Spiritual life begins when a person understands that he is not the body. In the material world, all our connections—whether social or political or in the field of eating, sleeping, defending, and mating—are due only to the material body. Unless one is completely conversant with the fact that one is not the body, it is not possible to become self-realized.
brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
Pure devotional service is so powerful, however, that one may at once take to it without acquiring the previous qualification of
It is incumbent upon all devotees of Kṛṣṇa to avoid eating anything that has not been offered to the Supreme Lord. A devotee who does not strictly follow this principle is sure to fall down. Similarly, one who refuses to accept
So, whether in social life or political life, or in the matter of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, a devotee should avoid performing any action tainted by material attachment. The word used here is
Similarly, a devotee minimizes his defending propensity. A pure devotee knows he is under the shelter of the all-powerful Supreme Lord, and so he is not very anxious about defending himself. Although he should use his common sense in the matter of defending, he is sure that without being protected by Lord Kṛṣṇa no one can defend himself, however expert he may be in the art of defense.
In the same way, a devotee minimizes or eliminates sex. He does not indulge indiscriminately in sex, begetting offspring as the cats and dogs do. If he begets any children at all, he takes charge of them to elevate them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that they may not have to suffer in material life again, in future lives. That is the duty of a devotee.
In this material world, people in general engage in sense-gratificatory activities, which keep them bound up by the laws of the material modes of nature. Indeed, the more a person engages in such activities, the more he expands his life in material existence. A devotee acts differently: he knows he is not the body and that as long as he is in his body he will have to suffer the threefold material miseries. Therefore to decrease his material entanglement and help his advancement in spiritual life, he always minimizes his social and political activities and his eating, sleeping, defending, and mating.