Sense perception is the cause of feeling all sorts of happiness and distress. Form, taste, odor, sound, and touch are different sense perceptions, which render happiness or distress in cooperation with the mind. In winter, bathing in cold water gives us pain, but in summer, the same cold water gives us pleasure. In winter, fire gives us pleasure and warmth, but in summer, the same fire gives us distress. Thus, neither fire nor water has any intrinsic power to give us happiness or distress, but they appear to us as agents of happiness or distress, according to our mode of sense perception in various circumstances. Therefore, everything that exists in the world is neither an object of happiness nor an object of distress; everything is simply subjective—that is, subject to our sense perceptions as they relate to our processes of thinking, feeling, and willing.
But such temporary sensations of happiness and distress, pertaining to the act of thinking, feeling, and willing under a false ego, are eternally different from the spirit soul and are therefore "unreal reality." Whatever advancement of knowledge, whether in art or science, that has been made by mundane scholars without reference to the eternal spirit soul is but a manifestation of the illusory modes of nature that encompass and limit the material body and mind.
Real peace and happiness can never come about through such advanced materialistic knowledge, deluded as it must be by the illusory modes of nature with a view to playing up this "unreal reality." Rather, as Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā, only those who cultivate transcendental knowledge in relation to the eternal spirit soul and without being disturbed by temporary happiness and distress will be able to escape the cruel hands of birth, death, old age, and disease and will be truly happy by gaining eternal, spiritual life.
We therefore suggest that all those who have tried their utmost to do good for others but have failed despite all honest endeavors should approach Śrī Kṛṣṇa or His bona fide servitors, following the footsteps of Marshal Arjuna. One should try to do good for others, but only after knowing perfectly how to do good for others. Otherwise, if one embraces others in a false sense of altruism, one can get only a temporary benefit for himself in the shape of some profit, adoration, or distinction.
A Hitler, a Mussolini, or any other leader of that materialistic persuasion may offer his followers the mental concoction of doing good together in violent or nonviolent programs, and by such acts of so-called benevolence the leader may get recognition from his followers for some time. But the followers for whom this kind of leader has endeavored to do good will never get any lasting benefit out of such temporarily beneficial work. A void will be felt with the progress of all such benevolent activities. In fact, the followers will be put into more and more distressed conditions by following the path chalked out by this kind of so-called leader. If a blind man pretends to help another blind man cross a road, then both the blind leader and the blind follower shall fall into the further darkness of some unseen ditch. Everyone who is devoid of transcendental knowledge is just like a blind man; such a blind man must first eradicate his blindness before he can attempt to lead others to light.
Everyone who happens to take his birth in India is a potential benefactor of others, because it is on Indian soil alone that the culture of transcendental knowledge has been most elaborately presented, from ancient times to the present. The saints and sages of Bhārata-varṣa, as India has long been known, never tried to cultivate or satisfy artificially the needs of the body and the mind exclusively; they always cultured the transcendental spirit soul, which is above the material body and mind. And even now, the saints and sages continue to do so, in spite of all difficulties. But it would be sheer stupidity if Indian people attempted to do good to others without first themselves attaining transcendental knowledge.