Reverence for the Mundane World is Aversion to Sri Hari
(Translated into English for the first time)
A letter written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
sri sri krsna caitanya candrau vijayatetamam
Today I received your kind letter, dated 24th February. I arrived here last week. By the mercy of Sri Krsna, I am feeling unaffected by the dejection of this world, which is averse to Him.
It is inappropriate to associate with anyone other than Sri Krsna or His bhaktas. That association alone is full of auspiciousness, purpose and eternality. Detrimental association (duhsanga), or in other words, association with anyone or anything that is not in a transcendental relationship with Sri Krsna is truly inauspicious for us. For this reason, you should not value anything that is neither Krsna nor krsna-bhakti.
Your dreams are baseless, a mere depiction of one’s own thoughts in relation to sense-enjoyment and the result of past bad association. Therefore, eliminate such ideas and impressions from your heart.
divyam jnanam yato
dadyat kuryat papasya sanksayam
That spiritual undertaking which awakens divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge) and destroys all sinful reactions at the root is called diksa by authorities learned in the Absolute Truth.
How can one who is unable to vanquish your conception as the enjoyer of this visible material world be able to liberate your mind? Someone who discusses spiritual matters or practises spiritual life with those who are entrapped by the snake-like noose of worldly enjoyment will become infected with desire to enjoy sense objects. Therefore, my humble advice to anyone who aspires for his own auspiciousness is that he must always remember the following sloka, which was uttered by Mahaprabhu Himself:
Sri Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka (8.23)
Alas! For someone who is seriously engaged in cultivating devotional service (bhagavad-bhajana) so that he may cross the ocean of nescience, who has completely abandoned all material activities, it is considered more abominable to expectantly see a visayi (sense enjoyer) or to savour gazing at a woman, than to willingly drink poison.
To discuss spiritual topics with friends who are worshippers of Goddess Durga (the shadow of the pure spiritual potency) does nothing but validate bad association (duhsanga). The one and only result one attains from this bad association is aversion to Krsna, even within one’s dreams. You still hold this mundane world in high esteem and reverentially consider it more important than Krsna. This reverence for the mundane world is alone our aversion to Sri Hari. You should abandon such a mentality and honour the words of saintly persons. Only then can the desire to enjoy the objects of the senses, which is implanted deeply in the heart, be uprooted. Mundane thoughts and the false notion of being an enjoyer will continue to trouble you as long as you remain eager to acquire that which is not Sri Krsna, considering yourself to be a beggar for the mundane objects of thi s world – just like the fruitive worker, who wants to enjoy the results of his action.
If a person is able to chant the names of Sri Hari without offences, it should be understood that certainly, in his previous birth, he ceased engaging in pursuits that are fully aimed at enjoying the fruits of his karma, and so forth. One becomes inclined to chant the holy names of Sri Hari as a result of diksa only. You are a servant of Sri Hari (hari-dasa), free from the bindings of karma. Why, then, are you again inclined to external pursuits, such as the performance of fruitive action? While trying to mitigate the effects of karma at their root, you have again developed an inclination to enjoy the fruits of your action. Have you not chanted the holy name of Sri Hari, even once?
As long as the jiva is foolish and considers himself crippled by material lacking, an inclination to perform action (karma) arises in him. Thus in order to become wealthy, he again invokes the propensity to perform actions based on sense enjoyment. Those servants of Sri Hari who are liberated from these worldly conceptions engage themselves solely in chanting the holy names of Sri Hari. Since the materially conditioned jivas cannot comprehend their own position as eternal servants of Sri Hari, they become elevationists*, and thus invoke heresy.
*Srila Prabhupada used this word in English in his original letter to indicate those who are dedicated to attaining worldly promotion.
Why is a person like you, devoted to chanting the holy name as you are, busying himself with such activities? You should always keep in mind that one cannot attain Krsna while in bad association (duhsanga). Only when one discards detrimental association and keeps association with devotees (sadhu-sanga) can one achieve the lotus feet of the Sri Hari. To speak anything further in this regard would be superfluous.
Your conjecture as to who has written all of the articles in Sri Sajjana Tosani, except the one entitled “Duhsanga”, is correct. From the beginning, his written language has been unrelenting and firm. You can present his writing in milder and sweeter language for the benefit of society at large, and in this way make up for this apparent deficit. However, by anusilana (perpetual endeavour), or by reading these articles again and again, you also will awaken your eternal, constitutional tendency. At that time you will be able to see that this seemingly harsh language is actually soft.
Why do you see the visible worldly objects of sense gratification as a non-devotee sees them? You should try to perceive these material sense objects in relation to Sri Krsna, and in this way, they will not be able to cause you any harm. Moreover, it is incorrect to consider that a devotee derives worldly happiness or distress from mundane sense objects. Under the influence of the material conception of life, wherein one perceives the objects related to Sri Hari as objects of one’s own sense enjoyment, attachment to such sense objects intensifies, eventually terminating in mere material happiness.
Not a scent of krsna-prema exists in material happiness. The pastimes of Sri Krsna are not material. Rather, they are matters of the spiritual world (vaikuntha-vastu) and thus are not subservient to your mundane consideration. Always spend your time in sadhu-sanga and grounded in intelligence that is devoted to the service of sadhus.
In this material word, if the false egos of being an observer, a judge, an enjoyer, a knowledgeable person and so on, prevail, then even endeavours that are centred around Sri Hari appear to be material, or just like any mundane activity. Following in the footsteps of Vaisnavas, try to perceive this visible, material world as saturated with the transcendental nature of Sri Hari (hari-bhava-maya), or in other words, as engaged in the service of Sri Hari (hari-sevonmukha). You should understand that your body, words and mind are always to be engaged in the service of Sri Hari. It is imperative to perform all one’s endeavours solely for the sake of Sri Krsna.
Vrajendra-nandana, who is advaya-jnana (the single, non-dual truth), and His servitors are not mundane entities of this world. They are not subordinate to your material sense perception. When one develops the proclivity to serve, then, through one’s internal, spiritual senses, which are imbued with one’s identity as a servitor, Sri Krsna and His devotees are perceived as the only true objects of service.
I hope you are well.