730912 - Interview - London

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



730912IV-LONDON - September 12, 1973 - 42:12 Minutes



(Interview at Macmillan with various English Reporters and (25:10) Professor Gombrich)

(much background noise throughout)

Prabhupāda: I have no spoon.

Haṁsadūta: Someone's bringing it. Mukunda's bringing it.

Prabhupāda: Where is? Give me little water.

Revatīnandana: Pardon me?

Prabhupāda: Water.

Revatīnandana: What? Water.

Prabhupāda: Yes, come here.

Reporter (1): I wonder if I could ask you first of all to tell me what is the central point of the teaching of Bhagavad-gītā?

Prabhupāda: Central point is to understand God. People have become so foolish. They have forgotten to know about God, know about himself, what he is. Everyone is under the impression that "I am this body," which he's not. He's spirit soul. They're so much in ignorance, and there is no education. Even big, big professors. Professor Kotovsky, in Russia, he told me, "Swāmījī, after this body's finished, everything is finished." That is not the fact.

Reporter (1): Can you tell me who is Lord Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Well, Kṛṣṇa is God, the Supreme Personality of God.

Reporter (1): And what will it profit us if we get to know about Him?

Prabhupāda: The profit means you'll be saved from the material existence. Material existence means repetition of birth, death, old age and disease.

Reporter (1): How does He speak?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Reporter (1): How does He speak to you or to us?

Prabhupāda: He was present five thousand years ago. He came on this planet and gave instruction, Bhagavad-gītā. So that is recorded.

Reporter (1): Why have you written Bhagavad-gītā as it really is? Why?

Prabhupāda: As it is. Because there are many foolish rascals, they interpret unnecessarily. Just like Kurukṣetra. Kurukṣetra is a place in India, still existing. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ (BG 1.1). There the meaning is clear, that "Kurukṣetra is a religious place and there, the Pāṇḍavas and the Kurus, they assembled together for fighting." But many so-called leaders, political leaders, scholars, they have interpreted, "Kurukṣetra means the body."

Reporter (1): Can you tell me the chant? Will you recite the chant to me? And then tell me why it's used so often by the followers?

Prabhupāda: Which one?

Reporter (1): The Kṛṣṇa chant.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. This, this is transcendental sound vibration. If you chant, then the foolish ignorance will gradually dissipate. You'll come to real knowledge. You'll be purified. In India still, there are many snake charmer. They, simply by mantra, they can get out the poison. Materially if it is possible, how much it is possible in spiritual?

Reporter (1): Can you tell me...? There's been an awful lot in these last two years said about the Jesus Movement. How does that sort of line up with Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: I do not know what is Jesus Movement. If you can explain, then I can speak. What is that Jesus Movement, I do not know.

Reporter (1): Well, do you know very much about Jesus?

Prabhupāda: Jesus, I know.

Reporter (1): Tell me about him.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Jesus, the son of God, he's representative of God. So we have got all respect and honor for him. We worship him. But I do not know what is about Jesus Movement.

Reporter (1): Tell me a little bit about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, will you?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness means the same Bhagavad-gītā as it is, which was spoken five thousand years ago by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, we are preaching the same Bhagavad-gītā. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa is accepted, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So we are preaching that "Here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa."

Reporter (1): Is Kṛṣṇa consciousness genuine?

Prabhupāda: Then we are simply wasting our time, do you think? By preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, do you think we are wasting our time? We are so fools? Why do you ask this nonsense question, "genuine"? Unless it is genuine, why you are working so hard?

Reporter (1): Why is it so popular among young people?

Prabhupāda: Because they have not got knowledge. Young people are receptive. Young people, education is given during youth time, not in old age. Old man cannot take any education. Whatever he has learned, he'll take another period of fifty years to forget that. Therefore sometimes it is called "old fools." But young men, they are receptive; they have got brain. When they understand that "Here is something," they understand.

Reporter (1): Many thanks. I'm very grateful... (break)

Prabhupāda: Thank you.

Haṁsadūta: Haribol. (break) This gentleman's from the Sunday Mirror.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Haṁsadūta: His newspaper, is that right?

Reporter (2): That's right. Ah...

Prabhupāda: Oh, Sunday Mirror, they published some, something about us...

Haṁsadūta: I think you published something about us a few weeks ago, about the manor out at Letchmore Heath.

Reporter (2): That's right. Yes. With a lot of pictures. Were you there at the time?

Haṁsadūta: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Reporter (2): You were there at the time?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter (2): How've you... Where have you been since then?

Prabhupāda: No, I went to Sweden. I have come yesterday from Sweden. I was in Sweden.

Reporter (2): Yes, since then. And now you're back again for the book.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now I have come again back to..., yesterday, and again I am going back to India.

Reporter (2): How long are you going to stay there?

Prabhupāda: In Sweden?

Reporter (2): In India, when you go?

Prabhupāda: Oh, in India, I shall stay about one week. Then I shall go to Japan.

Reporter (2): Do you find, uh, you must find it very, very difficult traveling all the time.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter (2): What don't you like about it?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Haṁsadūta: What don't you like about traveling?

Prabhupāda: No, I like.

Reporter (2): Oh, you like it. Do you always go...?

Prabhupāda: Yes, but because I am old man, it is little troublesome for me. Otherwise, I like traveling.

Reporter (2): What, what were you doing... What did you do before this, before 1966?

Prabhupāda: I was retired from my family life. I was living in a holy place called Vṛndāvana. I retired from my family life in 1954. Then, in 1959, I took sannyāsa order. This is called renounced order of life. No family connection .

Reporter (2): Yeah.

Prabhupāda: And then I started for America in 1965. And then my movement was started from USA in 1966.

Reporter (2): From the USA. Could you tell me why you think the Western world has espoused your sort of movement now, has been keen on looking to the East for spiritual...

Prabhupāda: Do they, actually?

Reporter (2): Why is that, do you think?

Prabhupāda: That he can explain. He's Western people.

Reporter (2): But I mean, how about in your view?

Haṁsadūta: He wants to hear it from you.

Prabhupāda: They are getting some substance. You see. Just like here is a sweetmeat. If you have never tasted a sweetmeat before and if you are supplied a nice sweetmeat, naturally you appreciate and take it.

Reporter (2): But why, why in 1966? I mean what was there, what was there special about the Sixties?

Prabhupāda: And before that, this thing was not administered.

Reporter (2): I mean the mood of the time might have been right then. I mean, was there something about that age that made it especially attractive to the young people?

Prabhupāda: Young people, even young boys, they also take. So generally teeners...

Haṁsadūta: Teenagers.

Prabhupāda: Teenagers, they take it very nicely.

Reporter (2): Why was that? I mean, what was there, was there something special about the 1960s that made it more likely that people would go for...?

Prabhupāda: But before that, this movement was not there in the Western country.

Reporter (2): I know that. But there's got to be a mood of the times before something like this can catch on.

Prabhupāda: Well, that, not that time. Any time. This sweetmeat is sweet all the time. It is not that at a particular time it is sweet.

Reporter (2): But people have got to be hungry to eat it.

Prabhupāda: Eh? Yes, hungry, everyone is hungry. Because in the Western countries, unless they are hungry for spiritual consciousness, why they are hippies? They are frustrated. They are not going to live like their fathers and forefathers.

Reporter (2): Frustrated?

Prabhupāda: Yes. This material civilization, ultimately it will be frustration because... Just like... Try to understand. You are a person. You are covered with this coat and shirt. If I simply take care of your coat and shirt, and if I do not give you something to eat, how long you'll be happy?

Reporter (2): Not very long.

Prabhupāda: That's right.

Reporter (2): Do you take this throne with you all the time?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Reporter (2): No. How, how does it come to be here?

Haṁsadūta: We have a temple. So we bring it.

Reporter (2): And this is called?

Haṁsadūta: This is called a vyāsāsana.

Reporter (2): And for...

Haṁsadūta: The spiritual...

Reporter (2): A person, it's for a person, isn't it?

Haṁsadūta: Yes, the spiritual master sits.

Reporter (2): Nobody ever else sits upon that platform.

Prabhupāda: No.

Reporter (2): What happens to it when he's not here?

Haṁsadūta: Nobody sits on it.

Reporter (2): It's still there, but...?

Haṁsadūta: Oh, yeah.

Reporter (2): And lastly, a very trivial question. The uniform, the haircut, why is that?

Prabhupāda: This shaving?

Reporter (2): Yes, why?

Prabhupāda: It is very nice. It makes the head cool, not with big bunch of hair, burden. We feel it burden. When there is bunch of hair, we feel it is an extra burden.

Reporter (2): An extra burden on the mind?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter (2): Makes it, weighs heavily on the mind?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Sometimes you have to take...

Reporter (2): So that's the reason why? It makes the mind lighter?

Prabhupāda: No. Actually if you keep clean yourself, then your mind is also clean.

Reporter (2): But it is... Is it really because hair presses down on the mind? Is that true?

Haṁsadūta: It's a burden, troublesome.

Reporter (2): I mean a physical burden.

Haṁsadūta: Just like you have to get some, some hair cream and then a comb and a mirror and...

Reporter (2): Well, I don't. I just get up and go like that. But I mean, I mean, I mean...

Haṁsadūta: You understand the point.

Reporter (2): Well, I mean, I do and I don't. I mean physically...

Haṁsadūta: Very clean. Very clean...

Reporter (2): ...physically, it makes the hair, it makes the mind lighter. Is that true?

Haṁsadūta: Very clean, cool. Natural. Practical.

Reporter (2): No, I know, but I mean, this thing about it actually weighing down on the mind, is that fair to say?

Haṁsadūta: No.

Reporter (2): It's not fair to say?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter (2): It is fair to say.

Prabhupāda: If you keep yourself very clean and light, then your mind will work very nicely.

Reporter (2): Better than if it was being weighed down.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter (2): That's fair, isn't it?

Haṁsadūta: It's a matter of cleanliness. Not when...

Reporter (2): But he also says it's a matter of weighing down on the mind. That's fair.

Prabhupāda: It is a Vedic system. All the brāhmaṇas take clean-shaved. Vedic system. So we are trying to stay in the platform of brahminical culture. Therefore it is one of the essential things.

Reporter (2): I understand that. Thank you very much from me for your help. Thank you. Bye-bye.

(break)

Haṁsadūta: ...a church. Which church?

Lady Reporter (3): Methodist Church.

Haṁsadūta: Methodist Church.

Lady Reporter (3): Which is fairly advanced, really...

Prabhupāda: Methodist Church is famous.

Haṁsadūta: Methodist Church.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I've seen many signboards.

Haṁsadūta: Yeah. Do you have some questions?

Lady Reporter (3): Yes, I have. What, what is the real relationship between Kṛṣṇa consciousness and other religions? Is it that God has many names and...?

(someone comes up, introducing someone)

Prabhupāda: (chuckling) That's all right. I thank you.

Indian man: Mr. Bose, representing National Herald.

Haṁsadūta: (to devotee) Maybe you can move this to the side. Just put it to one... Because people are going to be coming over and wanting to sit down.

Prabhupāda: Oh, ācchā. (Bengali) Now, now, Mr. Bose... Let him come first of all. Give him a chair. Mr. Bose, let him come.

Lady Reporter (3): I'll come back later.

Prabhupāda: Yes, three minutes. He's old man.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes.

Prabhupāda: (Bengali)

Haṁsadūta: Shall I take this away?

Prabhupāda: Yes. (Bengali)

Mr. Bose: (Bengali with Prabhupāda) (break)

Prabhupāda: She's waiting? Then I shall come.

Lady Reporter (3): Right, well (indistinct) some publicity.

Prabhupāda: No, every religion has got God consciousness. Without God consciousness, there cannot be any religion. But somewhere we find the degrees of consciousness. Just like every living entity has got consciousness. A child has got consciousness, dog has got consciousness, and a human being has got consciousness. But there are degrees.

Lady Reporter (3): Do people lose this consciousness, the God...?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Lady Reporter (3): Do people lose God consciousness as they grow older?

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. Unless a person comes to God consciousness, his consciousness is imperfect.

Lady Reporter (3): Hmm. Hmm. And the actual importance of the Hare Kṛṣṇa chant, is that in saying the name?

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is a...

Lady Reporter (3): Or is it a...

Prabhupāda: ...spiritual process.

Lady Reporter (3): ...continuous flow?

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is spiritual process, because Kṛṣṇa and the name Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa the person and Kṛṣṇa the name, they are nondifferent, absolute. That is the God's special power. Just like in the material world, if you want water, simply by chanting the name "water," you'll not be benefited.

Lady Reporter (3): No.

Prabhupāda: But in the spiritual world, the name "water" and the substance water is the same. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's name is the same. So if you chant "Kṛṣṇa," you immediately directly contact with Kṛṣṇa.

Lady Reporter (3): What do you see as being the future of the world? What will happen? Will there be an end?

Prabhupāda: Future, future of the world... Because the people are trained up in the bodily consciousness of life, "I am this body." So, so long people will remain in bodily consciousness of life, that is animal life. That is not human life. So they have to be educated to spiritual consciousness of life, that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." Then they'll be benefited. Otherwise, they'll degrade more and more.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes, but what do you see happening to the actual world? Do you see any... You know, with Christianity and other religions...

Prabhupāda: Eh, what is that?

Lady Reporter (3): You know, with Christianity and other religions, the world has...

Prabhupāda: The Christianity, if you...

Lady Reporter (3): ...a beginning and an end.

Prabhupāda: Yes. We also believe that, that the world has a beginning, and it has an end. Anything material. Just like my body, your body, it has got a beginning from the father, mother, and again it will end. So anything material, it has beginning and end. But the, within the body, the spirit soul, the spirit soul has no beginning, no end.

Lady Reporter (3): So how long has Kṛṣṇa consciousness been in India, or were you...?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is in India from Vedic age, since a very, very long time. But especially since five thousand years ago, when...

Lady Reporter (3): So you, you didn't start everything off?

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. I'm simply presenting in English language. That's all.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes.

Prabhupāda: It is already there.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes. What, what... And can I ask one last question?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Lady Reporter (3): What do you think of young people who follow the Divine Light Movement?

Haṁsadūta: Guru Maharaj-ji.

Lady Reporter (3): And...

Prabhupāda: That is a bogus.

Lady Reporter (3): It's bogus.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (chuckles)

Lady Reporter (3): What about... How do you know? Have you met him?

Prabhupāda: No. He says that he's God.

Lady Reporter (3): Hmm.

Prabhupāda: Does he not?

Lady Reporter (3): Yes.

Prabhupāda: Therefore it is a bogus thing.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Anyone who says that "I am God," he's a rascal.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes. Right. And what about the young Christian revival?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Lady Reporter (3): The Jesus Movement?

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Haṁsadūta: The Jesus Movement. What about it?

Prabhupāda: Jaydees?

Haṁsadūta: Jesus. Jesus Movement.

Prabhupāda: I do not know. I do not know.

Lady Reporter (3): You haven't heard of it?

Prabhupāda: No, I have no knowledge.

Lady Reporter (3): Well, thanks for talking to me.

Prabhupāda: Thank you. You have take prasāda. Plate.

Lady Reporter (3): Yes, I have. I had some.

Prabhupāda: Yes, take prasāda.

Lady Reporter (3): No...

(pause)

English girl: I've committed many sins in this lifetime. How can I make my peace?

Prabhupāda: Eh? What is that?

Girl: I've committed many sins in this lifetime. How may I make peace?

Haṁsadūta: She says she has committed many sins in this lifetime. How she can make peace?

Prabhupāda: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That is the only remedy. What you are doing now?

Girl: Secretary.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Girl: Secretary.

Haṁsadūta: Secretary.

Prabhupāda: Secretary.

Haṁsadūta: Typing, typing.

Girl: For The Tower.

Haṁsadūta: So why not type for Kṛṣṇa? We have got so much to type—books, manuscripts. Serve Kṛṣṇa and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and associate with these devotees. Then everything will be all right.

Girl: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: Thank you.

Haṁsadūta: Want to go now, Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Yes. (break)

English boy: I'm not from a newspaper, so I've got nothing really to ask you.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

English boy: I'd like to...

Prabhupāda: Which newspaper?

English boy: I'm not from a newspaper.

Haṁsadūta: He said he's not from any newspaper, but he would like your blessings.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

English boy: I do, regularly.

Prabhupāda: Oh, you chant it? Very good. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Ācchā.

(aside:) Call that Jaya-hari.

Haṁsadūta: Jaya-hari.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Jaya-hari, no, Jaya-hari. What is the name?

Haṁsadūta: Jaya-hari.

Prabhupāda: Jaya-hari, eh? So what has happened to you?

Jaya-hari: I've been working in London, Prabhupāda, on this reception.

Prabhupāda: But when I go to London temple, I don't see you.

Jaya-hari: I've been working for others. (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: I, I think there is something wrong. What is that?

Jaya-hari: Well, you see, I've just been very heavily engaged.

Prabhupāda: No.

Jaya-hari: This reception I was working on.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Jaya-hari: I've been working on this reception also.

Prabhupāda: So you are a good boy. You were doing good book-selling. Now you have stopped. Why?

Jaya-hari: Well, this reception is one of the points for...

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Jaya-hari: One of the main reasons for having this reception was to help sell the books, also.

Prabhupāda: No, I, no... You cannot forget your duty. If, if there is some extra duty, that does not mean you shall forget your own duty. So now they are selling books. You also join. Yes. And you have no tilaka. You are just like ordinary boy. Why?

Jaya-hari: I didn't have time to get into a dhotī.

Prabhupāda: No, no. This is not good. This is not good. You must be as our representative, with tilaka, as we are dressed. Yes. Don't be deviated. You have got a good opportunity. Don't be deviated by bad association. Yes. You are a good boy. So you must revive to your original position. All right. Thank you.

Jaya-hari: Are you pleased by the reception?

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Jaya-hari: This reception is all right?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Haṁsadūta: The reception. Did you like the reception?

Prabhupāda: Ah, yes, nice.

(to boy:) So what is your question? You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That will do.

English boy: I'm trying to spread the word at school. I'm telling all my friends about Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Very good. That will help you. All right. So?

(break) (25:10)

Prof. Gombrich: ...actually.

Prabhupāda: Eh? Professor...?

Pradyumna: Professor Gombrich.

Prabhupāda: Oh. So you have seen our books?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes, I have, yes. You are traveling to India, I hear?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Gombrich: You are setting up a university in India?

Prabhupāda: In... What is that?

Haṁsadūta: Are you establishing a university in India?

Prabhupāda: It is not so easy thing.

Prof. Gombrich: I see.

Prabhupāda: (Hindi)

Prof. Gombrich: At Navadvīpa?

Prabhupāda: Navadvīpa, yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes. And, uh...

Prabhupāda: We have begun teaching, but I do not know when it will become a university. That is a big job.

Prof. Gombrich: I see, yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Who is teaching there?

Prabhupāda: Our students. We have got these books. That's all.

Prof. Gombrich: You don't have the Bengali paṇḍitas teaching Sanskrit?

Prabhupāda: At least, at the present moment, we haven't got. They're... Generally, in India, they want to learn English. So, as soon as they learn English, they can read our books. And Sanskrit is also... You have seen? We have given each word meaning, Sanskrit, the pronunciation. Oh, yes. Here is the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.

Prof. Gombrich: So in your uni..., in Navadvīpa, will the instruction be in English or in Bengali?

Prabhupāda: These boys, they do not know Bengali.

Prof. Gombrich: Oh, I see. So it's really for English-speaking devotees.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Not English-speaking. They are Bengalis, the students. But they want to learn English. Therefore we are teaching English.

Prof. Gombrich: I see. Is this a government-recognized college now?

Prabhupāda: No. Government recognition means we have to abide by the orders of government. We cannot teach Bhagavad-gītā only or Bhāgavata. But our aim is to teach... We have got another school, in Dallas, for small children. There we are Sanskrit, teaching Sanskrit and English. Yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes. But did you yourself study Sanskrit at Vṛndāvana or...?

Prabhupāda: No. We had studied Sanskrit in school, colleges. In our time, Sanskrit was compulsory. In our days. Nowadays, I don't think so...

Indian man: I, I also had compulsory up to...

Prabhupāda: Sanskrit compulsory, and additional there was Sanskrit. So I took both, compulsory and additional.

Prof. Gombrich: I see.

Prabhupāda: Up to my I.A., I regularly studied Sanskrit, and in my B.A., I gave up Sanskrit. I read history. (laughs) No. Not in B.A. B.A., my combination was economics and philosophy. In I.A., I.A. was intermediate. I.A. I had history and Sanskrit.

Prof. Gombrich: That was at Calcutta University?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Calcutta University, Scottish Churches College.

Prof. Gombrich: Oh, I see.

Prabhupāda: You have been in Calcutta?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes, I have.

Prabhupāda: Oh, you know Scottish Churches College?

Prof. Gombrich: I'm afraid not. No.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Gombrich: No, I'm afraid I've only been to Presidency.

Prabhupāda: Presidency?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So the Scottish Churches College is also on the same standard, Presidency College.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So you are a teacher there? No.

Prof. Gombrich: I teach in Oxford, yes.

Prabhupāda: You teach in Oxford?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But in India went to visit?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes, I've lived for two years in Ceylon.

Prabhupāda: Ceylon?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Prof. Gombrich: My speciality is Buddhism.

Prabhupāda: Buddhism.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: A religious student. A specialist in religious..., comparative study of religion?

Prof. Gombrich: Well, not so much comparative. I main..., I really teach Buddhism itself.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Prof. Gombrich: Through Sanskrit and Pali.

Prabhupāda: Pali, yes. Pali is almost Sanskrit language.

Prof. Gombrich: It's not so different, yes. Derived from Sanskrit. And at Vṛndāvana you studied at a later time, then, did you?

Prabhupāda: Vṛndāvana, I studied the Vedic literature, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as I mentioned, so many, Upaniṣads, Vedānta-sūtra.

Prof. Gombrich: Then that was after the university?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that was after my retirement.

Prof. Gombrich: I see. Yes.

Prabhupāda: But in student life I had knowledge in Sanskrit, and that was utilized later on.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes, of course. And do you return to Vṛndāvana often?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Every year I go there, during the month of October.

Prof. Gombrich: Do you have a particular āśrama there?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Yes. Now we are constructing our own temple also, very big temple. You had been in Vṛndāvana?

Prof. Gombrich: No, I haven't, I'm afraid. No. And do you think that the message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya is very different from the message of realizing God which is promulgated in other religions, for instance the Śaiva religion or...?

Prabhupāda: No, I don't think so. Any religion, you follow nicely. Just (like) Christian religion, there is God consciousness. So actually it is not this religion or that religion. People have given up religion. All over the world they have no more interest in religion. And especially I see that in your London that so many churches are vacant. Nobody's going there. So thing is that there is no more regular teaching of religious system. It has become a profession like. Neither the teachers are serious, nor the students are serious. So our principle is that not this religion or that religion. Whichever religion you may like, you can follow, but we want to see whether you are God conscious. If you are not God conscious, then we take it simply useless waste of time, these so-called religions. Śrama eva hi kevalam. You understand Sanskrit.

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed ratiṁ yadi
śrama eva hi kevalam
(SB 1.2.8)

Śrama eva hi kevalam: "Simply waste of time, laboring." If one does not understand what is God, even after executing very rigorously about his own religious system, if he does not awaken his dormant God consciousness or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then he has simply wasted time.

Prof. Gombrich: But do you think, for instance, in this country, if somebody is a Protestant, or I mean a Christian, and goes to church, this is also..., you don't try to convert them away from that?

Prabhupāda: No, no. We have no such process (indistinct).

Prof. Gombrich: Because your movement is extremely distinctive.

Prabhupāda: Yes. We don't try to convert. Just like the one gentlemen was asking, "Why these ladies, girls, they are putting Indian sārī?" I never said that "You do that." But they're doing, out of their own accord. So I never canvassed to become a Hindu or like that. No. Our propaganda is, "Just become God conscious."

Any religion, it doesn't matter, if the follower awakens his dormant God consciousness that it is first class religion.

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: Now suppose somebody is not awakened to the standard of God consciousness, then he may follow religion but it is a waste of time. That is our... we don't want official religiousness, that is called, you know Sanskrit? Dharma dhvajī..

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: dhvajī means "flag."

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda:….Simply just to have a flag, I belong to this religion, that's all. But if I ask him, "what do you know about religion?" He cannot explain, what is God he cannot explain. Simply he has a flag," I am Hindu, I am Muslim, I am Christian," and they fight one another. But actually one who is God conscious where there is question of fight? Everyone is brother, God is the supreme father and we are sons:

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ yāḥ
tāsāṁ mahad yoni brahma
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
(BG 14.4)

That is God consciousness and as the Christian people, they are killing poor animals. If he has at all God consciousness why he should kill? And especially in the Christian religion it is stated, "thou shalt not kill."

Then last night that gentleman was asking me... that... "Thou shalt not kill, whom?" Oh no, where there is no question of whom. If you ask whom, at least you should not kill your father and mother. So, cow is the mother, according to Vedic understanding, cow is the mother because we are drinking milk. Cow supplies us milk therefore she is mother.

Prof. Gombrich: Well some people drink other milk too, like goats milk. Would... Is the goat the mother if you drink goat's milk?

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But generally we take cow's milk...

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda:…goats milk is sometimes also taken..

Prof. Gombrich: Yes in some cases..

Prabhupāda: But there is no exception nobody can say that I have not taken cow's milk, nobody can say. All over the world and cows are meant for that purpose, supplying milk but we are killing mother and the father also. The bull is also father because the mother without having sex cannot produce milk that is not possible and besides that, bull they produce for us food grains. Therefore bull is considered as father and cow is considered as mother according to Vedic principles and in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 18.44) it is specifically mentioned: kṛṣi-go-rakṣa-vāṇijyam, vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam. Go-rakṣa...

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: Not go-hatyā.

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: This is very sinful you see if one is religious, how he can become sinful? Do you think sinful man can become religious?

This is going on, in the name of religion they are covered in sin. That is the, I mean to say, the cause of religious degradation; veda viruddha kārya kare, veda mukhe mane, Caitanya Mahāprabhu says. They act against the Vedic principle but advertised himself, "I am Vedic, I believe in the Vedas." These nonsense things are going on. Christian going against the Christian principle but he is proud of becoming a Christian, all like that really.

In Buddha religion also, the president Dai Nippon & Co. who prints our books I asked him that you are Buddhist do you eat meat? He said, "yes." (Laughs) "yes, I am sorry I eat." These things are going on no religion will allow meat eating, even Mohammedans they allow only one death, Bakri Eid. You have studied Mohammedan religion?

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: Yes, so in Jewish religion also they allow meat eating after offering sacrifice, not from the slaughterhouse.

Prof. Gombrich: Not from, sorry?

Prabhupāda: Not from slaughterhouse.

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: But they are regularly maintaining slaughterhouse these sinful activities are going on. So our movement we have got restriction anyone who comes to be serious student he must give up four sinful conditions. Illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling, all our students first of all they must agree to this principle then I accept him as my student.

Prof. Gombrich: Do you allow the use of leather?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Gombrich: Do you allow the use of leather?

Prabhupāda: Leather?

Prof. Gombrich: Yes, leather.

Haṁsadūta: Leather.

Prabhupāda: No.

Haṁsadūta: We avoid it.

Prabhupāda: We avoid it. All our shoes are not made of leather, we don't agree. Nowadays there are so many plastic and other things are available everywhere. Leather is not prohibited because leather you can get from the dead animal.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes surely. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. In our India those who are meat eaters they are called muci.

Haṁsadūta: (aside) Huh?

Prabhupāda: Very low class.

Prof. Gombrich: Hm.

Prabhupāda: So when an animal is dead, a cow this class of men is called and he takes out the dead animal. So he eats the meat and saves the bones and horns and hoofs and takes out the skin, makes shoes. So all these things he gets for nothing. So after all the animal will die, let him wait for that period, why you should kill any living animal?

Prof. Gombrich: Do you use leather in your drums?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Gombrich: What about the drums?

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes the dead body.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: When the cow is dead that leather can be used.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes so you have leather drums.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Leather has there so many use but that leather is collected after the death of the animal, not by killing.

Prof. Gombrich: No.

Prabhupāda: Yes…yes that is our principle, yes.

Prof. Gombrich: Thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. (end)