730805 - Conversation - London

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

730805R2-LONDON - August 04, 1973 - 129:15 Minutes

(Conversation with Professor Lewcock from Cambridge University and Others)

Revatīnandana: So this is our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. This is Professor Ronald Lewcock from Cambridge University, and I don't… (break) name.

Professor Lewcock: …Sanzoni, from Ceylon.

Prabhupāda: Ceylon.

Professor Lewcock: Sri Lanka.

Prabhupāda: So you are also teacher here?

Professor Lewcock: No, (indistinct) working with the...

Prabhupāda: So you want chair?

Professor Lewcock: No, I'm very happy, honestly. Thank you.

Prabhupāda: And this girl?

Haṁsadūta: This girl is Vṛndā-devī—she's Śivānanda's wife.

Prabhupāda: Oh! She has come…

Haṁsadūta: From Germany, from Hamburg.

Prabhupāda: Ah. So they are not living together?

Haṁsadūta: No.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) You don't like Śivānanda? (laughter) He is nice boy. He is a very good boy.

Vṛndā-devī: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Yes. I think you are also initiated?

Vṛndā-devī: I have been initiated since (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: So Śivānanda is very nice boy. You live peacefully and preach this cult. Heh?

Vṛndā-devī: And pray to (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: What is that problem? Live husband and wife together. That's all. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And so far I know, he is one of my best students—Śivānanda. Very sincere boy, very devoted. I think you are fortunate to have such devotee husband. You should not neglect.

dam-pate kalahe caiva
bambhārambhe laghu-kriyā
(Cāṇakya Paṇḍita)

According to Vedic civilization, when there is some disagreement between husband and wife, it is not taken very seriously. Professor…?

Professor Lewcock: Lewcock.

Prabhupāda: Lewcar.

Professor Lewcock: Lewcock.

Prabhupāda: What is spelling?

Revatīnandana: L-e-w-c-o-c-k.

Prabhupāda: (aside:) So you want to close this?

So you have known something of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement?

Professor Lewcock: Yes. Yes.

Prabhupāda: You have seen our books?

Professor Lewcock: Yes, I have indeed.

Prabhupāda: Which book you have read?

Professor Lewcock: The Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: As It Is.

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So Bhagavad-gītā is accepted as preliminary study for understanding God. What is your opinion?

Professor Lewcock: True.

Prabhupāda: What is your opinion?

Professor Lewcock: Oh, I am quite sure that it is a remarkable book full of many truths. May I ask you a question?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Professor Lewcock: As I understand it, the…, one of the beliefs is that the senses mislead human beings, and that... Is that incorrect?

Revatīnandana: (explaining the question) The senses mislead human beings. That is… One of the beliefs of the Gītā, he understands, is that the senses mislead human beings.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Professor Lewcock: And that in order to find God one has to objurgate the senses.

Prabhupāda: No. One has to purify.

Professor Lewcock: Ah.

Prabhupāda: Because just like in my life I have never smoked. I never. So... I am giving an example. And somebody smokes. So smoking is not necessary, but somebody smokes; somebody does not. How it is? It is due to association. If I mix with smokers' association, then gradually I learn how to smoke. Similarly, if I mix with devotees' association, then I become gradually devotee.

Professor Lewcock: Yes, that's true.

Prabhupāda: So the sense is the same, but due to association it becomes polluted. So again by association it can be purified. But you cannot stop the senses. That is the prohibition. Senses will remain, but for understanding what is God, we have to purify the senses.

Professor Lewcock: Mrs. Sanzoni is an artist, and I am an architect by training, and so we both of us work with the senses, and we deal with the sense of vision. Do you consider that that is a handicap in any way, that the concentration that we have to put into our vision, into the study of responses to vision, sensual responses to vision and color, can be a handicap to…?

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Revatīnandana: The question is that both Professor Lewcock and Mrs. Sanzoni—he is an architect…

Prabhupāda: Mrs. Sanzoni… She is…?

Revatīnandana: She is an artist.

Prabhupāda: Artist.

Revatīnandana: So they both have to utilize their senses, their eyes, etc., for their work all the time. Is that a handicap for spiritual advancement?

Prabhupāda: No. That also can be puri... Just like Mrs. Sanjiva (sic) is an artist, so she can paint Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The same art, artistic sense—just like all these pictures, they have been done by my students. Yes. All these pictures, any pictures we have got. So they are not accustomed to do this. They were painting some hippy ideas, some bamboos(?), like that.

Later on, when they are instructed that "You paint this idea," they painted very nice. People are astonished that how European, American boys, they have painted such nice picture.

So that is the process of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga means,

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
(CC Madhya 19.170)

The bhakti, devotional…, bhakti-yoga means sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ—one has to first of all forget that he is such and such, such and such: "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Ceylonese," "I am German." No. I am pure soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. When one is situated in that spiritual platform, "I am not this body; I am spirit soul," that is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā.

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. How to understand that I am spirit soul? People generally, they are in the bodily concept of life. Just like you say that Mrs. Such-and-such, he's Ceylonese. "Ceylonese" means this body. You are Englishman means this body. So just like she has got this white dress, you have got this black-colored dress, so this is not very serious consideration.

Similarly, this body has no serious consideration. Unfortunately, at the modern education the body is given more consideration. And they are fighting—"I am German," "I am Englishman," "I am Indian," "I am Ceylonese," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am..." So for God-realization one has to first of all sacrifice this bodily concept of life.

Professor Lewcock: It is really that question of sacrifice that I was interested in. To what extent is it necessary to sacrifice the senses to find spiritual advancement?

Prabhupāda: Sacrifice means to understand really what you are. If you are wrongly thinking that you are coat—so what extent? Unless you forget that you are not coat—up to that extent. Not that fifty percent I have now understood. No. You have to forget that… Actually you are not coat, so you have to forget it—to that extent. Because I am not actually this coat, so why should I consider that I am this coat and this shirt? This is covering of my body.

So I have got my spiritual body, and mind, intelligence, ego is the subtle covering, and earth, water, air, fire, sky, the gross body. That is gross…, two coverings. So when one dies, that means the outward gross covering is given up, but the soul is within the subtle covering—mind, intelligence. Therefore according to the mind's situation, the mind, intelligence carries the soul to another gross body. That is called transmigration of the soul.

Professor Lewcock: But this occupation, preoccupation with the sensory things, is not in itself something which is going to stop the advancement of the soul.

Prabhupāda: Yes. If you become too much engrossed with the occupation of the senses, that is material state.

Professor Lewcock: Can that withhold advancement, can prevent advancement?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Revatīnandana: (explaining question) Can that kind of material use of the senses, can it be an impediment to advancement, then?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Certainly. Therefore we have to purify. Just like this hearing: if you hear something material activities, then you get one kind of information. Similarly, if you hear about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is another information. The senses used for the purpose, you get different types of knowledge. So in order to receive spiritual knowledge we have to stop the material activities and turn our activity to the spiritual side; then gradually we will understand.

Professor Lewcock: To what extent does bhakti embrace only love of Kṛṣṇa? To what extent does it embrace love of other human beings, of other people living on the material state?

Prabhupāda: If you love Kṛṣṇa, then you can love human being very perfectly. But you are talking of human being, but why you are not talking of other beings?

Professor Lewcock: Yes. Hmm.

Prabhupāda: The living entities, they are not only limited with the human beings. The living entities, there are forms—8,400,000. Out of that, human being is about 400,000. The major portion of the living entities, there are 8,000,000's, 8,000,000's. But because we have no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, therefore we are rejecting this 8,000,000's and taking consideration only 400,000. This is due to lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One who is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he will not take to the 400,000.

He will take 8,400,000, because all living entities are part and parcel of God. Just like you are, English man, she is Ceylonese, she is German, but we are all human beings. Similarly, there may be living entities in different dress—somebody as tree, somebody as fish, somebody as cat, somebody as dog, somebody as king, somebody as demigod, somebody as human being—but all of them are living entities in different dresses only. So if you are eager to do something well to the living entities, why you should limit yourself to the human being? That is my first question.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. I agree with that. I certainly agree. But does bhakti embrace the love of…

Prabhupāda: All living entities. Bhakti embraces all living entities. That is the advantage of bhakti-yoga. His vision is not imperfect. Therefore this question about human being, why you are interested with the human being only? That is my question. Why not other living entities, other living beings? Why? This is imperfect knowledge.

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Limited. Imperfect knowledge. And because you have got imperfect knowledge, therefore there is confusion. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means one has to accept all living entities, because all living entities are part and parcel of God. So if you want to do harm to a vegetable, you have to consider. But because they have got imperfect knowledge, they are taking consideration of a few living entities, limited, within his circle, and others are neglected and they are ill-treated. And therefore they are accumulating sinful life, and therefore they are suffering.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. Do you have a concept of sin as such?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are prohibiting four sinful pillars—no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication. These are sinful life.

Professor Lewcock: I see. And suffering is a sin…

Prabhupāda: Yes. As soon as you become… Because just like if you break law, then you are punished. Even if you eat a little more than your capacity, immediately there is indigestion, diarrhea. So you cannot break the law, strict laws of material nature. If you break, that is sinful and you will be punished. This is sinful and pious. If you go exactly according to the laws of nature, then it is pious. If you break, then you are sinful. This is not difficult to understand.

Professor Lewcock: No. Not at all. But to what extent would doubt be regarded as a sin, or an element in sin?

Haṁsadūta: (explaining) What is doubt, he wants to know.

Prabhupāda: Doubt is good, provided if you make progress. But if you stick to the own principle, and doubt there is, that is not good. When there is doubt, then you go to a person who can mitigate your doubt and explain. Yes. But if you stick to your own understanding, tradition, then doubt is not very beneficial. It sets you back. You cannot make progress. So as soon as there is doubt, you go to a person who can explain about your doubt. That is the Vedic injunction.

tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥśrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
(MU 1.2.12)

This is the Vedic instruction. Doubt is good; it is the sign of making progress. But if you stick to your original idea, then doubt is setback: "Why I shall accept this? I have got my own tradition. I have got my own religion. I have got my own faith." Then he is doomed. Doubt is very good if you make progress, but if you stick to your own principle, then it is degraded.

Vṛndā-devī: May I ask something?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Vṛndā-devī: When you going off somewhere. Because you have doubts, how do you know you can trust them?

Prabhupāda: Suppose if you are in need of a medical practitioner. How do you go to your medical practitioner? How do you go? Suppose you are diseased; you have to take advice of a physician. How do you go to your physician?

Vṛndā-devī: Well, we have to trust someone (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: What is that? What she says?

Haṁsadūta: She says you have to trust someone.

Prabhupāda: Just see. You have to trust somebody. You have to see the circumstances, that "Here is a physician. He is treating some men, and there are so many patients, and he has got a medical degree." That's all. Otherwise, how you can understand? If you see one man, Dr. Such-and-such, medical practitioner, and actually you see that some patients are there and he is giving medicine, and you can enquire also whether they are being cured—so these are the external features. With this you have to select. But the injunction is when you are diseased, you must go to a physician to consult. Similarly, when there is doubt you must go to a guru.

Now who is a guru, the definition is there. Just like who is a medical practitioner, the definition is there. The medical practitioner must be a passed medical man; he has passed in his medical examination—that is his qualification—and he is actually working in some hospital. Then you see, "Yes. Here is a medical practitioner." Similarly, the Vedic injunction is: to clear your doubts you must go to a guru. Who is a guru? Brahma-niṣṭham: he is fully convinced in the Absolute Truth. That's all. Or one who is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is guru. So you have to begin that "Here is a man; he is talking only of Kṛṣṇa consciousness," then he may be accepted.

There may be pseudo, but that is your fortune. Just like you have to go to a physician, but if the man is a pseudo, fraud, that is your misfortune. But God is in everyone's heart. He leads. If you are actually sincere and serious, He will take you to the real guru. That is God's grace. Guru-kṛṣṇa-krpaya pāya (CC Madhya 19.151). So Kṛṣṇa is also working. He is seeing how much you are sincere. If you are serious, then He will lead you: "Here is a person, (indistinct)."

Mrs. Sanzoni: May I ask what is a good exercise against cynicism? Even though sometimes, when people have been betrayed by others, they become cynical and untrustworthy. What is a good exercise?

Prabhupāda: Good exercise?

Revatīnandana: (explaining question) What is a good exercise against cynicism? If you have been cheated by others, you may become cynical. And what is some remedy for cynicism?

Prabhupāda: I am not expert in that science. I am sorry, I cannot give you advice. I am not cynicism. I have got business with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Professor Lewcock: But I think you have already answered that, in a sense, by saying that anybody who has doubts has to find a guru to answer those doubts.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that is clear. But I am not expert in cynicism. (chuckles) That is... The doubt is already cleared. You cannot make any man as dictionary: whatever you like, you question, and he'll answer. That is not possible. One has got his own line. So if you ask question on that line, that is bona fide.

Professor Lewcock: Is it true, master, that when one met a guru who was right for one, one would know it in one's heart? Like a sign, a sign of certainty that one has found a guru who was giving advice that is right, a teaching that is right for that person?

Prabhupāda: Yes. First of all. Guru means tad viddhi praṇipātena. You have to find out a guru where you can surrender. That is the first business—praṇipātena. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). You have to find out somebody where you can surrender. That is the first business. So then, paripraśa: asking questions. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena.

(aside:) Find out that verse.

But our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice that it is remedy for all kinds of doubt. Now your question... What is your actual question?

Revatīnandana: "What is the remedy for cynicism, when one becomes cynical?"

Prabhupāda: We shall say "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." That is not bluff; that is fact. Bhavauṣadhi. There are many diseases in this material world, but this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is suggested by Parīkṣit Mahārāja, nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād bhavauṣadhi (SB 10.1.4): the panacea for all kinds of diseases. Now if the question is made in full surrender, then it will be effective.

And if you ask some question and think, "If I like, I shall accept it; otherwise I'll reject," so that personal question has no value. Therefore the first business is whether you are questioning after full surrender: "Yes, whatever answer will come from him, I shall accept." Then it is genuine question. And if you want to amend and verify it for your understanding, that is not genuine question. Is it?

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So therefore the first thing is praṇipāta. Tad viddhi praṇipātena. You should question to a person where you have fully surrendered: "Yes. Whatever answer you will give, I will accept." Then that question is bona fide. If you again put it in your own test, "Oh, this is not to my liking," then why did you question it? That is un–bona fide questioning. Therefore the question-answer is allowed only between disciple and guru, not with outsiders. That is the actual position. Because outsider, they will question and waste time. They will not accept the answer. But the process is you shall question to a person where you have surrendered. That is the first.

Samit-pāṇi śrotrīyaṁ brahma-niṣṭam (MU 1.2.12). Samit-pāṇi means folded hands, yes: "Sir, I have got this doubt." This is surrender. "If you kindly answer it." And that also should be there. Praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34)—surrender and sevayā. So there is some process. But if we simply question whimsically and take some answer and do not follow—simply waste of my time, your time and everything, that's all. You should be prepared to take the answer and take it seriously, then you should question; otherwise don't waste your time. That is the process.

So our answer is bhavauṣadhi. By chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, everything—ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12)—everything becomes clear. That is the cha… This is the medicine, that a clear's all doubts: ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ (CC Antya 20.12). And soon as all doubts are cleared, the blazing fire of material existence is extinguished. Just like the physician: unless you know that "Whatever medicine the physician will give, I will accept," then what is the use of going there? When the physician prescribes something, and if you say, "No, I don't like this," (laughter) then what is the use of going there? Therefore the first is that "I am going to this physician. Whatever prescription he will give, I will accept." Then you can go to the physician.

The material life is cynicism. Everyone is cynical.
piśācī pāile yena mati-cchanna haya
māyā-grasta jīvera haya se bhāva udaya

Anyone who is under the condition of this material nature is cynical, but he has forgotten his real identity. Just like a mad, crazy fellow who forgets what he is. He is even asking, rebuking his father, "What, you nonsense, who are you? Why you are standing here?" He forgets even the father. Piśācī—ghostly-haunted, as one forgets the identity. So every one of us who has forget the identity and is thinking that I am this body is cynical, more or less. So anyone who is identifying with this body is cynical. So this man or that man or… There is no question of this man or that—everyone. Therefore the prescription is given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and everything will be gradually cleared.

So you can take this medicine and try it. (to lady guest:) You are asking for your case or for somebody else? So anyone can take. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). What is that? Tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34)?


tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
(BG 4.34)

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."

Prabhupāda: So these are the condition—submissive; not to examine him. Therefore everywhere you go, just like if you go to a physician you must go there submissive, not on certain conditions.


In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find all the answers. Here is the process how one should approach. So first thing is submissive.

Professor Lewcock: But, master, you said a little earlier that doubts were good things, because they…

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is a good thing. A good thing. Just like doubt whether there is some medicine or not. But when the medicine is given, if you accept it, then it is good. If you don't accept it, then you have wasted your time.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. So the doubts are a way of communicating, of creating communication between...

Prabhupāda: It is a via media—for progress or regress.


Lady Guest: Can I ask a question? (indistinct) I couldn't really understand the answer. When God creates something, you're teaching that He created these two energies, the spiritual energy and the material energy, and that in the material energy there is illusion, also imperfect. I can't really understand that, because when you say it's imperfect, but how can something imperfect be created (indistinct) illusion?

Haṁsadūta: (explaining) How can God create something which is imperfect?

Lady Guest: It's not criticism; it's...

Haṁsadūta: We're saying the material world is imperfect, material energy, inferior energy, spiritual energy. So how do we understand that it is imperfect?

Prabhupāda: It is not imperfect, but it is imperfect for my understanding. The creation is not imperfect. Just like the sun is always shining, but there is a cloud. The cloud is created under some perfect process. Is it not?

Lady Guest: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But the cloud is imperfect process for me, because I cannot see the sun.

Lady Guest: Our vision is imperfect. (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is creating disturbances for my understanding. I am already imperfect, and it is creating disturbance, but the process of creating the cloud is not imperfect. There is a perfect process. So this is the position. So material means when we become imperfect to understand God, that is material. Some impediments comes before me—that is called māyā—which makes me imperfect to understand God. And that is material. Actually, the cloud is created by sun, by the sunshine, so it cannot be imperfect. But it has created an imperfect position for me to see the sun.

Therefore material world is called imperfect. Otherwise it is not imperfect. For me it is imperfect—imperfect in the sense that there is hindrance to understand God. Just like due to my this material concept of life—"I am this body"—I am imperfect to understand my soul. But the creation of the body is not imperfect. There is perfect physiology, anatomy, how the bloods are circulating, how food is being transformed into blood, how they are going to the heart, going to the, by the head—that is a perfect creation. But although it is perfect, on account of my misfortune this is checking my understanding of the soul. Is it clear now?

Lady Guest: No, I understood what you said, but then my vision or my understanding is imperfect, and...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore you have to take lesson from the perfect. That is the advice. Go to guru.

Lady Guest: Yes, but my question was how can something imperfect be there? Is it because you are teaching that we are very small parts, so we can't understand what is greater than we? Is that the imperfectness?

Revatīnandana: (explaining question) How can anything imperfect be there?

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Haṁsadūta: How can we be imperfect, even in our vision?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore it is called illusion.

Lady Guest: But I don't believe we are imperfect.

Prabhupāda: Nothing is imperfect; (laughter) therefore it is called illusion. Exact word is used: māyā. Yatāh bhāsa tattāh tamah(?). Just like we sometimes see the sun is in opposite side. Just like—what is now? The sun is this side? Eh?

Haṁsadūta: The sun is now on this side, yes.

Prabhupāda: The sun's reflection is on some mirror there, and the reflection is coming here. So I take the sunshine is coming from there. This is the idea of illusion. The sun is there—in my back side. The sunshine should have come from that side, but the sunshine is reflected in some mirror this side, and the mirror reflection is here: I am thinking the sunshine is coming from this side. This is the illusion.

The fact is the sunshine is come from there, but I am thinking coming from this side. This is illusion. Or actually the reflection is… Actually it is dark night, but reflection is coming, I am thinking it is light. There are so many. Sometimes we have seen that in motorcar at night, we see that in the sky there is a city, all lights. You have got that experience?

Haṁsadūta: Another good example is when you said when sometimes the clouds move over the moon, it looks like the moon is moving.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: Actually it doesn't.

Prabhupāda: It is not moving. Yes, there are so many. So the moon is perfect, the cloud is perfect, the movement is perfect, everything is perfect—but still I am in illusion: you see that the moon is moving. So therefore it requires little knowledge; then you become perfect. Therefore you have to go to a person who has got this knowledge. Then you will become perfect.

Professor Lewcock: May I ask another question?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Professor Lewcock: Do you believe that it is possible to come to spiritual advancement rather than through the senses? In other words, that…

Prabhupāda: No, I said purified senses.

Professor Lewcock: You can. Through the past senses.

Prabhupāda: Purified.

Professor Lewcock: Purified?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Our process is to purify the senses: for right understanding.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. I am thinking particularly, though, of a great painting or a great piece of music. Would you feel that there is a spiritual message in something which moves one very profoundly?

Prabhupāda: Everything is spiritual, but by illusion we are dividing, "This is material; this is spiritual."

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Everything can be spiritualized by advancement of knowledge. Music can be spiritualized. Painting can be spiritualized. Everything can be spiritualized. And ultimate issue, there is nothing material; everything is spiritual. But by illusion, because I am forgetting the spiritual relationship, therefore I am making this distinction "material" and "spiritual." So as soon as they become completely realized on a higher platform, there is nothing as material. How they can be material? Because everything is an emanation from the Supreme Spirit. Just like sunshine from the sun is heat and light. How it can be otherwise? But sometimes, by other conditions we feel it is cold.

Just like the season changing, the atmosphere is changing. The sun is the same. The sunshine is the same, but by other condition, which is also created by the sun, sometimes we are feeling cold, sometimes we are feeling very hot. Or electricity—the same electricity working in the refrigerator and the heater, but the original nature of electricity is warm. How it is creating refrigerator cold? Under certain condition. So this condition is illusion. This condition does not remain—it comes and goes. So when you come to the perfect knowledge, then we can see that these conditions are illusion; really everything is spiritual. That is real knowledge.

Professor Lewcock: So following that argument, all material things are…

Prabhupāda: Illusion. Illusion.

Professor Lewcock: Therefore they are all spiritual, ultimately.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Ultimately there is nothing material. Everything is spiritual. Just like some foodstuff we are offering to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is spiritual, so how He is accepting material things? The same foodstuff eaten by somebody else, we say it is material, and the same foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa, we are offering prasādam. How it becomes prasādam?

The laddu—what is the difference? The same thing, but there is difference. So when everything is in touch—nirbandha-kṛṣṇa-sambhandhe—everything in touch with Kṛṣṇa, it becomes spiritualized. Generally we give this example: a iron rod put into the fire, it becomes warmer, warmer, then it becomes red hot. When it is red hot it is no longer iron rod; it is fire. You touch anywhere, it will burn. So by spiritual association everything becomes spiritualized. Yes. That is wanted.

Professor Lewcock: I have another question. What is your view of other religions? Just to take a simple example: Christianity.

Prabhupāda: No, our point of view is that there is no second religion. There is only one religion. That religion is God, and to love God. So if you get this perfection through any religion, that's all right. Just like you are educated. You have passed M.A. Your aim is to pass M.A. examination—you can pass through any college, any university, but your aim is how to pass M.A. examination; it doesn't matter. So if your purpose is served, then it doesn't matter whether you pass your examination from this college or this university or that university.

That doesn't matter. But if your purpose is not served, then you are simply working uselessly. So any religion, it doesn't matter—Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism or this ism—if you have got actual conception of God, and if you have learned how to love Him, then it is perfect. Otherwise it is useless ritual simply. That is the test.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. So this means that you have some doubts about (indistinct) Buddhism? You feel that they…

Prabhupāda: No. I don't particularly say any ism. But our aim is how to understand God and how to love Him. That's all. But if in your religious system there is no sense of God, and what to speak of to love Him, we take it useless. It may be very great propaganda, but ultimately if one does not understand what is God and how to love Him, then it is useless. What is the use of following such religion if I do not come to the ultimate understanding? We take it as useless.

Our test is there. You may represent yourself as Buddhist or Hindus or Mohammedan—I want to test whether you have learned to love God, whether you have now some knowledge of God. Because if you love to God, you must have some knowledge. You cannot love something fictitious. That is not love. When I ask you to love, "love" means some person. You are not to love some air in the sky. You cannot love. That is not possible. So whether you have got any question when there is love of God, whether you have got any knowledge of the person of God, and what is His nature, what is the difference between God and me—this is the science of God—then there is question of love.

So we are propagating, "Just try to understand what is God and love Him." That's all. It doesn't matter through which source you are getting that knowledge, but if that source is helping you to this end, that is perfect. Otherwise it is useless.

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
(SB 1.2.6)

Because unless you come to this point, you will never be satisfied. So when you come to this point, how to love God, then you will be your perfection of life. You will be fully satisfied. That here I've the thing. Everyone is hankering after satisfaction of his heart, that "I have got now everything." So that can be achieved only by loving God. Otherwise it is not possible.

So we are presenting, "Here is God—Kṛṣṇa." Now it is up to you to accept Him or not. That is your business. But we are presenting: here is God; here is His name; here is His activity; here is His devotee. He is accepted by so many stalwarts, so many scholar, so many devotee, so many śāstras. That we are presenting: "Here is God. You are searching after God? Here is God. See Him." But if you do not accept, it is your business. If you say, "Why shall I accept Him God?" that also can be explained. Yes, you must accept Him, because this is the qualification of God, and there all the qualifications are there. Suppose if I ask you, "What do you mean…," or "Can you define what is God?" Can you?

Professor Lewcock: Well, God embraces everything. God embraces all…

Prabhupāda: That is not proper definition. God embraces everything—that is one of the qualities, because… He embraces everything, then why they become impersonalist? You say He embraces?

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So that is person. So wherefrom these impersonal ideas come? Who is that He? This is real knowledge.

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: As you said that He embraces, the next question, "Who is that He?" Is it not?

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Then you have to say who is that He. If you cannot, then your knowledge is imperfect. But we say, "Here is God. Here is Kṛṣṇa, God." And those who are accepting, they are getting the benefit. So we are not presenting something fictitious. Presenting real, on the authority. Just like if I say—you are searching after spectacle—"Here is spectacle." So you test it by putting on your ear, "Yes," then it is spectacle. Similarly, we are putting "Here is God." So you try to love, and this is the process of loving Him. So if you accept everything, you will see, "Yes, I have got God." It is practical; it is not imaginary.

These boys, they did not know what is God. I have simply said, "Here is God, Kṛṣṇa. You love Him," and they are loving, and they are realizing. Yes, realizing. Now convince him that He is not God. He will never become convinced, because he has got the reality. You cannot try to deviate him: "No, no, it is not God." Do it. Any scholar, any ācārya, let him come, any yogī—he will be defeated. He has firm conviction, and he can argue, he can convince you, "Yes, here is God." (to devotee:) Is it not? If somebody challenges it that "Kṛṣṇa is not God," then what you will say? If somebody says that you have accepted a false God, then what you will say? You will give up Kṛṣṇa, or what you will do?

Revatīnandana: We will get out the Bhagavad-gītā and we fight. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: No. He may say, "I do not accept Bhagavad-gītā." Then what you will do?

Revatīnandana: Challenge his authority. "If you don't accept our authority, what is your authority?"

Prabhupāda: Yes. You have to ask, "What is God? You present what is God." If he says, "I do not know," then "You accept my God. You do not know. If you don't accept Kṛṣṇa as God, then you present your God. You said this is not spectacle. So that means you must know what is spectacle. And if you cannot present, then what is the value of your saying it is not? You present counter God, and you prove that he is God. In the absence of your perfect knowledge in God, then you accept my God, what I am presenting. Because you have no knowledge; you are admitting. So you take the knowledge from me, authorized knowledge. It is not my whimsical knowledge."

So that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are presenting: "Here is God—love Him. Your life will be perfect." And anyone who is doing that, he is coming to the perfectional point. Just like if I give a platter, prasādam, you take. You are hungry: "Take: here is food." You take it, you will understand, "Yes, my hunger is satisfied. I am getting strength." You don't require certificate from others. Similarly, if I present, "Here is God; You love Him," and immediately the certificate will be. He will perceive, "Yes, here is God."

Exactly in the same way: if you are eating, if it is actual food, and if you are hungry, then use the food; you will feel strength, satisfaction of hunger, and you will say, "No, no. I don't want any more food. This is all right." Similarly, when you begin to love Kṛṣṇa, then you will understand, "Yes, here is God." Nobody will be required to give proof that He is God. You will understand that He is God. So we are doing that service. You are searching after God: "Take; here is God. Now love Him." What do you think? Is it not our process?

Revatīnandana: Yes. It is.

Prabhupāda: This is process. "Here is God. Take Him." Vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau (Bs. 5.33). You cannot search out God by reading so many books and literature, but a devotee can deliver it: "Take God. Here is God." That is devotee's prerogative. "Here is God. Take delivery, direct." Otherwise you go on searching many, many lives. Therefore it is said,

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
(BG 4.34)

(knock on door)

Prabhupāda: (answering) Yes?

Haṁsadūta: Come in.

Prabhupāda: Yes? Oh. So this is the process. You have to approach somebody who knows God, and he can deliver you God: "Take. Here is God." That is the method. Otherwise, God cannot be searched out. God is not so cheap thing.

panthās tu koṭi-śata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vāyor athāpi manaso muni-puṅgavānām
(Bs. 5.34)

Therefore there are so many scholars, philosophers, they are talking of all nonsense about God. Actually they do not believe in God.

Haṁsadūta: Just talk.

Prabhupāda: Just talk. Simply waste of time. Vikatthante. The exact word used in Bhāgavatam, vikatthante: talking all nonsense.

yayā sammohito jīva
ātmānaṁ tri-guṇātmakam
manute 'narthaṁ
(SB 1.7.5)

Vikatthante. So God is there. You can realize God, provided you come to the right channel, right process. That's all. Now this lady, she always says that "Now I have got the thing." So she is elderly lady, educated and everything. She was searching after God. Now she is thinking, "Yes, I have got God," and she is very enthusiastic to serve God.


You are following which religion, Mrs. Sanjivin (sic)?

Mrs. Sanzoni: I am Christian.

Prabhupāda: Christian. That's nice. So Christian religion has got conception of God. Is it not?

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But they do not know what is the actual feature of God. Is it not? Do you know? What is your conception of God? In Christian religion, they accept there is God, because Christ is son of God. So what is your conception of God?

Mrs. Sanzoni: Creator.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Revatīnandana: Creator, she said.

Prabhupāda: Creator. So He must be a person. Is it not? Creator. I have created this table, then I am a person; I have got brain; I have got hands to work. So as soon as you say creator, then He must be a person. Is it not? Hmm? No clear idea. As soon as you say "creator," is He not a person? So have you seen that person? Or have you seen His pictures or the description of the body? Just like we sometimes see the picture, here is the man who has created this table. Similarly, if the creator is a person, we must have a vision of that person. Otherwise it is imperfect knowledge.

I have heard that there is a queen, but if I have seen the picture also, then it is more perfect: "The queen is like this." Therefore in every stamp, every paper, the queen's picture is there, so that people may not forget that "Queen is a person, and here is the photograph." Otherwise why so much advertisement? Let her remain as person in her Buckingham Palace. Why she is advertised in so many ways? And she comes also out of the Buckingham Palace and sees you and talks with you. Similarly, if God is a person, we have to learn how to seen Him, how to talk with Him, how to appreciate Him, how to love Him, the next question is. Simply to have a conception that God is creator, that is not perfect knowledge. Do you admit it or not?

Mrs. Sanzoni: (indistinct) who is God?

Prabhupāda: Who is God? Yes, that is my question. So if you have knowledge of God, you must say who is God. As you say "creator," I say "Who is that creator?" So you have to describe; otherwise your knowledge is imperfect. Is it not?

Mrs. Sanzoni: I'm so sorry; I thought I asked the question.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Revatīnandana: She wants to ask you the question—who is God?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that we have already explained: Kṛṣṇa. Here is God: Kṛṣṇa. His picture is here. That picture is there. There are so many pictures showing He is God—Kṛṣṇa book and this. So many. Here is God. You see?

Mrs. Sanzoni: I think it's a book.

Prabhupāda: It is book? It is not knowledge?

Mrs. Sanzoni: It's knowledge—in a book.

Prabhupāda: So how you can know God? In the air, do you think? Everything we have to know. Why this professor is there? He teaches his student from the air? Do you think like that? How he teaches? Professor, how do you teach?

Professor Lewcock: Yes, we teach from the books and ideas

Prabhupāda: Through books. So why do you say this is book? This is knowledge. "This is book" means imperfect knowledge. This is knowledge. You have to learn from the professor, from the right man; then you get the knowledge. Śāstra-cakṣusā. This is the definition in the Vedas, that your eyes should be śāstra, or the books. That is your eyes. These eyes have no value. It is useless. As soon as the light is gone, your eyes' value gone, immediately. What is the value of your eyes? You have to hear from the right person. That is knowledge. If you want to see God, if you want to touch God, that is not possible in this condition. You have to hear about God. And that hearing is there. Therefore it is called śruti. Śruti means the hearing process, śravaṇam, hearing. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23), to hear about the Lord.

So these are the imperfect knowledge, that when you give the book of knowledge you say it is book. So book is the source of knowledge. Therefore it is said that you have to surrender to a person. I give you knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. You say, "Oh, it is book." That means you have no surrender; you think I am giving something else. Therefore the first process is if you want to know something, you must approach to a suitable person where you can surrender: "Yes. Whatever he says, I will accept." Otherwise it is not possible. If you keep yourself on the standard that you know everything, you can examine everything, then you cannot make progress.

Mrs. Sanzoni: If one cannot read this book?

Prabhupāda: One can hear. Therefore I say hear. Just like you are hearing. If you cannot read, that doesn't matter, but you hear from the right person. Blind man cannot see, but that does not mean he cannot walk, because the ear is there. His father calls him, "My dear boy, come here." So he cannot see his father, but he goes there. So it does not mean that because he cannot see, but because he was not educated, the knowledge is stopped. No. The real knowledge comes from the aural reception. You hear. Book is meant for hearing. Unless you hear in this book, there is no use.

(aside:) You can give her that.


What is that verse?

Pradyumna: Tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34).

Prabhupāda: Oh, that is already explained.

Professor Lewcock: Master, you explained that the material world is imperfect, or illusion, even though it's perfect. But presumably devotees who have followed the path of spiritual enlightenment for long enough have reached a state which is very little imperfect—it's hardly imperfect at all. Is that correct?

Prabhupāda: No. You cannot expect, when a student is admitted in your college, you cannot expect him that he has become perfect.

Professor Lewcock: No.

Prabhupāda: But because he is studying, because he is continuing the studies, then he will be perfect. Similarly, in our institution it is not that all our students are perfect, but because they are following the rules and regulation and struggling, they will be perfect. Just like the example is given that a girl is married. So every girl wants some child, but if she thinks, "Now I am married, I must have immediately child," that is not possible.

But because she is married, because there is husband, there must be a child. That is there. And if she thinks, "Oh, I am married. Where is my child?" that is not possible. You have to wait. But because there is husband and you are wife, there must be child. This is going on. So similarly, when we admit a student and they follow regulative principles, they must get realization one day—today or tomorrow.

Professor Lewcock: Do they get it only after a series of transmigrations?

Prabhupāda: No. In this life. Yes. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā.

(aside:) Find out that,

janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti kaunteya
(BG 4.9)

In this life.


janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so 'rjuna
(BG 4.9)

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Prabhupāda: That's it. You simply understand Kṛṣṇa and you are immediately promoted. You haven't got to wait for next birth. But if you do not complete your studies to understand Kṛṣṇa, then you have to wait. You must finish the business. So if you are serious, you can finish that business, understanding Kṛṣṇa, then immediately after giving up this body you enter back to home, back to Godhead. That depends on my endeavor.

One student passes in one examination; another student does not pass even three examination. It is like that. If you become serious, that "In this life I shall have thorough understanding of Kṛṣṇa and finish it, and next life I shall go directly to Kṛṣṇa," that is possible. It is said there, tyaktvā dehaṁ—immediately after giving up this body, immediately soul is transferred to the spiritual world.

Professor Lewcock: And many devotees are able to achieve this?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, everyone can achieve, provided they endeavor seriously. Not many—everyone. The same example: everyone can pass the examination on the first appearance. Is it not?

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So if somebody is neglectful, then he does not pass. It is question of seriousness. Otherwise, everyone can pass in the first examination. Where is the difficulty? So therefore that opportunity is here in the human form of life, that in this human form of life we can stop the repetition of transmigration from one body to another. If he finishes this Kṛṣṇa consciousness business, immediately next life he goes to Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, if he does not finish, if he gets another body—it doesn't matter; one does not know what kind of body he is going to get—then this opportunity is missing. This opportunity, the advanced consciousness, is missing.

Therefore we should utilize properly our advanced consciousness to understand God and then go back to Him. That is the mission of human life. And if we waste our life like cats and dogs, that is a risky business. The cats and dogs, they are not interested in Kṛṣṇa, or God. They are interested eating, sleeping, sex life and defense. That's all. So if we simply use our this valuable life simply like cats and dogs—eating, sleeping, sex life and defense—they are missing the opportunity. Our propaganda is that "Don't miss this opportunity. Take advantage of this life and try to understand Kṛṣṇa, God, and go back to Him, so you become relieved from this repetition of birth and death." But people do not understand that there is birth after…, there is life after death. They do not understand. Therefore he has to become a student and learn from these books and prepare for the next life; then everything is all right. You are following what I say?

Mrs. Sanzoni: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So what you are going to do in this life? You shall miss the opportunity or take the opportunity? That is in our hands. Yathecchasi tathā kuru (BG 18.63): "Whatever you like, you do," Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna. Yathecchasi tathā kuru—the independence is given. God has given us independence: "If you want to remain in this illusory material world, you remain, and struggle for existence, but if you want to come to Me, where I am, come on." So there is no fault on the part of God. It is our fault.

Professor Lewcock: Yes

Prabhupāda: Yes.

(to devotee:) Where is Śivānanda now?

Haṁsadūta: He is in Berlin. In Berlin.

Prabhupāda: Berlin. And she? Where she lives?

Haṁsadūta: Hamburg.

Prabhupāda: With you?

Haṁsadūta: No, she is staying with her parents.

Prabhupāda: So you are chanting?

Vṛndā-devī: No, I stopped (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: Why you stopped? If you did not like Śivānanda, why you did not like chanting?

Vṛndā-devī: Pardon?

Revatīnandana: (repeating Śrīla Prabhupāda's question) He said if you did not like Śivānanda, why you did not like chanting at least?

Vṛndā-devī: Oh. I couldn't believe anymore in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: What do you believe? What is your belief now? You did not believe in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is all right, but what do you believe now?

Vṛndā-devī: I don't know what to say. I believe that…

Prabhupāda: You believe in eating and sleeping, that is all?

Vṛndā-devī: I believe that there's something that's greater than I, that I don't understand, but (indistinct) function in the movement. So I left.

Prabhupāda: Then do you believe in something now or not?

Haṁsadūta: She said that she believes that there is something greater than she is, but she doesn't understand what that thing is. And she thought she couldn't have..., find that understanding in…

Prabhupāda: How she will understand that?

Haṁsadūta: (asks her) How will you understand it?

Vṛndā-devī: I haven't thought of a very definite way of trying. I haven't met anyone else who could really…

Prabhupāda: That means you do not believe very seriously. You do it conveniently. That is your position. You believe something greater, but you are not serious about it, because you do not know what is that greater.

Vṛndā-devī: Well, I think that (indistinct) couldn't understand what was the way to...

Prabhupāda: But that you could not. That you could not. You have no idea what is greater than Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. You simply rejected one. Just like a man is serving somewhere, and he resigns that post. And if somebody asks him, "What next post you have got?" "No, I have none," then what is the gain? Huh? If you leave some post, "Oh, it is not very nice," then you must get another post which is very nice. But if somebody asks you that "You have left this post.

What you have got next?" "No, that I do not know," then what is your gain? You have left something, but in exchange you must get something very nice. But if you haven't got that, then what is the use of leaving this? That is the way when you go forward—you step like this. So when you step, and you are confident that "Now my foot is in ground," then you take it. Then again. This is the way. So if you are uncertain, then how you can you make progress? That means you are standstilled. And that is not good. If you think that there is something better, then you must take it.

Vṛndā-devī: I'm looking for it but (indistinct). It's very difficult for me to understand myself, because with my own power. I have to wait until it comes from somewhere else.

Prabhupāda: It will drop. You will not try; it will come and drop—that is not possible. Find out what you think is something better; otherwise, what is the use of leaving something? You don't think Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is very good? You don't think?

Vṛndā-devī: I wouldn't say that it is not good, but...

Prabhupāda: You said something better you want. That means that you say it is not good, that you think like that. Otherwise how do you say "something better"?

Vṛndā-devī: Not something better; something that I can…, that is not too much demand, I thought it was, that (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Haṁsadūta: Too difficult.

Revatīnandana: It was too much demand and too much sacrifice required.

Prabhupāda: In Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. You want something cheap. Yes? That is your idea?

Vṛndā-devī: I wouldn't call it cheap.

Prabhupāda: God is not so cheap. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa tyāgena (SB 6.1.13). These are the process one has to go, undergo. Just like Lord Jesus Christ, he understood God. How much tapasya he had gone through? At the end he had to sacrifice his life, crucified. So if you want to know God, it is not so very easy thing. If you think this is difficult, something cheap you want, God is not so cheap. You have to take some difficult task to understand God.

Vṛndā-devī: I agree with that.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is not possible. You can see from the example, those who are realized—Lord Jesus Christ, how much difficulties he had to undergo, austerity, from the very beginning of his life. He went to India and so many places, then he had to face so many dangers. So it is not cheap thing.

Vṛndā-devī: Yes, but as some more doubt came in, because…

Prabhupāda: No. First of all you must be prepared to undergo all the difficulties. If you think it is very difficult, difficulty is… Anything you want. Suppose you want to pass M.A. examination. Does it mean that you'll, simply sitting, you will pass the examination? You have to take some difficult task. Everything. Without labor, without difficulties, you cannot achieve anything higher. That is not possible. Easygoing is not good. Easygoing is for the animals—eat, sleep, drink and die.

That is easygoing life— cats and dogs. They, whatever their capacity is there for eating, sleeping and little sex life and little defending, that is all. They do not know anything more.

So for human life we should not be so easygoing. Human life is meant for tapasya. That is stated in the Bhāgavatam,

nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke
kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye
tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyed
sattvaṁ yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ anantam
(SB 5.5.1)

This life, it is not…, this human form of life is not meant for easygoing life, hogs and dogs. Yes. Why hogs? This name is mentioned: viḍ-bhujāṁ. The hogs, their life is eating stool, and they have got the power to get physical strength by eating stool. Stool is medically full of hypophosphites. So they get good much quantity of hypophosphite, therefore hog very quickly becomes strong, aggressive. They are eating actually chemically nice food. (laughter)

And as soon as the body is little fatty and strong, then sex impulse is agitated. And they have got free sex impulse. The hog does not care whether mother or daughter or anything. You see? So this facility, eating stool and having sex life with anyone, they are thinking they are very nice. They are thinking, "I am very nicely situated." This is not meant for the human life—eating very nice, getting hypophosphite and having sex agitation very nice, to enjoy. That's all. Finish. That is not human life. That is hog's life.

Vṛndā-devī: (indistinct) undergoing austerities. One is not accustomed (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: Yes. So find out that point. But this easygoing life is hog's life. Is it not? Hog is also thinking that "I am very satisfied." Therefore śāstra says that the human life is not to be spoiled like hog's life. This therefore this very name given—viḍ-bhujāṁ. This life is meant for tapasya. (break)

(aside:) So you want to give them prasāda?

Revatīnandana: Actually, they will be right now preparing us some plates, so…

Prabhupāda: So how do you think of our philosophy?

Professor Lewcock: I think it is very impressive. It's a great honor to hear you explaining it so clearly.

Prabhupāda: It is authorized, scientific.

Professor Lewcock: You're very direct, simple. And I agree with many of the things that you've said.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much.

Professor Lewcock: I think it is very true. The person who does not spend time endeavoring to experience, or is not doing anything worthwhile in their lives…

Prabhupāda: Yes. Actually, God has created us… God has created our food also. Just like a man is criminal, and the government has put him into the jail; that does not mean he will starve. He will get food there. Similarly, although we are in this material world, the food arrangement is there. We can take it from the lower creatures, just as the hog, he is also eating. He has no..., nothing to bother where he shall get; the food is there. Any bird, beast, beginning from ant to the elephant, there is food for everyone. So I am human being; I am also one of them. If the elephant can get his food and the ant can get his food and the hog can get, why I shall not get my food? This is common sense. So why shall I embarrass myself for my food so much?

This is human consciousness. Let me utilize my energy for understanding God. This is real human life. Food is there. If the God has provided food for the hogs and dogs and ants and elephants, why not for me? Practically you take meal in every center, fifty to two hundred men. So we have no problem how we shall eat, neither we are doing any business or profession. No. We go and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and try to sell our literature. That is also for propagation. So God is supplying our food. That much faith we must have. So God has provided food for everyone; why not for me? I have dedicated my life for God, and I shall starve? Is there any reason? If God has provided food for everyone—even nondevotees, birds, beasts, ants, everyone—and I have dedicated my whole life for God, and I shall starve? No. They must get somewhere.

Therefore my business is to save time for searching out food; better employ that time for understanding God. This is called tapasya—tapo divyaṁ. This is called tapasya. Divyaṁ. Divyaṁ means "for the Supreme." This is the only business of human being, that he should be satisfied with bodily comfort as much God gives. That much. He should not endeavor for betterment. Our students all say—we can lie down on the floor. Actually we have no furniture; we lie down on the floor. But if God gives us a nice place, we don't deny it also. Just like this building is given by George Harrison. So we were in a small building—that building is also still there, 7 Bury Place—and now He has given a big place. God has given. God has inspired him, so we don't deny it. "All right." But if He says, "You go away," we can go away, because we know if we go away from this place we will get another place. God has provided. That much belief we have got. So there is no difficulty for these things—eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

So we are trying to save time simply for understand God. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We have no other business. So we are writing books, we are preaching, everything, whatever there—selling books—only for propagating God consciousness. So many people send us money: "Sir, you are doing very nice work. You are spreading God consciousness. Here is my little contribution." God sends. So we have no economic difficulty. Our expenditure is very, very heavy. Yes. So people can practically see. They will complain so many difficulties. As soon as we say, "Why don't you come and live with us here in this nice building?" that he'll not do. He'll go away. So what we can do? We are prepared to receive anyone, everyone: "Come on, live with us." No. He or she wants something better. What better place one can get? Such a nice atmosphere, nice all big building, nice prasādam. Still, what better?

Professor Lewcock: But the people who have to work in order to keep other people happy with food and the necessities of their life, you believe that they can simply work in their spare time towards Kṛṣṇa consciousness? You don't believe that everybody should give up their work in order to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness the whole time?

Prabhupāda: No, no. We don't say that. You work, but you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is our philosophy. You remain in your position; it doesn't matter. But you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Just like I explained to you, that it may be any religion you profess; it does not matter. We want that whether you have learned what is God and how to love Him. That is all. Similarly, you remain in your position but become God conscious; then your life will be successful. This is our propaganda.

Professor Lewcock: Yes.

Prabhupāda: We don't say that you give up your job, your position, you become a sannyāsī or you become this or that. No. We don't say that. We simply say that you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, God conscious. Try to understand God and love Him. (break)

Professor Lewcock: …build a temple. You have a temple being built downstairs, and there is one in the grounds. And how much time will your devotees spend in prayer in the temple?

Prabhupāda: Twenty-four hours.

Professor Lewcock: I see. You would like the temple to be in use twenty-four hours?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are engaged twenty-four hours, from morning four o'clock to ten o'clock at night. Then we go to rest for five to six hours. Then again our day begins. After all, we have got this body; there must be some rest. But if we can work without taking rest, that also we accept.

Professor Lewcock: And physical discipline you regard as just one path to…, for spiritual enlightenment?

Prabhupāda: That is our only aim, how to become...

Professor Lewcock: Yes, but there are many paths. There are many paths. There's the path of spiritual understanding, there is the path of bhakti, and then there's the path of discipline.

Prabhupāda: Just like I have told you that the ultimate issue there is nothing but spiritual. So why not try for the spiritual? That will include everything. Ultimately you have to realize spiritual. And everything is spiritual. So there may be different names, but there is a process to understand. We have to follow that process. That is explained in Bhagavad-gītā, that two energies—material energy and spiritual energy—both of them coming from God. Just heat and light coming from the sun, similarly both the energies coming from Kṛṣṇa. But…

(knock on door) Yes?

…one is superior and the other is inferior. (devotees enter with prasādam) So take little prasāda. (break)

Professor Lewcock: No living thing is killed. You do not eat eggs? Do you regard eggs as life?

Prabhupāda: No, we don't take fish, eggs, meat.

Professor Lewcock: Ah, you don't eat eggs at all?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We actually eat what Kṛṣṇa eats. If Kṛṣṇa eats eggs, then we can eat it. But He does not eat. (laughter) Our policy is we do not eat anything which is not accepted by Kṛṣṇa. That is our policy. If Kṛṣṇa said, "Give Me meat," then we shall eat meat. But He does not say. He says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ (BG 9.26). We have no responsibility.

Professor Lewcock: I see, yes.

Prabhupāda: Even those who are vegetarian, they are also..., they have also responsibility for being punished, for being punished, because vegetable has got life.

Professor Lewcock: Oh, I see.

Prabhupāda: Yes. They have to be punished.

Professor Lewcock: I see.

Prabhupāda: You cannot kill anyone, either vegetable or man or...

Professor Lewcock: I see. So here you have rice.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Rice is not killing the tree.

Professor Lewcock: Not killing it. Oh, I see.

Prabhupāda: We do not kill. And even we kill, we can kill for Kṛṣṇa. So we have no responsibility. If you ask me to kill somebody, then you are responsible. Just like you kill one snake with a stick, the stick is not responsible.

Professor Lewcock: Hmm.

Prabhupāda: You are responsible. (chuckles) Similarly, we are simply stick, instrument in the hands of Kṛṣṇa. Whatever He does, we try to assist Him. That is all. So we have no responsibility. We are free. Karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājāṁ (Bs. 5.54). Those who are devotee, they are not bound up by any karma.

yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra
loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ kuru kaunteya
mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara
(BG 3.9)

So our position is very safe. Suppose a father maintains his children. The father may do something criminal for getting the money, but the children are not responsible. It is a crude example. The father will be responsible. The father also will not say that "For you I have not become responsible." Father will never say. So Kṛṣṇa can do everything and anything, as He likes. He is supreme power. So we take protection of Kṛṣṇa, so we have no responsibility. Our only responsibility is that we fully depend on Kṛṣṇa. That's all.

Professor Lewcock: Master, how many devotees…

Prabhupāda: Neither we try to find out something better than Kṛṣṇa. That we don't try. We are finally taken. There cannot be anything better than Kṛṣṇa. Take shelter of Kṛṣṇa and be satisfied. That's all. Is it not?

Haṁsadūta: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Very simple thing. And Kṛṣṇa is Yogeśvara. Kṛṣṇa is the master of all mystic power. So our endeavor is not in vain. Yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo (BG 18.78). Yātrā, śrī, vijaya—everything. Our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is way sublime. One has to learn it only—if he is fortunate. Otherwise he will not be able to learn it.

na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
prapadyante narādhamāḥ
(BG 7.15)

If he is duṣkṛtino, sinful, he will not be able to understand.

Professor Lewcock: Master, how many thousands of devotees of Kṛṣṇa consciousness are there?

Prabhupāda: That is very difficult to say. So suppose I am talking to you for the last more than one hour; you have not become my devotee. So we have to spend gallons of blood to make a devotee; therefore we cannot expect many number.

Professor Lewcock: No.

Prabhupāda: You have to talk like this for years, then one becomes a devotee. So we cannot expect a very large number. That is not possible. But if we can make one man devotee, then we think our preaching attempt is successful. Yes. It doesn't matter—one. We don't want many. Ekaś candras tamo hanti na ca tāra-sahasrasaḥ—one moon is sufficient; there is no need of millions of stars. What is the use if one does not understand? If one understands, that is sufficient. He'll make many others. That is our policy. But we cannot expect a large number. That is not possible. Still, we have got many thousands. But they are very rigid. Solid. Yes.

Professor Lewcock: Yes. But the movement is growing. Is the movement growing rather fast now? Kṛṣṇa's (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: Everything there is, but still people do not come. (laughter) Everything fine. Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful. Kṛṣṇa's service is so nice. Kṛṣṇa's prasādam is so nice. Kṛṣṇa's devotees are so nice. Everything nice—cent percent. But still people deny it. The same thing, that the hog, he is satisfied by eating stool, but if he is given nice halavā, he'll refuse. Hog taste. (laughter)

Revatīnandana: Last night we went home in the car, Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Papworth. So I went with them to talk. I thought I could engage them perhaps in some way. So Mr. Schumacher was complaining that even to live in a house and a little garden will require so much money. It is such a problem just for his children to have a garden. He was complaining. So I said, "Well, we've got this nice place, nice garden. We are not having any trouble. You just come and bring your family. Immediately you can come." And from that point he argued all the way home. He found this fault, that fault, next fault. He would not take. Then the argument began.

Haṁsadūta: I was told that if you ask a rickshaw man in Calcutta that "Just come with us. We will give you some clothing, we will give you some food, nice place to live you; just have to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa," he will say no.

Prabhupāda: Not interested. (laughter)

Haṁsadūta: He'd rather pull the rickshaw.

Prabhupāda: Actually it so happened one... long ago. One man, one servant, he lost his job, so he approached one gentleman—he was a devotee—"Sir, I have lost…, if can you give me." So he said that "At present I don't require any servant. Anyway, you are in trouble, so you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa," and he was a devotee, "and I will give the payment, whatever... You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." So after three, four days he could not find out the man.

Then he thought that he might have got some service. But "How is that? He did not say anything like that." So after three, four years he met him again. So when he narrated this story, that "You came here. I wanted to give you the payment, so why did you go away?" "Sir, it was very difficult. To chant Hare Kṛṣṇa all day and night was just impossible." (laughter)

Although the payment was there, he said it was impossible. "Therefore I went away." "Therefore I went away." Yes. He will whole day work, pull on the rickshaw, and still he will not accept to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. This is the position. The same example: if you tell the hog that "Why you are rotting in this way? Come on, I shall give you daily halavā," "No, sir. I cannot go. I have got so much responsibility." Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said, ei rupe brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva (CC Madhya 19.151): only the fortunate man can get to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kona bhāgyavān jīva. Bhāgyavān means "fortunate."

ei rupe brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
(CC Madhya 19.151)

So without being fortunate one cannot accept, even you give all facilities. That is the difficulty. So we give chance people to become bhāgyavān, fortunate, by preaching, going door to door, vibrating Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, so that the unfortunate can become also fortunate one day. This is preaching. Otherwise, if people accept it immediately, there is no difficulty. But he is so unfortunate they will not accept. Therefore we have to create his fortune by forcing him to hear Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This is preaching. Mad-bhakteṣu abhidhāsyati (BG 18.68). So we have to create him a little devotee; then he'll come follow us. So you take that little, you are read...

(referring to previous discussion:) And what he settled then? He is not coming?

Revatīnandana: No. We argued all the way. After that he found more faults.

Prabhupāda: Must be engaged in shoe-making. (laughter) That is very good. And without working he'll get nice food—that is not required. Better shoe-maker.

Revatīnandana: Mr. Papworth is more… Mr. Papworth, he is coming. He is attracted.

Prabhupāda: And the shoe-maker (Schumacher) will also be attracted.

Revatīnandana: Not after we got home. We had a big argument. There were so many things. It will be some time…

Prabhupāda: He is intelligent man; he can argue with them. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says fortunate—only the fortunate man can accept.

Mrs. Sanzoni: Do you have many devotees in India?

Prabhupāda: All Indians.

Mrs. Sanzoni: All... All across India.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious. You don't know that?

Mrs. Sanzoni: Yes, I guessed so, but you know...

Prabhupāda: Even though they are not Hindus, they are also Kṛṣṇa conscious.

Mrs. Sanzoni: Anyone who is conscious of God?

Prabhupāda: No—Kṛṣṇa practically. There are many Muhammadans, they observe Kṛṣṇa's birthday ceremony. Many Christians, many Muhammadans all over the world, they accept Kṛṣṇa.

(break) (regarding Mr. Schumacher) What is his argument, that he does not like to come here?

Revatīnandana: Well, it was a gradual development. First the reporter, he asked me what do I think of this Guru Maharaj-ji. And I said, "Well, we think he is a demon." So they didn't like that. So then I proved it. They argued, "Oh…" So the reporter argued. So I gave him five, six reasons why he is a demon, and he couldn't say anything. So then Schumacher said, "Well that is all right, but what about some really great saint, like Ramakrishna?"

Prabhupāda: Another demon. (laughter)

Revatīnandana: So I had to, er, say that "Well, we cannot accept him as incarnation of God, and we cannot accept his philosophy, that any path will take you to God, that you can eat anything, you can do anything, if you believe this or that; whatever you believe you will come to God." I said, "We cannot accept that." Oh, he didn't like that, you know.

Prabhupāda: Because he is of that nature.

Revatīnandana: Yes, that all religions are the same—this is his philosophy. So… And he made the assertion that at least you must accept that the four main religions—he said Christianity, Hinduism, Muhammadanism and Buddhism…

Prabhupāda: No, we accept any religion. But we want to see that whether has become a lover of God. That's all.

Revatīnandana: Well, he said, "So they are all the same teaching," he said. So I had to say, "Well actually Buddhist teaching is not the same." Then it turns out that he is big expert on Buddhism. So he said, "Oh, it is identical." So I said, "Well, for instance, Christ calls God the father; means God is a person. But Buddha spoke of…, would not speak of God; he spoke only of a negation of the material, something void."

Prabhupāda: Zero.

Revatīnandana: Zero, void. He said, "Well, that's only symbols. The words are only so many symbols, but the teaching is the same." I said, "But actually the symbols are different; the teaching is different." He said, "Oh, you are very intolerant." He got very… He began to get upset. So it went on for some time. It was a long drive. (laughs)


Prabhupāda: …speaking that ultimately you go back to home, back to Godhead, and you live there peacefully, eternal life, and somebody says ultimately you will become zero. So there is no comparison? Everything is all right? Both of them are the same? How can you say? I am giving you something tangible idea, and you are saying that the ultimate is zero. So both of them are the same? How one reasonable man can think of it? If I am promising somebody that "You come to me; I shall give you good salary," and somebody promises, "Yes, come to me. I shall give you zero," the same thing? Any sane man will say now both the same? Zero and good situation is the same? How is that?

Revatīnandana: Actually, when he was saying that I made a very bad social mistake. I said, "If we say that all these teachings are the same, but clearly there are so many different things," I said, "it will only indicate soft intelligence." I didn't mean directly him, but actually I didn't think…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Revatīnandana: I did mean... Oh, he got very upset. "Oh, I have got soft intelligence!" Oh, he was very angry then. So then I had to apologize so many things. (laughing) But actually it is. If there is unity, it is on the principle that we are the eternal servants of God. So that… Wherever that principle is found, that is the beginning of unity. But he would agree, but then he could not see that if God is a person then you can serve Him; if God is not a person, you cannot serve Him.

Prabhupāda: Soft intelligence.

Revatīnandana: It's very difficult. But I think that Mr. Papworth is a... He was listening, and finally when he left he smiled at me and shook my hand and he went into his house. He's coming back.

Prabhupāda: If they say God is creator, He must be a person. Where you get the conception the creator is zero? How do you say that?

Professor Lewcock: Well, the Buddhists believe that there is no God (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: Śūnyavādi. Nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. That is our daily prayer, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe (Śrīla Prabhupāda Praṇati)—to deliver the Western world from this impersonalism and voidism. Impersonalism, also voidism. It is describing in a different way. (end)