740612 - Conversation A - Paris

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



740612R1-PARIS - June 12, 1974 - 97:58 Minutes



(Conversation with Roger Maria leading writer of communist literature)


Jyotirmayī: ...in France amongst the Communist students, the Communist Indian students. And I said that he is also a literary critic. That means that he is writing a lot of articles in the newspaper and explaining many things on the literary circles in France. He also knows very much about Gandhi philosophy. He has been writing a lot about Gandhi's philosophy. So when he knew that you were with Gandhi, he became very interested.

(Jyotirmayī and/or Pṛthu-putra translate throughout)

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So we are also communist. As you take the state as the center, we take Kṛṣṇa as the center. Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. (aside:) Where is Karandhara?

Devotee: He's coming.

Prabhupāda: The Bhagavad-gītā says, Kṛṣṇa, that "I am the enjoyer. I am the proprietor. I am the friend." Bhoktāram... (aside:) Read out this.

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
(BG 5.29)

This is the process of peacefulness: when one understands that Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer, Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of all lokas, all worlds, and Kṛṣṇa is the best friend of everyone. (aside:) Get the light.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that liberation of India from the English was done because of many, various forces, but that amongst the people, the common mass of people who helped to liberate India, there was, of course, a religious people. But there was religious people on both side. There was religious people amongst those who wanted to liberate India, but also among those who wanted the English to be there, not in imperialism.

Yogeśvara: In other words, his point, essentially, is that religious sentiment was there on both sides. It was there on the imperialists' side as well as on the side of those who were fighting for India's liberation. So there seems to be a kind of dichotomy. Religious sentiments can be expressed by anyone, whatever their motivation is, whether it be imperialist, whether it be Communist... Religious sentiment is found...

Prabhupāda: What is religious sentiment?

Roger Maria: (French for some time with devotees)

Jyotirmayī: He says again that in India, now also there's a big struggle because they are trying to solve the immediate problems of hunger, you know, all these problems, now, and of course there is a religious people on the side of those who are struggling now, but there's also religious people on the other side, of those who want to keep the situation as it is now... And then he said that...

Prabhupāda: Religious people wants to keep the situation? Starving? Starving situation?

Roger Maria: (French for some time with devotees)

Bhagavān: (to devotees) Do you understand what he's saying now? Because he has a different translation.

Pṛthu-putra: Because what he says, he says on the both parts, they are based on a passage of Bhagavad-gītā. The imperialist people and the other side, they do both, sometimes on the base of Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: Who?

Pṛthu-putra: The Communists and the imperialists. And he said some names...

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: Rajagopalacharya.

Jyotirmayī: This man, for example, the one that he just cite, he is also a religious man, but he is against the change now. He wants to keep as it is imperialism, you know. So he said that there are so many of these people who are religious and they are, of course, all they have good goals, that is to help people. But you find people referring Bhagavad-gītā on the side of those who are struggling now to change the situation and the side, on the side of those who are keeping the situation as it is. So he says there is an ambiguity there.

Prabhupāda: Ambiguity means he is not clear in his knowledge. What is religion and what is liberation—these things he does not know clearly.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He says that now they are using religion for their own interests and for their own goals.

Prabhupāda: Who is that man?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said all the social forces in India wants to keep their own privileges.

Prabhupāda: So? The Communist does not?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that in Marxism there is no religious references.

Prabhupāda: But the, what is called, terrorism facility, there is. There is no religious sentiment, but there is terrorism sentiment. Some sentiment is there.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that yesterday in Assam seven student have been killed, but is it the Communists that killed them?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He's saying, is it the Communists who killed them?

Prabhupāda: Communists killed others?

Yogeśvara: Seven students in Assam.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he said that in India all the planners of the government, they are religious people. Some of them are brāhmaṇas. But still they have been arresting forty thousand people working on the railways for no good reason. So that's why he said that religion is used by the people for their own privileges.

Prabhupāda: Therefore I asked what does he mean by religion.

Roger Maria: (French)

Devotee: What he's trying to say is that some people are using...

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said one should ask a question not according to what one thinks about religion, but what is being used now.

Prabhupāda: But you cannot think..., you cannot think of religion. Our conception of religion is different.

Roger Maria: (French with devotees for some time)

Prabhupāda: (aside) Where are Satsvarūpa and Karandhara? Where gone? They do not want to hear? They have become...?

Bhagavān: They're calling Africa.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Bhagavān: They may be on the phone with Africa. I'm not sure.

Jyotirmayī: So he said that here in France, the Christians, they are now reviewing their own Christianity, their own philosophy, because they see that the materialistic people, they are giving critiques, and they are right in their critiques. So they are changing their religion.

Yogeśvara: In other words, he's saying that religion has to be defined according to the way the mass of people accept it.

Prabhupāda: That is not religion. That is sentiment.

Roger Maria: (French)

Devotee: (to Prabhupāda, while others speak in French:) They're on the phone speaking with Brahmānanda Mahārāja.

Jyotirmayī: So he says that those who have been just religious and working for the independence, they didn't do any real good.

Prabhupāda: Now, first of all, our proposition is what does he mean by religion?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that there cannot be an abstract definition of religion, but only the experience of religion.

Prabhupāda: No, we have got definition of religion. Let him learn from us.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he says that "I know what is religion, but what brings religion in the concrete life, the day-to-day life? What good brings religion in the life?"

Yogeśvara: He said, "Even, even if I were to learn your definition of religion," he says, "the important thing is how it is practiced. Not just words." He says, "The important thing is how it is lived, how people live their..."

Prabhupāda: Yes. The practice. It is practiced... Those who are real religionists, they practice it.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he said this is a real problem, how to practice religion not only on the individual platform, but on the social platform.

Prabhupāda: No, we are teaching. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we are teaching how to practice religion.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that even though he himself is materialist and atheist, he propagates this in his articles, in his newspaper, you know, he propagates certain aspects of religion.

Prabhupāda: No. First of all, we must know what is religion, and what is atheist or what is theist. First of all, if we know what is religion, then we can define who is following, who is not following.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he said what he can give is his own experience of religion and what he is propagating when he talks in his articles.

Prabhupāda: What is his experience of religion?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he said that in Hinduism, what he thinks is the best...

Prabhupāda: No, no. Religion is not meant for Hindus or Christians—for everyone. So there must be a general definition of religion.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he said that his idea is that advaita-vedānta philosophy is the best in the world.

Prabhupāda: What is that advaita? What is that advaita?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that advaita-vedānta...

Prabhupāda: What is that advaita-veda philosophy? Let him define.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: Advaita. A means "without." Dvaita...

Prabhupāda: "Without"?

Yogeśvara: "Not." Dvaita means dual. So non-dual.

Jyotirmayī: Non-dual. "There is not two." This is advaita.

Prabhupāda: So what is that one?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So what I think this gentleman is explaining is that he finds the idea of non-dualism very attractive because he says that if a real religion is to fulfill it's responsibilities, then it will not try to teach its followers that there are two separate things—there is the creation, and there is you, the creator, that there is you.

Jyotirmayī: Creator.

Yogeśvara: ...that there is a creator and then you, but rather, that there is a harmony with the individual being and the totality of existence, not just on an individual religious level, but also socially. So in other words, he's seeing that this advaita philosophy, this non-dual philosophy, is very nice on the political or social level as well, since it teaches a kind of unity of the individual with everything.

Prabhupāda: This is not very clear. (laughs) Now, dualism means two, and monism is one. So he says monism, advaita. So monism, what is the center of monism?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So he says that to discuss what is that center of monism is not as important as it is living the...

Prabhupāda: But you cannot... If you have no objective, then you cannot live in oneness.

Roger Maria: (French for some time with devotees)

Prabhupāda: (aside:) I'm feeling hot. (indistinct reply by devotee)

Yogeśvara: He says...

Prabhupāda: Yes?

Yogeśvara: ...that before... He says perhaps it would be worthwhile, he finds it worthwhile, before trying to make any definitions about the center, to first free man from all of the things that are keeping him enslaved today. In other words, before we can build a platform for...

Prabhupāda: But if you do not know what is the meaning of freedom, how you can make them free?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So he says the best answer he can give you is an answer that he heard from Maharishi, he said, a very good answer, that before you can come to defining anything positively, first we must say, neti neti: "It is not this, it is not that." Then we have decided what it is not.

Prabhupāda: That I am therefore asking. Whatever he is proposing, I say neti: "It is not" defining.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: You better translate that one.

Pṛthu-putra: He says that the answer of that is very often come, it doesn't have to come, with a name of God, because the name of God is very often utilized to mystify the people.

Yogeśvara: In other words, he's saying, "I know what you want to get me to say. You want me to say that the center is God." But he's saying, "I'd rather not say that, because that's too mystical."

Prabhupāda: Then what is the use of talking if you do not know the central point? He says that to come to the truth, neti neti. So we must come to the truth. So we must find out first of all truth, then we discuss the other, subordinate things.

Roger Maria: (French with devotees)

Bhagavān: All those other things like political and otherwise are all just details. The first thing, you should have to find the center. (aside:) You translate that.

Prabhupāda: Neti neti means... "Not this, not this," means to search out the truth.

Roger Maria: (French for some time, devotees try to explain Prabhupāda's challenges; guest makes a long speech)

Bhagavān: (to devotees) The first thing is, he's talking for too long, and you're missing the point. It's getting confusing. Ask him, first of all, to speak a little shorter.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So he said..., what he's suggesting is that first of all, we'd be better off not giving it some kind of concrete form, because he thinks ultimately the silence is the best answer.

Prabhupāda: Then let him learn that. If silence is best, then don't talk.

Yogeśvara: Well, he says still we can give it some form for discussion purposes.

Prabhupāda: Then what is his silence? Silence means don't talk. If you prefer silence, then don't talk.

Yogeśvara: He suggests, "Well, in that case, if we're going to discuss the Absolute Truth, then you can say that the ultimate is..."

Prabhupāda: But he raised that Absolute Truth is non-dual.

Yogeśvara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Non-dual.

Yogeśvara: Tat tvam asi. He's saying, "We are that."

Prabhupāda: So then, then why he raised the question of Absolute Truth, non-dualism, neti neti? This is the discussion of Absolute Truth. So why he says, "For the time being, let us become silent"?

Bhagavān: Yes, he's saying... Oh, it's hard. In other words, he's saying, "Let's get rid of everything that's not the Absolute Truth, and not talk about actually what is the Absolute Truth yet."

Yogeśvara: Yeah, that's the point.

Bhagavān: He's just saying, "Let's get rid of..." (to guest:) You understand a little English? "Let's get rid of this bad situation, let's get rid of this bad situation, and let's not talk about really what the truth is yet, because we don't know. Let's be silent about that. Let's just work to get rid of the bad elements." This is how he's trying to practice his philosophy. In other words, if there is this political problem here, let's get rid of this, and let's get rid of this one, but let's not talk about what actually the goal is yet.

Pṛthu-putra: Then he said that...

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: Just for example, he says that Kṛṣṇa was urging Arjuna to fight. He says, well, that fight has two meanings. One is the historic sense, and the other one is that it's a struggle inside ourselves to get freed of all of the bad situations, to get free of our false ego, to get free of our pride.

Bhagavān: The question is, "What is he aiming at?"

Prabhupāda: Unless we understand that what is his aim of discussion, then how we can make progress? (Yogeśvara mentions something in French about Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna) No, why you are bringing Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna? First of all, let us know what is the aim of our discussion, the subject matter of discussion.

Roger Maria: (French for some time)

Jyotirmayī: His main point when he quotes Bhagavad-gītā is to show that it is a philosophy of action, it is dynamic, that Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to fight. So there was a war. It is dynamics, not just, you know, sentiment, philosophy. It is active.

Yogeśvara: Yeah. Neti, neti. Getting rid of the bad elements.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is practical, practical action. Yes.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So he says, "Therefore we're coming back to our original point of discussion, which is that real religion is not a question of a man's motives, but it's a question of his actions."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yogeśvara: "What it motivates, what does a man do, how his religion is lived. That's a point."

Prabhupāda: Yes. That we are preaching in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are not sitting idly and smoking gāñjā. It is not like that.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So what he's saying is that "Yes, in this connection, I can compliment you for the work that you are doing, because," from what he has experienced, "most of the people who are coming from India to preach about Kṛṣṇa talk about Kṛṣṇa to old people, or people who actually don't have any use for Hinduism or spirituality except as a kind of diversion or a drug."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yogeśvara: So I think, if I understood correctly...

Prabhupāda: I agree. I agree. He's right. He's right. He's right.

Pṛthu-putra: He wasn't appreciating exactly.

Bhagavān: Did he appreciate? First of all...

Pṛthu-putra: He wasn't appreciating what we are doing exactly. He says, he says, with his Indian..., with his Indian, what he's doing with his Indian, what is the name of it...?

Bhagavān: Francend. (name of paper?)

Jyotirmayī: Franscend.

Pṛthu-putra: Franscend. He says there is many svāmī and writer come from India and teach to the people, to the Western people, what is Kṛṣṇa, what is Indian philosophy, what is God, but they always teach the people who need to be safe, to be..., who need something to be safe, and they take it like just a drug or just like some kind of a dream, just to get something to get safe from the material world. But that doesn't mean their action is concrete. That is his point.

Prabhupāda: But we are not doing that. We are, in the material world, we are teaching Kṛṣṇa philosophy, practicing. All these young men, they are actually twenty-four hours' engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are different from them.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He thinks that the people in Western world, mostly now they take Indian religion, some religion or philosophy come from India, because the Christian philosophy has some defect.

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: And he says the religions that come from India are infinitely richer than the religion we know in the West. And we cannot see only one aspect. He says there is so many faces in Indian religions.

Prabhupāda: Yes. In... The idea of philosophy and religion, that is originated from India. There is no doubt about it. And that original idea of philosophy is practically demonstrated by Kṛṣṇa. The ideal, original ideal of religion and philosophy is preached by Kṛṣṇa. And all the ācāryas followed that.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He said that is the distinction between the dogmatic aspect between the Hindu religions and the Western religion.

Bhagavān: What is that?

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the Christian or the Western religion are marked by dogmatists, and they are very...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Pṛthu-putra: And they have imperialist conception.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Yogeśvara: He says that Western religions are narrow-minded, that they don't have the openness that the religions of the East have, in India for example. And that the West has this capitalist, imperialistic tendency which is also supported by its religion.

Prabhupāda: No. First... Therefore I asked what does he mean by religion.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says we can't say... His point is we can't say something. There is so many aspects of religion. There is the bhakti-yoga, by love and by heart. There is the karma-yoga, by action. There's jñāna-yoga, by knowledge. He says if in Western countries we propagate bhakti-yoga, we take the risk of using it, bhakti-yoga, like a drug or something like this, as if you are dreaming or something like that.

Prabhupāda: (laughing) Bhakti-yoga by drugs?

Pṛthu-putra: He says, he made the statement...

Prabhupāda: That is...

Pṛthu-putra: ...according to the state of the French people in right now, in this time.

Prabhupāda: But we do not prescribe drug. We ask them to give up drug. (laughter)

Karandhara: What he's questioning, Prabhupāda, is whether or not bhakti-yoga is suitable for everyone in every instance.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is the only yoga meant for the human being. Any other yoga system practice, they're against bhakti-yoga.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that bhakti-yoga's an escape.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Jyotirmayī: Bhakti-yoga brings to escaping one's responsibility.

Prabhupāda: Then he does not know what is bhakti-yoga. He does not know.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Arjuna did not escape. He was trying to escape, but by bhakti-yoga he was captured.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says the Bhagavad-gītā is a...

Jyotirmayī: He says it's a work which is very, very practical and rational.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So therefore that is real bhakti-yoga.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said that Anu-gītā is also a very practical work.

Prabhupāda: No Anu-gītā. Anu-gītā is also another rebellious condition. Bhakti, Bhagavad-gītā as it is. That is required.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that the great choice of scriptures from India allows us to choose like that. We can choose.

Prabhupāda: No, you can choose, but if you do not know how to choose, what is the meaning of your choosing?

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says he choose Ramakrishna. He choose all the seigneur...

Prabhupāda: But they, all of them...

Pṛthu-putra: He reject Aurobindo...

Prabhupāda: I understand. All of them, they make center Kṛṣṇa. So why not take Kṛṣṇa?

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Now, this Ramakrishna said, "I am the same Kṛṣṇa." So if we give respect to Ramakrishna because of his being the same Kṛṣṇa, why not go to the same Kṛṣṇa directly?

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says it's not the full conclusion. And he says he says he can take another way, and it excludes...

Prabhupāda: No, no. He...

Yogeśvara: ...Siddheshvarananda.

Pṛthu-putra: That's another teacher.

Prabhupāda: No, you cannot... If you are referring to Kṛṣṇa, if you are referring to Bhagavad-gītā, so why don't you take it originally? (break)

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, this is the answer, he says, from Ramakrishna. When you have a thorn in your foot, you take another thorn and you pluck it out, and afterwards, you throw them both away.

Prabhupāda: So Bhagavad-gītā does not say. Bhagavad-gītā says that "You surrender unto Me, and sustain this." Therefore he has misled. He did not understand what is Bhagavad-gītā, and he misled so many fools. That is his business. One thing is, Bhagavad-gītā says, Kṛṣṇa says, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. And Ramakrishna says that "You can accept any path." So this is against Bhagavad-gītā.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says of the two choices, he likes Ramakrishna's better.

Prabhupāda: That is his choice. But if he says that "I am the same Kṛṣṇa," why he should be different?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says to accommodate, to accommodate them.

Prabhupāda: No accommodation. No. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), and Ramakrishna says that "Whatever path you select, it is all right." So it is completely against Bhagavad-gītā principles. And, and he said... His name was Gadadhar Chatterjee. So at the time of his death, he declared to Vivekananda that "I am the same Kṛṣṇa, I am the same Rāma." So they believed in that, without any evidence, and they started this Ramakrishna mission. This is the history.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that he recognizes that, and he says it is one interpretation, as you have your interpretation, as there are many. He doesn't think that these interpretations are as important as the art of knowing how to live, which is, he thinks, the essence of all religion: how to live. He says the interpretation is not so...

Prabhupāda: But he thinks Ramakrishna lived very well than others?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: I think one... If I've understood, he's insisting on one point, that is that the public opinion is actually the most important thing, just as this Ramakrishna expressed the spirit of the Gītā in a way that was most popular, was most favorable to the public.

Prabhupāda: Who is that public? Amongst you, who accepts Ramakrishna?

Pṛthu-putra: He says as same as Gandhi. A different type, but at their time, at their own time...

Karandhara: Yeah, but Prabhupāda's questioning the presumption of this generalization. He said that a majority of the public have accepted Ramakrishna's comments on the Bhagavad-gītā, but what public? Where's the specifics of that generalization?

Bhagavān: He said..., and then Gandhi gave another interpretation that was...

Karandhara: Amongst the scholars and the true Vedic authorities in India, they don't accept Ramakrishna at all.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: It is difficult word to translate in English. He says at his time, Ramakrishna's was the expression of the mass of the people.

Prabhupāda: No.

Karandhara: What mass?

Prabhupāda: That is false.

Karandhara: Ramakrishna's popular in the West because of his skillful propaganda...

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that "Well, in a sense, we have to accept that Ramakrishna was expressing the sentiments of the public because he lived amongst the public."

Prabhupāda: No, that is his false understanding.

Karandhara: Still, that doesn't make it valid. Hitler..., Hitler lived amongst the public too, and he was a...

Prabhupāda: No, I'll give you example that mass of people in Jagannātha Purī, in Vṛndāvana, many thousands, ten thousand, twenty thousand people, every day come to worship Jagannātha, to worship Kṛṣṇa, but there is a Ramakrishna temple in Belur Math, or somewhere else—nobody goes. So how do you say the mass of people are attracted to Ramakrishna? And similarly, recently our foreign students went to Vṛndāvana, went to Navadvīpa, by thousand, but nobody goes to Ramakrishna Mission temple. Then other point: Ramakrishna Mission is working in the Western world almost one hundred years. Find out their disciples so many we have got. So your statement, "It is meant for the mass of people," it is false. I have given you proof from India and from here also. That means throughout the whole world. In India nobody cares for Ramakrishna. That I have given you proof. You go to Vṛndāvana. There nobody cares for Ramakrishna. You go to Jagannātha Purī, Haridwar, so many holy places. Nobody cares for Ramakrishna. So your idea that it is for the mass, it is false.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says he was talking about the time of Ramakrishna, when Ramakrishna was there...

Prabhupāda: That, everything, bubble comes and goes away. It is no meaning.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says numbers aren't really very important. It's like a...

Jyotirmayī: It's not a proof.

Yogeśvara: It's not a proof, just numbers.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Yogeśvara: He says: But that's not a proof, just to say that there are greater numbers.

Karandhara: He was trying to submit it as a proof just a minute ago.

Prabhupāda: Now, sometimes he is going this side, sometimes goes that side. Sometimes he says, "Mass of people," and again he says, "Not the number of people." What is mass of people? That is the number of people.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says, for example, he can see the mass of people in Italy, they are Catholic. But that doesn't mean he's going to be impressed by the Catholic philosophy.

Prabhupāda: Now..., now we have to... He was comparing that the mass of people, they take to Ramakrishna. That I have proved: they're not, the mass of people, not at all interested... That I have proved. That is my answer.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He said he was not saying that thousands of people were following Ramakrishna.

Prabhupāda: What is the mass of people mean?

Yogeśvara: He says Ramakrishna, whether he knew it or not, he was expressing a sentiment of the people at that time.

Prabhupāda: At that time. That is finished. So that is not permanent settlement. But Kṛṣṇa's..., Kṛṣṇa's, I mean to say, supremacy, at least for the last five thousand years, is intact. Now, he says Aurobindo, Gandhi, Ramakrishna. They're all gone. They came and gone. But Kṛṣṇa philosophy is truth, and it is standing, and it will go on standing.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says it's not the person important in this example; it's the idea they was expressing, all from five thousand years. The same idea was there.

Prabhupāda: Yes, same idea. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28): "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." That idea is accepted.

Karandhara: No, he's saying that Aurobindo and Ramakrishna expressed that same idea in contemporary language in their own time.

Prabhupāda: So that existed temporarily. Now it is gone. And that will not appeal.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: In other words, what he's suggesting is that that's not actually an argument, because the important thing is that there were times, at different times, different people have come and have attempted or have actually represented the public sentiment. They have become the epitome or resume, a synthesis of the public sentiment at a particular period. In other words, he's saying the great reform..., the great preachers, they've always been representatives of people; instead of being representatives of Kṛṣṇa, or God, they've been the representatives of the people.

Prabhupāda: The people's representative is different from God's representative.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that "Well, that's a belief. You have to believe that." He said that's only a belief.

Prabhupāda: No, people change according to the time, circumstances, they change. Their opinion has no value. We don't give any value to the people's opinion. We give value to the Supreme Being's opinion.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that that's dangerous, because then we run the risk of having people who say, "Well, I represent the word of God. I can give you the true interpretation of the word of God," and they're actually only interested personal, private interest.

Prabhupāda: No, if... If people... Not all. If there is actually opinion of God, if one man says the same opinion, then how others can say that "You all not giving God's opinion"? God said, Kṛṣṇa said, that "You surrender to Me," and if I say that "You surrender to God," then how I am deviating from God's instruction?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: In other words, what you're saying is that, in essence, we must stick to the words of God without interpreting. (aside:) Is that what he said?

Prabhupāda: That's it. That's it. That we want.

Bhagavān: (to translators:) You should repeat your point that you make sure he understands.

Prabhupāda: If you interpret, then the God's authority is denied.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says there is some deviation, some interpretation by some philosophers or sages. They deviate...

Prabhupāda: One who deviates is not a sage; he's a thief.

Pṛthu-putra: Yeah, it's what he says. I'm just translating his words.

Prabhupāda: No, if he deviates from the words of God, then he is not a sage.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, well, the thing that he appreciates in Hinduism is its openness and its tolerance to so many different paths and so many different interpretations.

Prabhupāda: That is another thing. But to abide by the orders of God, that is another thing.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says then we've made the full turn again. We've come back to the beginning.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He said so we've actually come back to the beginning of our discussion again, which is that real religion has to be judged by the actions of men.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that you can judge. Here is the action of the men. Now the young men and boys and girls are taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And who is taking to Ramakrishna?

Roger Maria: (French with devotees)

Bhagavān: So he is a man of action, and here we have a movement of action which is solving all problems of the world. What's his complaint? It's not a dream. It's actually by following this movement, we're solving all problems. So what does he have to say? If he follows exactly what Kṛṣṇa says, then all the problems will be solved. So why doesn't he follow what Kṛṣṇa says?

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He received information.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Pṛthu-putra: He received information that to follow, with some interest, that to follow what Kṛṣṇa says and like that, we can solve problems.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: And personally, he respects you.

Prabhupāda: Thank you. That's all right. But thing is that we must know that he has spoken about Ramakrishna and Aurobindo. They also center their propaganda on Kṛṣṇa. Just like I already told, Ramakrishna said, "I am the same Kṛṣṇa." That means he takes to Kṛṣṇa. Aurobindo, he has written Life Divine. That is his explanation of Bhagavad-gītā. He takes to Kṛṣṇa. This Maharishi, he has also presented Bhagavad-gītā; he's taken to Kṛṣṇa. So their importance is by taking to Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, they are valueless, nobody.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says that for him, that's not really a problem. He says rather than referring to the person Kṛṣṇa, he just goes directly to the teaching of the Gītā, and he profits from that.

Prabhupāda: No, teachings of Bhagavad-gītā means Kṛṣṇa. That is the folly of the so-called scholars. They want to study Bhagavad-gītā without Kṛṣṇa. Just like one wants to play Hamlet without Hamlet.

Roger Maria: (French, mentions Śaṅkara)

Prabhupāda: Śaṅkara has accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Does he know that, that Śaṅkara has accepted Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: So his point is that, well, ultimately the..., now what is going to happen, he says, is we're going to get into a discussion about whether or not the Supreme is a person or impersonal, and he says he doesn't really have the time to get into that.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Then? What did he...? Why he come here? What for?

Yogeśvara: We invited him. (laughter)

Roger Maria: (French)

Devotee: Well, at the end of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66).

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: He says, "Give up all this religiousness and surrender to Me." The whole purport of the Bhagavad-gītā. He's telling Arjuna to fight, but ultimately, in the end, He's saying, "Just forget about all these ideas you have in your head, and surrender to Me."

Prabhupāda: Yes, Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: "Me" means Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: Right.

Prabhupāda: So then Kṛṣṇa is everything.

Devotee: Mām ekam.

Prabhupāda: Yes, mām ekam, "only to Me." So anyone who has studied Bhagavad-gītā rightly, he'll do that, surrender to Kṛṣṇa.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says he accepts that as being... He says that's an opinion, just like there are many other opinions.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Yogeśvara: He says that is an opinion, just as there are so many other opinions.

Prabhupāda: But this opinion is followed by all the ācāryas.

Bhagavān: This is Kṛṣṇa's opinion.

Prabhupāda: India's culture, India's culture depends on the ācāryas. Just like Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Śaṅkarācārya, Nimbārka, Viṣṇu Svāmī, like that. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, ācāryopāsanam. So India's culture is still, up to date, it is followed by the ācāryas. Anyone you'll find in India who claims to become a Hindu, he must have followed the ācārya. So all the ācārya accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Roger Maria: (French)

Pṛthu-putra: He says all the Christian and all the priest, that they tell to him from..., that from two thousand years, the truth is in the Evangel. But still, he says no.

Yogeśvara: Just like we're saying that all the ācāryas have accepted Kṛṣṇa, he says so also in the Christian religion, all the priests and all the Christians have said that Christ is the ultimate, as it is said in the Evangel.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Yes, we have several times explained that Christ says that he is the son of God. So we don't deny it.

Karandhara: The point he's making, Prabhupāda, is that...

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Karandhara: What he's saying is that outwardly, they all profess allegiance to Jesus, but they..., it's seen that they disagree with one another on many points. They have diversified opinions about what Jesus meant about this and what does life signify.

Yogeśvara: And therefore, for him, he doesn't even consider that question, whether Christ is the son of God, whether he's not the son of God. For him, it's a secondary problem.

Prabhupāda: Now..., now, what is his problem? That he did never disclose.

Yogeśvara: Well, he says the problem is the art of living, what is the best way to live.

Prabhupāda: So he has got his opinion; I have got my own opinion. How we'll agree? We say that you remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, everything will be solved. Does he agree?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says, "No, absolutely not. Just like I don't accept the existence..."

Prabhupāda: Then why shall I agree to his point?

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: So...

Yogeśvara: So he says, "So I have to leave now. But the last thing I'd like to say is that I reject that conclusion, just like I reject also the Christian conclusion that the truth is in the Evangel. But," he says, "that doesn't impede me, that doesn't stop me from working very nicely with some of my best friends who are Christians when it comes down to practical work."

Prabhupāda: No, what is his opinion? That he never disclosed.

Roger Maria: (French)

Bhagavān: But what practical thing is he doing?

Pṛthu-putra: What he says, what he says... He's not Christian. He's actually, he's atheist and he's materialist. But he says he guides the people to read the Bhagavad-gītā because he says in Bhagavad-gītā there's something more than in the Evangel.

Prabhupāda: So we say also same thing. So where is the disagreement?

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: He says that in his political work, he teaches sometimes Bhagavad-gītā, and people are very, very interested.

Yogeśvara: He says he is the only Communist to suggest to people that they read the Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: No, we recommend everyone to read Bhagavad-gītā.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Jyotirmayī: He says that when he explains Bhagavad-gītā or presents Bhagavad-gītā to people, he doesn't tell them that "This is the word of God, and you just have to accept it."

Prabhupāda: That means he has not studied himself Bhagavad-gītā. That means he has not studied Bhagavad-gītā.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: So he says that he thinks the same about us, that we are also not understanding perfectly Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: Then let him understand from us.

Yogeśvara: No, he says he thinks that we don't understand.

Bhagavān: (simultaneously with Yogeśvara) He thinks that we don't understand.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Yogeśvara: He says that he thinks that we have not perfectly understood.

Prabhupāda: So let us discuss who understands—you or me. So who will decide? You are understanding or I am understanding—who'll decide?

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Who will decide it?

Bhagavān: So if he is a man of action, let us see. He has got his philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā. We have got our philosophy. Let us see by the results whose action is doing things. We have no political problem, we have no economic problem, we have no social problem. What more action does he want?

Prabhupāda: Religious problem—any problem.

Bhagavān: No problem. So what does that indicate? And you have all problems.

Roger Maria: (French with devotees)

Prabhupāda: Now, this question... Listen. Our Bhagavān dāsa says that he has no problem. We have no problem. And you have got all problems. So who is better? Who is better?

Bhagavān: And anyone who joins us loses all his problems.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says then that's very serious, because if you have no problems, that means you are trying to escape from the world, because there world is full of problems.

Prabhupāda: We are in the Paris City. How we have escaped from the world? (laughter) We have got branches in London, in Paris, in New York and big, big cities, and all these boys are coming from big, big cities. How they have escaped? It is not justice. If you says that "They have escaped," that is wrong statement. We are not escaping anything.

Roger Maria: (French)

Bhagavān: What kind of proof are you looking for? Let's talk about proof. What kind of proof are you looking for?

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Now, another point is, he's accusing us that we're escaping. Why he's escaping Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: He says he thinks that what we're doing is simply a kind of medicine that doesn't actually resolve the problems that people are facing.

Prabhupāda: If it is not result, then how this boy says, "We have no problem"? The patient says that he has cured, and you say that it is not curing?

Roger Maria: (French)

Bhagavān: (to translators) So repeat to Prabhupāda what he said.

Roger Maria: (French)

Bhagavān: We have proof that anyone from any part of the world who takes to this process loses his problems. It's not a matter of Western or Eastern.

Roger Maria: (French)

Yogeśvara: With your permission, he would like to take leave.

Prabhupāda: Why? He should stay with us. Let us conclude. Why you are flying away? We have started one discussion. Let it be finished. Why you are going away?

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: That means he is escaping.

Yogeśvara: He says because he works in the evenings. He's a theater critic.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. Some way or other, he's escaping.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: A man...

Yogeśvara: With pleasure, he would like to come back to finish the discussion.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Roger Maria: (French)

Jyotirmayī: And with friendship.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Oh, yes. That's it. Don't escape.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: When we have begun the discussion, let us finish. Don't escape.

Roger Maria: (French)

Prabhupāda: Thank you. Haribol. Jaya. Thank you.

Bhagavān: Make sure he has some more prasādam before he goes.

Jyotirmayī: I'll bring it. (guest leaves)

Prabhupāda: (aside:) Hmm, open.

Paramahaṁsa: (to devotees outside room) ...Prabhupāda is very tired. He's just finished a long evening.

Prabhupāda: So when there is discussion, you should all be present. It is very interesting. Those who are our men, GBC men, they must know.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: They come in like Keśī demon, and they go out with prasādam in their mouth. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: They are escaping. We are not escaping. We want to capture everyone. (laughter) He has no clear idea what is the aim of life.

Yogeśvara: He likes to see people engaged in work that is humanitarian, that will resolve the problems of the world.

Prabhupāda: That everyone says. All rascals says like that, "humanitarian." He does not know what is humanitarian. And then killing one capitalist or Communist and this and that. Sophistry. Fascist and Communist. This is their humanitarian work.

Devotee: He's like one of these rascals who translates the Bhagavad-gītā in a certain way, like saying the five Pāṇḍavas are the five senses, and the battlefield is the body.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: And here we're having a fight with the body, but he doesn't accept that Kṛṣṇa is...

Prabhupāda: Their only business is to escape Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: They're trying to interpret that Kṛṣṇa is just our own intelligence or...

Bhagavān: The point is even when they see the practical proof, they don't accept it. They're so stubborn.

Prabhupāda: You be strong. Don't be... They cannot conquer us. But you be more strong. (end)