The Best Antiseptic

11th Dec 2004
Kalacakra Krsna das

Dear Devotees,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

In the purport to SB 3.27.21, where Lord Kapila is explaining about the Material Nature to His mother Devahuti, I found a thought-provoking point Srila Prabhupada made quoting Sridhara Swami, the original commentator of Srimad Bhagavatam. 

"By association with material nature alone one does not become conditioned. Conditional life begins only after one is infected by the modes of material nature."

Then Srila Prabhupada supplements this statement by giving a simple example "If someone is in contact with the police department, that does not mean that he is a criminal. As long as one does not commit criminal acts, even though there is a police department, he is not punished."

It is very interesting to note that association with material nature does not condition a living entity but only when they are infected by the modes of material nature, the conditioning begins. I thought over the above analogy and another obvious example came to my mind. In the hospitals there are doctors as well as patients. The patients are the ones who suffer and are given treatments because they are infected with some disease. The doctors and nurses may associate with them, touch, serve and operate them etc but as long as they are not infected by that disease they stay hale and healthy.

This point brought to my mind a very famous complaint that devotees make, that they are not able to perform devotional service because they are associating with materialistic people in their work, home, friends or their environment is fully materialistic and not conducive for spiritual practice etc. But then how did Srila Prabhupada perform such intense devotional service in spite of staying so far away from Vrindavan? He was also mixing with materialists all the time (in fact the lowest of materialists), so many big big business men, politicians etc who were completely immersed in this material world were associating with him. People from all wakes of life came to him with problems and so many were only source of problems. How was it possible for him!? It was because he was not infected by that association, rather he was able to expertly cure their infectious disease of materialism.

How did he cure? Just like the doctors keep the hospital environment completely sterilized with antiseptics so that the infections of the patients will not spread over, Srila Prabhupada also had the best antiseptic method to avoid the infectious nature of this material world. He reveals it in the purport for SB 3.1.32:

"Constant thought of the Lord is the antiseptic method for keeping oneself free from the infectious contamination of the material qualities."

This is what we as devotees are also expected to do constantly remember the Lord wherever we are and whatever situation we are put in, and the result is that we are never affected by the infectious modes of material nature.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das.