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Damah means senses, controlling the senses. My tongue is dried up, asking for a cigarette. Now, if I am brahmana, then I shall say, "No, you cannot smoke." That is damah

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"damah means senses, controlling the senses. My tongue is dried up, asking for a cigarette. Now, if I am brahmana, then I shall say"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

In every circumstances mind is steady; that is called śamaḥ. And damaḥ means senses, controlling the senses. My tongue is dried up, asking for a cigarette. Now, if I am brāhmaṇa, then I shall say, "No, you cannot smoke." That is damaḥ.
Lecture on BG 18.45 -- Durban, October 11, 1975:

So our, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that for the time being we are trying to create a section of men, not from India, not from Hindus. Never, Kṛṣṇa never said that "These things can be done only in India and amongst the section, Hindu." No. It is open for everyone. It is open for everyone. Just like if you start an engineering college, does it mean that it is meant for Hindus or Muslims or a certain nationality? No. It should be open for everyone. Anyone who wants to become a brāhmaṇa, he can become brāhmaṇa. Of course, the, what is called, conservative class of men, they come to fight with us that "How you are making brāhmaṇas from the European and American people? They are mlecchas and yavana." No. That is not shastric injunction. Shastric injunction is there. It is spoken by Nārada Muni, not ordinary person, but the great authority Nārada. He was instructing about this varṇāśrama-dharma to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, and he said, he summarized, "My dear king,"

yasya yal lakṣaṇaṁ proktaṁ
puṁso varṇābhivyañjakam
yad anyatrāpi dṛśyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiśet
(SB 7.11.35)

This is instruction. So here is the lakṣaṇam, symptom, who is brāhmaṇa: śamaḥ. Śamaḥ means controlling the sense, controlling the mind. In every circumstances mind is steady; that is called śamaḥ. And damaḥ means senses, controlling the senses. My tongue is dried up, asking for a cigarette. Now, if I am brāhmaṇa, then I shall say, "No, you cannot smoke." That is damaḥ. That is damaḥ. A senses may dictate me... We are... Now, at the present moment, we are all servants of senses. I have already explained that our real occupational duty is to become servant. So instead of becoming servant of Kṛṣṇa, we are now servant of our senses. This is our material life. So if you, instead of becoming servant of the senses, if you become master of the senses, then you are a brāhmaṇa. Then you are a brāhmaṇa. Not that you remain a servant of the senses and because you are born in a brāhmaṇa family you remain a brāhmaṇa. This is miscalculation. This is not allowed.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, śamo damas tapaḥ. This śamo damaḥ, how it can be practiced without tapasya? It is so easy thing that you can control your mind and senses? But with tapasya. You must agree. That is human life. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattvam (SB 5.5.1). Ṛṣabhadeva was advising his sons, "My dear boys, this human form of life is meant for tapasya, tapaḥ." What for tapasya? Divyam, to realize the Supreme, deva. Why it is required? Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattvam: "Your existence will be purified if you practice tapasya." "Now what is my existence? Am I impure?" Yes. Therefore you are dying. Otherwise you are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). You, eternal, but you are dying. You are subject to death because your existence is impure.

Therefore, tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet yasmād brahma-saukhyam anantam (SB 5.5.1). If you want really blissful life eternally, then you must come to the eternal existential position platform. Yasmād brahma-saukhyam anantam. To become happy, to become joyful, that is your right because you are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, God. He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1). You are part and parcel. So you are now fallen. You are trying to get that blissful life, but you are trying falsely, falsely in a platform where there is duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15)—It is not possible. You come to the spiritual platform. You come to your original consciousness. Then your sattva, your existence, will be purified and you will enjoy. Enjoyment is your right. So therefore this śamo damaḥ can be practiced provided you agree to execute tapasya, tapasya.

Therefore in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we are training these boys, anyone—it doesn't matter what he is—no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling. This is tapasya. Those who are practiced to these bad habits, for them it will be very difficult, very difficult. Yes. One of our godbrother went to preach in London and Lord Zetland, he was talking with him, and he said, "Goswamiji, can you make me a brāhmaṇa?" So he said, "Yes, why not? You give up these four bad habits," and he said, "It is impossible for us." He said clearly, "It is impossible. This is our life." But at the present moment these boys, hundreds and thousands of boys, they are giving up this practice. This is called tapasya. Hundreds and thousands, they have agreed. I have not bribed them. I am poor Indian. But they have agreed. "Yes." They are actually practicing no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating, and no intoxication. They do not smoke even, don't take tea even. This is called tapasya.