By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Material things mean forgetfulness of Krishna. Otherwise there is nothing material. It is illusion. Illusion means actually there is nothing material. How can it be material? If the Supreme Lord is the Supreme Spirit and everything is coming from Him, so what we call the material energy, is also coming from the Supreme. Inferior energy means where there is possibility of forgetting Krishna.

Actually, that is the fact. People are engaged in so many activities. We can see it very nicely in the Western countries – they are inventing so many modern facilities. But the result is they are forgetting Krishna. That is material. Material means forgetfulness of Krishna. Otherwise, there is nothing except Krishna. Idam hi viśvam bhagavān ivetarah. Nārada Mahārāja said that “This world is Krishna, but it appears as if it is different from Bhagavān.” Actually, a mahā-bhāgavata has no material conception, because he sees Krishna everywhere. Sthāvara-jangama dekhe nā dekhe tāra mürti [Cc. Madhya 8.274]. He’s seeing one tree, but he is not seeing the tree – he is seeing it as the energy of Krishna. As soon as he sees the energy of Krishna, he sees Krishna. Therefore instead of seeing the tree, he sees Krishna. As soon as he sees anything that we call material, he sees it as the conversion of the energy. Parināma-vāda.

Parasya brahmanah śaktih tathedam akhilam jagat. As soon as you see the sunshine, you immediately see the sun. Is it not? In the morning, as soon as you see the sunshine from the window, you immediately remember the sun and you are confident that the sun is there. Without the sun, how can there be sunshine? Similarly, whatever we see, we should immediately see Krishna with reference to that particular thing because that particular thing is the manifestation of the energy of Krishna. So one who has understood Krishna along with His energies, he sees the energy, because energy is not different from the energetic. He sees immediately Krishna. Therefore, he does not see anything except Krishna. So therefore,  there is no material world for him. To a perfect devotee, there is no material world. Everything is spiritual. Sarvam khalv idam brahma: He sees everything as Brahman.

Cupid is one of the agents of this material, illusory energy, but if we are perfectly in Krishna consciousness, Cupid cannot pierce with his arrows. That is not possible. Just like Haridāsa Thākura, who was young man, and a young nicely dressed prostitute came to him and proposed her desire. Haridāsa Thākura said, “Yes, please sit down. I shall fulfill your desire. Let me finish my chanting.” Just see. At dead of night, a young man, Haridāsa Thākura; in front, there is a beautiful young girl; there is nobody else; and she’s proposing. But still, he’s steady, chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. So Cupid cannot pierce. This is the example.

There may be thousands of beautiful women before a devotee, but that does not disturb his mind. He sees them as energies of Krishna. “They are gopīs of Krishna. They are enjoyable by Krishna. I have to serve them because I am servant of the servant.” gopī-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsah [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. So a devotee should try to engage all beautiful women in the service of Krishna. That is his duty. Not to enjoy them. That is sense gratification. This is the position of a devotee. He’s not pierced by the arrows of Cupid, but he sees everything in relationship with Krishna (nirbandhe krishna-sambandhe yuktam-vairāgyam ucyate). That is vairāgyam (renunciation). He does not accept anything for his sense gratification, but he engages everyone in the service of Krishna. Then we can get out of the influence of the arrow of Cupid.

[An excerpt from a lecture on The Nectar of Devotion delivered in Vrindavana on November 11, 1972]

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