Live with the minimum necessities. Don’t increase your necessities unnecessarily. This is Vedic civilization. And the modern civilization is ever increase your necessities — a machine for shaving your cheek. Another machine, another attention diversion. More machine means more diversion of attention. I have to take care, more technician, more technologies. Simply if one razor can shave, can make my cheek very clean, where is the necessity? Formerly, at least we Indian know that go to a blacksmith and he prepares a razor, very nice razor. You pay him four annas, and it will last for your life and shave your cheek very nicely, daily or occasionally. But the modern civilization means that in everything there must be machine. That is the advancement of material…
But the sastra says, “What is the use of taking so much labor?” Kastan kaman. Kastan means with so much labor. If you create some convenience by the so-called machine use, you create so many other inconveniences. Just like we have got now motorcar. Of course, it is convenience. But there are many inconveniences. Formerly people used to find everyone within the village. Now, because we have got big, big motorcars, we have to go thirty miles to find out a doctor. So the other inconveniences are also increased. Now we have to find out petrol and flatter the Arabians, “Give me petrol.” And if I stop manufacturing, then there is unemployment.
In this way we are becoming implicated. By the so-called advancement of civilization, we are becoming implicated to these material activities and we are forgetting our real business, self-realization, what I am. Athato brahma jijnasa. The real business is to enquire about Brahman, about atma, Paramatma, but we are forgetting that.
From Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.3 — London, March 11, 1975