then it will be possible.

Bahulāśva: Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Let him ask. (pause) Tato rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ (SB 1.2.19). Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu (SB 1.2.18). In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you find out this verse, First Canto. Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. So abhadreṣu, prāyeṣu. We are now covered with base qualities. So when these base qualities are finished, not altogether, almost finished, then one can come to the platform of sattva-guṇa.

Dr. John Mize: The platform of...?

Prabhupāda: Sattva-guṇa, goodness. In that platform one can understand very quickly. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is little successful because we are trying to bring the students on the platform of goodness. Therefore it is becoming little successful. If you keep them in the platform of ignorance and passion, then it will be difficult.

One sees the cow has soul, the ant has soul, the elephant has soul, the tree has soul, the human being has soul. That is samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. By ignorance one thinks that "The tree has no soul; the cow has no soul; the animal has no soul; simply we have got soul." That is ignorance, base quality. But when you come to the pureness of goodness, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu, this qualification will arise.
Room Conversation with Dr. John Mize -- June 23, 1975, Los Angeles:

Jayatīrtha: 18.54. I should read?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jayatīrtha:

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate param
(BG 18.54)

"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me."

Prabhupāda: That means one has to come to the platform of brāhmaṇa. Then he can enter into devotional service. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate param (BG 18.54). In that brāhminical state he sees every living entity as part and parcel of God. That is samaḥ, equality. He does not see like this, that the human being has soul and the cow has not soul. He does not see like that. He sees the cow has soul, the ant has soul, the elephant has soul, the tree has soul, the human being has soul. That is samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. By ignorance he thinks that "The tree has no soul; the cow has no soul; the animal has no soul; simply we have got soul." That is ignorance, base quality. But when you come to the pureness of goodness, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu, this qualification will arise. So a devotee is not willing to kill even an ant because he knows that "He is also soul, part and parcel. By his karma, he has become ant, I have become a human being. So I am the same soul; he is the same soul. He is different body. He is suffering in that way. I have got different body. I am also suffering, but I am thinking I am enjoying." That is samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. What is the meaning, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu?

Jayatīrtha: Samaḥ means equally disposed; sarveṣu means all; bhūteṣu means living entity. "He is equally disposed to every living entity."

Prabhupāda: So we can see on equal level when (sic:) you become a brāhmaṇa.

When you are strongly situated in sattva-guṇa, the other base qualities cannot disturb you.
Morning Walk -- July 2, 1975, Denver:

Devotee (2): When a person's in sattva-guṇa, he's not so much feeling the pain...

Prabhupāda: He is not disturbed by the rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. That is sattva-guṇa. Naṣṭa-prayeṣv abhadreṣu (SB 1.2.18). He can be disturbed by rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa, but when he is in sattva-guṇa, he is not so much disturbed. And if he increase and go to the pure sattva-guṇa, suddha-sattva, then he is no more disturbed. At that time he can understand what is God. (break) ...you are strongly situated in sattva-guṇa, the other base qualities cannot disturb you. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye (SB 1.2.19). Other guṇa means lusty desires and greediness. This thing will be finished when you are strongly situated in sattva-guṇa. Then you go advance more and more. (break) ...hear about Kṛṣṇa, to chant about Kṛṣṇa, means cleansing, cleansing the dirty things of rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. (break) ...world is going on on rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. Very minute quantity of population are by sattva-guṇa.

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

Ignorance and passion, these are the base qualities. When these base qualities are finished almost, not complete, nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā - hearing from Bhāgavata or by serving the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement - then he becomes fixed up in devotional service.
Room Conversation Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced -- February 14, 1977, Mayapura:

Prabhupāda: Kaniṣṭha-adhikārī means he must be a brāhmaṇa. That is kaniṣṭha-adhikārī. The spiritual life, kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, means he must be a qualified brāhmaṇa. That is kaniṣṭha. What is esteemed as very high position in the material world, brāhmaṇa, that is kaniṣṭha-adhikārī.

arcāyām eva haraye
pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ

The brāhmaṇa means from the material stage gradually he is elevated to the spiritual stage. And below the brāhmaṇa there is no question of Vaiṣṇava.

Hari-śauri: No question of?

Prabhupāda: Vaiṣṇavism.

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām
(SB 1.2.17)

By becoming a brāhmaṇa, hearing, hearing, hearing... Or by hearing, hearing, hearing, he becomes a brāhmaṇa. The other qualities, śūdra quality, kṣatriya, vaiśya, means finished. So then next stage is, śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ, hṛdy antaḥ... Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu. By this process, hearing... Without becoming a brāhmaṇa nobody is interested to hear. Then, by hearing, naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu, then abhadra, means the base qualities, means ignorance and passion... These are the base qualities. So naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu. When these base qualities are finished almost, not complete, nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā, by hearing from Bhāgavata or by serving the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement-

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu
nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
(SB 1.2.18)

Then he becomes fixed up in devotional... This devotional service is the first-grade quality of sattva-guṇa.

When one is situated as a devotee, then this base quality, rajas-tamaḥ, ignorance and passion, the symptoms: kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye. Kāma, lusty desires, and greediness. Sex desire, strong sex desire or satisfy the senses, eating too much, lobha, greediness—these things go.
Room Conversation Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced -- February 14, 1977, Mayapura:

Prabhupāda: (recites verse)

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu
nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
(SB 1.2.18)

Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ (SB 1.2.19). When one is situated as a devotee, then this base quality, rajas-tamaḥ, ignorance and passion, the symptoms: kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye. Kāma, lusty desires, and greediness. Sex desire, strong sex desire or satisfy the senses, eating too much, lobha, greediness—these things go. Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā bhagavaty uttama... When one is situated in devotional service, tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ. These are rajas-tamo... These are the symptoms of rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye, ceta etair anāviddham (SB 1.2.19). The mind is no more disturbed with all these things. Sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati. Then he is to be understood... He's in the sattva-guṇa. That is perfect brahminical life. Then he'll be pleased. Prasīdati. In this way, gradual step... So it is very difficult to bring, introduce varṇāśrama, but at least there must be some idea.

Always we should hear about Kṛṣṇa, speak about Kṛṣṇa. Then this base quality, ignorance and passion, will go.
Conversation on Roof -- February 14, 1977, Mayapura:

Prabhupāda: The mode of ignorance is very, very bad. Little more advance, mode of passion. Further advanced, mode of knowledge. Further advanced is spiritual position. Just see. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to give the human society the best knowledge and they have combined together to oppose it. How mode of ignorance is prominent. The simple method is to hear about Kṛṣṇa. That's it. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya (SB 12.3.51). Simple. We have given so many books. Always we should hear about Kṛṣṇa, speak about Kṛṣṇa. Then this base quality, ignorance and passion, will go. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). So wherever you remain, you should continue this. Otherwise māyā will attack.

... more about "Base qualities"
Labangalatika +  and Visnu Murti +
August 22, 0011 JL +
March 4, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 3 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 7 +, Conv: 8 +  and Let: 0 +