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SB 1.13.46

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


deho 'yaṁ pāñca-bhautikaḥ
katham anyāṁs tu gopāyet
sarpa-grasto yathā param


kāla—eternal time; karma—action; guṇa—modes of nature; adhīnaḥ—under the control of; dehaḥ—material body and mind; ayam—this; pāñca-bhautikaḥ—made of the five elements; katham—how; anyān—others; tu—but; gopāyet—give protection; sarpa-grastaḥ—one who is bitten by the snake; yathā—as much as; param—others.


This gross material body made of five elements is already under the control of eternal time [kāla], action [karma] and the modes of material nature [guṇa]. How, then, can it, being already in the jaws of the serpent, protect others?


The world's movements for freedom through political, economic, social, and cultural propaganda can do no benefit to anyone, for they are controlled by superior power. A conditioned living being is under the full control of material nature, represented by eternal time and activities under the dictation of different modes of nature. There are three material modes of nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. Unless one is situated in the mode of goodness, one cannot see things as they are. The passionate and the ignorant cannot even see things as they are. Therefore a person who is passionate and ignorant cannot direct his activities on the right path. Only the man in the quality of goodness can help to a certain extent. Most persons are passionate and ignorant, and therefore their plans and projects can hardly do any good to others. Above the modes of nature is eternal time, which is called kāla because it changes the shape of everything in the material world. Even if we are able to do something temporarily beneficial, time will see that the good project is frustrated in course of time. The only thing possible to be done is to get rid of eternal time, kāla, which is compared to kāla-sarpa, or the cobra snake, whose bite is always lethal. No one can be saved from the bite of a cobra. The best remedy for getting out of the clutches of the cobralike kāla or its integrity, the modes of nature, is bhakti-yoga, as it is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 14.26). The highest perfectional project of philanthropic activities is to engage everyone in the act of preaching bhakti-yoga all over the world because that alone can save the people from the control of māyā, or the material nature represented by kāla, karma and guṇa, as described above. The Bhagavad-gītā (BG 14.26) confirms this definitely.

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