Gambling seems, to most people that I have spoken to, to be the least cause for concern, and in some cases more a case of bewilderment as to why so much emphasis is placed on this as being one of the four sinful propensities that are known to be prevalent in this Kali Yuga.
In the essay that follows I will try to present as much as possible evidence that one can appreciate from mine and others practical experience, problems that can and do arise from such an activity as gambling.
The obvious and most common reaction to any presentation
on gambling is, ".....I hardly ever gamble, ........occasionally in social
circles, ........but it's completely under control, .......a flutter on
Derby Day, Melbourne Cup etc., that's all."
But unfortunately because of lack of information of the purpose of life, lack of realisation of this bodies temporary nature, and lack of the desire or impetus for doing anything really constructive to solve these scenarios. People go through their lives without any though for how, or why they are here, and proper utilisation of their allotted life-span.
If we were even a little bit conscious of our precarious position, certainly I suggest that we would do something to change the way that we act and live.
For example a friend of mine, his mother was diagnosed as having terminal cancer. As a sober, thoughtful person, she began reading, listening to tapes in regard to gaining a better understanding of the science of self realisation, what happens at the time of death, eternality of the soul, and developing better understandings of who she is, where she has come from, and how to again re-establish that dormant relationship with God, and positively optimise her future situation. Consequently, and as a direct result of her attitude she passed from that present moral frame in a very good state of consciousness (Indradyumna Swami's mother, reflection on his Vyasa Puja homage to Srila Prabhupad 1995.).
"It is not the method that is important. The real important is how to develop your love of Krsna. If somebody develops love of Krsna, or God, without those methods, there is no objection. We are not limited by the methods or ritualistic methods. But there are certain ritualistic method, which, if one follows, then he can quickly learn the art of Krsna consciousness. Just like we restrict our students in four principles: illicit sex life and intoxication, gambling, and meat-eating. So it is not that a gambler or a meat-eater or a man addicted to illicit sex life, he cannot love Krsna. It is not that. But that is very rare case. If he follows these principles, then it will be easier for him. Because Krsna, or God is pure, so long one is impure in his habits, it is not possible for him. So these are the purificatory processes"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Interview, Seattle, September 24, 1968. IV.)
In actuality gambling is not restricted to these gross gaming activities; shooting dice, playing 'one armed bandits', the 'GG's', cock fighting, bullock charging (Malaysia - Thailand), card games, lotteries, competitions etc., etc. Risk taking in general is a form of gambling, where the person gets a certain sense of excitement from taking the risk, and even more so if the risk "pays off."
Filling in one's allotted time in pursuit of competitive
sporting activities is another form of gambling, taking the opportunity
or chance to try to beat another individual or team. In fact the use of
the synonyms for gamble/gambling are unconsciously used in this association
daily by some; challenge, to wager a bet, stake a chance, make a venture,
risk, hazard a bet, speculate on that horse, play the game etc.....!
In days of yore when Kshatriya Kings ruled the Earth often one would call another for a competition or gambling or gaming match to see who would be victorious. The winner would then take the prize. This is very much liked by those driven by the powerful mode of passion, the excitement gaining the prize or even bride. they could not refuse a challenge. However sometimes they were bitterly defeated as in the case of Maharaja Yudhisthira,
Prabhupada: "For a Kshatriya there are some obligations. If somebody challenges that 'I want to fight with you,' a ksatriya cannot deny. If somebody challenges, 'Yes, I want to bet with you, gambling,' a Kshatriya cannot deny. And for that reason, the Pandavas lost their kingdom. The other side, his cousins, offered them, that 'All right, let us come to betting.' So betting, the bid was they offered the kingdom. 'Now, if you, if you,' I mean to say, 'defeated, if you are defeated, then you lose your kingdom.' So they lost their kingdom. Then the next, next offer was that 'If you are defeated, you lost your wife.' So they lost their wife. And similarly, they were put: 'Now, this time, if you are defeated, you have to go to the forest..."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, Bhagavad-gita 02nd March 1966, New York)
Gambling is sometimes listed in this vain as one of the victimless crimes, so called because individuals more or less of their own free will engage in these activities directly without harming others. Since whatever harm befalls such individuals is mainly of their own doing, many argue that it is not the role of the government to intervene in such activities (A. Giddens, 1993. Sociology, page 151).
A Potent Addiction.
"Gambling has many of the penalties associated with chemical addictions such as; loss of control over gambling when the urge intensifies; increase in gambling over time to get the same degree of effect (tolerance); and withdrawal penalties when gambling is unable to be accessed."
"This similarity with alcohol or drug dependence can be more readily seen when gamblers talk of an adrenalin 'buzz' they experience when gambling."
"The need for excitement through risk-taking behaviour is one aspect of a problem gambler's behaviour that assists in understanding why, instead of using a win to solve pressing problems, a problem gambler will immediately re-wager that money" (Sean Sullivan, Mental Heath News, 1994/95 page 19.)
It seems that we have jumped from gamblers to problem
gamblers doesn't it? Well we haven't, problem gambling is the progressive
developmental stage that for most unconsciously comes in due course of
"Over half the adults in New Zealand gamble weekly or more often and, of that group, an increasing number are becoming problem gamblers. Better methods of detecting the development of problem gambling could offer hope of nipping problem gambling in the bud and reversing this growing trend."
"Part of the problem is the mindset of the problem gambler who believes that it is the action of gambling that is all important, rather than actually winning. One heavy gambler, in encapsulating the major difference in perspective between a problem gambler and the social gambler, said 'the next best thing to gambling and winning is gambling and losing'"(Sean Sullivan, July 1993. NZ Science Monthly, page 6.)
This kind of mindset is not fully developed in most of the gamblers who are still attached to the result of winning, when they graduate to actually gaining a continuous taste from gambling, then their spontaneous addiction (attachment or perverted asakti) becomes manifest.
".....it is an accepted pastime of nearly every adult New Zealander. Over 95% of all New Zealand adults have participated in at least one form of gambling, and more than 50% of them gamble weekly or more often"(Drs. Abbott & Volberg, 1993. Department of Internal Affairs Commission, July 1993. NZ Science Monthly, page 6.)
"Over the past five years, along with the growth of the
gambling industry in New Zealand has come a growth in the areas of problem
gambling and gambling addicts. Problem gambling as a disorder in New Zealand
now exceeds that of the United States" (Sean Sullivan, July 1993. NZ Science
Monthly, page 6.) (The article continues.......below)
"New forms and opportunities have appeared - Lotto, Instant Kiwi, gaming machines and recently, Sunday track racing, complete with it's own television channel. One of the developments found with increased opportunity to gamble is an observed increase in the numbers of people who lose control of their gambling. To date in New Zealand, track racing accounts for most of the pathology. In this form of gambling it takes, on average, ten years to develop from an occasional 'flutter' to a pathological pastime. However, there is a compounding factor in the equation - new forms of gambling have indicated much shorter development periods for the pathology."
"With gambling machines, or 'one armed bandits', the progression from social to problem, then to pathological gambling may take less than three years."
"The profile of the problem gambler has departed substantially from that commonly held by the public. Commonly, the problem gambler is viewed as middle class, white, middle aged, and from a stable family and employment prior to losing control to their gambling. In New Zealand, the problem gambler is more likely to be non-white, young, unmarried, unemployed, and a male."
"Recognition of the pathology of problem gambling is about where alcoholism was 40 years ago. Alcoholism is understood by the public as an addiction, disease and the lack of control the alcohol addict has with their particular psychoactive substance is accepted. There is no such substance with problem gamblers, and the problem is often attributed to moral weakness, and viewed as a self-inflicted weakness."
"Because of the public perception of problem gamblers as indulgent, and the consequential stigma attached to their disorder, problem gambling has been referred to as the 'secret disorder'. Problem gamblers will rarely seek treatment for their disorder, and will do so only if forced by circumstances, or they have reached a particular low point in their lives: this attempt to obtain help will quickly be lost as the addiction regains control. More likely, the gambler or their spouse will seek assistance from their general practitioner for problems associated with the gambling disorder."(Sean Sullivan, July 1993. NZ Science Monthly, page 6.)
For a country of only 4 million persons like New Zealand, compared with larger countries like America or countries in Europe, like Britain, France and Germany these statistics are dangerously reflective of the attitude of the people of the world in general.
Along with the absorption in gambling activities certain side issues also become prevalent in the lives of he participants. "Such associated problems include depression, associated suicidal tendencies, stress, problems associated with alcohol, and psychiatric disturbances. In the case of the spouse of the problem gambler - 80% of the problem gamblers are male - treatment may be sought for physical violence as a result of arguments over money, or stress or depression due to dealing with the consequence of the problem gambler's addiction."
"Suicide is particularly elevated in the case of the problem gambler and, indeed, their partners. A study of some 50 pathological gamblers hospitalised for residential treatment of their gambling addiction showed that 24 % had either made a lethal attempt with definite attempt to die, or had made substantial preparations for suicide within 12 months of hospitalisation. this same group, once in residential treatment, were found to have elevated instances of hypomanic disorder (38 % of them) and major depressive disorder (76 %)."
"The Abbott & Volberg study indicated between 18,000 and 32,000 New Zealand adults were pathological gamblers, with much larger numbers likely to be diagnosed as problem gamblers or potential pathological gamblers. As such it is highly likely that most general practitioners will have treated problem gamblers or their partners for some matter other than gambling addiction, but directly attributed to the disorder" (Sean Sullivan, July 1993. NZ Science Monthly, page 6-7.)
"World Health Organisation listed compulsive gambling in its International Classification of Diseases. Shortly thereafter, the American Psychiatric Association included it in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III) as a disorder of impulse control, with a short list of behaviour associated with the pathology" (Sean Sullivan, July 1993. NZ Science Monthly, page 7.)
"A chronic and progressive impairment in the gambler's ability to resist impulses to gamble, affecting family and work; reaction to stress being and increased gambling urge; isolation from others, as well as from their own feelings; personality changes whereby the gambler increasingly becomes manipulative and isolated from others, becomes self centred, and readily lies; anxiety and depression - suicide ideations and attempts are extremely high. Successful attempts (complexion) attribute to pathological gambling remain unknown but are likely to be high; a high correlation with personality disorders - such as antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and avoidant personality disorders; a high correlation with alcohol addiction - up to 30% of pathological gamblers may be alcoholics, and up to 15% of alcoholics may have a co-morbid gambling addiction, often undiagnosed; Disruption of family life and/or employment; behavioural changes such as those shown in table"(Sean Sullivan, 1994. Patient Management Magazine, Psychiatry Series, page 79.)
"And so far gambling is concerned, oh, sometimes we have to commit suicide. There are history of gambling clubs that when a person loses everything he commits suicide and he is thrown away. I have heard that in Europe there are many clubs. They go for gambling, and they lose everything, whatever, and they commit suicide. And the club proprietor throws him in the street. There is no law. I have heard. Of course, I do not know. You may know better than me. So if we want to control the mind, then we have to adopt these regulative principles of life. Not that we have to give up, but we have to make regulated. Vairagya. Then it will be possible to adopt. And the best thing is that engage your mind always in Krsna consciousness"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, New York, Bhagavad-gita 14th Sept' 1966).
Some Pathological Behavioural Signs Connected With
One Becomes Impulsive
Has Labile Moods
Often Depressed and Anxious
Manipulative - Constantly and Trying to Control, and Lies Readily
Isolated from Others, Uncomfortable in Company, Avoids Small Talk
Problems With Creditors, Borrows From Friends / Family Constantly
Unexplained Absences From Home and Work
"Pursuit of their addiction often costs compulsive gamblers their jobs, health, friends, family, homes, and liberty as well as thousands of dollars. Prevented from gambling, they suffer physical withdrawal just like heroin addicts do" (University of Auckland News, May 1994. page 9.)
Others are a preoccupation with the addiction, its sub-culture; disinterest in other things; and an overriding irritability if unable to gamble (withdrawal). It has been observed by us that the hoping against hope of some gamblers, predominates their attitude to life, making them expectant of some 'wind fall', and depressive and irritable when it doesn't come. The more the process goes on for the more demoralised, short tempered, more dissatisfied they become.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita (2:62-63) philosophically identifies
these symptoms very methodically in the verses.
dhyayato visayan pumsah
sangat sanjayate kaamah
kaamaat kroddho 'bhijayate
"While contemplating the object of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises."
krodhaad bhavati sammohah
"From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion
bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, the intelligence is
lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down into the material pool."
All these symptoms are there in the progression of wondering either how to get money, to satisfy the senses, in the neophyte stage; and full blown excitement of the senses by desiring a flutter, in the progressive stage. Then knowing the availability of some kind of 'game', attachment to it, and reliance develops. Because lust or desire, of which attachment is like a shadow, when the lust is not fulfilled by the required excitement, then frustration or anger arises. Caught in the consuming motion of anger, either verbal or physical the 'user' expresses their frustrations. Thinking that they are the doer, controller of the situation, their system set in motion, all forms of delusion and bewilderment of memory come about. In such a state it is quite obvious that intelligence has been lost, allowing one to continually undergo this situation, and blatantly deny addiction to it, time and time again.
When one is so caught in this vicious cycle of the gambling
pool, in total anxiety, frustration, continued symptoms are observed. "They
often eat and sleep poorly, get not exercise, and suffer depression and
ill-health as a result of cardiovascular problems, headache and gastro-intestinal
illnesses are common" (University of Auckland News, May 1994. page 9.)
"There is little of the adrenalin 'buzz', or even a raised heartbeat, especially in those with severe gambling problems. What is significant in experiments involving these problem gamblers is that their heart rates increase after gambling has finished, indicating withdrawal effects" (Sean Sullivan, Summer 1994 / 95. Mental Health News, A potent Addiction, page 19.)
A Powerful Conditioning Process
"What has been suspected is that these machine gamblers are able to access their own B-endorphins, the body's own natural opiate and mood elevator. How this occurs is yet to be determined. this warm, comforting effect accompanies a learning or conditioning process that is well recognised by psychologists as being the most effective means of producing a high, unpausing 'response rate'. This process of learning is called variable ratio rein-forcement, which produces a steady, high response, despite the rewards for the behaviour, (e.g. jackpots) being often few and far between. This complex sounding term simply means that everytime we bet, we don't necessarily win; but we have to bet to win, and wins may occur at widely varying times."
"What problem gamblers believe. is that either because of luck or a system, wins will turn up more often than pure chance for them. This self-attribution explanation of wins by the problem gambler, assists the conditioning or addiction process. One important aspect of this form of conditioning is that it encourages a high rate of response and is very resistant to extinction. In other words, once the gambling behaviour is learned, such as playing machines to win money, the problem gambler will keep playing at a high rate, and will not easily reduce even when the wins don't occur. The winning of the money becomes less important than playing the machine" (Sean Sullivan, Summer 1994/95. Mental Health News, A potent Addiction, page 19.)
The Ploy To Be The Controller Of Fate.
If one is satisfied with one's allotment by providence, and positively works toward attaining one's developmental goals in life, one will gradually grow into a sustainable healthy natural being. Problems arise when we try to by-pass the karmic metre, 'hot-wire' the universal control panel, and try to set ourselves up as the controller, enjoyer and proprietor of this world, without the credentials to factually be so.
Gambling disrupts the natural allotment given to society and its members, making them into desperate individuals, full with false hopes - grasping at false promises, and cheap hopes, much like the impetus that the ass has being moved by a carrot on a stick. If one wants to be bound by a habit and enticed by the carrot of self deception, we can advise against it but ultimately is the individuals choice. But bear this in mind at least. Either side of the addictive road that you walk there is an abundance of green grass, hay and leaves available when you want. The only condition is that you give up the bondage of the re-occurring habit of following the confines and restrictions imposed by the carrot on the gambling stick. This 'will-o-the-whisp' rarely, but mostly never is the giver of it's promised reward. And even if it eventually does how much di the carrot cost? I'm sure that there are cheaper and more sustainable ways of getting your satisfaction, without the risk of so much depletion, and anxiety.
The tendency is to think that we have some control over our destiny, whereas in the case of gambling, just as the funds gradually run out, so does ones stock pile of pious activities until finally one is destitute in every sense of the word. We all by now know that we are only designated our allotted 'lot' according to our previous activities, after trying and trying and coming back with nothing. While others inherit, or get give sums that set them up for life, that is called karma. What you or I have is all predestined according to our previous activities, some in this life some in former lives.
If one enjoys in excess of one's lot, then simply it means that one's stockpile of pious credits is being depleted. The same is there for suffering, if one suffers then it is to be understood that the results of one's previous 'bad karma' is being depleted.
"O my enemy, consider this battle a gambling match in which our lives are the stakes, the arrows are the dice, and the animals acting as carriers are the game board. No one can understand who will be defeated and who will be victorious. It all depends on providence" (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 6: Chapter Twelve, Text 17 :Translation)
"Panca-dravida: What about...? What about gambling, Prabhupada?
Somebody wins; somebody loses. That's by chance.
Prabhupada: That is not chance.
Madhudvisa: They would say, "Everything is by chance." You say green, yellow flower with green leaf. So.... But through evolution there has been so many other combinations. Now we're just...
Prabhupada: But then evolution is the cause. Then evolution is the cause. How you can say "chance"?
Madhudvisa: No, it's just many, many different combinations. Now you are seeing the yellow and green...
Prabhupada: That's all right.
Madhudvisa: ...so you are appreciating.
Prabhupada: There is a process in the evolution. Therefore you find. You cannot say it's chance.
Panca-dravida: Well the evolution happens by chance.
Trivikrama: Just like he said. All the trees are growing up, not one going this way, not by chance one is...
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Nothing by chance. It is a wrong theory.
Satsvarupa: If you throw dice, they may come up in one...
Prabhupada: Then dice becomes cause? Chance?
Satsvarupa: Well, what causes it to be seven or eleven or another number?
Prabhupada: Not chance. You do not know. Therefore you say.
Hrdayananda: Ah! Because they don't know, they say "chance."
Trivikrama: That's right, because I don't know, ignorant.
Prabhupada: Yes. They want to cover their ignorance by this theory, "chance." They want to become very intelligent by chance. That is their.... That is not the fact. For intelligence you have to learn from a superior person. It cannot be done by chance. Who has become learned scholar by chance? There is none.
Pusta Krsna: Because that is shudra philosophy, this chance philosophy.
Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone has to work very hard, pass examination, and then he becomes an educated man. Where is by chance one has become learned?
Panca-dravida: What about two people born in the same circumstance? Each has equal education and equal background, but one becomes rich and one remains poor. That's chance?
Prabhupada: Yes. That is the fate. Fate is the cause, destiny. Otherwise, so many people are working hard. Why not everyone is becoming rich by chance?"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada & Disciples, Morning Walk, Mayapur, March 17, 1976).
So with these 'games of chance', gambling it is a very risky business. One is literally taking one's credits of life in one's hands and risking 'double or nothing'. So if you get nothing how can you complain?
"For problem gamblers, wins are more effective because of their strong belief in superstition and luck and a willingness to believe that their skill or system affected the outcome" (Sean Sullivan, Summer 1994 / 95. Mental Health News, A potent Addiction, page 19.) But in reality nothing could be further from the truth. skill has little or nothing to do with it. Karma is guiding the hand of providence that makes, poor men rich, rich men, and a child at birth beautiful, deformed, or born dead. "First deserve, then desire....." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Class 30th Sept 68 Seatle; SB Lecture 03rd May 73 L.A.; Morning Walk 11th Jan 74, L.A.; Morning Walk 02nd July 75 Denver; SB Class 01st Nov 75 Nairobi; SB Class 10th Nov 76 Vrndavana etc.).
Bewilderment Of Memory.
"This powerful effect focuses the problem gambler on the successful gambling, while ignoring the unsuccessful occasions. This is part of minimisation of unpleasant symptoms that is called 'denial' in other addictions. The gambler's heightened ability to 'rationalise' for all occasions, reduces his or her chances of clear perception when their favourite form of gambling is available."
"Their world can be unreal to others, who find it strange that such otherwise intelligent people can fall prey to such faulty reasoning. It is easier to believe that the problem gamblers are self centred individuals with little care for others, who are seeking an easy life through the big win" (Sean Sullivan, Summer 1994 / 95. Mental Health News, A potent Addiction, page 20.)
"All gambling is variable rate reinforcement, which can explain why this behaviour is so hard to stop, and why it can often become an obsession, once 'learned'. The initial learning of the problematic behaviour often results from receiving an initial large win or reward, but doesn't necessarily follow" (Sean Sullivan, Summer 1994 / 95. Mental Health News, A potent Addiction, page 19-20.)
"The problem is often viewed that a losing streak that will be solved by a big win. Faith in a system that continues despite continuing losses, underscores the distancing from reality that the pathological gambler develops. Those addicted to gambling machines do not usually hold out such a hope and are often very depressed, with a feeling of shame that prevents their admitting the problem. In all cases, as the disorder progresses, there will be a strong association of anxiety and depression"(Sean Sullivan, August 1994. Patient Management, page 85.)
"Once a problem has become severe, where they have exhausted usual sources of money and are committing criminal offences in order to gamble ('chasing'), depression and anxiety will often override their strongly held perception that gambling is both the cause of, and solution to, their problem; when they are pressured into help-seeking by their family, or as a result of criminal prosecution - skilled counsellors, especially experiential, can often' break through' the denial of the problem that accompanies addicts; where specialised treatment is available that is both understanding and non-criticising. Specialist facilities may also inadvertently appeal to the narcissistic personality and entitlement attitude that develops with the disorder; or after an unsuccessful suicide attempt" (Sean Sullivan, August 1994 Patient Management, page 82.)
The Position of the Government.
Some people propose that no activities that people engage in of their own free will should be illegal (so long as they do not impinge on others' freedom or cause them harm). Opponents claim that government has a role as moral guardian of the population subject to its administration, and that therefore it is justified to define at least some of these types of activity as criminal (A. Giddens, 1993. Sociology, page 152).
What amazes me is that these persons saying that the government
should look after its dependants, which it is true it should do, but when
we look closer at what is really going on in the world, it is the governments
that are making millions of dollars yearly from gambling activities.
Addicts ignored: "Governments are encouraging gambling with national lotteries and looser gaming laws but are not doing enough to help gambling addicts, speakers at an international conference in Cambridge said today. A boom in legalised gambling led by big lotteries and popular gaming halls where children can play on 'slot machines' was creating more and more pathological gamblers, casino operators and researchers agreed" (Bay of Plenty times, Friday 4th August 1995).
"......the state should categorically stop all sorts of
gambling, drinking, prostitution and falsity. The state which wants to
eradicate corruption by majority may introduce the principles of religion
in the following manner:
Gambling of all description, even speculative business enterprise, is considered to be degrading, and when gambling is encouraged in the state, there is a complete disappearance of truthfulness"(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter Seventeen, Text 38 :Purport).
"Prabhupad: This is not encouragement. This is restriction.
The same example can be given. Just like when government opens liquor shop
it is not encouragement. It is restriction. You cannot have liquor manufactured
by yourself anywhere, everywhere. Otherwise it will increase more and more.
So you have to pay heavy tax and purchase. And there are so many other
rules and regulations. So this is restriction. When there is liquor shop
licensed by the government, it does not mean it is encouragement. At least
that is the philosophy. It is restriction. So all these facilities given
sometimes in the shastras or by the government for drinking or for intoxication
or for sex or for gambling, that is restricted. Gambling, khsatriyas, they
can gamble. They must have the sporting spirit. Otherwise when they are
defeated they will succumb to death. So they have to...The gambling, I
lose one hundred thousand dollars. Never mind. It is sporting. Otherwise
I will succumb to death. I have been...
What? That is being done in gambling clubs. But if you do it in a sporting habit, then never mind. I gain or lose, it is nothing. That's all. Kshatriyas are allowed because when they fight they will have to gain or to lose. But if they lose, if they become succumbed, then it will be very difficult for them. They are allowed to hunt. If they cannot kill, then how can they rule over the criminals? The Kshatriya king, 'Oh, he is a criminal?' Just like Pariksit Maharaja. Such a Vaisnava king. As soon as he saw somebody is trying to kill a cow, immediately took his sword. 'What nonsense you are doing? Immediately I shall kill you.' A Kshatriya must be spirited. Immediately cut off. Even in England. That was the practice. They used to practice dummy men cut head. The king must be like there" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, Tokyo, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1972).
If we were to compare the two systems of government, the qualities of the rulers, as well as their personal habits, the differences are very pronounced.
Human life is in this way becoming further degraded. Even
in the animal kingdom what we see happening on the streets of every major
(and minor) city in the world does not go on, they live simply according
to the laws of nature. But in the name of advancement we are becoming less
"... inferior type of life, animals, birds, beasts, trees, it is not possible. They are also living entities. But human life is developed consciousness. So this is nature's gift, that 'Now you try to understand what is God. Now you try to understand what is your relationship with God. Now you practice yourself, how to go back home, back to home, back to..' This is the business of the human society. So unless the king or government looks after it, how people will be advanced? The government is advocating that 'You drink, you eat meat, you have prostitution and gambling, and give me tax. Finished. My business is finished.' So Pariksit Maharaja was not like that"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1974).
"Prabhupada: "In this age, men are victims not only of different political creeds and parties, but also of many different types of sense-gratificatory diversions, such as cinemas, sports, gambling, clubs, mundane libraries, bad association, smoking, drinking, cheating, pilfering, bickerings, and so on. Their minds are always disturbed and full of anxieties due to so many different engagements. In this age, many unscrupulous men manufacture their own religious faiths which are not based on any revealed scriptures, and very often people who are addicted to sense gratification are attracted by such institutions" (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter One, Text 10 :Purport)
"Prabhupada: Gambling religion. Now here also, they are advertising gambling, this government. Deteriorating, the whole world is deteriorating and suffering. Suffering is increasing. Still they are so rascal, they cannot understand that what is the advancement. They have become so less intelligent. Pancadravida: Usually, though, it is the children. They gamble for cookies and candy and things like this. Prabhupada: No, children they learn it from their parents. Otherwise they do not know."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Morning Walk, Hyderabad, April 20, 1974).
"Prajapati: Yesterday, Srila Prabhupada, in class, you
mentioned how the churches, people could pay them for supposedly becoming
very religious men. In Las Vegas, the capital of the gambling and the illicit
sex and the intoxication, where all these things are very prominent, the
churches there are very prominent also. These big demons, they pay large
money to the churches and therefore they feel like they are very religious
men even though they are committing all these sinful activities.
Prabhupada: Yes. And by taking their sinful money, because they do not engage to Krsna, they also become sinful. Affection. Infection. (break) They have mentioned something like sinful?
Prajapati: Yes, sinful.
Prabhupada: What he has said, Karandhara?
Karandhara: He doesn't say specifically. He just said that generally the country is degraded and people have become apathetic, and the morals have reduced. He was referring to things like Watergate, political scandals, and the youth degradation.
Prabhupada: But why they have degraded? That is to be understood... Not known to them.
Karandhara: Yes. Actually they don't have the scientific analysis. They just have some vague understanding that things are falling apart.
Prabhupada: Here are the causes. Sinful life. (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Morning Walk Los Angeles, December 20, 1973).
In a paper put out by the Compulsive Gambling Society (CGS) it has been noted that casino licensing authorities have been handing out, ".....that licences were unable to be restricted. this was despite the fact that such licenses were granted for 25 years" (Sean Sullivan, Winter 1994. Mental Heath News, page 15.) The government seem at present to be getting round their obligations on restrictions by the, "....current emphasis of the Act being focused upon employment and tourism, favouring the size of the proposed operation, rather than social impact of casinos on New Zealand society. In addition is the attraction of these revenue producing facilities for the government."(Sean Sullivan, Winter 1994. Mental Heath News, page 17.)
In Vedic times in the Indus Valley Civilisation, the throwing of dice was used by some lower class people as a form of recreation, and like today, but as a restriction the government taxed it and regulated it, and took revenue from it (B.P.Sinha, 1919, Readings in Kautilya's Arthashastra. page 146.).
"Prabhupada: Monte Carlo, yes. He said that there are
gamblers, and one gambler loses everything, he commits suicide, immediately,
and he'll go on. That's all. Nobody cares for him. He told me. It is a
fact? So just see the gambling. They bring all their fortunes to stake
and they lose everything. And then, out of frustration, takes revolver
and shots himself, dies, and it is thrown on the street or in somewhere.
Nobody cares. Just like cats and dogs. So there is free gambling in Monte
Devotee: Very, very wealthy people, they there.
Devotee: There is free gambling in London.
Prabhupada: Oh, everywhere. Any big city. In Calcutta, Bombay, everyone gambling. When you get money, then gambling. The horse race is also gambling. Horse race. This gambling, drinking, meat-eating, these things were all unknown in India. They did not know how not drink. These Britishers introduced. There is still a lane, a street, Porterly Street. There was a woman of suspicious character. She was supplied big bottles of wine, and she used to canvass rich men's son to take wine, and it was distributed free. In this way wine was distributed, and people began to drink, gradually. And I have seen a tea set committee. They... Advertising tea, preparing tea nicely. "You take this tea, you'll not feel hungry, you'll be cured from malaria..," and so many things. And people come and take tea in this way. Now any man is taking tea. In the morning they'll gather in the tea stall. You see. So people, they did not know what is gambling, what is drinking, what is meat-eating (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, London, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1969)
These days gambling like many of the other sinful activities,
is part of a tradition, for many an enjoyable recreation. And those who
do have a serious interest in gambling usually somehow or another find
a way to devote a great deal of time and money to it. With the increasing
availability of ways that gamblers can effectively gamble, via the telephone,
e-mail, news agents, and numerous other outlets within reach, it provides
everyone in society the tempting opportunity to indulge in gambling by
using credit cards or even personal loans if necessary.
........then even supposing you can avoid all this, look out in the mail box. With sweepstakes such as those enticing people to be $100,000 super draw entrants, $30,000 customers only draw etc., found in companies like Readers Digest, using these dubiously attractive sales tactics to sell their books the innocent public can't hardly help fall prey to the bait. I know at face value they seem pretty harmless but, what they insight and cause individuals to feel behind the scenes, are not however, healthy emotions. The security and satisfaction and safety of society, families, and individuals has been grossly overlooked, in the name of helping the economy.
It is a great misconception and form of deception to continue the notion that the economy should be based on or reliant on, either of these sinful activities, such as gambling, or for that matter the export of vast amounts of dead animal bodies overseas each year. Especially when we look at some of the statistics which say that more gambling is performed by local residents than by over-seas tourists yearly, already. "The casino Authority has stated, at least in respect of the Auckland casino, that overseas tourists may comprise only 2% of the patrons (however the successful applicant has estimated 13.7%).(Sean Sullivan, Mental Health News, Winter 1994. page 15). Personally I don't see this as significant to warrant the notion that these sinful gaming rooms are to attract money from overseas, do you?
The Crime Factor.
"Current machines pay a jackpot of $100, and are less sophisticated than the 'on-line' machines proposed for the casinos. In addition, the casinos offer machines that promise a jackpot of $30,000 or more. The effect of large numbers of machines, available continuously, higher prizes, and the reinforcing effects of displays indicating nearby winners, are all variables that New Zealanders have yet to experience. For many, these will accelerate problem gambling, in numbers that have not been prepared for" (Sean Sullivan, Mental Health News, Winter 1994. page 16).
A man in the Christchurch casino has just broken the house record by playing the 'one armed bandit' machines for 44 days continuously without stop. It is estimated that during that period he has lost in excess of $25,000 chasing a jackpot of less than half that ($11,000)(T.V.N.Z., One Network News. 6:00pm., Wednesday Sept' 30th. 1995.)
At the hearing of the Auckland licence application before the Casino Licensing Authority, it was indicated by the authority that an opinion had been sought from the Police as to likely increase in crime from the operation of each casino applicant. Such reports were confidential to the Authority, however indications were given that there was unlikely to be any increase in crime as a result of an Auckland casino's operation."
"Such a conclusion appears contrary to available information. Casinos attract tourists, (if not overseas) and tourists are seen as objects of 'portable wealth.' Overseas studies attribute increase crime in casino areas as being largely attributable to the presence of tourists, and not the inherent nature of casinos. Indeed, casinos are strictly controlled from the financial perspectives, with little likelihood of organised crime gaining a foothold. The crime that may result from the operation is possibly able to be distinguished into two categories."
" 1/. 'Street crime', that may increase as a result of targeting tourists and local visitors to a casino. This, to some extent, might be relocation of offending to the area in which the casino operates, rather than a substantial increase in offending overall.
There will be some increase, perhaps, due to the 24 hour operation of casinos. Further, it is well recognised overseas that casino car-parks are one of the more dangerous places to be."
" 2/. The increase in fraud, burglaries, and offences against properties that will increase due to the increase in gambling addiction, as a direct result of the operation of the casino"(Sean Sullivan, Mental Health News, Winter 1994. page 16).
"It is the second category that is of concern. the expected
increase due to the introduction of 1,000 gambling machines on a 24 hour
basis, in an exciting atmosphere, with jackpots possibly up to one million
dollars, and other new machines which have proved popular overseas (Keno),
will have a qualitative effect on the pathology increase. With 6,500 gambling
machines in New Zealand overall, and an estimated 2,000 in Auckland, the
introduction of a further 1,000 is unlikely to have a negligible effect,
especially in the new exciting environment, continuously open, and with
over 9,500 visitors daily."
"Pathological gamblers are, in the main, previously law abiding citizens, who often attain positions of responsibility before their gambling becomes pathological. Their offending is usually fraud, with seldom offences against 'the person' except for a subgroup described bellow. They are often anxious and depressed, with low self-esteem, and more likely to avoid confrontation. Studies in the U.S.A. have shown, however, that up to 65% of pathological gamblers at an impatient program admitted to illegal activity to finance their gambling, and that this included 'street crimes'. Surveys of both male and female prisoners in New Jersey found fully 30% were pathological gamblers."
"Some 14% of pathological gamblers may also be diagnosed as meeting the criteria for antisocial personality disorder. these are often young men who will readily resort to street crimes for money to gamble with. Young men with gambling pathology may have less access to monies, such as chequebooks and credit cards, once their own assets have been exhausted."
"Fully two-thirds of pathological gamblers in New Zealand have been identified as under 30 years of age, a higher proportion of this group than is found in the United States. For many of these gamblers, obtaining the money necessary to meet the uncontrollable urge to gamble may not be restricted to fraud due to access difficulties attributable to their young age. For many pathological gamblers, and especially those in the antisocial subgroup, burglary and assault may be a viable source for gambling funds"
"Casinos are highly successful businesses that handle vast amounts of money, and currently are expanding rapidly throughout the world. In 1990 there were only three States in the U.S.A. with casinos (excluding casinos on Indian reservations). At the last count there were nine. Such businesses are efficient, high profile, wealthy organisations tat in New Zealand pay additional tax (4% of the gross gambling turnover to the Government over and above normal taxation and GST. To this end the Governments see them as something of a cash cow and are rushing to take advantage of what they offer with little more than a cursory glance at their social impact.........Golden Nugget casino stated that 'the compulsive gambler represents 10% of my revenues and 90% of my headaches' "(Sean Sullivan, Mental Health News, Winter 1994. page 16).
"Other centres such as Wellington, Whangarae, New Plymouth, Tauranga, and Dunedin may wish to share in the success and sophistication surrounding the two existing licensed casinos once they have experienced the high profile that these operations will introduce to New Zealand. Across the Tasman, New South Wales and Victoria are the newest Australian States to approve casinos, with the Melbourne facility to be the largest in the southern Hemisphere (2,500 gambling machines). The expansion of casinos in the United States has previously been referred to. There is no reason to consider that New Zealand will be moving against this trend, especially in the absence of the social impact of this new and exciting entertainment on New Zealanders and taking into account the focus of the Casino Control Act. In addition is the attraction of these revenue producing facilities for the government."
"It is ironic that the only concession to meeting the downside of gambling addiction has been the voluntary one offered by the Auckland casino operator. the Government remains silent and unconcerned as to the effects of the industry on a significant proportion of the gamblers who will lose control over their gambling. It is only hoped that the social and financial costs of failing to inform, advise, and prepare for the increase in problem gambling does not exceed the income that the Government expects from this seeming new age bonanza of soft taxation"(Sean Sullivan, Mental Health News, Winter 1994. page 16).
Can anyone tell me where the money that the, in this case casinos, get comes from? From the people right. Are then the people not being duped by their so called Governments for the sake of the money? Are they not enamoured with the revenue, rather than looking after the interests, and wellbeing of its subjects? All these topics are well known to the Government, but still they continue on their present course. The Governments of the world may not care where it gets its dirty money.
What can be said, to such eunuchs. These people have compromised everything that is decent, for their own political and financial ends. But the worst is that these ones that we see are the small time puppets being manipulated by big corporate concerns, International Bankers etc. The unscrupulous 'Demons' as they are well known in some circles among society.(Deyo, 1980.Cosmic Conspiracy.).
While the world goes further and further down hill from
a material perspective, in regards to gambling; atmospheric pollution and
the environment; chemical and nuclear experimentation and use; rampant
animal and human foetal slaughter; pollution of the body - by encouraged
alcohol use, drug addiction, tobacco etc., etc.; depletion and encouragement
of immoral values; violence; homosexuality and other perversions of normative
human life; manipulations of International and Local finance, to be used
and accepted by the governments of the world as forms of revenue, policy
structure, entertainment etc. Can they not see, or do they not want to
see where they are going?
By qualification, I too, am inclined to agree that their strategy is nothing short of demoniac. With no thought for anyone other than themselves.
"In this world there is no shortage of anything"(Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupad, 1930's). Only there is gross mismanagement, that if done on a small scale, in a company etc., would sure to end in criminal prosecution, and imprisonment.
According to Sociological studies, and associated writings
organised crime is described as follows, "Organised crime refers to forms
of activity that have many of the characteristics of orthodox business,
but in which the activities engaged in are illegal. Organised crime in
America is a massive business, rivalling any of the major orthodox sectors
of economic enterprise, such as the car industry. National and local criminal
organisations provide illegal goods and services to mass consumers, and
some criminal networks also extend internationally. Organised crime embraces
illegal gambling, prostitution, large scale theft and protection rackets,
among other activities."
"Precise information about the nature of organised crime is obviously difficult to obtain. In romantic portrayals of gangsters, organised crime in the United States is portrayed as being controlled by a secret society of national dimensions, 'the Mafia'."(A Giddens, 1994. Sociology, page 148).
"Organised crime has probably become so significant in American society because of an early association with - and in part modelled on - the activities of the industrial 'robber barons' of the late nineteenth century. Many of the early industrialists made their fortunes by exploiting immigrant labour, largely ignoring legal regulations on working conditions and often using a mixture of corruption and violence to build their industrial empires. Organised crime flourished in the deprived ethnic ghettos (where people were ignorant of their legal and political rights), using similar methods to curtail competition and build up networks of corruption."
"Illicit gambling, on horse races, lotteries and sporting events, represents the greatest source of income generated by organised crime in the United States. Many Western countries, unlike the United States, have legal off-course betting; in the United Kingdom there are licensed public betting shops. While these do not escape all criminal influence, gambling is not controlled by illegal organisation to anything like the same extent as the United States"(A Giddens, 1994. Sociology, page 148).
Does this sound familiar? Could it be that all one has to be is on the right side of the fence? Illegal seems to be a very flexible terminology, doesn't it? Does it mean, sanctioned and owned, or paying tax to the Government that makes a thing legal or illegal? Or is it the actual moral, cultural, philosophical, religious, social concern that makes or breaks laws?
Another question. Should then our law makers be of good moral fibre, setting a good example to the rest of the people, rather than as Giddens suggests 'robber barons' simply out for their own ends?
What Great Persons Do Other People Follow.
We don't want to get into debates on who is better than whom. However, as far as setting a good example in society, Government members, I feel should be elected by how they live, not only what they say they will do in election year, but invariably do not.
Leader means, one who can set a path for others to follow, unlike lemmings, we do not want to go off the cliff.
Let them show the way to evolve out of habitual addictions such as gambling, drugs, alcohol, prostitution etc., and then, and only then lead the countries of the world, by example.
Instead what do we have? we have a despicable series of problems all over the world. Crime is at an all time high, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, rape and other sexual related problems, and social stress, and violence..........come on wake up!!!
We are not writing a dramatic novel here, this is all
documented fact. These are social problems that our beloved leaders need
to address. Is this not what we pay taxes for? But instead we find more
Employment or rather the lack of it, has linked mental illness, physical illness and to problems in family functioning due to lack of money. But 'chasing losses', whatever the gambler does seem to win, since winnings are either re-invested and eventually lost or paid out to debtors the gambler rarely wins in the long run.
We have seen desperate men and women, on low incomes spend
up to $50 per week regularly, hoping against hope that this time they will
be the lucky winners. For some it is like a disease, a cancer, it eats
them away from the inside, demoralising them each time they do not win.
Social Policy as it has stood, and presently stands has tried to make provision
against giving money to the 'undeserving poor' those who squander, drink
or gamble it away. But this is not really the issue as long as gambling
laws are still in place to encourage the waste of 'assisted benefits'.
More money is gambled by those who cannot actually afford it than by those who could if they so desired. Then comes the, "....lying to friends and family and employers, particularly in regard to money which cannot be accounted for. In many cases, lying is totally uncharacteristic as in other respects, they are honest and reliable people" (Compulsive Gambling Society, 1994. "Out of Control" leaflet.)
"When people are unemployed, two major sources of stress are the loss of income (with its financial hardships) and the effect of this loss on their feelings about themselves. Workers who derive their identity from their work, men who define manhood as supporting a family, and people who define their worth in terms of their work's dollar value lose more than their paychecks when they lose their jobs. They lose a piece of themselves and their self esteem" (Voydanoff, 1983).
"The ability to cope with unemployment depends on various factors. Those who cope best have some financial resources to draw on - savings, the earnings of other family members, and so on. They do not blame themselves for losing their jobs or see themselves as failures but assess their situation in more objective terms. They have the support of understanding, adaptable families and can draw on outside resources, like friends" (Papilia & Olds,1992. Human Development, page 442).
In Kautilya's Artha shastra, which is the guide book for
managing the country according to the sage Chanaka Pandit he says that,
"...if the family unit is made stronger by social intercourse, and the
family are assisted in the initial stages by the government to set good
standards, then the family is left to it." This is much like what is mentioned
in the Treaty of Waitangi by Maori, but in a different situation.
"Giving work to the healthy, and food and shelter to the needy, but never giving money just to keep them, ....for if money is given the people become lazy, and habituated to receiving it." "Better", he says, ".....is to give them employment, and or help them to set up their own business so that they can be independent, and thus an asset to themselves, as well as to the country." This was written down more than a thousand years ago around the time of Alexander the Great cheater. You may have heard of this saintly brahmin Chanaka Pandita, the political centre where all the embassies are in Delhi is named after him, Chanaka Puri, ...........he wrote a number of books outlining social interaction. For example his Kautilya's Artha shastra one finds sections dealing with 1/. Welfare state, 2/. Duties of the King or rulers, 3/. The civil service, 4/. Food and Agriculture, 5/. Industry, 6/. Control of the market, 7/. Law and the Justice system, 8/. Social life, 9/. Food and Drink, 10/. Labour, 11/. Religion. One very nice phrase that I found in this book has to be the essence of the social services functioning. "The success of the welfare state depends on the test as to how it has dealt with the unfortunate and weakest section of the citizens. The Kautilyain state was aware of this responsibility towards the helpless citizens. In ancient Hindu society the joint family system was strongly entrenched and it was the best insurance for the helpless and afflicted members of the society; Kautilya (Chanaka) accepted this system and enforced the law according to which the head of the family was to look after the dependents. A capable person neglecting to maintain his or her child, minor brothers or sisters, widowed girls and unmarried daughters was fined. Similarly any person embracing asceticism without making provisions for his wife and sons was punished. Idleness even on an income corrupts, ..........the feeling of not being wanted demoralises." Have we not seen this in society today, the dole culture - down at the TAB on dole day, or buying Lotto tickets, and street kids and the punks rocker attitude of moral defeat.
I feel a lot could be learned today, and put into practice by the politicians, at least those few who are of a more honest nature and who are not just in the social services to cream the system for a livelihood. Some I know like Duncan Macgregor tried their best, but how much can a bound man do?
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes the further point, in the direct that we have to head if society is to survive and actually, factually, sustainably prosper. "This is culture: one must subdue the modes of passion and ignorance. In the mode of passion, when one is falsely proud of wealth, one engages his wealth only for three things, namely wine, women and gambling. We can actually see, especially in this age, that those who have unnecessary riches simply try to enjoy these three things. In Western civilisation, these three things are very prominent because of an unnecessary increase of wealth. Narada Muni considered all this in the case of Manigriva and Nalakuvara because he found in them so much pride in the wealth of their father, Kuvera.(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 10: Chapter Ten, Text 8. purport).
Simple Living And High Thinking, Instead Of Sinful
Living And No thinking.
We are not suggesting for even one moment that everyone become mendicants, artificially give everything up etc. Only those things that are destined to bring harm are to be given up. Things that really none of us need, but some have been habituated to rely on due to weakness, and their availability.
"If one accepts a poverty-stricken position because of losing money in business, gambling, prostitution or intoxication, no one will praise him, but if one becomes poverty-stricken by giving all of his possessions in charity, he becomes adored all over the world. Aside from this, if a benevolent and merciful person exhibits his pride in becoming poverty-stricken by giving his possessions in charity for good causes, his poverty is a welcome and auspicious sign of a great personality. Bali Maharaja decided that even though he would become poverty-stricken by giving everything to Vamanadeva, this is what he would prefer."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 8: 20:10 purport)
"Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow.
And whatever standard he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."(Bhagavad
Gita 3:21.) "One should not be attached to any materialistic activities,
but a devotee may perform such activities as an example to show the common
man that one should not deviate from the Vedic injunction"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupad, Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7:10:24., purport.).
"In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura warns the men of this age not to imitate the jesting of a maha-bhagavata like Kalidasa. If someone imitates him by playing with dice or gambling while chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, he will certainly become a victim of offences unto the holy name. As it is said, hari-nama-bale pape pravrtti: one must not commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Playing with dice is certainly gambling, but it is clearly said here that Kalidasa did this only in jest. A maha-bhagavata can do anything, but he never forgets the basic principles. Therefore it is said, vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijneha na bujhaya: 'No one can understand the activities of a pure devotee.' We should not imitate Kalidasa" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Chaitanya Charitamrta, Antya-lila: Chapter Sixteen, Text 7 :Purport)
In discussion with Prof. Kotovsky and some guests Srila Prabhupad makes the point that if anyone follows the process of Krishna consciousness his life is transformed. "Prabhupada: ...his whole life is changed. Yes. Because these four things--illicit sex life, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling - they are very great impediments for social improvement. Guest: And that will automatically make his life simpler because a person who is not indulging in illicit sex life or intoxication and other things has to live a comparatively simpler life. Prabhupada: Yes. Prof. Kotovsky: That's right. One will live much simpler life, agreed. But at the same time, would it change some complex things...? Prabhupada: Oh, yes. oh, yes."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Room Conversation, Moscow, June 22, 1971)
"One of the most important and perplexing issues on the compulsive gambler's road to recovery is the relapse. The gambler may gamble again after a brief period of non-gambling or after a prolonged one. Such relapses are a serious interruption in the recovery process. Not only does the relapse have disturbing consequences for the self-esteem of the gambler himself, but it tends to shatter any feelings of security that were beginning to build in those closest to the gambler. The relapse may be of relatively short duration, at best a 'one off' occurrence, or at worst, the compulsive gambler will continue to gamble until 'rock bottom' has again been reached."
"The compulsive gambler's relapse need not be seen as the end of the world, agreed it is a setback in the recovery program, and while no doubt painful. at this time, the relapse can provide a valuable insight to the gambler's personality."
"Why do relapses occur?"
"One point of view draws attention to the fact that the compulsive gambler is often immature and has a low threshold of tolerance for anxiety and frustration. It has been stated that relapses will continue to appear until the gambler has hit 'rock-bottom'; that is, until his personal, social and financial bankruptcy has become complete. Many a successful, recovered gambler in retrospect feels that only until his suffering and revulsion of his uncontrolled gambling hit 'rock-bottom' could he stop gambling. Here we have a tragic, almost fatalistic point of view that implies that a downhill course is inevitable."
"Some researchers argue that relapses will occur until the gambler reaches a state of 'surrender'. Surrendering means the giving up of egocentric, self willed, arrogant attitude of the relapse gambler who defiantly insists that he can gamble, that he will gamble, that he cannot be stopped, that he will not accept any authority other than his own impulses and infantile needs."
"Others, after not gambling for some time, now consider that they are 'cured' - that they now have the situation under control. they can only prove this to themselves by gambling in this relapse and then stoping again. The compulsive gambler in this relapse situation is like the recovering alcoholic who intends having just one drink to prove his new found self insight and control but ends up on a three day 'bender'."
"The compulsive gambler may have a feeling of serious disappointment with their non-gambling state. they feel that since they have decided to give up gambling they should be rewarded by the world, and when they don't immediately get the good things of life flowing their way, relapses occur. It is difficult for the compulsive gambler to abandon this expectation and face the inevitable problems of daily life with the conviction that non-gambling in itself is worthwhile and is the foundation upon which they must build"(Compulsive Gambling Society, 1995. Relapse Recovery Paper, page 28.)
I personally find this not only to apply to compulsive
gamblers, but also to many other aspects of perverse life.
In Krishna consciousness we have observed very similar syndromes in relation to devotees giving up meat eating, illicit sexual connections, and intoxication, as well as speculative philosophies, sports and gambling, to be able to follow 'the regulative principles.' And there have been relapses, and for many of the same reasons as listed above. However, when one is 'materially burned out', exhausted, and hit rock bottom, one stands a much better chance of surrendering to the injunctions of the philosophy, to the concept of Guru and the Supreme Personality, Krishna.
"The gambler has grave difficulty in accepting the idea that a compulsive gambler cannot ever gamble again in any socially acceptable, controlled way. Despite an apparent superficial acceptance of the principle that his only safe, assured course of action is complete abstinence, tucked away in the back of his mind is the hope and expectation that some day he will again be able to gamble, this time will be different, this time I will limit the number and size of my bets"(Compulsive Gambling Society, 1995. Relapse Recovery Paper, page 29.) The real fact of the matter is, that he is just a wish away from infection with his/her previous disease, no matter how long one has gone without a gamble, if one thinks otherwise relapses will inevitable follow. "One has to give up the prospect that some time in the future one can again enjoy in this way........."(Bhavananda dasa Gos, 1978. Bhaktivedanta Manor S.B. Class).
The problem with not knowing or truly being convinced
of what one should be doing with one's life lays precedence to the path
for all kinds of strange activities, 'Speculative philosophies, and speculating'
Wild speculating on any given subject creates an instability in the individual, and when done by educational, scientific sections of the community affects the entire society. Speculating sets one up as an authority, but without really knowing the facts of the subject at hand in total. It is a form of cheating.
Aside from this, speculating wastes so much time, and makes a mockery of genuine time approved knowledge. Speculative, changing "knowledge" is constantly in flux; new theories, overriding previous broken, and discarded ones.
There is a nice Vedic aphorism: "....If you want to know who your father is, ask your mother; unless she was inattentive to her chastity she will know, or at least she will be able to narrow the margin, that it is this man or this man. At least if she is honest she will admit, that she doesn't know. Unlike the speculator, saving herself from continual and indiscriminate and prolonged enquires."
Especially in the 'West' people do not know, or care for living naturally, or looking at things honestly in this way, even though many of them espouse that they do. "Every pauper is proud of his penny"(Old saying of unknown origin). Everyone is entitled to his opinion, irrespective of their qualification, or realisation to voice it!
Understanding Living In Harmony.
Living close to nature or close to God means being in harmony with Him, His plan. As well as showing recognition to that fact by observing His laws. In every known culture such recognition, and harmony is prescribed for all to follow. It is a sacrifice, life itself is a sacrifice. So the basic sacrifice for humans according to God's law is not to commit violence or abuse to anyone. It is more than ahimsa, as explained herein. "......panca-suna-yajna. Panca means five, and suna means bhuta-hatya, or killing animals, suna. Srtiya-suna-pana-dyuta. Suna. Suna means violence. So we prohibit these four kinds of sinful life: killing of animals and illicit sex... Striya, suna. Panca-suna. Yes... Striya-suna-pana. Pana means intoxicants, and duta means gambling. So these are four kinds of sinful activities. So out of that, suna is one. That is also divided in many divisions, at least five. Willingly, we are not going to kill anybody, but unwillingly... Therefore there is panca-suna-yajna. You have to perform yajna every day to counteract the sinful reaction of your imperceptible killings of animals. That's it. This is Vedic life" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures, Los Angeles, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1973) "Prabhupada: It is said in the shastra, striyah suna panam dyutam yatradharmas catur-vidhah: 'Four kinds of sinful activities: illicit sex life, striyah; suna, the animal slaughter; panam, intoxication; dyutam, gambling.' These are the four pillars of sinful life. So you have to break these pillars of sinful life. (Avoid these) Then you can understand Krsna. They have broken. On my word they have broken the first four pillars and therefore they are advanced."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Room Conversation, Arlington, September 11, 1972)
Continual sinful activity in a sentient being leads to resentment, which lead to remorse. Sprees result in remorse which often are so painful that more gambling is needed to deaden the pain. There is self-pity for having wasted oneself gambling, for failing for all the missed opportunities. Remorse becomes associated with self depreciation. The feeling develops because the enormity of one's guilt, one is worthless. An effort to achieve self esteem through non-gambling is pointless. Worse still, often those who relapse for the first time feel that they cannot face their fellow members at the "self-help" group they have been attending and sever themselves (bloop) from this avenue of support(Compulsive Gambling Society, 1995. Relapse Recovery Paper, page 29.). Experts in this field say that there are certain triggers that increase relapses. Of those they break them down into five groups:
1/. Self Talk; Being weak and making excuses to go back
into the gambling situation; Finding reasons to justify continuing gambling;
Denial to oneself that there really was a problem; Negative thought, "Now
I've started, I've blown it anyway.....!"
2/. Feelings; Depression; Loneliness; Boredom; Over confidence or arrogance.
3/. Situations; Finds oneself in Pubs; Going to the TAB; Exposed to gambling via T.V./ conversations about it, dwelling on the past.
4/. Other people/association; Invitation to gamble; Conflicts that cause one out of anger, frustration, bewilderment to take up old ways; communication problems.
5/. Behaviour; Cutting off from other, positive non-gambling association; Stopping 'now behaviours', the things that replaced the gambling.
Just as there are activities that support one to avoid
further infection, by detachment of the senses from their objects, and
attachment by positive direction.
"... acyutejya. Because Krsna is the root. Krsna... Bijo 'ham sarva bhutanam. Aham adir hi devanam. Mattah sarvam pravartate. Iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava samanvitah. So if you try to serve the root, water the root, automatically everything will be served. Just like this Krsna consciousness movement. This Krsna consciousness movement is aiming at service. Aiming to serve Krsna. That is the only aim. But automatically we are giving social service. Because as soon as one becomes Krsna conscious, he gives up all kinds of intoxication, all kinds of illicit sex, all kinds of meat-eating, all kinds of gambling. Is it not social service? Best social service. In America the government is appreciating because the people are addicted to LSD, and they are seeing practically that as soon as a boy could come to Krsna consciousness, he gives up all this nonsense" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures, Bombay, Bhagavad-gita 1974)
"Pariksit Maharaja told Kali-yuga to leave his kingdom immediately and reside in four places: brothels, liquor shops, slaughterhouses and gambling casinos. However, Kali-yuga requested him to give him only one place where these four places are included, and Pariksit Maharaja gave him the place where gold is stored. Gold encompasses the four principles of sin, and therefore, according to spiritual life, gold should be avoided as far as possible. If there is gold, there is certainly illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Because people in the Western world have a great deal of gold, they are victims of these four sins. The colour of gold is very glittering, and a materialistic person becomes very much attracted by its yellow colour. However, this gold is actually a type of stool. A person with a bad liver generally passes yellow stool. The colour of this stool attracts a materialistic person, just as the will-o'-the-wisp attracts one who needs heat" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 5:14:7. Purport)
If it is required that we all do the same thing and avoid
the same things then on might well ask, "Why not one, one kind of living
entities?" Srila Prabhupada responds, "No. Sad-asad-janma-yonisu. There
are eight million, four hundred thousands of species. One has to take.
Tatha dehantara-praptih. You have to change. But why one is in the lower
grade birth, why in the higher grade? Now, karanam guna-sango 'sya. These
guna. These guna, sattva-guna, rajo-guna. So we have to give up the association
of rajo-guna and tamo-guna. Then there is question of progress. Otherwise
it is simply a bluff. Therefore in our society we say, "Don't associate...
Don't be infected by these rajo-guna, tamo-guna. This meat-eating and illicit
sex life and drinking and gambling, they are rajo-guna, tamo-guna.
Kama-lobha. You see? There is a big fair ground. Gambling, tamo-guna. They are going there. Thousands and thousands of people are going there for gambling. This is tamo-guna. Why? Lobha: "I must get more money. I must get more money." Lobha, kama. Kama-lobhadayas. So we have to get out of all this entanglement. Then there is spiritual life" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures Srimad-Bhagavatam 27th Sept' 1974).
Becoming Free From Material Contamination.
Sometimes the example of a lotus in a pool is given to make an analogy of how one must be in this world in order to not become further implicated by the powerful modes of material nature. But it is a gradual process. and like anyone who has had an unfortunate habit, dependency, or addiction, recovery comes by keeping good association, and by replacing something positive where the negative habit used to be. It is a practical system. And like anything worthwhile it takes time and effort to learn and achieve.
It means taking shelter of those who are free from such habits so as to avoid further or prolonged contamination. It is more than just a doctor, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst or psychologist. that person has to be free from any negative influences of the 'disease'. He or she, has a healthy respect for what such a disease can do to a person, and wants nothing to do with it. 'Flirting with the enemy by night', and trying to remain aloof by day does not cure anyone.
There is an interesting and depictive story of a lady who took her son to the doctor because he was hyperactive, teeth rotting, symptoms of excess sugar intake.
The mother asked the doctor to please say something to her son. The doctor said for them to come back next week. After a week they returned. They went into see the doctor, who immediately said, "Stop eating sweets!" The mother was aghast. "Why didn't you say that last week?" she asked the doctor. "Well you see, I too was still eating sweets last week!"
This is a idea of actual etiquette and behaviour for human
civilisation according to Agni Purana chapter 155. This system was followed
strictly at the time when Manusmrti was followed previously, before the
British Raj, Christianity and the Westernisation that followed, that has
subsequently, and systematically ruined India like an all devouring cancer.
As you know each country has good customary practices of it's own. A man who has such good habits is said to be in control of the two worlds. The sound 'sat' denotes 'sadhus'. Sadhus are those who are without any bad conduct in their behaviour. The habits and practices of the sadhus are called Sadacara, and sada acarya for they teach by example.
"Nasta-sadacarah. Sadacara means well behaviour, gentleman's behaviour. And acara. (sic:) 'Acaravan puruso veda. Acara. One who teaches acara, sadacara, he is acarya. Acarya means one who teaches sadacara. Just like in our society we teach, "No illicit sex.' This is sadacara. 'No gambling. No drinking or intoxication.' This is sadacara, gentleman, how to become gentleman. If one is prostitute-hunter, drunkard, meat-eater, gambler, he's not even a gentleman, what to speak of becoming a devotee and philosopher? Impossible. Those who are addicted to these bad habits, in their hundreds and thousands of life they will never be able to understand what is God. The door is locked for them. So nasta-sadacara. As soon as you become illicit-sex-hunter, prostitute-hunter, addicted, then you will lose your sadacara. All good behaviour finished"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures, Srimad-Bhagavatam 05th June 1976) ".....Trapped by the chambers of our own disciplines"(Prof. Ian Shirley, 11th May 1994. Massey University, Intro' Social Policy Lecture).
What is the method to start the reformation of one with a gambling problem?
"A sympathetic enquiry may often be all that is required to open the floodgates of these very isolated patients"(Sean Sullivan, August 1994. Patient Management, page 85.) But in others counselling and isolation form the cause of the problem and help is required.
"Finally, you should not take part in any gambling, including
so-called sports, cinema, theatre, or any such entertainment"(excerpt from
A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad's Letter to: Mr. Kair : 8th July 1969,
We have to be convinced, or at least open minded enough to learn some of the facts how binding these social ills are. Why "expert physicians" suggest quarantine/intensive care to overcome the diseased condition. And in reality what the binding factors or tools used of contacting the disease are!
I have heard people say, "Ah, this is fanatical!" Bit
I guess it just depends how desperate on is to kick the habit, and become
"And no gambling or unnecessary sporting. People are wasting time. So many sportings they have invented. Sporting balls, this ball, that ball. You see? Human life is very short. We do not know when we shall die. Before that, we must prepare ourself for the next life. Next life means directly going back to Krsna" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures, Los Angeles, 19th Dec' Initiation 1968) "......you cannot take part in gambling or some unnecessary sporting because you have to utilise your time. Your time is very short. If you miss this opportunity of human form of life... Because we do not know when death is coming. It is not that because I am old, I am nearing death, and you are young, you are not nearing death. Who knows that you may die before me? So there is no certainty. So the principle is that because this human form of life is so important to perfect oneself in Krsna consciousness, he should not waste even a minute. You see? So therefore we don't allow unnecessary sporting. You see? This is simply a waste of time..(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Interview, Los Angeles, June 27, 1969 IV).
As a youth I was very athletic, I 'Boxed'; 'Putt the Shot'; 'Swam'; in inter-school competitions for our school; played Rugby Union for the school; and 'Ran the 440 yards, competitively for the school too! I also played 'Soccer' again for the school and a few times for the Ealing Borough team. At my parents home they still have the certificates and cups that I was awarded at that time.
Being totally absorbed in this, and the football team that my father previously followed too, we both followed that team (Millwall F.C.) around the British Isles, getting caught up in many a dangerous, even life threatening situation.
As I played and followed "my team", I experienced a something which side tracked me for some time into re-enforcement of the bodily concept of life, away form my tendency toward spiritual life.
Reflecting back, as a participant player, the intensity, and competitive nature of the games, left little time for contemplation of 'higher goals'. As an observer, spectator the emotions of elation and disappointment, riding the waves created by the commentator and the supporting crowds, left us all emersed in what I understand now to be symptomatic of the modes of passion and ignorance.
Can anyone honestly state that these activities could
in any way benefit their progressive spiritual development.
Most of us have been encouraged to follow this path at one time or another. from what I can understand, world wide the youth over the last century have been led in this direction. And really it doesn't matter whether it may have been American "Iron Grid" football; Base-ball; Basket-ball; Card games; Cricket; Dominoes; Football; Golf; Rugby or any other game or sport ...........what really is the use?
Some try to say that it's good for exercise, or for intellectual stimulation; I would like to make the point that hatha yoga, walking, therapeutic swimming, are better forms of exercise and do not create tension, stress, and aggressive tendencies as the former do.
The only other benefits are completely business. And in this mode I would hardly call them true benefits. We have seen "Players in their heyday years", usually only a few, being transformed into cult heroes; being transferred for astronomical amounts of money, their profile, ego (false-ego), is fed by the chanting crowds. But the next season comes an injury, a couple of bad seasons, he/she is just another disappointed name in history. Living in the memory of their previous laurels, they like any other person ignorant of their real nature, spiritual conception of life, go on to die an inglorious and lonely death, not befitting for one who was so honoured.
I think the saddest thing is, that in the name of enjoying, or following these sporting activities, thousands of hours are lost each year to every individual participant. If one takes a little more time, adding to that which is already spent in eating and sleeping, watching T.V., scheming to get money, etc., to add all this time up. We unfortunately state that at this rate two thirds, or more of a persons life is absorbed in activities that effectively are lost for ever, a genuine waste of time.
"One nation under God, has turned into One nation under the influence of one drug. , Television, the drug of the Nation; Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation. T.V., it satellite links our United States of unconsciousness, apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive. The methadone metronome pumping out 150 channels 24 hours a day, you can flip through all of them and still there's nothing worth watching. T.V. is the reason why less than ten percent of our Nation reads books daily. Why most people think Central America means Kansas. socialism means unamerican and Apartheid is a new headache remedy absorbed in it's world it's so hard to find us.
It shapes our mind the most. Maybe the mother of our Nation should remind us that were sitting to close to the Television, the drug of the Nation, Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
T.V. is the stomping ground for political candidates. Where bears in the woods are chased by Grecian Formula* 'd, bald eagles.
T.V. is mechanised politic's, remote control over the masses, co-sponsored by environmentally safe gases, watch for the PBS special. It's the perpetuation of the two party system, where image takes precedence over wisdom. Where sound bite politics are served to fastfood culture. Where straight teeth in your mouth are more important than the words that come out of it. Race baiting is the way to get selected. Willie Horton or Will he not get elected on.......
Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
T.V., is it the reflector or the director?
Does it imitate us, or do we imitate it?
Because a child watches 1500 murders before he's twelve years old, and we wonder how we've created a Jason generation that learns to laugh rather than abhor the horror.
T.V. is the place where armchair generals and quarterbacks can experience first hand the excitement of video warfare as the theme song is sung in the background.
Sugar sweet sitcoms that leave us with a bad actor taste while pop stars metamorphosize into soda pop stars. You saw the video. You heard the sound track. Well now go buy the soft drink. Well, only cola that I support would be a union C.O.L.A. (Cost Of Living Allowance). On Television.
Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
Back again, "New and Improved", we return to our irregularly programmed schedule hidden cleverly between heavily breasted beer and car commercials.
CNNESPNABCTNT but mostly B.S.
Where oxymoronic language like "virtually spotless" "fresh frozen" "light yet filling" and "military intelligence" has become a standard.
T.V. is the place where phrases are redefined like "recession" to "necessary downturn" "crude oil" on a beach to "mousse" "Civilian death" to "collateral damages" and being killed by your own Army is now called "friendly fire".
T.V. is the place where the pursuit of happiness has become the pursuit of trivia. where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects.
Where imagination is sucked out of children by a cathode ray nipple. T.V. is the only wet nurse that would create a cripple.
Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation"(Michael Franti & Rono Tse. 1994. Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Track 3).(*Grecian Formula is the registered trademark of Combe Inc.)
I thought you'd like that transcript of the song, "Television" from their C.D. "Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury".
Television is a unique tool, which if used properly could
serve the needs of the people nicely. The problem is that it is not. What
happens is that people are glued to the box, watching waiting for the next
program to come on, hoping against hope that something will be there to
bring a little bit of satisfaction into their lives. Ultimately it doesn't
and so the viewing goes on hour after hour.
How many years of one's life are spent glued watching others live theirs. It may be true that occasionally you may get some recordable information, amongst the relentless hours of soaps, thrilling movies, cartoons, and "infomercials". Television is so addictive that I would like to see someone turn on the box, at a set time watch the particular program that they wanted, without venturing into another program, channel etc.
One of the main things that has destroyed conversation, communications and family relations is television. "Sshhhhhh, it's on.........hey, come on I'm trying to listen to this........!" It's amazing to watch the reactions to the people in a room as soon as the T.V. goes on. Everything grinds to a halt or becomes of second interest as the "idiot box", "the one eyed guru", demands your, the viewer's attention. And as you sit there engrossed, sucking it all in, the brain becomes inactive, as you are voluntarily becoming conditioned, brainwashed by the instrument of the propagandist system.
Prabhupada: "Their whole civilisation is threatened. We are recommending no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling and no meat-eating. This is the basic principle of modern civilisation. So the foundation is threatened. Theoretically they are taking that 'If these four things are stopped then where is our civilisation?' Where (do) we stand? Meat-eating, they have all over the world millions of slaughterhouse. So if these millions of slaughterhouse is stopped, then where they stand? They are threatened like that.
Guest: Their whole set-up, their whole economy is...
Prabhupada: The millions of liquor manufacturers, breweries, millions of gambling houses, so, cigarette factories, so theoretically if this movement is successful then whole civilisation is finished. So they are now looking... Because these young men have taken seriously so they are threatened and they are making a strong party to fight with us" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Room Conversation, Vrindaban, November 2, 1976)
"Why throw away all of our money? We can utilise it properly in the service of Krsna. So all of these are unwanted things, and we have become habituated to them through practice. If, however, we become devotees and render service to Krsna under the direction of the spiritual master, these things will automatically vanish. This way our faith becomes established. And what is the result of this?
bhaktya mam abhijanati
yavan yas casmi tattvatah
tato mam tattvato jnatva
'One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only
by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme
Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.'
In the execution of religious principles we must observe so many formulas, but the ultimate end is that we will develop spontaneous attraction for hearing about God. This is actually wanted. We should not become show bottles of religious life. We should actually try to understand what is religion and what is God, and in this way make our lives successful" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada's Lectures, New Vrindavana, Srimad-Bhagavatam, 06th Sept' 1972).
Reflecting back on compulsive gambling addictions in the stage of bewilderment and denial, Srila Prabhupada's words in the following purport depict how if it is what we want, Krishna will deceive us due to our insincerity, self centred absorption in sense gratification or rather attempted stimulation.
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is: Chapter Ten, Text 36 :Translation)
"I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendour. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.
"There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Krsna. As the Supreme, Krsna can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Krsna chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided, it is all-sided. It is not the method that is important. The real important is how to develop your love of Krsna. If somebody develops love of Krsna, or God, without those methods, there is no objection. We are not limited by the methods or ritualistic methods. But there are certain ritualistic method, which, if one follows, then he can quickly learn the art of Krsna consciousness. Just like we restrict our students in four principles: illicit sex life and intoxication, gambling, and meat-eating. So it is not that a gambler or a meat-eater or a man addicted to illicit sex life, he cannot love Krsna. It is not that. But that is very rare case. If he follows these principles, then it will be easier for him. Because Krsna, or God is pure, so long one is impure in his habits, it is not possible for him. So these are the purificatory processes"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Bhagavad-gita As It Is: Ch.10:36.).
As well as the avoidance of contaminating habits, it is also a matter of attitude towards one's previous condition. "This is the mentality of one who is becoming a pure devotee. When one is elevated to the platform of devotional service by the grace of the Lord and the spiritual master, one first regrets his past sinful activities. This helps one advance in spiritual life. The Visnudutas had given Ajamila the chance to become a pure devotee, and the duty of a pure devotee is to regret his past sinful activities in illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. Not only should one give up his past bad habits, but he must always regret his past sinful acts. This is the standard of pure devotion" (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 6:2:27 Purport).
The Solution - Becoming Cured By The Process Positive
Replacement - Spiritual Life.
"So Bhagavad-gita says that yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih. Sarva-kilbisaih. Sarva-kilbisaih. Kilbisa means sinful reaction, sinful reaction, "Tit for tat," good reaction or bad reaction. But one who eats after offering to the Supreme Lord, he is not under the regulation of reaction. Whatever we eat... Even we eat, that, we have got to repay for that. Now, the Sanskrit word, the flesh... Flesh, Sanskrit word, is called mamsa. Mamsa. The mamsa means..., mam means "me," and sa means "he." "So I am eating some animal; so in my next life that animal will eat me." That is called mamsa. So now, apart from animal... Don't think that those who are vegetarian, they are free from all these reaction. No. They are also. They are also. The law is that one has to repay which he is taking the help from other living entities. That is the law of karma. So either you eat vegetables or either you eat flesh, you have to repay that. But yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih.
The Bhagavad-gita says that if you eat the remnants after offering sacrifice to the Lord, then you, not only you are free from all reaction, but you do not eat anything sinful. That is the direction of Bhagavad-gita.
So in every aspect of our life... This is also one of the insignificant example of our activities of our life. If we act, dovetailing our actions with the Supreme Lord, then we are free from reaction. Otherwise we are bound up by the reaction. That is the law. So in order to get myself free from all reaction of my activities... Because so long I am... Because I am living entity, I have to act. Either I act spiritually, either act materially, I have to act. My activities will not stop. It is foolishness to say that "I will stop my activities." No. That cannot be. Your activities will go on. If you don't act spiritually, then you have to act materially. And if you are fully engaged in spiritual activity, then there is no chance of material activity. Because after all, you are actor, one, if you are engaged in something. Just like in our ordinary life, if we do something at a particular moment, we cannot do other things; similarly, we have to engage ourselves fully in the spiritual life.
Then our material activities will be stopped altogether, and then there will be no reaction. In spite of our acting... Just like the soldier. In spite of his killing hundreds and thousands of people, he is not to be hanged; he is to be rewarded. This is the technique.
So Lord says,
rasa-varjam raso 'py asya
param drstva nivartate
Now negation. Negation. "All right. I shall not do this,
which will produce reaction." That, I mean to say, forceful negation will
not stand. "I shall not do this." Or, for example, take the small incident
of our life, eating. Now, because eating has reaction, because whatever
I am eating I have to repay for that... Either you eat vegetable or flesh,
that doesn't matter. "Then let me... I shall not eat." Oh, that cannot
be. How you cannot eat? You cannot do it. If you have to live, then you
have to eat. So here the Lord says, visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah.
Just like a person is diseased. He is advised by the doctor that "You shall
not take such and such things." So he is starving or he is fasting. Suppose
in the typhoid fever the doctor has advised him not to take any solid food.
So under the instruction of the doctor, he is not taking any solid food.
But suppose his brother is eating some bread. Oh, he likes that "If I could
eat." But that means within himself...
He is, by force, by the instruction of the physician, he is forced not to eat. But within himself he has got the tendency for eating. But out of fear that "If I eat, there will be very bad reaction of taking solid food," therefore, by force, he is not eating. Similarly, there are so many things which you are refrain from doing by force. No. That sort of abstinence will not make you progressive in spiritual life, by force. No. By force I cannot... Because you are independent. Every individual being has got his little portion of independence. So anything cannot be done by forcing you. No. Even you cannot force even a child. He has got his independence. He'll revolt if you force him. So here it is said that visaya vinivartante. One may be refraining from enjoying materially by somehow or other, by force... Niraharasya dehinah, rasa-varjam raso 'py asya param drstva nivartate. But one who is spiritually advanced, he is not forced. He is voluntarily giving up.
That is the difference. Voluntarily giving up. How? Why voluntarily giving up? Now, param drstva nivartate. He has found something sublime, so sublime that he doesn't care for material enjoyment. He is not forced. He voluntarily gives up. That is the criterion of spiritual life. There is no force.
He has experienced something which is transcendental pleasure. And in comparison to the transcendental pleasure, this material pleasure is just like spitting. You see? Very insignificant.
So here it is said, rasa-varjam raso 'py asya param drstva nivartate. One who is forcibly refrained from material enjoyment, oh, that sort of forcibly material enjoyment cannot last. Cannot last.
So we have to learn that thing, that how we have to see the beauty of spiritual life. Then, naturally, we shall be refrained from material activities. Just like a child, a boy. He is all day mischief-making and playing, but if he is given some good engagement... There are now so many devices by the educational department, kindergarten system or this system or that system. But if he's engaged, "Oh, form 'A,' form 'B.'" So he learns at the same time ABC, and at the same time refrains from his mischievous activities. Similarly, there are things, kindergarten system of spiritual life. If we engage our activity in that spiritual activities, then only it is possible to refrain from these material activities. Activities cannot be stopped. Activities cannot be stopped. Just the same example, that the Arjuna... Rather, before hearing Bhagavad-gita, he became inactive, not to fight. But after hearing Bhagavad-gita, he became more active, but transcendentally active.
So spiritual life, or transcendental life, does not mean that we are free from activity. Simply artificially, if we sit down, "Oh, no more I shall do anything material. I shall simply meditate," oh, what meditation you will do? Your meditation will be in a moment broken just like even Vishvamitra Muni, he could not continue his meditation. We have to always, cent percent, be engaged in spiritual activities. That should be the program of our life. Rather, in spiritual life you will hardly find any time to get out of it. You have got so much engagement. Rasa-varjam. And that engagement can only be possible when you find some transcendental pleasure in it.
So that will be done. That will be done. Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sangah. Spiritual life begins, first of all, sraddha, some faith. Just like you are coming here kindly to hear me. You have got little faith. This is the beginning. Without faith, you could not spare your time here because here there is no cinema playing, there is no political talks, nothing of the... It may be, to some it is very dry subject. Very dry subject. (chuckles) But still, you come. Why? Because you have got some little faith, "Oh, here is Bhagavad-gita. Let us hear it." So the faith is the beginning. The faithless cannot have any spiritual life. Faith is the beginning. Adau sraddha. Sraddha. And this faith, faithfulness, as much as it is intensified, you make your progress far. So this faith has to be intensified. The beginning is the faith. And now, as you make your faith intensified, so you become progressive in the spiritual path.(?) (life?) Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sangah.
If you have got some faith, then you will find out some sadhu, sadhu or some saint, some sage, who can give you some spiritual enlightenment. That is called sadhu-sangah. Adau sraddha. The basic principle is sraddha, and the next step is sadhu-sanga, association of spiritually realised persons. That is called sadhu... Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sangah tato bhajana-kriya. And if there is actually association of spiritually self-realised persons, then he will give you some process of spiritual activities. That is called bhajana-kriya. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah atha bhajana-kriya tato anartha-nivrttih syat. And as you are more and more engaged in spiritual activities, so, proportionately, your material activities and affection for material activities will diminish. Counteraction. When you engage in the spiritual activities, your material activities diminishes. But just mind that. Material activities and spiritual activities, difference is that...
Suppose you are engaged as a medical man. You don't think that "If I become spiritually engaged, then I have to give up my profession." No, no. That is not. You have to spiritualise your profession. Just like Arjuna, he was a military man. He became a spiritualist. That means he spiritualised his military activity.
So these are the techniques. So adau sraddha tato sadhu-sangah atha bhajana-kriya tato anartha-nivrttih syat. Anartha means... Anartha means that creates my miseries. Material activities will continue to increase my misery. And if you adopt spiritual life, then your material miseries will be gradually decreased, and practically it will be nil. And when we are actually free from material affinity, then your real spiritual life begins. Tathasaktih. You become attached. You cannot give up any more. When your anartha-nivrttih, when your material activities are completely stop, then you cannot give up. Tathasaktih. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha. Nistha means your faith becomes more firm, fixed up, steady. Tato nistha tato rucih. Ruci. Ruci means you will simply hanker after spiritual things. You won't like to hear anything except spiritual message. You won't like to do anything except spiritual activities.
You won't like to eat anything which is not spiritualised. So your life will be changed. Tato nistha tathasaktih. Then attachment, then bhava. Then you will be transcendentally, I mean to say, ecstaticized. There will be some ecstasy. And that is the... These are the different steps for highest platform of spiritual life. Tato bhavah. Tato bhavah. Bhava, that bhava stage, is the right platform from where you can directly talk with the Supreme Lord.
So we have to gradually find out that stage of life. Here the Lord says that by force we cannot stop anyone's material activities. That is not possible. By force, it is not possible. So any other system of spiritual realisation, either by the process of philosophical speculation or by this process of artificial, I mean to say, gymnastic of this body, you see, or meditation, forceful meditation... Whole day I am working in a material atmosphere. Suppose for two hours I meditate. Of course, it will make some progress. Anything, spiritual action, that will not go in vain. That is a fact. But that progress is very slow, very slow. Our determination should be... I am very glad to say that our this boy, Mr. Paul, he says sometimes, "Swamiji, I want to increase my spiritual life immediately." (laughs) Take patience, patience. It will be done, of course. When you have got such desire, God will help you. He is within you. He is simply trying to see how much sincere you are"(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Lectures, Bhagavad-gita 27th April 1966, New York.).
Vyasa Krishna Dwaipana 3000 BC. Srimad-Bhagavatam. Translation
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