(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples)
Devotee: "Every living entity, beginning from Brahmā, the first-born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant, desires to relish some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasas."
Prabhupāda: The ants, perhaps you know it, they love very much intoxicants. And therefore they are after sugar. Sugar has got properties intoxication. Wine is made from sugar, from molasses. So the ants, they want to be very much intoxicated. So this intoxication is not only in the human society. In the animal society, in bird society, in beast society. Loke vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā nityā hi jantor na hi tatra codanā. Vyava, vyavāya, sex intercourse, vyavāya; āmiṣa, meat eating; madya-sevā, intoxication—they are there everywhere, not only in human society. This is the pravṛtti (path of sense enjoyment).
Now the actual knowledge, actual education, means to detach them, not to increase that. But at the present moment the civilization is, they are increasing this desire. Everyone has got this desire. But... That is called civilization, "Eat, drink, be merry and enjoy." No. The human life is meant for being trained up to be detached. Just like we are training our students. They are not... If not cent percent, major portion, major percentage, they're detached. That is perfection. Gradually detached... Just like if you have got fever, 105 degrees, you should not increase it. You should decrease it. If you increase, "Oh, fever is very nice thing. Let us increase it," then death. As soon as it is 107 degrees, then death.
So this material civilization is like fever. We should not increase it. Neither we should decrease it to such an extent that we shall die. Just like fever. Fever, 105, 107 degrees, 106 degree, five degree, reduce it. Reduce, reduce, reduce. But it must stay at hundred, not hundred, 98 degrees. If you reduce 98 degree, 97, that is also not good. Similarly, our program is not to increase to the death point, neither to decrease it to the death point. Yuktāhāra-vihārasya. We don't say, "Don't eat." Eat, but don't eat more or don't eat less. That is our program. We don't say don't eat. We don't prohibit anything. We don't say, "No sex life." Yes. We don't say no. Yes, sex life, married sex life, regulated sex life.
So everything should be regulated. That is described, that is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yuktāhāra-vihārasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā. We are executing yoga. So yuktāhāra. And Rūpa Gosvāmī also says,
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
Anāsaktasya viṣaya, this is called viṣaya, material enjoyment. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This is called viṣaya. So one has to give up this viṣaya. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, viṣaya chāṛiyā, se rase majiyā, mukhe bolo hari hari. Unless you are detached from the viṣaya... Viṣaya is there even in birds' life, beasts' life. Viṣayaḥ sarvataḥ syāt. So in the beginning we cannot give up this viṣaya all of a sudden. But we should be trained up not to be attached to the viṣaya.
Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham. As much. We must eat. We must eat to the point that we may not die of starvation, not that "There is nice food, oh, let me eat. Then I cannot digest and I go three times to the W.C." (laughter) Not like that. That anāsaktasya. One should be unattached, that "I have to eat something for maintaining the body and soul together." Not that to the excess. Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ. If one makes his life in that regulated way, then he is as good as a... Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ, nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe. And the viṣaya enjoyment should be in connection with Kṛṣṇa. Just like we eat and others also eat, but we eat in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has eaten, and we take the prasādam. In this way we make progress in spiritual life.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 20, 1971)