We can achieve true peace of mind by cleansing the heart of the influence of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance.
“As soon as irrevocable loving service [to Lord Krishna] is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire, and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.” – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.19
Everyone wants happiness and peace of mind. How it is possible? That is explained here: cheta etair anaviddham. Everything is within the heart, and we are being disturbed by rajas and tamas. Rajas means passion, or desire for material enjoyment, and tamas means ignorance. These give neither enjoyment nor knowledge. An animal has no material enjoyment or knowledge. Similarly, persons who are infected by the tamo-guna, the mode of ignorance, do not know the meaning of life, nor are they interested to know. People are becoming affected by this tamo-guna. Therefore even in this Western country they are becoming hippies. No material enjoyment, no spiritual knowledge – simply in darkness.
If we simply practice the process of hearing about Krishna, then gradually the darkness of ignorance and passion will disappear. We are suffering in this material life on account of these three modes of material nature – goodness, passion, and ignorance –especially the modes of passion and ignorance. Here is the process for getting out of the modes of passion and ignorance especially, but also the mode of material goodness. Sometimes material goodness is also a cause of bondage. A person falsely thinks, “Now I have become a brahmana” or “I have got a sacred thread; therefore my business is finished. Now I can do anything. It doesn’t matter.” That is also another bondage. You have to advance further.
Actually, a real brahmana does not think like that – “Because I have got this sacred thread, my business is finished.” We offer the sacred thread, but don’t make your business finished there. There is further progressive life. After becoming a brahmana, one has to become a Vaishnava.
Today we shall initiate several disciples, the first initiation and the second initiation. The first initiation is to give a chance for chanting Hare Krishna. The beads are there, and the initiated members will agree to refrain from sinful activities and in pure heart chant Hare Krishna. Not in pure heart – the heart is already polluted – but offenseless.
There are ten kinds of offenses. Our members who are going to be initiated should always remember to avoid the offenses. Of course, in the beginning the offenses are there, but if we try to avoid them, then there will be namabhasa. Namabhasa means almost pure chanting of the holy name. And if you attain the state of namabhasa, you’ll become immediately liberated. And then, when you can chant the shuddha holy name – pure, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature – you will develop your love of Krishna.
Here it is stated, rajas-tamo-bhavah: we are afflicted with the three modes of nature. Out of the three, two are very dangerous. What are they? Rajasand tamas, passion and ignorance. The whole material world is ongoing on the basis of these two qualities, passion and ignorance. What are the symptoms of passion? Kama-lobhadayash cha ye: too much attraction to sense gratification. This is called passion. And lobha: greediness, not satisfied.
Live the Simple Life
I have just come from a cottage. It is a very nice cottage. It is self-sufficient, with a little land for growing vegetables. Nice cottage, very warm. There is no need of air conditioning. We can live a very simple life anywhere, in any part of the world. There are so many jungles; you cut one or two trees, and with the logs you can make a little cottage. And after the trees are cut, the land becomes open, so you can utilize the land for growing food grains, for pasturing. Then if you have cows, food grains, vegetables, and a cottage, where is your economic problem? Live peacefully in the open air, take sufficient milk and vegetables, and get all the vitamins you need. You get a nice life and save time for chanting Hare Krishna.
This is life. We are trying to introduce this simple life in this New Vrindaban colony. We can live a very simple life, but because we are infected by rajo-guna and tamo-guna, we require the pigeonholes of skyscraper buildings. Unnecessarily. Why?
Your time is so valuable that you cannot get back one day of your life or one moment of your life by paying millions of dollars. Today is the twenty-first of July. Now, the twentieth of July cannot be returned even if you try to bribe material nature with millions of dollars. It is not possible. What is gone is gone. Therefore Canakya Pandita said,
We cannot get back even a moment of time by payment of millions of gold coins. That is not possible. If you simply waste such valuable time, then just estimate your loss, practically, from the monetary point of view. One moment of your life cannot be returned for millions of dollars.
Therefore our Rupa Goswami also teaches, avyartha-kalatvam. A Krishna conscious person should see, “Has my time been wasted? Am I utilizing my time, the short duration of my life, properly?” All Krishna conscious persons should be vigilant to see that time is not wasted.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore advises,
“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Sikshashtaka 3) We have therefore introduced chanting Hare Krishna twenty-four hours a day. I am glad to see all the devotees carrying chanting beads; that is a nice practice. It must be done. Chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, for twenty-four hours – while working, even while sleeping. If you practice, in sleep also you will chant Hare Krishna. That is possible. It is not impossible; it is a fact.
The Sattva-guna Platform
In human life, if you want actual peace and prosperity you have to keep yourself always in the sattva-guna, the mode of goodness. This is the brahminical platform. Those who are going to be initiated as brahmanasmust observe this principle; otherwise what is the use of taking a sacred thread? Don’t think that by simply having a sacred thread this business is finished. No. You should practice to keep yourself on the platform of sattva-guna. That platform of sattva-guna can be maintained when you are engaged in devotional service. Here it is said, sthitam sattve prasidati: simply by being situated on the platform of goodness you will be happy. Prasidati. You will feel happiness because you are in knowledge. But the bhakti process is so transcendental that by discharge of devotional service you will be far above the sattva-guna.
Sattva-guna means material good qualities. But these material good qualities can be contaminated sometimes, because the material nature is very powerful. Very, very powerful. Therefore sometimes we see that those who are not sticking to the principles fall down – immediately. Material nature will drag you. “Please come here.” But if you remain fixed in devotional service, then you go above the sattva-guna. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
“One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” We are introducing this process to become directly a pure devotee. Pure and impure devotees? Yes. Impure means those who are still contaminated by these three qualities, sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna. And pure means above that. No contamination.
Take this direct process, because in this age it is very difficult to go step by step. Life is very short. You do not know if it will end at any moment. The material world is full of danger, especially in this age.
“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.10) This is our position. Almost every one of us has a very short duration of life. Although in this age the standard of life should be one hundred years, we may believe it is reducing. On account of sinful activities, the duration of life is reducing, memory is reducing. Therefore, the short-cut policy to make our life successful, as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has introduced, is shri-krishna–sankirtana, the chanting of Krishna’s holy names. Sri-krishna-sankirtana will give you life.
Those who are going to be initiated must avoid the ten kinds of offenses. Then the pure name will be manifested and you will try to chant more and more and more. This is the effect.
We want peace and prosperity because we are part and parcel of Krishna. Krishna is full of prosperity. And why should we not be in prosperity? We are not in prosperity because of our material contamination. Kama-lobhadayah: material contamination means being unnecessarily lusty. But if you practice, this unnecessary desire for sense gratification will be reduced. As you advance in devotional life, you will become uninterested in material activities, practically no interest. That is the test.
Srila Yamunacharya says,
“Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krishna, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.” Here in the material world the highest pleasure is sex. Everyone – not only in human society, but in dog society, cat society, bird society – they are all after sex. The most abominable happiness is the first-class happiness in the material world. Yamunacharya was a king. So he says from his practical experience, “Since I have engaged my mind on the lotus feet of Krishna and am tasting newer and newer transcendental mellows that are increasing at every moment, when I think of sex life with women, immediately I spit at the thought.” This is the test. The more you advance in Krishna life, Krishna consciousness, the more you forget sex life, the topmost pleasure of material life. That is the test.
Sex life, or kama, is passion, rajas. Here it is said, tada rajas-tamo-bhavah: the result of passion is sex, kama, and lobha, no satisfaction. Spiritual life is above all these things. You cannot say that you have all the qualities of rajas-tamo-bhavah – lusty desires, greediness – and still you are advancing. That is debauchery. That is not spiritual life. The test of spiritual life is that you shall be situated in sattva-guna.
You have seen the picture of Cupid. He has an arrow to pierce you. Therefore this word is used: anaviddham – “without being pierced.” As soon as you are pierced by an arrow, the painful condition begins. Immediately. We are always in pain because our heart is pierced by the arrow of Cupid. But if you remain in the sattva-guna, in goodness, then your heart will not be pierced by the arrow of Cupid. This is the test. Then you will be happy.
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lecture given in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, on July 21, 1974