Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.17 - Stop Judging Start Understanding (download mp3)
by Sridama Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
patitanam na patakam
autpattiko gunah sango
na sayanah pataty adhah
The same activities that would degrade an elevated person do not cause falldown for those who are already fallen. Indeed, one who is lying on the ground cannot possibly fall further. The material association that is dictated by one’s own nature is considered a good quality.
The Lord here further describes the ambiguity in ascertaining material piety and sin. Although intimate association with women is most abominable for a renounced sannyasi, the same association is pious for a householder, who is ordered by Vedic injunction to approach his wife at the suitable time for procreation. Similarly, a brahmana who drinks liquor is considered to be committing a most abominable act, whereas a sudra, a low-class man, who can moderate his drinking is considered to be self-controlled. Piety and sin on the material level are thus relative considerations. Any member of society, however, who receives diksa, initiation into the chanting of the Lord’s holy names, must strictly obey the four regulative principles: no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no illicit sex, no intoxication and no gambling. A spiritually initiated person neglecting these principles will certainly fall from his elevated position of liberation.