Cupid’s arrows can no longer pierce our hearts when we become attracted to Krsna.
A lecture by
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Without a tinge of material lust, Radha and Krsna, the Divine Couple, enjoy transcendental pastimes in the spiritual world. One who is attracted to Radha and Krsna will forget the pleasure derived from sex.
In this material world everyone is attracted by sex. This is a fact. As the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham: “The happiness—the so-called happiness—of household life begins from maithuna, or sexual intercourse.”
Generally, a man marries to satisfy sex desire. Then he begets children. Then, when the children are grown up, the daughter marries a boy and the son marries a girl for the same purpose: sex. Then, grandchildren.
In this way, material happiness expands as sry-aisvarya-prajepsavah. Sri means “beauty,” aisvarya means “wealth,” and praja means “children.” People think they are successful if they have a beautiful wife, a good bank balance, and good sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, and so on. If one’s family consists of beautiful women and riches and many children, one is supposed to be a most successful man.
What is this success? The sastra [scripture] says this success is simply an expansion of sexual intercourse. That’s all. We may polish it in different ways, but this same sex happiness is also there in the hogs. The hogs eat the whole day, here and there—”Where is stool? Where is stool?”—and then have sex without any discrimination. The hog does not discriminate whether he hassex with his mother, sister, or daughter.
So, the sastra says we are encaged in this material world only for sex. In other words, we are victims of Cupid. Cupid, or Madana, is the god of sex. Unless one is induced by Madana, one cannot be engladdened in sex life. And one of Krsna’s names is Madana-mohana, “He who vanquishes Cupid.” In other words, one who is attracted to Krsna will forget the pleasure derived from sex. This is the test of advancement in Krsna consciousness.
Another meaning of madana is “to intoxicate or madden’.” Everyone is maddened by the force of sex desire. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says, pumsah striya mithuni-bhavam etam tayor mitho hrdaya-granthim ahuh: “The whole material world is going on because of the attraction between male and female.” A man is attracted by a woman, a woman is attracted by a man, and when they are united in sex their attachment for this material world increases more and more. After marriage, the man and woman seek a nice home and a job or some land for farming, because they have to earn money to get food and other things. Then come suta (children), apta (friends and relatives), and vittaih (wealth). In this way the attraction for the material world becomes tighter and tighter. And it all begins with our attraction for madana, the pleasure of sex.
But our business is not to be attracted by the glimmer of this material world; our business is to be attracted by Krsna. And when we become attracted by the beauty of Krsna, we will lose our attraction for the false beauty of this material world. As Sri Yamunacarya says,
yad-avadhi mama cetah krsna-padaravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhamany udyatam rantum asit
tad-avadhi bata nari-sangame smaryamane
bhavati mukha-vikarah susthu nisthivanam ca
“Since I have been attracted by the beauty of Krsna and have begun to serve His lotus feet, I am getting newer and newer pleasure, and as soon as I think of sexual intercourse my mouth immediately turns aside and I spit.”
So, Krsna is Madana-mohana, the conquerer of Madana, or Cupid. Madana is attracting everyone, but when one is attracted by Krsna, Madana is defeated. And as soon as Madana is defeated, we conquer this material world. Otherwise, it is very difficult. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [7.14],
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te
This material world is very difficult to overcome, but if one surrenders unto Krsna and catches His lotus feet very strongly—”Krsna, save me!”—Krsna promises, “Yes, I’ll save you. Don’t worry, I shall save you.” Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: “My dear Arjuna, you can declare to the world that I will protect My devotee who has no other desire but to serve Me.”
Unfortunately, people do not know that our only business is to take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. We have no other business. Any other business we may do simply entangles us in this material world. The aim of human life is to get out of the clutches of the material world. But, as the Bhagavatam says, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum: “People do not know that their ultimate goal in life is to realize Visnu, or Krsna.”
So, it is very difficult to turn people to Krsna consciousness in this age. Still, Caitanya Mahaprabhu [Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself in the role of His own devotee. He appeared in Bengal, India, five hundred years ago to teach love of God through the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra.] has ordered us to distribute this knowledge all over the world. So let us try. Even if the people do not take our instruction, that is no disqualification for us. Our only qualification is simply to try our best. Maya [illusion] is very strong. Therefore to take the living entities out of the clutches of maya is not a very easy thing. My Guru Maharaja had so many temples all over India, and sometimes he would say, “If by selling all these temples I could turn one man to Krsna consciousness, my mission would be successful.” He used to say that.
Our purpose is not to construct big, big buildings, although that is sometimes required for spreading Krsna consciousness and for giving shelter to people. But our main business is to turn the faces of the bewildered conditioned souls toward Krsna. That is our main purpose. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other Vaisnavas have warned us to be careful about constructing too many big temples, because our attention may be diverted toward material things. In other words, we may become forgetful of Krsna.
Of course, ultimately nothing is material. Thinking something is material is simply an illusion. Actually, there is nothing but spirit. How can there be anything material? The Supreme Lord is the Supreme Spirit, and since everything is coming from Him, what we call the material energy is also coming from Him and is thus ultimately spiritual.
But the difficulty is that in this material world, Krsna’s inferior energy, there is the possibility of forgetting Krsna. People are engaged in so many activities—we can see this very clearly in the Western countries—and they are inventing so many modern facilities, but the result is that they are forgetting Krsna. That is material—this forgetfulness of Krsna.
Actually, there is nothing except Krsna and His energies. As Narada Muni says, idam hi visvam bhagavan ivetarah: “This world is Krsna, Bhagavan.” But to those in ignorance it appears different from Bhagavan. For a maha-bhagavata, a pure devotee, there is no conception of material and spiritual, because he sees Krsna everywhere. As soon as he sees anything we call material, he sees it as a transformation of Krsna’s energy (parinama-vada). Lord Caitanya gave the following example:
sthavara-jangama dekhe, na dekhe tara murti sarvatra haya nija ista-deva-sphurti
A pure devotee may see a tree, but he forgets the tree and sees the energy of Krsna. And as soon as he sees the energy of Krsna, he sees Krsna. Therefore, instead of seeing the tree he sees Krsna.
Another example is the sun and the sunshine. As soon as you see the sunshine, you can immediately think of the sun. Is that not so? In the morning, as soon as you see the sunshine shining in your window, you can immediately remember the sun. You are confident the sun is there, because you know that without the sun there cannot be any sunshine. Similarly, whenever we see something, we should immediately think of Krsna with reference to that particular thing, because that thing is a manifestation of Krsna’s energy. And because the energy is not different from the energetic, those who have understood Krsna along with His energies do not see anything except Krsna. Therefore for them there is no material world. To a perfect devotee, everything is spiritual (sarvam khalv idam brahma).
So, we have to train our eyes to see Krsna everywhere. And this training is devotional service to Krsna, which is a process of purification:
As soon as we are in Krsna consciousness, we give up our false designations, and our seeing, touching, smelling, and so on become nirmala, or purified, by being engaged in the service of Krsna. Then we can immediately see Krsna everywhere. As long as our eyes are not purified we cannot see Krsna, but as soon as they are purified by the process of devotional service, we will see nothing but Krsna.
So, Cupid is one of the agents of the illusory, material energy, but if we are perfectly in Krsna consciousness Cupid cannot pierce our heart with his arrows. It is not possible. A good example is Haridasa Thakura. When Haridasa Thakura was a young man, a nicely dressed young prostitute came to him in the middle of the night and revealed her desire to unite with him. Haridasa Thakura said, “Yes, please sit down. I shall fulfill your desire, but just let me finish my chanting of Hare Krsna.” Just see! It’s the dead of night, and in front of Haridasa Thakura is a beautiful young girl proposing to have sex with him. But still he’s steady, chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. But he never finished his chanting, so her plan was unsuccessful.
So, Cupid cannot pierce our heart when we are fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness. There may be thousands of beautiful women before a devotee, but they cannot disturb him. He sees them as energies of Krsna. He thinks, “They are Krsna’s; they are meant for His enjoyment.”
A devotee’s duty is to try to engage all beautiful women in the service of Krsna, not to try to enjoy them. A devotee is not pierced by the arrows of Cupid, because he sees everything in relationship with Krsna. That is real renunciation. He does not accept anything for his own sense gratification but engages everything and everyone in the service of Krsna. This is the process of Krsna consciousness.