karmaṇā karma-nirhāro
na hy ātyantika iṣyate
prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam

[SB 6.1.11]

The answer, Parīkṣit Mahārāja's question to Śukadeva Gosvāmī, that this atonement, once committing some sinful activity, and counteracting it by so-called atonement, confession, has no meaning. If one is suffering from certain type of disease, goes to a doctor, physician, he gives some medicine, it is cured for the time being, and again if he's attacked with such disease and goes to the doctor, again he gives medicine, then what is the use of this business—again and again? That is the question, very intelligent question: How to cure the disease completely?

So this was the question of King Parīkṣit. The answer is given by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that karmaṇā karma-nirhāro na hy ātyantika iṣyate. Karma, fruitive activities, counteracting it by another activity, that is not final decision. Just like people in modern age, they are trying to have some peaceful situation in the world by the intervention of the United Nation, but they cannot stop it.

Again there is war. There was First War in 1914, then they manufactured League of Nations. Perhaps you, most of you, may not know. We were, at that time, boys, students, and we know about this League of Nations, how it was manufactured. Then again the Second War. And now they have manufactured United Nation. But the war is going on—Vietnam or here or there.

But actual medicine is how to stop war. That cannot be done by... By one action there is war, and by another action the war is stopped for the time being. And again, when the opportunity's there, again war. So sinful activities and atonement is like that. But actual what we want, that no suffering, no war—that is our hankering; we want that—but that is not happening.

So the answer is given by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. But that one kind of war causes some disturbances and another kind of war stops it for some time, for the time being—that is not ultimate solution of the problem. Any intelligent man can understand it. Therefore Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends that these things happen on account of foolishness, avidvad-adhikāritvāt. Avidvad means without sufficient education, or without sufficient knowledge, lack of knowledge. Avidvad adhikāritvāt.

Prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam. Real prāyaścitta, atonement, is knowledge. Why we are fighting? This knowledge required. Why you are fighting? Why there is miseries? This "why" question, this "why" question is in the Vedas. It is called Kena Upaniṣad, asking "Why?" Unless this question arises in a human mind, "Why?" "Why I am suffering?" that is not human life.

This question must arise. "Wherefrom I have come? What is my constitutional position? Where I shall go after death? Why I am put into this miserable condition of life? Why there is birth, death, old age, disease? I do not want all of them." So that..., this is called vimarśanam, jñānam, thoughtful, how to solve these questions.

Now Śukadeva Gosvāmī says nāśnataḥ.

nāśnataḥ pathyam evānnaṁ
vyādhayo 'bhibhavanti hi
evaṁ niyamakṛd rājan
śanaiḥ kṣemāya kalpate

[SB 6.1.12]

If you want to stop some diseased condition of life, then you have to follow a regulative principle. Just like when you go to a doctor for curing some disease, he gives you some medicine and some direction also, that "You should not eat like this, you not sleep like this; you should do like this." Some do's and some do not's. That prescription is followed.

So here, Śukadeva Gosvāmī gives this example that na aśnataḥ pathyam eva annam. Suppose if you have got indigestion; you cannot digest food very nicely. So you have to eat such things which are easily digestible, or which may not cause acidity, flatulence, air.

The doctor prescribes. So if you neglect those principles, then how you can be cured? Similarly, if you want to eradicate your ignorance how miserable conditions are arising, problems are arising, and you do not try to subside them with real knowledge, how there can be solution of the problems?

Try to understand. Just like if you do not follow the program given by the physician for curing your disease, you cannot be cured. If you violate the rules given by the doctor, then how you can expect cure of your disease? Similarly, if you do not think wisely, like wise man, as they're prescribed in the Vedic knowledge, how you can stop the problems of life?

That is not possible. Simply by atonement there may be temporary suppression of something, but it will arise again. The same example can be given: The whole world is trying to stop war. But by some means like League of Nation, United Nation, but it is stopped for the time being, but again, after some years, there is huge war.

So Śukadeva Gosvāmī says that this material sinful life, we are acting in a way, we are forced to commit some sins, and you are suffering as a resultant action. This is going on. But if you want to stop this business—one suffering and one again becomes victim—then you have to become advanced in knowledge. Karmī-jñānī. Ordinary people, they are karmīs, or fruitive actors. Fruitive actors. They're working whole day and night, and getting some result, enjoying, again suffering, again there is problem. This is going on. They are called karmīs.

So this will not solve the question, problem. He suggests that you have to elevate yourself to the platform of knowledge. How it is done? That is prescribed herein. The first thing is tapasya. The first... Tapasya means you have to accept some austerity. The same example can be given that the doctor says... Suppose a diabetic patient.

So doctor prohibits him, that "You cannot eat. You have to starve for some days." So I do not like to starve; nobody likes to starve. But because doctor says you have to starve, if you want to cure a disease, then I have to voluntarily accept, accept starving. This is called tapasya: voluntarily accept some miserable condition of life. That is good. And human life is meant for that purpose.

When Ṛṣabhadeva, the father of Mahārāja Bharata, after whose name this planet is called Bhārata-varṣa... The name Bhārata-varṣa is not only the name for India, but it is the name for this planet. Formerly, five thousand years ago, the whole planet was known as Bhārata-varṣa. The Vedic culture was all over the world. These Europeans and Americans, they are coming of the same stock, Indo-Āryan stock.

There is a great history behind this, how some of the kṣatriyas, they left India during the time of Paraśurāma. He declared war against the kṣatriyas and he was incarnation of God. He was killing the kṣatriyas like anything, and some of the kṣatriyas fled from India and came to this part of the world.

So from historical point of view you Europeans and Americans, you belong to the kṣatriya stock of old India, and somehow or other you have forgotten this Vedic culture. Originally you belonged to this Vedic culture. The Vedic culture was all over the world, even in America—different types of worship or concept of God. The Red Indians also had some religion.

So apart from that historical point of view, the Vedic culture prescribes tapasya. Tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accept some bodily inconvenience. That is called tapasya. There are many tapasvī undergoing austerity. They meditate in winter in water up to..., up to the neck, standing within water, meditate.

To stand within water in winter, severe cold, is not very comfortable business, but they voluntarily accept it. This is called tapasya. And summer season, they blaze fire all round and sit down in the midst and meditate. I am giving you some of the examples, how severely they accept tapasya.

So tapasya is required. Without tapasya you cannot make advancement in spiritual life, or life of knowledge. If you simply give away[?] in the animal propensities of life—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—and don't accept the process of tapasya, then your human life is failure. You have to accept some tapasya if you want to make solution of the problems of life. Śukadeva Gosvāmī first recommends tapasya.

Just like here, in our institution, whoever comes and becomes an initiated member, we first of all ask them to undergo tapasya. Tapasya. Especially in your country, it is a great tapasya to give up illicit sex life, to give up intoxication up to the point of smoking and tea drinking, and to give up meat-eating and to give up gambling. Although they're only four, but it is very difficult to give up these four items.

Even Lord Zetland, in England, when he was asked to do this... One of my Godbrothers... Lord Zetland, Marquis of Zetland, he inquired from my Godbrother, "Swāmījī, whether you can make us brāhmaṇa?" So he said, "Yes, why not? You have to give up these four principles of life, prohibited: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling and no meat-eating."

The Lord Zetland replied, "Impossible." Yes, it is impossible. Because in Europe and America, this is the way of life from the very beginning. And from India, our Indian gentlemen come here to learn this art, how to do it nicely. And they think it is advancement. India is automatically taught this tapasya by their culture, but they come here to forget that culture and accept another type of life.

But real..., real fact is if you want to advance in spiritual understanding, if you want to make a solution of all the problems of your life, then you have to accept this life of austerity, tapasya. Restriction. Restriction is meant for human being, not for the animals. Just like in our common dealing, when you drive your car, you have got some restriction.

You cannot drive your car on the left side. That is offense. "Keep to the right." You cannot drive your car when there is red light or yellow light. You have to follow the restriction. But the dog, if it keeps to the left or crosses the street when there is red light, it is not punished, because it is animal, dog. But if you violate the laws, you'll be punished. Why?

That means you have got advanced consciousness. If you do not follow the rules and regulation, then you are nothing but animal. Human being, human life, means voluntarily accepting the laws, the rules and regulation. That is human life. But now the propaganda is that everyone, one wants to be free, no regulative life. This is animal life.

Just try to understand. The regulations, law books, restrictions, they are meant for human being, not for animals. And if you want freedom from all restriction, then you come to the animal life. Therefore Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends first tapasya. If you want to stop the problems of life, then you have to accept the life of austerity, tapasya.

And what is the tapasya? That is also... Brahmacaryeṇa. Brahmacaryeṇa. Brahmacaryeṇa means restricted sex life. Real meaning is no sex life—no sex, celibacy, completely. This is tapasya. Therefore, according to Vedic culture, the first beginning of life is brahmacārī.

[break] But in the brahmacārī life there is no sex life. Only in the gṛhastha life there is sex life, married life.

I was reading the other day a magazine, Watch... What is that?

Devotees: Watchtower.

Prabhupāda: Watchtower. So this paper was criticizing so many immoral activities in the Christian world. And one item I was surprised to read that a Christian priest has sanctioned marriage between man to man. That was written there. I do not wish to discuss all those things. But people are degrading for want of this tapasya. People are not taught how to execute tapasya life, tapasvī life. Simply by criticizing will not do. Practically you have to be trained in the life of tapasya. Then it will be effective.

Just like we are doing. Here, in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, in every center, everyone, at least who are living within this temple, must get up at four o'clock to perform the ārātrika. This morning I was asking somebody that "If you cannot rise, then you cannot live in this temple." Because this temple is meant for tapasya, not for extravagancy. Unless you follow the life of tapasya, you cannot make progress.

So this temple, we are inviting everyone to live here, to live with us, and practice tapasya. Then your life will be advanced. Then you'll understand what is your constitutional position; what is God, or Kṛṣṇa; what is your relationship with Him; what is the aim of life; how to execute it; how to make life successful. These things are taught here. This is called tapasya. And in the Vedas it is said that those who are executing the regulative life of tapasya, they are brāhmaṇas.

Etad viditvā yaḥ prayāti sa eva brāhmaṇaḥ. Etad aviditvā yaḥ prayāti sa kṛpaṇaḥ[?]. These are the Vedic injunctions. One who is dying... Everyone is dying. Nobody can live here permanently. That's a fact. But one who is dying after executing the life of tapasya, he's a brāhmaṇa. And one who is dying like cats and dogs, without any execution of tapasya, he's called kṛpaṇa.

The two words are there in the Vedic literature: one is brāhmaṇa and one is kṛpaṇa. Kṛpaṇa means miser, and brāhmaṇa means liberal, broad-minded. Brahma jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ, or one who knows the Supreme, the Absolute Truth, he's brāhmaṇa. And one who does not know, that is animal. This is the difference between animal and man.

Man should be educated to understand the Absolute Truth. Therefore in the human society there is school, colleges, universities, philosophers, scientists, mathematician. Because human life is meant for knowledge. The animal life, they're not required to take education. They are simply busy with how..., with the business how to eat, how sleep, how to mate and how to defend. That's all.

So the tapasya life begins from celibacy, brahmacaryeṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends. Brahmacarya is described in the śāstras that smaraṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ keliḥ prekṣaṇaṁ guhyam āsanam[?]. Sex life, smaraṇam, thinking of sex life, that is against brahmacarya. Complete celibacy means one should not think of even sex life. Smaraṇam. Or talk of sex life.

Our modern literature, newspaper and everything, simply full with talks of sex life. But this is against brahmacarya life. Smaraṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ keli. And actually indulging in sex life. Prekṣaṇam: looking, overlooking a nice boy or nice girl, that is also against brahmacarya. Guhyam āsanam: whispering between girls and boys, that is also against brahmacārī. Guhyam āsanaṁ saṅkalpam. Then determination of sex life. Vyavasāya: endeavoring how to effect sex life. So when we can stop all these activities, that is real brahmacarya.

It is very difficult at the present age. Etad maithunyam aṣṭāṅgaṁ pravadanti manīṣinaḥ vikārita brahmacaryam eda astanam lakṣaṇam iti[?]. So brahmacarya means that you cannot think of sex life, you cannot talk of sex life, you cannot whisper about sex life or you cannot endeavor for sex life. These eight types of activities in sex indulgence are against brahmacārī life. But here it is prescribed that if you want to make solution of the problems of life, then you adopt..., you have to adopt a life of tapasya, austerity, which begins from brahmacārī.

To summarize this brahmacarya life in this age, we have given a simple formula, that "No illicit sex." Sex is there. Sex is not bad. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo 'smi [Bg. 7.11]: "Sex life which is not against the religious principles of life, that is I am." Kṛṣṇa says.

So dharmāviruddha, according to Vedic civilization, one should have sex indulgence only once in a month. That is the prescription. And when the wife is pregnant there is no sex life. That is dharmāviruddha. That is not against the religious principles. Even in your life, married life, if you indulge sex life more than once in a month, or in pregnancy, that is against religious principle.

So Kṛṣṇa says, dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo 'smi: "Lust, sex indulgence, which is not against the rules of religious principles, that is I am." That means only for begetting children, nice children, so that there may not be disturbance. Unless there are nice population, children, born in a systematic way, how you can expect peace in the world? That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā: when there are varṇa-saṅkara the whole world becomes hell. This is described in the Bhagavad-gītā.

So the life of austerity begins from the life of celibacy, brahmacarya. So brahmacarya, the descriptions are given here, how you can execute brahmacārī life. You cannot think of sex life, you cannot talk of sex life, you cannot whisper about sex life. There are eight types of different regulation to stop sex life. But these things are very difficult in this age. Therefore we have simply summarized that don't have sex life beyond the married life. That is not good.

Then how brahmacarya can be executed? That is also given here: tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena [SB 6.1.13]. Śamena means controlling the mind. The yoga system, aṣṭāṅga-yoga system, practicing the āsana, sitting posture, breathing exercise, controlling the senses from outside engagement, pratyāhāra, these are..., this yoga system is meant for controlling the mind and controlling the sense. If there is no control of mind and no control of senses, the so-called yoga practice is bogus. It has no meaning. Yoga indriya saṁyama. Yoga means to control the senses. That is the real meaning of yoga.

So if one is unable to control the senses... I have seen in some yoga practice institution in New York, they are practicing some..., this āsana, and just after finishing, immediately smoking. You see? This much control they learned. So these, these are all bogus. This is not yoga system. Yoga system is not so easy, especially in this age. Yoga system means to control the senses, control the mind; and control the mind means you have to control so many things—your eating, your sleeping, your behaving. These are prescribed in the Bhagavad-gītā, how to practice the aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

You have to find out a suitable place, a sacred place, a solitary place. Therefore real yogīs, they used to go to Himalaya. Sometimes some young men here, in your country, they inquire from me how to go to Himalaya. And what you'll do there, going there, Himalaya? So you are not practiced. So instead of practicing yoga in the Himalaya, you practice yoga here. We have come here to help you. Here this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is there. If you are serious about practicing yoga, this..., take bhakti-yoga. That will come, how it happens in the next few lines.

So this aṣṭāṅga-yoga is not possible in this age—śamo damaḥ, controlling the mind, controlling the senses. Because nobody can properly practice the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system. Impossible. It is not only impossible in now—even five thousand years ago, when Kṛṣṇa was advising about this aṣṭāṅga-yoga to Arjuna... Arjuna was not ordinary man. He was friend of Kṛṣṇa. He was a great son of a royal family. And Arjuna's name and fame, everyone know. So he said to Kṛṣṇa: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, this yoga practice is not possible to be performed by me. I am unable."

So Arjuna said frankly that he was unable to practice this yoga system. And what we are, in comparison to Arjuna? So this aṣṭāṅga-yoga system is not possible at all in this age. If you are satisfied by learning some sitting posture, artificially, that may give you some chance of good exercise of the body. You can keep good health. But there is no chance of spiritual realization by aṣṭāṅga-yoga practice in this age.

So Śukadeva Gosvāmī said śamena. Śama means manasa-niyamam, controlling the mind. The mind's business is acception..., acceptance and rejection. This is mind's business. Even one is very elevated, the mind's business is mind's business. Mind will accept something: "It is very good," and next moment it will reject. That is mind's business.

But you have to fix up your mind in something which you cannot reject. That is only the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. If you fix up your mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, then your mind cannot go elsewhere. You practice it and you'll see it. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ [SB 9.4.18].

Therefore Ambarīṣa Mahārāja fixed up his mind always... Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means we are teaching our student how to fix up the mind always in Kṛṣṇa, some way or other. That is the first-class yoga system. And Kṛṣṇa also advise...

[break] ...feet, and pray, bhajate: "Kṛṣṇa, I am Your eternal servant. Kindly again engage me in Your service. Somehow or other, without being engaged in Your service, I have been dragged to the service of māyā.

Service I am going. I am rendering service. Because I am eternal servant, therefore my serving process is going on. But where it is going on? I am serving my lust, I am serving my anger, I am serving my greediness. So that means, in one word, I am serving my sense gratification. So kindly help me. Instead of serving my sense gratification, let me serve Your sense gratification."

That is yoga. That is first-class yoga. Pray always. Fix up your mind in Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, and pray that "I am eternal servant. Now I'm engaged in the service of my sense gratification, and You please help me, now I have come to my senses, to engage me in Your sense gratification." The business is there—sense gratification—but Kṛṣṇa consciousness means instead of satisfying one's own senses, one should be ready to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not very difficult.

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta this distinction has been clearly made, what is love and what is lust. Lust means satisfying to gratify one's personal senses. And..., and love means trying to satisfy the senses of the lover. And who is the lover? Kṛṣṇa, the supreme lover. So one..., one is called prema, love, and the other is called lust—although the process may appear to be the same.

kṛṣṇendriya-tṛpti-vāñchā—tāre 'prema' nāma
ātmendriya-tṛpti-vāñchā tāre nāma 'kāma'
[Cc. Ādi 4.165]

Kāma and prema, this is the difference.

So in order to control your mind, in order to control your senses, if you simply divert your activities for Kṛṣṇa, or you act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you become the perfect yogī, first-class, topmost yogī. There is no comparison of this yogī. Yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntarātmanā, śraddhāvān bhajate yo mām [Bg. 6.47]. Kṛṣṇa. Mām means Kṛṣṇa. Sa me yuktatamo mataḥ. He's the highest, topmost yogī.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not any concocted idea or a bluffing movement. It is authoritative, based on Vedic authority, and Bhagavad-gītā is there, Śrīmad-Bhāgavata is there, accepted by all the ācāryas. So if you kindly take advantage of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and try to accept this devotional yoga system, bhakti-yoga, bhakti-yogena sevate...

Māṁ ca 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate [Bg. 14.26]. This bhakti-yoga... Sa guṇān samatītyaitān. He immediately transcends all the influence of the three material modes of nature. Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. Immediately he's on the transcendental platform called Brahman.

So if you want to solve the problems of life without any difficulty, very easily, then this is the movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Very simple and easy. You are seeing practically. Your boys and girls who are participating in this movement... We have got sixty branches all over the world. Outside India... India, we have got four branches only. But fifty-six branches are outside the world, outside India. And they're all foreigners.

Four years, or three years ago, they did not know who is Kṛṣṇa. Now they are chanting, dancing, enjoying Kṛṣṇa conscious life. This is practical proof how Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is effective. Before me, from India many svāmīs came, but actually they could not induce the Westerners, especially the young generation, to any Indian cultural movement except this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That's a fact, historical.

So my request to you all, those who are present here: try to understand the philosophy. You're all educated, grown-up boys and girls, gentlemen, ladies. We have got books, immense literature, big, big voluminous book. If you want to understand this philosophy through books, we are not in scarcity. We can supply you with volumes of books. These books, some of them are demonstrated. But if you do not like to take so much trouble to read over the books, then simply come and chant and dance with us and take prasādam, go home happily.

Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances]

[break] Question? Yes.

Devotee: How do you feel about self-expression, art, as a path back to Godhead?

Prabhupāda: Back to Godhead means God is a person, a person like you and me. Just like your father is a person. That is a practical knowledge. Your father's father is also a person. His father is also a person. His father is also a person. Immediately you can understand. Therefore the supreme father must be a person. It is very difficult to understand?

Any one of you can say it is very difficult to understand? God is called supreme father, not only in your Bible, but in the Vedas also. In all literature. And actually He's father, because the Vedānta says the Absolute Truth is the original father, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1], from whom everything has taken birth or emanated.

So the supreme father cannot be impersonal. He's a person. And in the Vedas, it is confirmed:

nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān

[Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]

He is the supreme eternal amongst all eternals. We are all eternal, living entities, and He's the supreme eternal. And we are all living entities, cetana, life symptoms. We have got everything, all desires. So similarly, the supreme father has got all desires. Our desires are born because He has got desires. Just like we like to love, young boy, young girl. They're in love. Wherefrom this idea of love comes? It comes from there, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Because we are part and parcel of God, we have got all the instincts of God in minute quantity.

But because here we are in this material world... Material world means where God is forgotten. That is called material world. In this temple we are not in the material world. We are not in New York; we are in Vaikuṇṭha, because we have not forgotten Kṛṣṇa. Yes. That is the definition given by the Vedic literature: transcendental. Anyone who's living within this temple... I'll give you one example.

Just like if a ship comes from foreign country, that ship may be within the border of your country, or within your country—that ship is not within the law of your country. The ambassadors, the embassies, they are not within the law of USA. I give you some practical example. Similarly, anyone who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, any place it may be, that spot is not within the material world. That is transcendentally situated.

So for practical going back to Godhead, you come to our temple. That's all. You'll never forget Kṛṣṇa. You'll be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you'll live in Vaikuṇṭha or Vṛndāvana. This is the easiest process of going back to Godhead. And then, after death, surely you're going to Vaikuṇṭha or Kṛṣṇaloka. Hare Kṛṣṇa.


Guest: I [indistinct] something. How does one learn to control the senses, [indistinct] from being so overwhelming?

Prabhupāda: This is very easy. If you apply your senses for the service of Kṛṣṇa, then your senses cannot act independently. That is controlling. Just like if you absorb your mind in something, you forget everything.

Similarly, if you practice how to make yourself Kṛṣṇa conscious, then automatically the senses and mind becomes controlled. It is not very difficult. Therefore we say that for solution of all problems you come and join with us. Here is a big temple. You live here. You learn how to do it. [end]