Spiritual Life Is Sharp like a Razor’s Edge
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)

"Unless one is sufficiently protected by the Lord, he may fall down from his spiritual position; therefore one has to pray constantly to the Lord for protection and the blessing to carry out one's duty. Lord Caitanya also entrusted His missionary work to His devotees and assured them of His protection against the onslaught of material affection. The path of spiritual life is stated in the Vedas to be like the edge of a sharpened razor. A little inattentiveness may at once create havoc and bloodshed, but one who is a completely surrendered soul, always seeking protection from the Lord in the discharge of his entrusted duties, has no fear of falling into material contamination."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.9.24, Purport)

"The living entity exists in the natural state of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but he has marginal independence, and this allows him to forget Kṛṣṇa. Originally, pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness exists, but because of misuse of marginal independence there is a chance of forgetting Kṛṣṇa. This is exhibited in actual life; there are many instances in which someone acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness suddenly changes. In the Upaniṣads it is stated, therefore, that the path of spiritual realization is just like the sharp edge of a razor. The example is very appropriate. One shaves his cheeks with a sharp razor very nicely, but as soon as his attention is diverted from the activity, he immediately cuts his cheek because he mishandles the razor.

Not only must one come to the stage of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but one must also be very careful. Any inattentiveness or carelessness may cause falldown. This falldown is due to false ego. From the status of pure consciousness, the false ego is born because of misuse of independence. We cannot argue about why false ego arises from pure consciousness. Factually, there is always the chance that this will happen, and therefore one has to be very careful."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.26.23-24, Purport)

"Mahārāja Bharata was an ideal king, instructor and emperor of the world. He possessed all the opulences of the material world, but Kṛṣṇa is so attractive that He attracted Mahārāja Bharata from all his material possessions. Yet somehow or other, the King became affectionate to a little deer and, falling from his position, had to accept the body of a deer in his next life. Due to Kṛṣṇa's great mercy upon him, he could not forget his position, and he could understand how he had fallen. Therefore in the next life, as Jaḍa Bharata, Mahārāja Bharata was careful not to spoil his energy, and therefore he presented himself as a deaf and dumb person. In this way he could concentrate on his devotional service. We have to learn from the great King Bharata how to become cautious in cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A little inattention will retard our devotional service for the time being. Yet any service rendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is never lost: svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (BG 2.40). A little devotional service rendered sincerely is a permanent asset. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 1.5.17):

    tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
    bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
    yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
    ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ

Somehow or other, if one is attracted to Kṛṣṇa, whatever he does in devotional service is a permanent asset. Even if one falls down due to immaturity or bad association, his devotional assets are never lost. There are many examples of this—Ajāmila, Mahārāja Bharata, and many others. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving everyone a chance to engage in devotional service for at least some time. A little service will give one an impetus to advance and thus make one's life successful."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.14.43, Purport)

"The Lord is always prepared to excuse His devotee, but if a devotee takes advantage of the Lord's leniency and purposefully commits mistakes again and again, the Lord will certainly punish him by letting him fall down into the clutches of the illusory energy. In other words, theoretical knowledge acquired by studying the Vedas is insufficient to protect one from the clutches of māyā. One must strongly adhere to the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Then one's position is secure."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.18.4, Purport)

"Even a moment of one's lifetime could not be returned in exchange for millions of dollars. Therefore one should consider how much loss one suffers if he wastes even a moment of his life for nothing. Living like an animal, not understanding the goal of life, one foolishly thinks that there is no eternity and that his life span of fifty, sixty, or, at the most, one hundred years, is everything. This is the greatest foolishness. Time is eternal, and in the material world one passes through different phases of his eternal life. Time is compared herein to a sharp razor. A razor is meant to shave the hair from one's face, but if not carefully handled, the razor will cause disaster. One is advised not to create a disaster by misusing his lifetime. One should be extremely careful to utilize the span of his life for spiritual realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.5.19, Purport)

"Just like a man is taking medicine, at the same time doing all nonsense. Then his disease will not be cured, or may take very, very long time. So we should not be irresponsible in that way, because life is very short. We do not know when death is coming, especially in these days. We are moving in the street, we are moving by plane, we are moving... Every step, there is danger. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām (SB 10.14.58). It is a place of danger.

So our life... We should consider this human form of life, especially Kṛṣṇa conscious life, is very important life. We should not be inattentive. So we should be very careful. Kṛṣṇa will, of course, protect you, but at the same time, we have got consciousness. We should also take care that before the next death comes, we must be fully prepared for being transferred to Kṛṣṇaloka. And it is very simple thing. If you keep yourself constantly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that's the only thing. Then you are sure to be going transferred next life. As I was explaining last night, simply by understanding Kṛṣṇa."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, San Francisco, March 10, 1968)

"You have written one interesting line, that Maya seems to have a special interest in you. So it appears that you are intelligent enough to detect the tricks of Maya; that is very nice. We should always remember that Maya or darkness and Krsna or the Light are existing side by side. So if we keep ourself always in Krsna Consciousness or in the Light of Krsna Sun, hardly there is any chance of being covered by darkness or Maya.

But a little inattention may cause our falling down into the clutches of Maya. The path of Krsna Consciousness is compared in the Vedas with a sharpened razor blade. If you carefully manipulate it, the blade helps by clean shaving; but a little inattention causes a bloody cheek. So this example we should always remember and carefully manipulate the blade of Krsna Consciousness."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, March 29, 1970)

"As soon as we give up this śravaṇam-kīrtanam, then it becomes viṣaya. Viṣaya means materialism. There is no spiritualism. Kṣurasya dhārā. Kṣurasya dhārā. Kṣura means sharpened razor. If you are careful, you cleanse very nicely. If you are not careful, immediately blood. Immediately.

So the spiritual life is like that. As soon as you become little inattentive, immediately māyā captures, 'Yes, come on.' Then everything failure. We have got the tendency to enjoy sense. So senses are strong. As soon as there is opportunity, the senses will take advantage immediately. Then your whole business finished."

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Bombay, September 19, 1973)

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