740524 - Conversation B - Rome
(Conversation with Richard Webster, chairman, Societa Filosofica Italiana)
Dhanañjaya: Societa Filosofica Italiana. A philosophical society.
Dhanañjaya: Not historical, more philosophical. And he writes many papers for the Catholic Church, for the Vatican.
Prabhupāda: I was also student of philosophy in 1916–20 under professor Dr. W. S. Urquhart in Calcutta, Scottish Churches' College. He was my professor. Later on, he became vice chancellor, very big philosopher. We read Dr. Stephens' Metaphysics. What is your special subject for study?
Richard Webster: Well, it's rather difficult to say. I suppose medieval philosophy.
Richard Webster: But from a modern point of view.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Richard Webster: From a modern point of view.
Richard Webster: I was not a specialist in medieval . . . (indistinct) . . . or anything. But . . . so it seems to me that . . .
Prabhupāda: What is the conception?
Richard Webster: They have some basic conceptions which are eternal in the same way as your own, perhaps.
Prabhupāda: In the Vedic literature we have information, two eternals. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. It is personally identified. "There is one chief eternal, and there are many other eternals." So then it means the chief eternal is God, and other, subordinate eternals are living entities. Just like we are all living entities. We are in different forms, but we are eternal. The form is not eternal, but the owner of the form is eternal. And similarly, the chief eternal is God. That is described in the Vedas:
- nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
- eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān
- (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)
In this way. So the chief eternal is the maintainer of the many subordinate eternals. This is the idea of God and the living entities. So we are dependent eternals, or the predominated eternals. And there is another eternal, chief eternal, who is the maintainer of all these eternals and who is the predominator. We are predominated. This is the conception of Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy.
Richard Webster: Well, could I ask a question? I find in medieval European philosophy two different attitudes, which I find difficult to reconcile perfectly. That is to say the earlier Christians, up to the thirteenth century, I suppose, were practically only thinking about God, nothing else but, so that nature or the human being, or any . . . everything else tended to disappear altogether, as also in some Indian philosophy, I think. And then, later on, with more modern science and so on, you've got a different attitude in the Christians themselves, that is to say an attitude of acceptance towards subordinate things, so that they became independent and, finally, of course, broke away altogether, so that nowadays we have science without God at all. But there was a short period in the late Middle Ages when St. Thomas Aquinas, who stopped thinking about God, only about God, and gave his attention to science, shall we say. Well, there was a sort of conflict there. I don't quite know what to say about it, whether I'm on one side or the other. That is to say if I were to lean the earlier Christian way or . . . (indistinct) . . . there was Aquinas, for instance, who was a saint, but he was prayed into the world, if you like. I wondered whether you would disapprove of that or . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, these different types of philosophers are always there, not only in the medieval age, in the previously also. It is said, na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam: "A philosopher is not a philosopher if he does not present a different view." (laughter) This is stated in the Bhāgavata. Tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnaḥ. Tarka, by argument, logic, you cannot come to the right conclusion, because you may be a good logician, and then you meet another logician who is better than you. So his arguments may be stronger than your argument. Therefore, simply by arguments or logical premises, you cannot approach the Absolute Truth.
Richard Webster: Oh, yes. I agree.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And śrutayo vibhinnaḥ. Literatures are also, authentic literatures . . . śrutayaḥ means authentic literature, which is acceptable. They are also various type. Just like Vedas. There are four Vedas: Sāma Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda, Ṛg Veda. Then the Upaniṣads are there, then the Vedānta-sūtra is there. So if we study all this Vedic literature or any other similar literature, it is very difficult to find out the Absolute Truth. Śrutayo vibhinnaḥ. And if we take the philosophers, so one philosopher differs from another philosopher. Na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam.
Therefore, to approach the Absolute Truth, God, is very difficult subject matter. Therefore our principle is mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). Mahājana means the recognized persons—recognized by the Supreme Lord—such persons we follow. We have got a list of recognized persons, just like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the Manu. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā, Manu's name is there. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam, vivasvān manave prāha (BG 4.1), this Manu. So Manu, then Kapila, then Prahlāda, Janaka, Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Yamarāja. In this way there are twelve mahājanas, and we receive knowledge from either of them. That is bona fide philosophy. That is called paramparā system. The original teacher is Kṛṣṇa, and from Him the sun-god, Vivasvān, learned it. He spoke to his son, Manu. Manu spoke to his son, Ikṣvāku. In this way the paramparā system is coming. And that is bona fide. This is our philosophy, to accept knowledge from the perfect person or his bona fide representative.
Richard Webster: And Christians, how do you present this? Suppose if someone was a Christian.
Prabhupāda: Yes, Christian, if you take . . . just like Lord Jesus Christ is a bona fide teacher, and he has given his teaching, his commandments. If you follow those commandments, then you are bona fide student. But if you don't follow, then you are not bona fide.
Richard Webster: And if you try to follow but fail, or if you . . .
Prabhupāda: No, you must follow. You cannot fail. Just like Lord Christ says: "Thou shall not kill." You must follow that. If you do not follow, then you are not Christian. It is not the question of that you could not follow or you are weak or . . . you must follow.
Richard Webster: But the Christians have a thing about forgiveness of . . .
Prabhupāda: Well, whatever is there . . .
Richard Webster: Within the Christian religion there is a strong emphasis on possible failure and forgiveness.
Prabhupāda: No. Forgiveness is . . . I know that in church the confession program is there. Forgiveness . . . suppose you are or I am an offender. I ask your forgiveness. So you can forgive me once, twice, thrice, not more than that. You cannot make it a profession that you go on committing sins and God will forgive you. No, that is not possible. That is misconception. That is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, api cet sudurācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ (BG 9.30). This sudurācāraḥ, means offender, that is not willful offense. One person is accustomed to some bad habits, but he has taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness. But on account of strong habit, if he fails sometime, that is excused, forgiveness, not that willful committing sin and ask for forgiveness. That is not allowed. In common affairs we do not see. I have got practical, I mean to say, experience. In my householder life I was proprietor of a big pharmacy. So my manager sold some morphia preparation to some unauthorized person. So the excise inspector, they noted it and made us a criminal. And the magistrate called me because I was the proprietor. So my statement was given that, "I do not conduct the business directly. Of course, I am responsible for my manager's fault, but I shall be very strict in future. You can forgive me." Immediately I was forgiven. But next time if I go, if I say like that, that is not forgiven. That is not possible. So this forgiveness is good for accidental fault, but it cannot be continued. That is a wrong philosophy.
Richard Webster: Does that apply to all the rules of the Kṛṣṇa movement?
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Richard Webster: For everyone. I mean rules about not drinking . . .
Richard Webster: Would that be a sin in a non-Kṛṣṇa follower?
Prabhupāda: It is for everyone. When we speak something from the Vedic scripture, that is meant for everyone.
Richard Webster: I mean a Roman, perhaps, has never heard of Kṛṣṇa before. He breaks all your five rules, does he not, every day? Is that a sin in him? If he drinks wine . . .
Dhanañjaya: He's saying, all the people in Rome who have never heard of Kṛṣṇa . . .
Richard Webster: They drink wine and do all the things which are . . . well, perhaps not all, but anyway, some of them . . . (indistinct) . . . would that be . . .
Prabhupāda: I do not . . .
Dhanañjaya: He's asking if they're very sinful if they don't have any knowledge of Kṛṣṇa or any of the rules of our movement.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Kṛṣṇa . . . ignorance is no excuse. If there is law, and if you do not know the law and you commit offense, that is no excuse, that you do not know the law. Similarly, human life is meant for understanding God. That is the main business of human life. If one does not know this law, then he is sinful.
Richard Webster: Yes, but the difficulty is for me, for instance, that I have the Pope here who is telling me perhaps the same thing in spirit, but with different rules, different laws practically. I mean the spirit seems to me to be the same, but . . .
Prabhupāda: Law cannot be different, but it can be modified according to the time and circumstances. But the law cannot be different.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: (to guest) Maybe you could ask specific examples of differences.
Richard Webster: Well, for Roman Catholics it is right to drink wine, for instance.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Drinking, intoxication.
Richard Webster: Not intoxication, to drink wine. It's allowed. It's perfectly . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: What is wine? He's saying that a Roman Catholic can take wine. The law allows them to take wine.
Richard Webster: Or tobacco or meat.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Or tobacco or meat. So the rules are different.
Prabhupāda: Then rules are not different, but we have to see. Just like your Commandments. In the Commandments there is, "Thou shall not kill." Then how you can eat meat?
Richard Webster: Well, that is a possible argument, but I'm thinking about even lesser things, such as wine or . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Wine. Can . . .
Richard Webster: And no Roman Catholic will admit that it is wrong to drink wine.
Prabhupāda: Wine is sanctioned?
Richard Webster: I don't mean to get drunk. I mean to . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Wine, for today's Roman Catholics, they think it is sanctioned.
Prabhupāda: They think so many other things also. Just like Roman Catholics, there is example: they have allowed marriage between man to man. Do you know that?
Richard Webster: No.
Prabhupāda: Yes. In New York there is a paper, Watchtower. Watchtower.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Watchtower is a paper.
Prabhupāda: They publish a monthly magazine. I have seen in that magazine. They are condemning that the priests have allowed marriage, man to man. And . . .
Richard Webster: In New York maybe. Not in Rome.
Prabhupāda: Christianity does not mean in New York it should be different and Rome it should be different. Then nobody is following.
Richard Webster: Well . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Could it be, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that this sanction of wine drinking be from God? Could that sanction come from God? Do we think that is possible?
Prabhupāda: We don't find there is sanction by God to drink. But under certain circumstances, beverages, different types of beverages, are allowed, not for intoxication but for keeping health. That is different thing. Just like in the moon planet, it is mentioned they drink soma-rasa. Soma-rasa is a kind of beverage made from extract of herbs. So because it is very cold there, so they drink that, but not for intoxication. People drink for intoxication. Just like in medicine, so many drugs are used. Even opium is used. Yes. Morphia is used. But they are not used ordinarily. For a specific purpose. Even snake poison is used, but that does not mean snake poison should be used perpetually. So for benefit of the body under particular circumstances, something may be recommended. But that is not for general use or for intoxication. That is condemned. Just like animal killing is sometimes prescribed in the yajñas. The purpose is different. But that does not mean unrestricted animal killing in the slaughterhouse should go on. No. That is sinful. So if we violate the laws perpetually, then how we can consider as belonging to a certain group of religious system? There must be principles.
Richard Webster: Well, I understand. But I only think that the dietetic rules would be perhaps an obstacle to the spreading . . . I mean certain rules which are cleanly against European or American custom might constitute an obstacle to the spreading of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I mean, in the Church, in the Roman Catholic Church, you have the monks; then you have the laity who observe less strict rules without being considered outside God. And you don't have that, do you? I mean, the Kṛṣṇa movement is a movement of what we should call monks or religious . . . there is no laity in the Roman Catholic Christian sense—people of the world who are doing messy things, I mean, trading the drugs or whatever it is because it's a job they have to do, but belong to the Church without being strictly religious.
Prabhupāda: At least the Church people, the priests, they must follow strictly the rules.
Richard Webster: Yes. But I mean the difference seems to be with the Christian . . .
Prabhupāda: Common man may not follow or cannot, but those who are teachers or the priest or the leaders or the executive head, they must follow. Otherwise they cannot remain pure and they cannot take the position of teacher or head. Head must be clean. Other parts may be unclean, but a head must be clean; otherwise the whole business will be spoiled. Therefore, the strictures, rules and regulation, must be followed by four persons. One person is the executive head, like the president or the king. And the other person is the religious preacher, priest. And the other person is the public leader. So at least these three, four heads of the men's human society, they must be of ideal character. Otherwise the whole society will be spoiled. People will follow the heads.
- yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
- tat tad evetaro janaḥ
- sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
- lokas tad anuvartate
- (BG 3.21)
Just like in America, the former president Nixon is charged with so many offenses. So . . . this is not good. He is the head of the state, and he has been charged with so many pollutions. Then how people will follow exemplary character?
Richard Webster: Well, I don't know whether these accusations have been proved against Nixon. They may be true.
Prabhupāda: No, no, I think they have. (aside:) What are the charges against Nixon?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Certainly he already . . . it all depends on the standards that we want to have for a president. In other words, he has not been convicted, but he has accepted, himself, certain charges, that he has lied and he has tried to save his men, and therefore he has lied, and he has evaded taxes.
Richard Webster: Well, I don't know about that, you see. I'm only . . .
Prabhupāda: No, there have been so many charges against President Nixon. So no, whatever it may be, we are not concerned. But this is the Vedic principle, that the king or the executive head of the state, the brāhmaṇa and the public leader must be very clean. Otherwise society will be spoiled. That is the injunction.
Richard Webster: Yes, well, of course I agree.
Prabhupāda: At the present moment there is all over the world—we are touring all over the world—it is very hard to find out ideal class of men. That is the defect. In the Vedic culture the ideal class of men were the brāhmaṇas. Their qualification was: truthful; self-controlled, mind and the senses; and then tolerant; very simple life; full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge in life; and full faith in God. These are ideal character. But such men are not available at the present moment. So therefore the social idealism is defective. Just like in your body there are four divisions: the head, the arm, the belly and the leg. If the head is spoiled, then you are a madman. In spite of possessing hands and bellies and legs, you cannot work properly. So at the present moment the heads are spoiled. Therefore the whole world is in chaotic condition. People advanced in education, still they are inimical, one man to another. If you are passing on in the street, the gentleman's house there is a signboard, "Beware of the dogs. Don't come in," because he cannot believe anyone. You go to the airport, any high-class standard man, they search out the pocket. So nobody is believable. This is the result of modern education. You cannot find out an ideal character man.
Richard Webster: Is this due to machines, do you think, to the prevalence of machines?
Prabhupāda: No. Yes. It is due to third-class, fourth-class men. There is no first-class men. The brāhmaṇas are considered to be first-class men, the kṣatriyas are considered to be second-class men, and the vaiśyas, they are third-class men, and rest, all fourth class and fifth class. So at the present moment there is third class, some, and all fourth class and fifth class. There is no first-class and second-class men. So unless they are, at least some of them are first-class men, ideal, the human society is doomed. It cannot be peaceful. Full of śūdras, fourth-class men. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for creating some first-class men. This is our ideal. Therefore we forbid them not to take meat, not to have illicit sex, not to . . . because these things are accepted by the fourth-class, fifth-class men—unrestricted sex life, meat-eating, intoxication, gambling. They are not to be indulged by the first-class, second-class men, even third class. It begins from the fourth-class men, fourth class, fifth class. So if one remains to the category of the fourth-class, fifth-class man, how he can be trained up as first-class man? Therefore these things are prohibited, because our aim is to create some first-class men.
Richard Webster: Well, I agree with you. I agree.
Prabhupāda: These boys, although they are young men, they will never go to cinema. They are young men; they have got all propensities. But they are so elevated, they have given up all these low propensities—going to the club, restaurant and cinema, or naked dance and this and that. No. Because they are first-class men, they cannot indulge in the third-class, fourth-class proclivities. We are training them in that way. That is required.
Richard Webster: Well, yes, you said restaurants.
Richard Webster: Is it that it depends on the restaurant, or is that necessarily bad?
Prabhupāda: Yes, our principle is that we can eat only what is offered to God. So we cannot eat things in the restaurant, because it is not offered to God.
Richard Webster: Oh, I see. Yes.
Prabhupāda: We may prepare nice things for Kṛṣṇa and offer to Him and then we take it. This is our principle. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ (BG 3.13). Yajña. Yajña means worshiping the Lord. So worship the Lord, it is not difficult. Everyone is cooking for eating, every home. So cook certain things which is acceptable to Kṛṣṇa, then offer to Him and take the prasāda. There is no difficulty, but you become purified. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. Because willfully or not willingly, we are committing so many sins.
Richard Webster: Yes, I appreciate that very much. I only say is it not possible for things to be dedicated to God without actually being placed on the altar in that way? I mean, what people may be doing that in different ways maybe . . .
Prabhupāda: No, thing is, if you want to offer to God, then—God is all-pure—the things you offer, that must be pure. And you must follow the instruction of God. Suppose if you want to give me something eatable, as a matter of etiquette you ask me, "What can I offer you?" And if I say that, "You offer me this thing, and that is very nice," you cannot offer me according to your whims. That may not be acceptable by him.
Richard Webster: Yes, I was thinking . . .
Prabhupāda: That, your dedication, must be with the sanction of God. If you dedicate something which is not sanctioned by God, then that offering is not pleasing. Suppose I have got a certain taste. If you ask me, "What kind of food I shall prepare for you . . ." In India, still the system is that the housewife asks the husband, the head of the family, "What you want to eat?"
(break) . . . offer something to God, you must take sanction from the God if He wants to eat that.
Richard Webster: Oh, well I was thinking of things like work, the work which people do, with that offered to God . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Work. Service.
Richard Webster: The work . . . the bus drivers, the people . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, the service also, you must take sanction. Anything you want to do, you must take sanction from the Lord.
Richard Webster: Take . . .?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Sanction.
Richard Webster: Oh, sanction.
Prabhupāda: You cannot do anything whimsically and you think that, "I am rendering service to the Lord."
Richard Webster: Oh, yes, but then the sanction, would that apply to scientific activities like engineering, and one of the factories of producing, I mean . . .
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Would God sanction activities in the factory, technological, scientific world?
Prabhupāda: No, there is no sanction. These are all sinful activities.
Richard Webster: These are material activities.
Prabhupāda: Yes. You have created all these things. God has not sanctioned. God has not sanctioned for running on a factory. Therefore as soon as you run on a factory, you simply commit sinful activities. In the Bhagavad-gītā we don't find any such sanction that you run on a factory, a slaughterhouse or the brothel and this business and brewery. No such sanction. But you have done at your whims. Just like in the last war, Mr. Churchill sanctioned, requested, everyone to go to the church. What is that "V"? Victory?
Dhanañjaya: Yes. Victory.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And now . . . before starting the war, Mr. Churchill and company did not take any sanction. And when they were in reverse condition, then, that time, they are going to the church for victory. So God cannot be made in such a way as order supplier. That is not possible. This is not prayer. You start war whimsically, and when you are in a precarious condition you go to the church and pray God, "Give us victory." What is this? This is commanding God. But you have to follow the commands of God. That is your position.
Richard Webster: Well, Chamberlain tried to stop the war.
Prabhupāda: Well, Chamberlain may tried . . . might have tried to stop the war, but he could not stop the cause of the war. So far we know that the two wars started by Germany on account of Britain, so far I have studied. The German people did not like the Britishers to occupy the trade all over the world. And wherever they went to trade, they were restricting. I know this fact. In India the Britishers monopolized all trade, and they would not allow German goods to come in. So that was the cause of the war. The German knew that the Britishers, they are purchasing from Germany and stamping it "Made in London" and selling in India at high price. And when the Germans go there, they are not allowed to enter. This is the cause of the war. The Germans still, they do not like to speak in English. They are so envious. So Chamberlain might have tried to stop war, but his nation created the cause of the war. Why there should be . . . that was the demand, that free trade. Germans, in the, what is called, peace negotiation, their demand was free trade. Everyone . . . and that is very good. Why trade should be . . . this is unnatural. Let there be free trade. General public, they want best thing at good price, at cheap price. So if Japan and Germany can supply goods, necessary goods, at cheaper price, why they should be restricted? Let the people take advantage of it.
Richard Webster: Well, I don't think they are restricted now.
Prabhupāda: No, it is going on. In India, I know. They are selling sugar at two annas, four annas a pound, or seer, outside, and India, it is four rupees. What is this nonsense? This is going on. They want to import some war materials or something else, therefore they want export exchange. So they are sacrificing the convenience of the local people for export exchange. These things are going on. These politicians, they create an atmo . . . therefore I say the head of the state, they must be clean. But they are all motivated. Therefore the whole world is in chaotic condition. Generally politician has got a particular motive behind him. And when he cannot pull on, they declare war. That Pakistan. Pakistan . . . since the beginning of Pakistan they could not make any economic condition very sound. But when the people are too much agitated, they declare war with India. The whole attention is . . . and they have been educated in such a way that India is their strongest enemy. Anything Indian, they dislike in Pakistan. So this is going on by the politicians. They are creating situation because they are not honest, they are not clean. And a clean man cannot become politician. Mr. Lloyd George said that, "Consistency by the politician is the qualification of an ass." There cannot be any consistency amongst the politicians.
So that is the defect, that the politicians are the heads, the leaders of the society, and they are in disagreement. Everyone has got his own ideal, and the fight is going on, and the poor man in the state, they are suffering. Just like in India they partitioned, Pakistan and Hindustan. It was arranged by the leaders, Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru. Especially Jinnah. The people are suffering. And the Britishers made partition in such a way that they will remain continually in war, because everyone wants the necessities of life. The foodstuff is in Pakistan, and the industry is in India. So the Pakistan will suffer for want of industry, and India will suffer for want of food. This is British plan for partition. They had no business to divide the country, but they wanted to do it as a parting kick that, "You want independence. You will have independence, but you will remain perpetually in war." That was British policy. None of them are benefiting. Occasionally they are fighting and losing so much money and men, that's all, a political game. Similarly, Germany is divided. Ireland is divided. This is going on. People are fighting, fighting, fighting.
Leaders should be so sober and honest that the people should live peacefully, without any anxiety, without any want. That is the duty of the leaders to see. Perpetually they are in want, in scarcity, not in peace of mind, full of anxieties. In India especially, we see, the economy is so unsteady. The money value is decreasing every day. Nobody knows what will be tomorrow. Rice is selling today at two rupees' kilo; tomorrow, three rupees, next day, four rupees. Where is the income is coming? Therefore there is strike, railway strike. So this is the mismanagement. They cannot guarantee. At least in England I have seen that . . . or why the England? In America also, the people are happy in this: they have got enough foodstuff, no scarcity. You see? India is in always scarcity. Goods are there. It is hoarded by somebody else. He will not let loose. He will not . . . many goods are there, sufficient. The government stock. The government stock because the black market, they have got some arrangement. So many things are going, I don't wish to discuss. Due to unclean politician, unclean head of the department, things are so mismanaged, and people are suffering.
Dhanañjaya: I was reading in the newspaper that a few days ago India exploded a nuclear bomb, an atomic bomb, underground. This was the first step. And they have declared that this was used for peaceful reasons, in order to develop . . .
Prabhupāda: There was a cartoon. When I . . . one leader is approached for food that, "We are in scarcity of food." The leader says: "Of course, it is very difficult to assure you for food grains. But from next week you will have television." (laughter) "Next week you will have television."
Prabhupāda: Yes. So these improvements are going on, television, but they are starving. This is going on. Advancement of knowledge and learning is going on in discovering television, but there is no food. This is the mismanagement of the leaders. Dishonest. There is enough food. Punjab still produces food grains. Bengal still produces rice. But they are stocked by government men, and they are mishandling. They are lying on the station for dispatch, but they will not be dispatched. They are rotting. Rainy season spoiled the whole stock; still, they are not dispatched. Official, "There is no dispatch order. There is no wagons available." Simply mismanagement or bribe. This is going on. And people are suffering. How it is possible to purchase? Suppose India's income, the average income, is very poor. Suppose one man earns ten rupees a day, and if he has to purchase ten rupees' simply rice for the family, ten . . . what for others? Then he becomes dishonest. He wants to earn money by taking bribe in his own capacity. So bribing has become a custom. Anywhere you go, unless you bribe, you cannot get these things. And they say that "Whatever salary you are getting, that is not sufficient.Our extra earning is by taking bribe." And now in the Western countries also the difficulty is arising. I do not know whether you are already, I mean to say, aware that so many boys, they are becoming hippies. They are reluctant to do anything. That is a very dangerous sign. If you . . . if unemployment, no engagement, that is not good for the country. Everyone should be employed. Everyone should be engaged in some service. That should be the policy of the government. And everyone should be happy, without any anxiety. That is good government. So many people unemployed, doing nothing, producing nothing. Is it not a problem?
Richard Webster: Absolutely.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Richard Webster: Yes. It's the same everywhere.
Prabhupāda: Yes, everywhere.
Richard Webster: In Europe . . . (indistinct) . . . except Germany, I suppose. I suppose everybody works in Germany still.
Prabhupāda: So there are so many problems. On the whole, the material world is full of problems. That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā by the Supreme Being, Kṛṣṇa, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15): "It is a place of miseries." You cannot make things very rightly going on. It is not possible. Therefore the best purpose will be served—leave this place, material world, and go to the spiritual world. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are advising people to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and that way, he will be able to leave this place of miseries and enter the eternal life in the spiritual world. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti (BG 4.9).
- mām upetya kaunteya
- duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
- nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
- saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
- (BG 8.15)
This is our . . . we don't try to adjust things here; it is not possible. It is not possible. However big philosopher I may be—I may give my ideas—it will never be possible to make here things peaceful. No, that is not possible. Just like if you want to make the lavatory very scientifically—it is, after all, lavatory—every minute it is becoming contaminated. So similarly, this world is so contaminated that you cannot make it completely free from contamination. That is not possible. Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15). It is a place of miseries. And actually it is a fact. Now we are trying to get out of miseries. Is it not? The civic activities means to get out of miseries. Is it not?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Yes, enjoy.
Prabhupāda: Whole attempt is to be out of miserable condition. Just like medicine. What is the medicine? Medicine means an attempt to get out of the miserable condition of disease. But you cannot stop disease. You may discover very improved method of medical treatment, but you cannot stop disease. That is not possible. You can, I mean to say, discover many means to stop death—that is going on—but you cannot stop death. That is not possible. So in this way . . . and the Bhagavad-gītā says that you might be very advanced in civilization and scientific knowledge to make improvement the condition of life, but you cannot make solution of these things: janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). Birth, death, old age and disease, you cannot counteract these things. Still you have to . . .
Richard Webster: Do you think it's worse now than it used to be? Can you say that it is worse, the condition of the world is worse now than it used to be, or is it relatively the same or . . .?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, yes. Worse now in these days because people cannot eat even. The facility which is given to the birds and beasts . . . they have no problem of eating. But you have created such a civilization that people are facing the problem so acutely that they have no means to eat. Do you think it is progress?
Richard Webster: Well, I'm beginning to doubt very much.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the problem.
Richard Webster: But some things have improved.
Prabhupāda: Many countries . . . especially we are Indian. We have seen in India, nowadays there is no eatables. The government cannot supply food, failure, the problem which is not even amongst the beasts and birds. The birds and beasts, they have no such problem. They are freely living, jumping from one tree to another, because they know there is no problem of eating. And human society, there is problem of eating. What is the advancement? And there is enough place for producing food. I have seen Africa, Australia—enough place. If the foodstuff is produced there, ten times of the population can be well fed. But they are, "Don't enter. Don't come here." The Africans will say to the Indians, "Don't come here. Go out." What is this?
Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice. We say: "Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. We are all sons of Kṛṣṇa. Let us live peacefully and utilize Kṛṣṇa's property." This is the best philosophy. But the so-called politicians and leaders, they are saying: "No, you cannot enter here." Immigration. America has got enough place to produce food. But they will, although they have gone to the United Nation, UNESCO, they could not find out any solution. Although there is possibility of producing ten times of the requisites of the whole population of the world, they will not allow. They will not allow. Of God's side, this unit, this planet, pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate (Īśo Invocation)—everything is complete. You require water. The same, four, three times water than the land. And the water is distributed over the land, parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ, and there will be sufficient food grains. And annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14). And if there is sufficient to eat, as sufficient eatables to the animals and to the men, then everything is prosperous. So where is that arrangement? There is enough land, enough possibility enough water. Now utilize them and produce food grain, eat nicely and live peacefully, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and go back to home, back to Godhead. This is our philosophy.
Why there should be industry? You want to eat, after all. Instead of eating this flesh, killing poor animals, why don't you produce food grains, fruits, flowers, food grain, and take milk from the animals and produce milk products, all nutritious food, all nice food, and be happy and remember God for His kindness? This is civilization. What is this nonsense civilization? Now there is petrol problem. I see so many buses, and not a single man—one or two men. And for two men a big, huge bus is being run, and so much petrol is consumed unnecessarily. I have seen. I went from Nairobi to London in a plane—only five passengers. Out of that, four passengers we were. Why? Why this nonsense? And there is petrol problem now. They are creating simply, the so-called advancement of civilization, creating problems, that's all. And that is due to these rascal leaders. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ (SB 7.5.31). They do not know what is the ideal of life, what is the aim of life. They are creating hodgepodge civilization and putting the mass of people in chaotic condition. This is the sum and substance. I do not know whether you'll agree with me, but this is my study of the whole situation.
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I can't disagree with that.
Prabhupāda: These are described in the śāstra as anartha, unwanted things. No artha. Artha means there is some meaning. But they have created a situation which has no meaning, anartha. And the medicine, remedy for anartha, is suggested also in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: anartha upaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje. (aside:) Find out this verse. Yes, Bhāgavata. Just version . . . this.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: 1.1?
Prabhupāda: Yes. The index of the First Canto, you find out this verse.
- anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād
- bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje
- lokasyājānato vidvāṁś
- cakre sātvata-saṁhitām
- (SB 1.7.6)
We have got solution for all the problems. If people take it, they will be happy.
Nitāi: It's in the first volume, 324. Page 324.
- anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād
- bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje
- lokasyājānato vidvāṁś
- cakre sātvata-saṁhitām
- (SB 1.7.6)
Translation: "The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth."
Purport: "Śrīla Vyāsadeva is the all-perfect Personality of Godhead. This statement suggests that the complete unit of the Personality of Godhead includes His parts and parcels also. He saw, therefore, His different energies, namely the internal energy, the marginal energy and the external energy. He saw also His different plenary portions and parts of the plenary portions, namely His different incarnations also, and he specifically observed the unwanted miseries of the conditioned souls, who are bewildered by the external energy. And at last he saw the remedial measure for the conditioned souls, namely, the process of devotional service. It is a great transcendental science and begins with the process of hearing and chanting the name, fame, glory, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Revival of the dormant affection, or love of Godhead, does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends upon the causeless mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is fully satisfied with the sincere efforts of the devotee, He may endow him with His loving transcendental service. But even with the prescribed forms of hearing and chanting, there is at once mitigation of the superfluous and unwanted miseries of material existence. Such mitigation of material affection does not wait for the development of transcendental knowledge. Rather, knowledge is dependent upon devotional service for ultimate realization of the Supreme Truth." (pause)
Dhanañjaya: What was that last sentence, Nitāi?
Prabhupāda: Yes. In Africa and Australia, they are killing the animals and exporting. So in other countries they are getting meat to eat, and so they are very free to produce bolts and nuts by industry. They don't require to produce food, because from Africa and Australia they are getting meat. This is going on. Instead of producing food, people are interested in producing motorcar bolts and nuts. So why there should not be food scarcity? After all, you require to eat. But instead of starting industries, why don't you produce foodstuff? What is this civilization? Produce foodstuff. The animal will be nicely fed and the men will be nicely fed.
Richard Webster: Modern civilization comes from the television now, I'm afraid. What civilization there is comes chiefly from the television. I mean, what can you do? The public opinion is made by the television.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: The television today is setting up the standard for the civilization, for today's civilization.
Richard Webster: But they talk about nothing but name war and . . .
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) . . . pictures.
Richard Webster: It's much easier. They're producing more television sets for the . . . (indistinct)
Yogeśvara: It's a great science. My mother is an executive in a public relations firm. My mother. Her business is to show products, goods, to people that otherwise they have no need for, and to convince them that there is some value. It's a very big industry, especially in the United States, public relations, advertising. It's very psychological too. They use all kinds of psychological techniques for inducing people to take things they have no need for.
Prabhupāda: All right, but thing is that after all our prime necessity is food. So why people are not engaged to produce food?
Richard Webster: Well, in Italy they don't like to work on the land any more. They all want to live in town.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the defect.
Richard Webster: Especially in Italy.
Prabhupāda: That is the defect. You do not want to live in the village, farm. In your country I am seeing. America, the farmer's son, they are leaving. They are not coming back to the country. In India also.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Cities have become the centers for sense gratification.
Prabhupāda: That's it.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: And it attracts . . .
Richard Webster: Who?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Sense gratification, sensual living.
Richard Webster: Oh, sense gratification.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Yes. So it's attracting undisciplined senses.
Richard Webster: Well, I don't call it sense gratification. To me there's no gratification in city life.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: That's because you're wise.
Prabhupāda: On the whole, as I began, that there is no guiding men. The brain is lacking. (pause)
Richard Webster: Well, perhaps I should go now. I've taken up too much time. Excuse me. Thank you very much, and . . .
Prabhupāda: Give him some . . . give him some . . . just wait.
Yogeśvara: It's our custom in Vedic tradition that anyone who comes is offered, graciously, foodstuffs . . .
Richard Webster: Oh, thank you. Yes, I've been here quite a lot. Thank you.
Yogeśvara: Maybe you can stay just for a moment.
Richard Webster: Yes, thank you. I actually know that. I come here . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: Gṛhe śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akuto-bhayam. In the Vedic civilization even an enemy comes to your home, he should be offered respect.
Richard Webster: Thank you.
Prabhupāda: Take more. Now, these foodstuffs are meant for human being. They are not meant for cats and dogs. You should produce more of this foodstuff. And the remaining balance, the skin, you can offer to the animal. They will eat. You take the substance, and the outward, external skin you offer to the animals, and he will eat. She gives you milk. This is cooperation. You produce . . . man can produce fruits and flowers, grains, take the substance, and the rejected portion give to the animal. She gives you milk. You require milk. This is cooperation.
Richard Webster: Well, I do myself because we have a small garden, and we grow vegetables . . . (break)
Prabhupāda: . . . will the state allow you to kill somebody and remain peacefully at home? Is it possible?
Richard Webster: Is it wrong to kill . . . to eat fish?
Prabhupāda: You cannot eat anything, even grass, without the sanction of God, what to speak of fish and others. You cannot eat even a piece of grass. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvaṁ yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat, tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā (ISO 1). Everything belongs to God. You can simply enjoy after being sanctioned by God; otherwise not. This is real philosophy. Everything belongs . . . just like in this room, it is supposed that everything belongs to me. Even my students, they ask, "May I take this?" They have got right to take, but still, they ask. Similarly, you cannot touch anything—everything belongs to God—without His sanction. This is God consciousness.
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I wholly agree with that.
Prabhupāda: You cannot do anything . . .
Richard Webster: I entirely agree with that.
Prabhupāda: . . . whimsically. It is not possible. Tena eva sa ucyate. If anyone does whimsically, then he becomes immediately thief. So you are a big philosopher. Kindly you spread . . .
Richard Webster: Very small philosopher. (laughs)
Prabhupāda: No, that's all right. Anyway, if you spread this God consciousness, this knowledge of God consciousness, philosophy of God consciousness . . .
Richard Webster: Yes, well, I'm going to write an article on that.
Dhanañjaya: Mr. Webster has your Bhagavad-gītā, and reads it very intently. And a few days ago he came back for another copy, which he recommended to his friends.
Prabhupāda: That's nice. You kindly try to spread. Everything, whatever we speak, our philosophy, this is based on this Bhagavad-gītā. That's all.
Richard Webster: It's very difficult when you're talking to Europeans. I mean . . .
Yogeśvara: But here we're not American or European.
Richard Webster: Yes, but I mean in the West it's a very different kind of . . . difficult to . . .
Prabhupāda: Everywhere it is difficult, because people have become godless. Still, we have to try our best. The task is difficult, undoubtedly. It is very difficult task to bring back people to God consciousness. But still we have to do it to satisfy God. He wants it.
Richard Webster: Well, perhaps I'll go now. Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Richard Webster: Hare Kṛṣṇa. I'll see you tomorrow. (leaves)
Yogeśvara: During your conversation with this gentleman, you mentioned that there was nowhere any sanction by God for industry or business. So does that mean that these workers in factories and industries, to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness they could not go on with their work?
Prabhupāda: No. Our recommendation is that whatever position you are, you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So even the workers in the factory, they can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. What is the difficulty? Even in factory they take some leisure hours. So why not sit down for five minutes, ten minutes, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa? Where is the difficulty? Apart from the work they are doing, we are recommending, "Whatever is done is done. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Then everything will be all right." Where is the wrong?
Yogeśvara: But eventually it's understood they must stop their industry.
Prabhupāda: There is no question of stopping. If that is their livelihood, how they can stop it? That is not possible. But they can add this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra chanting. Then things will be adjusted. It is not possible to stop different methods of livelihood. That is not possible. If one can stop, it is well and good. But even he does not stop, he can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
Yogeśvara: But ultimately isn't our idea that the city complexes shouldn't remain, that things should become more spread out to farm and rural areas?
Prabhupāda: Yes, naturally. If this man is fed up with this industry, he can go back to village and produce his own food. But he is attached to this industrial activity because he is thinking that, "I am getting more money for wine and woman and meat. Let me enjoy." That is the perfect, imp . . . but if he chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, his consciousness will be purified, and he will be made not interested this kind of work. He will go back to village and produce food. (pause) This is French?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: No. It is new, 62, the new American. (BTG)
Yogeśvara: This was your idea, to put the temple buildings on the magazine. Jayādvaita wrote me about that.
Prabhupāda: Very good picture, encouraging, that so many devotees in one center. It is very much pleasing to me. I started single-handed.
Prabhupāda: No, no, no, not '44, '66. '44, of course, that was idea, plans. Back to Godhead started, '44.
Yogeśvara: Looks like it will be heavy competition for the next French issue. Looks like strong competition for the next French issue.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (chuckles) Very good. The pictures are very nice.
Yogeśvara: That was in Watford.
Prabhupāda: It is . . . every time it is improving. That is Kṛṣṇa's grace.
Yogeśvara: I think they are getting some ideas from our French magazine. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: You are now born. You are not mature to take ideas from you. (laughter) (pause) (end)