This verse is very significant for those desiring to elevate themselves to a higher level of Krishna consciousness. When a person is initiated by a spiritual master, he changes his habits and does not eat undesirable eatables or engage in the eating of meat, the drinking of liquor, illicit sex or gambling.

Sattvika-ahara, foodstuffs in the mode of goodness, are described in the sastras as wheat, rice, vegetables, fruits, milk, sugar, and milk products. Simple food like rice, dhal, capatis, vegetables, milk and sugar constitute a balanced diet, but sometimes it is found that an initiated person, in the name of prasada, eats very luxurious foodstuffs. Due to his past sinful life he becomes attracted by Cupid and eats good food voraciously. It is clearly visible that when a neophyte in Krishna consciousness eats too much, he falls down. Instead of being elevated to pure Krishna consciousness, he becomes attracted by Cupid. The socalled brahmacari becomes agitated by women, and the vanaprastha may again become captivated into having sex with his wife. Or he may begin to search out another wife. Due to some sentiment, he may give up his own wife and come into the association of devotees and a spiritual master, but due to his past sinful life he cannot stay. Instead of being elevated to Krishna consciousness, he falls down, being attracted by Cupid, and takes to another wife for sex enjoyment. The fall of the neophyte devotee from the path of Krishna consciousness down to material life is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) by Narada Muni.

tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer bhajann apakvo ‘tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim ko vartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah

This indicates that although a neophyte devotee may fall down from the path of Krishna consciousness due to his immaturity, his service to Krishna never goes in vain. However, a person who remains steadfast in his family duty or so-called social or family obligation but does not take to Krishna consciousness receives no profit. One who comes to Krishna consciousness must be very cautious and refrain from prohibited activities, as defined by Rupa Gosvami in his Upadesamrta:

atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati

A neophyte devotee should neither eat too much nor collect more money than necessary. Eating too much or collecting too much is called atyahara. For such atyahara one must endeavor very much. This is called prayasa. Superficially one may show himself to be very much faithful to the rules and regulations, but at the same time not be fixed in the regulative principles. This is called niyamagraha. By mixing with undesirable persons, or jana-sanga, one becomes tainted with lust and greed and falls down from the path of devotional service.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Fourth Canto, Chapter 26 – Text 1

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