The Four Defects

Quadrupole magnetic fieldThe Four Defects of the Conditioned Soul

  1. Imperfect Senses (Karanapatava): The senses are limited and can easily be misled.
  2. Illusion (Pramada): Accepting as real something that is not real.
  3. Mistakes (Bhrama): “To err is human.”
  4. Cheating (Vipralipsa): To propagate falsehood, to present yourself as something you are not.

A conditioned soul in the material world has the disqualification of cheating. He has four disqualifications: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to be illusioned, he is prone to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. But if one carries out the order of the spiritual master by disciplic succession, or the parampara system, he overcomes the four defects. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.24.12, purport

A foolish person who manufactures his own ways and means through mental speculation and does not recognize the authority of the sages who lay down unimpeachable directions is simply unsuccessful again and again in his attempts.

PURPORT
At the present moment it has become fashionable to disobey the unimpeachable directions given by the acharyas and liberated souls of the past. Presently people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. This Krishna consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Chaitanya therefore says: “By My order you may become a spiritual master.” One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions. Materialistic men are not interested in taking directions from a liberated person, but they are very much interested in their own concocted ideas, which make them repeatedly fail in their attempts. Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered. – SB 4.18.5, text & purport

In this material world, so-called scientists, philosophers and economists are nothing but cheaters in one way or another. The scientists are cheaters because they present so many bogus things in the name of science. They propose going to the moon, but actually they end up cheating the entire public of large sums of money for their experiments. They cannot do anything useful. Unless one can find a person transcendental to the four basic defects, one should not accept advice and become a victim of the material condition. The best process is to take the advice and instructions of Sri Krishna or His bona fide representative. – SB 5.14.26, purport

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