Being in the tamo-guna, just like the spark being in the water... Water and fire, they are two opposite. So if one remains in tamo-guna, he has no chance of coming out to become fire again. There is no chance

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"being in the tamo-guna, just like the spark being in the water... Water and fire, they are two opposite. So if one remains in tamo-guna, he has no chance of coming out to become fire again. There is no chance"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

The spark may fall down in dry grass. As soon as it falls down in dry grass, there is chance of igniting fire in the dry grass—sattva-guṇa. That is sattva-guṇa. And if the fire spark falls down on the ground, then for some time it looks like fiery, but again it becomes extinguished. That is rajo-guṇa. And if the fire sparks falls down in water—immediately finished, no more fire. So that is the distinction, the tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa. So those who are in the tamo-guṇa, they are hopeless. They can do something, waste time, but being in the tamo-guṇa, just like the spark being in the water... Water and fire, they are two opposite. So if one remains in tamo-guṇa, he has no chance of coming out to become fire again. There is no chance.
Lecture on BG 17.1-3 -- Honolulu, July 4, 1974:

You... We are... First of all we are very minute part and parcel of Bhagavān. Mamaivāṁśaḥ. So, according to our position, we have got our knowledge, we have got our understanding, proportionately. Just like fire, big fire and a small spot fire. Both of them are fire, but you cannot compare the small fragment of fire with the big fire. That is not possible. The big ocean and a small drop of water from the ocean. Because the taste of the small drop of ocean is the same, the Māyāvādī philosophers, they conclude that "I am the same." But they have no common sense that the small drop of water, although the quality is the same, it is very small. So our knowledge is therefore imperfect. Although we are qualitatively one with God, still, being very small quantity, our power, our knowledge, our understanding—everything is proportionately small. You must first of all understand that, that we are simultaneously one and different. One means qualitatively one. A small particle of gold, you can call it gold, but it is not the gold mine, This is called dvaita-vāda, advaita-vāda. The rascals they think "Because I am gold, I am as good as the gold mine." No, That is not. Gold mine is very big, powerful, immense value. So we should not forget this.

Therefore it is said... Now, tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā: "This śraddhā, this faith," Kṛṣṇa says, "there are three kinds." Tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā. Tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā. Dehinām. Always remember, dehinām means the possessor, the owner of this body. Therefore the owner is different from the body. Those who are under the conception that there is no owner, and the body is everything, they are less than tamo-guṇa. Actually animals. They have been described as being animal. Those who are thinking like the dog that "I am this body..." The dog is also thinking, "I am this body," and a man is also thinking, "I am this body." Then where is the difference between the dog and the man? When man comes to the understanding that "I am not this body; I am soul," then knowledge begins. Before that, he is ignorant like animal. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13).

Now, to come to the real knowledge, real platform of knowledge, the cultivation is required. So cultivation is required. Suppose somebody has said, the same example, that there is fire in the wood. So if you simply remain satisfied with the wood—"There is fire"—that is called tamo-guṇa, not developed. Again, when there is smoke, that is another platform. But when one appreciates the flames of (the fire), that is sattva-guṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says here, tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā. If one is cultivating his life like hogs and cats and dogs—the behavior is also like that and remaining in that position—so his faith and one who is advanced, who is worshiping Deity, and having three times bath, and chanting mantras, Hare Kṛṣṇa, they are not equal. That is not possible because one is situated in the sattva-guṇa and the other is situated in tamo-guṇa, although the tamo-guṇas, the persons who are in the darkness of knowledge, they have got their faith. It is not that they have no faith. They have got faith. But that faith is in the lowest status of life. That faith will not help him for spiritual realization. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā. Svabhāva-jā means natural. Because his body is not yet purified, therefore he remains in the status of tamo-guṇa or ignorance. Tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā.

Therefore we have to change. Just like a man diseased, he can be changed into a healthy person provided he follows the medical rules and regulation, takes medicine, diet and... That is possible. So if one does not follow the regulation, rules and regulation, he remains there, diseased. It is not that, that "We have become now free. We can talk nonsensically and we can behave like nonsense. Still, we are advanced," That is not possible. Sāttvikī rājasī caiva tāmasī ceti tāṁ śṛṇu. How? What are the symptoms to know that one is situated in the sattva-guṇa or one is situated in the rajo-guṇa or one is situated in tamo-guṇa? By the symptoms. The symptoms are also mentioned. The sattva-guṇa means brāhmaṇa. Sattva-guṇa in brāhmaṇa, their symptoms are mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā. Everything is there, characteristic. You have to test it. Just like in the chemistry there is analytical study, whether it is pure or not. So every chemical has got characteristics, Its color, its formation, its taste, so many things. Those who are chemists, they know how to test. So when the characteristic and the test of the chemical is found as "Yes, it is according to the standard," then it is accepted as a pure chemical, and it can be used for the purpose. And if it is adulterated... Everything... We are cooking food. If the ghee is pure, then taste is different. If the ghee is impure, the taste is different. And if it is not ghee at all. oil, the taste is different. It is like that.

So people are being controlled by the three kinds of material nature, and if they do not follow the shastric injunction, then he will concoct, he will create something according to his position, either in the tamo-guṇa or rajo-guṇa or sattva-guṇa. But those, means superficially doing something in the tamo-guṇa, he will not be successful. He will not be successful. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma... (BG 16.23). He is going on, conducting himself under the influence of the same modes of nature, material nature, which he has naturally adopted from his birth. There are... We have discussed all these, this verse, that sad-asad-janma, yoni-janmasu. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya (BG 13.22). Everyone is getting a particular type of body. So one may say, "This body is very nice, this body is not so nice and this body is very good." So why it is so? Because according to the association of the material nature. After all, the living entity falls down from the spiritual world. Just like Jaya-Vijaya. There is possibility, if you do not stick to the spiritual principle, even if you are in Vaikuṇṭha, you will fall down, what to speak of this material world? Because in the Vaikuṇṭha or in the spiritual world, no contaminated soul can stay there. He will fall down.

Now, when the spirit soul falls down? Just like Jaya-Vijaya. Jaya and Vijaya became asuras. They fell down from Vaikuṇṭha. But they became asuras under the circumstances. That is mentioned we were reading Bhāgavata the Kaśyapa Ṛṣi, his wife... Diti? What is the name of? Anyway, she was very lusty during the sandhyā, just at the point of evening, the day's passing. So she wanted sex with her husband. He said, "No, this is not the time. This is not the time." But she was so lusty she obliged the husband to have sex life with her, and the result was two asuras were born. We have to take so much care. You see? According to the time, according to circumstances... Therefore the Vedic principle has got garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. To beget a child, it requires also reformation-time, mentality, situation. So... Not like cats and dogs. So, creating the background very nicely, sattva-guṇa, they will beget a child. That child will come, some great man, some great devotee. So everything has got the material relationship, how to do it. That is śāstra. So you do it, but follow the shastric injunction. So the shastric injunction, so far is concerned, as it is said here, that is sāttvikī, rājasī, tāmasī.

The example is: just like the same fire spark is falling down from the blazing fire... You have seen the sparks. There are sparks, fire sparks, with the blazing fire. Now, the sparks sometimes fall down outside the fire. So take the fire as spiritual world, and the spark is in the spiritual world, within the fire, but sometimes it falls down. Now, when it falls down it comes in the material world and... Now what kind of falldown it is? Now, the spark may fall down in dry grass. As soon as it falls down in dry grass, there is chance of igniting fire in the dry grass—sattva-guṇa. That is sattva-guṇa. And if the fire spark falls down on the ground, then for some time it looks like fiery, but again it becomes extinguished. That is rajo-guṇa. And if the fire sparks falls down in water—immediately finished, no more fire. So that is the distinction, the tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa. So those who are in the tamo-guṇa, they are hopeless. They can do something, waste time, but being in the tamo-guṇa, just like the spark being in the water... Water and fire, they are two opposite. So if one remains in tamo-guṇa, he has no chance of coming out to become fire again. There is no chance.

So therefore the process is to bring from the tamo-guṇa to rajo-guṇa, and from rajo-guṇa to sattva-guṇa, and then surpass sattva-guṇa. That is spiritual platform. This is the way. So if you stick to the tamo-guṇa principle, then there is no hope of spiritual realization. There is only hope of becoming hogs and dogs and like that. Their life is finished. So those who are trying to come to the platform of spiritual realization, God realization, they must stick to the sattva-guṇa principle. Otherwise it is hopeless. it is not hopeless. Nothing is hopeless. It will take very, very long time. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā you will find the statement, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "After many, many births, when one is actually wise..." Wise means in the sattva-guṇa platform. "Then he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa." Then the beginning of spiritual life is there, and he may finish this course of spiritual understanding even in this life, simply by understanding Kṛṣṇa.

Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kau... (BG 4.9). Everything is there, described. So try to understand Bhagavad-gītā very nicely, and even in this life you can finish your job of spiritual self-realization and may go back to home back to Godhead. Thank you very much. (break)

...purified simply by chanting. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). That is the definition given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Everything, purity, impurity, everything is in the heart. If one, in impure condition he is thinking that "I have now become pure," that is rascaldom. But in the purity platform, even there is no Deity worship... Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva (Bs. 5.38). He sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere. Then Haridāsa... But we should not imitate that. We are in the lower stage. Therefore Deity worship required. Mean, if there is no temple, you can keep a small Deity in a small box and open it. After taking bath, sitting down, you can offer Him little patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26). Little you can offer, little water. Where is the difficulty? Deity worship. You can worship Deity anywhere also. In a small box you can keep the Deity. And after taking bath you offer something. If you have nothing to offer, offer a little tulasī leaf. Or any leaf. That Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me. The real thing is whether you are lover and devotee. Then Kṛṣṇa will accept anything you offer. It is not you have to cook very sumptuously, very rich food. Then Kṛṣṇa you'll offer. Kṛṣṇa is not after your food. Kṛṣṇa is after your devotion and faith. That can be created anywhere if you are actually sincere.

Sudāmā: There also is the position of or some question is raised as to how to actually follow the authority. What is the authority between...?

Prabhupāda: Authority is your spiritual master. You do not know who is authority? Why this question is there? If one is initiated, then he accepted the authority. And if he does not follow the instruction of spiritual master, he is a rascal. He is defying the authority. That's all.

Sudāmā: The question also is there: the authority is the spiritual master, but the via media to the spiritual master... The difference between, like we were discussing in the automobile of śikṣā and dīkṣā-guru.

Prabhupāda: Then so śikṣā and dīkṣā-guru... A śikṣā-guru who instructs against the instruction of spiritual, he is not a śikṣā guru. He is a demon. Śikṣā-guru, dīkṣā-guru means... Sometimes a dīkṣā-guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the śikṣā-guru. Śikṣā-guru does not mean he is speaking something against the teachings of the dīkṣā-guru. He is not a śikṣā-guru. He is a rascal.