720228 - Conversation 2 with Bob Cohen - Mayapur

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



720228TA-MAYAPUR - February 28, 1972 - 89:45 Minutes




(loud loudspeaker with Giriraja giving lecture in background)


Prabhupāda: You are feeling warm?

Bob: Just tight.

Prabhupāda: Too tight.

Bob: I was cold before.

(break) Thank you so much for allowing me to ask my questions.

Prabhupāda: No, that is my mission, that people should understand the science of God. Because I am convinced that it's a fact, that without again cooperating with the Supreme Lord, our life is baffled. I give this example many times. Just like a screw from the machine fallen down, it has no value. The same screw, when it is again attached with the machine, it has value. Similarly, we are part and parcel of God. Without God, as part-and-parcel small screw, what is the value? No value. We should again come back to the position of becoming a screw. That is our mission.

Bob: I met a fellow today who came in the afternoon. Well, his reason for coming, he said, you may find humorous, was to come..., he heard the hippies were in Māyāpur.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Bob: He heard that hippie... (break) ...I was talking to him, and then some devotees were talking to him. And he had said some things to me which I could find no answer for. And he said he'll come back tomorrow to see devotees. But let me tell you. This is confusing. When he was young...

Prabhupāda: He's Indian? He's Indian or...?

Bob: Indian, Indian, lives nearby. He speaks English fairly well. When he was young, he said he worshiped Kālī every day very vigorously. But then the floods all came, and the floods came, and the people saw hardship. And now he has no religion, and he says he finds his happiness in trying to develop love among people. And I couldn't think of what to say to him to add religion to his life, to add God to his life.

He says... I asked him... He says, "After the hereafter," he says, after he dies, he said "maybe I'll become part of God, maybe not," he says, but he can't worry about it now. He says he's tried this religious experience; it didn't work. And one reason I ask this is when I go back to America a lot of people I come across are like this. They see that religion, like his worship of Kālī or other kinds of religion that they've experienced, doesn't work. And I don't know what to say to them to convince them that it's worth trying.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. You do not try to convince him at the present moment. You try to be convinced yourself.

Bob: (laughs) Yes, yes. I did... I asked him to see devotees, but then on the way out as he was leaving down the road I met him again and talked, "Come back," but... Oh, I see.

Prabhupāda: You first of all be convinced, and then try to convince others. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instruction is that you can do welfare for others when your life is success.

bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra
(CC Adi 9.41)

Janma sārthaka kari. First make your life perfect, and then try to make others'. Preach. (break)

Bob: The devotees have said to me that without consciousness of Kṛṣṇa all the time, you cannot be happy. Without consciousness of Kṛṣṇa you cannot be happy. But at times I feel happy.

Prabhupāda: At times. Not always.

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But if you be Kṛṣṇa conscious you'll feel always happy.

Bob: Oh. (laughter) They had implied that you cannot feel happy without Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Prabhupāda: That's fact. Just like if you are an animal of this land, and if you are thrown into the water, you cannot be happy in the water in any condition. When you're again taken up to the land, then you'll be happy. Similarly, we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. We cannot be happy without being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Now we are thrown.

The same example: The machine part and parcel without the machine has no value. But when it is put again into the machine it has value. Similarly, we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa; we must join Kṛṣṇa. So you can join immediately with Kṛṣṇa by your consciousness. Simply thinking that "I am Kṛṣṇa's; Kṛṣṇa mine." That's all.

Bob: What is that...

Prabhupāda: "Kṛṣṇa is mine."

Bob: Mind, yes.

Prabhupāda: "Mine. My Kṛṣṇa."

Bob: Ah.

Prabhupāda: "Kṛṣṇa is mine. Kṛṣṇa is mine, and I am Kṛṣṇa's." That is our actual position.

Bob: We are part of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, because everything is generated by the energy of Kṛṣṇa. And everything is energy of Kṛṣṇa.

(break) ...tomorrow fasting. Yes.

Bob: Tomorrow's fasting?

Acyutānanda: Tomorrow we fast. Up until evening.

Prabhupāda: Up to evening.

Acyutānanda: Until the moon comes. Then we take ekādaśī or feast?

Prabhupāda: You can feast.

Acyutānanda: Feast. So we'll fast up until the rising of the moon and then take feast, full prasādam. (break)

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes it happens that one day out of the week all the other..., all the shops close except for one. I've experienced in India that all the... (break)

Bob: ...the people coming and jumping on each other trying to get..., afraid that the prasādam would finish before they got served.

Prabhupāda: No, assure them that we can... "Don't be jumping. We shall supply you." What can be done? (break) ...the place where we shall perform sacrifice, fire sacrifice, the tablet should be taken there and we shall worship. And then we place it.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: We'll carry the tablet...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: ...to the sacrifice place.

Prabhupāda: We shall place the in..., what is called, paraphernalia? And then begin. So ten feet deep and six feet wide. So you have ordered for bricks and cement? (loudspeaker in background very loud)

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I was speaking with Mr. Sanyal, and he also agreed that by having a man come here and make the bricks, we can save fifty percent.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Mr. Sanyal he also agreed that by having a man come here and make the bricks here, we can save fifty percent.

Prabhupāda: So try to find out. (break)

Devotee: ...think that acquiring the land, and the other... (break)

Prabhupāda: Then you can talk. (break)

(a devotee is speaking in Bengali over the loudspeaker and Prabhupāda mimics him; everyone laughs)

Devotee: Mahāṁsa.

Prabhupāda: Mahāṁsa? Who is speaking? Mahāṁsa speaking or (indistinct) (break)

Bob: For now? Is it just for now?

Indian man: Śrīla Prabhupāda, I have one question. What is the purpose of service minus devotion?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? That is not service; that is business. (laughter) Just like we have employed some contractor. That is not service; that is business. Is it not?

Indian man: Certainly.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like sometimes they advertise, "Our customers are our master." Is it not? Sometimes advertise. So this is business, but it is a flowery language only, that "Our customers are our masters." Because nobody is a qualified customer unless he pays. Hmm?

But service is not like that. Service, Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām (CC Antya 20.47): "Oh, You do whatever You like; still, You are my worshipable Lord." That is service. "I don't ask any return from You." That is service. When you expect some return, that is business.

Devotee: Money. (pause)

Prabhupāda: Very nice road. (break)

Bob: I wish to ask you to advise me on how I can come to feel closer to God. I'll be leaving you soon, and I'm... With you...

Prabhupāda: You have to purify.

Bob: Somewhat. But let me say I come to the temple at times and then I leave, and I'm not sure how much I take with me.

Prabhupāda: It will not take much time. Within six months you'll realize. But we have to follow the regulative principle. Then it will be all right. Just like these boys and girls are doing. Just see the girl, how she's chanting always. All our girls is...

Bob: Yeah, I've seen.

Prabhupāda: They have no tendency for going to cinema or going to hotel. No. Everything all stopped. Anartha-nivṛttiḥ. Anartha means unnecessary things, all rubbish.

Bob: I feel that when I go back, though...

Prabhupāda: The whole human life is meant for purifying. Śuddhyed sattva. Sattva means existence. So if you don't purify your existence, then you'll have to change your body, from this body to that. Sometimes it may be higher, sometimes lower. Just like if you don't cure your disease, it can take turn in so many ways to put you into trouble. Similarly, if you don't purify your existence, then you'll have to transmigrate from one body to another. And there is no guarantee what kind of body you'll get.

Very subtle laws of nature. Now there is no guarantee that you will get a very comfortable body or American body. No. Therefore, for human being it is essential that he should purify his existence. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ anantam (SB 5.5.1). Unless you purify your existence, your hankering after happiness, you cannot get continued happiness. That is not possible.

Bob: When I go, I go back to my job in New York, I hope I'll become purer, but I'm sure that I won't become as pure as your devotees here. I don't see myself doing that.

Prabhupāda: You can do as they are doing. They were not pure in the beginning. Now they are pure. Similarly, you can become pure. Just like in your childhood age you were not educated; now you are educated.

Bob: So what are the things that I may do? See, if when I go back I must...

Prabhupāda: Where you go back?

Bob: I'll be going back to Chaibasa, Bihar, and to my work there.

Prabhupāda: What is there in Chaibasa?

Bob: That's where I do my teaching. I live there with...

Prabhupāda: So better do not teach. Because you do not know what to teach.

Bob: I have... I'm actually, I'll be going... I don't like this so much, and I'll be returning to America in May. But while I'm here, this is my agreement to staying in India, that I...

Prabhupāda: (referring to microphone) It will not stay. No, if you are serious, you can keep yourself pure anywhere. It doesn't matter whether you stay in America or India. But you must know how to keep yourself purified. That's all.

Bob: You mean by following these principles.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like I went to America. So either in America or in India, I am the same man.

Bob: I have tried somewhat to follow since I met you the first time.

Prabhupāda: That follow... You must strictly follow if you are serious.

Bob: Maybe... Okay, maybe what I say now is the most foolish of all I've said, but let me tell you how I feel.

Prabhupāda: No, no, not foolish. I don't say foolish, but imperfect.

Bob: Okay, imperfect. But let me tell you. I feel that right now I admire and respect your devotees, but I don't feel as if I'm part of them or even a great desire to be part of them. I feel that I just want to do what is right and come closer to God, and if I just go to a better life next time, I'd be satisfied.

Prabhupāda: Very good life.

Bob: Maybe that's just material clinging.

Prabhupāda: So just you follow in their footsteps, my other students, and it will be fulfilled, your desire. We are training to that direction, how to become purified and happy. That is our mission. We want to see everyone happy. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. But people do not know how to become happy. They do not take the standard path to become happy. They manufacture their own way. That is the difficulty.

Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyed sattva yasmād brahma-saukhyam anantam (SB 5.5.1). This advice was given by Ṛṣabhadeva to His sons. "My dear boys, just undergo austerity," divyam, "for transcendental realization." Everyone is going austerity. This boy, I know, he had to go foreign countries to learn this commercial management. So many... So now he's good situated. But everyone has to undergo some austerity for future life. So why not take that austerity for permanent happiness? Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena satt...

Permanent happiness, you have to purify your existentional body. This body, so long you will accept this material body, you'll have to change it. And as soon as you get a spiritual body, there is no question of change. Spiritual body you have already.

Simply now, due to our material contamination, we are developing material body. But if we associate with spiritual life, then we shall develop spiritual body. The same example I have several times given, that you put the iron rod with fire, it will develop to be fire. Is it not?

Bob: Put the iron rod into fire...

Prabhupāda: Yes, and it will become fire.

Bob: Yes...

Prabhupāda: Although iron rod.

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Similarly, this body, if you always keep yourself spiritually engaged, it will act as spiritual, although it is material body. The same example: iron rod, when it is red hot, it is not longer iron rod, although it is iron rod. You can catch it as iron rod, but touch anywhere, it will burn. It has got the quality of fire. Similarly, if you always keep yourself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you become spiritualized. You'll act spiritually. No more material demands.

Bob: How do I do this?

Prabhupāda: This process, as they are doing. You have seen. These boys are, our six boys, they are now initiated today. It is very simple. You have to follow the four restrictive regulations and chant this beads. Very easy.

Bob: Well, um, but... See, when I'm back in Bihar and following my lifestyle there, I..., if I follow all these regulative principles... Some I follow now, but not all. But if I follow all...

Prabhupāda: "Some" means?

Bob: Some...

Prabhupāda: There are only four regulative principles. "Some" means three, or two?

Bob: Two or three.

Prabhupāda: So why not other one?

Bob: No, no, I mean I follow one or two now. One or two now I follow.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Why not the other three? What is the difficulty?

Bob: Erm...

Prabhupāda: Which one you follow?

Bob: Which one I follow? I am almost vegetarian, but I eat eggs.

Prabhupāda: That is also not fully. (laughs)

Bob: No, not even fully. But since last time I've become vegetarian, and...

Prabhupāda: No, no. Vegetarian is no qualification.

Bob: Not much.

Prabhupāda: You see, vegetarian, the pigeon, pigeon is vegetarian. The monkey is vegetarian, but most rubbish creature.

Bob: Well...

Prabhupāda: A monkey is vegetarian, naked sannyāsī, lives in the forest—the most mischievous.

Bob: I felt that it was a little bit of progress, because it was somewhat difficult at first, then easy, and I had returned to...

Prabhupāda: No, you can stick to all regulative principles, provided you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness process. Otherwise it is not possible.

Bob: Yeah, but this is it. I have... When I'm back in Bihar and my friends may say... Well, we're sitting in the evening, and there's nothing to do but fight mosquitoes, and they'll say, "How about smoking some marijuana?" And I say, "Sure, there's nothing else to do," and then I sit down and I enjoy myself for the evening. Now, we did this... We got carried away. We were doing it every day and realized we were hurting ourselves and stopped, but still, on occasion we do that....

Prabhupāda: You have to live with us. Then your friends will not ask you, "What about marijuana?" (Bob laughs) Keep the association of devotees. Satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-ras... (SB 3.25.25). We are opening centers to give chance people to associate with us. Why we have taken so much land?

Providing for those who are seriously desirous. They will come and live with us. Association is very influential. Satāṁ prasaṅgāt. Saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ (BG 2.62). If you associate with drunkards, you become a drunkard. If you associate with sādhu, then you become sādhu.

Śyāmasundara: He can come and stay with you in Bombay.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: He could come and stay in Bombay.

Prabhupāda: Yes, you can stay with us in Bombay. But here he wants friend, marijuana. That is the difficulty.

Bob: Um, let me ask you about something else. Then maybe I'll come back to this, because I'm still... I find that I think of myself too much, and this way you can't think of God so much. One can't think of God. I think of myself in too many places. How can I forget about myself so I can concentrate on other more important things?

Prabhupāda: As they have done.

Bob: (laughs) You are saying to me that my path... I think what you're saying is my path to purity is to become a devotee.

Prabhupāda: Do you hesitate?

Bob: Well, I...

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is very difficult to become a devotee?

Bob: For myself... It is... I don't feel so much the desire. I have... First the devotees tell me that they have given up material life. These four regulative principles, they have explained to me, means giving up material life, and that I see. And in place of this they have...

Prabhupāda: What do you mean by material life? I am sitting on this bed. Is it material or spiritual?

Bob: Material.

Prabhupāda: Then how we give up material life?

Bob: I think how I interpreted it was a desire for material gains.

Prabhupāda: That is material life.

Bob: You're working towards material gains, not giving up all material.

Prabhupāda: Material life means when you desire to gratify your senses. That is material life. And when you desire to serve God, that is spiritual life. That is the difference between material life and spiritual life. Now we are trying to serve our senses. Instead of serving the senses, when we serve God, that is spiritual life. What is the difference between our activities and others' activities? We are using everything: table, chair, bed, this tape recorder, typewriter. So what is the difference? The difference is that we are using everything for Kṛṣṇa.

Bob: Ah... This I see. The devotees have said that the sensual pleasures that they have given up are replaced with spiritual kinds of pleasures. But see, I haven't...

Prabhupāda: Spiritual kinds of pleasure means when you desire to please Kṛṣṇa, that is spiritual pleasure. Just like example, a mother is more pleased by feeding her son. (break)

Bob: Spiritual pleasure, then, is in pleasing God.

Prabhupāda: Spiritual pleasure means pleasure of Kṛṣṇa.

Bob: Pleasing of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And material pleasure means pleasure of senses. That's all. This is the difference. When you try simply to please Kṛṣṇa, that is spiritual pleasure.

Bob: I had viewed this as... My thought of pleasing God was to do...

Prabhupāda: No, no, don't manufacture your ways of pleasing God. Don't manufacture. Suppose if I want to please you, then I shall ask you, "How can I serve you?" Not that I manufacture service. That is not pleasing you. Suppose if I want a glass of water.

And if you manufacture that "Swāmījī will be more pleased if I give a glass of milk, hot milk," that will not please me. If you want to please me, then you should ask me, "How can I please you?" And what I order, if you do that, that will please me.

Bob: And pleasing Kṛṣṇa, then, is... Pleasing Kṛṣṇa, then, is being a devotee of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: The devotee means who is always pleasing Kṛṣṇa. He has no other business. That is devotee.

Bob: And, can you tell me some more about chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? I have for quite some time chanted, but never regularly, just a little bit here and there. I just got beads very recently. And once in a while I feel comfortable chanting, and once in a while not comfortable at all. And maybe I don't chant properly. I don't know.

Prabhupāda: Yes, everything has got process. You have to adopt the process.

Bob: The devotees tell me of the ecstasy they feel when chanting.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is when... More you become purified, you feel ecstasy. But this chanting process is purifying process.

Śyāmasundara: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this afternoon we were discussing about austerities.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Śyāmasundara: About austerities. If you don't practice voluntarily austerities, then you must involuntarily practice some austerities.

Prabhupāda: Yes, under the direction of spiritual master. You have no mind to follow austerities, but when you accept a spiritual master you have to carry out the order. That is austerity.

Śyāmasundara: Even if you don't want to practice austerity, you must. You are forced to.

Prabhupāda: No, because... You have got... You have surrendered to a spiritual master. His order is final. So even if you don't like, you have to do it, to please me. Even you don't like. Nobody likes to fast, but spiritual master says, "Today is fasting," so what can be done? (laughter) This is austerity. And disciple means who has voluntarily agreed to be disciplined by the spiritual master. That is austerity.

(loudspeaker in background is very loud)

Śyāmasundara: Say, like our parents or many people in the material world, completely addicted to material life. They don't want to follow any austerities, uncomfortable, but still they must. By nature they're forced to austerities.

Prabhupāda: That is forced austerity; that is not good. Voluntary austerity will help.

Śyāmasundara: (indistinct) ...if you don't undergo voluntary austerity, you must be forced to undergo...

Prabhupāda: Yes. (pause) That is the difference between man and animal. Animal cannot accept austerity, but man can accept austerity. (break) That is the difference between. Just like there is a nice foodstuff in a confectioner's shop. So a man wants to eat it, but he sees that he has no money, so he can restrain. But an animal, cow comes, immediately he pushes his mouth in that. You can beat him with stick, it will tolerate, but it will do that. Therefore animal cannot undergo austerity.

(someone else speaks inaudibly about volume of loudspeakers)

Yes, yes, reduce. Aiye, aiye, aiye. (break)

Our austerity is very nice. We chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, dance, and Kṛṣṇa sends nice foodstuff, we eat. That's all. Why your people are not agreeable to such kind of austerities, chanting, dancing, and eating nicely? (indistinct) I see austerity—call my mother.

Bob: What is that?

Prabhupāda: Suppose we have this nice foodstuff this mother has brought. So those who are not following austerities, they cannot expect. But because we are following austerity, Kṛṣṇa sends us nice thing. So we are not loser. When you become Kṛṣṇa-ized, then you'll get more comfort than at the present moment. That's a fact.

Bob: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: No, I am living alone for the last twenty years, but I have no difficulty. When, before taking sannyāsa, I was living in Delhi, these boys were taking care of me. Yes. So I had no difficulty, although I was living alone.

Śyāmasundara: If you don't accept a spiritual discipline, then nature forces so many...

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā.

daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
(BG 7.14)

Māyā is imposing so many difficulties, but as soon as you surrender to Kṛṣṇa, no more imposition.

Śyāmasundara: We are so foolish that we are always thinking, "In the future I'll be happy."

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is māyā, illusion. That is a ass. You sit down on the back of the ass and just take a morsel of grass, he'll go. The ass is thinking, "Let me go forward little, and I shall get the ass, er, grass." But it is... One feet distant it always remains. That is ass-ism. (laughter) That is not... Everyone is thinking, "Let me go a little forward, and I'll get it."

(break) ...get it, be very happy. (break)

Bob: I, I thank you so much for...

Prabhupāda: Hmm? (break) Don't talk l-e-a-v-e, but talk l-i-v-e.

Bob: I, I, I cannot yet, but I was thinking now of returning tomorrow to my town. But...

Prabhupāda: Don't return.

Bob: I should stay tomorrow, here.

Prabhupāda: Stay here.

Bob: You tell me to, I'll stay.

Prabhupāda: Yes. You're a very good boy.

Bob: Okay. Thank you. (break)

Prabhupāda: It is very simple. The living entities, forgetting Kṛṣṇa, they are in this material world. "Kṛṣṇa" means His name, His form, His abode, His pastimes, everything.

Bob: What was that last?

Prabhupāda: Pastimes.

Bob: Pastimes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like when you speak of king, it means king's government, king's palace, king's queen, king's son, secretaries, military strength, everything. Is it not?

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Similarly, Kṛṣṇa being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as soon as we think of Kṛṣṇa, means all energies of Kṛṣṇa. That is complete by saying "Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa." Rādhā represents all the energy of Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. So when we speak of Kṛṣṇa, the living entities are also included, because the living entities are energies, different energy of Kṛṣṇa—superior energy. So when this energy is not serving the energetic, that means material existence.

The whole world is not serving Kṛṣṇa. They are serving Kṛṣṇa in a different way. They are serving Kṛṣṇa indirectly. Just like disobedient citizens, they serve the government indirectly. They have come to the prison house on account of their disobedience of the laws of the state. So in the prison house they're forced to obey the laws of the state. Similarly, all the living entities here, they're godless. Either by ignorance or by his will, he doesn't like to accept the supremacy of God. Demonic. So we are trying to bring them in their original condition. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. (break)

Bob: I'd like to ask you just something I talked with devotees about, just medicine. I went to go..., I walked to the river with some devotees today. I have a cold, so I said I shouldn't go in the water. Some felt I should, because it is the Ganges, and some said I shouldn't because I have a cold. And we were talking, and I don't understand. Some... Devotees... Do we get sick because of our bad actions in the past?

Prabhupāda: That's a fact.

Bob: But when one is...

Prabhupāda: Any kind of distress we suffer, it is due to our impious activities in the past.

Bob: But when one is removed from karmic influence...

Prabhupāda: Yes?

Bob: ...does he still get sick?

Prabhupāda: No. Even if he gets sick, that is very temporary. Just like this fan is moving. If you disconnect with the electric power, then the fan will move for a moment. That movement is not due to the electric current. That is force. What is called physically, this...?

Śyāmasundara: Momentum.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Śyāmasundara: Momentum.

Prabhupāda: Momentum. But as soon as he stops, no more movement. Similarly, a devotee who has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, even he's found that he's suffering from material consequences, that is temporary. Therefore a devotee does not take any material miseries as misery. He takes as Kṛṣṇa's, God's, mercy.

Bob: But what about a perfected soul, a devotee, a pure devotee?

Prabhupāda: Perfected soul means twenty-four hours engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is perfection. Transcendental position. Perfection means to be engaged in his original consciousness. That is perfection. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, "Anyone who comes to Me, that is the..." Saṁsiddhiḥ labhate param. Saṁsiddhi. Perfection, complete perfection. Saṁsiddhi. Siddhi and saṁsiddhi. Siddhi is perfection. That is Brahman realization. And saṁsiddhi means devotion, after Brahman realization.

Bob: Could you just say that last thing again, please?

Prabhupāda: Saṁsiddhi.

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Sam means complete.

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: And siddhi means perfection. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that one who goes back to home, back to Godhead, he has attained the complete perfection. So perfection means when one realizes that he's not this body, he's spirit soul. Brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20). That is called Brahman realization. That is perfection.

And saṁsiddhi means after Brahman realization, when one is engaged in devotional service. Therefore one who is already engaged in devotional service, it is to be understood that Brahman realization is there. Therefore it is called saṁsiddhi.

Bob: I, I, I ask you this very humbly, but do you feel diseases and sickness?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bob: Do you personally feel disease and sickness?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Bob: Is this a result of your past karma?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bob: This is a result of your past karma?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Bob: So one in this material world never escapes his karma completely?

Prabhupāda: Yes, escapes. No more karma. For a devotee, no more karma reaction.

Bob: But you must be the best devotee, and you...

Prabhupāda: Hmm. No, I don't consider I am the best devotee. I am the lowest.

Bob: No! No!

Prabhupāda: You are the best devotee.

Bob: (laughter) Oh, no! But lets see, you say, what you say..., it always, always seems right.

Prabhupāda: Yes, but...

Bob: So then you must be the best devotee.

Prabhupāda: Yes, the thing is that even the best devotee, when he preaches, he comes to the second-class devotee.

Bob: What would the best devotee be doing?

Prabhupāda: The best devotee does not preach.

Bob: What does he do?

Prabhupāda: He sees there is no need of preaching; everyone is devotee. (Bob laughs) Yes. He sees no more nondevotee; all devotee.

Yaśodānandana: Uttama-adhikārī?

Prabhupāda: Uttama-adhikārī. But while I am preaching, how can I say I am the best devotee? Just like Rādhārāṇī: She does not see anyone nondevotee. Therefore we try to approach Rādhārāṇī.

Bob: Who is this?

Prabhupāda: Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa's consort.

Bob: Ah.

Prabhupāda: Anyone approaches Rādhārāṇī, She recommends to Kṛṣṇa, "Here is the best devotee. He's better than me." And Kṛṣṇa cannot refuse. That is best devotee. But it is not to be imitated, "I have become best devotee. Therefore I have stopped." That is... Actually, that is a different stage. So even the best devotee...

Without (being) best devotee, he cannot preach actually, ācārya, but he comes to the second stage. Īśvare tad-adhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca (SB 11.2.46). He... He has the vision of dviṣat, somebody envious of God. But it is not the vision of the best devotee. Best devotee sees, "Nobody is envious to God. Everyone is better than me." Just like Caitanya-caritāmṛta author, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, he says that "I am lowest than the worm in the stool."

Bob: Who was saying this?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa... The author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja. Purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha (CC Adi 5.205). He's not making a show; he's feeling like that, that "I am the lowest. Everyone is best; I am the lowest. Everyone is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service; I am not engaged."

Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "Oh, I have not a pinch of devotion to Kṛṣṇa. I cry to make a show. If I would have been a devotee of Kṛṣṇa I would have died long ago. I am living; that is the proof that I do not love Kṛṣṇa." That is the vision of the best devotee. He's so much absorbed in Kṛṣṇa's love that he sees, "Everything is going on; simply I am the lowest, therefore I cannot see God." That is best devotee.

Bob: So then a devotee must work for everybody's liberation.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. A devotee must work under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. Not imitate the best devotee.

Bob: Excuse me?

Prabhupāda: Not imitate the best devotee.

Bob: Not..., what is that word?

Prabhupāda: Imitate.

Devotees: Imitate, imitate.

Bob: Oh, ācchā, ācchā, I see. Imitate. (pause) (break)

Śyāmasundara: ...you said that sometimes you feel pain, some sickness, due to the sinful activities of your devotees. Is that... Couldn't sometimes disease be that, due to that, caused by that?

Prabhupāda: You see, Kṛṣṇa says that ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi (BG 18.66). So Kṛṣṇa's so powerful that He can immediately take up all the sins of others and immediately make it gone. But when a living entity plays the part on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, he also takes the responsibility of these sinful activities of his devotee. So to become a guru is not the easy task. You see?

He has to take all the poisons and absorb. So sometimes, because he's not Kṛṣṇa, so sometimes there is some trouble. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu forbidden that "Don't make many śiṣyas, many disciples." But for preaching work we have to accept many disciples, for expanding preaching. Never mind we suffer. But that's a fact. The spiritual master has to take the responsibility of all the sinful activities of his disciples. So to make many disciple is a risky job unless he's able to assimilate all the sins. (pause)

(break) ...patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo (Śrī Vaiṣṇava Praṇāma). He takes responsibility for all the fallen souls. That is... That idea is in Bible. Just like Jesus Christ take all the sinful reaction of all people and sacrificed his life. That is the responsibility of spiritual master. Because he's Kṛṣṇa's representative, so Kṛṣṇa takes all responsibility. Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa, apāpa-viddham.

He cannot be attacked by any sinful reaction. But a living entity may be subjected sometimes, because he's small. Big fire, small fire. On a small fire if you put some big things, (chuckling) then the fire itself may be extinguished. In the big fire, whatever you put, that's all right. Finished. The big fire can consume anything.

Bob: So Christ's suffering was of that nature?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bob: Was Christ's suffering this...

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained, that he took the sinful reaction of all the people, therefore he suffered.

Bob: I see.

Prabhupāda: He said... That is the Bible, that he has taken all the sinful reactions of the people and he sacrificed his life. But these Christian people, they have made it a law that "Christ will suffer and we shall do all nonsense." Such great fools they are. They are... "Let Jesus Christ make contract for taking all our sinful reaction, and we will go on with all nonsense." That is their religion.

This... They are not in sense that "Christ is so magnanimous that he took all our sins, and he has suffered. We stop all these sins!" They have not come to that sense. They have taking it very easily: "Let Lord Jesus Christ suffer, and we do all nonsense." Is it not?

Bob: Yes. It is so.

Prabhupāda: Yes. They should have been ashamed, that "Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us. Instead of... We are continuing the sinful activities still. He asked everyone, 'Thou shall not kill,' and we are indulging in killing." And "Lord Jesus Christ will excuse us, take all the sinful reaction." This is going on.

(break) ...should be very much cautious that "For my sinful actions my spiritual master will suffer. So I'll not commit a pinch of sinful action." That is duty of the disciple. After initiation, his all sinful reaction is finished. Now if he again commits sinful activities, the spiritual master has to suffer. They should be sympathetic for this, that "For my sinful activities my spiritual master will suffer."

(break) ...attacked with some disease, it is due to the sinful activities of the disciples. Exactly like Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on account of the sinful activities of others. (break) ...forbidden, "Don't make many disciples." But we do, because we are preaching. "Never mind, let us suffer; still, we shall accept." (break) ...question was that when I suffer it is due to my past misdeeds? Was it not?

Bob: Yes, yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: That is my misdeed, that I accept a disciple who is nonsense. That is my misdeed.

Bob: This happens on occasion?

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is sure to happen, because we are accepting so many men. But it is the duty of the disciple to be cautious, that "My spiritual master saved me. I may not put him again into these suffering." (break) When the spiritual master is in suffering, Kṛṣṇa saves him. Kṛṣṇa thinks, "Oh, he has taken so much responsibility for delivering a fallen person." So Kṛṣṇa is there. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31). Because the spiritual master takes the risk on account of Kṛṣṇa.

Bob: So your suffering is not the same kind of pain that an impure person...

Prabhupāda: No, it is not due to karma. (break) The pain is there sometimes so that the disciples may know that "Due to our sinful activities my spiritual master is suffering." (break)

Bob: ...very well now.

Prabhupāda: I'm always well. (break) ...well in this sense: even there is suffering, I know Kṛṣṇa will protect me. But this suffering is not due to my sinful activities. (break)

Bob: But let us say, when I..., in the town I live in I drink boiled water because some of the water has disease in it. Now, why should I drink boiled water? If I have been good enough not to get a disease, then I may drink any water. And if I have been not doing proper, then I shall get diseased...

Prabhupāda: So boiled water is any water also. Boiled water is included within any water.

Bob: But, you see, I drink that to prevent disease.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So long you are in the material world, what is physical law, you cannot neglect that. Just like if you go to a jungle, there is tiger. It is known that it will attack you. Why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long he has got some physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: "Oh, I have become a devotee. I challenge everything." That is foolishness. Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ (Brs. 1.2.255).

Viṣaya, this physical necessities, the devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without any attachment. Physical law is take the boiled water. But if boiled water is not available, does it mean he'll not drink water? If it is not available, you drink ordinary water. (break) We take kṛṣṇa-prasādam. But while in touring, in hotels, sometimes we have to take some food in the hotel. Does it mean, "Oh, I do not take any foodstuff from the hotel. I shall starve"? If I starve, then I'll be weak; I cannot preach. (break)

Bob: Does a devotee lose some of his individuality, in that...

Prabhupāda: No, he has got full individuality, but he sacrifices individuality for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, "You surrender unto Me." So he voluntarily surrenders. Not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality fully. But because Kṛṣṇa desires that he should surrender, he never minds. He's individual.

Just like Arjuna, he was..., in the beginning he was declining to fight on account of his individuality. But when he accepted Kṛṣṇa as his spiritual master, he became śiṣya. Then whatever He ordered, "Yes." That doesn't mean he lost his individuality. He voluntarily accepted, "Whatever Kṛṣṇa says, I shall do it." Just as all my disciples, they have not lost their individuality, but they have surrendered their individuality. That is required.

Just like if a man does not use sex, does that mean he has become impotent? If he likes he can have thousand times sex life, but he has voluntarily avoided it. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). Surprise(?) Sometimes we fast. That does not mean we are diseased. We voluntarily fast. It does not mean that I am not hungry, I cannot eat. But we voluntarily fast.

Bob: Does the devotee who surrenders keep his individual...

Prabhupāda: Yes, in full.

Bob: ...taste for different things?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Bob: Does he keep his individual likes and dislikes?

Prabhupāda: Yes, everything he keeps, but he gives preference to Kṛṣṇa. Suppose I like this thing. Kṛṣṇa says, "No. You cannot use it." Then they are sacrificed. It is for Kṛṣṇa's sake. Nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe.

Bob: Let us say a devotee has a liking for one food over another food.

Prabhupāda: Yes. But if Kṛṣṇa does not like it, he won't take.

Bob: And how does he know which food Kṛṣṇa likes him to take?

Prabhupāda: That is stated in the śāstra. You have to know from Kṛṣṇa. When you... Just like what kind of behavior government likes, how do you know it? From the law books. Is it not? Similarly, what Kṛṣṇa likes and not likes, you get from the śāstra. You cannot manufacture the like and disliking of Kṛṣṇa. That is nonsense. Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26).

He says definitely. Positively He says that "I like these things." So we have to offer to Kṛṣṇa what He likes, and then we take prasādam. Kṛṣṇa likes Rādhārāṇī. Therefore all the gopīs, they're trying to push Rādhārāṇī to Kṛṣṇa. Nikuñja-yūno rati-keli-siddhyai yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣaṇīyā.

That is expert. "Oh, Kṛṣṇa likes this gopī. All right, push her." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness: to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa, not satisfy my senses. That is bhakti. That is called prema, love for Kṛṣṇa. "Oh, Kṛṣṇa likes this. I must give Him this."

Bob: There is..., some prasādam is offered, and then we go and eat, and different prasādas are served. And some I like, and some I find the taste not at all to my liking and do not eat.

Prabhupāda: You should not do that. The perfection is whatever is offered to Kṛṣṇa, you should accept everything. You cannot make, "I like this. I do not like this." That is perfection. So long you make such discrimination, that means you have not appreciated what is prasāda. (pause)

Devotee: What if there is someone... This... (static) ...likes and dislikes. Say, someone is preparing some prasādam...

Prabhupāda: No dislikings, no liking. Whatever Kṛṣṇa likes, that's all right.

Devotee: Yes. But say someone prepares something, like some prasādam for Kṛṣṇa, but he does not make it so good, and it is...

Prabhupāda: No, if you have made sincerely with devotion, then Kṛṣṇa will like it. Just like Vidura. Vidura was feeding Kṛṣṇa banana. So he was so absorbed in thought, he was, I mean to say, throwing away the real banana and he was giving Him the skin, and Kṛṣṇa was eating. (laughter)

Because He knows that "He's giving Me in the devotion." So Kṛṣṇa can eat anything, provided there is devotion, real devotion. It does not matter whether it is materially tasteful or not. Similarly, a devotee also take Kṛṣṇa prasādam. Whether it is materially tasteful or not, he should accept everything.

Devotee: But if the devotion is not there... Like in India...

Prabhupāda: Devotion is not there, He does not like any food, either is tasteful or not tasteful. He does not accept it.

Devotee: In India, somebody said...

Prabhupāda: No India, of India, don't talk of India. Talk of the philosophy. If there is no devotion, Kṛṣṇa does not accept anything, either in India or in your country. It is not... Kṛṣṇa's not obliged to accept anything costly because it is very tasteful. Kṛṣṇa has many tasteful dishes in Vaikuṇṭha. He's not hankering after your food. He accepts your devotion, that out of... Bhaktyā, tad aham aśnāmi. Bhaktyā upahṛtam, real thing is devotion, not the food. Kṛṣṇa does not accept any food of this material world, but He accepts only the devotion.

Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati, tad aham aśnāmi bhaktyā upahṛtam (BG 9.26): "Because it has been offered to Me with devotional love." That is required. One who has no devotional love, from his hand... Therefore we do not allow anyone to cook who is not a devotee. Kṛṣṇa does not accept anything from the hands of a nondevotee. Why should He accept? He's not hungry. He does not require any food. He accepts only the devotion, that's all. That is the main point.

So one has to become a devotee, not a good cooker. But if he's a devotee, then he'll be a good cook also. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12). Automatically he'll become a good cook. Therefore one has to become devotee only; then all other good qualification will automatically be there. And if he's a nondevotee, any good qualification has no value. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā mano-rathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ (SB 5.18.12). He's on the mental plane, so he has no good qualification. (break) The time?

Śyāmasundara: Six o'clock. We leave in twenty minutes.

Devotee: Six-thirty. (break)

Prabhupāda: It is... Question and answer, it is required. It is beneficial to all the...

Bob: I still have a question on the prasāda.

Prabhupāda: Sūta Gosvāmī says, munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo 'haṁ bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam, kṛṣṇa-sampraśnaḥ. Kṛṣṇa-sampraśnaḥ is very good. When you discuss and hear, that is loka-maṅgalam, either by the question or by the answer.

munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo 'haṁ
bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam
yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśno
yenātmā samprasīdati
(SB 1.2.5)

(break)

Bob: I still have..., do not understand so much about what you're telling me about the prasādam. But if you like, I'll think about it and ask, ask you again tomorrow. About prasādam.

Prabhupāda: Prasādam is always prasādam. So because we are not elevated sufficiently, therefore we do not like some prasādam.

Bob: I found, specifically what I mean, is some was too spicy and hurt my stomach.

Prabhupāda: Well, that is also due to not appreciating. But Kṛṣṇa should be... The cook should have consideration that Kṛṣṇa must be offered first-class foodstuff. So if he offers something last class, that is not his duty. But Kṛṣṇa can accept anything if it is offered by a devotee, and a devotee also can accept any prasādam, even it is spicy. (break)

Hiraṇyakaśipu gave his son poison, and he drunk it nectarean. So for the devotee, even it is spicy to other taste, it is very palatable to the devotee. What is the question of spicy? He was offered poison, real poison. And Pūtanā Rākṣasī, she also offered Kṛṣṇa poison, but Kṛṣṇa's so nice that "She took Me as My mother."

So He took the poison and delivered her. Kṛṣṇa does not take the bad side. Any good man, he does not take the bad side; he takes only the good side. (break) He wanted to make business with my Guru Mahārāja. But he did not take the bad side. He took the good side, that "He has come forward to give me some service." So whatever he wanted, he gave him.

Bob: Business with your... What was that? Business with who?

Prabhupāda: That is, I am talking about my Guru Mahārāja.

Bob: Oh, oh, I see. (break) ...question on prasādam, if I may. Let us say if some devotee has some trouble and does not eat a certain type of food. Like some devotees do not eat ghee because of liver trouble. So these devotees, should they take all the prasādam?

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. I say those who are not perfect devotee, they may discriminate. But a perfect devotee does not discriminate. So why should you imitate a perfect devotee? So long you have discrimination, you are not a perfect devotee. So artificially why should you imitate a perfect devotee and eat everything?

Bob: Ohhh.

Prabhupāda: The point is, a perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. Whatever is offered to Kṛṣṇa, it is nectar. That's all. Just like exactly Kṛṣṇa accepts anything from a devotee. "Whatever is offered to Me by My devotee," He accepts. The same thing for a devotee.

(break) ...point?

Bob: Yes.

Prabhupāda: A perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. But if I am not a perfect devotee—I have got discrimination—why shall I imitate a perfect devotee? That will not be possible to assimilate, digest. Because I am not a perfect devotee. These things are... Because a devotee should not be a foolish man.

It is said that kṛṣṇa yei bhaje se baḍa catura. So a devotee knows his position, and he's intelligent enough to deal with others accordingly.

(break) ...it is posted? (break) (end)