(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and devotees, New York)
"There is a nice verse that just like this material world is accepted as a great ocean. Now, to cross over a great Atlantic Ocean from New York to, I mean to say, Portugal... Just like Columbus came. Now we have got great big ships, but he had to face many dangers. Just it is very difficult to cross over the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, but if you have got a very good vehicle, ship or anything else, you can very nicely cross over, similarly, the example is given that this material life is a great ocean, and this human body is a good boat. This human body is a good boat for crossing this ocean. And the spiritual master is a good captain. You see? And the instruction of Lord Kṛṣṇa, or a similar instruction, Vedic instruction, are favorable wind. Just like if you want to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York, if the wind is blowing westward, then your journey becomes very favorable. So the favorable wind is blowing by this instruction of the Vedas, and there are many stalwart ācāryas who are just like the captain, and this human body is just like a good ship.
Now, the living soul who is seated in such a favorable condition, if he does not cross over the material ocean, then he is making suicide. He is making suicide. Sa eva ātma-han. So we have to take advantage. We have to take advantage of this favorable condition to end this miserable material existence. And if anyone does not take the advantage, then he is committing suicide. That is the version of Bhāgavata. Or... Either he is personally committing suicide or any civilization which is checking this process, that is also violent, the most virulent type of violence, because people are misled. So this is the idea of the scriptures, that human life should be utilized only for spiritual self-realization."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, May 30, 1966)