`Our actions can either entangle us or award us eternal freedom.
It’s upto us what we choose.
Struggle of the Living Entity
Because I am a spirit soul, I have nothing to do with this material atmosphere. Asango ’yam purusah: “This spirit soul has nothing to do.” But on account of his material association by different processes, we have grown this material body, and we are now entangled. Just like a fish becomes entangled within the network, similarly, we the living entities are entangled with the network of this fabrication of material elements. It’s a very difficult position. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah (Gita 3.27). Because we associated with a particular material mode of nature, we are now entangled.
(Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.26.32), Bombay, January 9, 1975)
Knowledge of Atma-tattva Liberates Us
Because human life is a combination of matter and spirit soul, the whole process of Vedic knowledge is directed at liberating the spirit soul from the contamination of matter. The knowledge concerning this is called atma-tattva. Those men who are too materialistic are unaware of this knowledge and are more inclined to economic development for material enjoyment. Such materialistic men are called karmis, or fruitive laborers, and they are allowed regulated economic development or association of woman for sex indulgence. Those who are above the karmis, that is, the jnanis, yogis and devotees, are strictly prohibited from sex indulgence. The karmis are more or less devoid of atma-tattva knowledge, and as such, their life is spent without spiritual profit.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.3, purport)
Struggle in this Material World
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah: “Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world.” If we do not act in Krishna consciousness we shall be entangled, like silkworms in cocoons. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, appears in order to teach us how to work so that we will not be entangled in this material world. Our real problem is that we are entangled in materialistic activities, and because we are conditioned, our struggle continues through punishment in material existence in one body after another in different forms of life.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam (8.1.5), purport)
Freedom from Fruitive results
Mukti, or liberation, means becoming free from the results of fruitive activities. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.6), muktir hitvanyatha-rupam. Mukti means giving up all other activities and being situated in one’s constitutional position (svarupena vyavasthitih). In this conditional state, we are entangled by one fruitive activity after another. Karma-bandhana means “the bonds of fruitive activity.” As long as one’s mind is absorbed in fruitive activities, he has to manufacture plans for happiness. The bhakti-yoga process is different, for bhakti-yoga means acting according to the order of the supreme authority. When we act under the direction of supreme authority, we do not become entangled by fruitive results. For instance, Arjuna fought because the Supreme Personality of Godhead wanted him to; therefore he was not responsible for the outcome of the fighting.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.79, purport)
The Action of Yogamaya
In conclusion, bewildering the conditioned souls and liberating the devotees are both functions belonging to yogamaya. Transferring the pregnancy of Devaki and keeping mother Yashoda in deep sleep were both done by yogamaya; mahamaya cannot act upon such devotees, for they are always liberated. But although it is not possible for mahamaya to control liberated souls or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she did bewilder Kamsa. The action of yogamaya in presenting herself before Kamsa was the action of mahamaya, not yogamaya. Yogamaya cannot even see or touch such polluted persons as Kamsa.
(Additional notes on Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.1)
Know the Aim of Life
Prabhupada: Ask anybody, “What is the aim of your life?” Nobody will be able to say. They will simply say, “It is my duty to earn money, maintain my children, give them education, give them good opportunity for prospective life. And if I have got little more money, then I can give in charity to the poor man, daridra-narayana.” These are their programs. But nobody knows the necessity of liberating the soul which is conditioned by this material covering. Big, big professors. They simply say, “Yes …” If you ask, “Why you are constructing some big, big scheme?” “Oh, for the future generations. That’s all.” Nobody will reply, nobody knows about the necessity of the soul.
(Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.1.3), Vrindavana, March 18, 1974)
Training the Mind
If one understands one’s position as spirit soul apart from the body, the mind can be a liberating factor. In itself, the mind has nothing to do; it is simply waiting to be trained, and it is best trained through association. Desire is the function of the mind, and one desires according to his association; so if the mind is to act as friend, there must be good association.
(The Perfection of Yoga, Chapter 4)
Sandy Nixon: Here’s another one kind of on that line. How do you feel about women’s liberation?
Jayatirtha: She wants to know about the women’s liberation. What is our feeling about women’s liberation?
Prabhupada: That I don’t want to discuss because… (laughs) As you have asked, I may explain that how foolish women are being cheated by the intelligent man. You see.
Woman Devotee: Srila Prabhupada is liberating everybody who chants Hare Krishna.
Prabhupada: In your country, they have given you liberty. Liberty means equal rights, is it not? Man and woman have got equal rights.
Sandy Nixon: They’re trying in this country.
Prabhupada: All right, trying. But you women, you cannot see that these so-called equal rights mean cheating the woman. Now I say more clearly that a woman and man meet. Now they become lover. Then they have sex, and the woman becomes pregnant, and the man goes away. The simple woman, she has to take charge of the child and beg from government alms, “Please give me money.” This is your independence. Do you admit this is independence that the man makes the woman pregnant and he goes away without any responsibility, and the woman cannot give up the child, she maintains, begging from the government or she tries to kill the child? Do you think it is very good independence? What is your answer?
(Room Conversation with writer Sandy Nixon, July 13, 1975, Philadelphia)
When the living entities come to this world for material enjoyment, they are entangled in karma and karma-phala by the Lord’s illusory energy. But if one seeks shelter at the Lord’s lotus feet, one is again situated in his original, liberated state. As stated here, krta yatas tvayy abhayasrayatmani: one who seeks shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord is always fearless. Because we are dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we should give up the idea that without Krishna we can enjoy freedom in this material world. This idea is the reason we have become entangled. Now it is our duty to seek shelter again at the Lord’s lotus feet. This shelter is described as abhaya, or fearless.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.40), purport)