(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
Devotee: So if we as devotees in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are transcendental to these modes, does that mean that we can...
Prabhupāda: You are not transcendental. You are trying to be transcendental. You should always remember that "We are trying to be transcendental." When you are actually on transcendental state, you will not be affected by any modes of material nature. Therefore you should be very cautious and careful. Just like on the sea, you are in the boat. You are transcendental. But the boat may..., can merge into the water any moment unless you are very carefully plying it. At any moment. You are not in the water, you are safe on the boat, but if you do not carefully ply your boat, then you can fall down at any moment. The comparison is given, nṛ-deham ādyam sulabhaṁ sudurlabhaṁ (SB 11.20.17). Sulabhaṁ. This human form of body is just like a very nice boat to cross over this ocean of ignorance, and the guru is the pilot, or the captain. And the śāstras are favorable wind. Just like if you are going this direction, if the wind is blowing this..., then automatically your boat is pushed. And behind the boat, what is called, the boat, that thing? He takes the...
Devotee (2): The oar, rudder...
Devotee (3): The oarsman. Oarsmen.
Prabhupāda: Oarsman, all of them are. Chief?
Devotee (2): The steersman or the pilot?
Prabhupāda: Yes, the chief man. So the guru is there. He is the chief man, giving direction, or the captain. And others are plying, and the boat is also strong, and the wind is also favorable. In this circumstances, if you cannot cross, then you make suicide. The śāstras are there. That is favorable wind. You get the way. And the spiritual master is directing, "Do like this." And you have got a nice boat, and you are plying. Now cross over. Very big ocean in the material world. Just see the sky, how big it is. So we have to cross this material sky, penetrate the covering, then go to the spiritual sky. Then you are safe. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ 'vyakto 'vyaktāt sanātanaḥ (BG 8.20). That place, even after destruction of this whole material world, that is safe. So we have to go there, plying the boat.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk Conversation, Perth, May 11, 1975)