720703 - Conversation and Interview - New York
Guest (1): Yes, I guess it would be hard to define in terms of a search. Man's . . . man's search for something divine. I'd . . . I'd define it in terms of, of a search for the divine. I've been studying Russian Elders in the Orthodox Church.
Perhaps that's a tradition that you're familiar with in some way. They seem to have found the divine. I guess that's religion too. It seems to me both are, but perhaps you have a better definition than that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. When you are searching with some hope, what is that hope? Why you are searching? When you are missing something, then there is a question of searching for that missing point. You said religion means searching after the divine. So that means you are missing the divine. Is it not?
Guest (1): That's right.
Prabhupāda: Now, the next question will be, What do you mean by this "divine"?
Guest (1): Oh, I'm not . . . I'm not sure, Your Grace.
Prabhupāda: The other day we were talking with some scientist. We came to this conclusion, that the scientist, big scientist, they are simply observing the laws of nature. Because the laws of nature are very stringent. For example, there is death. Everyone will die. So nobody can check death.
However great scientist he may be, he cannot stop death. By laws of nature one is becoming old. By your scientific advancement you can stop first of all. So the science means they are trying to overcome the stringent laws of nature, but so far . . . not so far—even in the past, in the human history, they could not.
In the present also they are unable. They say in future they will be able. But how we can believe in future? Because in the past they could not; in the present also they are unable, how they can overcome the laws of nature in the future? History repeats. Same failure there is . . . (indistinct)
Therefore the divine means, as we define, the divine means the controller of the laws of nature. Laws of nature there is, and everyone is under the laws of nature. Nobody can overcome the laws of nature. Just like state laws: Every citizen is bound to abide by the state law. He cannot overcome it.
If . . . if he overcomes it, then, or violates it, the violation of law, and he becomes punishable. Similarly, the laws of nature means laws of God. Just like your president is the giver of your state law. Similarly, as soon as we say laws of nature, there must be giver of them. In our śāstra, in Vedic literature, it is said, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19).
Dharma, religion, means the codes given by God, and we have to abide by those laws. When you do not abide by those laws, then we violate the laws of nature, of God, and we become punishable.
Now, who is that person, or the authority, who is giving that law, who is controlling that law? That is divine search. But that divine search can(not) be completed by the speculation of our imperfect senses. Our senses are imperfect, therefore whatever knowledge we gather by speculating our imperfect senses, that is imperfect. Just like the sun.
The sun is very big, bigger, fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth, but with our imperfect eyes we see just like a disk. If we remain satisfied with this imperfect knowledge, then we remain in darkness. We have to know the sun from the astronomer. They have calculated. They know. In this way knowledge, perfect knowledge, can be attained—when it is received through the perfect knower, not by speculation. That speculation means I shall speculate with limited mind and imperfect senses.
So however carefully or expertly I manage with the instruments, they are themselves imperfect. Therefore Vedic śāstra says that to understand the divine you must have divine mercy. You must possess. Athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi jānāti tattvaṁ (SB 10.14.29).
One can understand the truth by the grace of . . . so searching after divine means we must search after the grace of the divine. Just like a very big man, just like President Nixon. So I am speculating that President Nixon is like that, like that, like this, his function is like that, he eats like this, he sleeps like this. That is speculation. But if I hear directly from President Nixon or his representative, very confidential representative, then it is perfect knowledge.
I cannot speculate to know about President Nixon by my imperfect senses. I must know about President Nixon when he speaks personally about himself or his personal associate speaks about. That is the way.
Guest (1): If our senses are imperfect, then with what sense do we perceive the divine that underlies these laws of nature?
Prabhupāda: That our senses are imperfect means, just like I have given the example, I can see the sun, but I do not see the sun perfectly. I have got the power to see the sun, but I do not know how big is the sun. That power I haven't got. In that way my senses are imperfect.
So when I see the sun and hear about him from a perfect person who knows about the sun, then my knowledge becomes perfect, although I have got imperfect senses. Just like I cannot understand President Nixon by my speculation, but when President speaks about him I can understand, although I have got imperfect senses. This is the process. Imperfect in this way: that our senses cannot approach to the ultimate point by speculation.
Guest (1): Well I agree with that, but I still . . . the perfect person that is going to speak to me is God? Is that . . .
Prabhupāda: That, that we'll have to find, find later on. First of all the principle should be accepted that unless we hear from the perfect person, our knowledge is imperfect. First of all you have to agree to this point. Therefore you are going to schools, colleges, universities, because at home who could learn everything?
So why you are going to school, colleges and universities? That is not possible. Therefore the Vedic injunction is that in order to know that perfect knowledge, one has to approach the proper person, who is known as guru.
Guest (1): That's what I was getting at.
Reporter: (aside) Could I ask a couple of questions now?
Devotee: Please. Yes.
Reporter: Swāmī, please, I don't want to interrupt. I want to try and ask you a few questions . . . (indistinct) . . . I'm with . . . (indistinct) . . . Swāmī, what do you think accounts for the . . . your popularity, popularity of the . . . the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement sweeping America?
Prabhupāda: Because it is not due to my personality. I am presenting the truth as it is. It will appeal. Just like if you prepare some foodstuff with nice ingredients, it will be appealing to everyone, and if you prepare something obnoxious, it may be appealing to a certain section, not to all.
Reporter: What can appreciation of Kṛṣṇa do for the Americans like this?
Prabhupāda: That, that I have repeatedly said, that you Americans, you are . . . you have already the grace of the Lord. According to our Vedic formula, when a man is born in rich family he is understood to be possessing the grace of the Lord. So you Americans, you have got sufficient riches; you are sons of rich men.
So this is the grace of God, janma aiśvarya, to take birth in a high family, to possess riches; janmaiśvarya śruta (SB 1.8.26), to become learned scholar. Just like you are going to the moon planet. Your scientific knowledge is advanced. And śrī, śrī means beauty. So you are beautiful also.
So considering all these four points, it is to be understood that you are in favorable condition . . . favorable consideration of the Absolute Truth, Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, if you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness, then all your these material opulences plus Kṛṣṇa consciousness makes your life perfect.
Reporter: Do you foresee that the devotees will grow in numbers in this country?
Prabhupāda: There is possibility. Otherwise, why these young men are coming? That I can say: there is good possibility. But we have no facility. Just like government is spending to stop the LSD intoxication millions of dollars.
But our students, as soon as they come, they become my students, I simply order them, "No intoxication." So what to speak of LSD, they do not take tea, they do not take coffee, they do not smoke. But government will not help us. That is the difficulty.
Reporter: Do you seek government help?
Prabhupāda: Yes. If I get government help, I can give protection to these confused, frustrated youth. I have no proper house to accommodate them, to feed them. With great difficulty I am pushing on this movement. So if the government comes forward—this means a little facility—I can turn the face of your country, immediately. There will be no problem.
Reporter: What can you cure? What can you make better?
Prabhupāda: This is the cure: I am making good character. Don't you see their face? Some of them were hippies, frustrated, wretched condition. Now they are known as bright-faced, serious character. They don't have any illicit sex. They don't eat meat. They don't have any intoxication. They don't indulge in gambling.
These are the four pillars of sinful life. If you allow people to indulge in sinful life, how you can expect good citizen? That is not possible. Their character must reform. So we have taken from the root. We are making men of character, knowledge, sincerity, God conscious. Don't you appreciate it?
Reporter: Will they be able to function in a society as working individuals?
Prabhupāda: Yes. There is nothing prohibited. Simply you have to change your consciousness, that's all. We are also eating; we are also sleeping. Many of our students are householders, they have sex. So there is . . . nothing is prohibited, but regulated for higher achievement. That is our program.
Reporter: Have you asked the government for money? President Nixon?
Prabhupāda: No. What is the use of asking? Who will give me? Why shall I be refused? If you think this . . . this movement is serious, good, then you come forward. I cannot approach the government and the government says no. I don't think it is good for the government.
Reporter: Do you see yourself, then, as the savior of American youth?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Certainly. It is saved already. Why? It is not future; it is present, practical.
Reporter: Thank you very much Your Holiness. Good luck. Thank you.
Prabhupāda: So religion, very simple—I am talking with that man over there—religion means the laws of God. Simple definition. And one who follows the laws of God, he is religious. It doesn't matter whether he is Christian, whether he is Hindu, whether he is Muslim. It doesn't matter.
Take, for example, your Christian religion. Lord Jesus Christ says: "Thou shall not kill." But I think cent percent of the Christian people, they are very much engaged in killing. So there are, I mean, disobeying the laws of God. Don't you think? What is . . . what is the value? Then if you disobey the laws of God, then what is your religion? It is simply show.
God says, or God's representative, God's son Jesus Christ says that, "Thou shall not kill," but the whole Christian world, the killing art is very much favored. Maintaining slaughterhouse, shooting in sports, and creating . . . (indistinct) . . . and so many things, simply killing. And any film shown, when it is killing film as is very popular. Shooting film is very popular. I see in your park the soldiers killing. This, this park I was passing. What is that park?
Devotee: Prospect Park.
Prabhupāda: Prospect Park. There is big gate, because there is a killing picture.
Devotee: Yes. Praising the soldiers.
Devotee: Praising the soldiers.
Prabhupāda: So, in this way . . . of course, soldiers killing and ordinary killing is not the same, but my point is that . . . that God gives you the law that you shall not kill. Now if . . . if you are violating that law, then how you can become religious? That is my question.
Guest (1): Grace is . . . is nonviolence, nonkilling.
Guest (1): That is part of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, isn't it?
Guest (1): What's the future of that in . . . in India today?
Prabhupāda: That, not only in India. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not meant for India or America. Of course, I am deputed by my Guru Mahārāja to spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the Western world. That is his grace.
He wanted that Western people, who are intelligent, they should learn what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So my mission is for the Western country, but it is not meant for any particular country, nation. It is meant for every living entity.
Now, there are many unfortunate living entities and there are many fortunate living entities. So we are preaching this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in America or Western country, only the fortunate persons they are coming. But if few of them come and understand, then by their example and behavior, the whole population will be benefited.
It is not expected that cent percent population will be able to understand this philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But by the examples of the few, yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas lokas tad anuvartate (BG 3.21). Just like you'll find in our temple it is always crowded to the fullest extent. We require a more spacious home. But not all of them our initiated student. Out of them, say ten percent may be our initiated student. But still, people are coming to see. They are following. Gradually they will also become student.
So it is a very important movement, scientific movement. I therefore request learned scholars like you, government, scientist, philosopher, they should study. For them we have written so many books. Not only that. It is not that we are simply chanting and dancing.
If you are philosopher, if you are scholar, if you are scientist, we can give you proof in a scientific way, in a philosophical way, scholarly way; therefore these books are there. So my only request is that all the leaders of the society, they should come forward, study this movement and take to it. That will be beneficial. We don't ask blindly, just like one follows some faith or type of religion blindly, and after some times they give it up. No. We say, our predecessor Lord Caitanya says, caitanyer dayār kathā karaha vicara (CC Adi 8.15). You just put your judgment about the mercy of Lord Caitanya, and if you do that . . .
(aside) Come on
. . . then you will find wonder in this movement.
(aside) So you put little ice. Ice. Bring little ice.
Hare Kṛṣṇa, come on. Yes. Thank you very much.
(aside) So you accept this definition of religion, that religion means the law given by God. Simple point. Have you got any objection, or do you accept it?
Guest (1): I accept that. I think religion is what you're doing. I think it's . . .
Guest (1): I think religion is what I see right here.
Prabhupāda: Right religion.
Guest (1): I think it's great.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. Yes. (laughter). Yes. So, what is our business with this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement . . .
(aside) This child will disturb.
Our this movement is that we are trying to love Kṛṣṇa. If I love Kṛṣṇa, or God, then naturally I will be obedient to the laws of God. Is it not? Just like these, my students, when, say four or five years ago, I came here, I had no student. I was loitering in the street. Nobody was caring for me. Now I have got hundreds and thousands of student.
They can do whatever I order. So I did not pay them anything, neither I brought any money from India, but they are executing my order simply out of love. Is it not a fact? Because they have developed a love for me . . . the reason may be whatever it may be, but unless they have developed love for me, how they can execute my order without any personal profit?
Therefore this is first thing required, that religion means to abide by the orders of God. Simple thing. And this obedience to the laws of God will be automatically performed if everyone loves his dormant love for God. We have taken this science. We are teaching everyone how to love God.
If he thinks that, "I have learned to love God through some particular religion," we have no objection. Either he is Christian or Hindu or Muslim, or whatever he may be, if by executing the religious principles which he is professing he has developed his love of God, then we have nothing to preach to him. The result is there. But because we don't find the love of God is there, that we are putting a simple formula that "Here is the way." By utilizing or by accepting that way, he will very quickly love God.
So if we—if we are convinced that to love God is religion, and that is our main business in the human form of life, then this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the genuine scientific movement. Everyone should take it. This is the position. But if somebody thinks that "My aim of life is different. I don't care for God," that is a different case. But our philosophy is, this human life is especially meant for developing that God consciousness or to know the art how to love God. Because the animals, they cannot.
I cannot preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy amongst the animals, because their consciousness is not so developed. But still, my movement is so perfect that I can do well even to the cats and dogs—by offering prasāda, by giving him chance to hear Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This vibration is transcendental. When it is chanted, it is good for everyone, all living entities. Therefore we go to the street and chant, so that everyone can hear the transcendental vibration.
So if it is accepted that religion means the law of God . . . is that accepted? Now we have to study what are the special laws of God and what is the nature of God. That is divine search. So from Bhagavad-gītā we understand the nature of God, that He is the supreme father. Is there any objection? God is the supreme father. I think in Christian religion also they accept. Is it not?
Now, the supreme father says that all living entities, not only these human being or the civilized human being but even the animals, the trees, plants, the insects, birds, beasts, fishes or other aquatics—any living entity, even a small insect . . . living entity means who has got that vital force of moving. Some of them are not moving also, just like trees. They do not move, but still they are living entity. So from Bhagavad-gītā we understand that all living entities, irrespective of bodily feature, they are sons of God. What do you think of this conception?
Guest (1): I think it's probably . . . I think it's probably a better and more universal . . .
Guest (1): . . . notion of life than . . . than you have in the somewhat more man-centered Western philosophy of . . .
Prabhupāda: That is defective.
Guest (1): The problem, of course, is that you don't want man to somehow get lost in it all, but still I, yeah, where I am, I think that you would say . . . to agree with what you say . . .
Guest (1): . . . the universalism of it's very appealing.
Prabhupāda: No, we are not manufacturing this idea. That it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ (BG 14.4): in every species of life, whatever forms are there. And besides that, we take this body as dress. Just like your white shirt is not you. You are different from the white shirt. Similarly, one may have a body white or black, but he, as spirit soul, is different from the body.
We are taking account of the person who is possessing the dress—not the dress, but the person. Just like I am talking with you, I am not talking with your shirt. I don't look to your shirt, whether you have put on a white shirt or black shirt. That is not my concern. I am concerned with you as a living being. This is our philosophy.
We don't take account of the outward shirt and coat. This body, this gross body, is just like coat, and within this gross body there is subtle body—mind, intelligence and ego. Within the subtle body, the spirit soul is there, and we are trying to deliver the spirit soul from these two kinds of entanglement, subtle and gross. That is our aim.
The national movement or religious movement, that is more or less on the basis of the outward dress. One is Christian because he is born by a Christian father. Is it not? One is American because he is born on the land of America. We say that you are neither Christian nor American, Hindu, Muslim or Indian.
You are servant of God eternally. Try to understand this fact, and make your life in that way. Then your life is successful. This is our . . . simple. Now what is your comment on this statement?
Guest (1): I, uh, I'm enjoying everything you're saying, and I, I, I think maybe I should listen to some other questions now, to . . .
Prabhupāda: So you are agreed to this?
Guest (1): I, yeah, I like it. I like it. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Half-agree. Half-agree. You "like" means half-agree. That's nice. Something is better than nothing. If it is half-agreed, that is better than at all not agreed, because . . . so what is the reaction of this statement of other boys and girls present here? You can tell?
Devotee: I think that Prabhupāda solved all problems amongst all the people . . . (indistinct) . . . spirit soul.
Guest (1): Are all spirit souls alike, or are they different?
Guest (1): Are spirit souls alike, or are they different?
Prabhupāda: Alike. (laughter) The dress is different, the spirit soul is the same. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said:
- brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
- śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
- paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
- (BG 5.18)
Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. A learned, really learned man, he sees everyone on the same level, because he sees to the spirit, and he is giving that a learned Brāhmin, a dog, an elephant, a low-born, everyone is on the same category of spirit soul. That is the vision of a learned scholar.
He does not make any discrimination that, "Here is a dog" or "Here is a very learned scholar." His vision is, the dog is also entangled by this body and a learned scholar is also entangled by this body, but both the dog and the learned scholar, both of them are spirit soul. That is actual vision.
The same example: that I am talking with you, not with your dress. I am not very much concerned with your white dress or black dress. I am concerned with you as person. Similarly, we are concerned with the soul, not with the outward body. That is our position. Yes?
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, in our fully developed state in the spiritual sky, are we still one ten-thousandth the size of a tip of a hair like we are now in conditioned state?
Prabhupāda: Your real dimension is mentioned there, that you are a spiritual atom. The measurement is one ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair. That is the seed, or basic principle. Now, on that small particle of spirit soul we have developed this body.
We have got human bodies, other has got the elephant body, other has got the mountainous body, but this is external. The real seed is that one ten-thousandth part of the hair. Similarly, as you have developed this material body under different consciousness, similarly, when we give up the material connection we shall develop our spiritual body, and in that spiritual body we shall be able to enter the kingdom of God, back to home, back to Godhead. This is the position.
This body you will have to give up—today or tomorrow or one hundred years after. We have to give it up. The Bhagavad-gītā says after giving up this body, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9), after giving up this body he does not accept any more material body. Then what happens to him? Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti, "He comes to Me." So "He comes to Me" means just like in your country one who comes to you becomes citizen.
He must have some particular qualities or conditions fulfilled, then he will be accepted as citizen or immigrant. Similarly, if we want to go back to home, back to Godhead, then we must develop our dormant spiritual qualities, and that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is the training period for going back to home, back to Godhead.
So . . . but after giving up this body or after this time's death, others who are dying, they do not know what next life they are getting. They, although they are proud of education, but they do not discuss what is the constitutional position of the soul, how he is transferring from one body to another, how it is to be done. This science is unknown to the modern education. Is it not?
They do not know. They simply speculate. That is the defect of modern educational system. And actually, everyone is seeking for spiritual emancipation. Therefore in your country, in spite of so many big, big universities, you are producing hippies, hopeless population. Am I saying right or not? Your are university teacher. I have seen in so many universities.
Guest (1): I like my students.
Guest (1): I like my students. I think they're on the right track.
Prabhupāda: No. You like your students, I like your students more, because I do not wish to see them in such frustrated condition. That is my mission. I want to make them happy. So I want to give them this information of Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that they may get back life.
I have received thousands of letter, those who have come to this life from frustration, how they are feeling obliged to me.
Guest (2): Prabhupāda? You said in, in the past lecture that, uh, for one who wants to take up bhakti, the work that you're engaged in does not stop. This has been a source of confusion for myself, maybe other people. Could you sort of delineate what it meant by this?
Devotee (1): He said that when you take up bhakti, the work does not stop. So he's confused.
Prabhupāda: No. Bhakti . . . therefore we are defining bhakti. Definition of bhakti, it means,
- ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ
- (CC Madhya 19.167)
That is bhakti. Try to understand what is bhakti. You are following me? Or you come here? You come forward? You come forward? Try to understand what is bhakti. Bhakti means we have no other desire than to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna satisfied Kṛṣṇa by fighting, and he became a bhakta.
In the battlefield Arjuna was hesitating, that "What is the use of killing my own . . . own men, my family men, my brothers, my nephews, my grandfather?" all on the other side. And he was to fight with them, fight with them and to kill them. So he was hesitating. He was a warrior, a very great warrior.
He knew that, "I fight, I shall kill them. Although they have come to fight with me, they do not know, but I know. They are my men, so why shall I fight with them? Let them enjoy. I don't want." That was Arjuna's feeling.
But after understanding Bhagavad-gītā, when he came to the understanding it is his duty to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, so he sacrificed his own conviction that he would not kill this men. He satisfied Kṛṣṇa, by the same art. He was a warrior. So he did not change his position.
After reading (hearing) Bhagavad-gītā, he did not become a Vedāntist or went away to Himalaya for yoga practice, and gave up the fighting, battlefield. No. He did not change. But he changed his consciousness. That is wanted.
Our, at the present moment our consciousness is that we are working for our own sense gratification. When this consciousness will be changed, that we have to work for satisfying Kṛṣṇa, then our life is perfect. You haven't got to change your work or position.
But when you understand that you'll have to work not for your personal sense gratification, but for satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, that is success of life. But there is no question of changing your position. Changing your consciousness—that is success.
Guest (2): Can I ask another question?
Prabhupāda: First of all, this is clear?
Guest (2): It's very clear.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Bhakta does not mean that he'll have to change everything. No. He hasn't got to change anything. Simply he has to change his consciousness. That's all. This is bhakti—change, change his consciousness in favor of Kṛṣṇa. I am acting now, "I like this, to do." This is our position. "I like. I like to eat like this. I like to sleep like this."
So present position, material position, means my liking, and spiritual position means Kṛṣṇa's liking. That's all. I agree to the Kṛṣṇa's like. Material position means I . . . I simply want to satisfy my liking. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to change this mentality, my liking, but to accept the principle of satisfying Kṛṣṇa.
(aside) Can you get that light on. The other light.
So bhakti means to act according to Kṛṣṇa's liking. Is it clear?
Guest (2): It's clear.
Prabhupāda: It does not mean change of place, change of occupation. Change of mentality. That's all
Guest (3): (indistinct) . . . we're engaged in some occupation that Kṛṣṇa does not like?
Devotee (1): What if you're engaged in some occupation which Kṛṣṇa does not like?
Prabhupāda: That you have to learn from the Kṛṣṇa's representative: what He likes, what He does not like.
Guest (3): We should accordingly give it up immediately?
Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to accept spiritual master. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo (Śrī Śrī Gurv-aṣṭaka 8). If the spiritual master is pleased, then you know Kṛṣṇa is pleased. If Kṛṣṇa . . . if spiritual master is displeased, then you know that Kṛṣṇa is displeased.
You cannot be in contact with Kṛṣṇa at the present moment, in the beginning; therefore you require the help of Kṛṣṇa's representative to learn whether Kṛṣṇa is pleased or Kṛṣṇa is not pleased. But your business is to please Kṛṣṇa.
Guest (4): I'm not living in the temple now. I'm working and I'm married. So what should my activities be like?
Prabhupāda: You should make your home a temple. What is the difference between temple and home? This is a temple. Next house is a house. This is also made of brick and stone; that is also made of brick and stone. But it is called temple, because here the business is Kṛṣṇa; and that is called house, because there is no Kṛṣṇa business.
So if you make your house Kṛṣṇa business, then that is also temple. You do the same thing as the members here are doing—in your apartment, in your house, with your wife and children. You earn independently, spend independently; so do it for Kṛṣṇa. Then your house is temple. That, that we want. Here the temple means we are simply giving example how to live. So this example can be followed everywhere.
Every house can be turned into a temple. Here everything is Kṛṣṇa-centered. Similarly, if at . . . in your home, you make Kṛṣṇa center, not you center, then your home is also a temple.
Woman guest: Śrīla Prabhupāda, I understand Kṛṣṇa as being Supreme Controller of all activities that happen in this material world . . .
Prabhupāda: I do not follow. I do not follow. Either you hear . . .
Devotee (1): "I understand Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Controller of all activities in the material world."
Woman guest: . . . and so how can Kṛṣṇa allow animal slaughter and other such māyā's activities, to take place under His control?
Devotee (1): "How can Kṛṣṇa allow animal slaughter and other activities of māyā?"
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa does not allow animal slaughter. Kṛṣṇa says that, "I am the father of every living entity." Just like father, he has got ten sons: some of them are like animals. But those who are advanced in knowledge, if such sons request the father that, "My other brothers are useless. Let us kill them and eat," will the father agree? Will the father say: "Yes, my . . . these sons are useless. You kill them and eat"? Will the father say?
Woman guest: No.
Prabhupāda: So Kṛṣṇa has no sanction for animal killing. We are doing, violating the laws of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we are becoming entangled in sinful activities. We are doing that. Kṛṣṇa does not sanction. Kṛṣṇa says ahiṁsā:
- amānitvam adambhitvam
- ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam
- (BG 13.8)
These are the qualities to be developed. You cannot be violent. You cannot kill animals. This is violation of God's law. Just like in Bible it is stated, "Thou shall not kill." So those who are killing, they are violating the laws of God and become, I mean to say, liable to be punished, criminals. But, Kṛṣṇa does not say.
The governments does not say that you kill your fellow man. If you kill, then you will be hanged. The government says. But when you kill your fellow man, it is your responsibility; it is not government's responsibility. Similarly, when you kill another fellow human being, that is your responsibility. It is not Kṛṣṇa's responsibility.
Guest (5): Śrīla Prabhupāda, I heard different procedures for acquiring a name, Kṛṣṇa conscious name. What is the procedure now? . . . (indistinct) . . . has it changed and so forth ?
Prabhupāda: Our procedure—we are asking everybody to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. That simple thing will help you in every respect. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then gradually you will be enlightened in all other subject. And you will do it yourself. Make association with devotees. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is our procedure.
Guest (6): In your books you claim that we're in the Kali-yuga age. Is the Kali-yuga age coming to a close now?
Prabhupāda: No. It will continue for another 427,000's of years. The age of Kali-yuga is 432,000's of years. Out of that we have passed only 5,000 years. The balance is 427,000's of years. And it will become, the condition of society, world, will be worse.
Not better, but worse. In the last stage of Kali-yuga there will be no food grains, no milk, no fruits. So very horrible time. People will kill their own children and eat just like animals. So the last stage of Kali-yuga it will be like that.
So before coming to that stage, better to take Kṛṣṇa consciousness and go back to Kṛṣṇa. That is our position. We don't wish to wait for the worst thing. The worse things are already happening; and it will be still more worse. So instead of waiting up to that time, better be perfect by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and go back to home, back to Godhead. That is our position.
Devotee (2): As a devotee now that's in the temple, is it good consciousness, do you think, that Kṛṣṇa may be presenting many opportunities to serve, but I would prefer to do a particular thing that I like best, rather than consulting the authorities as to what should be done?
Prabhupāda: Yes, what we are doing, you see; you do it. What should be done, that we are practically doing. You do the same thing. We are talking of Kṛṣṇa from so many books, we are thinking of Kṛṣṇa, we are chanting of Kṛṣṇa, we are eating Kṛṣṇa's prasāda. Our whole day and night is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's business. This is to be done.
Guest (3): (indistinct) . . . (devotees offer obeisances) (break)
Prabhupāda: You have seen all our books?
Guest (3): Yes. I have some of them. Nitāi dāsa at Columbia, he sees that we are well supplied.
Devotee (1): We have a college program there, Columbia.
Devotee (1): Nitāi is running.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much for your coming.
(pause) You can give these . . . (indistinct) . . . (break)
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (to tape) Paul Valliere here. P. A. U. L. V. A. L. L. I. E. R. E Columbia University. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you. Jaya. (break)
Prabhupāda: . . . just have a clean place like this which I am talking, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and read all these books and try to inform your audience about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no difficulty. We can open a center anywhere, and anywhere will be pleased to hear about Kṛṣṇa.
So it is not a difficult task. Simply the worker must be sincere; then everything is all right. Just like I came to your country alone. I had no friend. I was sitting alone on the Tompkinsons Square Park and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Gradually they came. So similarly you can do. What is the difficulty?
Devotee: (indistinct) . . . in Harlem three weeks ago. I wrote you a letter, but he didn't get it, telling all the things a lot of people are coming, people chanting in the streets . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes. This process is already there. Simply we have to execute, that's all. It is not difficult, and it is not limited to any certain neighborhood or any kind of population. No. Kṛṣṇa is for everyone.
Devotee (3): As far as . . . there are two temples which are going to be in Harlem, for . . .
Devotee (3): There is two new temples being started; one in Harlem, and there is another one. The one in Harlem has authority. In other words, a qualified individual to, you know, carry out the prescribed activities that are supposed to be performed in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness temple. And the question was, was basically for this new temple that is being started, some authority to be recommended for that particular temple, to give a basic, you know, foundation in bringing, you know, the temple up to brahminical standards.
Prabhupāda: This is a branch of ISKCON? That is authority.
Devotee (3): Right. In other words, someone who, you know, is just like a temple president?
Prabhupāda: Yes. So that you select amongst yourself. Who is more competent, elect him as president. Everywhere one must be leader. That you select your leader. As you select your President, similarly, you select your president in this connection.
Devotee (3): So that would be bona fide, by, you know . . . (indistinct) . . . making.
Prabhupāda: That, that man which is initiated.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: The selected man must be initiated.
Devotee (3): Right. Jaya. Jaya.
Devotee (4): Śrīla Prabhupāda . . . excuse me 1:08:43 Prabhupada (SM Prabhupāda) I was wondering about that at the moment in several of our temples, we have . . . (indistinct) . . . city of Chicago. I was wondering, if in checking with the temple president, if it is his decision . . .
Prabhupāda: To select a president means there must be discipline. Without obedience . . . without discipline, they cannot be obedience.
Devotee (4): What I meant to ask was, what if the president at the other temple that I'm at now . . . (indistinct) . . . my services I'm more needed there.
Prabhupāda: President is spiritual master's representative, that's all. Spiritual master is not present . . . (indistinct) . . . therefore one man is selected as president to look after the business on behalf of the spiritual master.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: This Godbrother is in another temple, in Midwest, Śrīla Prabhupāda. And he says, "If my president says to stay and engage, should I leave and come to start this in Harlem?" Or should he stay in his present temple in Midwest?
Prabhupāda: That you consider with the GBC member.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Consult GBC with this.
Devotee (4): Prabhupāda, in . . . (indistinct) . . . only one of us was initiated at the time. And it is good to have initiated devotees to go in . . . go at the temple, to open . . .
Prabhupāda: At least the president must be initiated.
Devotee (4): So there is only one of us.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Two.
Devotee (5): Two.
Devotee: Three. There or four.
Devotee (6): Me and . . . (indistinct) . . . are helping out one chapter . . . (indistinct) . . . and now one woman is giving her house, anyway . . . (indistinct) . . . so we are going to . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: The president may be initiated and start immediately. Maybe Ātreya Ṛṣi . . .?
Devotee (6): He is initiated.
Prabhupāda: Eh? He is initiated.
Devotee (6): I'm initiated. I can be . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: That's all right. Begin like that. Or some others who are qualified they can be also initiated. Qualification is that he must follow the regulative principles. That is the qualification. Yes?
Devotee (7): I came to New York from Detroit, with recommendation from Bhāgavata dāsa . . .
Devotee (7): . . . to be initiated, I have my letter with me…
Prabhupāda: So you will be initiated, that's nice. So anyone or any one of you, when you agree to follow the regulative principles, and if you are recommended by our men, then you can also be initiated. It is not difficult. Initiation is formality.
First of all you have to decide whether you will abide by the rules and regulation and become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is your consideration. You have to think yourself whether you are going to take seriously this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is your decision. Initiation is formality.
If you are serious, that is real initiation. So if you have understood the Kṛṣṇa philosophy, and if you have decided that you will take Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously and preach the philosophy to others, that is your initiation. My touching is simply formality. It is your determination that is initiation.
Devotee (4): Like there was some difficulty that arrived in Cleveland temple with some of the . . . lacks in devotees there.
Prabhupāda: Well, that is just due to lack of knowledge. You see? But after all, we are trained up in a different way. So these things will go on as you make progress. We should not be solving problems. Suppose . . .
Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed that we should be a little tolerant. Suppose if somebody treats you not properly because you have got a different skin. It is his ignorance, and it is your also ignorance when you feeling insulted. You should know that, "He has insulted my skin, not to me." Suppose if I say: "Why you have taken this blue shirt?"
So I may say like that, but it is not very important to. You may take it blue shirt or a white shirt, it doesn't matter. You are eternally Kṛṣṇa's servant. If you keep that consciousness you won't feel insulted. This is socially going on in the material world; sometimes we cannot check it.
So these are to happen; therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. (CC Adi 17.31). If you are to do business, then we have to learn how to tolerate.
Devotee (4): So not only here in New York, but in the near future would it be all right to, to, ah, to be able to establish something in . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes. Try. By that way you will be able to serve Kṛṣṇa very rightly and as soon as you are recognized by Kṛṣṇa, your life is successful. That's all.
Woman devotee (2): Śrīla Prabhupāda, how can we please you the most?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: How can she please you most? (laughter)
Prabhupāda: How do you want to please me?
Woman devotee (2): . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That will please me. Always, twenty-four hours chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare, Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma. There is no expenditure.
So Kṛṣṇa has given you the tongue, you utilize the tongue, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. That will please me. Is that all right? (end)