devā vaikārikā daśa
Vaikārika is the neutral stage of creation, and tejas is the initiative of creation, while tamas is the full display of material creation under the spell of the darkness of ignorance. Manufacture of the “necessities of life” in factories and workshops, excessively prominent in the Age of Kali, or in the age of the machine, is the summit stage of the quality of darkness. Such manufacturing enterprises by human society are in the mode of darkness because factually there is no necessity for the commodities manufactured. Human society primarily requires food for subsistence, shelter for sleeping, defense for protection, and commodities for satisfaction of the senses. The senses are the practical signs of life, as will be explained in the next verse. Human civilization is meant for purifying the senses, and objects of sense satisfaction should be supplied as much as absolutely required, but not for aggravating artificial sensory needs. Food, shelter, defense and sense gratification are all needs in material existence. Otherwise, in his pure, uncontaminated state of original life, the living entity has no such needs. The needs are therefore artificial, and in the pure state of life there are no such needs. As such, increasing the artificial needs, as is the standard of material civilization, or advancing the economic development of human society, is a sort of engagement in darkness, without knowledge. By such engagement, human energy is spoiled, because human energy is primarily meant for purifying the senses in order to engage them in satisfying the senses of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord, being the supreme possessor of spiritual senses, is the master of the senses, Hṛṣīkeśa. Hṛṣīka means the senses, and īśa means the master. The Lord is not the servant of the senses, or, in other words, He is not directed by the dictation of the senses, but the conditioned souls or the individual living entities are servants of the senses. They are conducted by the direction or dictation of the senses, and therefore material civilization is a kind of engagement in sense gratification only. The standard of human civilization should be to cure the disease of sense gratification, and one can do this simply by becoming an agent for satisfying the spiritual senses of the Lord. The senses are never to be stopped in their engagements, but one should purify them by engaging them in the pure service of sense gratification of the master of the senses. This is the instruction of the whole Bhagavad-gītā. Arjuna wanted first of all to satisfy his own senses by his decision not to fight with his kinsmen and friends, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa taught him the Bhagavad-gītā just to purify Arjuna’s decision for sense gratification. Therefore Arjuna agreed to satisfy the senses of the Lord, and thus he fought the Battle of Kurukṣetra, as the Lord desired.
The Vedas instruct us to get out of the existence of darkness and go forward on the path of light (tamasi mā jyotir gama). The path of light is therefore to satisfy the senses of the Lord. Misguided men, or less intelligent men, follow the path of self-realization without any attempt to satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord by following the path shown by Arjuna and other devotees of the Lord. On the contrary, they artificially try to stop the activities of the senses (yoga system), or they deny the transcendental senses of the Lord (jñāna system). The devotees, however, are above the yogīs and the jñānīs because pure devotees do not deny the senses of the Lord; they want to satisfy the senses of the Lord. Only because of the darkness of ignorance do the yogīs and jñānīs deny the senses of the Lord and thus artificially try to control the activities of the diseased senses. In the diseased condition of the senses there is too much engagement of the senses in increasing material needs. When one comes to see the disadvantage of aggravating the sense activities, one is called a jñānī, and when one tries to stop the activities of the senses by the practice of yogic principles, he is called a yogī, but when one is fully aware of the transcendental senses of the Lord and tries to satisfy His senses, one is called a devotee of the Lord. The devotees of the Lord do not try to deny the senses of the Lord, nor do they artificially stop the actions of the senses. But they do voluntarily engage the purified senses in the service of the master of the senses, as was done by Arjuna, thereby easily attaining the perfection of satisfying the Lord, the ultimate goal of all perfection.