Definition of Vice & Its Scope
Delhi, Tuesday 20th November, 1956  (Series #13, Part 1)
Edited and Founded
Under direct order of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti-Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada
By Goswami Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta
Our esteemed friend Sri Bishan Prasad Maheswari one of the learned advocates of the Supreme Court has requested us to write something on the principle of fruitive action with special reference to Vice and its potency. We can define Vice is a symptom of material disease as fever is a symptom of malaria or typhoid or any such bacterial affection. The relative term of Vice is virtue which is exhibited in various forms in the dealings of living being. Even in the animal kingdom each and every animal has his specific virtues while they are prominent in the life of a human being. For example faithfulness to the master is a virtue of the dog and if we analyze the characteristics of the animals and men we can find in them many parallel vices both in man and animal. So far vice is concerned it is a foreign acquisition to the living being when he is in contact with the three qualitative nature called by the names of goodness, passion and ignorance or Satwa, Rajas, and Tama qualities. Vice is therefore not an inborn quality of the living being but it is acquired in association with the qualities of matter.

The matter is called Prakrti or Nature while the living entity or the Spirit Soul is called Purusha. We have already discussed in our previous articles about Purusha both Kshara and Akshara. The Purusha who comes in contact with the material nature is the Kshara Purusha or the fallible living being. And Vice is a symptom of such fallen condition. The living being becomes completely free from all sorts of vices when he is reinstated in his original position transcendental to material existence.

In the Bhagwat Geeta, this contact of the originally pure soul or living entity is explained in the following manner.

Prakrtim, Purasham, Cha,
Biddhi, Anadi, Ubhou, Api.
Vikaram, Cha, Gunam, Cha,
Eba, Biddhi, Prakriti Sambhaban.
(G. 13/20)

The living being and the material nature both of them exist eternally i.e., before the time of cosmic creation. Cosmic creation is similar to the construction of a big building. We should not make a mistake that while the building is constructed the building materials and the residents of the building are also created. The residents of the building and the materials of the building were there in potential stage even prior to the construction of a building. Therefore in this sloka the word "Anadi" has been purposely used, "Anadi" means beginningless. Therefore the living entities and the material nature as potency of the Supreme Lord remained existent even before the birth of time and space measurement of cosmic manifestation. Past present and future all these were born along with the cosmos but the living entity Purusha and the material Nature Prakriti both are transcendental to this cosmic time and space. It is never to be understood that the living entity or the material nature are born within the limits of time and space. As the Supreme Lord is ever existent so also His different potencies. The material nature becomes manifested as the cosmic universe and the living entities are impregnated within the material nature by the supreme will of the Lord. The section of living entities as conditional soul who are impregnated within this material nature are so to say disobedient sons of the Lord who refused to obey the supremacy of the Lord and tried to make an overlordship over the material nature. This temperament of disobedience to the will of the Lord desire to lord it over the material Nature is the root of all Vices. Otherwise the living being in his natural state, is the purest of the pure as the Lord is the purest of the pure. How this spirit of disobedience came into being in the pure nature of the soul -- is an inconceivable speculation in our present state. The only explanation can be offered in this connection is that even in our present state of life there are some men who are devoted to the Lord while there are others who do not even believe in the existence of the Lord. Some times we meet persons who frankly say that they have no belief in God and if we want to rectify such misconception about God even then they refuse to entertain discussion. Now who is right and who is wrong? The man who believes in God has many supporters in authentic literature all over the world. The Vedas, the Bible, the Koran and all such authentic literatures are tangible support to the man who believes in God but the unbelievers have practically no support save and except of some irrational argument of begging the question. Now how this happens. When the God believers were born or when the unbelievers were born nobody can say but still in fact we can experience that there is a class of believers and unbelievers never mind how and when they came in existence. For the present we can simply accept that there are two classes of men or living entities. The unbelievers are called materialist and the believers are called spiritualists. The more a man becomes a spiritualist the more and more he becomes freed from the contamination of material qualities. The material qualities in their varied degree are all vices where the spiritual qualities are inborn qualities of the spirit soul which are exhibited as virtues in the material world in contact with the material vices, otherwise all virtues are all spiritual and they are ever existent with the spirit soul. The vices are described as Vikara or derangement. When a man is overtaken by evil spirit and haunted by it the brain of the man becomes deranged and in the madness of deranged condition a man can perform many things unnatural to him in his natural condition.

The principle of vices are murdering, kidnapping, setting fire at other house, stealing, lying, cheating, etc. And according to big psychiatrists these vices are committed in a state of insanity. The present aggression on Egypt is an act of setting fire on others home and we consider it an act of vice in a state of insanity. This state of insanity on the part of the aggressors has also been accepted even by Lord Russel. This is called Maya. Maya means illusory energy and when a man is too much captivated by the illusory energy, he cannot but do commit only vices and vices.

How the illusory energy works is explained in the Bhagwat Geeta as follows:--

Karya, Karana, Kartritte, Hetu,
Prakriti, Uchchyate
Purusha, Sukha, Dukhanam,
Bhaktritte, Hetu, Uchcbyate
(G. 13/21)

Karya or the finished body that a living entity gets as the covering of his pure self is created by the laws of nature. Karana or the senses
<< Back                                                                                                                       Next >>
Home  |  Srila Prabhupada  |  Meditations  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Contact us  |  Glossary

and the mind are also product of the material nature and therefore she is the cause of all these senses. Kartritta or the control of actions are also done by the Prakriti. The planetary actions as described in astronomy are some of the controls or Kartritta of the material Nature. In the revealed scriptures we find that there is control of different deities, whom we call by the name of 'Devata' a God even on the movement of our eyelids. So this control is also created by Prakriti by her stringent laws. No living being can change such laws even by the highest perfection of scientific knowledge. The so-called scientific knowledge of the mundane scientist are different varieties of illusions only to bewilder from spiritual on the conditioned souls who have fallen from the pure state of existence and such illusory scientific knowledge help us only in increasing the duration of our material existence. The so-called scientific knowledge is prompted by a desire to lord it over the material nature which is the root cause of all vices as described above. So Prakriti is the cause of all the above mentioned states namely the material body, the senses and the control.

And the Purusha is himself the cause for putting himself in the laws of Prakriti. Due to this cause the Purusha is subjected to three fold miseries of life on account of having the material body, mind and conditions of life. How the Purusha experiences pains and pleasures by such laws are explained in the following examples.

A state citizen is completely free to take advantage of all facilities of the state because the state is for his welfare only. But he is sometimes seen in the police lock up for some criminal offences committed by him. For this criminality of the citizen the state is not responsible. The state does not teach any body to act criminality nor does it invite any one to come and fill up the prison cells. On the contrary the state teaches the citizen to refrain from criminal activities, gives him full facilities for education, business, trade, industry and other civic activities. The welfare state is never meant for the misery of the citizen but if the citizen suffers in the prison house or in the police lock up -- it should never be misunderstood that the laws of the state is responsible for such anomalies. The state control is there and yet the citizen is free to act for his future pains or pleasure. Ignorance of law is no excuse and therefore if a man is placed under police lock up for his ignorance the state is never to be responsible for it but the man can rectify his own action by using his good sense.

Therefore it may be concluded that sufferings or pains of living entities are due to the different grades of vices and the vices are due to ignorance. The mode of ignorance is called by the name Tamaguna or darkness of life. The more a living being is put into such darkness of ignorance the more he is subjected to the conditions of material laws.

The other day we have been reading in the Soviet Land as follows:--

"Ever since the beginning of the universe the Sun has been shedding huge amount of heat upon the surface of the Earth. If this heat is properly utilized it is capable of changing the very face of the earth. So far man's effort in this direction were not very successful. Nature has been slightly more successful. It congealed a part of this energy in the form of wood, coal, oil, etc. Another part was used by it for causing rain, for setting the wind adrift and for doing thousands other things. But the amount of heat thus utilized was only one percent of the total heat shed by the Sun. The rest 99 per cent was simply wasted and did not fulfill any useful purpose.

"Ever since man appeared on the surface of this planet he has been dreaming of utilizing this huge mass of heat. The primitive man used it to warm his body during the bitter colds of winter. When he took up agriculture he used it for drying corn and doing some other minor jobs. As man's knowledge of natural phenomena increased his desire to use the solar heart also increased. It is only now that man's age old dream is beginning to come true." etc.

As we discussed before the root cause of a living entity's vicious life is his forgetfulness of the relation of Godhead and a desire to lord it over material nature. This fact is corroborated in the above writings of the Russian paper. We do not mean to stop any scientific research in the matter of utilizing the Sun rays but the fact that a conditioned living entity always dreams of utilizing the natural resources and thereby becomes captivated by the illusory energy of the material nature forgetting his real self as a pure spiritual identity. The dream of utilizing the material resources is the root cause of all vices. Because the material resources are sufficiently arranged to fulfill the necessities of life. In the ocean there is ample salt because salt is a necessary thing for our life. If we like we can produce more salt than what we require but that is an act of vice because the extra production of salt means diverting our energy for other purposes while the same was meant for realisation of the pure self. In the animal life the senses being covered by major ignorance (the animals) cannot make any use of them for exploiting the material resources. In the human form of life the extra intelligence and energy of the human being is meant for self realisation and not for exploiting the natural resources more than what we require. Because we cannot take in more salt than what we need although there is an ocean of salty water. The more he forgets his spiritual identity, the more he becomes subjected to the stringent laws of Nature. This fact is explained in the following words by the Bhagwat Geeta (Geeta 7/13).

Trivi, Gunamayii, Bhabai, Eve,
Sarbam, Idam, Jagat.
Mohitam, Na, Abhijanati,
Mamevya, Param, Abyam.

Those who are captivated by the three qualitative beauty and resources of material Nature, can not transcend it and know Me, who is the Supreme Lord the eternal fountain Head.

(To be continued)
About Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada's Books
Selected Writings
Early Writings
Your ever well-wisher
Prabhupada Meditations
Written Offerings
Artistic Offerings
Photo Album
Deity Pictures
Causeless Mercy
Editorial Notes
Site Map
What's New