One time Śrīla Prabhupāda got a letter.
He had a letter from a couple, Western couple, and he read it out or described it during a class in Bombay to the Indian Life Members… It was in a darshan, private darshan, I believe. This couple wrote that “We are aspiring to be your disciples, we are very attracted to the Hare Krishna movement; however we are feeling ourselves very unqualified. We are trying to control our sex desire but we are very ashamed sometimes we are swept away and fall down. So we’re trying to chant every day 16 rounds but sometimes we are falling short. We are trying to control the desire for intoxication but sometimes due to the influence of our friends we smoke or something. We are working, we are trying to get rid of all these, we want to be completely pure. Now we are able to… We’ve give up meat and fish and eggs, we are pure vegetarians. We are very anxious for your mercy that although we are so fallen, sometime in the future we will be able to come up to the purity to become your disciples.” So Prabhupāda expressed, he was crying, “See how they are struggling, how they are struggling with Māyā, this struggle is glorious, trying to conquer over the senses for Krishna. To engage in Krishna’s service purely, constantly.” Prabhupāda was admonishing the life members, many kaniṣṭha-adhikāri devotees; they don’t try to control the senses, satisfied with doing some minimum amount of devotion which is no doubt beneficial for them. But to come to the higher platform it is actually glorious to try to conquer the impulses of the senses to try to become purified, not to be self satisfied with an inferior platform. Then one will be on the road of perfection. Śrīla Prabhupāda said to some sanyasis that you control your sex desire and fifty per cent of the battle is finished. Fifty per cent. So another fifty per cent.
In other words even after the four regulative principles are controlled completely then they still have fame, distinction, adoration, kuṭi-nāṭī – different kinds of duplicitous tendencies, so many other impurities are there in the mind. So that struggle will go on. Initially it may be a struggle just to follow a principle but the struggle goes on until finally one reaches Krishna’s lotus feet.
H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj
1983, 3rd, October SB Class @ Atlanta, USA