The pots which were used for keeping surā, or wine, liquor, that cannot be purified even if we wash thousand times with water. The example is given there.
- prāyaścittāni cīrṇāni
- (SB 6.1.18)
If this prāyaścitta, atonement, does not invoke his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is just like washing the wine pot with water. The idea is, as the wine pot, although it is empty, you cannot purify it simply by washing with water; simply, similarly, a man who is not raised to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you go on trying so many types of atonement, it is like this surā-kumbha. The idea is that he cannot be purified. He cannot be purified. Day will come when his impure mind will be impetus to another type of sinful activities.
That is tried. One... In India, this Back to Godhead... It was started from India in 1944. So when I was posting in Delhi post office this Back to Godhead, the post office inquired—at that time I was not sannyāsī; I was in vānaprastha—so he inquired that "If a man become honest, if a man deals with others very nicely, moral, and so on, so on, so what is the use of becoming devotee, devotee of God?" So I replied that if a man is not devotee, that he cannot be honest, he cannot be moralist. That is not possible. Without God consciousness, the so-called morality, honesty, gentlemanness, is impossible. It is not possible.
So if you want to revive all these good qualities in your society, then you have to invoke your God consciousness first. Otherwise it is impossible. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā. One who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious, he cannot have any good quality. It is impossible. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā mano-rathena (SB 5.18.12): because he is hovering on the mental plane. You will find so many big men, politicians, but because they are not God conscious, all their activities are not honest. It cannot be. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā.
Therefore it is said that simply by atonement, by superficial trying to become uncontaminated, is not possible, as much as the pot which contained liquor previously, you cannot purify it simply by washing with water.