710729 - Interview - Gainesville
(Interview for television)
Interviewer: This is being recorded on video tape, so it will be broadcast later. Not right now, but later on.
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) . . . (laughter) (break)
Interviewer: Very little about this. Yes. So if I ask you questions, which, you know, sound sort of ignorant, I ask . . . I ask your indulgence.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. (chuckles) Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Interviewer: You are the expert, and I know very, very little about this.
Prabhupāda: Expert is Kṛṣṇa. (chuckles)
Interviewer: Yes, that much I understand. Yes. In fact, Kṛṣṇa is everything.
Prabhupāda: . . . he's authorized.
Interviewer: So you are authorized.
Prabhupāda: I or anyone that follows Kṛṣṇa's instruction.
Interviewer: Well maybe, sir . . . (indistinct) . . . followed Kṛṣṇa. I don't know him.
Prabhupāda: That I do not know.
Interviewer: Well, maybe you ought to find out, because, you know, this is widely distributed in the United States.
Prabhupāda: . . . (indistinct)
Interviewer: This is widely distributed in the United States.
Prabhupāda: My book is authority.
Interviewer: Yes, I know.
Prabhupāda: Macmillan's publishes every year fifty thousand.
Interviewer: That's the camera I open up too? (stage directions going on in background)
Prabhupāda: You can inquire from your side any reading matter from Bhagavad-gītā original. That will be nice. Then I can explain.
Interviewer: All right.
(aside) You're going to cue me, right?
Interviewer: "Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed by all the Vedic scriptures and by the great sages in disciplic succession, He has a body made of eternity, bliss and all knowledge. God has infinite forms and expansions, but of all His forms, His original form, His transcendental form, is as a cowherd boy, a form which He reveals only to His most confidential devotees." So go the teachings of Kṛṣṇa as laid down in the Vedic literature.
And of the sages in the disciplic succession which I mentioned, one is our guest for this conversation today. He is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, foremost teacher in the West of the Kṛṣṇa philosophy, which, moreover, he teaches not only by word, but by example. He came to this country in 1965 on orders of his spiritual master.
As a Kṛṣṇa disciple, he is the present human exponent of a line of succession going back five hundred years to the appearance in India of Lord Caitanya, and beyond that, to a time five thousand years ago when Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself was on this planet and His words were recorded.
Welcome, sir. What is Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means that every living being, part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has got many expansion. That is called personal expansion and separated expansion. So separated expansions we are, we living entities. But although we are very intimately connected with Kṛṣṇa, somehow or other we are now separated by contact of material nature.
So we have practically forgotten that we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Actually that is the fact. And because . . . just like a rich man's son, somehow or other he has forgotten his father, and he's loitering in the street as a poor man. But actually that is not his position. He has forgotten simply.
So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means we are trying to invoke that original consciousness that he's part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Why he should remain in this material world and suffer the threefold miseries? So we want to revive that original consciousness.
The original consciousness is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Just like a man born of a lord's family, his title should be the lord's family. But unfortunately, forgetting his own home, he is accepting some menial title. So our whole Vedic literature is meant for that purpose: to revive his original consciousness, ahaṁ brahmāsmi.
Interviewer: You came, sir, to this country in 1965, as I said, on instructions or orders given you by your spiritual master. By the way, who was your spiritual master?
Prabhupāda: My spiritual master was Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda.
Interviewer: Now, in this line of succession that we were talking about earlier, this disciplic line of succession which goes way back, all the way back to Kṛṣṇa Himself, right, was your spiritual master the previous one before you?
Prabhupāda: Yes. With disciplic succession is coming from Kṛṣṇa since five thousand years.
Interviewer: Is your spiritual master still alive?
Prabhupāda: No. He has passed away in 1936.
Interviewer: So you are at this particular time then, sort of, the head in the world of this movement? Would that be correct?
Prabhupāda: I have got many other Godbrothers, but I was particularly ordered to do this, and from the very beginning. So I am trying to please my spiritual master. That's all.
Interviewer: Now, you were sent to this country, to the United States of America. This is your territory. Is that correct?
Prabhupāda: Hmm. No. My territory, what he said that, "You go and speak this philosophy to the English-knowing public."
Interviewer: To the English-speaking world.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And especially in the Western world. Yes. He told me like that.
Interviewer: When you came, sir, to this country about fifteen, sixteen years ago and started . . .
Prabhupāda: No, no, not fifteen, sixteen years.
Interviewer: Five, six years ago—I beg your pardon—to this part of the world, you did not come to a part of the world where religion was lacking as such, you know. In the United States of America we have many religions, and I think people in this country like to believe, in great majority, that they are religious people, people who believe in God, you know, who devote themselves to some form of religious expression.
And I wonder what your thinking was. What do you think that you could add to the already living religious expression in this country by coming here and adding your own philosophy to it?
Prabhupāda: Yes. When I first came to your country I was guest of an Indian friend at Butler.
Interviewer: In Pennsylvania.
Prabhupāda: Pennsylvania. Yes. So although it was a small county, I was very much engladdened there were so many churches.
Interviewer: So many churches. Yes. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So many churches. And I spoke in many of the churches there. My host arranged for that. So it was not with that purpose that I came here to defeat some religious process. That was not my purpose. Our mission is, Lord Caitanya's mission is, to teach everyone how to love God, that's all.
Interviewer: But in what way, sir, may I ask, in what way did you think, and do you think right now, that the teaching of the love of God which you are doing is different and perhaps better than the teachings of the love of God which already were being conducted in this country and have been conducted in the Western world for centuries?
Prabhupāda: That is fact. Because we are following the footsteps of Lord Caitanya. He is considered . . . He's accepted by us—according to the authority of Vedic literature—He is personally Kṛṣṇa.
Interviewer: Which Lord is that?
Prabhupāda: Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya.
Interviewer: Oh, yes. He is the one who came back five hundred years ago to India?
Prabhupāda: India, yes. So He is Kṛṣṇa Himself, and He is teaching how to love Kṛṣṇa. Therefore His process is most authorized. Just like you are the expert in this establishment. If somebody is doing something, if you personally teach him, "Do like this," that is very authorized. So God consciousness, God Himself is teaching. Just like in Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa is God, He is speaking about Himself. And at last He says: "Just surrender unto Me. I take charge of . . ." But people misunderstand.
So Lord Caitanya . . . Kṛṣṇa again came, as Lord Caitanya, to teach people how to surrender. And because we are following the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, the method is so sublime that even foreigners who never knew Kṛṣṇa, they are surrendering. The method is so potent. So that was my purpose. We don't say that, "This religion is better than this religion," or "My process is better." We want to see by the result. In the Sanskrit there is a word, phalena paricīyate. A thing is judged by the result.
Interviewer: A thing is just . . .?
Prabhupāda: By the result.
Interviewer: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: You can say . . . I can say my method is very nice. You can say your method is very nice. But we have to judge by the result. That is . . . Bhāgavata says that that process of religion is very good following which one becomes a lover of God.
Interviewer: Yes. But of course, you know, your religion is not the only one which teaches this particular precept.
Prabhupāda: That I am explaining, that it is not the only one. There may be many. But it is practically effective.
Interviewer: Now let's say, in the part of the world where, if I'm understanding your philosophy and your history correctly, in the part of the world where this particular philosophy and this particular belief originated, which is in India, right, in the Eastern part of the world, at least as we look at it—is it successful there? Do you have a large following over there?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Recently I was in India. I held two meetings, I mean, continued for ten days everywhere, and twenty to thirty thousand people were attending daily. That India's position is that they are naturally Kṛṣṇa conscious, but at the present moment, by the so-called leaders, they want to replace this Kṛṣṇa consciousness into material consciousness.
Interviewer: Is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness belief or philosophy compatible with the Hindu religion which . . .
Prabhupāda: With any religion.
Interviewer: Beg your pardon?
Prabhupāda: Any religion.
Interviewer: Any religion.
Prabhupāda: Because God is one. It is the science of God. The "Two plus two equal to four," it is understood by everyone. It is not that it is to be understood by the Christian, not by the Hindus. "Two plus two equal to four" is a fact for everyone. Similarly, God is fact for everyone. Now how to love God—this is the only process. That is.
Interviewer: Now do you claim, then, that your way of loving God is the way to love God?
Prabhupāda: Yes. At least for this age.
Interviewer: For this age?
Interviewer: You meant for Kali-yuga? For the time that we live in right now?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Because the method is authorized. Kṛṣṇa prescribes this. Kṛṣṇa Himself as Lord Caitanya, He says that this is the only method for self-realization, or for God realization, or to learn how to love God. He says. Kṛṣṇa says. Therefore it is authorized. And it is practically happening. Otherwise, these boys and girls, they are foreigners. They never knew Kṛṣṇa. Now I have got fifty centers, and each center, they are on the average hundred devotees, and they have dedicated their life. How it is happening unless it is authorized?
Interviewer: Well, you know they say they never knew Kṛṣṇa, and you are, of course right. But different peoples name their Gods in different ways. You name your God Kṛṣṇa. In the Western world, many, many people name their God Jesus, Jesus Christ. There are other peoples in different parts of the world who have different names for the Gods which they pray to.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That's all right. We say in that connection that if you have got a name which is actually referring to God, that will also do. Just like we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. So according to Vedic literature, kṛṣṇaś tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28): Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the . . .
He has got many names, thousands and millions of names, this is the original name. So Caitanya says not that you have to chant "Kṛṣṇa," but if you have got actually a name for God, you can chant that. We are not asking you that you chant "Kṛṣṇa." If you have got actually a name for God, then you can chant that. We are requesting that you chant God's holy name.
Interviewer: But before . . . when you came here . . . now, you came here in the middle Sixties, less than a decade ago. What was it? This is what I'm trying to find out from you. What was the motivating force behind your coming to the United States?
Prabhupāda: That is already explained. That is already explained. Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted that this propaganda should be made all over the world and they will accept. So my Guru Mahārāja said that, "You go and try to do this." So I came with this purpose. And it is happening.
Interviewer: There must have been an element, though, of dissatisfaction, then, on your part, with the way God was being . . . Godhead was being professed in this part of the world before you came. Otherwise there would have been no sense in you coming here.
Prabhupāda: Not this part; every part. Every part of the world, practically everyone . . . there is very little interest in God. They have more interest in dog.
Interviewer: You are in general, then, trying to increase the interest in God. Is that correct?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the only interest we must have in human life.
Interviewer: And you are not particularly interested in what particular name this God has.
Prabhupāda: No. Our purpose, mission, is that people may become God conscious. And the process is in this age by chanting the holy name of God. If you have got any name for God which is actually name of God, then you'll be successful by chanting that name.
Interviewer: The chanting of Kṛṣṇa's name, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, seems to play a very important role in the profession of your religious belief. Right? In fact, I think I will ask you and some of your followers who are sitting here with us tonight a little bit later to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa.
Interviewer: That probably would be a proper ending to this particular program. However, I'm still wondering, you know, about some of the aspects. In reading a little bit . . . I have not read much, of course, but in reading a little bit about your beliefs and your writings and, you know, your magazines, your publications . . .
Prabhupāda: I may correct here that it is not my belief.
Interviewer: Well, as you interpret it in your writings. Let me put it that way. It seems to me, sir, that there is a very high emphasis placed on the relationship between the individual and God.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: Much more so than upon the . . .
Prabhupāda: That is for everyone.
Interviewer: Yes, but more emphasis on that relationship than on the relationship between one individual and another individual. Am I right in that?
Prabhupāda: No. We have to establish first of all our lost relationship with God. You see? Then we can understand what is the relationship between one individual to another. If the central point is missing, then there is practically no relationship. Just like you are American; another is American. Both of you, you feel American nationally because the center is America. So unless you understand God, you cannot understand what I am, neither I can understand what you are.
So we have to first of all reestablish our lost relationship with God; then we can establish . . . talk of universal brotherhood. Otherwise there will be discrimination. Just like in your country, or any country, the national . . . National means a man born in that land. Is it not? But they do not take the animals as national. Why they have no right to become national? That is imperfect of knowledge. There is no God consciousness. Therefore they think only the man born in this land is national, not others.
Interviewer: Yes. That is not necessarily based on the religious principles, of course, what you are talking about.
Prabhupāda: No, that is a philosophical principle. Religion without philosophy is sentiment.
Interviewer: Don't you think there are very good reasons for the existence of these rules and regulations in this respect?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Rules and regulation must be established on philosophy. Otherwise it is sentiment, defective. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. They should be combined, philosophy and religion. Then it will be perfect.
Interviewer: I think that in this part of the world, in the Western world, at least, as much as I am aware of it, we do place a good deal of emphasis on religion and . . .
Prabhupāda: Based on philosophy.
Interviewer: Well, on religion . . . what I would like to highlight, what I would like to emphasize, is that we place a good deal of emphasis on religion in the ways it gets one man to deal with another man. The ethic of religion. Now . . .
Prabhupāda: No. Our point is not that.
Interviewer: In the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement . . .
Prabhupāda: No, no. Our . . . we must clear. We are not concerned how one man deal with another man. Our point . . .
Interviewer: As a part of your Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement?
Prabhupāda: No, no.
Interviewer: This is not important?
Prabhupāda: No. This is not important. Because we know as soon as one understands how to deal with God, he'll automatically deal with other men very nicely.
Interviewer: But you know . . . let's take the Christian religion, for an example.
Prabhupāda: No, I do not wish . . .
Interviewer: You know the Ten Commandments, for example, there is a heavy emphasis in the Ten Commandments on the relationships between one human being and another, you know, "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal." That sort of thing.
Prabhupāda: But I say that Jesus Christ never said . . . he never meant, "Thou shall not kill" means only human being. Where is that evidence? Jesus Christ never said, "Thou shall not kill means it means only human being." Thou shall not kill any animal.
Interviewer: Any life.
Prabhupāda: Any life. That is religion.
Interviewer: It has never been interpreted that way.
Prabhupāda: But you have interpreted different way, but he said, "Thou shall not kill." He never said: "Thou shall not kill amongst human being." Why do you interpret in that way?
Interviewer: How would I recognize a true follower of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement by his behavior? What would his traits be? What would his outward expressions be?
Prabhupāda: Yes. His behavior, he's a perfect gentleman. That's all. You cannot find any fault in him. That is perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are prohibited not to eat meat . . .
Interviewer: Not to eat meat?
Prabhupāda: No. They are prohibited from illicit sex life. They are prohibited to intoxication. They do not smoke even, what to speak of other intoxication. And they are prohibited not to indulge in gambling. So if they can observe these four rules and regulation, they become perfect men. Simply.
Interviewer: Or women, I presume.
Prabhupāda: Woman or man.
Interviewer: Men or women.
Interviewer: There is place for women in the religion too, isn't . . .?
Prabhupāda: Man and woman have got the same right. Just like we are getting married boys and girls. They're following the same principles. The same principles. So these are the four pillars of perfect life. And if we indulge in these things—illicit sex life, meat-eating and intoxication and gambling—then they become the four pillars of sinful life. And if we take them away, then they become . . . the prohibited portion becomes the pillars of perfect life.
Interviewer: Now I would like to ask you one more question, and I would like to ask you to end the program by chanting your mantra of Hare Kṛṣṇa. One more question, though. In the six years that you have been in this country, in the United States, have you been encouraged or discouraged?
Prabhupāda: I am encouraged.
Interviewer: Encouraged? Why?
Prabhupāda: Because so many devotees are coming daily.
Interviewer: So many . . . you say: "So many" you know, we have maybe, what, two dozen people sitting here, but of course there are two hundred and five or two hundred and ten million Americans.
Prabhupāda: But you cannot . . . when you sell diamonds, you cannot expect everyone will purchase. There must be bona fide customer for diamond. You cannot expect diamond is sold among mass of people. You cannot expect it.
Interviewer: Do you in general approve of this society, or do you have major complaints about it, the American society that you now live among?
Prabhupāda: I have no complaint. These boys and girls, they are very nice. I am rather encouraged that these boys and girls, they are so much inquisitive about Kṛṣṇa. So it is a best field for; best field everywhere. But these boys and girls, I can understand they're hankering after something nice. They're frustrated. So they have got now the things, so they're coming.
Interviewer: All right. I would like to thank you very sincerely for giving us a very brief insight, you know, in the teachings and in the beliefs of the Har . . . Hare . . . of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. May I ask you to ask your followers who are present here with us tonight to join you in the chanting of the mantra for just a minute to close out the program, please?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. We can chant.
Interviewer: Go ahead.
(kīrtana) (break) (end)