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We have to learn that thing, that how we have to see the beauty of spiritual life. Then, naturally, we shall be refrained from material activities

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"we have to learn that thing, that how we have to see the beauty of spiritual life. Then, naturally, we shall be refrained from material activities"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

We have to learn that thing, that how we have to see the beauty of spiritual life. Then, naturally, we shall be refrained from material activities. Just like a child, a boy. He is all day mischief-making and playing, but if he is given some good engagement... There are now so many devices by the educational department, kindergarten system or this system or that system. But if he's engaged, "Oh, form 'A,' form 'B.' " So he learns at the same time ABC, and at the same time refrains from his mischievous activities.
Lecture on BG 2.58-59 -- New York, April 27, 1966:

So Bhagavad-gītā says that yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. Sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. Sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. Kilbiṣa means sinful reaction, sinful reaction, "Tit for tat," good reaction or bad reaction. But one who eats after offering to the Supreme Lord, he is not under the regulation of reaction. Whatever we eat... Even we eat, that, we have got to repay for that. Now, the Sanskrit word, the flesh... Flesh, Sanskrit word, is called māṁsa. Māṁsa. The māṁsa means..., mām means "me," and sa means "he." "So I am eating some animal; so in my next life that animal will eat me." That is called māṁsa. So now, apart from animal... Don't think that those who are vegetarian, they are free from all these reaction. No. They are also. They are also. The law is that one has to repay which he is taking the help from other living entities. That is the law of karma. So either you eat vegetables or either you eat flesh, you have to repay that. But yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. The Bhagavad-gītā says that if you eat the remnants after offering sacrifice to the Lord, then you, not only you are free from all reaction, but you do not eat anything sinful. That is the direction of Bhagavad-gītā.

So in every aspect of our life... This is also one of the insignificant example of our activities of our life. If we act, dovetailing our actions with the Supreme Lord, then we are free from reaction. Otherwise we are bound up by the reaction. That is the law. So in order to get myself free from all reaction of my activities... Because so long I am... Because I am living entity, I have to act. Either I act spiritually, either act materially, I have to act. My activities will not stop. It is foolishness to say that "I will stop my activities." No. That cannot be. Your activities will go on. If you don't act spiritually, then you have to act materially. And if you are fully engaged in spiritual activity, then there is no chance of material activity. Because after all, you are actor, one, if you are engaged in something. Just like in our ordinary life, if we do something at a particular moment, we cannot do other things; similarly, we have to engage ourselves fully in the spiritual life. Then our material activities will be stopped altogether, and then there will be no reaction. In spite of our acting... Just like the soldier. In spite of his killing hundreds and thousands of people, he is not to be hanged; he is to be rewarded. This is the technique.

So Lord says,

viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
(BG 9.59)

Now negation. Negation. "All right. I shall not do this, which will produce reaction." That, I mean to say, forceful negation will not stand. "I shall not do this." Or, for example, take the small incident of our life, eating. Now, because eating has reaction, because whatever I am eating I have to repay for that... Either you eat vegetable or flesh, that doesn't matter. "Then let me... I shall not eat." Oh, that cannot be. How you cannot eat? You cannot do it. If you have to live, then you have to eat. So here the Lord says, viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ. Just like a person is diseased. He is advised by the doctor that "You shall not take such and such things." So he is starving or he is fasting. Suppose in the typhoid fever the doctor has advised him not to take any solid food. So under the instruction of the doctor, he is not taking any solid food. But suppose his brother is eating some bread. Oh, he likes that "If I could eat." But that means within himself... He is, by force, by the instruction of the physician, he is forced not to eat. But within himself he has got the tendency for eating. But out of fear that "If I eat, there will be very bad reaction of taking solid food," therefore, by force, he is not eating. Similarly, there are so many things which you are refrain from doing by force. No. That sort of abstinence will not make you progressive in spiritual life, by force. No. By force I cannot... Because you are independent. Every individual being has got his little portion of independence. So anything cannot be done by forcing you. No. Even you cannot force even a child. He has got his independence. He'll revolt if you force him. So here it is said that viṣayā vinivartante. One may be refraining from enjoying materially by somehow or other, by force... Nirāhārasya dehinaḥ, rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. But one who is spiritually advanced, he is not forced. He is voluntarily giving up. That is the difference. Voluntarily giving up. How? Why voluntarily giving up? Now, paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 9.59). He has found something sublime, so sublime that he doesn't care for material enjoyment. He is not forced. He voluntarily gives up. That is the criterion of spiritual life. There is no force. Just like there is a nice verse given by Yamunācārya. Yamunācārya, he was a great emperor, but later on, he became a great devotee of the Lord under the disciplic succession. Now, he has got very nice verses written by him. One of the verses is stated like this:

yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca

He says, the experience of his life... So he was a king. He enjoyed his life like anything. Now, after he became a great devotee, spiritually engaged, he expresses that experience in this way, that yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravinde: "Since I have engaged my heart and soul in the supreme devotional service of the Lord, since then..." What is the result? Yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravinde nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt: "I am getting every moment a new type of transcendental pleasure. Since then..." Bata nārī-saṅgame. This is materially. Nārī-saṅga means sex life, combination of man and woman, nārī-saṅgame. He says that "Since then, that whenever I think of sex life..." Because he has experienced. He was a family man, he was a king. He said that "Whenever I think of, not to act, but whenever I think of sex life, oh, I say, now, 'Tu!' " (as if spitting) So paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. Why this life has come to him? Because he has seen something. He has experienced something which is transcendental pleasure. And in comparison to the transcendental pleasure, this material pleasure is just like spitting. You see? Very insignificant.

So here it is said, rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 9.59). One who is forcibly refrained from material enjoyment, oh, that sort of forcibly material enjoyment cannot last. Cannot last. There are many examples. There was a great muni, great sage, whose name was Viśvāmitra Muni, Viśvāmitra. He was formerly a very powerful king. Now, in his later life he gave up everything and he wanted to be a transcendentalist and great meditator, great meditator in the yoga principle of life. He was a yogi, great yogi. Now, this Viśvāmitra was performing meditation in the forest very supremely. So the... Now, Indra, the King of heaven, he became frightened: "So, this man is performing so much penance. So he might come. He might ask from God and claim my seat. So just wake him, wake him. Just detach him from this purpose." So he had many beautiful women at his control, one of whose name was Menakā. So Menakā was ordered that "You go there and try to induce him to have your association." Because in this world our real bondage is this... Either for man or woman, this is the real bondage, the sex life. So the Menakā was sent to Viśvāmitra, and Viśvāmitra was meditating, but his eyes were closed. So that woman made some sound of his (her) bangles, and Viśvāmitra thought, "Oh, in front me, a very nice beautiful woman, very young." Now, that woman was sent for that purpose, so he became implicated in that woman, and a girl was born out of that combination. That girl's name is Śakuntalā. Perhaps... That's a famous name. There is a book of Śakuntalā. That is the daughter of that combination. Now, here is the example, that he was a great meditator, a great yogi. But the inner implications of enjoying sex life or material enjoyment, that did not go. That was by force. By force it was submerged. That sort of forcing, forcing our senses not to act, that will not be suitable. We have to see something more beautiful than this material life. Then we can be refrained, acting material; otherwise not. Otherwise it is not possible.

So we have to learn that thing, that how we have to see the beauty of spiritual life. Then, naturally, we shall be refrained from material activities. Just like a child, a boy. He is all day mischief-making and playing, but if he is given some good engagement... There are now so many devices by the educational department, kindergarten system or this system or that system. But if he's engaged, "Oh, form 'A,' form 'B.' " So he learns at the same time ABC, and at the same time refrains from his mischievous activities. Similarly, there are things, kindergarten system of spiritual life. If we engage our activity in that spiritual activities, then only it is possible to refrain from these material activities. Activities cannot be stopped. Activities cannot be stopped. Just the same example, that the Arjuna... Rather, before hearing Bhagavad-gītā, he became inactive, not to fight. But after hearing Bhagavad-gītā, he became more active, but transcendentally active. So spiritual life, or transcendental life, does not mean that we are free from activity. Simply artificially, if we sit down, "Oh, no more I shall do anything material. I shall simply meditate," oh, what meditation you will do? Your meditation will be in a moment broken just like even Viśvāmitra Muni, he could not continue his meditation. We have to always, cent percent, be engaged in spiritual activities. That should be the program of our life. Rather, in spiritual life you will hardly find any time to get out of it. You have got so much engagement. Rasa-varjam. And that engagement can only be possible when you find some transcendental pleasure in it.

So that will be done. That will be done. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15). Spiritual life begins, first of all, śraddhā, some faith. Just like you are coming here kindly to hear me. You have got little faith. This is the beginning. Without faith, you could not spare your time here because here there is no cinema playing, there is no political talks, nothing of the... It may be, to some it is very dry subject. Very dry subject. (chuckles) But still, you come. Why? Because you have got some little faith, "Oh, here is Bhagavad-gītā. Let us hear it." So the faith is the beginning. The faithless cannot have any spiritual life. Faith is the beginning. Ādau śraddhā. Śraddhā. And this faith, faithfulness, as much as it is intensified, you make your progress far. So this faith has to be intensified. The beginning is the faith. And now, as you make your faith intensified, so you become progressive in the spiritual path.(?) (life?) Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15). If you have got some faith, then you will find out some sādhu, sādhu or some saint, some sage, who can give you some spiritual enlightenment. That is called sādhu-saṅga (CC Madhya 22.83). Ādau śraddhā. The basic principle is śraddhā, and the next step is sādhu-saṅga, association of spiritually realized persons. That is called sādhu... Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo 'tha bhajana-kriyā. And if there is actually association of spiritually self-realized persons, then he will give you some process of spiritual activities. That is called bhajana-kriyā. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ atha bhajana-kriyā tataḥ anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. And as you are more and more engaged in spiritual activities, so, proportionately, your material activities and affection for material activities will diminish. Counteraction. When you engage in the spiritual activities, your material activities diminishes. But just mind that. Material activities and spiritual activities, difference is that... Suppose you are engaged as a medical man. You don't think that "If I become spiritually engaged, then I have to give up my profession." No, no. That is not. You have to spiritualize your profession. Just like Arjuna, he was a military man. He became a spiritualist. That means he spiritualized his military activity.

So these are the techniques. So ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ atha bhajana-kriyā tataḥ anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15). Anartha means... Anartha means that creates my miseries. Material activities will continue to increase my misery. And if you adopt spiritual life, then your material miseries will be gradually decreased, and practically it will be nil. And when we are actually free from material affinity, then your real spiritual life begins. Athāsakti. You become attached. You cannot give up any more. When your anartha-nivṛtti, when your material activities are completely stop, then you cannot give up. Athāsakti. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo 'tha bhajana-kriyā tato 'nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt tato niṣṭhā (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15). Niṣṭhā means your faith becomes more firm, fixed up, steady. Tato niṣṭhā tato ruciḥ. Ruci. Ruci means you will simply hanker after spiritual things. You won't like to hear anything except spiritual message. You won't like to do anything except spiritual activities. You won't like to eat anything which is not spiritualized. So your life will be changed. Tato niṣṭhā athāsaktiḥ. Then attachment, then bhāva. Then you will be transcendentally, I mean to say, ecstaticized. There will be some ecstasy. And that is the... These are the different steps for highest platform of spiritual life. Tato bhāvaḥ. Tato bhāvaḥ. Bhāva, that bhāva stage, is the right platform from where you can directly talk with the Supreme Lord.

So we have to gradually find out that stage of life. Here the Lord says that by force we cannot stop anyone's material activities. That is not possible. By force, it is not possible. So any other system of spiritual realization, either by the process of philosophical speculation or by this process of artificial, I mean to say, gymnastic of this body, you see, or meditation, forceful meditation... Whole day I am working in a material atmosphere. Suppose for two hours I meditate. Of course, it will make some progress. Anything, spiritual action, that will not go in vain. That is a fact. But that progress is very slow, very slow. Our determination should be... I am very glad to say that our this boy, Mr. Paul, he says sometimes, "Swamiji, I want to increase my spiritual life immediately." (laughs) Take patience, patience. It will be done, of course. When you have got such desire, God will help you. He is within you. He is simply trying to see how much sincere you are. Then He will give you all opportunities to increase your spiritual life. Teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam (BG 10.10), dadāmi buddhi-yogam.

So if we become sincerely to be servant of God, just like Arjuna became, and if we want to serve His purpose and mission, as soon as... The Lord is within you. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). He is simply waiting, when you are turning your face towards Him. You are now turned your face towards māyā, the illusion. As soon as you turn your face towards Him, oh, He will help you in every respect, every respect. He is so kind. He is so merciful. Just like father. However rebellious son he may be, as soon as comes to his father, "Father, forgive me. I shall now obey you," that father at once... He was always ready to forgive him. Father is so kind to the son that he wants that "If my son comes back, I shall forgive all his misgiving, if he comes back just like a good boy." That is a natural instinct. You see? Similarly, whatever we have done, never mind. If we take the step that "From now we have got the opportunity of human life. Now this life... I have enjoyed material life in various lives, as cats and dogs and in so many lives, the āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca, the same pleasure, eating, sleeping, and sexual intercourse and to take protection... So this is not the business of human life. The human life is just to understand my relationship with the Supreme and engage myself in that engagement." You see? That should be the mission of life. And as soon as we do it, all facilities are open and the little progress you make, you will find that you have no more attachment for material life and material enjoyment.