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The Monkey Trap
122) As the worm enjoys swimming in stool, so the gross materialist delights in this body which is composed of feces, urine, pus, semen, saliva, muscle tissue, bones and cartilage, all neatly compartmented beneath a tight covering of skin, nails, mustache, and other patches of hair, and all combining to produce evil smells.
123) In remote Indian villages, people pass stool in the fields during the early morning hours. By the time the scorching sun has reached its zenith, the feces is dried on the outside. What can be said of the man of poor discrimination who appreciates the dried stool, while despising the moist? Yet the fruitive worker makes similar meaningless distinctions such as "this girl is pretty, this girl is ugly." Such fools are called "normal" by other men who possess like powers of discrimination.
124) Shrila Prabhupada's own spiritual master told his disciples the allegory of the anchored boat. Once a family boarded a boat to attend a wedding party down the river. The boatman had agreed to row the great distance during the night while everyone slept. Upon waking the following morning, the pas-sengers were surprised to find that the boat had not budged even an inch. The bewildered and exhausted boatmen were perplexed; they had been rowing all night. A quick investigation revealed that the boat's anchor had not been pulled in. Similarly, those who are anchored to sense gratification cannot make even slight progress on the spiritual path no matter how hard they try.
125) As the waves of a river wear down the riverbank, so daily each man becomes diminished due to his desire to enjoy.
126) When people watch a movie, they go through a thousand emotional changes, although they are merely observing the flickerings of light flashing upon a screen. In the same way people in this world celebrate birth and mourn death, although the soul never really undergoes such changes of maya.
127) The blind fruitive worker never likes to accept that someday he will meet death. Rather he puts all his faith in the present moment. He is just like a man who tries to capture one frame only out of a mile long roll of film. As every movie must eventually end, so every fruitive worker faces in due time the frustrating end of his fruitless existence.
128) What is the difference between the harmi who is controlled by his tongue, and the foolish rooster who crows, "Cock-a-doodle-doo, Mr. Farmer, come chop off my head!"
129) The hot autumnal sun quickly dries up the ponds that have formed during the rains. As these ponds decrease in size, so the fish, frogs, and minnows diminish in number. The few remaining cannot comprehend where their brothers have gone. Similarly, the materialist cannot understand that his days are decreasing, though they disappear as quickly as a ripple of water.
130) Prabhupada refers to karmis as "ant philosophers." The ants walk across the sidewalk convinced of the serendipity they'll find on the other side of the pavement. They are oblivious to the crowds of people trampling to and fro about their tiny heads. Similarly, karmis risk ultimate defeat at each step, yet they blindly push on against impossible odds to inescapable doom.
131) Today's sweet and fresh dew-covered rose will be but powdery dust in a while. What future is there in this material body? It vanishes as quickly as a bolt of lightning which completely illuminates the sky but for an instant.
132) As clouds are blown past the full moon, an illusion is created whereby the moon appears to race across the sky. But in truth the moon remains stationary. In just the same way a stagnant materialist may appear to make great forward strides of progress, but he is actually rotting in the deep dark well of bodily attachment.
133) What is the use of making the bed when the house is on fire? What is the use of trying to make our lives comfortable in this world of sense enjoyment when death may come knocking any moment?
134) There is an epitaph on a London tombstone which reads,"Remember me as you walk by,As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now so you shall be So be prepared to follow me!
(135) A weary traveler booked a room at a certain hotel paying the manager ; enough to cover a weeks stay. Each morn-ing for seven days the gentleman had his breakfast in bed and his room cleaned. He became so comfortable that he did not wish to relinquish the room when his seven days were up. Obstinately attached, yet unable to pay more, he locked the door and refused to vacate. Unfortunately the police were called in and the man was forcibly evicted. Similarly, everyone in this material world is granted, even at his very conception, a certain amount of enjoyment and a fixed number of breaths. All this is weighed according to the balance of the individual jiva's past piety and impiety. However, when his stock of meritori-ous works runs out, he is forcibly removed from his dear wife, sons, hearth and home. As he gasps for his last breath, the constables of doom—called yamadutas—forcibly drag him to his next birth.
136) Sin has four basic pillars: (1) gambling, (2) intoxication, (3) illicit sex, and (4) meat-eating. These are compared to four sharp, deadly teeth in the treacherous and merciless jaws of may a.
137) Gambling destroys truthfulness; intoxication destroys austerity; illicit sex destroys cleanliness; and mercy is destroyed by eating meat, fish and eggs. The four virtues which sins destroy are the very supports or "legs" of religion personified, allegorically seen as a bull. In this age of Kali, only one leg of the bull—that of truthfulness—remains and it, too, is becoming steadily weakened by the beatings of sin personified, the wicked Kali.
138) What is the use of eating the flesh of animals which is simply a transformation of their blood? The gentle cow is giving its blood in a purified form meant for human consumption, that is, in the form of milk. Further, by drinking this miracle food all principles of religion are steadily imbibed. Consider the farmer who had a hen that laid a golden egg. Upon becoming curious as to the hen's mystery, he cut the hen open. Then he realized that his source of gold was forever lost.
139) The meat-eating dog barks angrily upon seeing a stranger, but the gentle cow simply longs for green pasture. Confused as we are, we exalt the dog as "man's best friend," and butcher the cow.
140) When Lord Krishna was present upon this planet there was no irreligion. ihus Narada Muni once addressed Krishna jokingly, "My dear Lord of the cowherd boys, your bulls, while eating grass from the pasturing ground and moving on their four legs, have certainly eaten up all the grass of irreligion."
141) The Bhagavatam's second canto tells us that the beautiful smile of the Universal Form of the Lord is the Lord's illusory energy. The art of love and affection is His pearl-like teeth. But the Viswarupa form of the Lord is also a destroyer, for death is to be found in the bones of his jaws.
142) Sense gratification and service to God go ill together for one cannot light a fire while pouring water upon it.
143) To make a monkey trap, simply drill a hollow coconut shell with a hole just barely large enough to fit a monkeys hand. Secure the shell to a stationary post by means of a rope and put some rice into the shell. Now the foolish monkey upon finding the rice in the shell, will reach his tiny hand in to grab what he supposes to be his next meal. Now the poor creature finds that his fist clenching the rice is too large to pass out through the hole. Refusing to part with his treasure, the monkey remains stuck until the clever fellow who placed the trap there comes along to take the monkey into captivity. Similarly the conditioned soul remains so firmly attached to his senses, that when death's hand comes to claim him he is unwilling to relinquish his attachment to the objects of pleasure. It is our own attachment to illusory enjoyment that binds us to the cycle of death and rebirth in this material world. If we were able to relinquish our grip on these things and return to the freedom of Krishna consciousness, then we would never need fear cap-tivation in the modes of Nature. Notice, too, that the monkey never got to enjoy the rice though it was the cause of capture. Similarly those objects of sense pleasure that enchant the materialist are never actually enjoyed by him though they keep him chained to samsara.
144) As monkeys swing from tree to tree in search of sex, so the conditioned soul goes from body to body in the cycle of reincarnation looking for sense gratification.
145) Shrila Prabhupada once told the story of a foolish fellow he saw carrying a log worth practically nothing many hundreds of miles on a train. In just the same way, he said, people carry with them their burdensome material desires life after life. Thus the spirit soul, though originally free, is forced to drag around with him a cumbersome body of worthless ingredients.
(146) In water the crocodile can defeat the mighty elephant; yet he is practically defenseless on the shore. Similarly, the jiva has full potency in the spiritual sky, but he is helpless and weak in this material world.
147) There once was a certain eccentric old lady who owned a pet bird which she kept in a cage. Dim-witted in the senility her advanced age imposed upon her, she became more attached to the cage than to the bird. Each day she would thoroughly clean and polish it while her protesting pet parrot perished. Exactly like this feeble-minded lady is the gross sensualist whose sole love is the mortal cage of this body. While neglecting his spiritual needs, he religiously bathes, powders, and grooms this shriveling bag daily. Suffering from an acute paucity of spiritual knowledge, he callously courts his own eternal doom.
148) A hand severed from the body may appear like a hand, but because it is not able to function as a hand, it cannot be called a hand in the true sense of the word. Similarly, the soul estranged from his constitutional position of service to God may appear to be functioning, but because his activities are in disharmony with the will of God, all his works are of no significance.
(159) An old Indian saying has it that whether one steals a khira (cucumber) or a hira (diamond), he is still a thief and must be punished. In a like fashion, those who misuse the Lord's energies are actually thieves of God's property and punishment awaits them at the stern hands of the god of death, Lord Yamaraj
(150) Chanakya Pandit says, "O fox, leave off the body of that mean man at once, whose hands have not given any alms, whose ears have not heard the voice of learning, whose eyes have not beholden a devotee, whose feet have never gone to sacred places, whose belly is filled with things obtained by violence, and whose head is upset by vanity. Do not eat it, otherwise you will become polluted."
(151) What need is there for taking intoxicants? The chanting of the Lord's holy name is enough to drive a devotee mad with bliss. Why should we gorge ourselves on untouchable objects? The Lord is inviting us to feast sumptuously on His spiritual prasada and thereby become relieved of all reactions to our past sins. What daring can it be said is possessed by the gambler who squanders a few coins? The devotee gambles his whole life on Krishna. The only difference is that the former generally loses while the latter, if he gambles everything, always Wins completely. What need is there in living for sensual pleasures? Krishna allow us to obtain transcendental bliss through serving Him with all bodily activities. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, "My mind, my body, my household affairs, all these I tender at your feet, O Son of Nanda Maharaj!" (152) A debauchee may be cured of venereal disease through a doctor's treatment, but because his addiction to illicit sex is not cured, he can again fall victim to the disease. Similarly, the moralist's approach to solving the problems of social degradation is insufficient. Whereas the mundaner merely gives instruction that sin is not nice, the spiritual master, a kind of "transcendental doctor," replaces his disciple's baser urges with a higher taste for activity in Krishna consciousness. The patient is cured through this "back to Godhead treatment" simply by dovetailing his energy in the service of the Supreme Lord.
(153) Once a young boy offered his sick brother some biscuits. But just before they could be eaten, his mother snatched them away and scolded them both. She said, "He is suffering from cholera. If he had eaten these he would have died." Similarly, social workers mistake that mere bodily help is the real need of the masses. But there can be no permanent help in merely feeding the body for it grows hungry once again and, anyway, death is inevitable. As the mother understood the boy's
real needs, so the pure devotee prescribes devotional service unto God as the panacea for our deeply-rooted spiritual ills.
154) When a doctor diagnoses an illness, he prescribes a medicine which must be taken according to his directions. Swallowing the entire bottle in a single dose will not cure the disease. Similarly, we must take the medicine of devotional service according to the prescription of the spiritual master. Whimsical service to Krishna is not service.
155) From verses 37 and 38 of the Gita's 18th chapter we can understand that those things which taste sweet in the beginning—objects of sense enjoyment—are certain to taste like poison in the end. And that which may taste like poison at first—devotional service—soon becomes like nectar. Consider that sugar candy, which is the cure for jaundice, tastes bitter to one afflicted with the disease. But sugar candy is also the remedy and through eating it, the sufferer is cured. On the other hand, everyone knows the old story of the boy who overate sweets at the circus and became sick.
156) A mother once found her little son playing with broken glass. Knowing that to brusquely snatch it away from the lad would scare him, she quickly substituted it with a rubber ball. Similarly, the spiritual master feels compassion for the fallen conditioned souls playing with the broken glass of may a, but he knows that to merely impose restrictive principles would be a hardship. Hence he mercifully engages his disciples in Krishna consciousness for this at once defeats the lower urges of the senses.
157) In ancient times the lowest class, the chandalas, kept the bone of an animal hanging over their well as a warning to those of the higher castes to avoid drinking from that contaminated place. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord sees the unfavorable signs of death everywhere throughout the material world, and he consequently avoids sampling the deadly fruits of sense enjoyment.
158) Devotional service is said to be just like a razor's edge. A devotee must be very expert in walking the straight and narrow, but if he should deviate either left or right then there will be cuts and bloodshed.
159) As a huge knot of thread is impossible to untangle, so neither by fruitive work nor by mental speculation can the conditioned soul rescue himself from the entanglement of birth and death. He is forced to revolve helplessly in the cycle of 8,400,000 species of life. As a knot must be cut apart, so we must sever ourselves from the knot of false ego that now binds us to this material world.
160) "With sword in hand, intelligent men cut through the labyrinthine knots of reactionary work (karma) by remembering the Lord. Therefore, who will not pay attention to His message?" (SB 1.2.15)
(161) A little salt added to a dish will certainly enhance the taste, but too much salt causes the preparation "to go to hell," as Prabhupada often admonished. Similarly, if a house-holder engaged in bhakti-yoga enjoys a little sense gratification, there is noth-ndulgence in sense enjoyment everything is lost.
162) He who works in a candy factory has no desire for the sweets he manufactures. Similarly, the desire for material sense enjoyment is alien to Lord Krishna; it is the yearning of the conditioned soul only. Shri Krishna's transcendental pleasures are of an entirely spiritual nature.
163) When a coconut is picked from iis iree, the inner pulp slowly begins to dry. As it completely dries out, the pulp separates from the bondage of the shell and outer covering. Similarly, as one begins his devotional service he gradually loses attachment for sense gratification. Then as his service to the Lord increases he becomes completely aloof from his two ma-terial coverings, namely the gross and subtle bodies.
164) Fire is always present in wood, but it is uncovered by rubbing dry sticks together. Similarly, Krishna consciousness eternally resides within the hearts of all living entities. Through devotional service the fire of love of God is uncovered and burns to ashes our lust and material hankerings.
165) The acquisition of material possessions is likened unto a fever; the more one owns, the higher his fever of maya becomes. Shri Krishna, who is known as Hari, or "one who takes away all inauspiciousness," sometimes removes excessive material possessions from a conditioned soul just to favor him. The fever is thereby diminished thus helping the neophyte to relinquish material attachment.
166) A sage once observed, "Material desire is a river which has men's plans for its waters and which is agitated by the waves of greediness. This river has passions for crocodiles, doubts are its fluttering birds, and it is the leveler of the trees of firmness. Being full of eddies in the shape of infatuation, it is very difficult to cross. This river is very deep and anxiety forms its steep banks." This dangerous stream is crossed only by the devotees of Krishna through the boat of the spiritual master's guidance.
167) A prayer to the spiritual master from the pages of Shrimad Bhagavatam goes, "We think that we have met Your Grace by the will of Providence, and thus we accept you as the captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the dangerous ocean of Kali, which destroys all the good qualities of a human being."
168) An astronaut notices that as his rocket takes off from the earth, his planet becomes smaller as he speeds higher and higher. Finally even the dot-like earth beneath him vanishes from his sight. In just the same way, as one engages in devotional service, his desires diminish until they disappear completely.
(169) An electric cord, if uninsulated, shocks anyone who happens to touch it. But that same cord rubber-coated may be easily handled by anyone. In the same way, we may pursue any occupation provided we work in the interest of the Lord. If such work is self-motivated, then there will be painful reactions caused by the invisible modes of nature. But work in Krishna consciousness is above the three modes and never inflicts any reaction. On the contrary, it is itself the very cause of the soul's freedom from bondage.
(170) A soldier once killed hundreds of men on a battle field and was awarded a medal of valor. After the war, he returned home and, in a fit of rage, killed his next door neighbor. For that he was tried and sent to jail for murder. Similarly, one may be called upon to perform any service for the satisfaction of the Lord and thus be glorified. But if he tries to do the same thing for his own pleasure, he will be thoroughly condemned.
(171) As Prahlad had pure faith that Krishna would protect him during all adversities; as Druva rejected a kingdom in favor of devotional service; as the gopis left their husbands to please Krishna; as Arjuna fought his worshipable superiors at the Lords command; as Laksman cut off the ears and nose of a woman when ordered by Rama; as Shankaracharya and Buddha even preached misleading doctrines by Krishna's will; as Jaya and Vijaya became demons so they could fight with the Lord for His pleasure; as Bali rejected his guru for the sake of God; as Abhimanyu laid down his life in Krishna's service, so we may be ready to perform any service if it is truly the will of God, for there will never be a material reaction.
(172) Nirvishesh, there is nothing we can offer to repay our debt to Shrila Prabhupada.. .nothing, that is but our breath. Lhe acharya of the holy name asks for one thing only: always chant
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."