From the ocean of loving compassion, which had been completely dammed up, Lord Nityānanda cut a canal of love of Godhead and flooded the entire world. And then some persons called caste Gosvāmīs, claiming to be the Lord's descendants, again dammed up that ocean of mercy with their malpractices of fruitive activities and rituals. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura once more cut open the canal of love of Godhead and brought in the flood waters. And now are we, of all persons, trying once more to dam it up like the caste Gosvāmīs? By the influence of the good association of the Lord's devotees, even a fool and rascal like me, possessed of a destructive, demoniac mentality, can accumulate enough piety to become inspired to serve the Supreme Lord.
By nature children are restless and playful, so in the kindergarten they are given toys and games to interest them in learning. Similarly, a neophyte is trained to perform activities in the mood of sacrifice, and he is encouraged to worship the Deities according to the scriptural injunctions. The expert Vaiṣṇava preceptor then gradually draws him toward the platform of pure devotion by narrating the spiritually potent topics of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and giving him the remnants of food offered to the Supreme Lord. These two aspects of devotional life act like medicine on the neophyte, who, like the rest of the world, is affected by the material disease. Devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa is the living entity's eternal birthright; it is not a new subject fabricated by the human mind. A base fool thinks that devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa is merely a mundane psychological state of mind. But in truth devotional service is our eternal spiritual substance—"the essential spiritual reality" (vāstava-vastu), according to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2). Devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa can be invoked naturally in the purified hearts of devotees. When a disease is cured, the patient feels hungry; similarly, when a neophyte accrues sufficient piety by associating with devotees, he feels attraction for devotional service within his heart.
Four kinds of pious men establish a relationship with the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. As the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.16)
- catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
- janāḥ sukṛtino 'rjuna
- ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
- jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
O best among the Bhāratas, four kinds of men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.
One obtains another kind of piety by strictly executing his duties under the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, a social system containing four spiritual orders and four social orders. Learned sages have long propagated this system. As the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9) states,
- puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
- viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
- nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
- (CC Madhya 8.58)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas.
The brāhmaṇas (the intellectual, priestly class), the kṣatriyas (kings and administrators), the vaiśyas (the mercantile community), and the śūdras (menial workers) are the four social orders, or varṇas. If they live according to the scriptural injunctions pertaining to their particular varṇa, then they can accrue piety. Similarly, if the members of the four āśramas—namely, the brahmacārīs (celibate students), gṛhasthas (householders), vānaprasthas (pilgrims), and sannyāsīs (renunciants)—also act in conformity with the scriptural edicts, they too acquire immense piety. But when the ill influence of Kali-yuga corrupts this varṇāśrama system, human society is beset by all sorts of degradations. As a result, the living entities are punished by a variety of natural calamities caused by the illusory potency of the Lord. When the citizens abide by the rules of the king, the kingdom runs smoothly and everyone is prosperous and content. But when the demoniac population of thieves, rogues, and criminals steadily increases, the kingdom is filled with chaos and terror.