is Hare Krishna?
Events: Kirtan Festival
2004 - Hansadutta das
The Hammer For Smashing
Shankaracharya's famous "Bhaja Govinda"
Upon seeing the full breasts and
waist of a young woman, do not succumb to the spell of illusion. Just
in your mind again and again that these are simply a transformation of
flesh, fat, etc.
Material existence is based on illusion. In Bhagavad-gita
(7.27), Krishna says, "Every living entity is born into
delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate."
For anyone who has taken birth in this material
atmosphere, it is taken for granted that he is in illusion; otherwise,
he would not have been born in this world. Just as it is taken for
granted that anyone who is admitted to hospital must be diseased;
otherwise, he would not
have been admitted. Similarly, it is taken for granted that anyone who
is put into prison must be a criminal; otherwise, he would not have
been put there.
Although we are born in ignorance, it is the purpose
and aim of the human form of life to get out of this ignorance. The
platform of material existence is based on the mistaken idea that the
entity is a product of matter. Therefore even in the higher classes of
men we find the material conception to be very prominent.
The material conception of life is based upon the
misidentification of the living entity with this temporary material
body. Everyone thinks of himself in terms of his body. Thus nationalism
has become very prominent, along with communism, socialism, capitalism,
Hinduism, Christianism and so on. There are so many "isms," and all of
them are based on the basic
premise that "I am this body, I am American," or "I am German," "I am
"I am white," "I am a communist" or "I am a capitalist." This is called
maya or ahankara. Ahankara means false ego.
Ego is the feeling of identity or the feeling of self, whereas false
( ahankara ) is not true ego. I am not this body. I am not
I am not white. I am not woman. I am not man. I am neither communist
capitalist. I am not this body. This is the most basic and rudimentary
understanding for a spiritualist.
This Hammer for Smashing Illusion is
very graphic, inasmuch as it illustrates the naked truth for the
conditioned soul. Here Shripada Shankaracharya instructs us in the
Upon seeing the full breasts and slim waist of
a young woman, do not succumb to the spell of illusion. Just consider
in your mind again and again that these are simply a transformation of
flesh, blood, fat, muscle, etc.
Everyone is naturally attracted to the beautiful form of a young woman
with shapely breasts and hips, beautiful face and eyes, white teeth and
shining hair. These are the most attractive features of this material
creation. However, Shankaracharya points out, "This beauty is nothing
a transformation of flesh, blood, fat, mucous, bile, bone, skin and
All the beauty that a woman can exhibit is nothing but skin, bones,
flesh and muscle. Similarly, Lord Buddha has instructed:
This body is a bag of skin with nine
holes--two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, anus and genitals--from
which stool, urine and pus are oozing out. How can I love such a thing?
Although the whole world is moving under the impulse of
sex attraction, we find that all the acharyas (spiritual
masters), all the Puranas, the Upanishads,
the Vedanta-sutras and the Vedas warn us
not to become attracted to maya. Maya means "that which is
They warn us, "Do not be attracted to illusion, which is represented in
the shape of woman in this material world." In the Bhagavat-Purana,
Shukadeva Goswami has given instructions on the same thing in another
Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two
hands to relieve an itch. The grihamedhis, so-called grihasthas,
or householders who have no spiritual knowledge, think that this
itching is the greatest platform of happiness, although actually it is
a source of distress. The kripanas, or the fools, who are just
the opposite of the brahmanas, or the learned men, are not
satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who are sober and who
can tolerate this itching are not subjected to the suffering of fools
and rascals. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.45)
Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Materialistic men think that sexual
indulgence is the greatest happiness in this material world, and
they make elaborate plans to satisfy their senses, especially the
This is generally found everywhere, especially in the western world
there are regular arrangements to satisfy sex life in different ways.
Actually, however, this has not made anyone happy. Even the hippies,
who have given up all the materialistic comforts of life, cannot give
up the sensational happiness of sex life. Such persons are described
here as kripanas, misers. The human form of life is a great
asset, for in this human form of life one can fulfill the goal of
existence. Unfortunately, however, because of lack of education and
culture, people are victimized by the false happiness of sex life.
Rather, one should be sober and avoid sense gratification and be
Krishna conscious. The lusty person, who is compared to a foolish
miser, never gets happiness by sense gratification. the influence of
material nature is very difficult to surpass, but as stated by Krishna
in Bhagavad-gita (7.14):
"If one voluntarily submits to the lotus feet of Krishna, he can be
saved very easily."
mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam
In reference to the low-grade happiness of sex life,
Yamunacharya says this:
yadavadhi mama cetah krsna-padaravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhamanudyata rantum asit
tadavadhi bata nari-sangame smaryamane
bhavati mukha-vikarah sustu nisthivanam ca
"Ever since I have been in the transcendental
loving service of Krishna, realizing ever new pleasure in Him, whenever
I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought and my lips curl with
Yamunacharya was formerly a great king who had enjoyed
sexual happiness in various ways, but when he later engaged himself in
the service of the Lord, he enjoyed spiritual bliss and hated to think
of sex life. When sexual thoughts came to him, he would spit with
In other scriptures, we will find again and again the
warning not to become victim of sex attraction. Sometimes people ask us
why we are so adamant and strict about our restrictions on sexual
behavior. The answer is because sex attraction is the greatest
stumbling block for making progress in spiritual advancement. Why?
Because sex attraction and sex pleasure, which are the most prominent
features of material life, are based on the bodily concept.
The body is a temporary manifestation of maya.
It is a combination of material ingredients or elements--earth, water,
fire, air, atoms and enzymes or
chemicals. Although the body is real, it is temporary. Because of its
nature, it has no capacity to give us any satisfaction. The soul is
by nature, but in the conditional existence, the soul mistakenly
itself with the temporary material body. In that mistaken concept of
we try to be happy by bodily sensation.
The topmost sensation is sex pleasure. There is
certainly a feeling of pleasure in sex, but it is compared to
a drop of water in the desert. When a man is in the desert, he requires
water to satisfy his thirst--but in the desert there is no water.
there is a mirage, which appears to be water, but is actually illusion.
The thirsty man chases after the mirage, hoping to satisfy his thirst,
but he dies of thirst in that way. So the drop of water which we taste
sex pleasure in the desert of this material existence cannot give us
kind of satisfaction, because what we actually need is gallons of
There is pleasure--but the pleasure is not here, just as there is
not in the desert.
Real pleasure is on the spiritual platform in relation
to Krishna. What we experience as sex attraction in this mundane world
is but a temporary reflection of the original principle, which exists
in the Absolute, in the Divine Couple of Radha and Krishna.
Radha and Krishna are the original and divine conjugal
lovers. Krishna is not alone; He has His counterpart, and She is known
as Radharani. When Krishna wants to enjoy, He enjoys with Radharani,
who is an expansion of Krishna. So God is enjoying Himself through His
own expansion, Radharani.
Each and every one of the living entities is also an
expansion of God, though minute. As eternal, minute expansions of the
Supreme Spiritual Whole, we are everlastingly subordinate to Krishna.
We can be happy only when we agree to co-operate with Krishna in an
eternal relationship of love.
Our material existence is an attempt to imitate the
activity and position of God. Everyone is trying to establish himself
as the enjoyer, controller and proprietor of everything. That is called
maya (illusion). But in fact, we are only an object
of Krishna's enjoyment. When we agree to allow ourselves to be enjoyed
by Krishna, we also enjoy automatically.
But as long as we try to enjoy independently, we create
our own suffering. It is not possible to enjoy independently, any more
than it is possible for the hand to enjoy food without first offering
it to the stomach. The hand is just a servant; through the stomach the
hand gets strength and satisfaction.
The principle of male and female attraction, which is
found in every species of life, exists because it is originally there
in the Absolute. After all, why are there only two sexes--why not
three, four, six, five, ten, one, or none? Why is it that there are two
sexes in every species of life? Where does this most basic principle
from? We find the answer in Vedic literature. It exists in the material
sphere because it is there in the Absolute.
God is not neuter. God is not impersonal, void or alone.
God is always associating with His eternal consort, or
His eternal lover, Radharani. That absolute principle is imitated in
relative world of the material creation. In the material world it is
temporary and always full of misery.
Therefore we find that in every religious community
there is a tendency to restrict the connection of man and woman. Sex
attraction is the basic platform of material entanglement, but a
concession is made to allow man and woman to associate under the sacred
vow of marriage. A man is allowed to take one woman--not a dozen, two
dozen or three dozen without any restriction. Man is attracted to
woman is attracted to man, and the result of such attraction is
Children mean that you need a house, you need money, you need friends,
you need relatives, and you need countrymen. The whole material
is generated out of this male-female attraction.
If we want to get out of the material existence, then we
shall have to learn how to dissolve the attraction for sex enjoyment.
That is possible when we become attracted to the original Radha and
Krishna relationship on the spiritual plane. That is the original sex
principle. But in illusion, we are attempting to imitate Radha and
Krishna. God is always enjoying, and therefore material activities are
imitation of His enjoyment. We are supposed to serve God; in that
we enjoy, but in the imitation we simply suffer.
It is not possible to make spiritual advancement and
simultaneously enjoy material life. They never go together. Instead of
trying to imitate Krishna, we should try to serve Krishna. At the
present moment, there is no knowledge of this basic truth, and in
ignorance, everyone is trying to be happy on this artificial platform
of sex enjoyment.
Sex is a very gross affair which is attractive only as
long as the body is youthful. In English literature we
have the story of Romeo and Juliet, which appears to be a very lofty
and noble affair; but on the other hand, if Romeo and Juliet had lived
to be eighty,
how would that story have ended? The love of the man and woman in the
world is quite obnoxious when it is studied in its real perspective.
would have become old, toothless, wrinkled and impotent, and Juliet
have become bent over, with gray hair and sagging breasts. The whole
would not be romantic at all, but actually quite repulsive because this
love is based on illusion, whereas spiritual love is actually based on
The truth is that we are not this lump of matter, which
is only a combination of earth, water, fire, air, ether and so on, or
blood, flesh, bones, skin, hair, mucus and bile. We are the living
force within this body--we are never born and never die. The body is a
dress only, worn for some time by the eternal soul, and when it is worn
out, the soul gives up the old and useless body and gets a new body.
But because there is no information about the nature and character of
the eternal soul, we are trying to be happy with the temporary material
body, which is a dress only. Although it is a kind of unpalatable
truth, it is true that the body is temporary and the soul is eternal.
The Vedic wisdom is very uncompromising about this matter. It is not a
matter of believing something. It is common sense.
No one loves a dead body, however beautiful it may be.
The body is beautiful only when life is present. When life
leaves the body, no one will find any attraction in that dead body.
is the proof of this Vedic conclusion, of which we have experience even
in ordinary affairs.
Shankaracharya warns us, "Don't be attracted to the two
lumps of flesh, fat, and blood known as the breasts of a young woman.
These are the products of illusion." In the Srimad-Bhagavatam
it is said, "Woman is the wonderful creation of maya to keep a
man entangled in this world." If you want to advance in spiritual life,
you will have to become callous to the attraction of womanly beauty. It
is difficult, but it is possible, and it is necessary if we want to be
situated in spiritual life. A woman-hunter cannot be a spiritualist. We
don't find that Buddha, Chaitanya or Christ had an allowance in their
lives for sex enjoyment. In the material world, woman is the
for greatness; but in the spiritual world, the renunciation of woman is
the inspiration for greatness. Thus, material life and spiritual life
opposite. If you want to be great materially, you must be inspired by
woman. "Behind every great man there is a woman." In the spiritual
we find the renunciation of woman makes one great.
This movement is the only movement which preaches very
strongly on this point, and therefore this movement is not popular. If
we were to preach the opposite--that sex is natural and we should enjoy
it to the maximum--we should have so many followers. We are
preaching without any consideration of social convention or fashion. We
have to be satisfied with the naked truth rather than with artificial
and fashion. This is not meant to be discrimination against women, but
is an unpalatable fact that the attraction between man and woman is the
basic platform of material illusion, because it is based on something
false: it is based on this body. There may be some beauty for a few
but that is not permanent. That is just a shadow of the real beauty
We must focus our attention on the eternal beauty of
Radha and Krishna and not on the temporary beauty of matter in the
shape of earth, water, fire, or flesh and bones. Do not take this to be
fanaticism; it is practical. If you think on it seriously and soberly,
you will come to the same understanding--that this body is, in and of
itself, abominable. Temporarily, as long as the soul is connected with
it appears very nice; but when the soul goes, the body loses its
attraction. Nobody keeps a dead body, however beautiful it might have
the beauty is not in the body. It is in the soul which has vacated the
Vedic literature advises us, "Try to understand this atma-tattva
(knowledge of the soul, knowledge of the self). Athato
brahma-jijñasa: "In human life we should try to
understand the Absolute Truth." Raja-vidya raja-guhyam pavitram
idam uttamam(Bhagavad-gita 9.2 ): This is the king
of science and the king of education--the science of the soul. The
doctors and technologists are studying this material world, composed of
earth, water, fire, etc.,
but this world devoid of life and devoid of consciousness has no value.
The beauty of this world is in the life which we find behind it. Behind
this body there is life. Behind the atom there is life. The Supreme
is God, Krishna, and we are small, minute life. The purpose of human
is to understand all these things and go back to the eternal life of
knowledge and bliss, rather than remain in a temporary life, struggling
to eat, sleep, defend and have sex.
This Krishna Consciousness movement has been organized
for that purpose and for nothing else. We do not expect that we shall
have hundreds and millions of followers, but some intelligent men and
women will understand this basic truth and accept a life of penance,
renunciation and austerity and try to get out of ignorance and come to
knowledge. That is the idea. Hare Krishna.
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