Go to Vaniquotes | Go to Vanipedia | Go to Vanimedia

Vanisource - the complete essence of Vedic knowledge

680508 - Lecture to Technology Students MIT - Boston

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

680508LE-BOSTON - May 08, 1968 - 92:51 Minutes

Prabhupāda: (kīrtana) (announcement) . . . (indistinct) . . . (break)

cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

This prayer is offering respectful obeisances to the spiritual master. Why? Because the spiritual master is the person who opens our eyes, complicated in ignorance, with the torch of transcendental knowledge. Timirāndhasya. Every one of us born ignorant, and we require specific education and training for seeing things as they are.

Today I am very glad to meet you. You are all students of technology. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is also another technology. Unfortunately, in the modern state of civilization there are different departments of knowledge. There is department of teaching medical science, there is department of teaching engineering, there is department of educating—so many other departments of knowledge.

Unfortunately, there is no department for distributing knowledge in the science of the soul. But that is the important, most important thing, because the soul is the mainstay, is the background of all our movements. In the Bhagavad-gītā there is a nice verse:

indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
(BG 3.42)

The idea is that in the present consciousness I am thinking that I am this body, although actually I am not this body. This is ignorance. And body means the senses. I am acting means . . . just like I am talking. That means I am using my tongue for vibration.

So these bodily activities means sensual activities. But if you go deep into the matter, the senses can only act when the mind is sound. If the mind is not sound, a crazy man or a madman cannot use his senses properly. Therefore higher science. First of all technology of the senses, and then, next higher technology is of the mind, which is known as psychology. Thinking, feeling, willing. They are trying to understand how they are working. And above this mind, mental science, there is the science of intelligence. And above the science of intelligence, the background is the soul.

Unfortunately, we have got technology for the bodily senses, we have got technology for psychology, but we have neither any technology for intelligence nor for any technology in the science of the soul. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the technology of the science of soul.

There is a nice story. You'll appreciate it. In India, especially in Bengal, there are many rivers. The land is full of rivers. Because it is on the bank of the Bay of Bengal, all rivers are falling. Therefore Bengal, the land of, especially the East Bengal, is full of rivers. One student of technology was going home, and he was on the boat. So the student was asking the boatman, "Do you know what are the stars?" The boatman said: "Sir, we are ordinary boatman. What do we know about these stars?" "Oh. Then your fifty percent of life is wasted, useless."

Then he was asking, "Do you know what are these trees? Do you know any science of botany?" He said: "Sir, we are ordinary laborer. What do we know about botany?" "Oh. Then seventy-five percent of your life is useless." In this way the student of technology was asking the boatman, "Do you know this? Do you know that?" And he said that "I am ordinary man. What do I know all these things?"

Then all of a sudden there was a black cloud, and there was storm, and the river began to be inflated, and the boatman said: "My dear sir, do you know swimming?" "Oh," he said: "no." Then he said, "Then your cent per cent knowledge is spoiled. Now you have to go down to the river. Your life is finished." In this way they dropped in the river, and the technological student, because he did not know how to swim, so the storm and the waves grabbed him.

The idea is that we are making progress, certainly, in technology, in economics, in so many other departments of human necessities. But Bhagavad-gītā says that real problem of this world, or real problem of our life, it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā:

(BG 13.9)

If you are intelligent enough, then you should see the real problem is birth, death, old age and disease. Janma means birth, and mṛtyu means death. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā. Jarā means old age, and vyādhi means disease. So actual material problem is this, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi.

We have forgotten that, "In the abdomen of my mother, how precarious condition I was living in." Of course, we can know from the description of medical science or any other science how the child is packed up there and how much suffering is there. The worms bite the child and he cannot express; he suffers the suffering. Similarly, the mother eats something, and the pungent taste also gives him suffering. So these descriptions are there in the śāstras, in the scriptures and authentic Vedic literature, how the child suffers within the abdomen of mother.

So these are the sufferings of birth. At least, one child has to remain in that air-packed condition at least for ten months. Now just imagine if you are put into that air-packed condition for three minutes now, you will immediately die. But actually, we had that experience to remain in the mother's womb in that air-packed condition for ten months. So suffering was there, but because the child was incapable of expressing, therefore . . . or his consciousness was not so elevated. He could not cry, but the suffering was there.

Similarly, at the time of death there is suffering. Similarly, old man. Just like us, we have got so many complaints, bodily complaints. Because now everything, the anatomical or physiological condition, is deteriorating. The stomach is not digesting foodstuff so nicely as when I was young I could digest. So the sufferings are there. Similarly, disease. Who wants disease?

So modern technology, they have advanced undoubtedly, but there is no remedy for, I mean to say, to stop birth, death, old age and disease. This is real problem. But because these problems cannot be solved by the modern scientific advancement of knowledge, they have practically set aside or neglected because they cannot solve it.

But there is a solution. There is a solution. That solution of this problem is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that:

mām upetya kaunteya
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
(BG 8.15)

"My dear Arjuna, if somebody comes to Me . . ." "Me" means here the Supreme Personality of Godhead is saying, Kṛṣṇa. "If somebody comes to Me, then he hasn't got to take birth again in this miserable material condition." Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam. Duḥkhālayam means the place of miseries. We are thinking that we have made a paradise, but actually the place is miserable, because the threefold miseries, they are there. Either in America or in India or in any other country, China, or any other planet, the material miseries, which are three kinds: ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika, ādhidaivika.

Ādhyātmika means miseries pertaining to the body and the mind. Sometimes we are feeling headaches, sometimes we are feeling some other pains. Any things which are pertaining to the body and mind, there is some pain. These are called ādhyātmika. Similarly, there are other pains, inflicted by other living entities. They are called ādhibhautika. Similarly, other pains also, which is offered by the nature, by the laws of nature. All of a sudden there is earthquake, all of a sudden there is famine, or similar other which we have no control over. So these three kinds of miseries are always there. But under the spell of illusion we are thinking that we are happy.

And the illusion means that the material energy is so illusory that however a living entity may be in abominable condition, he thinks that he is happy. You take any animal, just like take the hog—that life is most filthy life. Of course, you have no experience to see in your city, hogs. In India there are many hogs in the city, and they are living in filthy place—they are eating stool, and most abominable life.

But even you ask a hog that, "You are living in such abominable condition. Let me do you something good," he'll refuse to accept. If you give him something, nice preparation, as we have got in India, halavā, he'll not accept it. He will accept stool, because his body is meant for that purpose, and he will not like any palatable foodstuff. He will like that stool. This is the spell of māyā.

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means that if we want, if we are actually educated, then we must try to question that, "Why I am suffering?" This is called brahma-jijñāsā. In the Vedānta-sūtra the first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā. One should inquire about his existence as soul, not as body or as mind. Because he is neither body nor mind.

So this Vedānta-sūtra says that athāto brahma jijñāsā. Atha ataḥ means this is the time, this human form of life, developed consciousness, with greater intelligence than the animals, one should inquire about his spiritual existence. That is real technology. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavata says that parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-tattvam (SB 5.5.5). So long one does not inquire about his spiritual existence . . . every one of us is born ignorant, because we do not know what is our real identity. Generally, we accept that "I am this body," but actually I am not this body. These things can be understood very easily. Suppose you are seeing all along a friend. All of a sudden he dies and you say, "My friend is gone." Well, your friend is lying there with all the body, hands, legs, everything. He's lying there. Why do you say that your friend is gone? Then you have never seen your friend. You have seen only his bodily structure. That's all.

Similarly, at the present moment the humanitarian work is going on, but we do not know what is the basic principle of humanitarian work. The Bhāgavata answers this, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). A person who is in the knowledge that, "I am this body and . . ." Sva-dhīḥ kalatradiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ, and if one thinks that "In relations with this body, my kinsmen, they will protect me," and if he thinks that "The land where the body is grown, that is the worshipable land," then he is, I mean to say, accepted like animal. Sa eva go-kharaḥ.

So these instructions are there. Unfortunately, we have no time, neither we have desire to understand actually what I am, why I am suffering, what is this world, what is my relationship with this world, what is God, what is my relationship with God. These questions are very important questions, and there is technology to understand these questions. And the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Vedānta-sūtra, all these literatures are there. If you kindly, of course, see to these literatures, you'll find the solution of the problems of life.

But we are not interested. That is the difficulty. We are thinking that we are happy, we have no problem, although there are so many problems and we are not happy. This is called māyā. Māyā means what is not. Mā means not, means this. This is called māyā. We are thinking that we are happy, but actually we are not happy. And even if we are happy, how long we are happy?

Suppose, taking for example you Americans, you are the richest nation of the world. Your material comforts and everything is greater than other countries, standard of living. But just try to think how long you can remain as American. Say, for fifty years or hundred years, at most. Then . . . but we do not know what is going to happen in my next life because we do not believe in the next life. But actually there is next life.

So if you don't take care of my next life and if we irresponsibly waste our valuable human form of life like ordinary animals . . . the ordinary animals, they demand something for eating, they want to sleep, they want to defend and they want to mate. So similarly, if human being is also busy with the four principles of bodily demands, namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending, then, according to Vedic literature, it is said that he is not human.

Dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ (Hitopadeśa 25). If the human being does not understand his real, spiritual identity and simply busy with the four demands of bodily necessities, then paśubhiḥ samānāḥ—he's as equal as with lower animals, cats and dogs.

So Bhagavad-gītā gives you clue. It is not very difficult to understand this science. The Bhagavad-gītā gives you the information of the spirit soul very simply. The Bhagavad-gītā says:

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

Just like within this body, when you were a child you were within this body—not exactly this body, but another body, which was so small. Now where is that body? That body is gone. You have got another body. So Bhagavad-gītā says, as we are changing body moment to moment, dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13) Dehinaḥ means the soul, the spirit soul, who is embodied within this body, as he is changing body from moment to moment.

This is a fact, a medical fact, that you are changing body every moment. Similarly, the last change is called death. But we have to take . . . we have to accept another body. But we do not know what sort of body we are going to accept. That technology is wanting in the modern civilization. But there are 8,400,000's of different bodies, and after leaving this body you may enter any of such bodies.

You may become, after leaving this body, you can become American or you can become Indian or you can become Chinaman or you can become god in the moon planet or some other planet, or you can become dog, you can become hog, you can become serpent—anything. That requires . . . that is under the control of the material nature. That is not under your control. But if you take to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it will be under your control.

How it is possible? The Bhagavad-gītā answers this:

yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtejyā yānti bhūtāni
mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām
(BG 9.25)

If you want to enter into another planet, say moon planet or sun planet or Venus planet . . . there are innumerable planets. The ultimate, highest planet is called Brahmaloka. And the advantage of going to Brahmaloka is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that you can get a life, sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ (BG 8.17). You can get there life for millions and millions of years. But still, there is death and there is birth and there is that old age and there is that disease.

But mad-dhāma gatvā punar janma na vidyate (BG 8.16). But if somebody is transferred to that planet which is called Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana, or Vaikuṇṭha, then one hasn't got to come back to this material, I mean to say, temporary existence. So these informations are there, and they are very scientific. They are not dogmatic. If you accept them with reason and argument and with human consciousness, the solutions are there.

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the movement. It is not new movement. This movement is at least, current, since five hundred years before. Lord Caitanya, He started this movement in the fifteenth century. So this movement is current everywhere in India, but in your country, of course, it is new. But our request is that you kindly take this movement little seriously. We do not ask you to stop your technological advance. You do it.

There is a nice proverb in Bengal that a woman who is busy in household work is also . . . she also takes care for dressing herself nicely. It is the nature of women. When they go out they dress very nicely. So similarly, you may be busy with all kinds of technology. That, that is not forbidden. But at the same time, you try to understand this technology, the science of soul. That is there.

It is not a bogus propaganda. It is factual. It is science. As science is not bogus propaganda, similarly, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also not bogus propaganda. As science means two plus two equal to four, similarly Kṛṣṇa consciousness means mitigating the all problems of life.

So . . . and the process is very easy. We are . . . not we are, it is recommended by Lord Caitanya that in this age, for self-realization it is this process:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma iva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
(CC Adi 17.21)

Lord Caitanya says that in this age, when our life is very short, we are not very much enlightened in spiritual matters and we are very lazy at the same time, and at the same time we are unfortunate, so under these conditions the people are recommended simply to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma iva kevalam.

Now this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, you may say that, "This 'Kṛṣṇa' is Indian name or Hindu name. Why shall we chant 'Kṛṣṇa'?" But if you have got any name of God, you can chant that also. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that God has millions and billions of names. So any name is as good as "Kṛṣṇa." It doesn't matter. Then why we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa? Because we are following the footprints of Lord Caitanya, and He chanted this holy name, we are chanting.

So we shall request you most humbly that it is . . . there is no loss on your part, but the gain is immense. If you take to this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, then gradually your misconception of this life will be cleared off. You will understand your real identity and you will act in that way. And the technology is so nice that you may remain in your business, that doesn't matter.

Simply you have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Suppose you are walking on the street. If you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, nobody is taxing you, nobody is bothering you. But if by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, if you derive some benefit, why do you neglect it? That is our submission.

So this movement is for making solution of the problems of life, and it can be easily done. And anyone can accept it. It doesn't matter whether he is Indian or American or Hindu or Muslim or Christian. It doesn't matter. Simply this vibration: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

So I shall thank you if you join us with this kīrtana, and at least for few minutes you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you very much.

Any question you can put. Yes?

Student: If I understood you, I think you said that this approach, that you feel that it's appropriate to you because people are lax in their approach to spiritual problems.

Prabhupāda: It is not Hindu approach. It is . . . we are recommending that you chant the holy name of God. Why do you say it is Hindu approach?

Student: I didn't. But as I understood you, I thought you said that this was appropriate here because people aren't terribly interested, therefore are lax in spiritual matters, which I feel is true. But if this is true, is there something that would follow? In other words, could you progress to some other form of this more . . .?

Prabhupāda: There are many other forms, of course, but this form is the easiest, and just suitable for the people of this age. Just like you gather together and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Anyone can. Actually we are doing that. In your country, wherever I go I chant this, and the American boys and girls, they take part in it in parks, in our class. So there is no difficulty. And this is the easiest.

Simply we do not ask that you must be very highly educated, you must be philosopher, you must be expert in breathing exercise or this way or that way. No. We don't require any qualification. Simply come and sit with us and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and see the result.

Student: Do you imagine in this life an attainment of a follower . . .?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. There are many followers. You can ask how they have changed. We have got many letters. And here there are my students. You can ask directly how they have changed. This is practical.


Student: I want to make sure I understood—that chanting this over a long time will also help affect where our body will go after we die, what form we'll come back in?

Prabhupāda: First thing is by chanting, your misconception of life will be cleared. At the present moment I am thinking that "I am this body," and therefore, because my body is born in this land, therefore I am thinking, "I am American." And because I happened to take my birth in a certain family, so I am thinking, "I am Christian" or "Hindu." But all these things are designations. When we clear the misconception of my life, then I can understand that I am pure soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. The Vedic language says that "I am spirit soul."

And as soon as you understand, then brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). As soon as you realize yourself as soul, then you become immediately free from all anxieties, prasannātmā. Prasannātmā means jolly. Spiritual life means natural joyful. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12). The Vedānta-sūtra says that spirit is by nature joyful. So because we are spirit, we are always hankering after joyous life. But because our expression is through this material mind and body, it is not being fulfilled. So as soon as you stand on the spiritual platform, you actually stand on the platform of joyous life. That is the immediate gain. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam (CC Antya 20.12, Śikṣāṣṭaka 1). Immediately.


Student: What is the meaning of the sign at your back?

Prabhupāda: What is the meaning of your sign in the neck? What is the meaning of your sign in the neck? Oh, this? I do not know. (laughter) That is not my sign. That is technological sign. (laughter)

Student: Your Holiness?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Student: Could you estimate how many people in India have found true spirituality through Indian religion?

Prabhupāda: What do you mean by Indian religion?

Student: By any of the true religions which are offered in India. Not only yours, but . . .

Prabhupāda: You do not know what is Indian religion. The Indian religion is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Have you read Bhagavad-gītā? Then you do not know what is Indian religion. Indian religion is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says there is no greater higher authority than Kṛṣṇa. You can accept it. At least, the Indians, they accept. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said in the beginning that yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati (BG 4.7): "Whenever there is discrepancy in the matter of discharging religious principles, I appear."

Now, if you accept this religion means the Hindu religion or Muslim religion or Christian religion or Buddhist religion, Kṛṣṇa does not propose such religion. He, at the end of Bhagavad-gītā, He says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66): "You give up all other religious principles. You simply surrender unto Me." So religion, either you take it Hindu religion or Muslim religion or Christian religion, religion means to surrender unto God. And the Bhāgavata explains, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). That is the perfect type of religion, which teaches surrendering unto the Supreme Lord. That is religion. Either you take it Hindu religion or Christian religion or Muslim religion or any religion, real religion means surrendering unto God. If there is no surrender unto God, that is no religion.

Student: Well, in India how many followers do you feel . . .

Prabhupāda: Why do you ask for India? I am talking of religious principle. How many of you Christian, you surrender unto God? First answer this. Then you go to India. Anyone, Christian or Muslim or Hindu, it doesn't matter. The conception of God is there. If you do not surrender unto God, you have no religion.


Student: In the Bhagavad-gītā, when Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna to go forth in the battle and not to . . . to slay his relatives and not to be caught in the material world and see that the slayer and the slain are one, should the young American faced with the war in Vietnam go forth to Vietnam realizing that the slayer and the slain are one and that all this slaughter, just slaughter karma, and follow the way of the sage?

Prabhupāda: In the Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna, he was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, a friend of Kṛṣṇa. Perhaps you know it. So in the beginning he did not like to fight. He denied. So any devotee of God or Kṛṣṇa is not fond of war or fighting with any others. But if there is necessity, if Kṛṣṇa wants that fight, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa will accept such fight. If you think that your Vietnam fighting is ordered by Kṛṣṇa, then it is all right. If it is not, then it is not. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

We act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If Kṛṣṇa says, if God says: "This is right," we accept it right. If God says it is wrong, we accept it wrong. Because we think, we have poor fund of knowledge. We do not know what is right and wrong. Therefore if God says or Kṛṣṇa says this is right, we accept it right. If God says or Kṛṣṇa says it is wrong, we accept it wrong.


Student: In order for one body to perceive another body, you need your eye. You have to look and see the other person and another person . . . in order for a body to perceive itself, it needs a mirror. But how does one body perceive its soul?

Prabhupāda: Yes. When you see your body, you think that, "This is my finger, this is my hand, this is my head, this is my chest, this is my leg." You see simply you will find, "This is my, this is my, this is my." But if you try to find out "Then what is I?" then you will find out. That is called self-realization. We are simply now engrossed with things "my," but we do not know what is "I." The identification of myself or I with this body is wrong.

The identification of I with the mind is also wrong. The identification of I with intelligence is also wrong. When you actually come to the platform of spiritual understanding, then you understand that, "I am neither this body, neither the senses, neither this mind, nor intelligence, but I am spirit soul." That is called brahma-jñāna, or Brahman realization.

And the symptom will be, as soon as you are actually in self-realization, you will feel happy. You will have no anxiety. That is the test. Just like when you're free from disease, then there is no pain. Similarly, when you actually realize that you are spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, then the symptom will be that there will be no anxiety and no lamentation and no bereavement or no so-called, I mean to say, happiness.

Student: How can you be sure?

Prabhupāda: Here is the surety. As soon as you see that you're free from all anxiety, then it is sure that you have realized yourself.

Student: Well how can you be sure you're free from all anxiety if you're incapable of perceiving happiness? And to perceive happiness, you . . .

Prabhupāda: Well, you have to follow the process. Then you will feel. Just like if you are diseased, if you have to be under the treatment of the physician and you have to take medicine, and when you're actually free, you will yourself feel, "Yes, I am free." But without going under treatment of an expert physician, or taking the medicine, how you can be free from disease?


Student: I don't understand exactly how Kṛṣṇa consciousness is different than the other religions. Like in Christianity, Judaism and Muslim they have the idea that a person can pray and sometimes chant, communicate with God, understand His way. And all religions seem to have this. So I don't see how it's different.

Prabhupāda: There is no difference. I have already explained that we are recommending that you chant the holy name of God. If you have got any holy name of God in your religion, you can chant that. We don't say that you chant "Kṛṣṇa." Just like you are thirsty, you want water.

Somebody may call "water," somebody may call "pāni," somebody may call "jala." That doesn't matter. But you want water. Similarly, if you have got any name for calling the Supreme Lord, you call in that name; it doesn't matter. That is our recommendation. When we say harer nāma, harer nāma means the holy name of the Supreme Lord.


Student: There are different techniques for reaching Christ consciousness or God consciousness or self-realization. What test do you recommend for finding out which technique is the best?

Prabhupāda: Yes. That I have already explained. That technique is best by which you develop your love of God. That is the test. If by following Christian religion or Muhammadan religion or Hindu religion you actually develop your transcendental love for God, that is the best technique. If you have no love for God, simply you follow the technique, then it is simply laboring. That's all.

Student: I mean especially the variations of Indian technique.

Prabhupāda: I don't say any variation. I say that is the best technique by which you develop love of God. Now you find out what is that best technique. If you find that in your technique you are developing love of God, it is best. We don't say that you accept this technique or that technique. Any technique by which . . .

Just like a man is diseased. Any medicine by which he is cured, that is best medicine for him. Similarly, the criterion is whether you have developed love for God or you are still in love for the matter. That is the test. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). This is the definition of technique in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That technique is the best form of technique of religious activity by which you can develop your service attitude towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The service attitude is there. You are serving. Either you are serving your family or you are serving your body or you are serving your society or serving your country, or if you have no engagement to service, you are serving some dog, you are serving some cat, you are serving some animal.

So serving spirit is there, but we do not know where to place our service and become actually benefited by that service. Therefore you have to develop that spirit of service attitude toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When you develop that consciousness, that is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness or whatever technical name you may give.


Student: According to the belief, how many . . . is there a fixed number of souls or fixed number of spirits in the universe?

Prabhupāda: No. The souls are innumerable. Asaṅkhyaya. It is stated in the Vedic literature, asaṅkhyaya. You cannot count. Asaṅkhyaya. And in the Upaniṣad it is said, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). God is also a living entity. As we are living entity, He is also living entity. But He is the chief living entity. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. He's the leader of all living entities. Eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. That one Supreme is supplying all the necessities of these many.

So living entities . . . just like sparks of the fire. The fire is . . . big fire is one, but the sparks, there are millions. Similarly, we are all qualitatively one with God. Just like fire and fire sparks: qualitatively all of them are fire, but the big fire and small fire is different. Similarly, we are also of the same quality as God, but we are very minute and God is great.

Student: When some new animal or person is born, is the soul always a reincarnation of some previous soul, or can it be that a new soul has . . .

Prabhupāda: No. The same soul is changing, just like you are changing your dress. Now you are in some colored dress. You may have some white dress or some red dress. Similarly, vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya (BG 2.22). As soon as your dress is old enough, you cannot use it any more, you have to change the dress. Similarly, the present body, as soon as it is no more workable, you have to accept another body.

Now, taking it accepted as dress, that the next body means next dress, so that dress will be offered according to the payment, or according to your work. If you have worked just like a god, then you get the dress of a god, and if you have worked like a dog, then you'll get the dress of a dog.

Student: Then how can the dog then become a higher soul, a higher form after the dog?

Prabhupāda: Yes, there is gradual evolution. From dog life, from animal life, again by evolutionary process . . . that is accepted by anthropo . . . what is called? Anthropology. That they come to the human being, again there is a chance to get out of this bodily embodiment, and you can get yourself free life in the spiritual world. So if you lose this chance, then you again go to the cycle of birth and death in so many forms of bodies.

Therefore we should utilize this enlightened body, the human form of body, the civilized form of life, for our next eternal life. Yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (BG 15.6). We should prepare ourself to go to that form of life which has no more birth, death, or disease or old age. Eternal life.


Student: Does it do atheists any good to chant your verses if they only want to be happy through chanting them?

Prabhupāda: Certainly. You may be atheist or theist. The chanting is so powerful, the atheist will be theist. If you are atheist, you can try it.


Student: Is this continual reincarnation only occurring on this earth, or does it occur on other planets?

Prabhupāda: Oh, other planets. All throughout the whole material world.

Student: Is there interchange between the planets?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. You can go in another planet also. Because it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-gā. Sarva-gā means the soul can be transferred to any place. It may be in America, it may be India, in moon planet, sun planet, or any . . . anywhere.

Student: Has the universe existed forever, or does soul have a beginning?

Prabhupāda: No. This material universe is created and dissolved. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). Just like this body: it is born for some time, it will stay for some time, it will go for some time, then it will become old and it will vanish. Similarly, the whole universe is like that. It has its creation, it stays for some time, a long duration of time, and it creates so many other things, by-products, and there will be time when everything will be vanquished.

Student: And where were the souls before the universe began?

Prabhupāda: That is called spiritual kingdom. In the spirit.

Student: And is that where they will all end up again when the universe comes to an end?

Prabhupāda: Yes. If you are not liberated, then you have to come to this material world and change one body after another. That will be your business. But if you get yourself transferred to the spiritual world, then there is no more coming back to this material world, and you get your eternal, blissful life of knowledge.

Student: What happens if the universe ends and there are some souls that have not yet transferred themselves to the other universe?

Prabhupāda: The same thing. What happens when your body will be vanquished? Nothing happens. The same thing will go on. There are many bodies, there are many universes. It is coming and going and vanquished. It is the law of nature.

Student: Do you mean the universe is likely to go on forever?

Prabhupāda: No. It is created. As your body is created, similarly anything material, it has got a life. It has got a period of creation, it stays for some time, then it is finished.

Devotee: Uh, I think questions . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. Very nice. Thank you. Yes.

So you can all chant. Come on.

(kīrtana) (prema-dhvani) Thank you very much. (devotees offer obeisances)

So we have got our class here.

(aside) You can announce. (break)

Satsvarūpa: Swami Bhaktivedanta is speaking three times a week in Allston at the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa temple at least for the month of May. We've just begun the Bhagavad-gītā, First Chapter, first verse Monday, and that will be resumed again next Monday because of Friday engagement at Boston College. So you're all invited to come and participate there. It's a very opulent little temple with lots of paintings and, of course, Swāmījī. And at this temple every Sunday we have a Love Feast of very sumptuous Indian delicacies, and you're invited to that.

Student: At what time?

Satsvarūpa: It's at noon every Sunday.

Student: Where is it?

Satsvarūpa: The temple is in Allston, 95 Glenville Avenue. If you're taking the Boston College trolley, you get off at Harvard and Commonwealth and it's one block up on Harvard. Glenville is parallel to Commonwealth. You can get there by bus also, to Union Square.

Student: What time are the class?

Satsvarūpa: The classes are at seven. We have some fliers to hand out to you.

(break) Swami's there Monday, Wednesday,

(break) . . . next Monday. So this is a real class with real progress. We're studying Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.

(break) I'm going to go around with a tambourine upside down for a collection. That will help us to keep this program going nicely in this area. Also, very important, the Swami will leave this area as soon as another city gives him something more attractive. Attractive means to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (break)

Prabhupāda: That you have to test. Now I have given you this one formula. By following any I or any principle, if you actually develop your love of God, then it is nice. Otherwise it is useless waste of time. That is the test. But they, so far I know, these yogīs, they are themselves God. They say that everyone is God. And who is dog? So I think it is not very congenial. How everyone can be God? Then what is the meaning of God?

Student: . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: If everyone is God then what is the meaning of God? You must give definition of God. If you do not, then you do not know what is God. Therefore you are asking . . .

Student: . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: So it is a great science. It is not bogus propaganda. And based on Bhagavad-gītā and Vedic literatures. Not that it is imaginary. No. There is . . . (indistinct) . . . realized persons. There is chance of . . . (indistinct) . . . so if you are here now, take advantage of this great science. And we are prepared to submit . . .

Student: I want to love everyone.

Prabhupāda: Then you . . . that is bogus. You cannot love everybody. If you love God, then you can love everybody. Because God is everything. So just like if you pour water on the root . . .

Student: If God is everything, then why don't you, not loving one by one? Why . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes. But you . . . that is . . . just like if you love one tree, then you have to pour water on the root. Not that every leaf. If you want to maintain your body, then you have to supply foodstuff in the stomach. Not to your eyes. Not to your ear. When you get a nice cake, you don't put it here. You put it here. Why? That is the process. There are nine holes in your body. Why do you put in this hole?

Student: Yes, but . . .

Prabhupāda: First of all answer this.

Student: Well, I agree with you, but . . .

Prabhupāda: You have to follow the real process; then you'll get it. That is love.

Student: You have to go to the root but in the meantime we don't ignore everything else. I mean . . .

Prabhupāda: If you ignore the root and you take the leaf you simply spoil your time.

Student: No, but what I wanted to say is that why can't love of the God and love of matter go and rise up to . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes, if you love God, you love matter and God . . .

Because matter is energy of God.

Student: Then you said that the technique, that you decide as to whether you are succeeding is, you'll find out whether a technique is the best or not when your love for God will increase and love for matter will decrease.

Prabhupāda: No. In relationship with God . . . what is matter? Matter is another manifestation of God's energy. Just like if you love yourself, your body, then naturally you love your finger, the part of the body. Therefore God is the supreme whole. If you love God, then you can understand that I have to love everybody.

Student: What is God?

Prabhupāda: What is God? God . . . can you define God?

Student: No.

Student: I think the trouble is . . . God is this . . .

Student: Is God supposed to be energy or is God supposed to be . . .

Prabhupāda: Energy is God's energy. Just like sun and sunshine. Sunshine is the energy of sun. Just try to understand. The energy, sunshine, and the sun is not different. But still if you are satisfied with the energy sunshine, it is not sun. Try to understand this philosophy.

Student: Are you saying that energy is God? God is energy?

Prabhupāda: Energy, being nondifferent from God, in one sense, it is God, but energy is not God at the same time. The same example. Just like sun and the sunshine. Sunshine is the energy of the sun, but sunshine, if it enters in your room, if you think that "Sun has entered into my room," that is wrong.

But sunshine is not different from the sun. Similarly . . . that is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagat avyakta-mūrtinā, mat-sthāni (BG 9.4).

(break) "Everything is resting in Me." That means in His energy. But not that everything is God.

Student: It would appear that to claim that you can reach eternal bliss or I don't know what else you might call it, by just chanting, it seems to be too easy.

Prabhupāda: That is one process of self-realization. There are different process of self-realization. For this age, when people are less intelligent, this process is right.

Student: . . . what you are doing by chanting is kind of . . .

Prabhupāda: You chant and you will understand. If you have no child, then how can you understand what is the labor of producing a child?

Student: But then it is like saying that if you haven't ever leaped into a well, you don't know what will happen to you if you leap into a well.

Prabhupāda: First of all you do not know yourself. The first ignorance is that you are identifying yourself with this body, which you are not. First of all try to understand yourself, then you will understand what is God. You do not know yourself.

Student: But I am God, right? I am God. You are God too.

Prabhupāda: You are dog.

Student: But you are me and I am you. We are both God. Right?

Prabhupāda: No, no.

Student: Why not?

Prabhupāda: You are not God because God . . . you do not know what is the meaning of God. What do you mean by God? First of all define.

Student: Everything is God.

Prabhupāda: If you apply that definition, then you are God. First of all define what is God.

Student: God is everything. God is it.

Prabhupāda: That is not the definition. God is not everything.

Student: And it is God. It is all it.

Prabhupāda: I say everything is God's energy. Everything is not God.

Student: Everything is not God?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like the same example I gave immediately that the sunshine and the sun. Sunshine is not different from the sun.

Student: How can the sun itself be different from it's energy? Sunshine is energy, sun is energy, and both of them . . .

Prabhupāda: No. This is an example. Sunshine is also energy. Everything material is an energy of the Lord. That's all right. But I'm giving you the example that sunshine and the sun is one, but at the same time different, simultaneously. You cannot accept sunshine as the sun. Suppose you are in the sunshine, you cannot say that you are in the sun planet.

Student: But it's all the same.

Prabhupāda: No. Why all the same? Why all the same?

Student: Of course. It's all the same. Sure.

Prabhupāda: If you go to the sun, you . . . you cannot go. You have no imagination what is sun, although you see it. How can I say that sunshine and sun is all the same?

Student: No. You don't have to have imagination. You have to have insight. That's . . . that's . . .

Prabhupāda: What is that insight? Do you think that sunshine and sun, they can be, is one?

Student: Everything is the same.

Prabhupāda: No, you cannot say that, that the temperature of the sun and the temperature of the sunshine is the same.

Student: No. But just because you have two different kinds of energies, why do you have to differentiate them? Essentially what he was trying to say . . .

Prabhupāda: That is intelligence. That is intelligence. One energy is acting as cooling, and the same energy is acting as heating. Why do you say it is heat and it is cool?

Student: It's all the same thing. Heat and cool is the same thing.

Prabhupāda: Why do you say the same thing? It is not the same thing.

Student: Of course, it is the same thing.

Student: Everything is "it." It's all it.

Prabhupāda: No. That is nonsense. Cold is cold, heat is heat. Only it is acting. You are talking on the material platform. You are not spiritual. You don't talk nonsense. (laughter) No. We have got enough time.

Student: I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm just trying to understand, because from what I understand of it there is no difference between . . .

Prabhupāda: Just try to understand . . .

Student: No wait. Wait. Just one moment. Cause and effect are all the same thing.

Prabhupāda: No, no, no, no.

Student: Yes. Sure.

Devotee: What do you mean they're the same thing?

Prabhupāda: This is cotton. The cause is cotton. Will you like to take cotton instead of the shirt?

Student: This is illusion.

Prabhupāda: Not illusion.

Student: Sure.

Prabhupāda: What do you mean by illusion? Don't talk nonsense. (laughter) If I gave you lump of cotton instead of this shirt, will you accept it?

Student: I'm sorry. I don't mean to argue. I am sorry.

Prabhupāda: You are arguing?

Student: I don't mean to argue with you.

Prabhupāda: No. If I say . . .

Student: I'm trying to understand something, but you . . .

Prabhupāda: This is cotton. This is cotton. Everyone knows. But if I give you a lump . . .

Student: Do you know that? Do you know that for a fact? How do you know this is not illusion? How do you know that? Do we know anything for sure?

Prabhupāda: What proof is that is illusion?

Student: No, no. Wait. The burden of the proof lies on you, because I don't claim it is cotton. You claim it is cotton. So . . .

Prabhupāda: How do you say it is not cotton. First of all prove it.

Student: Initially . . .

Prabhupāda: No! First of all prove it that it is not cotton.

Student: No, no. One moment. You claim that it is cotton, therefore the burden of the proof lies on you inasmuch as you have to prove . . .

Prabhupāda: Everyone will say it is cotton. Everyone will say it is cotton. That is proof. Everyone will accept this is cotton, made of cotton. Who will say this is not made of cotton? But if I give you a lump of cotton instead of shirt will you accept it?

Student: I apologize. I don't mean to argue with you. I'm just trying to . . .

Prabhupāda: No, why not?

Student: You speak of God and matter and as matter being the thing which keeps us from seeing God. It seems to me it's something like pride and delusions, myself, and something like this, and ideas that I have.

Prabhupāda: You may have ideas, but I don't agree with your idea. If . . . I say that anything take it material or spiritual they are different energy of God. Matter is not different from God as it is energy of God, but still matter is not God.

Student: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Just try to understand this point, that whatever we see, that is distribution of energy of God. But energy and the energetic is not the same. But they are same as . . . simultaneously same also because you cannot separate. Just like fire and heat. You cannot separate heat from fire but heat is not fire. Just try to understand this. Heat is not fire although heat and fire cannot be separated.

Student: But I don't think I'm thinking of myself as matter but I'm also not thinking of myself as . . .

Prabhupāda: No. You are not matter. You are spirit. Your body is matter. You are also one of the energies. You are spiritual energy and your body is material energy. And because you are spiritual energy, therefore your intimate relationship with the spirit soul or the Supreme Soul . . . that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness. The body will change, but you, as spirit soul, you will not change. You are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). Body being changed, that is not changed. That is eternal. So we have to pick up our eternal relationship with God. That is missing.

Student: I'd like to know how physical things that are done, as chanting or dancing or . . . are there no . . .? If you consider , as having any importance. How do these physical things affect our spiritual understanding?

Prabhupāda: Physical . . . just like a milk preparation. You take large quantity of milk, you get diarrhea. But the same milk, if it is prepared into yogurt, if you take it, your diarrhea will be cured. So physical things, when treated spiritually, it cures physical disease.

Student: You said the approach to spiritual goal, through this way, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Rāma. Okay. Now there is another philosophy which has been preached by Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, "The service of man is the service of God."

Prabhupāda: And why not service of God service of man?

Student: No . . .

Prabhupāda: First of all answer this. If service of man is service of God, why not service of God, service of man?

Student: Okay. It is one and the same thing because within man is within the soul, which is . . .

Prabhupāda: So, one thing, suppose that service of God is service of man, then why should you go door to door serving . . . if God is service of man, if you say service of man is service of God, then service of God is service of man.

Student: Okay. Fine.

Prabhupāda: That's all. Now if by serving God I can serve whole humanity . . .

Student: That's good.

Prabhupāda: That's good. But you, how many human beings you can serve? So my process is better.

Student: But I don't know what is God, but I know man within which God is present, a part of God is present.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. That's all right. That means we are, I mean to say for argument's sake. If God is everything . . .

Student: We are the parts of God.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. Now parts of God, just like your finger is part of your body. Suppose if you wash your finger, does it mean you are taking bath whole body?

Student: No, no, no, no. No.

Prabhupāda: Then how we can serve the whole by serving the part?

Student: Well, because it is a problem today, and right now, we country . . .

Prabhupāda: Your argument is that service of man is service of God. That is your point. I say that if service of man is service of God, then service of God is service of man. First of all you yes or no, you say it.

Student: It is one and the same but because I don't know God . . .

Prabhupāda: Then we serve God. You serve men. That's all.

Student: I don't know God. That's why . . . which is present and which is a philosophy. That's why . . .

Prabhupāda: Now, philosophy . . . your argument is service of man is service of God.

Student: It is not my argument. It is argument of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda.

Prabhupāda: Now you are representing Ramakrishna. You are representing Ramakrishna. That's all. I take it.

Student: Because I am also in doubt about . . . I want to know the truth.

Prabhupāda: The truth is . . . the example I have given you, that service of the body means service of the stomach. Service of the body does not mean service of the finger.

Student: Service of the body means the service of part of God because body is an embodiment of the . . .

Prabhupāda: Now, I'll give you the example. Suppose if you want to . . . take the whole body. If you want to serve this body you must give food. So where to give the food? To the finger or to the stomach? Therefore God is the stomach. Supply food there and every part of the body will be full.

Student: Okay good. Stomach is the part of God. I don't say he's the whole of God. Part of God. Because . . .

Prabhupāda: All right. Car is waiting.

Satsvarūpa: Come to the temple and ask any questions you have.

Student: Okay. Next time I go to Harvard I'll just get . . .

Prabhupāda: Thank you. I thank you for your questions.

Student: Oh, okay, fine. I'll ask you again. (end)