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711212 - Conversation - Delhi

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

711212R1-DELHI - December 12, 1971 - 44:23 Minutes

Prabhupāda: Hear and narrate. So, whatever you have heard, you can speak. (break)

So in your country also they do not like this organized Christian religion. The difficulty is that either Hindu religion or Christian religion, religion is one. So what is that one religion nobody knows perfectly, and it was not presented, because they did not know what is religion.

They are simply sticking to a particular kind of faith. Faith can be changed, faith can be given up, but real religion, that cannot be given up. It may be perverted. Real religion is to render service to the Supreme Lord. That cannot be changed. We are serving. If not to the Lord, we are serving māyā. But my that characteristic to serve is continued.

So religion is presented simply on formulas and stereotyped ideas, but actual religion is this surrender. Yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). Bhakti means serving. Bhaja sevayā. Sevayā means serving. So religion means to serve the Supreme Lord. That is religion. Anything which has no such idea, that is not religion. Then again (you) have different types of religion, how far they are making progress with . . . on that ultimate goal, serving Kṛṣṇa? The more we advance, the more you become perfect, our real religious life becomes manifested. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

We say this is real religion. So what others have to say on this point? We say this is real religion. Bhāgavatam says . . . Bhāgavatam say, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra (SB 1.1.2), "All cheating type of religion is thrown away." The cheating type of religion means which does not teach people how to serve the Lord. That is cheating. They take advantage of the religious feeling. They say: "I am God" or "I am everything".

You serve me, you give your money unto me, I shall give you some material benefit, atonement. You have made your confess; you are sinful. Give me some money and you are excused." In this way religion is being perverted. Therefore, people are educated, (they) say: "What is this, religion?" They are becoming disgusted. But real religion is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness—surrender to Kṛṣṇa and you will become happy.

So if we say that this is the real religion, is there anything wrong there? What possible protest they can offer when I say this is the religion?

Śyāmasundara: Sometimes the Christians, they say that "According to our scriptures, that Christ is the only way. And unless one is worshiping God through Christ, that is heathenism."

Prabhupāda: So what Christ teaches? Let us see what Christ teaches, then we can understand whether only through Christ we can . . . what is his teaching?

Lady devotee (1): His first teaching is that "Love the Lord thy God with all they heart, with all thy might, with all thy . . . (indistinct) . . ."

Prabhupāda: That's nice.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: He is also saying that, "I have no will but to do the will of my father, who has sent me," and that, "Everything I am saying is not my words but are the words of Him . . . (indistinct) . . ."

Prabhupāda: Complete surrender.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: That's nice. But they do not follow, and still they say they are Christians. They do not follow. Christ is all right. According to the time, according to the country, according to the atmosphere, he's all right, but the followers, they reject.

Lady devotee (1): The followers try to make everyone fear God. Their whole aim is to make everyone so much afraid. They always try to instill fear in everyone that they speak to. "You are going to burn in hell."

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That is the principle of eternal hell that is used to make people surrender: fear of eternal hell.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Lady devotee (1): Fear of God.

Prabhupāda: According to time . . . deśa-kāla-pātra. That kind of forceful does not act very nicely. One should know the science, but the class of men to whom Jesus Christ said, they are not very much advanced. Under the circumstances, the fearfulness of hell is quite appropriate for them.

Actually, one who does not go back to home, back to Godhead, he is put into the hellish condition of life. That is fearful. But we are so blunt that we do not take care. It is fearful. Just like Prahlāda Maharaja said that, "Nṛsiṁha-deva, I am not afraid of Your this fierceful feature, Narasiṁha, but I am very much afraid of this materialistic way of life." Saṁsāra. Saṁsāra means this material world.

So it is actually very fearful. The whole atmosphere is fearful. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ (SB 10.14.58). To make adjustment, you have to accept something fearful. Just like this fight, "In future there may be some adjustment so that people may live peacefully. Therefore, we have to fight." This is also . . . the method is itself fearful.

To gain a position where there will be no fear, we have to accept a fearful method. So in the material world, whatever we think, they are not very happy proposition, that everything is fear. Karma-kāṇḍīya, they have to go . . . undergo so many hardship, then they get something profit. People are working so hard to get some profit. In the material world everything is fearful, hard-working.

So in the Bible it is said that hell or . . .?

Devotee: Hell or . . .?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is it? Hell, you were speaking something of hell?

Devotee: Eternal hell.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Devotee: Eternal hell?

Prabhupāda: Eternal hell. Huh? What is that?

Devotee: Everlasting hell.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: It means that, so far as I remember, Prabhupāda, in the Bible it says that at the time of judgment . . .

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Judgment, the judgment.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: There's a judgment . . .

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: You rise from the grave in the time you are judged.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, all of the souls then rise for judgment, and accordingly they either go to heaven or to hell.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Or into an intermediate stage, where they can gradually go up to heaven. Limbo, I think.

Lady devotee (2): The ultimate desire of a Christian is to be with Jesus, is to go to be with him. That is their ultimate desire. Not necessarily to be with the Father, but to be with Jesus.

Gurudas: What do they do with him?

Lady devotee (2): By leading the Christian life.

Gurudas: I mean when they go to him, what do they do?

Lady devotee (2): . . . (indistinct)

Gurudas: See, the idea is that you could not remember perfectly 'cause the taste is gone, the līlā is death mostly. But it isn't death; the basics are there, but they're teaching death. And so any intelligent person says: "I want to go to Jesus," but then what do I do? If it is everlasting hell, then heaven must be also everlasting, but what do we do? And if it's void, then it will not keep the people interested; therefore people are leaving religion.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is very good reason. There is no hope; better go to hell. (laughter) At least there is something. Never mind. Yes, hopelessness is not good.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Actually, that is their philosophy, Śrīla Prabhupāda. I've heard people say exactly that, is that, "All the things I want to do are for the people that are going to hell, therefore I want to go to hell. Why should I go anywhere else?" By drinking, smoking, etc . . . that's what they want.

Prabhupāda: There was a story, the priest was describing about the hell, so they did not respond. But when he said: "There is no newspaper," then, "Oh, it is horrible." (laughter) Other conditions—that it is dark, there is very moist, and so many things described. But they were miners; they know that these things are happening daily. So what is the wrong in the hell? Then he stressed, "There is no newspaper." Then they will, "Oh, it is horrible." (laughter) So according to one's taste, the hellish conditions should described.

Gurudas: And according to one's taste the heavenly condition can be described also, because Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: It seems that just like a mother, when she is training her young child, because the child is very young and not yet very advanced in intelligence sometimes, the mother uses the method of fear to train her child. So similarly, according to the consciousness of the people, the doctrine of love of God has to sometimes be preached with a little element of fear so that they'll accept it.

Prabhupāda: That creation of fearfulness may be sometimes, not fact; but fearfulness is there according to our actions. That everyone has got experience. Just like if you steal, then you go to jail. It is a fact. It is not a creation of fearfulness; it is a fact. If you contaminate some disease, then the typhoid or any other disease, you contaminate. So there is suffering, and that is really fearfulness; that is not a false creation. So sometimes there are false creation, but actually for our misdeeds we have to suffer. That's a fact.

Panchadravida: I think if there is so much fear being preached in Christianity . . . originally the Old Testament was the testament of the vengeful God and the New Testament was supposed to be the love of Christ. So if there is so much fear being preached, it would seem to be a reflection of individual consciousness more than the religion. They are preaching so much fear, it would seem to stem from their own activities, that maybe they do have this fear, rather than the true reflection of the religion that Christ was teaching.

He was supposedly . . . (indistinct) . . . to take up, he said, the sins of his disciples and to help them lead the nice life and lead them back. He said . . . he referred to them as his flock. So he was taking a role of a protector. And yet the Christians you speak to, they talk about hanging you over hell by a thin thread that can be burnt away at any second. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Devotee: He said the Christians . . . (break)

Prabhupāda: But generally the Christians, they are very much confident that, "All our sinful actions, that have been absorbed by Lord Jesus Christ, so we can do anything."

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Therefore they say the Christian religion is very good. "Very good" means that Lord Jesus Christ has taken contract for absorbing all their sins, and they go on committing. Is that not idea in the Christian religion?

Devotee: Yes.

Lady devotee (1): They say all our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. (break)

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I know, Prabhupāda, that in Seattle you had me lecture on a newspaper clipping that in New Jersey they had opened up one home for alcoholic priests. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: Five thousand . . . five thousand priests, they are suffering from alcoholic . . . (indistinct)

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Plus here in India we see that the sādhus, they are taking gañjā.

Prabhupāda: Gañjā, yes. Not sādhus; rogues. Sādhu's description is there—bhajate mām ananya-bhāk. Fully surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, he is sādhu. Sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ (BG 9.30). He is sādhu. Api cet sudurācāro. Even one is found that his habits are not to the standard, but if he has unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and engaged in His service, then he is sādhu.

These sādhus with long hairs and gañjā smoking, they have no idea what is the ultimate goal. And those who come from Western countries, naturally they find out these are the sādhus, and they imitate. Hippies, they do like that, imitation. They do not know what is the philosophy, what is religion, what is sādhu.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: The American hippies actually are following these sādhus. Certain persons, like Allen Ginsberg, have brought back impression that this is what the sādhus . . .

Prabhupāda: But they do not know that they are not sādhus, they are rogues.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Sādhu means devotee of Kṛṣṇa. That is sādhu.

Devotee: We are also opening up homes for habituated japa-mālā users, who are also intoxicated, but in a spiritual way. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: Huh? (break) That is required. (laughter)

Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Devotee: The spiritual master, his duty is to take all of his disciples back to home, back to Godhead, and I've heard it said that he doesn't leave until he has taken all his disciples back. What is the position of Lord Jesus when so many people are following him but not doing . . . not in a position to go back to home, back to Godhead? Is he responsible for all of these people, who are attempting to serve him?

Prabhupāda: That is nice question. What is that? Repeat it again.

Devotee: Because the guru is responsible for taking all of his disciples back to home, back to Godhead, I was wondering what was the position of Lord Jesus Christ, because so many people for so many years have been attempting to follow his teachings, many of them sincere, but not getting proper instructions. I was wondering if he is responsible for all of these people who are attempting to serve him.

Prabhupāda: But one thing is, we sing daily, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo. You have to please your spiritual master. But yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi, if you displease your spiritual master, then you are nowhere. How do you adjust these things? It does not mean that because you have made somebody spiritual master, you displease him, at the same time he takes responsibility. Is it very nice?

Devotee: Many times . . .

Prabhupāda: If you please him, then he is responsible. Yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi. If you displease him then you are nowhere. So, if you take it in this way that, "My spiritual master has taken responsibility so whatever nonsense I do, it doesn't matter . . ." The Christians are thinking like that, that: "Jesus Christ has taken contract for all our sinful activities, so we can do anything, whatever we like."

But that is not the fact. If one takes responsibility for you, you must abide by his order. Otherwise how is that, that he simply takes responsibility and you don't abide by his order? It is reciprocal. But the Christians are thinking, "Because we have taken to Christian religion, now we are safe. We can do anything we like, and Lord Jesus Christ will compensate. He'll be every time crucified and we can go on doing all nonsense." Is it not? Then? That's not a very good idea.

This is, as Viśvanātha Cakravartī said, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo. If you please your spiritual master, then God will be pleased. If you don't please him, then you are nowhere. So first of all you please Jesus Christ—that is reasonable—then he takes the responsibility. If you disobey Jesus Christ in every step, where is his responsibility? That is a misconception.

Devotee: There are some Christians who are actually sincere, and they feel as though they are doing the proper thing, but they are just misled by the fact that there is no paramparā system from Lord Jesus, that the churches are teaching the wrong thing. But they are sincere. If Kṛṣṇa will direct them . . . (indistinct) . . . the proper authority?

Prabhupāda: Yes. If they are actually following strictly the principles of Jesus Christ, then sometimes when he meets some pure devotee, he will accept. The groundwork will be nice for accepting further advancement. Just like Jesus Christ says: "Thou shall not kill." So if anyone follows this principle—"No, I shall not kill"—then he becomes purified.

But who is that Christian who is not killing? So where is follow? Amongst the Christians, the more killing process is going on very strongly. So who is a Christian? In that, if you disobey the first principle of Christianity, then where is your Christianity? Why you falsely claim that you are a Christian? "Thou shall not covet." What is that next?

Devotee: "Thou shalt not kill." (break)

Devotee: "Honor thy mother and father?"

Devotee: There is one about no adulteration.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So adulteration is going on, killing is going on. So many disobedience to Christian principles. So where is the possibility of becoming a Christian?

Gurudas: "Honor thy mother and father" is not being respected.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Gurudas: "Honor thy mother and father" is not being respected.

Prabhupāda: Not . . . so many things. So, if you do not follow the principles of Christianity, simply by stamping yourself as Christian, will that do? So why Jesus Christ will be responsible for you, simply by stamping yourself that, "I am Christian"? Is that very reasonable proposal?

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Lord Jesus himself never claimed that he would be responsible. As a matter of fact, he would heal certain persons who by their karma were blind, or lame, some disease, even dead, he would bring them back to life, so many things. And then when he healed them, he invariably said after, he said: "Now go thou and sin no more, lest the worst thing befall you." And he has been saved by Jesus personally, yet Jesus is saying: "Lest the worst thing befall you." How can worst thing befall you if everything he does then is all right? So that means Jesus does not take that responsibility.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Why he should be responsible? If you are not a Christian, why he should be responsible? Now here he says that, "Now you have sinned, full reaction I have washed, don't do it again."

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: But they are going to the church, confessing every week, and doing the same thing. Who is a Christian, first of all find out; then Jesus Christ will take responsibility.

Devotee: They are gambling and eating flesh right in the churches, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. I mean to say, if you don't follow the Christian principles, how you can claim yourself to become a Christian and how you can ask Jesus Christ to take responsibility for you? These are misleading, therefore people are coming disgusted. Otherwise, Christian religion is all right. It teaches love of Godhead, teaches to become moral, it teaches to love people. That's nice. These are good principles.

Viṣāla: So, Śrīla Prabhupāda, in the Bible it says: "Thou shalt not kill", and the Christians say: "Yes, thou shalt not kill, but you can kill animals." . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: That is rascaldom. Where it is written that, "Thou shall not kill animals"? "Thou shall not kill." "Thou shall not kill" means you shall not kill anything. (break)

Devotee: . . . because Jesus ate fish. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Devotee: He said: "The fish can say: 'It's not what goes in your mouth, its what comes out of your mouth that's important.' "

Gurudas: Because Jesus ate fish.

Prabhupāda: Jesus said?

Gurudas: He said that the . . . (break)

Prabhupāda: (indistinct) . . . allowed.

Gurudas: But if there's no vegetables, you have to eat something.

Śyāmasundara: I read an article once that said . . .

Prabhupāda: No, no. The thing is that one has to eat. And whatever you eat, that is coming out of some living entity, even if you eat vegetables. The vegetable has also life, the tree, the plant. So the real explanation is that you take which is offered to Kṛṣṇa. That is nice philosophy. Killing you have to do. Either you kill vegetable or animal, killing you have to do. Therefore our proposition is that you take the prasādam of Kṛṣṇa, so if killing is bad, then the responsibility goes to Kṛṣṇa. We take Kṛṣṇa's prasādam.

So this is the method. And Bhagavad-gītā says, yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ mucyante sarva kilbiṣaiḥ. Suppose you don't kill animal, but you kill vegetables, but still you are responsible. Bhuñjate te aghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt (BG 3.13). Anyone who is preparing food for his personal eating, he's eating all sinful activities. It may be vegetables or animals, it doesn't matter. Bhuñjate te aghaṁ pāpā.

So this is the best formula. But therefore, for cruel people, those who are accustomed to killing, for them this is best advice, "Thou shall not kill". Next stage—prasādam. First of all let them stop. Generally, what is meant by killing . . . actually, vegetarians, they do not kill, because if you take fruit from the tree, the tree is not killed. Is it not?

Devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: You take grains, just like paddy or wheat. These plants, after producing the fruit, the grain, automatically they die. You are not killing. So those who are taking fruits, vegetable, grains, they are not actually killing. You take the milk . . . what is milk? Milk is transformation of the blood. So cow's milk means cow's blood, but still the cow is not killed. Cow's blood is nutritious, accepting this theory. Karnish, karnish it is called? Cow's blood? What is the meaning of karnish? But by nature's way she is delivering you the blood, which is nutritious according to your science—but why you should kill her?

So any circumstances, the direct killing is not approved by any śāstra, any religion. Jīva hiṁsā. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also says, niṣiddhācāra jīva-hiṁsā (CC Madhya 19.159). So jiva hiṁsā, violence upon other animals, that is against Vaiṣṇava principle. You cannot be violent. You cannot kill.

Lady devotee (2): "Thou shalt not kill" is one of the Ten Commandments, which is much older than Jesus' teachings. Moses delivered the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel thousands of years before Jesus appeared. So they knew all of this before Jesus.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Lady devotee (2): They lived by the Ten Commandments, or were expected to, way before Jesus appeared. The Ten Commandments are Moses' . . . it's Moses' teachings.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: They were all very much meat-eaters, though. In the time of Moses all the laws of kashruth, how to sanitary slaughter, which is supposedly given by God, these were all for meat-eating.

Gurudas: That came after the Book of Mishnah (a Talmudic book, considered to be the cornerstone of Judaism). Mishnah recommends vegetarian.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Really?

Gurudas: And also Lord Jesus says that if there is unnecessary killing of animal that, "By my hand you shall be slain." In Genesis. He is stating, "Yes, one may kill, but if there is unnecessary killing, by my hand you shall be slain." In Genesis.

Lady devotee (1): Also, in Genesis is says that, "The fruits and the herbs of the land shall be your meat." It's describing how man should live, and it says: "The fruits and herbs of the land shall be your meat."

Prabhupāda: Yes, they were meat-eaters, so Jesus Christ replies that fruit should be your meat.

Devotee: The whole key is that . . . (indistinct) . . . Jesus in one of his first meetings said that, "Disregard everything that has been taught in the past and listen to me." He speaks so many things, and he does not lay out so many basic principles about the eating of flesh, having illicit sex connections and so many things. He speaks just slightly touching the subject. He doesn't really give any basic principles. So they always say: "Well, it's okay to do this, it's okay to do that, because Jesus said: 'Forget everything that was said in the past.' " That's their basic principle.

Lady devotee (1): And he also said: "I've not come to change the law." He did not come to change the law.

Devotee: That's just their standpoint . . . (indistinct) . . . I don't mean to argue.

Śyāmasundara: The knowledge that we have of Jesus was not direct, but it was written down up to a hundred or two hundred years later in another language, called Aramaic, and scholars recently have discovered that wherever Jesus refers to fish, distributing fish, that that word actually refers to a type of sea plant that grows in the Sea of Galilee, which they make a type of bread out of. And it's not really fish but a type of vegetarian bread. This is what I read in an article. So, we don't have . . . (laughter)

Lady devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, there was a fish on Lakṣmī's hand yesterday. The Deities in the temple, where Lakṣmī had her hand up like this, there was a fish here across her hand. What is this?

Prabhupāda: That is a mark. Mark.

Lady devotee: It's an auspicious sign.

Prabhupāda: Not actual fish.

Lady devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Not that Lakṣmījī eats fish. (laughter) There are many other marks also.

Lady devotee: So it's an auspicious mark. Would it be better if we gave up the eating of vegetables, then?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Lady devotee: Would it be better if we gave up eating vegetables?

Prabhupāda: You cannot eat anything except kṛṣṇa-prasādam. Even if we eat vegetables, that is also sin. Bhagavad-gītā clearly says, bhuñjate te agham pāpā, ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt (BG 3.13). If you prepare very nice pure foodstuff for eating yourself, then still you are eating sins. You have to prepare anything very nicely, offer it to Kṛṣṇa, then you take.

Then you will be free from all sin. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo. Even there is sin . . . sin there must be. Just like you are cooking, you are taking water from the jug, there are so many germs you are killing. The killing responsibility is there. In the higher sense: "Thou shall not kill" means you have to take the prasādam of Kṛṣṇa.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: Jaya!

Prabhupāda: Otherwise, even you do ordinary killing, vegetable killing, you are killing so many germs. So in higher sense, if you take this principle of Bible, "Thou shall not kill," that means you must eat kṛṣṇa-prasādam, otherwise you will be killing. In whichever you do, it will be killing. So our process is perfect: take kṛṣṇa-prasādam. Hmm?

Viśākhā: What happens to the jīva souls who were fruits and vegetables that were offered to Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Yes, there is jīva also. I say that even vegetable you are killing, but that killing responsibility goes to Kṛṣṇa. We are killing for Kṛṣṇa. Suppose in the vegetable there is life, but we are preparing food for Kṛṣṇa.

Nara-Nārāyaṇa: I think she wanted to know what happens to the soul. Supposing that a plant, we are killing the plant and offering in prasādam to Kṛṣṇa. The jīva soul who is living in the plant, what happens to him?

Prabhupāda: Because he is killed for Kṛṣṇa's purpose, so he gets immediately liberation.

Lady devotee: This is a very sinful life they're living, unless we offer everything to Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Not anything. Kṛṣṇa, whatever says, you . . . Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26). You can offer these things which is asked by Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: Do they just get liberation, or do they go directly to Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Devotee: They go to Kṛṣṇa, or do they only get liberation? Do they go to Goloka Vṛndāvana?

Devotee: What kind of liberation?

Prabhupāda: Well, liberation not always means that he goes directly. In the lower stage, liberation means to come out of the lower stage to the human form of body. Then he gets chance for directly serving Kṛṣṇa, then real liberation takes . . . (break)

Guest: . . . and I would like to invite . . .

Prabhupāda: All right. (cut) (end)