"Pada Seva means to serve the lotus feet of Guru and Krishna.You cannot serve Krishna without Guru, or serve just Guru without serving Krishna. They must be served or offered pada seva simultaneously." - Srila Prabhupada

Let's get addicted

Statutory Warning: Cigarette Smoking is Injurious to Health

[Published in: ISKCON Kolkata]

Every cigarette packet inevitably carries this warning. Yet we find smokers almost at every corner of our street. Why isn't this warning working? How can people accept something which will ultimately cost their life? The same question goes for all other addiction like alcohols, drugs etc.

An illusion is an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience [Oxford Dictionaries].  Foolishness is a state when we "know" we are smarter than people who try to share the true facts. Bewilderment is a state of being confused and puzzled, where we fail to differentiate What-Is-Correct and What-Is-Incorrect.

In the present age of deterioration, Kali, we are under a deep spell of illusion created by Maya (The External Energy of Lord), who is an expert illusionist. Along with Her (Maya), the unseen effect of Kali, bewilders our mind to an extent that our intelligence falls weak and we listen to our senses. Making the things worse, thanks to modernization, we are ashamed to take the shelter of Guru-&-Shastra (Spiritual Master-&-Scripture). 

This state leads to addiction. We see many advertisements of cigarettes and alcohols which openly promise "a cool" lifestyle and "hot" fan following of opposite gender, that appears FREEDOM to the young generation and hence so appealing. This is the major reason why most of the graduate hostels are a budding place of addiction.




The answer is a big NO.

If we think deeply, we are serving our senses. Just as illustrated below, we are like the terrified passenger riding on a chariot (representing our body), which is being pulled madly by 5 uncontrolled horses (representing our senses). The horses are running uncontrollably since the driver (our intelligence) doesn't have control over the reins (our mind).

The chariot of the body. The five horses represent the five senses (tongue, eyes, ears, nose and skin). The reins, the driving instrument, symbolize the mind, the driver is the intelligence, and the passenger is the spirit soul. [Bhagavad-gita 6.34
(Source: http://www.asitis.com/gallery/plate23.html)

Definition of Addiction - Dictionary.com

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

So it is not only the Scripture but also dictionary which acknowledges the fact that addiction is a state of being "enslaved".

Actually, slavery is nothing foreign to our nature.
The svarupa, or actual identity of the living entity, is described by Lord Caitanya. Jīvera 'svarupa' haya-kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa': (CC Madhya 20.108) the real identity of the living entity is that he is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Lord.

Why would someone want to be enslaved to an addiction? Especially to something that can cost their life?

We all are looking for happiness in this world, which Krishna declared as Dukhalayam (place of miseries). We can try every possible idea of being happy but we will fail for certain. In this stressful and depression condition, intoxication appears to provide a temporary illusion of stress-buster which relieves the consumer. However as soon as the effect or illusion breaks, the person finds himself back to the same miserable situation. His mind reminds him of the illusionary relief achieved by the intoxicant. His senses show the symptoms of "need". Incompetent intelligence makes him decide to try the intoxicant "again". However slowly the body adjusts to the doses, and, every time it requires more and more dose. Eventually, the person gets trapped in a whirlpool of endless-urges-and-illusion.

Many times people spend money and try medication, therapy, psychologist and what not to get "free" from the entanglement of addiction. But the fact remains, it relapses. At times people get addicted to another stuff in order to get rid of the previous. 

Just like these addictions which kill our body, there are others which kill our valuable time, a state of consciousness and intellect e.g. Watching Mundane Movies, Pornography, Gambling, Facebook & WhatsApp (😈), there are many if we seriously ponder. These are also dangerous. Even these addictions are imbibed to seek momentary happiness from our miserable life.

What is the solution to quit an addiction?

We the part-and-parcel of Krishna, inherit His qualities (but in a smaller quantity) of Sat-Chit-Ananda. Ananda means happiness. So when happiness or bliss is our property, how can we not look for happiness? Actually, there is no harm in looking for happiness, but, the problem is we are searching in the wrong place.

Just like a camel who sucks his own blood while chewing the thorny twigs. The thorns that the camel eats cuts the tongue of the camel. And so blood begins to flow within the camel's mouth. The thorns mixed with fresh blood create a taste for the foolish camel, and so he enjoys the thorn-eating business with false pleasure.

This material world is Dukhalayam (place of miseries) and Asasvatam (temporary). Hence we get illusionary happiness for a short duration. We are Sat - eternal. How can we be satisfied with anything temporary? Everything in this material sky, comprising of heavenly and hellish planets, including every demi-Gods and Goddesses, is temporary. So we should redirect our attention to someone eternal - Krishna. Krishna is not only eternal but also a great reservoir of pleasure. 

The method of remembering and associating with Krishna, as prescribed by various scriptures is chanting His Holy Name:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

In the Ananta-samhita, the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra are explained in these verses:

hare krishna hare krishna, krishna krishna hare hare;
hare rama hare rama, rama rama hare hare.
shodashaitani namani, dvatrimshad varnakani hi;
kalau yuge maha-mantrah, sammato jivatarane.

"This mantra comprising of sixteen words or thirty-two syllables is known as the maha-mantra in Kali-yuga and is the only capable means through which the living entities can be delivered in Kali-yuga."

This mantra is so potent that it can clean all the dirt of one's heart. We have seen many chain smokers, drunkards, drug addicts getting free from their addiction and leading clean, happy and joyful life, just by sincere chanting, without any help of any medication, therapy or psychologist.

Srila Prabhupada explains

If we are not fully engaged in serving Krishna then maya will take the opportunity and engage us in her service causing us to fall from the spiritual platform and again become entangled in material activities.

So let us all try to get addicted to Hari Naam, which will help us release stress and lead a happy and cheerful life. 


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Hare Krishna!


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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This website is dedicated to His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness - ISKCON)

Pada Seva

Pada Seva is a blog of ISKCON Dumdum and is maintained by the ISKCON Dumdum congregational devotees.

Pada-Sevanam means to serve the lotus feet of the Lord and His devotees. It is one of the nine different processes of executing Krishna consciousness. This website is an offering from us to Srila Prabhupada in the same mood of Pada Sevanam, hence the name.

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