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700705 - Lecture Festival Ratha-yatra and Press Conference - San Francisco

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

700705AD-SAN FRANCISCO - July 04, 1970 - 31:^48 Minutes

(kīrtana) (prema-dhvanī)

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Madhudviṣa: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta will now deliver a brief message in regarding the Ratha-yātrā festival, following which the members of the press will present their questions to His Divine Grace.

Prabhupāda: My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for your kindly receiving me to serve you. This Ratha-yātrā festival is part of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started by Lord Kṛṣṇa five thousand years ago in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Perhaps all of you know the famous book of knowledge, Bhagavad-gītā.

In that Bhagavad-gītā, Ninth Chapter, last verse, it is said there, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 9.34), mām evaiṣyasi kaunteya. In that verse it was assured by (the) Lord that if "always think of Me." Man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ. "Become My devotee." Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī. "Just worship Me. In this way you will come to Me." Mām evaiṣyasi.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to utilize to the best possible means this human form of life. We are coming to this human form of life in the evolutionary process from aquatics to reptiles, to plants and trees, then birds and beasts, then human form of life. Out of that human form of life, there are many uncivilized form of life, just above the monkeys. But those who are civilized . . . civilized means those who are following the instruction of the Vedas, varṇāśrama-dharma.

The human society (is) divided into four varṇas and four āśramas. The four varṇas are social division, namely the student life, the householder life, the retired life and renounced life. These four divisions of social life and four divisions of spiritual life—brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha . . . brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra—in this way there are eight divisions. These eight divisions of human society are very scientifically adopted. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). This civilized division of human society is so perfect that one can gradually, from the aquatic life, can go back to home, back to Godhead.

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!

Prabhupāda: So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the greatest boon to the human form of life. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was present, He advised this Kṛṣṇa conscious movement in the shape of Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, there are many scholars, academic scholars of Bhagavad-gītā, but because they do not come in the disciplic succession from Kṛṣṇa, they misinterpret the real sense of Bhagavad-gītā and mislead the whole human society to the darkest region of ignorance.

So when Kṛṣṇa was present, once upon a time there was a lunar . . . solar eclipse. At that time Kṛṣṇa, with His elder brother and sister . . . His elder brother's name was Balarāma, and His younger sister's name was Subhadrā. This Subhadrā was also wife of Arjuna. So these three brothers and sisters in a chariot came from Dvārakā to Kurukṣetra.

At that time the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana . . . Vṛndāvana . . . Kṛṣṇa's childhood was spent at Vṛndāvana under the care of His foster father, Nanda Mahārāja. So when Kṛṣṇa went to His real father, Vasudeva, at Dvārakā, and came back to Kurukṣetra on this occasion of solar eclipse, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, who were suffering too much out of separation from Kṛṣṇa, they came to see Him. And at that time His beloved Rādhārāṇī was too much afflicted. She said: "Kṛṣṇa, You are the same Kṛṣṇa, I am the same Rādhārāṇī. But the place is different, Kurukṣetra. It is not Vṛndāvana. Therefore I wish that You come with Me to Vṛndāvana and let Us enjoy Our previous life." This is the ecstasy of the residents of Vṛndāvana.

Lord Caitanya, when He appeared, He took sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four years, and by His mother's request He was living at Jagannātha Purī. So every year He was taking part in this car festival of Jagannātha. This Jagannātha Deity was established by one King Indradyumna about . . . more than three thousand years ago. This temple is very old. Even in some literature of your Christian religion I find that Lord Jesus Christ also went to this Jagannātha temple and lived there for some times. Of course, how far it is true, that is to be judged by you, but I have read this information in a Christian book, Aquarian Gospel. So if we take this incidence that Lord Jesus Christ also went to Jagannātha temple, then from historical point of view it is two thousand years old. But it is, according to our calculation, it is more than three thousand years old.

So this Indradyumna king, he asked Viśvakarma to carve the deity of Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and Subhadra. And there was a time limit. Viśvanātha . . . Viśvakarma made an agreement that, "Unless I finish the Deities' carving very nicely, you cannot see me." So door was closed. And the king was very much anxious to see the temple is established very soon, so he forcibly opened the door, and he saw that the deities were half finished. The Deity Jagannātha as you see, it appears half finished. The king decided, "Never mind it is half finished. I shall install these deities in the temple." Since then, the three deities Jagannātha, Balarāma and Subhadrā are being worshiped in India, Jagannātha Purī. Perhaps you know. And the car festival takes place every year, and millions of people go there to participate in that cart . . . car festival.

So because we have started this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in your country, this car festival and Lord Caitanya's taking part in this is one of the paraphernalia of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And because it revives our consciousness about Kṛṣṇa, it is an easy process for reviving mass Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore if you participate in these car festivals, as it is stated in the scriptures, rathe ca vāmanaṁ dṛṣṭvā punar janma na vidyate . . . if you kindly see these Jagannātha deities riding on these carts and in procession, and as Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in front of this cart, then according to our Vedic scripture, if you participate in this festival, in your next life you'll go to back, back to home, back to Godhead.

Devotees: Jaya! All glories to Prabhupāda!

Prabhupāda: So at least I'll request you to come and see this car festival. There is no expenditure, but it is simply joyful. You haven't got to pay anything. You simply come, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, dance with us, and when you are tired we shall give you nice prasādam. So on behalf of Kṛṣṇa conscious society I invite you, all boys, girls, ladies and gentlemen, to take part in this car festival, and I thank you very much.

Madhudviṣa: Now His Divine Grace will answer questions from the members of the press.

Press man: Prabhupāda, hi. Why do you think . . .

Prabhupāda: You can sit down.

Press man: Why do you think a growing number of young Americans are attracted to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement?

Prabhupāda: It is very interesting question. Our this body is combination of matter and spirit. So we have got some temporary necessities of this body. That is called material necessities. So far your country is concerned, your country is opulent. They have got all supplies of the necessities of the body. Now after this, there is another urge, which is described in the Vedānta-sūtra as brahma-jijñāsā, inquiring about the Supreme Absolute Truth. When one is above material poverty or material necessities of life, the next question is—that is natural—about spiritual. Because we are combination of matter and spirit, so that spiritual inquiry is there.

Therefore generally, these boys and girls, they looked to some Indian svāmī to give them some enlightenment. Unfortunately, perhaps before me all the svāmīs who came here, they did not give them the right information. Perhaps they did not know it. So I am giving . . . delivering, the right message of spiritual life, Bhagavad-gītā. It is not manufactured by me or concocted by me. It is the old story, five thousand years. Why five thousands years? If we accept the statement of Bhagavad-gītā, this book of knowledge was first discussed with the sun-god some millions of years ago. So it is not a new thing. But in due course of time, sometimes it becomes covered.

So Lord Caitanya, five hundred years ago, He wanted to give the spiritual knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout the whole world, and He has ordered to every Indian that anyone who has taken birth as a human being in India should preach this transcendental knowledge throughout the whole world. So perhaps previously . . . means somebody have preached this Kṛṣṇa consciousness knowledge, but since 1965 or '66, since I started this movement from New York, generally all the boys and girls, younger section, they are very much kind upon me, and they are coming to me. And I am very glad to have them. I am just training them to the right spiritual standard of life, and I am happy they are abiding by them.

Devotees: All glories to Prabhupāda!

Press man: Prabhupāda, do you have any advice for ordinary Americans?

Prabhupāda: This is open for everyone, not ordinary or extraordinary. Anyone can come and chant with us and take advantage of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Unfortunately, the elderly people, they do not think that it is necessary. That is the difficulty. Rather, we invite not only these boys and girls—their fathers, their grandfathers. Let all of them come and scrutinizingly study this philosophy.

We have got hundreds of books. It is the . . . Śrī Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it is understandable even by the child and even by the greatest philosopher of the day. Recently I had some talks with Dr. Stahl on this high level understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So if philosophers, scientists, thinkers, they come to me, we can convince them how this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is important for the whole human society. Yes.

Madhudviṣa: Any other questions?

Press man: Do you know . . .

Prabhupāda: Call, call that gentleman. (pause)

Devotees: Haribol! Prabhupāda's mercy! Mercy, Prabhupāda! (devotees applaud)

Press man: Do you know how many followers there are in the United States now?

Prabhupāda: Unlimited. (devotees roar) Some of them admit and some of them do not admit. That's all. (laughter) Everyone is eternally servant of God, but some of them admit and some of them do not admit. That is the difficulty. But anyone who does not admit, he is servant of somebody. That is a fact. He cannot be master. Everyone is servant. But one who knows that, "I am servant of Kṛṣṇa," his life is perfect. That's all.

Please try to understand this point that everyone is servant. Even your president is servant of the nation. So nobody can say that, "I am no one's servant." He is servant, but he does not know that actually he is the servant of the Supreme Lord. That is his ignorance. We are just eradicating this ignorance that, "You are servant, but you admit that you are servant of God. That will make your life successful." That's all. Therefore I say that there are unlimited followers. Some of them admit and some of them do not admit. That is the difficulty. But if anyone comes to me, I shall make him to admit. Yes. (devotees chant) Hare Kṛṣṇa.

That's all. Anyone? Finish?

Madhudviṣa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Have saṅkīrtana? Or let us go?

Madhudviṣa: We can have a more . . . all right. Begin kīrtana. (end)