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Breaking the-Serpent's Fangs
78) Every embodied jiva is bound by the reactions to his own work as a silk worm trapped in his own web. How ironic that even satya-karma, work in the mode of goodness, can be another mask of ignorance, and another shackle to material life.
79) Man's sojourn in the material sphere is but an infinitely complicated maze that he has created for himself in the workshop of fruitive activity.
80) Because the three modes of nature; sattwa, rajas, and lamas, bind the conditioned soul, they are called gunas, which means literally "ropes." Just as the three strands of a rope intertwine and therefore become unbreakable, so the modes of material nature are tightly interlocked.
81) Material nature is controlled by goddess Durga and it is she who makes the living entity dance like a wooden puppet bound by the ropes of the three gunas. For example, almost every man tries to behave charmingly each time he encounters an attractive young $1 lady. His sole thought is sharing secret pleasures, though he knows there is no chance of it.
82) Just as in the human form of life the female form attracts and deludes the man's intelligence, so in other species of life as well the entity is bound up by sex desire. The male pigeon sees the female as beautiful and thus mates fifty times or more each day of the mating season. In fact, the entire three worlds are in motion due to this impulse.
83) In South India, elephant trainers teach the female of the species to lead male elephants into captivity. First, a huge pit is dug, and then covered with sticks, straw and leaves. Then the female elephant is sent into the woods to lure a male. Upon approaching the pit, she runs around it, while the male falls in and becomes trapped. Similarly, man is confined here in the material world due to his attraction for the fair sex, and thus he is forced to enter womb after womb repeatedly in various species of life.
(84) A quick look at nature reveals that various species of wild life have certain senses more strongly pronounced than others. For example, the bee's olfactory sense is highly developed. His business is flying from flower to flower which he finds through his sense of smell. Sometimes the bee, through his addiction to the "nose," continues to remain in the lotus even when it closes at night and thus suffocates there. The omnivorous fish has no scarcity of food. Yet when the fisherman throws in bait, the fish, through attachment to his large mouth, is lured, hooked, chopped and cooked. The large-eyed insect sees fire as bright and beautiful. Enchanted by the dancing orange flames he flies to his doom burnt to a crisp. The deer is drawn by his acute sense of hearing to the huntsman playing his flute, and receives the point of an arrow as his reward. These creatures have certain strong sensual propensities which can be the cause of their doom. But we humans have every sense very strongly pronounced.
85) Just as two females can't enjoy together, so it is not the entity's actual position to try to permanently enjoy with another living entity. The entity is female—prakriti—and meant for Krishna's enjoyment. When we come to that point, we experience real pleasure.
86) Ask a tramp sleeping in the gutter if he is happy, and he will assure you that he is, although to a gentleman his condition of life is appalling. In the same way each living entity's condition of life appears degraded to-another who is more highly placed. In Kali Yuga, for example; the demigods on the higher planets see the earth's inhabitants as living in a pitiable state although we consider ourselves very advanced. And all poor souls throughout the three worlds enmeshed in the false hope of achieving permanent sense gratification appear pitiable to pure devotees.
87) As the Bhagavat says, "The swine who eat the soil do not care for sweetmeats made of butter and ghee."
88) From the highest planet in the universe down to the lowest, the living entity revolves through 8,400,000 species of life like a foolish child on a Ferris Wheel. From Lord Indra, the great king of the gods, down to the tiny indragopa germ, all are conditioned living entities.
(89) Shrila Prabhupada often quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury who said, "You want the Kingdom of God without God." In India they put it this way, "You desire Rama-rajya without Rama...the kingdom of Rama without King Rama."
90) Usually the son of a rich man thinks that the household cleaning lady is also his servant. In actuality, she works for his father who pays her. In exactly the same way, the living entity mistakenly believes that material Nature serves him. Nothing could be farther from the truth because Nature, personified as goddess Maya, is a pure devotee and thus servant of Lord Shri Krishna.
91) The mother's slap upon a child's hand is not intended for his degradation but for his betterment. Similarly, the harsh lessons of Maya arc Krishna's mercy upon the conditioned soul.
92) As one sheep blindly follows another to the slaughterhouse, so people of this world unprotestingly follow their unenlightened leaders to the doom of repeated birth and death.
93) Our senses are compared to poisonous serpents, and enjoying them is the cause of ruination. A snake charmer sometimes takes a dangerous cobra into captivity and, by breaking its teeth, renders the snake harmless. Similarly, although sense indulgence can be the cause of the conditioned soul's degradation, the Vaishnava is not harmed by such reactions. He utilizes the panch-indriyas, the five senses, in the service of Lord Shri Krishna.
94) According to the Bhagavat, man's form of body is meant for self-realization, while woman's form deludes the man. This is exemplified by the male elephant who upon perceiving with his more-than-adequate snout the female's scent, runs wildly about maddened by sex impulse, trampling everything in his path. In the same way the neophyte devotee, unable to relinquish lust, loses control of his senses and may ruin the tender creeper of love for Krishna.
(95) Nirvishesh—listen to the famous example of the chariot. This chariot is controlled by a driver, carries one pas senger and is pulled by a team of five horses who become fright ened and race out of control. Now if the driver is not able to regain mastery over his horses, then there is every chance that
they will carry the chariot over a cliff to certain doom. The assenger within this chariot represents the living entity situated within the chariot of the material body. The driver of the coach symbolizes intelligence. The steering instruments, or reins, represent the mind which is supposed to be controlled by the intelligent will. Of course the five horses represent the five senses. If the senses are not controlled, then they can drag the mind, intelligence and, ultimately, the soul to destruction.
96) The perplexed husband with six wives finds that they compete with each other by pulling him in six directions at once. Similarly, the slave of his senses is pulled by six sinful appetites: (1) lust, (2) anger, (3) greed, (4) inebriation, (5) pride, and (6) malice.
97) Of course, there is some sweetness in material sense pleasure, but it is like the sweetness of rice pudding mixed with sand.
98) And how long can we go on enjoying this material body? It is as flickering and unsteady as a drop of water on a lotus leaf, and as temporary as a -flash of lightning which illuminates the sky but for a moment.
99) When a thirsty man drinks fresh water, he mistakes it for pleasure, although it is actually the termination of pain. Such are material joys.
100) We come together and part company like pieces of seaweed floating upon the ocean which intertwine and then separate by the force of the waves. How unfortunate is the poor fool who has used his rare and valuable human form of life in chasing temporary relationships. He thinks, "This is my wife, this is my child, this is my boss, this is my friend," although they are not so by any detinition ot reality.
101) A most unfortunate seafarer once fell off a ship into the raging sea. As his plight was unknown to the others aboard ship, he was left there to battle the unrelenting waves a hundred miles from shore. When at last the sea became calm, he thought to himself, "Ah, now at I can enjoy a good swim." Thus he jubilantly bobbed and splashed about until the ocean swallowed him. In exactly the same way the doomed materialist mistakes he is enjoying life each time cruel Nature eases even slightly its vigorous and repeated onslaughts.
102) Not so very long ago in New England it was a common practice to punish criminals by roping them onto a "dunking stool." The humiliated rogue was strapped on and submerged in a pool in the town center. Then just before drowning, he was brought out of the water just long enough to gasp for one life-saving breath of air. What foolish fellow fallen victim to the dunking stool of material life would mistake the temporary gasp of relief he experiences as enjoyment? Almost every one...
103) Shri Krishna, Who delivers His devotees from all evils, is the greatest friend of the conditioned soul drowning in the dangerous ocean of sense gratification. With His magnanimous heart melting out of compassion for His devotees, Lord Krishna comes to their rescue riding upon the back of His eagle carrier Garuda.
104) Shri Krishna instructs Arjuna, "One who withdraws his senses from sense objects as the tortoise draws his limbs within his shell, is truly situated in knowledge." (BG 2.58)
105) Only a fool would imagine that a blazing inferno is extinguishable with gasoline. If the petrol drowns the flames for even a moment, the fire will blaze up again with a thousand times the fury. Similarly, man seeks relief from his desires through sense indulgence, but he only thereby increases his anxiety and dooms himself to roast in the oven of material lust.
106) Man is compared to butter and woman to fire. As fire is never satisfied by any amount of fuel fed its fiery tongues, so it is impossible to satisfy a woman through sense enjoyment. Indeed, no one is ever satisfied except through Krishna consciousness.
107) A poet once observed that redness is a quality of certain lotuses, yet when the bee approaches that lotus for honey
the bee thinks that the flower is blushing out of love for him. Similarly, flirtatiousness is a woman's natural quality, yet the man mistakes it as love for him.
108) When Shrila Prabhupada was a young child, he saw his mother scratch a match and thereby produce fire. When he tried this himself, the entire box ignited and his fingers were burnt. Shrila Prabhupada would laugh as he'd recall how his mother warned him against this "scratch, scratch, scratch."
109) Scratching aggravates rather than satisfies an itch. Similarly, repeated sensual encounters only increase the desire for further sense gratification.
110) As a hanged man struggling to free himself only tightens the knot, so the struggle for added sense enjoyment never liberates us from lusty desires. It simply tightens the knot of false and egoistic attachment to this material body, thereby insuring an eternity of rebirths.
111) A poet once asked, "O Nature! The uncontrollably gyrating epileptic with saliva running from his mouth is pitied by all, but the playboy, whose goal is the same, is envied. How have you thus baffled the minds of men?"
112) The lion mates but once a year and he is respected as the king of beasts. The degraded and filthy rat, despised by all, mates often and indiscriminately with even its own sisters. Just see the virtue in restraint! The lion-like acharyas of every spiritual path have all abandoned sense gratification. World teachers such as Buddha, Jesus, Shankaracharya, Patanjali, and all our Vaishnava gurus have stressed bodily discipline as a prerequisite to spiritual awakening.
113) There is a favorite Buddhist story that goes like this: Once two monks came to a river. As they were about to cross it they noticed that a lady was also trying to cross. One of the monks politely offered to carry her, to which the lady agreed. Hours afterwards, the other monk who had remained silent all the while, addressed his companion, "My dear brother," he said, "excuse me, but are we monks not supposed to touch women?"
The first monk replied, "I simply carried her across the river and set her down on the other side. But you have heen carrying her for many hours." Restraint from objects of pleasure must also include foregoing fond thoughts of sense enjoyment. One should not be merely restrained outside, yet absorbed in lusty thoughts within.
114) An old man's hair may turn gray, his teeth may loosen and fall out, his skin may wrinkle and become slack, strength may leave his limbs and diseases may plague his body. Yet his desires remain ever young.
115) When a man is young, both his desires and his senses are sharp. However, when he grows old his desires remain sharp, but his senses are as dull and useless as a rusty knife.
116) There are two ways of foregoing sense pleasure. Either control the senses in youth, or remain insanely attached and watch old age, disease, and infirmity slowly take away objects of delight one by one. The first is conducive to awakening great happiness, while the second brings unlimited sorrow. The charade of the impotent old bhogi pretending to be a pious brahmachary is pitiable.
117) It is said that the ass is famous for his stupidity, even among the animals. He trudges step by step, mile after mile, trying to reach a carrot that dangles just twelve inches before his long snout. Although he does not himself possess a single thread of cloth, the ass is made to carry immense loads of laundry for the washerman. For his work he is rewarded with only a few handfuls of hay. Of course, hay grows everywhere, yet the donkey holds fast to the notion that his master is the sole source of his grassy salary. At night he approaches his mate for relief trom his hard day's work and in return she rewards him with swift hind kicks to his face. Let not the discriminating man fall prey to the same plight that befalls the donkey renowned as he is for being, well, an ass.
118) Are sick and mad men confined only to hospitals and asylums? Not so—everyone in these three worlds is sick for each of us has contracted the always-fatal disease of owning a material body. The cure of Krishna consciousness is administered to suffering humanity by pure devotees who although apparently embodied are in truth forever above the three modes of Nature.
(119) Once a garbage collector went insane, and, gathering rubbish from all corners of his neighborhood, brought it into his apartment. Soon the other members of his family were forced out due to the foul stench. The garbage collector was soon likewise forced out into the cold, and in a very short time caught pneumonia and died. Similarly, those who fill their bellies with slaughtered corpses of innocent creatures, who live to eat rather than eat to live, who exploit women for illicit sex, and who seek elevation through intoxicants, very soon force the jiva within to leave its house of a material body. -In other words, filling the residence of this body with the garbage of unrestrained illicit delights is suicidal for the resident.
(120) What evil force is it that impels men to babble as meaninglessly as the ocean waves instead of discussing Krishna's glories; that forces them to jump into the fire of sense gratification instead of the refreshing ocean of pure devotion; that causes them to claim proprietorship over possessions which death may at any moment snatch from them, instead of using them in the service of their proprietor Shri Krishna; that causes them to seek pleasure in the temporary rather than in the eternal? That evil force, my friend, is the ghost of maya which haunts every conditioned soul roaming the three worlds in search of flickering happiness.
(121) When a bee takes all the pollen from a flower,
he abandons that flower. When a philanderer loses his money, his prostitute
gives him up. When a government can no longer support the citizens, they leave
that country. When a forest burns, the animals look elsewhere for food.
Similarly, every one is roaming the three worlds seeking permanent sense pleasure,
but by the force of material nature they are allowed nopermanent enjoyment. But
those of knowledge who take shel
ter of Krishna are never seen to leave His lotus feet.