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Is there a basic conflict between a spiritual life and material living?

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Expressions researched:
"Is there a basic conflict between a spiritual life and material living"

Lectures

General Lectures

Animal life, the common formula is eating, sleeping, mating and defending. A dog also eats; a man also eats. A man also sleeps, and a dog also sleeps. The man also have sex life, and the dog also have sex life. The dog also defends in his own way, and man also defends in his own way, maybe atomic bomb. That is a different thing. But the defense, defense measure... These four principles are common between human being and animal. So advancement of these four principles is not human civilization. That is animal civilization. That is not human civilization. And human civilization means that athāto brahma jijñāsā, the Vedānta-sūtra says. The Vedānta-sūtra, first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now it is the time for inquiry about the Brahman." That is human life. Without this inquiry, that is animal life.
Address to Indian Association -- Columbus, May 11, 1969:

Indian man: Is there a basic conflict between a spiritual life and material living? How does the philosophy...?

Prabhupāda: No. Material life means eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This is material life. And spiritual life means something more than this. Just like animal life or human life. Animal life, the common formula is eating, sleeping, mating and defending. A dog also eats; a man also eats. A man also sleeps, and a dog also sleeps. The man also have sex life, and the dog also have sex life. The dog also defends in his own way, and man also defends in his own way, maybe atomic bomb. That is a different thing. But the defense, defense measure... These four principles are common between human being and animal. So advancement of these four principles is not human civilization. That is animal civilization. That is not human civilization. And human civilization means that athāto brahma jijñāsā, the Vedānta-sūtra says. The Vedānta-sūtra, first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now it is the time for inquiry about the Brahman." That is human life. Without this inquiry, that is animal life. So that is material life and... So long one is not spiritually inquisitive, jijñāsu śreya uttamam, he is animal because he has got only these four principles: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That's all. He must be inquisitive, "What I am? Why I am put into these miseries of life—birth, death, old, disease? Is there any remedy?" These things should be questioned. Then it is human life. Then it is spiritual life. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This is the beginning of Vedānta. Brahma-jijñāsā: One should be inquisitive to understand what is Brahman. That is spiritual life.

So our Vedic system was so nicely designed that automatically one will be elevated to the understanding of Brahman. This caste system is condemned because they have been vitiated by designing person. Actually, caste system, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ... (BG 4.13). According to division of qualities, there are caste system everywhere. Goodness, passion, and ignorance—these three qualities are working in the material nature. The persons who are in goodness, they are called brāhmaṇas. Not that birth. Kṛṣṇa does not say, "By birth." Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. There is no question of birth. Simply by quality. Quality, the division is everywhere: intelligent class of men, administrative class of men, productive class of men, and laborer class of men. This is brāhmaṇa, śūdra... That's all. So everything should be taken scientifically. Human... That is human civilization, human life; otherwise animal life. Spiritual life means human life, and material life means animal life. That's all. So we have to make adjustment, as it is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā, yuktāhāra-vihārasya. It does not mean because I am going to be spiritual man, I shall give up eating. No, not that. But my eating should be adjusted. These things are described in the Bhagavad-gītā, what class of foodstuff is first class, in goodness, and what class of foodstuff in the passion, third class, in ignorance. So we have to raise ourself in the goodness platform of human civilization, then revive our transcendental consciousness or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. These things are, everything is there in the śāstras. Unfortunately, we do not consult. (break)

evaṁ prasanna-manaso
bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ
bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ
mukta-saṅgasya jāyate
(SB 1.2.20)

Unless one is liberated from the clutches of these three modes of material nature, he cannot understand what is God. Prasanna-manaso. He must be Brahman-realized soul. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). These things are there. So you should take advantage of these śāstras and preach. That is the responsibility to the Indian. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said,

bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra
(CC Adi 9.41)

"Anyone who has taken his birth in India as human being, he should learn all the śāstras, make his life successful, and distribute this." That is the responsibility of India. This is the injunction of Lord Caitanya. Bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra (CC Adi 9.41). So Bhāratabhūmi is not... To take birth in India is not ordinary thing. You must know. But you should utilize the opportunity. That utilization you should read, study, understand volumes of Vedic literature, and you should distribute the knowledge to the rest of the world. Rest of the world, they know God is great, but they do not know how great is God. That you will find in the Vedic literature. And that is our duty. That is kīrtana, hari-kīrtana. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam, to glorify. So I shall specially request our Indian nationals to join this movement and distribute the knowledge. I am doing it now alone. And if you join, it will be great help to this movement. Try to understand.