Two verses earlier the Lord said that the varieties of these unwanted creepers are unlimited. Then in Text 159 the Lord gives a sampling of the kinds of unwanted creepers that crop up:
“Some unnecessary creepers growing with the bhakti creeper are the creepers of behavior unacceptable for those trying to attain perfection, diplomatic behavior, animal-killing, mundane profiteering, mundane adoration and mundane importance. All these are unwanted creepers.”
In the purport Srila Prabhupada makes this important point:
“All these obstructions have been described in the verse as unwanted creepers. They simply present obstacles for the real creeper, bhakti-lata-bija. One should be very careful to avoid all these unwanted things. Sometimes these unwanted creepers look exactly like the bhakti-lata creeper. They appear to be of the same size and the same species, when they are packed together with the bhakti-lata creeper. A pure devotee can distinguish between the bhakti-lata creeper and a mundane creeper, and he is very alert to distinguish them and keep them separate.”
These “mundane creepers” indicate mixed devotional service (devotional service that is mixed with the three modes of nature. Because mixed devotional service can have all the accessories of pure devotional service, one has to be ultra-careful. However, ultra-careful means that he or she must know what is a weed and what is a creeper. Without knowing this, how can one have the confidence to uproot one and not the other? The fact that such creepers may be “the same size and appear to be the same species” only makes the task more demanding. It means one’s power of discrimination must be honed to its finest.
Actually, in spite of what you may have heard to the contrary, the mode of goodness plays an integral part in attaining perfection in Krishna consciousness. This point is sprinkled all over
Prabhupada’s books and lectures, however, due to reading in the wrong “mode” this gold nugget of the philosophy eludes many of us.
We all know it, in some remote way, however, it is far more important than we realize. It means that despite years of practicing transcendental life, the modes have been active among us. And thus, we can understand why not following the regulative principles may be a problem. Hence, up to now we have largely been their victims.
All of us must be inspired to use the knowledge of the three modes to achieve the very thing we all joined the Krishna consciousness movement for,
“To attain the state of transcendental goodness, and love of God.”
I do not believe that Srila Prabhupada is overstating the case when he says,
“This knowledge is far, far, superior to all other processes of knowledge thus far explained … Thus, it is expected that one who understands this Fourteenth Chapter will attain perfection.”
Since there is no other reason to pursue Krishna consciousness than to gain perfection, it behooves us to sit up and play close attention to this supreme wisdom of Krishna’s teachings.
Moreover, some questions come to mind,
“How could this knowledge be far, far superior to other processes of knowledge?”
“What about the Ninth Chapter, The Most Confidential Knowledge? Or the Tenth, where Krishna explains knowledge of the Absolute. Or the Twelfth in which He explains devotional service, which is the whole point of the Gita?”
“How is knowledge of the three modes of nature considered superior to all that went before?”
The answer is that without proper understanding and application of this knowledge these other stages of spiritual realization, although admittedly higher, will not be attained.