(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
"What is the difference between a person materially affected and spiritually advanced? Take for example our students. We may not be very much highly advanced. Admitting that, but at least if any gentleman comes, if he's sincere, he'll appreciate how pure they are. At least they are practiced. You see? So by the result, one has to see. But we have seen so many meditators, they cannot change even their daily nonsense habits. So what result they have obtained, they have achieved? I cannot understand? By the result one has to take account. Not by simply jugglery of words.
Just like there is examination. One student says, 'Oh, I have studied so much.' But when the examination was taken, he failed. So what does it mean that he studied? That means he did not study, that's all. The test is that spiritual advancement means minimizing material activities. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt (SB 11.2.42). Automatically they will be detestful for material engagement. Spiritual advancement means that.
Just like a hungry man, if you give him to eat, as soon as he begins to eat, immediately he'll feel satisfaction, and when he is fully fed, he'll say, 'No, I don't want any more.' So similarly, spiritual advancement means proportionately one should be detestful to material engagement. That is the test.
So if anyone is advancing by meditation or bhakti-yoga or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to give evidence that he is now being proportionately detached from this material engagement. That is the test. This is not for only the meditators. It is for you also. How far you are advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness you test yourself— how far you have become detached from material consciousness. That's all. The proportionately you have advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the proportionately you'll not like material engagement. If you have advanced cent percent, then cent percent you become detached. That is the way.
So everyone has to test himself, 'how far I have advanced.' That means 'How far I have become detached with material contamination.' That's all. The test is in your hand. And if you are sincere, then you should test yourself. And if you want to make show, that is a different thing. That is explained in the Second Chapter, sthita-prajña. The behavior of a person who has advanced in spiritual consciousness, that is explained. You have studied. He talks like that, he walks like that, he behaves like that. So many things, they have been explained. These are the tests. So we may not be able to achieve all the success immediately, but everyone should try to follow…
So everyone can test how far he has advanced simply by this, 'How far I have become prepared to sacrifice everything for Kṛṣṇa?' He doesn't require to take certificate from others. He can test himself, 'How far I am prepared?' Then it is all right. This is the standard."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, December 20, 1968)