Room Conversation with Reverend Gordon Powell, Head of Scots Church
28 Jun

Reverend Powell: Your people have a serenity that many western people don't have. What, what is the secret of serenity? And is it... I gather you reject many material demands, materialism as such.

Prabhupada: Surrender is not material.

Satsvarupa: Serenity...

Prabhupada: Eh?

Satsvarupa: To what do you attribute this serenity that your devotees have, their calmness.

Prabhupada: Communist?

Satsvarupa: The devotees seem to be calm, serene. Where does that come from?

Prabhupada: From Krsna consciousness. Yes.

Reverend Powell: From what?

Prabhupada: Krsna consciousness, when one...

Reverend Powell: Ah, the consciousness, the Krsna consciousness. Yes.

Prabhupada: Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana. These are the proofs. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana sarvair gunais tatra samasate suraḥ; [SB 5.18.12]. If one becomes Krsna conscious, then he becomes qualified with all godly attributes. That I have explained, that if you be in touch with God, then you become godly. That is the test. Simply by saying that "I am in commune with God." No. There is test. The test means if he is always in touch with God, he'll become, in his characteristics, godly. So they... One of the qualifications is serenity. Is one of the qualifications. There are twenty-five qualifications of a devotee.

Reverend Powell: Twenty-five?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Reverend Powell: What are some of the others?

Prabhupada: Have you got the list?

Satsvarupa: Friendly... Uh, it's in the Caitanya-caritamrta. Right here, Teachings of...

Prabhupada: Yes.

Reverend Powell: I don't... I believe, obviously, you would have ways, methods of becoming God conscious, Krsna conscious. What...? Sort of a meditation? Chanting? Or...?

Prabhupada: No, it is practical. What is it?

Satsvarupa: (Reading) It says, "There are many such qualities. Lord Caitanya described some of them. A devotee of the Lord is always kind to everyone. He does not..."

Prabhupada: First qualification. He is very kind to everyone. Yes. Then?

Satsvarupa: "He does not pick a quarrel with anyone. He takes the essence of life, spiritual life. He is equal to everyone. No one can find fault in a devotee. His magnanimous mind is always fresh and clean, without material obsessions. He is a benefactor to all living entities. He is peaceful. He is always surrendered to Krsna. He has no material desire. He is very humble. He is fixed in his direction. He is victorious over the six material qualities, such as lust and anger. He does not eat more than what he needs. He is always sane. He is respectful to others, but for himself he does not require any respect. He is grave. He is merciful. He is friendly. He is a poet. He is an expert, and he is silent."

Reverend Powell: Well, they're all very good, aren't they? (laughs) And so in reading about Lord Krsna, I take it that He performed many miracles of healing. I'm very interested in spiritual healing because in my ministry here in Australia I've been twenty-nine years in the Harley Streets, the streets of doctors. I'm now in Colin (?) Street. I was in McQuarrie Street in Sydney. And in Sydney I had forty-one medical men on, and women, mainly men on my role of members, and we work very closely. This very day I've been working closely with a doctor with a certain patient who's having what is called a nervous breakdown. And we, over the years, have spent a lot of time with spiritual healing. Now, do you yourself practice spiritual healing?

Prabhupada: Hmm, no. Practically, we have very little suffering from disease. The devotees... We are spending so much money, but we don't spend for doctors' bill. You see?

Reverend Powell: Well, normal doctors, but now, we explain to our patients that the doctor normally works with the physical level, and the psychiatrist works with the emotional mental level, but the church works with the spiritual level. And just as Jesus...

Prabhupada: Spiritual level means to cure his material disease.

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: The material disease is birth, death, old age and disease.

Reverend Powell: I'm sorry. I don't quite follow that.

Satsvarupa: He said the real disease is the material condition in which we have to suffer birth, death, disease and old age.

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: So these things can be overcome by Krsna consciousness.

Reverend Powell: Umm... Yes, I see. On the point of reading... In this very interesting magazine and this...

Prabhupada: You find out this verse of Bhagavad-gita.

Reverend Powell: There was a reference to something you said about plants having a feeling. Some years ago I carried out an experiment at the request of one of our magazines in praying for plants and seeds growing and so on, and there seemed to be a relationship between these prayers for the plants and the opposite, in a negative way, against the plants. And I didn't have an opportunity to carry it out too far, much, but in two experiments, there was apparently a clear indication that the plants responded to prayer. And the peas and the beans in particular, (laughs) there was a significant, a very significant increase in the plants that were...

Prabhupada: Hmmm. Find out. Jara-marana-moksaya.


mam asritya yatanti ye
te brahma tad viduḥ; krtsnam
adhyatmam karma cakhilam

"Translation: Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old and death, take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental and fruitive activities."

Reverend Powell: What does devotional service mean in that context?

Prabhupada: Purport?

Satsvarupa: "Purport: Birth, death, old age and diseases affect this material body, but not the spiritual body. There is no birth, death, old age and disease for the spiritual body, so one who attains a spiritual body, becomes one of the associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engages in eternal devotional service, is really liberated. Aham brahmasmi: I am spirit. It is said that one should understand that he is Brahman—spirit soul. This Brahman conception of life is also in devotional service, as described in this verse. The pure devotees are transcendentally situated on the Brahman platform, and they know everything about transcendental and material activities."

Reverend Powell: "Transcendental" means spiritual, does it?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Reverend Powell: As opposed to material. And...

Prabhupada: So they are always engaged in transcendental devotional service.

Reverend Powell: Always.

Prabhupada: Always. Then they'll be freed from birth, death, old age and disease.

Reverend Powell: And... Were the papers correct in reporting you as... Well, they reported opposite things that... But you, of course, hold to transmigration, I gather. And this is... Death really doesn't happen. It's a change of form. Is that it?

Prabhupada: Yes. As soon as the..., everyone dies, so a devotee, after death, in his transcendental form, he goes, back to home, back to Godhead.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. I take it from what you've just been saying, Your Grace, that this explains what is said here in the..., referring to illicit sex as being anything that's not in marriage and not for procreation within marriage.

Prabhupada: Only, the sex allowed only for begetting nice children.

Reverend Powell: You don't feel that...

Prabhupada: And beyond that, sex, that is illicit sex.

Reverend Powell: And that is out.

Prabhupada: That is not good.

Reverend Powell: What is your attitude to Jesus?

Prabhupada: I have already explained in the meeting.

Satsvarupa: Yes.

Prabhupada: We, we respect him as transcendental representative of God, son of God. Yes. He's...

Reverend Powell: Is there some sort of relationship with Lord Krsna? I mean...

Prabhupada: Yes, there is relationship. He's coming from Krsna. He... Jesus the Christ. Christ means Christo or Kristo or Krsna.

Reverend Powell: Yes? Hm. Another thing. We, of course, have been impressed by the number of young Australians who have become interested in the Hare Krishna Movement and we really congratulate you, sir, on the very fine work (Prabhupada chuckles) that you've done, and the ones who have rescued the ladies from the fire the other day. But I think everybody recognizes that they're most sincere, that they're not involved because they're not being blessed. They feel they're getting something out of it. But how do you explain... I gather that most countries, in Britain and America and so on that there are many thousands...

Prabhupada: In Africa. In China, in Japan. Everywhere.

Reverend Powell: And now, how do you explain this? Why are people...? Why are...?

Prabhupada: Because they are on the spiritual platform, they forget the material designation.

Reverend Powell: They're mostly young people, aren't they, or are they, you have all ages?

Prabhupada: Yes, young, young people, they have got brain, (Reverend Powell laughs) receptive.

Reverend Powell: Yes, yes, rightly. And I might also inquire... I take it that you feel... Forgive me if I'm not using the right expression, but the caste system is written into the law of Godhead.

Prabhupada: No, no. No, we have no caste system.

Reverend Powell: Well, I'm sorry. The brahmana, the sudras and so on, per se.

Prabhupada: Yes. That is qualification. This is a division according to... Find out the catur-varnyam maya srsṭam guna-karma-vibhagasaḥ; [Bg. 4.13].

Reverend Powell: Your base there is in Bombay?

Prabhupada: My birthplace is in Calcutta.

Reverend Powell: Calcutta, ah. I was there many years ago, I knew...

Prabhupada: You have been in Calcutta?

Reverend Powell: Yes, I have. I crossed from Karachi and Delhi, I went down to Agra, and I gather this...

Prabhupada: Yes, for people coming from England to Australia, they passed through Calcutta or Bombay, like that.

Reverend Powell: That's right. Yes. We came by air. Was there some reference?

Satsvarupa: Yes.

catur-varnyam maya srsá¹­am
tasya kartaram api mam
viddhy akartaram avyayam
[Bg. 4.13]

"Translation: According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me, and although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable."

Prabhupada: Read the purport.

Satsvarupa: The Lord is the creator of everything. Everything is born of Him, everything is sustained by Him, and everything, after annihilation, rests in Him. He is therefore the creator of the four divisions of the social order, beginning with the intelligent class of men, technically called brahmanas due to their being situated in the mode of goodness. Next is the administrative class, technically called the ksatriyas due to their being situated in the mode of passion. The mercantile men, called the vaisyas, are situated in the mixed modes of passion and ignorance, and the sudras, or laborer class, are situated in the ignorant mode of material nature. In spite of His creating the four divisions of human society, Lord Krsna does not belong to any of these divisions, because He is not one of the conditioned souls, a section of whom form human society. Human society is similar to any other animal society, but to elevate men from the animal status, the abovementioned divisions are created by the Lord for the systematic development of Krsna consciousness. The tendency of a particular man toward work is determined by the modes of material nature which he has acquired. Such symptoms of life, according to different modes of material nature, are described in the Eighteenth Chapter of this book. A person in Krsna consciousness, however, is above even the brahmanas, because a brahmana by quality is supposed to know about Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Most of them approach the impersonal Brahman manifestation of Lord Krsna, but only a man who transcends the limited knowledge of a brahmana and reaches the knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, becomes a person in Krsna consciousness—or, in other words, a Vaisnava. Krsna consciousness includes knowledge of all different plenary expansions of Krsna, namely Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha, etc. However, as Krsna is transcendental to this system of the four divisions of human society, a person in Krsna consciousness is also transcendental to all divisions of human society, whether we consider the divisions of community, nation or species.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. The first part of that made me think of Jesus' parable about the talents, that some get two talents, and some get five and some ten. And...

Prabhupada: (aside:) Come on. Sit down. Thank you. Oh, it is very nice. (handles paper wrapping) You can close the door.

Devotee: Close the door.

Prabhupada: So all our disciples, they are young men.

Reverend Powell: Yes, I noticed.

Prabhupada: Because they are receptive. And their intelligence is intact. Old man takes time.

Reverend Powell: (laughs) Yes, well, that's very true, sir. Your Grace, what's the parable of the talents, that some were given a few, and some were...

Prabhupada: Now, the talents are described. Find that Eighteenth Chapter, samo damas titiksa. Then...

Reverend Powell: What I'd like [break] I'd like to hear this, but...

Prabhupada: Talents are divided into three categories: the brahmana category, and the ksatriya category, the vaisya category and the sudra category. They are described here.

Reverend Powell: And this...

Prabhupada: What are the qualifications of a brahmana. Symptoms.


samo damas tapaḥ; saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jñanam vijñanam astikyam
brahma-karma svabhava-jam
[Bg. 18.42]

"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work."

Prabhupada: This is first quality man.

Reverend Powell: Well, there's a great similarity, isn't there, to the fruits of the holy spirit in the New Testament, with these qualities you've just...

Prabhupada: Yes, yes. When, when one is qualified with all these attributes and he acts accordingly, then he is first-class man.

Reverend Powell: Yes. I gather when you had this interview with the professor in Moscow that there was a little bit of adjustment needed. What is your view of communism, Your Grace?

Prabhupada: Communism, the idea is nice. But they are imperfect. Imperfect. Their philosophy is that everything belongs to the state.

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: But that is imperfect idea. Our philosophy is everything belongs to God. So unless they come to this conclusion, they'll remain imperfect. The equal distribution of wealth, everything belongs to God—that is very good idea. But if it is limited within certain area... Just like the communistic state. Besides that, this is imperfect in the sense, they have no idea who are nationals. Not only they, even the capitalists. National means those who are born in that particular land. So there are animals also. They are also national. But because they are imperfect, either the communists or capitalists, they do not accept the animals as nationals. They are sent to the slaughterhouse. These things are happening because they are imperfect. They have no God conscious views. They have crippled views. They are imperfect.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. Your Grace, I was in Moscow, many years ago now. And everywhere I went in Russia, well right down to Stalingrad, as it was called then. They said, "This society is based on the principle, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.' " Now, I felt that in principle that was a very fine thing because it's based on the parable of the talents and the parable of what we call the penny wage, the same wage is paid to all however long they work because they all have the same need, really. That principle, I think, is a Christian principle, I mean from that point of view it is. But I see what you were saying earlier...

Prabhupada: The principles, as they are stated in the Bhagavad-gita, it is not limited within Christian or communist or capitalist.

Reverend Powell: No.

Prabhupada: No. The principle... Wherever there are these talented persons, he is to be considered as first class man. He does not say that "If it is found among the Hindus or amongst the Christians..." No. Anywhere. Catur-varnyam maya srsṭam guna-karma-vibhagasaḥ; [Bg. 4.13]. These guna, these modes of material nature, is all-pervasive. So even in India they protest. Because I am making them brahmana. My disciples, they're offered sacred thread. They're regularly made into brahmana. So the Indians, in India, they're very conservative, perverted. So they accuse that "Swami Maharaja is spoiling the Hindu system of religion, because he's accepting brahmana from outside." So actually they're also not aware... Creation of God... Here God says that "I have created." So God's creation is not limited. Suppose the sun is creation of God. It is not for India or for Australia. It is for everyone. So whatever created by God, that is not monopoly of a certain class of men. Yes. This is the idea. So these people, they do not know what is the meaning of a Vaisnava or brahmana. That is not limited with a certain circle or certain country or certain society. Just like Christ says, "Thou shalt not kill." This is applicable to every man. Not only that the Christians should follow. Unfortunately, Christians, they do not follow. They are killing. So how there can be religious life? Unless you follow the rules and regulations given by the authority, then where is the meaning of becoming within that community?

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: And God or God's representative, whatever they say, that is not meant for a limited area.

Reverend Powell: Right.

Prabhupada: That is not. Either you take Christian principle or Hindu principle, what is real principle, really principle, that is applicable everywhere.

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: Yes. Just like Christ said that "Thou should be, one should be meek and humble to go to, back to home, back to..." Eh? It is not?

Satsvarupa: Yes.

Prabhupada: So this is for everyone.

Reverend Powell: Yeah. (indistinct)

Prabhupada: Yes. It is not limited within the Christian community. Everyone.

Reverend Powell: Well, it's a great privilege to talk with you, Your Grace. And, uh, you must be tired, you've got a big day tomorrow. I'm mustn't keep you. If I may.

Prabhupada: Just here, please wait. Little, take little. Bring that sweetball. Sit down please, one minute. You have been today there today in meeting?

Guest: Yes. I appreciated it very much. It was very nice...

Prabhupada: You were all present?

Guest: Yes.

Reverend Powell: You'll be pulling the chariot tomorrow, will you?

Devotee: Yes.

Reverend Powell: You've got a job on that. In the afternoon, isn't it? Tomorrow. I'll see something of it.

Prabhupada: These flowers are very nice. They are called?

Devotee: Daffodil?

Prabhupada: Daffodils. Oh.

Reverend Powell: No, jonquils, aren't they?

Devotee: Jonquils.

Prabhupada: Very... Just see how God's artistic brain.

Reverend Powell: Hmm. Yeah.

Prabhupada: You can see God in everywhere. But one must be Krsna conscious, God conscious. Then he'll see every moment, everywhere God, nothing but God.

Reverend Powell: Is this part of the God consciousness, that in everything is the God?

Prabhupada: Yes. Everything is made out of energy of God.

Satsvarupa: Here are some sweetballs made out of milk and butter.

Prabhupada: You can, you can pick up.

Reverend Powell: Made out of what?

Satsvarupa: Mostly out of milk and butter.

Prabhupada: Milk preparation.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. And, um,...

Prabhupada: Yes, you can eat.

Reverend Powell: Now?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. (eats)

Satsvarupa: Very juicy.

Reverend Powell: Hm. Very juicy. Hm.(laughs)

Prabhupada: All of them, give, each, one. We can prepare hundreds of nice preparations from milk. Therefore cow protection is required. Do you like?

Guest: Very sweet, Prabhupada. (laughter)

Reverend Powell: Something quite different. Hmm.

Devotee: Here, perhaps you can use this.

Reverend Powell: Thank you. Yes, I think I need it. You, you, you're completely vegetarian, and not have meat of any kind and not eggs at all?

Prabhupada: No.

Reverend Powell: Why not eggs? Because...

Prabhupada: We are not even vegetarian.

Reverend Powell: You're not.

Prabhupada: No. We are negative of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. We are not vegetarian, neither non-vegetarian. We eat Krsna prasada. Rather, "prasadarian." We are neither vegetarian, nor non-vegetarian. Because we don't eat which is not offered to Krsna. Things are prepared according to the order of Krsna, and when Krsna eats, we take the remnants of foodstuff. Therefore we do not fall in the group of vegetarian or non-vegetarian. We are transcendental.

Reverend Powell: Yes.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Reverend Powell: Well, thank you, Your Grace. If you'll excuse me, I have another appointment.

Prabhupada: Thank you. That's... Hare Krsna. (end)