Prabhupāda: Atonement. Yes. Atonement. So the example is given, just like a thief, he knows that stealing is not good. He has got experience that in the past he committed stealing, committed criminal offense by stealing, and he was arrested. Then he was punished. Still, he's stealing again. A man knows that stealing is not good. By ordinary law, stealing is punished, and in the scriptures also, stealing is prohibited because it is sinful. And one has seen that a person who is a thief was arrested and was punished. Everything he knows, but still, he commits stealing. Why? Therefore Bhāgavata says through Śukadeva Gosvāmī that prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam. Simply official prāyaścitta will not help a man ceasing from sinful activities. Official. In Christian religion also, they accept, confess their sinful activities, and again they commit the same sinful activities. So Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends that prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam. Unless one understands his constitutional position, unless he's convinced that why should he commit sinful activities simply for this body, which does not belong to him... It is a foreign. Actually, he has no connection with the body. Vimarśanam means cultivation of knowledge. So one has to cultivate knowledge. Then he can be stopped from sinful activities.
People, generally, they identify this body as self, and for bodily interest, he commits so many sinful activities, simply for satisfaction of the senses. But if he's cultured, if he's given proper knowledge that "Bodily concept of life is not your interest. You are spirit soul," ahaṁ brahmāsmi, in this way, if he cultivates knowledge... That is very easily possible simply by engaging oneself in the service of the Lord. Kevalayā bhaktyā. Simply by devotional service, one can raise himself to the position of perfect knowledge, and thus he can renounce all sinful activities.
- vāsudeve bhagavati
- bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
- janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ
- jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
- (SB 1.2.7)
In ignorance—means in bodily concept of life—we commit sinful activities, but if we actually come to the platform of knowledge, jñāna, then naturally there is vairāgya, renunciation. Renunciation means renunciation of sinful activities. Renunciation does not mean renunciation of devotional service. Renunciation means that unwanted things, anartha-nivṛttiḥ. That is renunciation. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅga atho bhajana-kriyā, tato anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15). If one is actually advanced in spiritual life, execution of regular spiritual life, then automatically anartha-nivṛttiḥ, things which are not required, that becomes automatically stopped. Anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. So that anartha-nivṛttiḥ is possible by śraddhā, sādhu-saṅgaḥ, bhajana-kriyā, then anartha-nivṛttiḥ, then niṣṭhā, ruci, asakti, bhāva. In this way, we develop our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, love of Godhead. Go on.
Pradyumna: "Another example is given in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam of the elephant who enters into a lake and takes a bath very seriously, cleansing his body thoroughly. Then, as soon as he comes out onto shore, he again takes some dust from the earth and throws it over his body. Similarly, a person who is not trained in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot become completely free from the desire for sinful activities. Neither the yoga process, nor philosophical speculations, nor fruitive activities can save one from the seeds of sinful desires. Only by being engaged in devotional service can this be done."
Prabhupāda: The elephant... Hasti-snāna, hasti-snāna. This is very practical example. The elephant takes bath in the lake, very profusely throws water on his body, and becomes cleansed, and as soon as he comes on the shore, he takes again dust and spreads over his body. So these are natural examples. Similarly, there are different processes for getting out of the reaction of sinful activities, but you..., we take it. But if we again commit those sinful activities, then what is the use of such penance or prāyaścitta? Hasti-snāna. The example is given as hasti-snāna. Take, for example, it is said by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one is released from all sinful activities immediately. Eka hari nāma yata pāpa kare, pāpī haya tato pāpa kari bare nare. It is a fact. Just like Ajāmila. His whole life was full of sinful activities, but at the time of death, because he uttered the holy name of Nārāyaṇa, he became immediately released. That's a fact. But if we commit again sinful activities, then what is the use of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra? Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. This is one of the ten offenses. If anyone thinks that "I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. It is reacting all the effects of my sinful life. Then again I can commit and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is very good business..." No. That is great offense. Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. One should not indulge in such a way. Jagāi-Mādhāi was accepted by Lord Caitanya only on the promise that they would not commit any more any sinful activities. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mercy is there for everyone. He can accept everyone. One who is sinful, that is not disqualification. Because in this age, Kali-yuga, more or less, everyone is sinful. Then nobody can be claimed to be liberated by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra will give you, give you relief from all sinful activities, provided you don't commit it again. Otherwise, it will be like hasti-snāna, the example of the elephant, and it will be a great offense. If on the strength of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra we continue to commit sinful activities, that is great offense. We should not do that. The idea is by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, we become free from the reaction of sinful life, but that does not mean we shall again indulge in sinful life and counteract it by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. No. Not like that. Once you take to Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you should make rapid progress, without committing any sinful activity, and retard the progress. Don't do that. Go on.