(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 2 January 2013, Durban South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 12.8.46)
The general class of men don’t know the ultimate goal of life and they remain bound up within the three modes of material nature. Sometimes, the word guna is translated as quality and in other times, it is translated as a rope for that which binds. So, the three modes of material nature are binding us. Although we say three modes of material nature in one breath, there is a huge difference between the various modes – there is an enormous difference between ignorance and passion and there is an enormous difference between passion and the mode of goodness.
The mode of goodness is in many ways parallel to the mode of pure goodness ’viśuddha-sattva.’For example, in our spiritual life there are many practices that we follow that are coming from the mode of goodness. The way we take bath, the way we eat, the standards of cleanliness in general; these kinds of standards are all related to the mode of goodness. We are interested in eating things that are in the mode of goodness and offer it to Krsna (first), which is the ideal arrangement with prasadam, so that it is pure, transcendental and at the same time wholesome. That is our program, so therefore the mode of goodness is also part of spiritual life and it supports spiritual life.
Sometimes, we see transcendental personalities who are externally not adopting the mode of goodness. They are known as ‘avadhūtaḥ’ personalities who are not following the rules and yet they are fully transcendental because the essence is really the connection with Krsna. It is said that such transcendental personalities, who are not so careful about following all the principles of goodness, will never act sinful, because they will never act against the will of the Lord. They will never ever act in a way that is not pleasing to Krsna because a devotee naturally pleasing Krsna!