So let’s look at the places we will find these different modes. One obvious place is food. Believe it or not, what we eat affects us. It’s amazing how many people don’t think what they eat and how they are is related.
One person recently told me she was diagnosed with cancer, and she asked her doctor, “Well, what diet should I follow?” Of course, he had just prescribed chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Standard protocol. And so she said, “But what diet should I follow?” And he said, “Your diet has nothing to do with your cancer.” Her doctor said this! Just hard to believe, but that’s reality, the way the world is.
So, anyway, what we eat affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. And different foods are in different categories of material nature. We eat every day. So every day we will be influenced by goodness, passion or ignorance.
So foods in the mode of goodness are very uplifting foods, very healthy foods, energizing foods, etc. What is that? That is vegetarian foodstuffs: fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products; all these are in the mode of goodness. And that is the yoga diet basically.
But this foodstuff should be in its natural state. As soon as you start processing them, doing all kinds of things to them, they change. The mode of goodness food can be changed completely to the mode of ignorance food. Fresh, as much as possible fresh food, that one is in most goodness. So the vegetarian diet is a big help. So that is one thing.
Nature is in the mode of goodness. If we spend some time in nature as much as we can, this has its influence on us. And again it’s healthy: you walk in nature and you feel that influence. Here I walk by the river in the mornings, I can feel it, you I walk there, it’s quiet, water is flowing, the sun is coming up, birds are singing, it’s like… where is the agitation? From the dog who’s trying to bite you on the way to the river (laughing). That’s the agitation. So nature is in the mode of goodness.
Cities are in the mode of passion. Again, you can feel that. Go to the city: cars, everybody’s hurrying to go somewhere, jumping on the bus, going to work, shopping, whatever; mode of passion, you can feel it. And that affects you. You come down to the river, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…” Come out to the highway… (cars quickly passing by) you’re looking like this so you don’t get hit. Go downtown, everybody’s in a hurry, you have to go fast too, you have to get into their mood, mode of passion, mind is in a rush…
And then some places in the city are definitely in the mode of ignorance: the bars, the clubs, many of the restaurants… Dark, no lights, you can’t see anything, cigarette smoke; mode of ignorance completely. A lot of people like that. See, people in the different modes are attracted: mode of goodness – they go to nature, mode of passion – they go to city, mode of ignorance – they go to bar. They love it, “This is my home! I know all the other people in the mode of ignorance here. I know all these guys. We come here every day.” Not good, it’s not good. It destroys the health, it destroys the body, the mind, and all those good qualities disappear. Not good. But that’s basically the modes the world is in: passion and ignorance.
So what else is in the different modes? One thing is funny and I see this often. You go to a place in nature, it’s very nice, there’s a river or a hot spring, flowers, clean air, you can breathe, very good. And here is some person or people come to this beautiful place, the mode of goodness place, and they’re sitting there with their boom box turned on 10 or the car doors open …Boom-boom-boom vodka, kebab… “Yeah, man, this is really nice in nature!… Good clean air, can’t beat it.” They have to bring the modes of passion and ignorance with them, they can’t leave them at home, they must come. And that’s so common. I mean you go to this river on Saturday, you won’t find many people in goodness. You’ll find a lot of people in passion and ignorance. But again we don’t have to be like that. If we know these things and if we have a desire to rise above, we can.