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BG Chapter 4 Transcendental Knowledge  

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Vs 31& 32 - 'without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet, in this life, what then of the next life'.  What sacrifice are we talking about? Are we talking about rituals? 

But then in the next verse Krsna is talking about sacrifice of material possessions. Are we talking about austerity - giving up material comforts. Does an austere action have to hurt/be difficult to give up to count?

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Hare Krishna Renu Vasdev. I believe the sacrifice mentioned in 4.31 is referring to sacrifice in general which can be either spiritual or material. This sacrifice refers to the choice we have to serve our own selfish desires which means serving Krishna's inferior external energy, or the choice to serve the Lord which means serving Krishna's internal superior energy. This purport acknowledges that there is some happiness in material enjoyment and however that this happiness is inferior to the happiness attained by serving the Lord. To understand your question on the next verse we have to acknowledge that there is always sacrifice involved wether we are seeking the absolute truth or seeking to fulfill our own material desires. As mentioned in the purport of 4.33 sacrifice takes different forms depending on our faith. No an austere action does not have to hurt. The analogy is given of jaundice and sugarcane. When one is sick from jaundice and is given sugarcane as a remedy the sugarcane tastes bitter at the beginning. As a one gradually becomes cured the sugarcane begins to taste sweet. This is similar to the medicine that is Krishna consciousness for treating the materially conditioned soul. When we come to Krishna consciousness it may be difficult and strange to us at first, however as we develop a taste for it we no longer find it to be an austerity and we have a natural inclination. I hope this answer was satisfactory. Hare Krishna.

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