Engaging the Senses
"Simply find out how Krsna conscious you can be. If you want to be really at peace, if you want to be happy, then develop Krsna consciousness. And the beginning is to develop attachment for Krsna. The process which we have prescribed is chanting and dancing before the Deities, and offering prasadam, spiritual food. This will make you more Krsna conscious.
The yoga system as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita is different from the bogus yoga system which is going on in the West these days. The yoga systems which have been introduced into the West by so-called yogis are not bona fide. Yoga is difficult: the first thing is to control the senses. That is the position of the yogi: he is not allowed to indulge in sex life. If you indulge in intoxication, if you indulge in meat-eating, and if you indulge in gambling and sporting--all nonsense--you cannot at the same time become a yogi. I was astonished when a yogi came here, having advertised in India that you can be a yogi even though you may be addicted to drinking. This is not the yoga system. This is not standard. You can call it yoga, but it is not the standard yoga system.
The yoga system is especially difficult for this age. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam we understand that yoga means to concentrate one's attention on the Superself, Visnu. He is situated in your heart. And, in order to concentrate your attention, you have to control the senses. The senses are working just like infuriated horses. If you cannot control the horses of your carriage, it will be dangerous. Just imagine that you are seated in a carriage and your horses are so furious that they are dragging you to hell. Then what is your position? The yoga system means to control these senses. The senses are also compared to serpents: The serpent does not know who is its friend and who is its enemy. It bites anyone. And, as soon as the serpent bites, the result is death. Similarly, if the uncontrolled senses work in their own way, then you should know that you are in a dangerous position.
It has been said that when one becomes too sensual, he loses his temper, he loses his identity, he forgets himself. Infuriated by the senses, a man will attack even his children, even his daughter. Therefore, for those who are advancing in spiritual life--not only for them but for everyone--the sastras, scriptures, say that you should not sit in a secluded place even with your mother, even with your daughter or your sister. Why? Because the senses are so strong that if they become infuriated, you will forget whether she's mother, sister, or daughter.
You may say that this may be true only for some foolish persons, but sastra says no--you should not sit in a secluded place even with your mother, sister or daughter, because the senses are so strong that even though you may be very moral, you may still be attracted by sex.
Our position in this world, our suffering in this world, is due to the body. This body is the cause of all miseries, and the ultimate goal of life should be to get out of this material body and be situated in the spiritual body. This is a foreign atmosphere. The soul is free spiritually, but it has been conditioned by this material atmosphere. And the body is of this matter."
Topmost Yoga System, Chapter 4
"Of course, human life does not actually begin until there is some conception of religion (dharma). But in the present age, Kali-yuga, dharma is practically nil--there is no religion or morality, and there are no pious activities--and therefore according to Vedic calculations the present human civilization does not even consist of human beings. Formerly people would care about morality and immorality, religion and irreligion, but with the progress of Kali-yuga this is all being vanquished, and people can do anything, without caring what it is. Srimad-Bhagavatam says, and we can actually see, that in Kali-yuga about eighty percent of the people are sinful. Illicit sex life, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling are the four pillars of sinful life, and therefore we request that one first break these four pillars, so that the roof of sinful life will collapse. Then by chanting Hare Krsna one can remain established in a transcendental position. It is a very simple method. One cannot realize God if one's life is sinful. Therefore Krsna says:
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated, and who are freed from the duality of delusion engage themselves in My service with determination." (Bg. 7.28)
The word anta-gatam means "finished." One can engage in devotional service if one has finished with his sinful life. Who can finish with sinful life? Those who engage in pious activities. One must have activities, and if one engages in pious activities one's sinful activities will naturally vanish. On one side, one should voluntarily try to break the pillars of sinful life, and on another side one must engage himself in pious life.
If one has no pious engagement, it is not that one can become free from sinful activities simply by theoretical understanding. For example, the American government is spending millions of dollars to stop the use of LSD and other such intoxicants, but the government has failed. How is it that simply by passing laws or giving lectures one can make people give up these things? It is not possible. One must give people good engagements, and then they will automatically give up the bad ones. For example, we instruct our students, "No intoxication," and they immediately give it up, even though the government has failed to stop them. This is practical.
Param drstva nivartate. If someone isn't given good engagement, his bad engagements cannot be stopped. That is not possible. Therefore we have two sides--prohibition of sinful activities, and engagement in good activities. We don't simply say, "No illicit sex," "No intoxication," and so on. Mere negativity has no meaning; there must be something positive, because everyone wants engagement. That is because we are living entities, not dead stones. By meditation the impersonalist philosophers try to become dead stones: "Let me think of something void or impersonal." But how can one artificially make oneself void? The heart and mind are full of activities, so these artificial methods will not help human society.
Methods of so-called yoga and meditation are all rascaldom because they provide one no engagement. But in Krsna consciousness there is adequate engagement for everyone. Everyone rises early in the morning to offer worship to the Deities. The devotees prepare nice food for Krsna, they decorate the temple, make garlands, go out chanting, and sell books. They are fully engaged twenty-four hours a day, and therefore they are able to give up sinful life. If a child has in his hands something that he is eating but we give him something better, he will throw away the inferior thing and take the better thing. So in Krsna consciousness we offer better engagement, better life, better philosophy, better consciousness--everything better. Therefore those who engage in devotional service can give up sinful activities and promote themselves to Krsna consciousness.
Activities intended to promote all living entities to Krsna consciousness are going on not only in human society but even in animal society also. Because all living entities here are part and parcel of Krsna but are rotting in this material world, Krsna has a plan, a big plan to deliver them. Sometimes He comes to this world personally, and sometimes He sends His very confidential devotees. Sometimes He leaves instructions like those of Bhagavad-gita. Krsna's incarnation appears everywhere, and He appears among animals, men, sages, and even aquatics (tiryan-naradisu yadahsu). For example, Krsna even appeared as a fish incarnation.
Thus Krsna's birth, appearance, and disappearance are all bewildering (tad atyanta-vidambanam). We conditioned living entities transmigrate from one body to another because we are forced to do so by the laws of nature, but Krsna does not appear because He is forced. That is the difference. Those who are foolish rascals think, "I have taken my birth in this world, and Krsna has taken birth here also. Therefore I am also God." They do not know that they will have to take birth again by the force of the laws of nature.
One may have been given the chance to have a very beautiful body in a country where one can live in opulence and receive a good education. But if one misuses all this, one will get another body according to one's mentality. For example, at the present moment, despite so many arrangements by the government for good schools and universities, the civilized countries of the world are producing hippies, young people who are so frustrated that they even worship hogs. But if one associates with the qualities of the hogs, one will actually become a hog in one's next birth. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. Nature will give one a full opportunity: "All right, sir, become a hog." Such are nature's arrangements. Prakrti, nature, has three modes, and if one associates with one type of mode, one will receive his next body accordingly.
Krsna's appearance and disappearance are meant to put an end to the living entities' transmigration from one body to another, and therefore one should understand the greatness of the plan behind Krsna's appearance and disappearance. It is not that Krsna comes whimsically. He has a great plan, otherwise why should He come here? He is very much eager to take us back home, back to Godhead. That is Krsna's business. Therefore He says:
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." (Bg. 18.66) All of us are children of Krsna, God, and since we are unhappy because of taking material bodies for repeated birth, death, old age, and disease, He is more unhappy than we are. Our situation in the material body is not at all comfortable, but we are such foolish rascals that we do not care to do anything about this. We are busy trying to arrange for temporary comforts in this life, but we are neglecting the real discomforts of birth, death, old age, and disease. This is our ignorance and our foolishness, and therefore Krsna comes to wake us up from this ignorance and take us back home, back to Godhead."
Teachings of Queen Kunti, Chapter 13
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.