Bhagavad-gita Chapter 13, Nature, Enjoyer and Consciousness, Text 22
puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho hi
bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya
Translation: The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus, he meets with good and evil among various species.
This verse talks about how a living entity transmigrate from one body to another body through the assistance of the material nature. Purusha means enjoyer. The Purusha actually applies to Krishna, the Supreme Personality of God head who has the only right to enjoy the Prakriti. And prakriti means to be enjoyed. In fact, the living entity is also defined as Prakriti, means Krishna is meant to enjoy our association, our service to him. But since we are in this material world, and do not have proper consciousness we are trying to become God and trying to enjoy other things and wanted everything big in this life, be it a position like a Minister, Rich business man, President etc. or anything. And when one cannot become big and needs the attention of others, what they do is do some spiritual activity and claims himself to be god. This is due to Maya. The living entity is actually the part and parcel of Krishna and the main duty is to love and serve Krishna. Unless one is situated in Krishna consciousness, he is obliged to take birth in different species of life under the 3 modes of material nature because of their desires.
Material desires primarily means selfish desires, it is for our own enjoyment. Spiritual desires mean whatever activities we are doing for soul purpose for giving pleasure to Krishna. When Arjuna is bewildered in the battle field Krishna explains to him the nature of the soul and what is the duty of a human being, and he tells Arjuna now I have explained to you everything, now it is your choice to make the decision. The Lord is the cause of everything and he does not force anyone, he has given free fill to living entity to make decisions. This is also a kind of regulation. Through this regulation as you progress in the path of Krishna Consciousness you will understand that you have an inbuilt nature, very loving, loving everything in the Universe because we are part and parcel of Krishna. Srila Prabupad gives an example to know the quality of the ocean you just take a drop of water of the ocean to test it. Same way by unrevealing our true nature we will realize that Krishna is also a loving being, and that is why he is coming in various avatars, incarnations so that he can attract us and take us back to our original position where we don’t have to enjoy independently. We are in this material world because we want to enjoy separate from Krishna, and want to do everything not under any authority. This is due to ignorance which binds us to this material world.
This ignorance to enjoy separate from Krishna can be explained by a story. Krishna asks a cow herd boy to fetch him some water from Yamuna. So, he took his pot and went to river and start to fill up the pot. While filling up the pot he was thinking why he is doing this for Krishna. As soon as he thought like this he was immediately transferred in to material universe and he took birth in many species of life forms and finally through the a benediction of Krishna and mercy of devotees he got to understand that he is not of this material world but of the spiritual world and took the path of Krishna Consciousness and after sometime he comes to a stage of self-realization , and then he goes back to God head. As soon as he goes back to God head, he becomes the pure devotee and he is back at the rived Yamuna with the pot. He was surprised and thinks that he had gone through a bad dream and felt it is horrible and rushes back to Krishna and Krishna asks him did anything happen to you, why are you so late so he looks at Krishna. So, from the story we can understand that our constitutional position is to love and serve Krishna. As soon as we misuse that service attitude, think that we are here in the material world to enjoy, we are forced to come to this material world and will continue to transmigrate from one body to another. The intention of enjoying separate from Krishna cannot prevail in the spiritual world, but actually can be experienced in this material world only.
So, the whole principle of coming in this material world is to understand who we are, what is our original position and true purpose of our life. By the mercy of Guru and Krishna we will get the opportunity to understand the teachings of Krishna and Acharya’s and It will make more sense to us and our intension to know more about our scriptures, our endeavors in understanding it and make tangible progress and advancement in Krishna consciousness will become meaningful. Otherwise what will happen is due to various desires in our heart we can enjoy only one particular kind of body at a time be it human, animal, plant, reptiles etc. After we finish that particular enjoyment, again to fulfil another desire we will be taking birth again in another species of life. This will go on and on.
Srila Prabupada says we have to rise above the 3 modes of material nature and become situated in transcendental position, otherwise we will be influenced by 3 modes, the mode of goodness, passion, ignorance which will bind and hold us in this material world. As soon as we become Krishna consciousness, the three modes will slacken they will release us from enjoying this material world. In the 7th chapter of Bhagavad-Gita Krishna has said that, this divine energy of mine is difficult to overcome but who has surrendered un to me cross beyond this material energy. Example one time a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada how to become a pure devotee. Srila Prabupada laughed and asked him how to become a drunkard. The devotee was shocked so Srila Prabupad said when you associate with drunkards you will also become a drunkard, but if you associate with devotees, then naturally you will take up devotional practice. So, what is the difference between a drunkard and a devotee. A drunkard is in the mode of ignorance and devotees are above the 3 modes of material nature. So, if we associate with devotees it is a natural progression and by association the desire to become a devotee will take place. So, the right knowledge develops, so association is very important and association will prepare you to become kind of person you want to become.
So, we should not take things for granted especially devotees, otherwise how are we going to be liberated. We have to give up all desires which are no way related to Krishna. By association of Krishna and devotees the desire to get liberated will manifest in our hearts, otherwise it doesn’t work we will again take birth in different species in this material world. When we understand our constitutional position, our true nature, that is to love and serve Krishna and then we will take every effort to correct the false understanding and move towards Krishna.
Srila Prabhupad gives examples of how various species enjoy in different way under the modes of material nature. For example, Honey, people can lick honey, the bears and bees enjoy the taste of honey in different fashion. The pig eats stools. For us it is disgusting to see, but if the pig had the ability to talk it will tell what he is eating is delicious. So, it is understood that we all have finite existence in one particular body. In Kaliyuga the life span of human being may be 100 years. But if we want to live more like turtle and trees, Krishna will fulfill that desire too so in your next birth you will born as a tree or a turtle. But the purpose of human birth is to get out of the cycle of birth, old age, disease and death and attain liberation. According to our karma we go to upper planetary system or the lower planetary system but if we you are very fortunate due to Guru and Krishna’s mercy, Krishna the lord who is full of compassion for fallen souls will make every arrangement for that living entity to meet a Vaishnava guru. And by the grace of Guru, he will be trained to become a devotee by attaining knowledge thereby reconnecting with Krishna. That is why Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came. So, through the mode of goodness people can appreciate true knowledge and they can make a proper distinction and come to see a conclusion
So, to go back to God head we need to love God first. Sometimes we do some Krishna conscious activity because we love god and Guru and want to please them so we will feel happy. As we advance by accumulating knowledge and performing Krishna conscious activity sincerely by doing various devotional services, like attending Mangal aarathi, chanting attentively and sincerely, following regulative principles, hear Krishna katha, offer prasadam to the Lord and eat prasadam, associate with devotees, be humble, reading Srila Prabupad books, scriptures this will sharpen your intelligence to make right decisions in life, considering yourself as the servant of the servant of the devotee then all our anarthas from our heart goes away. Sometimes in our devotional life we may go up and down the ladder, since we are living in this material world this is sure to happen but we should not give up. Krishna also knows this but he will look how sincerely we are putting our endeavor to chant his holy name and be with him. If we are getting initiation that is due to the mercy of Guru and Krishna, and we cannot repay that. So while practicing devotional service we will feel the Lord is giving us more mercy and we will make our every effort to please our Guru and Krishna, you will feel that you do not belong to this material world, you will find the way to connect to Krishna, and get out the cycle of birth and death.
Srila Rupa Goswami says that if you really want to love Krishna chant his holy name. It will uncover many layers of ignorance, to bring our true nature to love Krishna. The desire to enjoy this material world goes away. The activities we do in this material world should not be just pious activity. Pious activity will give us better birth, but our goal should be to reach Krishna. If we see that there is suffering not only in this material world but in top most planetary system. For example, Lord Brahma position. The demons come to disturb Brahma even though he has long duration of life and better facilities. So, if you become Demigod or take birth in lower family doesn’t matter, you won’t be completely happy. Sometimes due to our pious activities in our past life we would have got good things in this life like good opportunities for growth, wealth, education, beauty etc. but how long it will be there for us. These things are temporary and these things won’t give you Krishna. You will get Krishna only if you leave all the material anchoring from your heart, then Krishna will reveal himself to you, then you can reconnect with Krishna through Guru and devotees. Each of us have unique quality to serve Krishna and Radha Rani and actually Krishna is waiting for us. Once you are purified by practicing Krishna consciousness your original position in spiritual world is reveled to you so you know what you are supposed to do. Next time when you take birth, you will take birth in universe where Krishna is doing past time, so you will be trained to be perfect in whatever service and then go back to spiritual world.
So, we shouldn’t waste this human form of life. To attain this human form of life we would have gone through 8.4 million species of life, and it is not easy but miserable and now due to some good Karma we have got this human birth. So, we have to engage ourselves in the service of Krishna. For example, if we are in good position career wise, you can use your salary for Krishna conscious activity like donating money for book distribution, for temple, for preaching activities, or if you are not able to donate money you can cook prasadam and give to your colleagues so one day they will also become Krishna conscious. We should always be associating with devotees , because we will be protected, otherwise if we try to mix with people with different modes of material nature then we are fall back and take birth in different species of life so we should be concerned about this and as practicing or aspiring devotees we should always try to improve our situation in relation with Krishna and If people who are not devotees we should try to help them to improve their condition according to their quality they are in. The real improvement is to how to get out the cycle of birth and death, old age disease.