(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples)
Devotee: "The Vedas are compared to the desire tree because they contain all things knowable by man. They deal with mundane necessities as well as spiritual realization."
Prabhupāda: Yes. In the Vedas you will find both the knowledge. Because the living entity, anyone who has come to this material world, the cause is that he wanted to enjoy, imitating Kṛṣṇa. Just like it is practical experience. If we are associated with some big man and he is very opulent, naturally a desires come: "If I could become an important man like him." So that is possible. So as soon as a living entity thinks like that, that he can also enjoy like Kṛṣṇa, then he falls down and he's given the chance of lording it over this material nature. But to help him, the Vedic knowledge is there. The Vedic knowledge gives him the chance of enjoying this material world under some principles so that some day he may again come back to home, back to Godhead. This is the Vedic literature. The chance is given because he wanted to enjoy.
Just like for example one wants to enjoy sex life. "Yes," Vedic knowledge, Vedic scripture, says, "Yes, just enjoy in married life, not like cats and dogs." This is the difference. So without Vedic injunction, if one wants to enjoy by his whims, then he'll be more and more entangled. But if he follows the Vedic injunction... Just like what is the difference between sex life as married man and woman and without? So far sex life is concerned, there is no difference. But the restriction and the rules and regulation will not make him mad after sex life. That is the... Just like if anyone wants to eat meat... These are natural tendencies. So Veda says, "Yes, you can eat meat, but by offering sacrifice, or just offer a sacrifice before the goddess Kālī." In this way... Actually, it wants to restrict, but one who is obstinate, he wants to enjoy, he's given some Vedic direction, "You enjoy like this."
For example, another example can be given: just like the drunkard. The drunkards are given concession. There are liquor shops. The government gives some license to a person, that "You can sell liquor to the drunkards." But this liquor is not available in every shop. There is a particular shop. One has to purchase liquor from that particular shop. That means government is discouraging, but one who is obstinate, to give him some facility, this particular shop is established. Similarly, when there is allowance for sex life or drinking or meat-eating or even gambling, that is not encouraging; that is minimizing the tendency under discipline.
But so far we are concerned, we are above this discipline. A Vaiṣṇava is transcendental. He hasn't got to train under this discipline. Because he takes shelter of Kṛṣṇa directly, he's given immediately all protection. Kṛṣṇa says ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: (BG 18.66) "I shall give you all protection from sinful life." Therefore, it is practical experience in USA the government is spending millions of dollars for stopping this intoxication habit amongst the younger generation. But the wonderful thing is they inquire also from us that as soon as they come to our movement, immediately gives up. Why? That is the special prerogative of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ. If one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, then all the good qualities of the demigods will automatically manifest in Him. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ (SB 5.18.12). On the contrary, those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they have no good qualification. Harāv abhaktasya. They are simply hovering on the mental platform, and therefore they fall down.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 20, 1971)