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720809 - Conversation - London

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

720809R1-LONDON - August 09, 1972 - 14:41 Minutes

Prabhupāda: . . . instructed, people must know. Then morality, spiritual education, will develop. But if the basic principle is wrong, then everything you have built upon it is wrong. But at the present moment the basic principle of knowledge is this ignorance, that everyone is thinking, "I am this body." "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Englishman."

Guest: Hmm. Hmm. Sectionalism.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So this . . . first of all one should know that I am neither American nor Englishman nor Indian. I am spirit soul. Then further education can be possible. So we teach from the Bhagavad-gītā this principle first, the basic principle of spiritual education, to understand that one is not this body, he is different from the . . . actually, everyone can experience if he is a little intelligent. Just like dead man: a dead man is lying, and his relatives crying, "Oh, my father is gone, father is gone, father is gone . . ."

So from argumentative point of view I can say: "Why you are crying? Your father is lying here." "No, no, my father is gone." Then you have not seen your father. You have seen this body. So this body is not your father. You have to admit. Therefore, the person whom you saw, the body, that was all based on ignorance. That is going on.

Guest: Even Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of Christian Science) got on to this one when she said: "Man is not material; he is spiritual." Even she found that out.

Prabhupāda: He's spiritual.

Guest (2): It was not very original, after all.

Guest: It wasn't. I mean, none of these things are. They have all been said before.

Prabhupāda: So we are, first of all, trying to educate people that, "You are not this body."

Guest: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: When you understand this principle, that he is not body, then further education on spiritual will begin.

Guest: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: Otherwise, if I am under the concept of this body, then whole structure is wrong. Everything is wrong. The basic principle is wrong.

Guest: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Just like if I wanted to do some good to you, and I take your shirt or coat and cleanse it very nicely, and you are hungry, I don't give you any food, is that service? Simply by cleansing the coat? You are not this coat or shirt. You are different from the coat and the shirt. I don't care for you, but I take care of your shirt and coat, is that very good service? Intelligent service? Suppose a man is fallen in the water.

One man says: "I will save him," and he jumps in and takes out his coat and shirt and comes out, "I have saved this man." Is that saving? So the whole world is going on to save the coat and shirt, that's all. They do not know what is within the coat and shirt, and they are taking pride, "Oh, I have saved. Here is the coat and shirt." The whole basic principle is wrong.

Guest: Of course. Hmm.

Prabhupāda: So unless one understands that he is not this coat and shirt, he is beyond this, there is no question of spiritual education or advancement of knowledge. It is all false.

Guest: The basis of spiritual education is certainly that man should see himself not as matter but as, as spirit . . . I would entirely agree with you . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is required. That is at the present moment required, because the whole world is going on under this wrong impression.

Guest: Is there not a danger, though, in giving young people the idea that . . .

Prabhupāda: This idea . . .

Guest: . . . there is too much emphasis on personalization of God . . .

Prabhupāda: No . . .

Guest: . . . in the pictures of . . .

Prabhupāda: . . . no question of God in the beginning. We don't say about God. First of all you try to understand yourself, that you are not this body. We shall talk about God later on. We don't talk about God. Try to understand what you are. Are you this body, or something beyond this body? Then God understanding is far off; not in the beginning.

Guest: I think what I am getting at is when young people in the West see a picture such as that, or a . . .

Prabhupāda: But apart from this picture . . .

Guest: They get an association . . .

Prabhupāda: Apart from this, sir, when you talk of philosophy, you don't accept this picture. That's it. This is our ultimate. But in the beginning we speak of this philosophy, that you are not this body, and anything you have constructed on the concept of this body will be failure, because it is temporary. The body is temporary, therefore whatever you construct on this bodily concept of life, they are temporary. Antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ (BG 2.18). This is the . . . this body is destructible, but the soul within the body, that is eternal.

Guest: Well, that is the basis of all philosophy . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: . . . and cannot be refuted.

Prabhupāda: Antavanta ime . . .

Guest (2): You see it as another West. Do you see my concern that a lot of young people . . .

Prabhupāda: (aside) Read it.

Devotee: Antavanta ime . . .

Guest: . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Just hear. Just hear this.

Guest: (indistinct) . . . understanding of the movement . . .

Devotee: This is the verse, "Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary."

Prabhupāda: Antavanta ime dehā.

Devotee: Oh.


antavanta ime dehā
nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ
(BG 2.18)

(to devotee) First of all hear, and then open.

Guest (3): (indistinct) . . . papers the initial impact, in the best tradition of the advertising world because in terms of the product . . . first, first its very . . . (indistinct) . . . it has interest, and the second thing about the product, it leaves you into loop of it. So in this version . . . (break)

Devotee: "Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore fight, O descendant of Bharata."

Prabhupāda: This is destructible. But the principle within this body, that is not destructible.

antavanta ime dehā
nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ
(BG 2.18)

This Bhagavad-gītā is the first book of spiritual understanding. Apart from understanding of God, that is different. First of all, let everyone understand this principle, that he is not this body. Then others, understanding, will follow easily. Otherwise it is entangled. Mixing.

Guest: When it comes to studying the Bhagavad-gītā, this is within the scope of your acolytes who have got the time and the stimulus to do this.

Prabhupāda: Yes, everyone is reading.

Guest: But, ah . . .

Prabhupāda: We have got class, daily. Daily.

Guest: And how you are able to reach a wider public with these ideas in a more condensed form? Are you . . .

Prabhupāda: He is opening schools. Bhagavad-gītā, we shall send so many teachers. That is not difficult. We are not getting support, sufficient; otherwise we can help everyone. As soon as you talk of Bhagavad-gītā, they take it, "Oh, it is some Hindu God." Like that. Reject it. Biased. What can be done? But actually this is the knowledge. Everyone is standing on a false platform, and they are passing on as philosopher, scientist. But the platform is false, basically.

Revatīnandana: So far the young people go, the minute we can get to them, they are immediately very interested.

Guest: Hmm.

Revatīnandana: They like to know what is in this Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: The other day we went to see a school . . .

Guest: Yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: The small children, oh, they inquired very diligently. What about the questions they said?

Guest: Hmm.

Devotee: They were asking questions, ah, that, ah . . . this is young children, ten, eight, thirteen, fourteen, seventeen, ah . . .

Prabhupāda: Within twelve years. They were all young, very young.

Devotee: The ask questions like, "If the human being is the most advanced species of life, then why is it that the human culture is in so much trouble, confused, whereas the animals, or lesser species, are living in peace?"

Prabhupāda: Very intelligent question.

Devotee: All, every question was . . .

Prabhupāda: That means the whole human civilization is challenged, that we have advanced human civilization, but we are less than animal. We cannot live even peacefully.

Devotee: After the program . . .

Prabhupāda: This is a very nice question.

Guest (3): The answer is, we have much to learn from animals. (laughs)

Prabhupāda: No, we take animals lower than human being. But what you have done better than the animals? This is the question. We claim that we are master of the animals, but you are less than animal. How one who is less than animal, he can master over the animal?

Guest: Well, there is a lot of talk of ecology, isn't it, these days, and pollution, but I think we haven't realized the wider interpretation of these terms . . .

Prabhupāda: Now, the thing is that time is now ripe when actual spiritual education should be given. If not to all . . . spiritual education is not meant for all. Just like, according to Bhagavad-gītā and our Vedic civilization, there are four classes of men: the brāhmin, the kṣatriya, the vaiśya and the śūdra. The brāhmin means the most intellectual person—morally, spiritually and everything, scientifically, philosophically. That is a class. Next class the politicians, administrators, taking charge of the state, how to protect you. Ah, kṣatriya.

Kṣatriya means one who defends you from being hurt. Enemy is coming to hurt you, and king is giving you protection. They are called kṣatriyas. This is the meaning of kṣatriya. Brāhmin means one who knows the Absolute Truth. This brāhmin, kṣatriya and the vaiśya. Vaiśya means productive, pounds-shillings-pence. Because they are mercantile class. And śūdra, ordinary worker.

So this education . . . now these four classes of men should cooperate. Just like in my body there is brain, there is hand, there is belly and there is leg. Importance of leg is not so serious as the head. The importance of hand is not so serious as the head. You can cut your hand, you live. But if I cut your head, then you cannot live. But when we cooperate, the head is as important as the leg. If there is no leg, simply head, then you are imperfect.

The four classes of men are there by nature. They should cooperate. But at the present moment the intellectual class of men, they are spoiling their energy in a different way. Therefore they should be . . . (break) (end)