On defending and the other necessities of the material body

Answer to a question

Dear devotee,

Srila Prabhupada mentions various times the four necessities of the soul identified with a material body, which are
mating and

In Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 19.154, he says:
“In the human form, everyone has a chance to understand the Supreme Brahman.
The so-called leaders of human society do not know the real aim of human life and are therefore busy with economic development. This is misleading. Every state and every society is busy trying to improve the quality of eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
This human form of life is meant for more than these four animal principles. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending are problems found in the animal kingdom, and the animals have solved these problems without difficulty. Why should human society be so busy trying to solve these problems? The difficulty is that people are not educated to understand this simple philosophy. They think that advancement of civilization means increasing sense gratification.”

However if from these statements someone would understand that since even animals are looking for eating, sleeping, mating and defending, we should not do the same, it would be incorrect.
These four are necessities (including defending) of any living being who is in a material body.

Srila Prabhupada’s criticism is directed towards the materialistic mentality according to which the four necessities are the only things that matter and that everything else is superflous.
This mentality generates from tattva-vibhrama, ignorance of reality which is that we are not the material body but the spiritual soul.
All present societies are based on this basic error. Since animals care only about these four, a human doing the same would be like an animal and the societies he found would be animalistic societies.

Therefore eating, sleeping, mating and defending should be there but not as the primary necessity of life. As the Vedanta Sutra says: athato brahma-jijnasa, the prime and immediate necessity is transcendental knowledge.

Those who are victims of tattva-vibhrama live a life of fear because they sense that everything can finish at any moment. They are afraid of pains, disappointments, frustrations, inferiority complexes, physical and psycological pains, desease, death and many other “klesha”. Klesa means misery or trouble.


Let’s say something about the ksesa. They are innumerable but Srila Prabhupada mentions three classifications:
“… adhidaivika-klesa (sufferings caused by the demigods, such as droughts, earthquakes and storms),
adhibhautika-klesa (sufferings caused by other living entities like insects or enemies), and
adhyatmika-klesa (sufferings caused by one’s own body and mind, such as mental and physical infirmities).”

And he adds:
“Daiva-bhutatma-hetavah: the conditioned souls, subjected to these three miseries by the control of the external energy, suffer various difficulties.” (Upadesamrita #2, commentary)

Therefore it is undestandable (although in no way justifiable) that someone can arrive to react even in violent ways. Frustration leads to rage. The Bhagavad-gita (2.62-63) gives a very nice description of how rage and violence are generated. Please go read it.


These vicious chain reaction is interrupted (or it begins to be interrupted) when someone meets someone who can give transcendental knowledge. These “entities” are called Guru (spiritual masters), Sastra (revealed scriptures), Sadhu (the saints and sages).
From this point on the insecurities and the fears gradually disappear.

Infact, if we are eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, if Krishna and His world are there, what you shoud be concerned with? Just think about it. All causes are removed from the root. Who cares about what happens in this world if everything is temporary and illusory?
A real sage doesn’t really need anything external to be happy.
At his point the conditioning of external factors ceases at once.


This is why you find that advanced devotees are always happy. As Srila Prabhupada says:
“As soon as an individual soul becomes conscious of his eternal relationship with the Supersoul and looks only toward Him, he at once becomes free from the entanglements of material enjoyment.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 2.19)


The necessity of defending yourself is there when you think you are alone with no divine protection and when you are attached to something in this world. But if you know the reality of this life and of this world, if you are detached and if you are sure of divine protection, the necessity of defence disappears.
“Do I get something? Good, I’ll use it for Krishna. I don’t get what I want? Good, there are so many services to do, even only chanting and studying. If Krishna doesn’t want to give me something, who am I to want it?
Does Krishna want to keep me in this body? Good. Doesn’t he want to be in this body? Good the same. The only thing that I should care is loving service to Radha Krishna.”

This is how the advanced devotee thinks.


– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
27 sept 2019


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