Human civilization should help us love God, and not pull us down into ignorance.

evam manah karma-vasam prayunkte
avidyayatmany upadhiyamane
pritir na yavan mayi vasudeve
na mucyate deha-yogena tavat
Srila Prabhupada - Back To Godhead
“When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vasudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.” Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.6

This is an important verse. It presents the problem of our contact with the material body: deha-yogena. This is the real problem of life, but nobody knows it. Especially these days, people cannot understand that “This material body is a foreign element, and somehow or other I am victimized by it, entrapped within it.” This is the real problem, but people do not know it. That is called avidya, ignorance.

There are two kinds of strong avidya. One is the result of rajo-guna, the mode or quality of passion, and the other is the result of tamo-guna, ignorance. Tamo-guna is a very dense covering, and rajo-guna is a little more open.

Sattva-guna, the mode or quality of goodness, brings illumination. It involves the brahminical qualifications. When one is in the sattva-guna, he can understand, “I am not this body. I am different from this body.” For persons in the sattva-guna, life is easier.

Human civilization means not to drag somebody who is already in the sattva-guna, or in a family of people in the sattva-guna, down to the tamo-guna. But modern civilization

That is degradation. Civilization means elevation. The aim of life is to become disconnected from this material body. That is civilization. Otherwise, it is not civilization; it is animal life.

The Platform of Loving Krishna

The Krishna consciousness movement is an attempt to bring human society to the proper platform of civilization. It is a very scientific movement. By a gradual process, it brings one to the platform of vasudeva pritih, love of Vasudeva, or Krishna. That love is bhakti. Pritih means love of Krishna. “Civilization” means to bring one to the platform of loving Krishna.

If you love somebody intensely, your lover or beloved is everything to you. That is love, as in the motheras love for her child. She is always anxious to take care of the child. Her whole attention is on the child.

These are examples. They are not actually love, but a perverted reflection of love. This love does not stand forever, but nature dictates that you love your child like this, you love your husband like this, your wife like this, your country like this, your society like this. There are different grades of demonstration of love. When the demonstration of love is concentrated on Vasudeva, Krishna, that is the highest perfection of life.

We have a natural tendency to love, but because we do not know Vasudeva, Krishna, we do not know where to place our love. If we place our loving tendency in Krishna, Vasudeva, then that tendency becomes fruitful and perfect. That is desired. Therefore it is said,

dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
visvaksena-kathasu yah
notpadayed yadi ratim
srama eva hi kevalam
“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.8)

vasudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam

“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquirescauseless knowledge and detachment from the world.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7) Placing your loving tendency in Vasudeva can be done perfectly by bhaktiyoga, not by any other method. There are different yoga systems karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyanayoga. Real yoga means loving Vasudeva, Bhagavan. Therefore Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, says in Bhagavad-gita (6.47),

yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
“And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.” In all other yoga systems there is a little tinge of vasudeva-bhakti, but they are not pure bhakti and will not be immediately fruitful. The results will take a long, long time. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.19) Lord Krishna says,

bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” If yoga is not pure bhakti-yoga, success will take a very, very long time. Bahunam janmanam ante means “after many births.”

For those who are advanced in spiritual life, there is every possibility of being born as a human being in the next life. But those who are ignorant do not know what their next birth will be. There will be a change of body that is a fact. But those who are in the sattva-guna are sure to get their next life in human society. So even if, somehow or other, you fail in this life, you will get another chance in your next life in the human form. Lord Krishna says that you will be born either in a very nice, pure brahmana family or in a Vaishnava family, a family of devotees of the Lord. Birth in a Vaishnava family is better than birth in a brahmana family.

Fortunate Children

Because the children in our Hare Krishna society have been born into Vaishnava families, they are practicing bhakti-yoga from the beginning. Like their parents, they are playing the karatalas [hand cymbals], chanting, dancing, offering obeisances to the Lord, and becoming absorbed in the temple atmosphere. Donat think that this is an ordinary opportunity. It is a very great opportunity. From the very beginning of life they are getting the impression of bhakti-yoga. Their spiritual activities are not going in vain.

Even if a child is playing karatalas in imitation of the adults, it is not really in imitation. He has been given the chance for spiritual life. He was previously a Vaishnava. Somehow or other he could not make his life perfect. Therefore, he has been given another chance. So naturally he has the tendency to play the karatalas, to offer flowers to the Lord, to offer obeisances. The children take pleasure in it because of their previous life, because of the yoga they performed. Their bhaktiyoga was not perfectly done, so somehow or other they are getting the chance from the very beginning of life to continue. Of course, if somebody did not get the chance from the very beginning of life, he can also begin the practice at any time.

The ultimate aim is Vasudeva. That is the ultimate goal. You have to come to this stage vasudeva sarvam iti: fully, firmly convinced that “Vasudeva is my life. Vasudeva is everything. Krishna is my life.”

Vrindavana: The Highest Stage

The highest perfection is visible in the Vrindavana atmosphere, especially in the gopis, Krishna’s cowherd girlfriends. Everyone in Vrindavana, even the trees and plants, even the grains of sand, is attached to Krishna. That is the nature of Vrindavana. We cannot suddenly get the highest stage of attachment to Krishna exhibited by the residents of Vrindavana, but still, wherever we stay, if we practice bhakti-yoga we can make progress toward that stage.

We are promoting attachment to Krishna, and our efforts are becoming successful. People are taking up the practices of bhakti-yoga. People with no spiritual qualifications are taking to Vasudeva. Their love for Krishna is increasing.

That is natural. It is said in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.107),

nitya-siddha Krishna-prema ‘sadhyaa kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya

“Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, the living entity naturally awakens.”

We are eternal. We are not destroyed by the destruction of the body. We continue to exist. Similarly, our devotion to Krishna continues. It is simply covered. As today’s verse states, avidyayatmany upadhiyamane: the living entity is covered by avidya, ignorance. We forget Krishna; that is avidya. And as soon as we take Krishna as our life and soul, that is vidya, knowledge, or the removal of the covering of ignorance.

Anyone can very easily take Krishna as his life and soul. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66),

sarva-dharman parityajya
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.” Why does Krishna tell us to abandon all varieties of religion? Because any other so-called religious system any religious system besides surrender to Krishna is avidya. It will keep you in ignorance, in the condition where there is no light. And the Vedic injunction is tamasi ma jyotir gamah: “Donat keep yourself in the darkness of ignorance; go to the light.”

Jyotih, or light, means to love Krishna. And the loving affairs of Krishna constitute the spiritual world: jyotirmaya-dhama, the selfeffulgent abode. There is no darkness there, just as there is no question of darkness in the sun. We can see that there is no darkness in the sun planet. It is all glowing effulgence. Similarly, in the spiritual world there is no ignorance. Everyone is suddha-sattva not only sattva-guna, the mode of goodness, but suddha-sattva, pure goodness. Here, in the material world, there are three qualities: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-gun a. None of these gunas is pure. There is always a mixture. And because there is a mixture, we see so many varieties. But we have to come to the platform of sattva-guna.

Always Hear and Chant

The best process to come to that platform is to regularly hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam. We therefore stress: “Always hear, always read.” “Hear” means somebody chants or you chant yourself and hear, or one of your colleagues may chant, and you hear. Or he may hear, and you may chant. This process must go on. No nonsense talks, no gossiping. Simply hear and chant.

You should think, “Yes, I shall engage this life only for increasing my love of Vasudeva.” If you are determined, it can be done. There is no difficulty. And when you do this, you can progress to full love for Vasudeva. Then there will be no chance of contacting another material body.

In the Bhagavad-gita (4.9) Lord Krishna says,

janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so arjuna

“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth in the material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” If you do not understand Krishna, if you do not increase your natural love for Krishna, then, as todayas verse states, na mucyate deha-yogena tavat: there is no chance for liberation. In the next life you may be born in a very rich family or in a brahmana family, but that is not release. You may again fall down.

The Americans were born in rich families, in a rich nation, but they are falling down and becoming hippies. So there is that chance. There is no guarantee that “Because I was born in a rich family or in a brahmana family, my liberation is guaranteed.” There is no such guarantee.

Maya, illusion, is so strong, and it is only trying to drag us down. There are so many bad influences. Although the Americans were born in a country where there is no poverty, no scarcity, their leaders are rascals and have arranged for meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication, and gambling. Everywhere there are advertisements showing naked women, liquor, and cigarettes. These things will just pull them down again, pull them to hell.

They do not know that this dangerous civilization is dragging them down. Therefore sometimes some saner older men come to me to offer their thanks: “Swamiji, it is a great fortune that you have come to our country.” They acknowledge the benefit. It is a fact that this Krishna consciousness movement is a great fortune. And especially in the Western countries, thatas a fact.

So those who have taken to it, take it very seriously. Increase your love for Krishna. People do not know what is the actual problem of life. The actual problem of life is dehayoga: we, the soul, have accepted this foreign body. But these rascal leaders in Europe and America have concluded there is no rebirth. Because if they accept there is life after death, then it is horrible for them. So they have dismissed it: “No, there is no rebirth.” Big, big so-called professors, learned scholars, talk foolishly: “Swamiji, after this body is finished, everything is finished.” That is their conclusion.

This kind of civilization is very dangerous. Very, very dangerous. So at least those who have come to Krishna consciousness should be very, very cautious about this dangerous type of civilization. People are suffering. Take to the Krishna consciousness movement and be happy and perfect.
Thank you very much.