Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that this network of ignorance, where the senses are like black cobra, out of all those senses the tongue is the greatest black cobra

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"Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that this network of ignorance, where the senses are like black cobra, out of all those senses the tongue is the greatest black cobra"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said that this network of ignorance, where the senses are like black cobra, out of all those senses the tongue is the greatest black cobra. Tā'ra madhye jihvā ati, lobhamoy sudurmati. The tongue, if you practice... Just for example, nobody learns smoking from the birth, but when he's habituated, then they are as chain smoker, one cigarette after another, one cigarette after..., you see. This is simply by bad association.
Lecture on SB 1.2.8 -- Bombay, December 26, 1972:

We have invented so many nonsense things for simply satisfaction of the tongue. A vaiṣṇava kavi, Vaiṣṇava poet, ācārya, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, he has wrote a song. That song we chant or sing during the time of taking prasādam. In that song he writes, śarīra abidyā-jāl joḍendriya tāhe kāl: "This body is an emblem of ignorance." Actually we get this material body due to our ignorance. By ignorance we commit so many wrong things, and you have obliged to accept a certain type of body. Therefore it is a network of ignorance. Śarīra abidyā-jāl joḍendriya tāhe kāl. In that network of ignorance there are different senses, joḍendriya tāhe kāl, gross material senses. They are just like our death. Sometimes these senses are described as kāla sarpa. Kāla sarpa means the black cobra. As soon as the cobra touches—immediately dead. Similarly, if we allow this kāla sarpa to act in their own way, that means we are inviting death at every moment. Therefore those who are too much bodily attached, for them this yoga system is controlling the senses, yoga indriya saṁyamaḥ. Yoga does not mean to increase the power of sense gratification. Yoga means controlling the senses.

So the Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said that this network of ignorance, where the senses are like black cobra, out of all those senses the tongue is the greatest black cobra. Tā'ra madhye jihvā ati, lobhamoy sudurmati. The tongue, if you practice... Just for example, nobody learns smoking from the birth, but when he's habituated, then they are as chain smoker, one cigarette after another, one cigarette after..., you see. This is simply by bad association. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said that tā'ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati. Because we have indulged this tongue to increase his greediness, therefore we see so much advertisement of liquor and cigarettes and so many, or teas and coffee. Simply it is practice. So as you have practice, by practice you have increased so-called demands of your body, you can decrease it also. Just like these boys. They were practiced to all these things, but since they have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, by practicing they have given up everything. So anything artificial we may be habituated, but you can give it up. Therefore here it is said, kāmasya nendriya prītiḥ. You should not introduce sense gratification for maintaining your body. Your body can be maintained very nicely if you take simple food made of rice, wheat, vegetable, little ghee and little milk. That's all. And you can get all these things anywhere, in any part of the world, and you can offer to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa also says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). Any part of the world, any condition of life, you can secure these things. In Africa we have been in the interior African villages. They are supposed to be uncivilized, but I don't think. They have got enough of these things, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam, anywhere. And they are being taught by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to offer to Kṛṣṇa and take.

Therefore, this artificial civilization for sense gratification is not very good. It is not good for us. We may gratify our senses while we are living, but when we quit this body, we are completely under the grip of material nature. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). And when you are on the clutches of prakṛti, you cannot dictate that "Give me this kind of body." That will be decided by superior authority, daiva netreṇa, karmaṇā daiva ne. These are the scientific knowledge, but unfortunately, there is no culture of this scientific knowledge. Superficially, simply for sense gratification, that is going on in the name of advancement of civilization. Actually it is very risky civilization. Suppose after this body, human form of body, if I get the body of an animal or a tree. There is every chance. Wherefrom the tree comes? Wherefrom the tiger comes, the cat comes, the dog comes? There are demigods also. So you can get any form of life. Dehāntaram. Kṛṣṇa says personally, tathā dehāntara. This is bogus theory that after death everything is finished. No. There is another life, and the species of life are in your form, 8,400,000 of species, and we have to accept, according to our karma, a type of body given by the material nature.

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā
kartāham iti manyate
(BG 3.27)

Ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā. Simply by false pride I am thinking that I am kartā, I am master. You are not master; you are under the grip of material nature. So how you can avoid? Therefore we should not indulge in sense gratification. We should try to practice how to take kṛṣṇa-prasādam. That will help us.

That I was going to speak, as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said, tā'ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati. This tongue is sudurmati. It is very, very badly intelligent. Not at all intelligent. He wants to eat. That I hear. Just like here we can see, in these big cities. They have taken their lunch at home, and as soon as goes to the office, immediately, bring tea. So why the unnecessarily tea? But the tongue dictates, "Bring tea, bring coffee, bring cigarette." Therefore the tongue is very formidable enemy of this human being, if you indulge. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said, tā'ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudurmati tā'ke jetā kaṭhina saṁsāre. It is very difficult to... (break) ...we can sometimes avoid the dictation of the genital, but it is very difficult to avoid the dictation of the tongue. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said, tā'ra madhye jihvā ati lobhamoy sudur..., tā'ke jetā kaṭhina sam..., kṛṣṇa boda doyāmoy, kori bāre jihvā joy, sva-prasād-anna dilo bhāi. Now, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He has returned so much nice foodstuff, prasādam; now we can eat and thereby we can conquer the dictation of the tongue. In another place it is said, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau (Brs. 1.2.234). God realization can be possible. How? If you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord. It is very wonderful. People may say, "How is that? The tongue has to be engaged in the service of the Lord?" Yes, that is the sastric injunction. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. If you simply engage your tongue in the service of Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa will appear to you, svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. He will personally appear before you. And what is that? You can utilize your tongue simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and satisfy the tongue by taking prasādam. Finished. Very simple and very easy. By simply controlling your tongue, you can control all other senses. You can control belly, you can control the genital, you can control everything. Therefore, here is recommendation, "Please do not take this, do not take this. Don't take animal foodstuff. Simply take Kṛṣṇa prasādam. Don't drink, don't smoke..." There are so many don'ts, and so many do's also.