Modes of Material Nature

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.13.05-06 - Modes of Material Nature (download mp3)
by Satyananda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.13.5
tat tat sattvikam evaisam
 yad yad vrddhah pracaksate
nindanti tamasam tat tad
 rajasam tad-upeksitam

Among the ten items I have just mentioned, the great sages who understand Vedic knowledge have praised and recommended those that are in the mode of goodness, criticized and rejected those in the mode of ignorance, and shown indifference to those in the mode of passion.

SB 11.13.6
sattvikany eva seveta
 puman sattva-vivrddhaye
tato dharmas tato j├▒anam
 yavat smrtir apohanam

Until one revives one’s direct knowledge of the spirit soul and drives away the illusory identification with the material body and mind caused by the three modes of nature, one must cultivate those things in the mode of goodness. By increasing the mode of goodness, one automatically can understand and practice religious principles, and by such practice transcendental knowledge is awakened.

One who desires to cultivate the mode of goodness must consider the following points. One should study religious scriptures that teach detachment from mental speculation and material sense gratification, not scriptures that provide rituals and mantras to increase material ignorance. Such materialistic scriptures do not give attention to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus are basically atheistic. One should accept pure water for quenching thirst and cleaning the body. There is no need for a devotee to use colognes, perfume, whiskey, beer, etc., which are all polluted manifestations of water. One should associate with persons who are cultivating detachment from the material world and not with those who are materially attached or sinful in their behavior. One should live in a solitary place where devotional service is practiced and discussed among Vaisnavas. One should not be spontaneously attracted to busy highways, shopping centers, sports stadiums, and so on. Concerning time, one should rise by four o’clock in the morning and utilize the auspicious brahma-muhurta to advance in Krsna consciousness. Similarly, one should avoid the sinful influence of hours such as midnight, when ghosts and demons are encouraged to become active. Concerning work, one should execute one’s prescribed duties, follow the regulative principles of spiritual life and utilize all of one’s energy for pious purposes. Time should not be wasted in frivolous or materialistic activities, of which there are now literally millions in modern society. One can cultivate birth in the mode of goodness by accepting the second birth of initiation from a bona fide spiritual master and learning to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. One should not accept initiation or so-called spiritual birth in unauthorized mystical or religious cults in the modes of passion and ignorance. One should meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the enjoyer of all sacrifices, and similarly, one should meditate on the lives of great devotees and saintly persons. One should not meditate on lusty women and envious men. Concerning mantras, one should follow the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra and not other songs, verses, poetry or mantras that glorify the kingdom of illusion. Purificatory rituals should be performed to purify the spirit soul and not to bring down material blessings on one’s material household.

One who increases the mode of goodness will certainly become fixed in religious principles, and automatically knowledge will arise. As knowledge increases one is able to understand the eternal spirit soul and the Supreme Soul, Lord Krsna. Thus the soul becomes free from the artificial imposition of the gross and subtle material bodies caused by the modes of material nature. Spiritual knowledge burns to ashes the material designations that cover the living entity, and one’s real, eternal life begins.

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