Varṇāśrama religion cannot be practised in an atmosphere of such chaos and violence. The system now being called varṇāśrama is actually ungodly, demoniac religion in disguise. To wear the holy thread and go through the purificatory process within this demoniac system does not result in piety. Discarding all purificatory processes and religious rites, the men of Kali-yuga vie with each other to become the biggest and the strongest. A person becomes a "brāhmaṇa" just by slipping a holy thread over his head-indeed, such has been predicted in the scriptures—but this does not earn him any piety. Lord Caitanya rejected this kind of cheating varṇāśrama system. Foreseeing the degraded condition of Kali-yuga, Lord Kṛṣṇa hardly discusses varṇāśrama religion in the Bhagavad-gītā and instead stresses the performance of work as sacrifice. Hence it is clearly understood that by the performance of sacrifice for Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Person, He becomes satisfied and all ill effects are eradicated.
Persons afflicted by disease or other miseries are known as ārta, "the distressed." Commonly, a sick person depends on a doctor and medicine to cure his disease. But far-sighted scholars say that suffering of any kind is a result of sinful activities performed in the past. Ordinary people do not understand that sinful reactions result from ignorance. This ignorance exists in manifest (prārabdha), unmanifest (aprārabdha) and latent (kuṭashta) form.
There is no material means of counteracting these sinful reactions. Administering a pain-killer provides temporary relief but cannot remove the root cause of a disease. Similarly, no materialistic effort aimed at counteracting sinful reactions can provide ultimate relief. One obtains maximum only by surrendering to the Supreme Lord. The Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (The Nectar of Devotion) supplies us with numerous proofs of how devotional service to the Lord destroys sinful reactions, and ignorance, the root of all sin. Hence we see that pious men depend solely on the Supreme Lord in moments of distress.