Interview -- July 5, 1972, New York
New York
5 Jul

Guest (1): Yes, I guess it would be hard to define in terms of a search. Man's..., man's search for something divine. I'd..., I'd define it in terms of, of a search for the divine. I've been studying Russian Elders in the Orthodox Church. Perhaps that's a tradition that you're familiar with in some way. They seem to have found the divine. I guess that's religion too. It seems to me both are, but perhaps you have a better definition than that?

Prabhupada: Yes. When you are searching with some hope, what is that hope? Why you are searching? When you are missing something, then there is a question of searching for that missing point. You said religion means searching after the divine. So that means you are missing the divine. Is it not?

Guest (1): That's right.

Prabhupada: Now, the next question will be, What do you mean by this "divine"?

Guest (1): Oh, I'm not..., I'm not sure, Your Grace.

Prabhupada: The other day we were talking with some scientists. We came to this conclusion, that the scientists, big scientists, they are simply concerned with the laws of nature, because the laws of nature are very stringent. For example, there is death. Everyone will die. So nobody can check death. However great scientist he may, he cannot stop death. By laws of nature one is becoming old. By your scientific advancement you can stop first of all. So the science means they are trying to overcome the stringent laws of nature, but so far... Not so far—even in the past in the human history they could not. In the present also they are unable. They say in future they will be able. But how we can believe it? Because in the past they could not; in the present also they are unable. How they can overcome the laws of nature in the future? History repeats. Same failure there is (indistinct). Therefore the divine means, as we define, the divine means the controller of the laws of nature. Laws of nature there is, and everyone is under the laws of nature. Nobody can overcome the laws of nature. Just like state laws. Every citizen is bound to abide by the state law. He cannot overcome it. If..., if he overcomes it then, or violates it, the violation of law, and he becomes punishable. Similarly the laws of nature means laws of God. Just like your president is the giver of your state law. Similarly, as soon as we say laws of nature, there must be giver of them. In our sastra, the Vedic literature, it is said, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharma, religion, means the codes given by God, and we have to abide by those laws. When we do not abide by those laws, then we violate the laws of nature, of God, and we become punishable.

Now, who is that person, or the authority, who is giving that law, who is controlling that law? That is divine search. But that divine search cannot be completed by the speculation of our imperfect senses. Our senses are imperfect; therefore whatever knowledge we gather by speculating our imperfect senses, that is imperfect. Just like the sun. The sun is very big, bigger, fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth, but with our imperfect eyes we see just like a disk. If we remain satisfied with this imperfect knowledge, then we remain in darkness. We have to know the sun from the astronomer. They have calculated. They know. In this way knowledge, perfect knowledge, can be attained—when it is received through the perfect knower, not by speculation. That speculation means I shall speculate with limited mind and imperfect senses. So however carefully or expertly I manage with the instruments, they are themselves imperfect. Therefore Vedic sastra says that to understand the divine you must have divine mercy. You must possess. Athapi te deva padambuja-dvaya-prasada-lesanugrhita eva hi janati tattvam [SB 10.14.29]. One can understand the truth by the grace of... So searching after divine means we must search after the grace of the divine. Just like a very big man, just like President Nixon. So I am speculating that President Nixon is like that, like that, like this, his function is like that, he eats like this, he sleeps like this. That is speculation. But if I hear directly from President Nixon or his representative, very confidential representative, then it is perfect knowledge. I cannot speculate to know about President Nixon by my imperfect senses. I must know about President Nixon when he speaks personally about himself or his personal associate speaks about. That is the way.

Guest (1): If our senses are imperfect, then with what sense do we perceive the Divine that underlies these laws of nature?

Prabhupada: That our senses are imperfect means, just like I have given the example, I can see the sun, but I do not see the sun perfectly. I have got the power to see the sun, but I do not know how big is the sun. That power I haven't got. In that way my senses are imperfect. So when I see the sun and hear about him from a perfect person who knows about the sun, then my knowledge becomes perfect, although I have got imperfect senses. Just like I cannot understand President Nixon by my speculation, but when President speaks about him I can understand, although I have got imperfect senses. This is the process. Imperfect in this way: that our senses cannot approach to the ultimate point by speculation.

Guest (1): Well I agree with that, but I still... The perfect person that is going to speak to me is God? Is that...

Prabhupada: That, that we'll have to find, find later on. First of all the principle should be accepted that unless we hear from the perfect person, our knowledge is imperfect. First of all you have to agree to this point. Therefore you are going to your schools, colleges, universities, because at home who could learn everything? So why you are going to school, colleges and universities? That is not possible. Therefore the Vedic injunction is that in order to know that perfect knowledge, one has to approach the proper person, who is know as guru.

Guest (1): That's what I was getting at.

Guest (2): (aside) Could I ask a couple of questions now?

Devotee: Please. Yes.

Guest (2): Swami, please, I don't want to interrupt. I want to try and ask you a few questions (indistinct). I'm with (indistinct). Swami, what do you think accounts for the..., your popularity, popularity of the..., the Krsna consciousness movement sweeping America?

Prabhupada: Because it is not due to my personality. I am presenting the truth as it is. It will appeal. Just like if you prepare some foodstuff with nice ingredients, it will be appealing to everyone, and if you prepare something obnoxious, it may be appealing to a certain section, not to all.

Guest (2): What can appreciation of Krsna do for the Americans (indistinct)?

Prabhupada: That, that I have repeatedly said, that you Americans, you are..., you have already the grace of the Lord. According to our Vedic formula, when a man is born in rich family he is understood to be possessing the grace of the Lord. So you Americans, you have got sufficient riches, you are sons of rich men. So this is the grace of God, janma aisvarya, to take birth in a high family, to possess riches; janmaisvarya sruta [SB 1.8.26], to become learned scholar. Just like you are going to the moon planet. Your scientific knowledge is advanced. And sri, sri means beauty. So you are beautiful also. So considering all these four points, it is to be understood that you are in favorable condition, favorable consideration of the Absolute Truth Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, if you take to Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness, then all your these material opulences plus Krsna consciousness makes your life perfect.

Guest (2): Do you foresee that the devotees will grow in numbers in this country?

Prabhupada: There is possibility. Otherwise why these young men are coming? That I can say. There is good possibility, but we have no facility. Just like government is spending to stop the LSD intoxication, millions of dollars. But our students, as soon as they come, they become my students, I simply order them, "No intoxication." So what to speak of LSD, they do not take tea, they do not take coffee, they do not smoke. But government will not help us. That is the difficulty.

Guest (2): Do you seek government help?

Prabhupada: Yes. If I get government help, I can give protection to these confused, frustrated youths. I have no proper house to accommodate them, to feed them. With great difficulty I am pushing on this movement. So if the government comes forward, this means a little facility, I can turn the face of your country, immediately. There will be no problem.

Guest (2): What can you cure? What can you make better?

Prabhupada: This is the cure: I am making good character. Don't you see their face? Some of them were hippies, frustrated, wretched condition. Now they are known as bright faces, serious character. They don't have any illicit sex. They don't eat meat. They don't have any intoxication. They don't engage in gambling. These are the four pillars of sinful life. If you allow people to indulge in sinful life, how you can expect good citizen? That is not possible. Their character must reform. So we have taken from the root. We are making men of character, knowledge, sincerity, God conscious. Don't you appreciate it?

Guest (2): Will they be able to function in a society as working individuals?

Prabhupada: Yes. There is nothing prohibited. Simply you have to change your consciousness, that's all. We are also eating, we are also sleeping. Many of our students are householders; they have sex. So there is..., nothing is prohibited, but regulated for higher achievement. That is our program.

Guest (2): Have you asked the government for money? President Nixon?

Prabhupada: No. What is the use of asking? Who will give me? Why shall I be refused? If you think this, this movement is serious, good, then you come forward. I cannot approach the government and the government says no. I don't think it is good for the government.

Guest (2): Do you see yourself then as the savior of American youth?

Prabhupada: Yes. Certainly. It is saved already. Why? It is not future, it is present, practical.

Guest (2): Thank you very much Your Holiness. Good luck.

Prabhupada: So, religion, very simple—I am talking with that man over there—religion means the laws of God. Simple definition. And one who follows the laws of God, he is religious. It doesn't matter whether he is Christian, whether he is Hindu, whether he is Muslim. It doesn't matter. Take, for example, your Christian religion. Lord Jesus Christ says "Thou shalt not kill", but I think cent percent of the Christian people, they are very much engaged in killing. So there are, I mean, disobeying the laws of God. Don't you think? What is..., what is the value? And if you disobey the laws of God, then what is your religion? It is simply show. God says, or God's representative, God's son, Jesus Christ says, that "Thou shalt not kill," but the whole Christian world, the killing art is very much favored. Maintaining slaughterhouse, shooting in sports, and creating (indistinct), and so many things, simply killing. And any film shown, when it is killing film as is very much popular. Shooting film is very popular. I see in your park the soldiers killing. This, this park I was passing. What is that park?

Devotee: Prospect Park.

Prabhupada: Prospect Park. There is big gate, because there is a killing picture.

Devotee: Yes. Praising the soldiers.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Devotee: Praising the soldiers.

Prabhupada: So, in this way... Of course soldiers killing and ordinary killing is not the same, but my point is that..., that God gives you the law that you shall not kill. Now if..., if you are violating that law, then how you can become religious? That is my question.

Guest (1): Grace is, is nonviolence, nonkilling.

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Guest (1): That is part of Krsna consciousness, isn't it?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Guest (1): What's the future of that in..., in India today?

Prabhupada: That, not only in India. Krsna consciousness is not meant for India or America. Of course, I am deputed by my Guru Maharaja to spread this Krsna consciousness movement in the Western world. That is his grace. He wanted that Western people, who are intelligent, they should learn what is Krsna consciousness. So my mission is for the Western country, but it is not meant for any particular country, nation. It is meant for every living entity. Now, there are many unfortunate living entities and there are many fortunate living entities. So we are preaching this Krsna consciousness movement in America or Western country, only the fortunate persons they are coming. But if few of them come and understand, then by their example and behavior, the whole population will be benefited. It is not expected that cent percent population will be able to understand this philosophy of Krsna consciousness, but by the examples of the few, yad yad acarati sresáą­has lokas tad anuvartate [Bg. 3.21]. Just like you'll find in our temple it is always crowded to the fullest extent. We require a more spacious home. But not all of them our initiated students. Out of them say ten percent may be our initiated students. But still people are coming to see. They are following. Gradually they will also become student. So it is a very important movement, scientific movement. I therefore request learned scholars like you, government, scientist, philosopher, they should study. For them we have written so many books. Not only that. It is not that we are simply chanting and dancing. If you are philosopher, if you are scholar, if you are scientist, we can give you proof in a scientific way, in a philosophical way, scholarly way; therefore these books are there. So my only request is that all the leaders of the society, they should come forward, study this movement and take to it. That will be beneficial. We don't ask blindly, just like one follows some faith or type of religion blindly, and after sometimes they give it up. No. We say, our predecessor Lord Caitanya says, caitanyer dayar katha karaha avicara(?). You just put your judgment about the mercy of Lord Caitanya, and if you do that then you will find wonder in this movement. (aside) So, you put little ice. Ice, bring little ice. (devotees enter and offer obeisances) Hare Krsna, come on. Yes. Thank you very much. (to guest) So you accept this definition, of religion, that religion means the law given by God. Simple point. Have you got any objection, or do you accept it?

Guest (1): I accept that. I think religion is what you're doing. I think it's...

Prabhupada: Huh?

Guest (1): I think religion is what I see right here.

Prabhupada: Right religion.

Guest (1): I think it's great.

Prabhupada: Thank you very much. Yes. (laughter). Yes. So, what is our business with this Krsna consciousness movement? (child makes noise) (aside) This child will disturb. Our, this movement is that we are trying to love Krsna. If I love Krsna, or God, then naturally I will be obedient to the laws of God. It is not? Just like these, my students, when, say four or five years ago, I came here, I had no student. I was loitering in the street. Nobody was caring for me. Now I have got hundreds and thousands of student. They can do whatever I order. So I did not pay them anything, neither I brought any money from India, but they are executing my order simply out of love. Is it not a fact? Because they have developed a love for me... The reason may be whatever it may be, but unless they have developed love for me, how they can execute my order without any personal profit? Therefore this is first thing required, that religion means to abide by the orders of God. Simple thing. And this obedience to the laws of God will be automatically performed if everyone loves his dormant love for God. We have taken this science. We are teaching everyone how to love God. If he thinks that "I have learned to love God through some particular religion," we have no objection. Either he is Christian or Hindu or Muslim or whatever he may be, if by executing the religious principles which he is professing he has developed his love of God, then we have nothing to preach to him. The result is there. But because we don't find the love of God is there, that we are putting a simple formula that "Here is the way." By utilizing or by accepting that way he will very quickly love God. So if we agree, if we are convinced that to love God is religion, and that is our main business in the human form of life, then this Krsna consciousness movement is the genuine scientific movement. Everyone should take it. This is the (indistinct). But if somebody thinks that "My aim of life is different. I don't care for God," that is a different case. But our philosophy is, this human life is especially meant for developing that God consciousness or to know the art how to love God. Because the animals, they cannot. I cannot preach Krsna consciousness philosophy amongst the animals, because their consciousness is not so developed. But still, my movement is so perfect that I can do well even to the cats and dogs—by offering prasadam, by giving him chance to hear Hare Krsna maha-mantra. This vibration is transcendental. When it is chanted it is good for everyone, all living entities. Therefore we go to the street and chant so that everyone can hear the transcendental vibration.

So if it is accepted that religion means the law of God... Is that accepted? Now we have to study what are the special laws of God and what is the nature of God. That is divine search. So from Bhagavad-gita we understand the nature of God, that he is the supreme father. Is there any objection? God is the supreme father. I think in Christian religion also they accept. Is it not? Now, the supreme father says that all living entities, not only these human being or the civilized human being but even the animals, the trees, plants, the insects, birds, beasts, fishes or other aquatics—any living entity, even a small insect. Living entity means who has got that vital force of moving. Some of them are not moving also, just like trees. They do not move, but still they are living entity. So from Bhagavad-gita we understand that all living entities, irrespective of bodily feature, they are sons of God. What do you think of this conception?

Guest (1): I think it's probably... I think it's probably a better and more universal...

Prabhupada: Yes.

Guest (1): ...notion of life than..., than you have in the somewhat more man-centered Western philosophy of...

Prabhupada: That is defective.

Guest (1): The problem, of course, is that you don't want man to somehow get lost in it all, but still I, yeah, where I am, I think that you would say..., to agree with what you say...

Prabhupada: Yes.

Guest (1): ...the universalism of it's very appealing.

Prabhupada: No, we are not manufacturing this idea. That it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-yonisu kaunteya sambhavanti murtayaḥ;: [Bg. 14.4] in every species of life, whatever forms are there. And besides that, we take this body as dress. Just like your white shirt is not you. You are different from the white shirt. Similarly, one may have a body white or black, but he, as spirit soul, is different from the body. We are taking account of the person who is possessing the dress—not the dress, but the person. Just like I am talking with you, I am not talking with your shirt. I don't look to your shirt, whether you have put on a white shirt or black shirt. That is not my concern. I am concerned with you as a living being. This is our philosophy. We don't take account of the outward shirt and coat. This body, this gross body is just like coat, and within this gross body there is subtle body—mind, intelligence and ego. Within the subtle body, the spirit soul is there, and we are trying to deliver the spirit soul from these two kinds of entanglement, subtle and gross. That is our aim. The national movement or religious movement, that is more or less on the basis of the outward dress. One is Christian because he is born by a Christian father. Is it not? One is American because he is born on the land of America. We say that you are neither Christian nor American, Hindu, Muslim or Indian. You are servant of God eternally. Try to understand this fact, and make your life in that way. Then your life is successful. This is all. Simple. Now what is your comment on this statement?

Guest (1): I, uh, I'm enjoying everything you're saying, and I, I, I think maybe I should listen to some other questions now, to...

Prabhupada: So you are agreed to this?

Guest (1): I, yeah, I like it. I like it. (laughter)

Prabhupada: Half-agree, half-agree. You "like" means half-agree. That's nice. Something is better than nothing. If it is half-agreed, that is better than at all not agreed, because... So what is the reaction of this statement of other boys and girls present here? You can tell?

Devotee: I think that Prabhupada solved all problems amongst all the people (indistinct).

Guest (1): Are all spirit souls alike, or are they different?

Prabhupada: Hm?

Guest (1): Are spirit souls alike, or are they different?

Prabhupada: Alike. (laughter) The dress is different, the spirit soul is the same. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said,

brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panḍitaḥ; sama-darsinaḥ;
[Bg. 5.18]

Panḍitaḥ; sama-darsinaḥ;. A learned, really learned man, he sees everyone on the same level, because he sees to the spirit and he is (indistinct) that a learned brahmana, a dog, an elephant, a low-born, everyone is on the same category of spirit soul. That is the vision of a learned scholar. He does not make any discrimination that "Here is a dog" or "Here is a very learned scholar." His vision is the dog is also entangled by this body and a learned scholar is also entangled by this body, but both the dog and the learned scholar, both of them are spirit soul. That is actual vision. The same example, that I am talking with you, not with your dress. I am not very much concerned with your white dress or black dress. I am concerned with you as person. Similarly, we are concerned with the soul, not with the outward body. That is our position. Yes?

Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, in our fully developed state in the spiritual sky, are we still one ten-thousandth the size of a tip of a hair like we are now in conditioned state?

Prabhupada: Your real dimension is mentioned there that you are a spiritual atom. The measurement is one ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair. That is the seed, or basic principle. Now, on that small particle of spirit soul we have developed this body. We have got human bodies, other has got the elephant body, other has got the mountainous body, but this is external. The real seed is that one ten-thousandth part of the hair. Similarly, as you have developed this material body under different consciousness, similarly when we give up the material connection we shall develop our spiritual body, and in that spiritual body we shall be able to enter the kingdom of God, back to home, back to Godhead. This is the position. This body you have to give up, today or tomorrow or one hundred years after. You have to give it up. The Bhagavad-gita says after giving up this body, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9], after giving up this body he does not accept any more material body. Then what happens to him? Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti [Bg. 4.9], he comes to Me. So "He comes to Me" means just like in your country one who comes to you becomes citizen. He must have some particular qualities or conditions fulfilled, then he will be accepted as citizen or immigrant. Similarly, if we want to go back to home, back to Godhead, then we must develop our dormant spiritual qualities, and that is Krsna consciousness movement. It is the training period for going back to home, back to Godhead. So that after giving up this body or after this time's death, others who are dying they do not know what next life they are getting. They, although they are proud of education, but they do not discuss what is the constitutional position of the soul, how he is transferring from one body to another, how it is to be done. This science is unknown to the modern education. Is it not? They do not know. They simply speculate. That is the defect of modern educational system, and actually everyone is seeking for spiritual emancipation. Therefore in your country, in spite of so many big, big universities, you are producing hippies, hopeless population. Am I saying right or not? Your are university teacher. I have seen in so many universities.

Guest (1): I like my students.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Guest (1): I like my students. I think they're on the right track.

Prabhupada: No! You like your students; I like your students more, because I do not wish to see them in such frustrated condition. That is my mission. I want to make them happy. So I want to give them this information of Krsna consciousness so that they may get back life. I have received thousands of letters, those who have come to this life from frustration how they are feeling obliged. (end)