A devotee honours prasadam and other persons eat as slaves of the tongue or belly. To honour prasadam is to feel, “Oh! Krishna has taken this, and I am so fortunate to taste His prasadam!” To honour prasadam is not to eat, to devour, or to swallow. The main thing is to feel, “How fortunate I am to receive this prasadam which has been taken by Krishna.” Automatically, the physical side also goes on.
The devotee’s mind is concentrated not on the thing that appears physically but on honouring what has been taken by the Lord. Ordinary people, however, consider only the physical taste. This is the difference between them, and this difference arises in every aspect of devotional life: one person thinks of Krishna’s satisfaction, and the other seeks the satisfaction of their own senses. The physical activity is one and the same in both cases.
A devotee comes to look at the Deities and thinks, “How beautiful are Krishna, Radharani, and Mahaprabhu, and They have come to grace the people in this way.” The other comes with some malpurpose, “Oh, so many ornaments are here. I will come at night and take the gold crown and other things.” Both persons are looking at the Deity. So, in everything, the internal estimation is the most valuable thing, the angle of vision. Mere physical activity does not have much value. In whatever we do, the plane of our approach is to be considered in the valuation of our activity.
raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais charan
atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigachchhati
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.64)
“A devotee accepts and makes connection with external things but does not do so under the control of the senses. They are not prey to any affection or disaffection.” This is the negative side, and the positive side is that everything they do is meant for the satisfaction of Krishna.
Once we get out of the negative side, we will not care for any pleasure or any pain when we approach everything outside of us; such things cannot tie us down in this material world. In Gita, this has been dealt with in detail, and it is taught that no physical activity is to be blamed: how one approaches it is the valuable thing. Do anything and everything, but don’t be a slave to the minor purpose for which you are doing it. Simply attend to everything as duty that has come to you and do not be a slave to the consequences. Don’t be a slave to the pleasure and pain that your duty produces, to your karma-phal [the consequences of your actions]. If you can do that, then even if you demolish the whole universe, you do not do anything at all and are not responsible for have done anything.
hatvapi sa imal lokan na hanti na nibadhyate
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.17)
One who has no charm for any loss or gain in one’s activity neither kills nor will have any reaction for having killed. In other words, one is standing and working in the plane of the universal wave. One is only an instrumental as one has no own selfish end or purpose. One who works without any selfish tendency dances in the universal wave, or we may say the universal wave makes one dance as one is simply an instrument of that wave. Thus, one is not responsible for any of the consequences of one’s activities. It is such. So, to withdraw from the negative side and then participate in the positive side—to do anything for the satisfaction of Krishna consciously—will be most laudable.
Spoken on 5 January 1983.