vītaṁ yadā manaḥ śuddham
aduḥkham asukhaṁ samam
In the beginning Lord Kapila has said that perfect yoga enables one to transcend the platform of material distress and happiness. How this can be done is explained here: one has to purify his mind and consciousness. This can be done by the bhakti-yoga system. As explained in the Nārada-pañcarātra, one’s mind and senses should be purified (tat-paratvena nirmalam). One’s senses must be engaged in devotional service of the Lord. That is the process. The mind must have some engagement. One cannot make the mind vacant. Of course there are some foolish attempts to try to make the mind vacant or void, but that is not possible. The only process that will purify the mind is to engage it in Kṛṣṇa. The mind must be engaged. If we engage our mind in Kṛṣṇa, naturally the consciousness becomes fully purified, and there is no chance that material desire and greed will enter.
Our mind is our friend, and our mind is our enemy. If it is cleansed, it is a friend, and if it is dirty, we contact material diseases. If we keep ourselves clean, pure, we will not be contaminated. According to Vedic civilization, one has to cleanse himself externally three times daily—once in the morning, again at noon, and again in the evening. Those who strictly follow the brahminical rules and regulations follow this process. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Conditional life means that the mind is covered with dirty things, and this is our disease. When we are in the lower modes of tamo-guṇa and rajo-guṇa, these dirty things are very prominent. One has to raise himself to the mode of sattva (goodness) by the process of saṅkīrtana and śravaṇa. One has to hear kṛṣṇa-kathā. Kṛṣṇa is within everyone’s heart. The individual soul is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa wants the individual soul to turn to Him. Unfortunately the conditioned soul is attached to material enjoyment, and this is the cause of his bondage to birth, death, old age and disease. He is so foolish that he does not take into consideration that these miseries are repeated.
He is like an ass that belongs to a washerman who loads him down with heavy clothes. For a few morsels of grass, the ass has to carry heavy loads all day, although not a single piece of clothing belongs to him. This is the way of the karmīs. They may become big multimillionaires, but they are just like asses, working hard day and night. Regardless of how much money they may have, their stomachs can only hold so much. And they require only six feet of space to sleep.
Nonetheless, these big karmīs are thinking themselves very important. They think, “Without me, all the members of my nation will die. Let me work day and night to the point of death.” People are thinking, “I belong to this family, this nation, this community. I have this duty or that duty,” and so on. people do not know that these are all false designations.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore enjoins, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] our actual position is that of eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa. We are mistakenly thinking that we are servants of a family or nation, but this is due to ignorance, tamo-guṇa. However, we can attain the platform of sattva-guṇa by following the instructions given in Bhagavad-gītā. Hearing kṛṣṇa-kathā, topics about Kṛṣṇa, clears all the dirty things from the mind. Also, if we chant and dance, these dirty things will be wiped away. The mind is the cause of bondage, and the mind is the cause of liberation. When it is dirty, it brings about bondage. In conditional life, we take birth, remain for some time, and enjoy or suffer. But really there is no question of enjoyment. There is only suffering. When we die, we have to give up the body and then take on another body. We immediately enter the womb of another mother, stay for nine months or so, and then come out. Then a new chapter of life begins. This is conditioned life, and it goes on again and again and again. ln this way we undergo the tribulations of birth, old age, disease and death. The dogs and cats cannot understand this process, but we can understand it in human life through the Vedic literatures. If we don’t take advantage of these literatures, all our education is for nothing.
People actually waste their time talking politics, sociology, anthropology, and so on. They read many literatures that do not glorify the Supreme Lord Hari, and thus they waste their time. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving everyone a chance to become pious. puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ [SB 1.2.17]. It is not necessary to give money or bathe in the Ganges. There are many pious activities and many processes recommended in the śāstras for becoming pious. However, in Kali-yuga people have lost all their stamina. They are so sinful that there is no question of becoming pious through all these prescribed methods. The only means is hearing about Kṛṣṇa and chanting His names. Kṛṣṇa has given us ears to hear and a tongue to speak. We can hear from a realized soul and thus perfect our lives. In this way we are given a chance to purify ourselves. Unless we are purified, we cannot become devotees. Human life is meant for purification. Unfortunately in this age people are not interested in Kṛṣṇa, and they suffer through material existence one life after another after another. In one life they may be very opulent. Then they don’t care about the next life. They think, “Let me eat, drink and be merry.” This is going on all over the world, but the śāstras say that people are making mistakes in this way. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarmaḥ (Bhāg. 5.5.4): people have become mad with sense gratification, and therefore they engage in all sorts of forbidden things. Karma means regulated work, and vikarma means just the opposite—unlawful, forbidden activities. The word akarma means that one is not affected by the results of work.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (3.9):
loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya
“Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.”
When people are in the modes of passion and ignorance, they perform vikarma. They do not care for their future lives, and they are habituated to eating anything and everything, just like hogs. They do not care for the śastric injunctions, and they are totally irresponsible. They are just like street boys who have no education and do not care for anything. Such urchins do whatever they like, for their fathers and mothers do not care for them. Life in ignorance, tamo-guṇa, is such a careless life. People simply act unlawfully, not considering the results of their actions. They act for sense gratification, and actually they take pleasure in committing sins. In Calcutta I have seen people taking pleasure in cutting the throats of chickens and laughing when the chicken jumps and flaps about. Sometimes in Western countries students are taken to slaughterhouses just to see how the cows are butchered. In this age, people take pleasure in committing all kinds of sins. They have no brains to see that this body is temporary and full of suffering. They are completely in the mode of darkness, just like the animals they slaughter. There may be many animals in a pasture, and if one takes an animal aside and cuts its throat, the other animals will simply stand, look, and continue eating grass. They do not realize that the next time they may be slaughtered. The people in Kali-yuga are in the same situation, but the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to give these rascals a little sense. We are saying, “Don’t remain animals.
Become human beings.” In the words of Caitanya Mahāprabhu:
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha
“Forgetting Kṛṣṇa, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore the illusory energy (māyā) gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence. (Cc. Madhya 20.117)
When one forgets his relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he acts in a very foolish way, and māyā gives him one misery after another. It is also stated:
māyā-mugdha jīvera nāhi svataḥ kṛṣṇa jñāna
jīvere kṛpāya kailā kṛṣṇa veda-purāṇa
“The conditioned soul cannot revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness by his own effort. But out of causeless mercy, Lord Kṛṣṇa compiled the Vedic literature and its supplements, the Purāṇas.” (Cc. Madhya 20.122)
The Vedic literatures—the Vedānta, Upaniṣads, Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata and many others—should be utilized if we wish to become free from the contamination of tamo-guṇa and rajo-guṇa. The whole world is revolving due to kāma and lobha. Kāma means “lusty desire,” and lobha means “greed.” people cannot have enough sex or money, and because of this, their hearts are filled with contaminations, which have to be cleansed by hearing, repeating and chanting. Human life is meant to get rid of anarthas, unwanted things, but where is the university or college where this science of purification is taught? The only institution is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness society. Kṛṣṇa is within the heart, and the contaminations are also there, but Kṛṣṇa will help us cleanse them. Naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā (Bhāg. 1.2.18).
We must regularly hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa; these are the two processes recommended by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Haridāsa Ṭhākura was chanting three hundred thousand holy names a day, but we have fixed the number at sixteen rounds. Nonetheless, we are so unfortunate and fallen that we cannot even perform them. We should not waste our time reading and talking nonsense, but should engage in the study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Our time is very valuable, and we should not waste it. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita has said: āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko ’pi na labhyaḥ svarṇa-koṭibhiḥ. We may live for a hundred years, but not one moment of these hundred years can be returned, not even if we are prepared to pay millions of dollars. We cannot add a moment, nor can we get a moment back. If time is money, we should just consider how much money we have lost. However, time is even more precious because it cannot be regained.
Therefore not a single moment should be lost. Human life should be utilized only for chanting and reading Vedic literatures. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is publishing many books so that people can utilize their time properly by reading them and make their lives successful. Not only should we read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but we should also serve the person bhāgavata, one whose life is nothing but Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18]. By this process we can attain the stage of bhagavad-bhakti, but first we must get rid of all these anarthas, unwanted things. Presently we are wasting our time thinking, “This is my country. This is my nation. This is my body and my family,” and so on. Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. We can vanquish all these false conceptions when we come to the platform of sattva-guṇa. Then we will not be disturbed by tamo-guṇa or rajo-guṇa, nor by kāma or lobha (lust and greed). This is the vasudeva platform. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.
Lord Kapiladeva, in the next verse, points out the results that follow the successful completion of this purificatory process.
[from Teachings of Lord Kapila, Ch. 9.vs16, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acarya for ISKCON]