(Click to enlarge photo of devotees pulling Rathayatra cart, New York, 1976)
Devotee: Should we always endeavor in spite of pain to push ourselves in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: There is no pain. It is painful in the beginning, but... Everything. If you take some medicine, it is bitter, it is painful, but if it helps to cure disease, we must take it. "Because the medicine is bitter, I'll not take it." That is not sense. If you want to be cured from the disease, even the medicine is bitter, you must take. That is tapasya. Tapasya means things we are going to accept may be not very pleasing, but still we have to do it. That is tapasya. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyed sattvam (SB 5.5.1). We take bitter medicine just to cure our existence. Similarly, at the present moment, our existence is impure. Therefore we have to accept birth, death, old age and disease on account of impure existence. Otherwise, we are spirit soul, we are eternal, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). So we are not in eternal existence, we are temporary existence. We have got this body, it will be finished. Then we have to accept another body, tatha dehāntara praptir. Then again you live in that body for some time, and again the body is finished. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). So this is going on. This is impure stage of our existence. So we have to purify it. Therefore to purify it tapasya required. Tapo divyaṁ yena śuddhyed sattvam (SB 5.5.1). The tapasya required. That tapasya has to be given lesson, trained up. Kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha (SB 7.6.1). That is brahmacārī system, to understand the value of life. These things are lacking in the present civilization, but it is essential. Without this, there is no meaning of human life. Then it is cats' and dogs' life. Sa eva go-kharaḥ.
yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇāpe tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma idyadhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
So just we are trying to save men from this go-kharaḥ civilization. Therefore it is not very appealing to the general mass of people. But still we have seen yesterday that as soon as we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, everyone is attracted, everyone. You have seen yesterday? The drunkard, he was also attracted, and the child was attracted, the gentleman, he was also attracted, within the park. The child was dancing and the drunkard was dancing. Therefore this is the only means to elevate the modern men to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Harer nāma harer nāma (CC Adi 17.21).
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Washington, D.C., July 5, 1976)