Don't be stuck up in a system. The system is required provided if you make progress towards the realization of the Supreme. But if you simply follow a system but do not make advance in the matter of realizing the Supreme, then, according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or according to the Vedic version, it is simply labor of love. It has no value. Therefore Bhāgavata says, "That is first-class religion system." It doesn't matter you call it Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Buddha. "That is first-class religion which helps you progressing in realization of the Adhokṣaja." Adhokṣaja, another name of Kṛṣṇa. Adhokṣaja means the subject matter which you cannot understand simply by mental speculation or by empiric knowledge, by exercising and empiric knowledge. That is called Adhokṣaja. Adhah-kṛtaṁ akṣa-jaṁ indriya-jñānaṁ yena.
So adhok... We have to approach that Adhokṣaja. There are different stages of knowledge: pratyakṣa, parokṣa, aparokṣa, adhokṣaja, aprākṛta. So we have to approach the aprākṛta, transcendental, above the material nature. Adhokṣaja is almost nearer than the lower grade of knowledge, pratyakṣa, parokṣāparokṣa. They are in the kaniṣṭha-adhikāra.
- arcāyām eva haraye
- pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
- na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
- sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ
- (SB 11.2.47)
So prākṛta stage is pratyakṣa knowledge, direct perception, and knowledge received from paramparā. Pratyakṣa, parokṣa, then aparokṣa, self-realization, then adhokṣaja, aprākṛta. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is aprākṛta knowledge. It is the topmost platform of knowing Kṛṣṇa, aprākṛta knowledge. So, so long we are up to the adhokṣaja knowledge, that is regulative principles. We have to follow the regulative principles strictly. And aprākṛta knowledge is for the paramahaṁsa. There is... That is called rāga-bhakta. In these stages, pratyakṣa, parokṣa, they are called viddhi-bhakti. But without viddhi-bhakti, you cannot reach to the platform of rāga-bhakti, although that is our aim. Rāgānugā, rāga-bhakti is executed following the footprints of the devotees in Vṛndāvana. That is called rāga-bhakti. Kṛṣṇa's personal associates. Not to become directly Kṛṣṇa's personal associate, but following the footprints of Kṛṣṇa's eternal associates, we can come to the stage of rāga-bhakti. That is called parā-bhakti. That parā-bhakti is required.
- brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
- na śocati na kāṅkṣati
- samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
- mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
- (BG 18.54)
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is gradually developing up to the stage of rāga-bhakti or parā-bhakti. Then life is successful. In that way we should not be disturbed by these ethereal interactions. As it is stated here, mṛdutvaṁ kaṭhinatvaṁ ca śaityam uṣṇatvam eva ca (SB 3.26.36). We are disturbed by these things. Suppose we are lying on the floor. It is kaṭhinatvam: it is very hard. But if we given a cushion or a nice mattress, that is mṛdutvam. Similarly, śītoṣṇa. Water, sometimes it is felt very chilly, cold, and sometimes it is very hot. The water is the same; according to the change of ethereal arrangement, it is becoming in different position, different condition. And it is the source of pains and pleasure on account of this touch, the skin. The skin is touch. So if we understand fully that "I am not this body," that requires realization, ātmānubhūti.
The more we become advanced in spiritual consciousness, the more we become situated in ātma-stha. That is called sthita-prajña. Then we shall not be disturbed. And we should practice not to be disturbed by these conditional or ethereal transformation. We should. Because we do not belong, as spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, I do not belong to this material arrangement, but I have been accustomed to this, so by practice I have to come to the spiritual status. And during practice it requires tolerance. That is called bhajana, sādhana, or tapasya, austerity, penance, tolerance. The things which we are not, but somehow or other, we have identified with such material things, and to practice again, come to the spiritual platform, that tolerance is called tapasya. This is the meaning of tapasya. Tapaḥ means pain, to voluntarily accepting some pain.