“We must always remember that false pride, or too high an estimation of one’s own values of life, undue attachment to women or association with them, and intoxication will divert human civilization from the path of peace, however much the people clamor for peace in the world. The preaching of the Bhagavatam principles will automatically render all men austere, clean both inside and outside, merciful to the suffering, and truthful in daily behavior. That is the way of correcting the flaws of human society, which are very prominently exhibited at the present moment.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.17.24 Purport)
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Friend1: I am sure we have discussed this topic before. In fact, I know that we have on a couple of occasions. I still have to go back to it every now and then, as rational people have some issues.
Friend2: Okay. What is the topic?
Friend1: The restriction on intoxication. Specifically, within the Vaishnava tradition, where the acharya asks their disciples to abide by the four regulative principles: no meat eating, no gambling, no illicit sex, and no intoxication.
Friend2: This is to create brahminical culture. Not everyone can be a brahmana, which is the highest of the four divisions intended for a proper functioning society.
चातुर्-वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं
तस्य कर्तारम् अपि मां
विद्ध्य् अकर्तारम् अव्ययम्
cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.13)
Though the standard is high, at least some brahmanas are required, for the purpose of guiding others. Without brahminical culture, everything descends into chaos. All of the problems you see in the world today have the root cause of lack of principles in religious life: austerity, cleanliness, honesty, and compassion.
Friend1: It makes sense to me. I am not disagreeing. The thing is, unless you are living in a temple with other like-minded students in the brahmana path, you are going to run into problems.
Friend2: Such as?
Friend1: In basic interaction. If you are at a function involving colleagues at work. If you are at a wedding. If an old friend wants to hang out for a night, to catch up. They will inevitably ask why you are not consuming alcoholic drinks.
Friend2: What is the big deal? I am sure they would understand.
Friend1: The “it’s against my religion” excuse would pass, but it seems kind of fake to me. I am not avoiding intoxication because of some lawbook or allegiance to blind faith. I know that sobriety is a viable tool in purifying the consciousness, in realizing the self.
Friend2: Then? Why can’t you explain that to someone?
Friend1: The common response is:
“How is one drink going to kill you? I am not asking you to be drunk all the time or anything. But every now and then, a few glasses of wine – I don’t see the harm.”
Friend2: Ahh. I get it now.
Friend1: They are not necessarily being illogical. Life is indeed difficult. To maintain a living is a stressful affair. You are attacked from every direction. King Dasharatha could defend against oncoming enemies from the ten directions simultaneously. We are not qualified to that level. I can’t even deal with one enemy.
Friend2: I know what you are saying. That still doesn’t invalidate the principle. The acharya presents the truth, to reestablish dharma to a viable state.
Friend1: How do we respond to the person who wants to indulge just a little?
Friend2: In this regard I heard something great from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He says that lack of intoxication allows a person to be sane in considering things in their true perspective.
Friend2: I know, right? What a great way to put it. It aligns with the discipline itself, the mission statement, if you will. I am striving for the Absolute Truth. I want to see clearly. Intoxication is for the opposite purpose.
Friend1: Oh, no doubt. It is for forgetting. Escaping from the reality. If I am watching a football game while intoxicated, the time will just fly by. If I am stuck in an uncomfortable situation, like a wedding reception full of people I don’t know, the beers will help to pass the time. It will ease some of the tension.
Friend2: Right, and so if you see things as they truly are, that will make it even easier to deal with life.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Because you will see things in the proper perspective, starting with the distinction between matter and spirit. Then you move on to the futile chase for permanent happiness in a temporary world. The more you know the Absolute Truth, the more you will see and appreciate His influence in all spheres of life.
Friend2: The next time someone questions you as to the principle, tell them that you are striving for a clear vision, wherein you will feel a thousand times happier than the drunk person. You will feel that throughout the day, without any withdrawal symptoms. No crashing back to earth, since you are always in the natural high of the Vaikuntha mindset.
For Vaikuntha we try,
A natural and spiritual high.
So that intoxication not needed,
No inkling for that proceeded.
Amazing admitted to state,
But follow and just you wait.
When sane in everything considering,
The Divine consciousness delivering.
Radhe Radhe ❤️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❤️
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram