Room Conversation with Mr. Tran-van-Kha,* and President & Members of the Society of Buddhists in France
15 Jun

Yogesvara: This gentleman is Mr. Tran-Van-Kha, the president of...

Prthu Putra: Mrs. Basti (sp?), she is the president of the Society of Buddhists in France. And,...

Guest (1): Thomas Dhu (?).

Prabhupada: Sit down.

Prthu Putra: He's the president, (indistinct) honor of honors. Mr. Tran-Van-Kha was ambassador from Vietnam...

Prabhupada: Vietnam.

Prthu Putra: America twenty years ago, and he's now president of the society of Buddhists in France.

Prabhupada: If... Vietnam (indistinct)? No?

Yogesvara: Vietnam what? Well, they say.

Prabhupada: So Vietnam, they profess Buddhist religion?

Prthu Putra: (translates into French)

Guest (1): (French)

Prthu Putra: Eighty per cent.

Prabhupada: So the Buddhist religion so far we know, they are nonviolent.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Guest (1): (French)

Prthu Putra: This gentleman added tolerance.

Prabhupada: Tolerance. If one is nonviolent, he must learn tolerance.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: We pray Lord Buddha: Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam. "My Lord, You, for the time being, You are decrying the Vedic authority."

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam. Sruti-jatam means Vedic rituals. Sruti means Vedas. It is learned by hearing. Why He decried the Vedic rituals? Sadaya-hrdaya darsita-pasu-ghatam. You are so much compassionate by seeing animals sacrificed. Animal Killing. Sadaya-hrdaya darsita-pasu-ghatam. Ghatam means killing, so He wanted to stop this animal killing, sinful life. Kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare. My Lord, You have appeared now as Lord Buddha, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: Our... I think picture is there. Lord Buddha's picture.

Yogesvara: In the Bhagavad-gita?

Prabhupada: No, no. Not Bhagavad-gita.

Yogesvara: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Prabhupada: Srimad-Bhagavatam, back side, the dasavatara. (indistinct)

Prthu Putra: (Explains in French the picture in Second Canto)

Prabhupada: He was Hindu in the beginning. Come on. He was Prince, then He become renounced and He was known as Lord Buddha. So Lord Buddha also started His system for stopping animal killing. Lord Jesus also said, "Thou shall not kill." Unfortunately the animal killing is not stopped. We are therefore teaching our followers: no meat-eating, so that if people stop meat-eating, automatically animal killing will be stopped. According to Vedic system, there are four pillars of sinful life, just like this table is on the four pillars. So one pillar is illicit sex, another meat-eating, another intoxication, and another gambling. So at least the brahmanas, the priestly heads of religion, the king and the public leader, they should stop these four sinful activities. The leaders of the society they must be sinless. Then the human society will make nice progress. In the Bhagavad gita it is stated: yad yad acarati sresá¹­has.

yad yad acarati sresá¹­has
tat tad evetaro janaḥ;
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
[Bg. 3.21]

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: Acarati.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Yogesvara: What is second line?

Prabhupada: Sa yat pramanam kurute. In the 'yad' you did not find?

Yogesvara: Y-a-d?

Prabhupada: Yes, y-a-d. Yad yad.

Pusá¹­a-krsna: Yad yad acarati sresá¹­has.

Prabhupada: Mmm.


yad yad acarati sresá¹­has
tat tad evetaro janaḥ;
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
[Bg. 3.21]

Translation, "Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues."

Prthu Putra: (French) (pause)

Yogesvara: When we were at your meeting a few weeks ago, there was, we felt very encouraged because there was very nice interest in how it was that these young western boys and girls had been able to take to this form of Krsna consciousness. (French)

Lady (1): (French)

Yogesvara: Last night, at the conference hall, this lady heard your lecture about how the soul reincarnates in different kinds of bodies. So she wants to know how is this possible because in the West, our understanding is that the animal forms do not possess a soul.

Prabhupada: How does..., she can prove that she does not, it does not possess a soul.

Prthu Putra: She just doesn't understand. She does not say that. She does not understand.

Prabhupada: No. She admits man has got soul, and animal has not soul.

Yogesvara: See, what she says this is the traditional western idea.

Prabhupada: But that idea is wrong.

Yogesvara: (French)

Lady (1): (French)

Yogesvara: She was open to receive a more detailed explanation of the process.

Prabhupada: First of all, let us see what are the symptoms of having soul.

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: See, you can come here. Let her come.

Yogesvara: Ask the lady to have a better seat.

Prabhupada: Come.

Prthu Putra: See, there she has a seat.

Prabhupada: Never mind, we can sit down here. Bring that chair.

Devotee: Prabhupada?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Yogesvara: Sylvie (?) has a question.

Lady (2): I want to ask you. What does it (indistinct) when you, when there's talk of this religion of Krsna. Is it before Christ or more?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Yogesvara: This, the question of religion, did it come before Christ or before Buddha?

Prabhupada: Yes, 5,000 years ago.

Lady (2): Yes, before.

Prabhupada: 5,000 years.

Prthu Putra: (translates into French)

Lady (2): 5,000 years, eh?

Prabhupada: This is now. Before that, this was spoken some millions of years ago to the Sun-god. You find out that verse, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1].

Yogesvara: Four, one.

Pusá¹­a-krsna: Fourth Chapter.

Prthu Putra:

sri bhagavan uvaca
imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur iksvakave 'bravit
[Bg. 4.1]


Prabhupada: So, if you take the calculation of Manu, Manu lives for 72,000 of yugas. One yuga is 4,300,000 of years.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: 4,300,000 years, one yuga.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: Multiply by 72. So that is the age of Manu. So, at least so many years before, Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Manu's father, Surya. Surya, the Sun-god.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: Sun-god. So how many millions?

Pusá¹­a-krsna: About 120,000,000 years ago.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: So this philosophy was spoken 300 millions of years ago. And then again, He spoke 5,000 years ago. This is the history of Bhagavad-gita. Now, your question. You say that animal has no soul, is it not?

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: That a man has soul, you admit?

Yogesvara: (French)

Lady (1): (French)

Yogesvara: Generally in the West it is admitted that the man possesses a soul and not the animals.

Prabhupada: So why this difference? What difference you find in animal from the man?

Yogesvara: (French)

Lady (1): (French)

Yogesvara: She says it is only the body that is different.

Prabhupada: Only body difference? The man who is there has got body different. The, the Africans, they have got different body. And the Europeans have different body. There are so many men. The aborigines have got different body. So there so many men, human also.

Yogesvara: So then that is not the real difference?

Prabhupada: So what is the real difference, that I want to explain.

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: So what is her reply?

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: Suppose a child has a different body...

Lady (3): (French)

Yogesvara: This young lady suggests that the animals do have a soul, and that they also pass from body to body, and perhaps ultimately can come to the human form.

Prabhupada: Yes, that is the explanation. You are right.

Guest (2): (French)

Prthu Putra: He says the evolution was already before, because in the vegetables is already this process of evolution of the soul.

Prabhupada: Every living entity has soul. The body is just like the dress, just like you are sitting here under different dresses, but that does not mean we are different. That is stated in the Srimad Bhagavad-gita: vasamsi jirnani. Find out this, vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya [Bg. 2.22].

Yogesvara: Second Chapter.

Prabhupada: You can take it. Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya, navani grhnati naro 'parani.


vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro 'parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi
[Bg. 2.22]

(French) "As a person put on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."

Prabhupada: This is the point. Just like I've already changed. I was a child, so small. Where is that body? That is no longer existing, But still I remember that I had the body. So I changed that body so many times. Similarly, when this body will be useless, I change to another body. This is conclusion. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara.

Yogesvara: (French)

dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati
[Bg. 2.13]

(French) "As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."

Prabhupada: So, not only the animals. The trees, the plants, the insects, the birds, the bees, the aquatic animal: fish. Everyone has got soul. So anything, which has got life symptom, it is due to soul and so long the soul is there the change of body takes place. A child born, if it is dead, the change of body does not take place. You cannot understand?

Lady (2): No.

Prabhupada: You have got now a different body, but you had a body like a child, so you cannot understand this? Why is that? Even a child can understand. You were also sometimes a body like this young girl. You do not believe that?

Yogesvara: (French)

Lady (2): (French)

Yogesvara: She says she can recollect.

Prabhupada: No, but who recollects? The soul. The body is changed. The body is changed, but the soul is the same and therefore she can recollect.

Yogesvara: (French)

Lady (2): (French)

Yogesvara: She says there is an example of the worm that turns into a butterfly. It changes body.

Prabhupada: Yes, she is right.

Lady (2): (French)

Yogesvara: (French) Do you have any questions?

Guest (3): (French)

Yogesvara: He says there is an example that a flower grows, and when it dies it gives its perfume to God.

Prabhupada: Yes, very good idea. Therefore, everyone can dedicate his energy to God. And that is called bhakti.

Guest (4): (French)

Yogesvara: Is the sun to be considered a representation of God?

Prabhupada: Yes, every..., everyone is representation of God. Sun is more powerful representation. You are also representation of God. The God is also a living being. That is said in the dictionary, Oxford Dictionary. God means, "Supreme Being." So we are all beings, and God is the Supreme Being. We are limited by our power. God is unlimited by His power.

Lady (3): (French)

Yogesvara: When we say Krsna, are we speaking about God or an incarnation of God? How to define it?

Prabhupada: No, God Himself.

Lady (4): (French)

Yogesvara: Then what is the meaning of the word atma?

Prabhupada: Atma means also God. Atma means this body. Atma means this mind. Atma means the soul, and atma means also God. Atma means the active principle which is working. Just like in you the atma is there, therefore your body is moving. Similarly, the active principle of the whole cosmic manifestation is God.

Guest (2): (French)

Yogesvara: What is the meaning of the different cakras?

Prabhupada: Different?

Yogesvara: Cakra, cakras.

Prabhupada: Cakra?

Yogesvara: Cakras.

Prabhupada: That is yogic process. Those who are trying to find out the Supreme from the body, for them the different cakras mean the active principle, how He is working in different places. From the abdomen to the heart, then here, then here, then here. Ṣaá¹­-cakra, six cakras. That is yogic system.

Guest (1): (French)

Yogesvara: Do we have a meaning, do we have a definition for the third eye?

Prabhupada: Humm?

Yogesvara: The third eye.

Prabhupada: Third eye. The future. Future.

Yogesvara: Future?

Prabhupada: Past, present and future.

Pusá¹­a-krsna: There is a philosophy, Srila Prabhupada, they say that you meditate on some third eye, and this opens up into the..., some spiritual realization, a mystical realization. It is very popular.

Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Between the two eyebrows, that is said, explained in the Bhagavad-gita, bhruvor madhye..., ante kale ca mam...

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: That's Eight Chapter, I think, bhruvor madhye. Eighth Chapter? Hmm. Is it the Eighth Chapter?

Yogesvara: That is the Eighth Chapter, text 21, 22.

Prabhupada: Ten. Read.

Prthu Putra:

prayana-kale manasa 'calena
bhaktya yukto yoga-balena caiva
bhruvor madhye pranam avesya samyak
sa tam param purusam upaiti divyam

(French translation) "One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

Prabhupada: This is bhruvor madhye.

Guest (3): (French)

Yogesvara: He says: today, is it wise to practice this kind of meditation?

Prabhupada: Useless. They cannot. It takes very, very, long time to get perfection. Valmiki Muni got perfection in 60,000 years. Oh, Sixth Chapter. Read this, Arjuna uvaca.


arjuna uvaca
yo 'yam yogas tvaya proktaḥ;
samyena madhusudana
etasyaham na pasyami
cañcalatvat sthitim sthiram

(French translation) "Arjuna said, O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which you have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady."

Prabhupada: Yoga, this yoga system means controlling the mind. But 5,000 years ago a person like Arjuna, who had his friend Krsna, he is saying that it is not possible for him. And at the present moment people are so degraded—not in the position of Arjuna—how they can get success? He is not ordinary man. Such a great warrior belonged to the royal family, and so qualified that he could talk with Krsna personally, he says that it is not possible. So, do you think that you are..., become more than Arjuna that you can get success?

Prthu Putra: Translating into French.

Prabhupada: Read this second verse, cañcalam hi manaḥ; krsna pramathi balavad drḍham.


cañcalam hi manaḥ; krsna
pramathi balavad drḍham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva suduskaram
[Bg. 6.34]

(French translation) "For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind."

Prabhupada: So Arjuna is presenting his inability, and what we are?

Guest (3): (French)

Yogesvara: He says, in history there was the mystery of the sphinxes of Egypt, do these sphinxes carry any significance?

Prabhupada: Hum?

Yogesvara: Is the pyramid and the sphinx in Egypt civilization are any mystic significance?

Prthu Putra: It's a great relevance for the Egyptian civilization.

Prabhupada: Yes, it is just like samadhi. Samadhi, when you become samadhi, then if you're, I mean to say, put within the earth, you do not die.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Pusá¹­a-krsna: Even if you are put in the earth you do not die.

Prthu Putra: (French)

Prabhupada: This is called kumbhaka-yoga.

Guest (3): Kunbha?

Prabhupada: Kumbhaka. So this is practiced by the frogs also. So if you get success, you get success like the frog.

Lady (2): (French)

Yogesvara: Shall I tell them that story about the frog?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: That means the frog was buried at least for 10,000 years.

Yogesvara: (French)

Prabhupada: Read the last paragraph of the yoga system: yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana.

Prthu Putra:

yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ;
[Bg. 6.47]

(French translation) "And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all." [break] (end)