Lecture – Los Angeles, July 1, 1971
Devotee: Prabhupada, can you explain a little more about Ratha-yatra? Anyone who takes part in Ratha-yatra, are they liberated?
Devotee: Does that mean they will not take birth again?
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes, provided they take it seriously. Otherwise, if they keep their mentality differently, then according to mind, one has to get a body. But… Just like so many boys. They come here in the beginning out of curiosity, but gradually, they get the chance of becoming devotee. Similarly, if they take the chance, then they will be liberated. They come out of curiosity, but if they take it seriously, then they will be liberated. Just like hospital is meant for curing disease. So one should take the treatment. If he simply goes and visits the hospital and thinks "Now I am cured," how it can be done? Suppose if I advertise that "Anyone who comes to this hospital, he will be cured of his disease," that's a fact. But if he thinks that "I have come here. Now I am going," then how he will be cured? To see Jagannatha on the Ratha-yatra, his way for liberation is open, but if he comes back again and entangles himself, then? One goes to the doctor. He gives injection. The disease is cured. But again he comes back and does the same thing so that he develops this disease again. So whose fault it is? This is called hasti-snana. Hasti-snana. The elephant takes bath very nicely, and as soon as comes on the bank of the river or the lake, he takes dust and throws it over body again. If we do that, then we shall remain always dirty. You go, take bath, cleanse, but don't take dirt again. That is not going on. They become immediately mukta, liberated, but they come, again becomes entangled. If it is a fact seeing Jagannatha is mukta, that's all… He becomes mukta. But if he again comes to maya, then who can check him? Just like you are all on the path of liberation, but if you again come back to maya, then where is your liberation? Why Jagannatha in the ratha here? If somebody comes here and sees his path for liberation is open… Now he should protect himself. Just like disease, fever is subsided. Now one should be careful not to relapse the fever. That care is in my hand, everyone's hands. And if you become prone to be relapsed again, then again the same thing. Just like in Christian church they confess. Of course, that is the injunction. That's all right. After confessing, the sins are excused. That's a fact. But if he comes back, again commits the same, then where is the effect? But they are happy in that way. "After one week, I shall go to the church and confess my sins. Then everything will be neutralized." This is all right. Suppose on Sunday you become free from all contamination of your sinful activities. And Monday you again do the same thing. So you become again contaminated. And, say, on Tuesday if you die, then you are dying with sins. Is it not? Then what is your condition? If the God or Christ excused you of your sinful life, that's all right. But when you come back, you don't commit again sin. Then you are all right. But we have taken it as a business that we go to Sunday, neutralize our sins, and come back again and do the same thing. So from logical point of view, suppose you do the same sinful activities, and if you die immediately, then you die with sinful activities, go to hell. What benefit you derive by confessing in the church? This business is going on. "Now I have seen Jagannatha. My liberation is guaranteed. Now I can do anything." That's all. This mentality. This mentality will not give you liberation. You have seen Jagannatha, your sinful activities are now neutralized, but don't commit again. Now make progress. Then your liberation is guaranteed. Is it clear?
Namnam balad yasya hi papa-buddhih. In every initiation we teach this, that chanting Hare Krishna mantra, once chanting Hare Krishna, is sufficient to make us pure from all sinful activities, reaction. But if we commit sin again in the hope that "Because I am chanting, this will be neutralized," that is the greatest sin. So one side, you should chant always Hare Krishna mantra so that you may not fall down; another side, you should be careful: "Now no illicit sex life, no intoxication, no meat-eating." In this way, if you carefully make progress, then your liberation is guaranteed. Just like doctor. If you go to a doctor for treatment of a disease, he gives you medicine; at the same time, he prohibits you, "Don't do this." So you take medicine and don't do this. Follow this instruction. You are cured, guaranteed. But if you don't follow the "don't do this," and don't take the medicine regularly, then how you can expect cure? It may be, but it will take long time. But if you want quick, take it seriously. Just like Dhruva Maharaja. In six months he saw God, in six months. That is possible. You follow? So if we don't follow the regulative principle and the instruction, then our liberation will be delayed. Otherwise it is guaranteed.
Devotee: How do you develop this seriousness if you find that you are always frivolous?
Prabhupada: Seriousness? If you become serious then you become, develop seriousness. If you are fickle, then how you can develop seriousness? Therefore the injunction is: yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. You should be very serious to abide by the orders of the spiritual master. Then you are serious. If you think that "Spiritual master is a man like me. Why shall I follow his instructions so strictly?" then you are not serious. Then what is the use of your being initiated? This is seriousness. And we are singing daily, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. What is the meaning of this?
Karandhara: "By the mercy of the spiritual master, one receives the mercy of Krishna."
Prabhupada: So if you don't follow the spiritual master, then how you can get his mercy? Mercy is always there, but if you don't take it, then what spiritual master or his father will do? You have to take it. That is seriousness. Therefore Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura said that "The order of my spiritual master is my life. I do not know whether I get liberation or not. That is not my business. My business is to carry out the order of my spiritual master."
Conversation – Aug 16, 1976, Bombay
Acyutananda: Even in Krishna book rasa-līla should not be told in public.
Prabhupada: No, why? Krishna book must be there, in the book must be there.
Acyutananda: But in public…
Prabhupada: But you should go gradually. You should go gradually. You first of all understand Krishna, then krishna-lila. If you have not understood Krishna, then you'll think Krishna's rasa-līla is just like we mix with young women. And that becomes as polluted. Because they do not understand Krishna. Manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye yatatam api siddhanam [Bg. 7.3]. Krishna understanding so easy? If you do not understand Krishna how can you go to the Krishna's confidential activities?
Acyutananda: Some of the devotees, they said that it is for liberated souls. So they said, "Well, we are all liberated."
Prabhupada: Yes. Liberated for going to hell.
Letter to Bhakta Ralph, 7 January, 1976
Sometimes there will be a little misunderstanding between Godbrothers, that is even going on amongst liberated souls. What is important is that everyone must engage in Krishna's service under the direction of the spiritual master.
In the above letter Srila Prabhupada clearly makes a distinction between his disciples and liberated souls. One is liberated, the other is trying to become liberated.
So mukti or liberation is easily achieved simply by seeing the Ratha cart of Lord Jagannatha and it can be lost just as easily if one does not follow the doctor's orders for diseaseless health, or liberation. Ultimate mukti means without falling down, to be re-instated in one's constitutional position as eternal servant of the Lord.