"These different transformation, different changes of nature, body and everything, one should not be disturbed by all these things. These are external. We are spirit soul. It is external body, or external dress that is changing. So if we understand nicely, na vyathayanti, and you are not disturbed by these changes, then saḥ amṛtatvāya kalpate (BG 2.15), then he's making progress, spiritual progress. That means, spiritual progress means, he's making progress towards eternal life. Spiritual life means eternal, blissful life of knowledge. That is spiritual life.
So here is the recommendation. Try to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and then you'll not be disturbed with all these external, ephemeral changes of the material world. Not only of this body; practically..., practically one who is advanced in spiritual life, he's not agitated by the so-called political upheavals or social disturbances. No. He knows these are simply external... Just like in the dream. It is also a dream. Our present existence, it is also dream, exactly like we dream at night. In dreaming, we create so many things.
So this material world is also a gross dreaming. Gross dreaming. That is subtle dreaming, and this is gross dreaming. That is the action of the mind, body, intelligence—dreaming. And here, the action of five material elements: earth, water, air, fire... But all of them, these eight, they are simply material. So we are thinking that 'I have now built a very nice house, skyscraper building.' It is nothing but dream. Nothing but dream. Dream in this sense, that as soon as I give up this body, all my skyscraper building, business, factory, finished. Exactly the same dream. Dream is for few minutes or few hours, and it is for few years. That's all. It is dream.
So one should not be disturbed by this dreaming condition. That is spiritual life. One should not be disturbed. Just like we are not disturbed. Suppose, in dream I was put on the throne, and I was working like a king, and after the dream is over, I am not sorry. Similarly, in dream I was seeing that tiger has attacked me. I was actually crying, 'Here is tiger! Here is tiger! Save me.' And the person who is lying behind me or beside me, he says, 'Oh, why you are crying? Where is tiger?' So when he's awakened, he sees there is no tiger.
So everything is like that. But this dream, these gross and subtle dreams, are simply reflections. Just like what is dream? The whole day what I think, the dreaming is a reflection. Reflection. My father was doing cloth business. So sometimes he, in dreaming, he was quoting price: 'This is the price.' So similarly, it is all dreaming. This material existence, made of these five gross elements and three subtle elements, they're exactly like dream. Smara nityam aniyatām. Therefore Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says, smara nityam aniyatām. This anitya, temporary... Dreaming is always temporary.
So we must know that whatever we possess, whatever we are seeing, these are all dream, temporary. Therefore if we become engrossed with the temporary things—so-called socialism, nationalism, family-ism or this-ism, that-ism—and waste our time, without cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then that is called śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8), simply wasting our time, creating another body. Our own business is that we should know that 'I am not this dream. I am fact, spiritual fact. So I have got a different business.' That is called spiritual life.
That is spiritual life, when we understand that 'I am Brahman. I am not this matter.' Brahmā-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). That time we shall be joyful. Because we are afflicted with so many changes of the material features, and we are sorry, unhappy, being afflicted by all these external activities. But when we understand rightly that 'I am not concerned with all these things,' then we become joyful: 'Oh, I have no responsibility. Nothing..., I have nothing to do with all these things.' Brahmā-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54).
At that time, you can feel that every living entity is exactly like you. It doesn't matter whether he is a learned brāhmaṇa, whether he's a dog, whether he is a caṇḍāla, whether he's an elephant.
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
That is required. That is spiritual vision. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ.
Therefore a devotee is first-class paṇḍita, a devotee. Because he's sama-darśinaḥ. Sama-darśinaḥ means he's feeling for others. A Vaiṣṇava... Para-duḥkha-duḥkhī, kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ. Vaiṣṇava is very kind-hearted, merciful, because he feels for others. He feels for others in this sense, that he knows what he is.
He sees every living entity as part and parcel of God: 'Now, here is a part and parcel of God. He would have gone back to home, back to Godhead, and danced with Him, and lived very nicely, eternally, blissfully. Now he's rotting here as a hog—or as a human being, or as a king. The same thing. It is for few years only.'
So a devotee therefore tries to take him out of this illusion. Therefore he's called para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. He's actually feeling others' distressed condition. Not these political leaders or social... What they can do? They make their own fortune. That's all. Or what is that fortune? That is also misfortune. If somebody thinks, 'I have got some money. I am very fortunate,' it is, actually it is not fortune. Real fortunate is he who is advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is fortunate. Otherwise, all are unfortunate. All are unfortunate.
So in this way, one should come to the spiritual understanding, and the symptom is he's not disturbed by the material upheaval. Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha, sama-duḥkha-sukham (BG 2.15). The symptom is sama-duḥkha... Because he knows this is dreaming. Suppose you are dreaming. So either you suffer in the presence of a tiger or you become a king in dream, what is the value? It is the same thing.
There is no difference. After all, it is dreaming. Therefore sama-sukha-duḥkha. If I become very happy because I have become a king or some big man, that is also dream. And if I think that 'I am so poor. Oh, I am suffering, I am diseased,' that is also the same thing.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa has in the previous verses said, tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata (BG 2.14): 'Just little practice to tolerate. Do your own business, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.' Yudhyasva mām anusmara (BG 8.7). The, our real business is, as Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65): 'Always think of Me.' So this practice should go on. Never mind I am so-called distressed or happy. Here...
In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said,
'dvaite' bhadrābhadra-jñāna saba 'manodharma'
'ei bhāla ei manda' ei saba 'bhrama'
(CC Antya 4.176)
Dvaite, in this dual, the world of duality, here, in this material world, the..., 'This thing is very good, this thing is very bad,' it is simply mental concoction. Everything here is bad; nothing good. So this is our mental creation only, 'This is good, this is bad.' We are doing that. Just like in political field: 'This party is nice. This party's bad.' But any party goes in the power, your condition is the same—the commodities' price are increasing. It has no decreasing, either you change this party or that party.
So these are all concoction. If you want really happy, happiness, if you want real goodness, then you try to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That will make you real happy. Otherwise, if you are simply disturbed by this material condition, that is not a very good position."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Hyderabad, November 21, 1972)