Captain of the Ship

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In this excerpt from the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.22), a group of people speak to a sage they are about to accept as their spiritual teacher.

“We think that we have met your goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of the age of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.”

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada:

The age of Kali is very dangerous for the human being. Human life is simply meant for self-realization, but due to this dangerous age, people have forgotten the aim of life. In this age, the life span will gradually decrease. People will gradually lose their memory, finer sentiments, strength, and better qualities. A list of the anomalies for this age is given in the Twelfth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. And so this age is very difficult for those who want to utilize their life for self-realization. The people are so busy with sense-gratification that they completely forget about self-realization. Out of madness they frankly say that there is no need for self-realization because they do not realize that this brief life is but a moment on our great journey towards self-realization.

In the age of Kali, the whole system of education is geared to sense-gratification, and if a learned person thinks it over, he sees that the children of this age are being intentionally sent to the slaughterhouses of so-called education. Learned people, therefore, must be cautious of this age, and if they at all want to cross over the dangerous ocean of Kali, they should follow the footsteps of the sages and accept an authentic spiritual teacher as the captain of the ship.

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Srila Prabhupada

1 September 1896 – 14 November 1977. The founder and the spiritual guide (the acharya) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

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