Same old thing or variety?

Material same old thing

In reference to material life, Prabhupada instructs us: “You put any eatable either in the gold pot or in the iron pot: the taste is the same. ..The taste of these sense enjoyable things are the same everywhere.” Material life may seem to be full of variety, but is it really? Everything is just protons, neutrons, and electrons… not much variety, really!

Prabhupada’s instruction reminds us of the famous verse of Prahlada Maharaja: “Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.” (SB 7.5.30)

This “chewing the chewed” means the enjoyment of a material body and mind is very finite, and, despite our trying to dress up the “same old thing” in various ways, we really are just getting the same stale thing again and again.

Here, in this satire about the same old thing we find a recognition of the lack of real variety in life. Probably the author wanted to make a point particularly about women’s duties, but the general principle holds.

Spiritual life variety in loyalty

What about in spiritual life? The liberated soul, the devotee of the Lord, has a life full of unlimited variety, so the taste of spiritual life is always fresh and new. Yet, the main business of a devotee doesn’t change with the external surroundings: “Prabhupada had stated that a devotee must be like a reaping machine — the Bengali saying is that a reaping machine will reap wheat in heaven or hell. So the devotee must serve Krsna, in heaven or hell.” (Srila Prabhupada Lilmarta 7-10: A World Tour)