So in order to advance in spiritual life, we have to voluntarily decrease these demands of the body. That is called tapasya. In our country especially, many great saintly persons, sages, even kings, voluntarily they would give up these demands of the body, not that artificially increasing these demands of the body. That will not help us in spiritual life. So this strī-saṅga, or association with woman, that is a demand of the body. Loke vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā. Āmiṣa means nonvegetarian foods. Eating flesh, fish, eggs, these are called āmiṣa. And madya means wine, liquor. So all the conditioned souls, they have got a natural inclination for sex life, intoxication, and eating fish, eat... They have got a natural inclination. Even ants, they have got all these inclinations. Expert psychologists and medical men, they have studied that even the ant, it has got also the same propensities. Loke vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā. So when there is legalized, or marriage under religious principle, it is to be understood a sort of concession.
In the Purāṇas... There are tāmasika-purāṇas where it is recommended that if you want to eat flesh, then you can get a goat and sacrifice before Goddess Kālī and you can eat that. The purpose is that if a conditioned soul has got the natural tendencies, then why they are mentioned in the śāstras? The idea is... Just like Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha, his mission was to stop animal killing. Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ. Lord Buddha appeared, being compassionate with the poor animals. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. There is a description of Lord Buddha's activities by a Vaiṣṇava poet, Jayadeva Gosvāmī. He says, praying to Lord Buddha,
- nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ
- sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam
- keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
Lord Buddha appeared to stop this animal killing. But because in the Purāṇas there are sometimes regulative principle of killing animal, therefore he had to deny the authority of Vedas, because those who are after killing animals, they will find some clue that "Here in the Vedas the animal-killing is sometimes recommended." But that animal-killing is not a, I mean to say, instigation that "You go on killing animals." You can understand by a nice example. Just like the government opens liquor shop. It does not mean the government is encouraging to drink liquor. It is not like that. The idea is that if government does not allow some drunkards to drink, they will create havoc. They will distill illicit distillation of liquor. To check them, the government opens liquor shop with very, very great, high price. The cost... If the cost is one rupee, government excise department charges sixty rupees.
So the idea is not to encourage, but to restrict. The idea is prohibition, at least in our country. Similarly, when there is allowance for sex life or meat-eating or drinking in the śāstras, they are not meant for instigating that "You go on with this business as much as you can." No. Actually they are meant for restriction. Therefore, for spiritual advancement of life, one has to know these basic knowledge, how we have to lead our life in order to make advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We have therefore these restrictions, that nobody can have illicit sex life; nobody can eat meat and fish or eggs, like that; nobody can touch any kinds of intoxication, including smoking cigarettes and drinking tea—they are also intoxicants; and nobody can indulge in gambling. So these things are necessary.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ sukṛtino 'rjuna. Sukṛti. Sukṛti means those who are living pious life, and these are the basic principles of living pious life; no illicit sex life... Sex life is required, but there is already in the śāstra a license: "You can have sex life with your religiously married wife. Not otherwise." Actually, married sex life is not required, but it is just like license. The same thing, that there is no necessity of drinking wine, but those who are habituated, those who want to drink, for them, government opens, under so many restrictions, a liquor shop. The śāstra also gives us this license. The Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, they were ideal saintly persons. About them it is said, nidrāhāra-vihārakādi-vijitau **. They conquered over the necessities of this body, which is called viṣaya. Conquering over sleeping, conquering over sex life, and conquering over eating, these things are required. Pious life means gradually decreasing the unnecessary bodily demands. That is pious life. That is the sum and substance. Because Kṛṣṇa says here that catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ sukṛtinaḥ: "Those who are living pious life." And those who are not living pious lives, they are called duṣkṛtina, sinful life.
So by indulging in sinful life it is not possible to understand Kṛṣṇa. That is, Kṛṣṇa also says in various places in the Bhagavad-gītā. I have repeatedly informed you, yeṣām anta-gataṁ pāpam. One who is completely free from all sinful life... Janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām. This is puṇya-karma, not to indulge in illicit sex life, not to indulge in nonvegetarian diet, not to indulge in gambling, and not to indulge in intoxicants. So catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ sukṛtino 'rjuna ārto arthārthī jñānī jijñāsuḥ. Four kinds of men who are actually leading pious life, such persons... (applause) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Such persons, when they are distressed... Ārta means distressed. We have go so many distresses in this material life: tri-tāpa, three kinds of distresses, pertaining to the body, pertaining to the mind, distresses offered by other living entities. Adhibhautika, adhyātmika, adhidaivika. We are always in distress; that is a fact. But there is a covering influence of māyā that even in distressed condition, we think that we are happy. That is covering influence of māyā.