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710600 - Radio Interview - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

710600IV-LOS ANGELES - June, 1971 - 34:46 Minutes

Interviewer: . . . India, the headquarters in the United States and the world is now Los Angeles, California. His Divine Grace comes to us, a svāmī from Calcutta in India, and the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, as it is known in this country, and I understand in one hundred other places in the non-Communist world at this point, is a movement to cleanse the soul and make life on earth, as our guest would tell us, a more peaceful way of living. These people believe in reincarnation and many other philosophies, and as many of our listeners will know, it is also a very controversial movement. We will start for fourteen, fifteen minutes, and take it from there. I will hold the microphone back and forth. Jim, please. Now since I am not capable of pronouncing your Kṛṣṇa name, I want you to . . . I will introduce you as Your Divine Grace, and what I said here, that is for the producer. Words to that effect. And then I will ask you to give me your name as the head of this movement. Was there anyone before you that was in the Kṛṣṇa movement? Do you . . . are you succeeding someone?

Prabhupāda: Yes, there is a disciplic succession.

Interviewer: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: Disciplic succession.

Interviewer: No, but before you?

Prabhupāda: Yes, before me, my spiritual master was preaching.

Interviewer: Oh, all right, I will ask you that. Your spiritual master was this name? Okay.

Prabhupāda: My spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī.

Interviewer: And was he also from Calcutta?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Interviewer: I see, okay.

Syamasundara: The disciplic succession means that it goes back for thousands of years, passed down from master to disciple.

Interviewer: How long would you say that the movement has been in existence for?

Syamasundara: Five thousand years.

Interviewer: Hm!

Prabhupāda: From Kṛṣṇa.

Interviewer: Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Yes, when He spoke Bhagavad-gītā.

Interviewer: All right. I’ll try to be very careful, and we will do it. When I start. For more than five thousand years in this world of ours there has been a movement emanating from India known as the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. We have come to speak with His Divine Grace, the man that is the disciple, a descendant of many that preceded him in the Kṛṣṇa movement. He comes to us from Calcutta. In North America in Los Angeles is now the world headquarters for the Kṛṣṇa movement. Hare Kṛṣṇa, as many of our listeners know, is somewhat of a controversial form of belief or religion or philosophy, because on the streets of America and many other the cities of the world, they give their chant, and they speak to the passer-by, trying to convince and tell them about what they are chanting about, what they believe in, and their philosophy. So His Divine Grace will be our guest for the next few minutes as we chat with him here at this location and will tell us as much as he can about his beliefs and philosophy. Your Divine Grace, you come to us from Calcutta, and at this point in time you are on your way back to your home city, and having visited many cities in America and your world headquarters in Los Angeles, California. I thought if you will, please tell our listeners throughout this country, this USA, about yourself, and I would like first perhaps to start with the question: help me with your name, in the Kṛṣṇa movement.

Prabhupāda: Bhaktivedanta Swami.

Interviewer: And of course, that means the . . . your name, but of course you are a svāmī, which is a counterpart to the highest form of disciple there could be.

Prabhupāda: Yes, svāmī means the master of senses. Generally people, they are servant of senses. So when one becomes ''svāmī, it means he is master of the senses.

Interviewer: Now as the head of the Kṛṣṇa movement here on earth at this time, we understand that you follow many others—as we said at the outset, this is thousands of years old, emanating in India. So you are then, for all practical purposes, one in many directing this . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, I am one of them. From Kṛṣṇa there are many disciples’ branches. Just as the original tree, and then there are branches, there are twigs, leaves, flowers. Similarly we have expanded in various places. And I was ordered by my spiritual master to come to the Western world. So I came first in New York and started this movement in 1966. Since then, it has spread all over the world.

Interviewer: Yet the work of Kṛṣṇa is being better known throughout America today. Would you say that since 1966 here in America you have gained more favor than we’ll say disfavor in the Press; that the average person that does not know about the work?

Prabhupāda: No, I have been favorably received, even by Christian priests. They also like me, because I am spreading God consciousness.

Interviewer: In the work of Kṛṣṇa we understand that not only are you people vegetarians, you believe in legal marriage, you believe in the home and family. There are many other principles. Would you outline for practical purposes what the Kṛṣṇa movement really is?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa movement is really meant for making the human society a divine culture.

Interviewer: Yes, but it goes we understand it is from within; the movement itself helps, we understand, cleanse the soul and make we on earth ready for our next dimension.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is compulsory. You believe or not believe, as you have changed so many bodies from your babyhood to childhood to boyhood to youth-hood, then old-aged man, then naturally next life is when this body is finished, you get another body and begin your life.

Interviewer: And it does not necessarily mean that you return as a human being today. You might return as an animal or some other subject.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There are 8,400,000 species of life. So according to your desire and according to your activities, you get your next life. That is completely in the hands of nature.

Interviewer: The movement of nature, as you just pointed out, Your Divine Grace, would indicate then that you place your hands in Kṛṣṇa, which in a counterpart in the Christian world is a . . . is much like Jesus.

Prabhupāda: Yes, Jesus came, appeared, as the son of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa appeared as the Supreme Person, God, Himself.

Interviewer: One of the things that strikes us as a very important point that you can, I am sure, clarify: Why is it that the Kṛṣṇa movement goes to the public in the form of street chants and . . . why do you not let the movement grow from the so-called conventional type of religion?

Prabhupāda: Because people are so much forgetful of Kṛṣṇa, or God. They require to be reminded, and this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is transcendental vibration. If we chant on the street or loudly, whoever hears this sound, he becomes purified, cleansed of the dirty things from his heart. And therefore we go and chant so that others may hear and make cleansed their heart.

Interviewer: Well, in today’s world of merchandising any product, as it were, whether it be religion or any other tangible thing, you certainly excel as far as being vocal. I imagine that throughout America and other places in the world it’s a controversial method that you have problems with.

Prabhupāda: I do not accept this problem.

Interviewer: Well, what I’m saying, Your Divine Grace, is that when you do chant, and when you do have your disciples and students on the street approaching the person that knows nothing about the movement, you are criticized.

Prabhupāda: They may criticize; everything new is criticized. But as we have seen, all these American boys, European boys, they have come to me. In the beginning they also criticized, but by hearing, hearing again and again, they have become my disciples.

Interviewer: Yes, you have many disciples, and we understand that by and large those that are disciples that have graduated from student-hood are by and large a young generation. Yours truly and many others in middle age are not attracted perhaps as much as the younger soul.

Prabhupāda: Because middle-aged, old men, they’re more sophisticated, and young man, young boys and girls, they are more receptive.

Interviewer: Would you say, then, the young mind is more susceptible or capable of changing his mode of life? We know for one instance one disciple that you have was cleansed of his use of drugs, and that’s a point that we want to talk about. In other words, a younger person is capable of the transition.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is in every case; therefore education is given in younger ages, not in old ages. I have got experience that in an examination, a father and his young girl appeared. The young girl passed, and the father failed. Therefore the young age is the proper time for taking education.

Interviewer: Now in your case you are of at least seventy years in this earth form. We understand the path that you’re trodding here on earth as a svāmī, as a head of the Kṛṣṇa movement, not only in America but throughout the world. Do you feel that your life has been completely dedicated from the very outset? Were you born into the Kṛṣṇa, or did you . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes, I was born in a family of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. My father was a great devotee, and from my childhood he trained me. I got the opportunity for becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious from the very beginning of my life.

Interviewer: So this has been your lifestyle all these years.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: Now, we understand, Your Divine Grace, that at this point in time, you as the titular or the actual head of the Kṛṣṇa movement in the world, you have no successor when you move into another dimension; that from the masses, from the disciples that you have throughout the world, someone will rise to take your place when you move to another world?

Prabhupāda: Not someone, but so many, because I am teaching all the students to work in future. I may die, but the movement will go on, because all these young boys and girls, they are complete in knowledge of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So it cannot be stopped.

Interviewer: Oh, no! No, no, we did not mean that it would be stopped or cease at any given time, but someone will succeed you. But you say many will.

Prabhupāda: No, why someone? Many will succeed.

Interviewer: Yes. Now, the growth of the movement in America, as you have indicated, is very great, very rapid. What would you attribute this most to? The enthusiasm? Or how do you feel it . . . why is it growing?

Prabhupāda: Yes, amongst my students the enthusiasm is very nice. So I expect that each one of them will be future preachers.

Interviewer: A teacher, or did you say . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes, teacher and preacher, both.

Interviewer: And you use the words preacher as well as teacher?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: Well, of course one on the outside does not always understand or can comprehend the many facets of what the Kṛṣṇa movement is, because as one that does not know, we must be objective, and in doing that perhaps you can tell our listeners some of the things that might be attractive to listen to the person that is approached to the next time on the street in a given city.

Prabhupāda: Yes, people . . .

(aside) Give all these books.

We have got about dozens of books on this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So we invite educated class men—philosophers, scientists, politicians—to study this movement. Why they should remain apart from this movement? It is a nice movement, it is meant for correcting the mistake of the human society. They should be interested. They should read our books and understand.

Interviewer: By and large, we understand that the movement of Kṛṣṇa is a passive form of religion, and that it is one that is from within. Would you say that you are non-political and non-violent?

Prabhupāda: Yes, certainly. We are non-political. We are not, I mean to say, stagnant; we are progressive, and it is exactly what you mean by religion. It is not exactly religion; it is a culture. It is a culture, divine culture: how to make every human being a divine man. There are two classes of men, one is called—according to Vedic literature—one is called a demon, and the other is called demigod. So anyone who is not perfectly cultured, he is called demon. And one who is perfectly cultured, he is called a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, or a demigod. And human life is meant for understanding what he is, what is to know, what is God, what is his relationship with God, what is this material world, why one has come here, where he will go. These things are actually enquiries of the human life, and they should be satisfied. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for this purpose. We are not exactly interested with the animal way of life. Animal way of life means the animal is interested only in four things: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. If human civilization is based on these four principles only, then it is another name of animal life. So we should go beyond animal life, try to understand the value of life. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Interviewer: Then your belief centers around the fact that a human being on earth has more than the so-called creature comforts of life—the mating, the sleeping, the eating.

Prabhupāda: Yes, comfortable sleeping, that is a mental concoction, because, perhaps when one sleeps he may dream so many horrible things, or he may not have very nice sleep. But a dog sleeping on the street, he may have very sound sleep. So by improving the condition of sleep does not mean advancement of civilization.

Interviewer: We are having an in-depth chat with the man that is the head of the Kṛṣṇa movement, originating originally of course in India, now with its world headquarters in Los Angeles, California, growing by leaps and bounds at least throughout the USA—the movement that many of our listeners will soon identify at the close of our broadcast when we will have the vibrations cast off by some of the disciples that are here with us at this interview time. Many people involved with the Kṛṣṇa movement . . . that are not involved with the Kṛṣṇa movement have no idea, perhaps, what this organization, this religion, this philosophy, stands for, and so we have come here to speak with His Divine Grace on the feeling and his thoughts about the Kṛṣṇa movement. Now when you make the chant on the streets, they say "Hare" Kṛṣṇa, and we understand that that means "Hail to God."

Prabhupāda: Yes, we address. "Hare" means the energy of Kṛṣṇa, God. Two things are working: Kṛṣṇa is working through His energies. Just like the sun planet, it is working through its energy, the sunshine. Similarly, God is also working through His different energies. So this material manifestation is also creation of His energy. So we are addressing the energy of Lord, that is "Hare," and we are addressing Kṛṣṇa, the Lord, or Rāma, the Lord. Addressing means offering something or enquiring something or asking something—addressing. If I say "Jim," that means I am addressing for some purpose. So this is address, Hare Kṛṣṇa, "Oh, the energy of Lord. Oh, the Lord. Please again take me in Your association from this material condition of life." This is the purpose of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

Interviewer: When you define it, Your Divine Grace, it seems rather simple, wherein some people feel perhaps your movement is more complex than you simplified. We feel that our listeners should know, research gives us the information that the Kṛṣṇa movement is free of the drug culture. There is no use of this in the organization whatsoever. There is complete harmony in the life of marriage and the raising of children, and there are many other ramifications . . .

Prabhupāda: No intoxication.

Interviewer: . . . and no intoxication.

Prabhupāda: No meat-eating.

Interviewer: And I will let you continue, Your Divine Grace.

Prabhupāda: No meat-eating, no intoxication, no illicit sex and no gambling. These are the four principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Interviewer: When a student—being very realistic—when a student or an average person, whether he be an Englishman or a Frenchman or an American, decides that he would like to investigate the movement, does he come to one of your temples in any given city? Is he free to enter and go and learn without any restrictions?

Prabhupāda: Yes, anyone can live with us; he is welcome. We have got sufficient place to give him accommodation, according to our capacity. We give him free boarding and lodgings and give him chance to live with us, to study our books, to study our movement, to hear us, to question us. All these facilities are offered to anyone who comes to us.

Interviewer: We understand also that your disciples or your students live in what is commonly known as a "commune," but it is, as you have already indicated, as ethical as it can possibly be.

Prabhupāda: Commune? What do you mean by commune?

Interviewer: When you have your students and your disciples living in one . . . one building. I mean it is divided for the men and the women.

Prabhupāda: Yes, because we do not allow illicit sex life. Therefore we advise those who are not married, the boys may live separate from the girls, so the girls may live separate from the boys—unless they are married.

Interviewer: Yes, and we have already indicated earlier in our broadcast that the members of the Kṛṣṇa movement that do enter into matrimony are done so legally in that state or country where the laws they abide by. Now I think it would be interesting as we’ve woven a story about you and the movement of Kṛṣṇa, we would like, perhaps, if you will, in your own voice, give us somewhat of a personal life story as to some of the things you feel that you have accomplished in your years on earth as a human being, and then perhaps, if you will, forecast what you look forward to in the next life that comes along.

Prabhupāda: Next life we are going back to home, back to God. That’s all.

Interviewer: But what do you feel as a svāmī, as the head of this movement? What do you feel other than the obvious—the many that you have converted through students and through disciples. What great contributions to do you feel that you have given mankind?

Prabhupāda: The contribution is that every living entity is eternal. He does not die, but he changes his body. This, this is botheration to get a body, one type of body. Today, today I am American, and tomorrow I am a dog. This botheration we want to stop.

Interviewer: You feel then that you look forward, Your Divine Grace, to what is tomorrow?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Tomorrow we are going to Kṛṣṇa. That is a fact. Because we get good assurance in Bhagavad-gītā that:

janma karma me divyaṁ
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
(BG 4.9)

"Anyone who understands Me, Kṛṣṇa, perfectly well, the next birth," tyaktvā dehaṁ, "after quitting this body he comes to Me." So we are giving education to our student to understand Kṛṣṇa. So anyone who perfectly understands Kṛṣṇa, he goes back to home, back to Godhead, and gets eternal, blissful life of knowledge. That is our perfection.

Interviewer: Yes, I am sure those that are with us for this review and study, this vocal study of the Kṛṣṇa movement, will perhaps be refreshed in the hearing some of the words from their leader, now in the United States this recording time, heading back to India where he came, as a human being, from Calcutta. We begin to wind up our visit with you. Your Divine Grace, I am sure those students listening with us on college radio stations and various other points in the USA will perhaps be attracted by your voice and by your own convictions, that an investigation of this movement should be considered. But I think before we do that, we might ask you a question or two about your own feelings. You . . . you, a man in your seventy years on earth, you feel that what you are perpetuating through your leadership will help? This is my question, Your Divine Grace. At this point in time, you know, your disciples know and your students know, that we’re going through tremendous upheaval, from political to war to all forms of, of disturbances. What do you feel the movement itself can do if anything to help correct it?

Prabhupāda: Yes, this movement can help in every respect. It can solve all your problems, provided you take it seriously.

Interviewer: But I wish you would expound a bit on that. How can they . . . how can the movement really satisfy and overcome some of the defects of mankind?

Prabhupāda: Well, the defects of mankind is a mental disturbance, and mind is so made that it is always agitated. So if you fix up your business in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you will feel peace. That is enunciated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Three things you have to understand: that Kṛṣṇa, or God, is the proprietor; He is the supreme enjoyer; and He is the supreme friend. Anyone who understands these three things perfectly, he immediately becomes peaceful.

Interviewer: And would you say that those that have joined your movement, those students and the disciples, have attained this state of mind on earth?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, certainly. Otherwise how they are sticking to me? I am not giving them any salary, or money, but they’re sticking, and you cannot get them back again to other consciousness.

Interviewer: We understand that some of the members of the movement have strayed at times, and in many cases have returned because of their own self need. They have returned if they have left the fold.

Prabhupāda: I do not follow. Returned?

Interviewer: Well, what I’m saying, Your Divine Grace, is that many members or disciples of the Kṛṣṇa movement who have faltered, who have failed in the work and drifted away, have come back.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is practically a fight with ignorance. Just like two parties are fighting, so there is possibility that in each party there will be some victims. So that is not consideration. After all, the party which gains victory he is the strong party. So we are fighting with non–Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or godlessness. So sometimes from our party there may be some victims—that is not extraordinary; that is quite natural—but that does not mean this movement will fail. It will go on.

Interviewer: Well of course in all human endeavors, regardless of what it may be, there is human frailties that must be overcome.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, there are human frailties. That, that we are guarding against, that four principles, that one should not take to illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling and no intoxication. These four principles will save him. Just like a diseased man, when being treated, he has to accept some do’s and some do not’s. So that is natural. So these are the do not’s. And there are do’s also. Just we recommend we chant sixteen rounds of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. So those who are actually following the do’s and do not’s, they are becoming successful.

Interviewer: Well, you can understand why those that follow this man, this man on earth, this Divine Grace, probably in some people’s ears it is over-simplified, when you have the simple do’s and simple do not’s. But if in this program we have been able to enlighten some of you as to what the Kṛṣṇa movement is, and when you hear and see these men and women on the streets of America chanting, getting in their . . . their sounds that are what you might call their dimensions. Perhaps (break) enlightened some of you as to what this Kṛṣṇa movement is (break) for. We hope that this program has been instrumental in serving as a form of education as what Kṛṣṇa is.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: Now before we have the group that is with us for this recording give us the dimension that they preach and chant form on the streets of America, perhaps you might like to tell of some of those listening some points that we may not have touched upon, Your Divine Grace?

Prabhupāda: I think you have touched all the points. And I have answered you duly.

Interviewer: Well, we have tried. And now if we can prevail upon the students and the disciples that are with us at this recording, we’re going to pick up a typical sound that is heard over and over again throughout America. Since we’re not on television, you won’t see their eyes closed and their . . . what some might term a trance which they are in. But it is their own dimension, their own peace and contentment that is displayed from within. So we will ask them to sing for us, and we will close. Well, we shouldn’t say "sing," we should say "chant." Isn’t that right, Your Divine Grace?

Prabhupāda: Yes, singing or chanting is the same thing.

Interviewer: And they’re very happy people, too. I wish we could show you the picture of His Divine Grace, a man in his seventies, who perhaps is young more so than many of us that are really much older. So shall we close with the next two or three minutes of the Hare Kṛṣṇa song, or chant, or melody?

(kīrtana) (break)

Interviewer: Just the right. I had thought I could fade it out, but I didn’t. Would one of you good people take my picture with His Divine Grace? Out of my . . . I have a . . . in my bag, there.

Śyāmasundara: Do you know how it works?

Interviewer: Yeah, I will fix it for you.

Śyāmasundara: This is exactly the same.

Interviewer: It is the same as . . . interesting.

Govinda dasi: I can’t get my flashbulb to work.

Interviewer: Oh, I am sorry. Is it . . .?

Govinda dasi: Have you changed the battery or something?

Interviewer: Are you one with or without a battery?

Govinda dasi: I have a battery.

Interviewer: Yeah, well this is the kind that doesn’t require, and if you would, Mrs. Gary, I will say, if you will get us in the little square I would appreciate it, because I would like to remember this visit.

Govinda dasi: Thank you. Smile!

Interviewer: I will smile with His Grace. Now get us all . . . but be sure we are in there. (laughs)

Govinda dasi: Where is the . . . (indistinct) . . .?

Interviewer: Try it here in front, right there. It is good to have met you, and I wish you . . .

Prabhupāda: Thank you.

Interviewer: Kṛṣṇa’s . . . I should say Kṛṣṇa’s speed. Is that right?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. (laughs)

Interviewer: One more, just for the road. Did the . . .? Gary, did we do? You think because of this disciple I was able to interview you in a positive way. What do you say, Gary? What did you say?

Gaurasundara: One thing: You mentioned that he was going back to India, but actually I said he was coming from India.

Interviewer: Oh, well, that is a detail which won’t make any difference, will it?

Gaurasundara: Maybe. (laughs)

Prabhupāda: I shall request you to induce your big men to understand this philosophy. It will be great help to your country.

Interviewer: Well, have you had any audience with any of our large politicians?

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. If you can arrange, it will be good.

Interviewer: Oh, I cannot. But I can only hope that . . . I can only hope that what we have said here will be digested and listened with favor, because as I said to your people, we only do a positive . . . (indistinct) . . . take, like we do in India.

Prabhupāda: Thank you.

Interviewer: All right? Thank you. Yes, I would like my lady friend to see him, if she may. Could she . . .?

Prabhupāda: Take this garland.

Interviewer: Thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Śyāmasundara: Yes, she can come in.

Interviewer: I don’t know if she is out with her little dog. But perhaps you can have her come in and see him?

Devotee: . . . (indistinct)

Interviewer: Her name is Barbara . . . (end)