(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada cooking for Krishna)
Guest: What is the value of accepting this sacrifice for the human being?
Prabhupāda: For better benefit.
Guest: But now can it be accepted as a kind of masochism?
Prabhupāda: What he's speaking? Masochism? What is this masochism?
Devotee: Self-inflicted pain. "I want to hurt myself."
Prabhupāda: No. It is not like that. Just like if you are diseased, doctor says that "You don't eat this." So that is not self-inflicted. The idea is that just to become cured from your disease you accept the instruction of the physician. So unnecessarily, that is also condemned. If you simply fast unnecessarily, that is condemned. No. For a better purpose, paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59).
Yes. You can take some... accept some painstaking—for better purpose. If there is no purpose, what is the use of painstaking? Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). That is simply labor of love. That's all.
So here everything is recommended for understanding Kṛṣṇa. That is not very difficult. By Kṛṣṇa's grace it is not at all difficult, but it appears to be difficult for a person who is (not) accustomed to do such things. Otherwise it is not difficult. Yes.
Guest: But you're suggesting, I think, forgoing not just that which is the disease, but also that which one wants. I mean that somehow one should know that if one has love for something... and yet to come to that, give it up... (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: Yes. If you love something and for that love's sake, if you give up something, that is also taken in account, that you're doing the same thing on account of love. The whole philosophy is for better position you can accept some voluntary inconvenience. For better thing.
Devotee: We are absorbed in performing bhakti-yoga, devotional service. Now you stated in the lecture that the purport of bhakti-yoga is real activity of the spirit soul, whereas in jñāna-yoga is of the mind, and karma-yoga is the activities of the body. Now, in our service of bhakti-yoga, how... I don't exactly understand. If we actually are the spirit soul, because... (indistinct)... performing action.
Prabhupāda: Just give me some practical example. What you are doing?
Devotee: Preparing prasādam.
Prabhupāda: It is not bhakti-yoga? So why don't you understand? Your prasādam you are not cooking for yourself. You are cooking for Kṛṣṇa.
Devotee: Yeah, well, what I'm getting at is we're performing actions with our body.
Prabhupāda: But first of all try to understand this, this cooking you told... if you are cooking for Kṛṣṇa, that is bhakti-yoga, and if you are cooking for yourself, for your sense gratification, that is karma. The same process. Why don't you take the example of Arjuna? For himself, he was considering, "Whether I shall fight or not." But as soon as he understood Bhagavad-gītā, he decided, "Oh, Kṛṣṇa wants me to fight." That is bhakti-yoga. So you can perform bhakti-yoga by fighting, by cooking, by going to the office, everything, if that purpose is for Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti-yoga. Is it clear?
Devotee: And karma-yoga, then?
Prabhupāda: Karma means sense gratification and bhakti-yoga means Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction.
Devotee: Well, karma-yoga...
Prabhupāda: Karma-yoga means just to dovetail your karma with yoga principles to arrive to the bhakti-yoga.
Devotee: To eventually arrive.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is karma-yoga. That is not bhakti-yoga. But the aim is to arrive at the bhakti-yoga. Is it clear? That's all. Just try to understand in this way. It is very good.
Devotee (2): Is it the same thing with haṭha-yoga?
Prabhupāda: No, haṭha-yoga is not bhakti-yoga.
Devotee (2): No, but... (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: Haṭha-yoga is a process for making the mind under control if it is properly performed. But generally it is in the name "haṭha-yoga." I have several times... in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated, haṭha-yoga, how it is to be performed, that you have to perform in a sacred place, alone in a secluded place, sitting like this, seeing like this, eating like this. Who is following those regulations? Nobody is following. So they are... simply it is going on under the name of yoga, but actually, nobody is following the principles. That is difficult. That is not possible in this age.
Now suppose if you have to perform haṭha-yoga in a secluded place, in a sanctified place and alone. Who is fulfilling these three conditions? Ekākī yata-cittātmā (BG 6.10). Ekākī. Ekākī means alone. Śucau deśe. Śucau deśe means very sanctified place. Samaṁ grīvam. This body and the, I mean to say, neck, and the śiraḥ, śiraḥ means this head—they should be in a straight line. And you cannot close your eyes fully. You have to half-close and see the top of your nose. In this way, you sit down always, never go to sleep.
I have seen in my childhood yogī in Calcutta, Kālīghāṭa. He was twenty-four hours sitting. When he was feeling uncomfortable, he had a wooden cot, like that. But he was never sleeping. That is yoga practice. Who is going to do that? It is very difficult. Therefore Arjuna said: "Kṛṣṇa, You are recommending this yoga practice, but it is impossible for me to do." Five thousand years ago, a person like Arjuna declined, "Oh, it is not possible for me." And so many rascals, they are trying that yoga system. That is not possible. Yes.
Indian man: To know whether my karma or my life is for satisfying the senses, how it is going to help for Kṛṣṇa... (indistinct)... to connect Kṛṣṇa through devotion. Then you can know that what I am doing.
Prabhupāda: Yes, first of all you have to connect yourself with Kṛṣṇa, then you act according to the direction of Kṛṣṇa.
Indian man: And if I surrender to the devotion?
Prabhupāda: Certainly. Yes.
Indian man: Not that you can expect immediately , because that is also very difficult, like Hiraṇyakaśipu.
Prabhupāda: That is also under the Kṛṣṇa's direction, because when they were condemned to go to the material world, they pray that "How we shall be delivered?" Then Kṛṣṇa's giving... Kṛṣṇa gave him direction that, "If you treat Me as enemy, then three..." Yes, quickly. "And if you treat Me as friend, then you'll take long time." They preferred, "Yes, we shall treat You like enemy, because our aim is to come quickly." (laughter)
Indian man: But to understand about his relationship with...
Prabhupāda: So that means he is following Kṛṣṇa's direction. That's all. He doesn't mind that "I am going to be enemy of Kṛṣṇa." The principle is that he's following. If Kṛṣṇa says that "You become My enemy," I can become His enemy. That is bhakti-yoga. (laughter)
Yes. I want to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. Just like a master is asking servant that "You knock me here." So he's knocking like this. So that is service. The others may see, "Oh, he's knocking and he's thinking, 'I am serving'? What is this? He's knocking." But master wants that "You knock me." That is service. Service means that you obey the order of the master. It doesn't matter what it is.
There is very nice example in Lord Caitanya's life, that He had His personal servitor, Govinda. So after Lord Caitanya would take prasādam, then Govinda would take. So one day, Lord Caitanya, after taking prasādam, He laid down Himself on the threshold. What is called? Threshold? Door?
Indian man: Doorway.
Prabhupāda: Doorway. So Govinda crossed Him. Govinda used to massage His legs after, when He was taking rest. So Govinda crossed Lord Caitanya and massaged His legs. Then Lord Caitanya was sleeping, and, say, after half an hour, when He got, He saw, "Govinda, you have not taken your prasādam as yet?" "No, sir." "Why?" "I cannot cross You. You are lying down here." "Then how you came?" "I came cross." "How you first of all came cross, why not going crossing?" "But that I came to serve You. And now I cannot cross to take my prasādam. That is not my duty. That is for myself. And it is for You."
So for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure you can become His enemy, you can become His friend, you can become anything. That is bhakti-yoga. Because your aim is how to please Kṛṣṇa. And as soon as the point comes to please your senses, then you come to material world, immediately.
kṛṣṇa bhuliya jīva bhoga vaṣcha kare
pāśate māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare
As soon as we forget Kṛṣṇa and we want to do things for our sense gratification, that is māyā. And as soon as we give up this process of sense gratification and do everything for Kṛṣṇa, that is liberation.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, August 24, 1968)