na kuryāt karhicit saṅgaṁ
tamas tīvraṁ titīriṣuḥ
na—do not; kuryāt—act; karhicit—at any time; saṅgam—association; tamaḥ—ignorance; tīvram—with great speed; titīriṣuḥ—persons who desire to cross over nescience; dharma—religion; artha—economic development; kāma—sense gratification; mokṣāṇām—of salvation; yat—that which; atyanta—very much; vighātakam—obstruction or stumbling block.
Those who strongly desire to cross the ocean of nescience must not associate with the modes of ignorance, for hedonistic activities are the greatest obstructions to realization of religious principles, economic development, regulated sense gratification and, at last, liberation.
The four principles of life allow one to live according to religious principles, to earn money according to one’s position in society, to allow the senses to enjoy the sense objects according to regulations, and to progress along the path of liberation from this material attachment. As long as the body is there, it is not possible to become completely free from all these material interests. It is not, however, recommended that one act only for sense gratification and earn money for that purpose only, sacrificing all religious principles. At the present moment, human civilization does not care for religious principles. It is, however, greatly interested in economic development without religious principles. For instance, in a slaughterhouse the butchers certainly get money easily, but such business is not based on religious principles. Similarly, there are many nightclubs for sense gratification and brothels for sex. Sex, of course, is allowed in married life, but prostitution is prohibited because all our activities are ultimately aimed at liberation, at freedom from the clutches of material existence. Similarly, although the government may license liquor shops, this does not mean that liquor shops should be opened unrestrictedly and illicit liquor smuggled. Licensing is meant for restricting. No one has to take a license for sugar, wheat or milk because there is no need to restrict these things. In others words, it is advised that one not act in a way that will obstruct the regular process of advancement in spiritual life and liberation. The Vedic process of sense gratification is therefore planned in such a way that one can economically develop and enjoy sense gratification and yet ultimately attain liberation. Vedic civilization offers us all knowledge in the śāstras, and if we live a regulated life under the direction of śāstras and guru, all our material desires will be fulfilled; at the same time we will be able to go forward to liberation.
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