(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada's books)
"Generally, whole human society, especially at the present moment, nobody cares for perfection of life. They do not know what is perfection of life. Just like animals, they do not know what is perfection of life. They think perfection of life: to gratify the senses. 'We have got these senses. Let us...' Because they have no idea that there is life after death. Therefore their only proposition is, 'Now we have got this life and we have got these senses. Let us enjoy it to the fullest extent.' This is their perfection. But actually, that is not perfection. Perfection means, self-realization means to know that ahaṁ brahmāsmi, 'I am not this matter; I am spirit soul.' To understand this. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG18.54).
So therefore mostly people are engaged in the animal propensities of life. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca: eating, sleeping, sex life and defense. They are busy. But these things are visible in the animal life also. Then what is the special significance of the human life? Human life means athāto brahma jijñāsā. They, the human being should be inquisitive to understand Brahman. That is the special significance of human life. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore sings, manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā, jāniyā śuniyā biṣa khāinu. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura laments, hari hari bifale janama goṅāinu: 'My Lord, I have simply spoiled my life.' Why you have spoiled? You are eating very nicely, sleeping very nicely. 'No.' Manuṣya-janama..., rādhā-kṛṣṇa, manuṣya-janama. This human form of life is especially meant for understanding Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means everything, samagram. To understand Kṛṣṇa, that is the special mission of human life. 'So I did not try for it. I simply carried away by the waves of māyā.' And the Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings, māyār bośe, jāccho bhese', khāccho hābuḍubu bhāi. We are being carried away by the waves of this material modes of nature, sometimes drowned, sometimes on the surface. In this way, our life is going on. Jīv kṛṣṇa-dās, e biśwās, korle to' ār duḥkho nāi. But we can stop this being carried away by the waves of māyā simply if we accept that we are eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. We can stop the carrying away.
So the... Therefore... People do not understand this. Kṛṣṇa Himself says, manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu (BG 7.3). Sahasreṣu means out of millions of men, they are interested how to make life perfect. Nobody's interested, especially in this age. In this age, prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ. The first disqualification is that in this age people do not live for a long time. First disqualification. Formerly, they were healthy and they could live about hundred years. As we have seen, our grandfather, grandfather, they used to live. My grandfather died at the age of ninety-six years. Similarly, there are many instances. People used to live for long time. But the first qualification of this age that they, they are dying fifty, sixty, forty-five. The India's average age is thirty-five. In other countries, a little more. So practically, nobody's living a very long time. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ and manda. They do not know that they have a mission of life. Siddhi. Siddhi-lābha. They do not know. Like cats and dogs, dying. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya kalāv asmin yuge, mandāḥ sumanda-matayaḥ. And if one is interested for spiritual life, they are also captured by so many pseudo spiritual things. Pseudo. Manda. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ, mandāḥ sumanda-matayaḥ. They have got a different views. They do not like to take knowledge from the Vedic, perfect knowledge from the Vedic literature or from Bhagavad-gītā. They manufacture their own way of life, this mandaḥ sumanda-matayaḥ. And manda-bhāgyāḥ. And unfortunate, mostly they are unfortunate. And hy upadrutāḥ. And distributed by so many things. Sometimes earthquake, sometimes famine, sometimes scarcity of water, sometimes war, or sometimes fight. So many things, problems, simply problems. This is the position of this age.
So if one is actually interested to make his life perfect, then we should accept the standard knowledge instead of manufacturing now different ways. No. Here is standard knowledge, Bhagavad-gītā, the śāstra. Sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya tinete kariyā aikya. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ (BG 16.23). If you do not follow the standard knowledge of perfect śāstra, then Kṛṣṇa says, na siddhiṁ sāvāpnoti. He never gets siddhi. Here it is said, siddhaye. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye (BG 7.3). Siddhaye, to become perfect. So unless we follow the injunction of the śāstra, then there is no possibility of siddhi. Na siddhiṁ sāvāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim. Neither perfection, neither happiness in this life, and what to speak of next life? These things are not possible if we do not follow standard knowledge."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Ahmedabad, December 14, 1972)