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680803 - Letter to Pope Paul VI written from Montreal

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

August 03, 1968

His Holiness The Pope, Paul VI
Vicar of Jesus Christ
State of Vatican City
Rome, Italy

Your Holiness:

Please accept my respectful humble obeisances at Your lotus feet. I beg to introduce myself as an Indian monk, following the Vedic principles of religious life, and at the present, I am in the renounced order of Sannyas (aged 72 years) and preaching God consciousness all over the world. I came to America in 1965, and since then I have many followers belonging to both Christian and Jewish faiths. And I have established 8 centers of Krishna consciousness temples in the USA and Canada. In the month of September, 1968, I am scheduled to go to London on this mission, and maybe I can visit other cities of European countries.

My mission is in the line of Lord Caitanya, Who is Personified Love of Godhead, and Who advented Himself 482 years ago in India, and preached God consciousness all over the country. His mission is to revive God consciousness all over the world, on the basis of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Science of God). The principle of Srimad-Bhagavatam is that any religious faith which helps a man to develop Love of God, without any motive, and without being hampered by any material condition, is transcendental religion. And the best process or the easiest process, in this age especially, is to chant the Holy name of God. From this definition of religion as we find in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the criterion test of religion is how it helps people to develop his dormant Love of God, which is not artificially invoked, but it is aroused from within by bona fide association of devotees and hearing about God.

The human form of life is specially meant for this purpose, namely, to invoke the dormant Love of God, because better development of consciousness is found in the human body. Animal propensities for sense gratification equally found both in man and animals. But the special significance of human life is to achieve Love of God as the prime perfection of life. Unfortunately, at the present moment people are more concerned about the principle of sense gratification, or the animal part of human life, and they are gradually declining in God consciousness. This tendency is very much deteriorating, and because Your Holiness is the Head of a great religious sect, I think we should meet together and chalk out a program for cooperation.

The human society cannot anymore be allowed to continue a Godless civilization at the risk of decreasing truthfulness, hygienic principles, forgiveness, and mercifulness. Because on account of predominance of these principles at the present moment, duration of life, strength, and memory of the human being is decreasing. The human society is gradually degrading in the matter of religiosity, and justice; and "might is right" is gradually taking the place of morality and justice. There is practically no more family life, and the union of man and woman is gradually degrading to the standard of sexuality. I understand it from reliable sources that people are trying to get Your Holiness' sanction for contraceptive method, which is certainly against any religion of the world. In the Hindu religion, such contraceptive method or abortion is considered equivalent to murder.

Therefore, in the matter of sex, the human society is gradually degrading even less decent than the animals. As a result of unrestricted sense gratification, even in ordinary dealing, a man cannot trust another man, because the cheating propensity of a man has increased beyond imagination. Attraction of young boys for young girls is no more as a matter of love, but such attraction is only on the basis of sexual potency. As soon as there is slackening of sex life, there is immediately the divorce petition.

In India, which was one day the land of religion and Brahminical culture, things have deteriorated to such an extent that a man in a higher caste is recognized simply by putting a piece of thread on the body as a sign of sanctity. The so-called Swamis are cheating the public because the public also want to be cheated by cheap method of self-realization. They are practicing so-called yoga performances for the matter of reducing fat, and keeping the body fit for sense gratification. If somebody has no sufficient money, it is very hard for him to get justice from the court. And if anyone can simply bluff by so-called advancement of knowledge, he is offered the doctorate degree. If a man is poor, he is at once accepted as non-civilized. If a man is falsely proud, he is accepted as civilized. By frustration, people are gradually becoming communists and hippies, and the guardians of the society must now take up the situation very seriously, without further delay.

The Krishna Consciousness movement is meant for overhauling the whole situation. We are creating men of character, and we are training our disciples to become Lovers of God, or Krishna. From the very beginning, they are trained to refrain from the following four principles of degradation: 1) Sex life outside of marriage, 2) Meat eating, or eating of any animal food, 3) All forms of intoxication, 4) Gambling and idle sports. The teachings are based on authorized movement of Lord Caitanya, on the principles of Bhagavad-gita, as the beginning, and Srimad-Bhagavatam as the graduation.

I do not wish to prolong the body of this letter further, but if you think that a meeting with You will be beneficial for the human society at large, I shall be very much pleased if Your Holiness will grant me an interview. Thanking you in anticipation for an early reply.

Yours in the service of the Lord,