Prabhupāda: This is material world, all fools and rascals. All materialists are fools and rascals, mūḍha. They are called mūḍha. Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ (BG 7.15). Because they are fools and rascals, they are committing sinful life, becoming entangled in the transmigration of the soul in different types of bodies, and perpetually suffering. Because as soon as you get this body, you'll suffer, either white body or black body or yellow body, it doesn't matter. Either man's body or animal's body, as soon as you get this body, you must suffer. This is the punishment of nature. You must suffer. A king cannot say that "Because I have got this queen's body, king's body, there is no suffering." This is nonsense. You have to suffer. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9). At least these sufferings must be there: the sufferings of birth, sufferings of death, sufferings of disease and sufferings of old age. There must be. Either you become king or you become a dog or you become a cat, it doesn't matter—even if you become Brahmā. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16). This is the philosophy.
Therefore the problem is how to get out of this bodily entanglement. I am spirit soul. Somehow or other, I have fallen in this entanglement of bodily transformation. Then, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, anādi karama-phale, pori' bhavārṇava-jale, toribāre nā dekhi upāy (Anādi Karama Phale): "Somehow or other I have fallen in this ocean of birth and death. I do not know how to get out of it." Just like if you are thrown into the ocean, however expert swimmer you may be, that is not your comfortable life. You have to swim all along, otherwise immediately drown. Similarly, as soon as you get yourself in this material world, you have to struggle for existence. You have to. If you want to stop this struggle for existence, then you must get out of this material existence. That is the problem of life. Anādi karama-phale, pori' bhavārṇava-jale, toribāre nā dekhi upāy.
Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches us, ayi nanda-tanuja patitaṁ kiṅkaraṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau (Śikṣāṣṭaka 5): "My dear Lord, Nanda-tanuja, son of Nanda Mahārāja, Kṛṣṇa, I am Your eternal servant. Somehow or other, I am now fallen in this material ocean." Ayi nanda-tanuja patitaṁ kiṅkaraṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau. Viṣame: "Very ferocious danger, ocean of this material existence, I am fallen. Although I am Your servant, some way or other I have forgot. I have fallen down." Then, ayi nanda-tanuja patitaṁ kiṅkaraṁ māṁ viṣame bhava, kṛpayā: "Now I am seeking Your mercy." Kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya: "Now take me again. Pick me, and make me the one particle of dust of Your lotus feet." This should be our prayer, no other prayer. No other prayer. Caitanya Mahāprabhu does not teach any other. Na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye (Śikṣāṣṭaka 4).
People generally pray for material benefits, "O God, give us our daily bread. Give me nice position. Give me nice wife. Give me nice following or this or victory," so on, so on, so on, simply for material existence. My Guru Mahārāja used to say that if we pray to God for all these nonsense things, it is just like a man goes to a king and the king says: "Whatever you want you can ask from me," and if the man says: "Kindly give me a pinch of ashes." It is like that. If we ask from God for some material benefit, it means that I am asking from a king a pinch of ash. When king says that, "You ask whatever you want," he can say: "So give me half the kingdom."
That should be the prayer. And why a pinch of ash? Similarly, it is our foolishness when we ask for bread, "O God, give us our daily bread." That means I am asking; the bread is already there. Why for you? For everyone, for all living entities, the bread is already there given by God. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. The elephant is not going to the church for praying, "Give me food." He is supplied in the jungle, food. A tiger is supplied food. Even ant is supplied food within the hole. Who is going to supply food there? How they are eating? How they are living? How they are begetting children? The same thing is there. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithuna—everything is there in the ant, in the elephant. Who is supplying their necessities?
So this is not the problem, these rascals. They are simply perplexed with this problem, how to eat, how to sleep, how to defend. This is already fixed up according to your karma. You simply try—save your time—how to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is your own business. Otherwise you are spoiled. And so far these things are concerned, that how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life and how to defend, this is already arranged. You cannot make betterment in this way. That is already fixed up. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). According to your lot, according to your karma, you have been fixed up that, "You shall eat like this, you shall sleep like this, you'll have sex life like this, and you will be able to defend like this, not more than that." That is not possible. That is called destiny. So by destiny this is already fixed up. Don't spoil your life for these things. But people are anxious for these things. This is called ignorance.
Therefore the śāstra says, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovidaḥ. You are transmigrating from so many bodies, this body to that body. Now you have got the chance, human body. Now you can read Bhagavad-gītā. Now you can learn from Kṛṣṇa what is the problem of life. Utilize for that purpose. Don't be perplexed with this problem of this body. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ (BG 2.14). You should know... just like the summer season comes. You should know, "It has come; it will go away. The winter season has come. It has come; it will go away." So just to try to protect yourself as far as possible, but you are not affected by such summer season or winter season.
You should not be affected. Just like in India the temperature is sometimes 120 during summer season. Does it mean people will stop all their work? Or in your country, in the Western country, the winter is so strong that sometimes below zero, 30 degree. Does it mean that all of his work, everything, will be stopped? No. You have to do your duty. Similarly, although Arjuna is advised, "Although you are feeling little pains that you have to kill your own men, so that is coming and going. You have to do your duty, because it is real fight. This fight is under My guidance. You must fight. That is your duty. Don't be bothered of this mātrā-sparśāḥ (sensory perception)."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 20, 1973)