This verse is very significant for those desiring to elevate themselves to a higher level of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When a person is initiated by a spiritual master, he changes his habits and does not eat undesirable eatables or engage in the eating of meat, the drinking of liquor, illicit sex or gambling. Sāttvika-āhāra, foodstuffs in the mode of goodness, are described in the śāstras as wheat, rice, vegetables, fruits, milk, sugar, and milk products. Simple food like rice, dhal, capātīs, vegetables, milk and sugar constitute a balanced diet, but sometimes it is found that an initiated person, in the name of prasāda, eats very luxurious foodstuffs. Due to his past sinful life he becomes attracted by Cupid and eats good food voraciously. It is clearly visible that when a neophyte in Kṛṣṇa consciousness eats too much, he falls down. Instead of being elevated to pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he becomes attracted by Cupid. The so-called brahmacārī becomes agitated by women, and the vānaprastha may again become captivated into having sex with his wife. Or he may begin to search out another wife. Due to some sentiment, he may give up his own wife and come into the association of devotees and a spiritual master, but due to his past sinful life he cannot stay. Instead of being elevated to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he falls down, being attracted by Cupid, and takes to another wife for sex enjoyment. The fall of the neophyte devotee from the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness down to material life is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 1.5.17) by Nārada Muni.
- tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
- bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
- yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
- ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
This indicates that although a neophyte devotee may fall down from the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness due to his immaturity, his service to Kṛṣṇa never goes in vain. However, a person who remains steadfast in his family duty or so-called social or family obligation but does not take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness receives no profit. One who comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness must be very cautious and refrain from prohibited activities, as defined by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta:
- atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca
- prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
- jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca
- ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati
- NOI 2
A neophyte devotee should neither eat too much nor collect more money than necessary. Eating too much or collecting too much is called atyāhāra. For such atyāhāra one must endeavor very much. This is called prayāsa. Superficially one may show himself to be very much faithful to the rules and regulations, but at the same time not be fixed in the regulative principles. This is called niyamāgraha. By mixing with undesirable persons, or jana-saṅga, one becomes tainted with lust and greed and falls down from the path of devotional service.