730807 - Interview - London
(Interview with Reporter) - (poor recording)
Reporter: (indistinct) what happened (indistinct) photographer, who is coming any time, any time now.
Reporter: So I would be grateful if I could just talk to you for a few minutes.
Reporter: Um, the, ah… When did you arrive in this country, sir?
Prabhupāda: Just… These questions, he can answer.
Haṁsadūta: Okay. (indistinct) …tape-recorder.
Reporter: Why are you tape-recording the conversation?
Haṁsadūta: Oh, we tape-record everything, because everything Prabhupāda says is very important.
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) comes from the book.
Reporter: I see.
Haṁsadūta: Prabhupāda... You want to know when he arrived in London? July seventh.
Reporter: July seventh. Is this the first time that he has been...
Haṁsadūta: No, Prabhupāda has been here often, very often before.
Haṁsadūta: We have another center downtown.
Reporter: In London?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, it is 7 Bury Place, right behind the British Museum.
Reporter: I see. Yes. And when was this house given to you?
Haṁsadūta: Oh, I think in May. George Harrison, he donated this house to Prabhupāda for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Reporter: Did he in fact… How much did he pay for the house?
Haṁsadūta: Ah, about £220,000.
Reporter: Does he still own the house?
Haṁsadūta: Erm.... It's in a special trust, of which the proceeds go to our society.
Reporter: I see.
Haṁsadūta: You have to excuse me (indistinct)
Reporter: Yeah, sure
Haṁsadūta: A plug in, and then I can speak with you.
Reporter: Ah. What does "prophet" mean? You call him prophet?
Haṁsadūta: Prabhupāda means the master at whose feet, or at whose lotus feet, all the other masters take shelter.
Reporter: Yes. How long has Prapoom (sic) been leading this faith?
Reporter: Do you call it a religion, or do you call it a faith? What do you call it? Spiritual movement, is it?
Haṁsadūta: Just a minute. (making some technical adjustments) Okay. Prabhupāda, he came to America in 19... 1965.
Reporter: Yes. Where did he come from originally?
Haṁsadūta: He was born in Calcutta, in India.
Reporter: What is his background?
Haṁsadūta: He was educated in Scottish Churches, and he was a businessman. Chemical company, manager of a chemical, pharmaceutical supply house.
Reporter: Where? In Calcutta?
Haṁsadūta: Well, in India, different parts
Reporter: India. When was that?
Haṁsadūta: That was in (indistinct). In his early life he (indistinct).
Reporter: Yeah. And when did he start this religion?
Haṁsadūta: Well, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not a religion, but Prabhupāda... Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very old, you know. The Bhagavad-gītā was spoken over five thousand years ago. So it is the oldest literature in the world. So Prabhupāda is an ācārya, or spiritual teacher.
Haṁsadūta: A pure devotee, in the line of disciplic succession…
Haṁsadūta: …which is coming down from Kṛṣṇa. So…
Reporter: When did he first start doing…
Haṁsadūta: He came to America in 19…
Haṁsadūta: 1965, under the order of his spiritual master, to spread this, this eternal teaching in the English language.
Reporter: Until that time had he been teaching in the Indian language?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, Prabhupāda has, practically, Prabhupāda has been a devotee from birth. He was born in a family of Vaiṣṇavas, or Kṛṣṇa devotees.
Reporter: Yes, I see.
Haṁsadūta: And all his life, dedicated to preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Reporter: Yes, and… But what…, at what stage in his life did he abandon his career in business?
Haṁsadūta: In business?
Prabhupāda: About sixty… I was born in 1896 and I left my home in 1954. 1896 to 1954.
Haṁsadūta: Fifty-five years.
Reporter: Yes. (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: No, I came to America in 1965. But I left my home in 1954.
Reporter: Fifty-four, yes. This is when you abandoned your career in business.
Reporter: Yes. What made you decide to abandon a career in business?
Prabhupāda: This is our system. At a certain age, we must give up our family life. This is Vedic system.
Prabhupāda: There is no question of decision. According to Vedic system, a man's duration of life is divided into four. The first portion is called brahmacārī, or student life.
Prabhupāda: Up to twenty…Suppose one man lives, take it for granted, one hundred years.
Prabhupāda: So first twenty-five years, he becomes a rigid brahmacārī.
Prabhupāda: Means completely celibacy.
Prabhupāda: And austerity, penance and education.
Prabhupāda: Up to twenty-five years.
Reporter: Twenty-five. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Then he becomes married, householder.
Prabhupāda: So he remains up to his fiftieth year.
Prabhupāda: So within this twenty-five years, whatever children he gets, they are grown up, so the husband and wife goes out of home…
Prabhupāda: …touring all over holy places.
Prabhupāda: Then, when gradually he becomes unattached to wife also, the wife comes back home and the husband takes sannyāsa, the renounced order. This is the Vedic system. It is not a question of decision; it is the system…
Prabhupāda: …that one should live in this way.
Reporter: Yes. Do you have a wife and family, sir?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Reporter: Can I ask you, how many children do you have?
Prabhupāda: Yes, I have got two daughters and two sons.
Reporter: And your wife, she is still living, is she?
Prabhupāda: Yes, they are living at my home in Calcutta.
Reporter: You still see them occasionally?
Reporter: You don't? Because this is that part of your life, is that right?
Reporter: So how do you spend your life now, sir?
Reporter: How do you spend your life now? Where is your home now?
Prabhupāda: My home is in Calcutta.
Reporter: But not with your family.
Prabhupāda: No, my wife with her children…
Prabhupāda: …they are living in their house in Calcutta.
Reporter: In Calcutta, yes.
Haṁsadūta: He wants to know what is the nature of your life there…
Reporter: But you still see…
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, no, I don't see.
Reporter: You don't see them.
Prabhupāda: I'm strictly prohibited to see my wife.
Reporter: I see.
Prabhupāda: But my children may come and see me.
Reporter: But your children may see you, yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes, they come sometimes.
Reporter: So you have a home as well, also a home in Calcutta.
Reporter: And you spend… Do you travel extensively over the world…, around the world, I believe.
Prabhupāda: Because I am now sannyāsī.
Prabhupāda: So I have no home at all. A sannyāsī is supposed to have no home. He is touring. Just like here, although I am supposed to be the owner of everything…
Prabhupāda: …but I don't possess anything. It is the possession of the Society.
Reporter: I see. How many members do you have in your Society?
Prabhupāda: We have got many members. About... Members and admirers, about 10,000, in the Western countries.
Reporter: Ten thousand in the Western countries. What about in the East?
Reporter: I see.
Prabhupāda: East, everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Reporter: I see. Now, there are many movements which seem to emanate from India at the moment in this country. The most popular recently is a Mahārāji-ji. Now, how do you regard these other…
Prabhupāda: Do you think he is very popular?
Prabhupāda: Do you think so?
Reporter: Well, it seems he gets a lot of people at the rallies. They have rallies, and they have many people there.
Prabhupāda: But they have no center. We have got about one hundred centers. And in each center...
(aside:) You show.
Haṁsadūta: This is our Los Angeles center.
Prabhupāda: Similarly, we have got in every center.
Haṁsadūta: Los Angeles center.
Reporter: In Los Angeles.
Prabhupāda: I don't think this Mahārāj-ji has got such thing.
Reporter: No. But how do you regard these other people? Do you regard them as impostors?
Prabhupāda: Yes, because anyone who is not God conscious… Most of them, they come, they pose themself as God.
Prabhupāda: This is most ludicrous.
Prabhupāda: We hate(?) them.
Reporter: They pose themselves as God and like to drive around in Rolls-Royce cars.
Prabhupāda: Rolls-Royce car, that is another thing. Anyone can travel… But when they say that…, when somebody says that "I am God," then immediately we kick on his face.
Prabhupāda: Yes, he is the most impostor. And the foolish person only follow them, because they do not know what is God.
Reporter: Hmm. Are you… Are you a rich man, sir?
Reporter: Are you a rich man? In financial terms?
Haṁsadūta: Prabhupāda is a sannyāsī. Sannyāsī means he has renounced everything. He has no money, he doesn't acquire anything. His business is simply to preach the message of Kṛṣṇa. What he is is a preacher of God, a servant of God.
Reporter: What is the message, in fact, of Kṛṣṇa?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, the message…
Prabhupāda: Message is that everything belongs to God. Even ourself, we belong to God. Therefore everything should be used for satisfying God. This is our message.
Prabhupāda: We have written about more than one dozen books, big books, and such small books about twenty, thirty like this. Small books.
Prabhupāda: To help people understand this philosophy.
Reporter: Yoga is part of the religion?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, this is called bhakti-yoga. Yoga, devotion. Yoga of love, love of Kṛṣṇa.
Reporter: I see.
Haṁsadūta: So these, we are publishing at least fifteen books like this.
Reporter: I see.
Haṁsadūta: They have all authorized scripture. They are more than five thousand years old, these scriptures. And we are distributing them all over the world in different languages, like German, English, Japanese, Hindi, like that. All the pictures and everything are made by our students.
Reporter: How do you view the Christian religion? I mean, are these religions valid in your eyes?
Prabhupāda: The religion is quite valid, but the followers are not valid.
Reporter: No. Because they're not dedicating themselves…
Prabhupāda: Not only that; they are violating the orders of Jesus Christ. Just like Christ said, "Thou shall not kill." But they are maintaining big, big slaughterhouse.
Prabhupāda: So it is very difficult to find out a strict Christian.
Reporter: Yes. How is it possible sir, if, for someone who is totally dedicated to your religion, how is it possible for them to survive in a world that demands people go out to work for a living?
Prabhupāda: Yes, Kṛṣṇa has helped us. Just like we had no house, but Kṛṣṇa has given us this house through George.
Reporter: But I mean, do your followers work, in the...?
Prabhupāda: No, we do not work like ordinary men.
Reporter: But I mean there must be a… But we couldn’t live our life like this. People have got to work, have they not?
Prabhupāda: No, no. This is the mistaken philosophy, that people has got to work. That is a mistaken philosophy. Nobody has got to work. Just like work means… Suppose if you have given me food, bread. I go there and take my food. Do you think it is work?
Reporter: No, but somebody has to…
Prabhupāda: First of all answer this. You have offered me some dish here.
Prabhupāda: So I go and eat. Do you think it is work?
Reporter: No, that isn't work.
Prabhupāda: If you think that going from here to that place is work, that is another thing.
Prabhupāda: But if my food is there, so I have to go and take it. Similarly, for everyone there is food and shelter…
Prabhupāda: …ordered by God…
Prabhupāda: …but you have to take it.
Reporter: But I mean somebody has to make tables and chairs and carpets and...
Prabhupāda: That is your artificial need.
Prabhupāda: You have created this need.
Prabhupāda: Just like other living entities, they also sleep.
Prabhupāda: But they do not have apartments or nice bedstead, nice table. That has not hampered their sleeping.
Reporter: No, no.
Prabhupāda: You have created these artificial needs.
Prabhupāda: But without this, it does not hamper your eating or sleeping. Your... Your... You have got certain amount of energy.
Prabhupāda: That energy was to be utilized for designating or to search out God.
Prabhupāda: But you are misusing this energy for manufacturing table and chair.
Prabhupāda: You can live even without table and chair.
Reporter: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: But if you live without God consciousness, then immediately you become to the status of animals. Because they live without God consciousness.
Reporter: Yes. Are there any animals which you regard as sacred? I know in the Hindu faith, where the, erm…
Prabhupāda: No, this is for everyone. But others, they have no brain. Just like cow. We drink cow's milk…
Prabhupāda: …therefore she is our mother. So how can you kill your mother? Can you?
Prabhupāda: Then how you kill cows? Because milk you drink. Is that very a gentleman's philosophy?
Reporter: Well, the people would starve.
Prabhupāda: People are not...
Reporter: People would starve if we didn't…
Prabhupāda: Starve? Without eating flesh?
Prabhupāda: This is another nonsense. We are not eating flesh.
Reporter: What in fact do you eat? Are you vegetarian?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, we eat (indistinct) we eat vegetables, fruit, milk products, sugar, grains and nuts.
Reporter: Yes, what..
Haṁsadūta: We don't eat meat, fish or eggs.
Reporter: What about alcohol?
Haṁsadūta: We follow four principles very strictly: no meat, fish or eggs; we don't take any intoxication whatsoever, no cigarettes, tea or coffee; and we don't indulge in illicit sex life; and we don't gamble.
Reporter: What about marriage? Is marriage a part of…?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, sex life is allowed, but, under condition that one gets himself married, and once married no divorce, no abortion. (indistinct) sex life for producing children only.
Reporter: Yes. Yes. Yes. How many followers are here, living in the house?
Haṁsadūta: About fifty.
Reporter: About fifty. What is the breakdown for nationalities? What nationalities are there?
Haṁsadūta: Well, most of them, of course, are English, but there are…
Reporter: And these English who have become followers…
Reporter: English (indistinct).
Haṁsadūta: (indistinct) we don't make any distinction here between English (indistinct).
Haṁsadūta: Everyone is welcome.
Reporter: Yes. Before you were given this house, where in fact did you live?
Haṁsadūta: We were staying, and we still have, Bury Place, that I told you.
Reporter: Yes. I see.
Haṁsadūta: 7 Bury Place. So George donated this house because he appreciates the movement. So we are using this house.
Reporter: Does George have any position within the movement at all?
Haṁsadūta: He doesn't have any. He is a follower. He is helping us.
Prabhupāda: He also gave me formerly $19,000, for printing that Kṛṣṇa book.
Haṁsadūta: That we showed you.
Reporter: When he, and other members of the Beatles, went to India, it was not you that they saw, was it, sir?
Prabhupāda: No, I met him here.
Reporter: You met him here, yes?
Haṁsadūta: George, he paid for the printing of this book.
Reporter: Ah, yes.
Haṁsadūta: A few years ago.
Prabhupāda: In the Preface I have acknowledged.
(aside:) You show him the Preface.
I have acknowledged.
Reporter: Spiritually(?), if he printed the book, that's nice.
Haṁsadūta: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) Preface.
Haṁsadūta: All our books are very nice. "My grateful acknowledgement is due to Śrīmān George Harrison, now chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, for his liberal contribution of $19,000 to meet the entire cost of printing this volume. May Kṛṣṇa bestow upon this nice boy further advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness."
Reporter: Is there… Most of the… Do you have age limits as far as that is concerned?
Reporter: I mean, from what age can you become a member?
Haṁsadūta: Well, Prabhupāda is about seventy-five. (laughs)
Reporter: But are you…, what age do you start?
Haṁsadūta: Any age. Even children.
Reporter: But I mean most of the followers, I would think, are in their twenties.
Haṁsadūta: Yeah, they are all between about 16 to 25, you know.
Reporter: This is… Why... Have you any older members who…?
Haṁsadūta: Yes, we have older members too. But we have older members who are…, just like you are.
Prabhupāda: Our Bhakti Pramode is another businessman; he is also sixty-five.
Reporter: Where will you go…? What are you doing this week, sir? What are your plans?
Prabhupāda: Our plan is…
Haṁsadūta: We are going to Paris tomorrow.
Reporter: Paris? What is happening there?
Haṁsadūta: There is a ceremony at our new temple…
Haṁsadūta: …and the mayor of the city of Paris will receive Prabhupāda in city hall.
Reporter: I see. And from there what will happen?
Haṁsadūta: Then we will come back to London.
Reporter: Back to London. And then?
Haṁsadūta: And here at the Manor, on the twenty-first and twenty-second…
Haṁsadūta: …there is a very big...
Reporter: August, yes.
Haṁsadūta: …celebration, (indistinct) birthday, or appearance day, of Lord Kṛṣṇa. So it is the most important event, a holiday, or...
Reporter: Yes. I see. Are you hoping to, obviously, get more members in the movement, are you?
Haṁsadūta: Well, we want people to be Kṛṣṇa conscious; we want people to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. And if they just…
Reporter: Yes… What does "Hare Kṛṣṇa" mean?
Haṁsadūta: Hare Kṛṣṇa is… Hare is the energy of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is the name, God, the Personality of Godhead.
Haṁsadūta: Kṛṣṇa, and Rādhā is also (indistinct). So we are calling to Kṛṣṇa, "O Kṛṣṇa, please accept us please engage us in Your service."
Reporter: Kṛṣṇa is God?
Reporter: I’m... I see... Hmm. Fine. Do you enjoy life, sir?
Reporter: Do you enjoy life?
Prabhupāda: What do you think?
Reporter: I think yes. I think yes.
Prabhupāda: Practically, we are enjoying life.
Prabhupāda: Those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they are simply wasting their time for working hard.
Reporter: Yes. Do you go outside, sir, or do you stay inside all the time?
Prabhupāda: No, if there is important engagement, I go.
Reporter: Yes. How do you travel normally? By car or by plane?
Prabhupāda: No, anything, anything available—plane, car...
Reporter: Will you be going to Paris in a special plane, or will you be going...
Haṁsadūta: No. Normal flight.
Reporter: Normal flight.
Prabhupāda: I came here first by...
Haṁsadūta: From the Heliport.
Reporter: Oh! (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Drop… Dropped here. Dropped here.
Haṁsadūta: Right here on the lawn.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughter) From the airport, I dropped.
Reporter: Are you...?
Prabhupāda: Within five or ten minutes.
Haṁsadūta: You see, we are not against using anything at all (indistinct) because we are engaged in (indistinct) Kṛṣṇa, therefore flying (indistinct). Everything we use, but we use it for Kṛṣṇa.
Reporter: Do people have to pay money to join your group, or do they have to give something?
Haṁsadūta: No, they don't… They don’t have to give something.
Reporter: Because I understand with this other movement, if you…
Haṁsadūta: (indistinct) kingdom of God. So why should you pay?
Reporter: Well, this is the point. I just wondered if…, how… (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: They are making some business.
Haṁsadūta: Yeah, it's a business.
Prabhupāda: It is not… It is a science, it is not…
Reporter: I am just wondering how in fact you are managing to survive, you know, to...
Prabhupāda: Now, just imagine, this house was 220...
Prabhupāda: …thousands of pounds. So, suppose a man is working, just like you are working. How long years you will have to take to accumulate this money and purchase this house? How long years?
Reporter: I don't know, really. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: But we, without doing anything, we have got this house.Yes. Similarly, we are getting our food, nice foodstuff.
Prabhupāda: So, everything is there by Kṛṣṇa's arrangement. The foolish people, they do not understand. They unnecessarily work hard. Of course, we do not wish to disclose this.
Prabhupāda: Ah, but this is the fact. But you can understand that those who are lower than the human being…
Prabhupāda: …they have no business, they have no profession, they have no education, so how they are living?
Reporter: Not very well.
Prabhupāda: Therefore the birds and beast, they have no education in the university, neither they are professional. Neither they have any accumulated bank account. Nothing of the sort. In the morning they do not know where to eat and where to go, but have you seen ever, any bird has died of starvation?
Prabhupāda: Ah. So there are 8,400,000 forms of life. The civilized human form of life is one of them.
Prabhupāda: So if 8,000,000 species of life can exist without any endeavor for economic development, why this 400,000 species… Not 400,000; out of 400,000 species of human form, maybe 200…., not even 200, less than, that is civilized man. So how many there are? Why they are busy? But that's all right, you remain busy, but we should try to understand that simply by endeavoring, one cannot become happy. That is not possible.
Prabhupāda: Suppose everyone is endeavoring to become very rich man. Does he become so?
Reporter: I don't think so.
Prabhupāda: So then why? Another man, without doing anything, he is born in a very rich family and he gets money immediately. What is the cause of this distinction? Is there any cause for what is happening, whatever (indistinct)?
Prabhupāda: One is born with riches.
Prabhupāda: And one is working hard like an ass.
Prabhupāda: He cannot get sufficient food even, daily. No. For this difference, is there any cause, or this is happening automatically?
Reporter: All people are born with different values…
Reporter: Each one has learned particular habits…
Prabhupāda: Who is judging their values? That is the question. Suppose, if I am judging, "All right, you get one million dollars from him,"I am judging; and I give another man, "You should be hanged." The judge…, the judge is not anyone's enemy, but he says that this man should be hanged and this man should get one million dollars from that person.
Prabhupāda: So, is the judge friend of that man who is awarded one million dollars? And is he enemy to that man who is to be going to be hanged?
Reporter: No, it doesn't work quite like that. We don’t have hanging in this country…
Prabhupāda: No, I… You are…
Reporter: No, I see the point you’re making. But it doesn't, ah… Anyway…
Prabhupāda: But you could not answer this.
Prabhupāda: But I am answering so many questions, you should answer this.
Reporter: Are you hoping, sir, to get, erm, more followers over here in this country?
Prabhupāda: If my movement is genuine, I'll get more. But to become member of our Society is little difficult.
Reporter: Is it?
Prabhupāda: "Is difficult" means because we have got four kinds of prohibitions.
Prabhupāda: It is not like other camps, that you can do any nonsense and you become a member.
Prabhupāda: No. (indistinct)
Reporter: A person... A person has to be prepared to dedicate his life (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Yes. Not only that; he has to give up meat-eating, illicit sex, gambling. It is very, very difficult.
Reporter: What about his family?
Reporter: Living with family. Does he have to leave home?
Prabhupāda: No. He can do... But he can live in home with a wife and children on these principles.
Reporter: Yes. Do you find, sir, that many people who join you leave very quickly?
Prabhupāda: No. He is a gṛhastha; he is a householder. He has got his wife.
Reporter: Running out of time. So I did have a photographer with me. I think he would want to take a photograph…I think you would like to (indistinct). Outside, yes.
(pause, as things are moved around for a photograph)
Prabhupāda: I have put hard question, this (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) They will never accept God.
Prabhupāda: Any way.
Haṁsadūta: I told you (indistinct) preach, you know.
(knock on the door)
Reporter: He doesn’t appear to arrived (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Haṁsadūta: (indistinct) then we can (indistinct)
Reporter: Thank you very much indeed.
Prabhupāda: Now give him some prasādam.
Haṁsadūta: Take all of it.
Reporter: What is it?
Haṁsadūta: (indistinct) milk preparation, very nice sweet, and offered to Kṛṣṇa (indistinct) Nice, eh?
Reporter: Thanks very much.
Haṁsadūta: (indistinct) very clean…
Reporter: Thank you.
Haṁsadūta: Okay. Thank you. (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: (indistinct) principle and principal, they have two meanings.
Prabhupāda: But you have written principal.
Haṁsadūta: I see.
(Prabhupāda is turning some papers)
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just learn from the dictionary, the principal and principle, they are two different words. (end)