740316 - Conversation A - Vrndavana
Prabhupāda: . . . come with me?
American guest: Yes. When I came with you, I came back once again, and this is the second time.
American guest: That time I stayed four months, and this time I've just arrived again.
Prabhupāda: Oh. So what is your program now?
American guest: Uh, well I came to see Nim Karoli. I didn't know you were in town, and I was down the street and I saw Gurudāsa, so I said . . . I went over and said hello to him.
American guest: And he . . . he and Yamunā insisted that I come visit you.
Prabhupāda: Nim Karoli, how do you know him?
American guest: Well, you've heard of Richard Alpert? Er, oh, a man called Baba Ram Das? You know Richard Alpert?
Prabhupāda: Oh, Balarāma, he was here.
Devotee: Baba Ram, Baba Ram.
Devotee (2): Baba Ram Das.
Prabhupāda: Oh, Baba Ram. (Hindi) (break)
American guest: . . . that's the last time I saw you. From time to time I see Baba Ram.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Now we have got one hundred and two branches. Mexico City, we have got. I have been there. I forget the name of the street. Very nice center, Indian standard. Mexico City building almost Indian standard.
American guest: Yes.
Prabhupāda: And people are also almost Indian standard.
American guest: Well, Mexico and India are exactly same . . . opposite side of the world, like this.
American guest: Yes. And, uh, some . . . there's a few similarities in the religion, I think, because they have a fearful goddess like Mahā-kālī.
Prabhupāda: Worship Mahā-kālī?
American guest: Like Mahā-kālī, yes. Very fearful, you know. She's, er, her head comes from two serpents' heads.
American guest: You know, two serpents' heads are together like this, making her face, and then she wears a skirt of skulls.
Prabhupāda: Oh, skulls.
American guest: Skulls.
Prabhupāda: They're . . . (indistinct) . . . Mahā-kālī.
American guest: Like Mahā-kālī, yes.
Prabhupāda: That is worship. That is religion?
American guest: Well, before, when the Spanish were there.
American guest: Name is Papinque.
American guest: And she's supposed to represent the earth.
Prabhupāda: Your parents live in Mexico City?
American guest: No, not Mexico City . . . (indistinct) . . . region. I have relatives in Mexico City. When I was there this summer I went to visit one other Hindu establishment that comes down from Śaṅkarācārya.
American guest: On the street Puerto. But I didn't know you had a branch in Mexico City at the time.
American guest: They're also vegetarians now.
Prabhupāda: Acchā? In Mexico they are vegetarians?
American guest: Well, no. Most Mexicans are not vegetarians, but this . . . these people who belong to Śaṅkarācārya sampradāya are vegetarians.
Gurudāsa: Where's the name "Maya" civilization come from?
American guest: I think it's probably just a coincidence that the name is Maya, more than, you know . . . (break)
American guest: How's your health?
Prabhupāda: Health is not very good. I am not cent percent.
Devotee: So much time . . . (indistinct) . . . (break)
Prabhupāda: This we will take more, it will not harm. But the other, if you take little less . . . (break) . . . (indistinct) . . . ghee. Most . . . (indistinct) . . . New Zealand. In Mexico also? No.
American guest: There is good butter.
American guest: Very good butter. I suppose you could make good ghee out of it. The butter there is, you know, like, uh . . .
Prabhupāda: Many flowers eh? There are so many flower stall.
American guest: Yes.
Prabhupāda: And there in Mexico there is . . . In Mexico where I saw "Mahatma Gandhi."
Devotee: That was in Mexico.
Gurudāsa: In Mexico City they have many streets named after famous men.
Gurudāsa: Yeah. Mexico City. Mahatma Gandhi.
Prabhupāda: There in the city. I saw Mahatma Gandhi Street.
American guest: Hmm, yeah. I can't remember. Maybe. There's . . . (break).
Prabhupāda: Just by the side of a flower stand. I was surprised, Mahatma Gandhi. (break)
American guest: From that illness you had when you came to India . . .
American guest: When you were recovering from your stroke?
American guest: I think you looked in better health then.
Prabhupāda: When I was . . .
American guest: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Since then I have no stroke.
American guest: You still have massages every day?
Prabhupāda: Yes. We have massages. One day him, one day Acyutānanda, one day . . . (break) What philosophy you are following?
American guest: Pardon?
Prabhupāda: Which philosophy you are following?
American guest: Uh, Buddha philosophy, and, uh, Vedānta and, uh, Kṛṣṇa philosophy. I have a Tibetan teacher now . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: He also teaches Kṛṣṇa?
American guest: Uh, he teaches, uh . . .
American guest: Buddha. Buddhism.
Prabhupāda: So how you will adjust Kṛṣṇa philosophy and Buddha philosophy?
American guest: Well, it's just a different, uh, approach. But I don't think there's any fundamental difference. I mean if you, if you, uh, have the ultimate consciousness in one, you have it in the other, too.
Prabhupāda: So there is difference. Buddha philosophy does not accept God.
American guest: Yeah. It's a atheistic approach.
American guest: It's a atheistic approach.
Prabhupāda: No soul, no God. Our Kṛṣṇa philosophy is God, soul, and Vedānta philosophy, that is also God. So Buddha philosophy different from Vedānta philosophy and Kṛṣṇa philosophy.
American guest: The approach is different, yes.
American guest: The approach is different.
Prabhupāda: Approach? The end is different. Now how you'll adjust Buddha philosophy and Kṛṣṇa philosophy?
American guest: There's a few, uh, paradoxes I . . . but, uh, anyway, I asked the same key question to, uh, to my, uh, Tibetan teacher, and, uh, because he was . . . he was putting down everybody else and calling everybody else except his philosophy heretics. So then I asked him, I said: "Now this experience that all those different people say that they have achieved, you know," I says, uh, "is it substantially different or not?"
American guest: Achieved. You know—attained.
Prabhupāda: Achieved. Oh.
American guest: And, uh, then he started to say: "Well, if they believe in an external God," or something like that, "then it is heretical." I says: "But nevertheless," I says: "uh, like in the writings of, say, Meister Eckhart or the different mystics, they all seem to describe their experience in pretty much similar terms." So I said, I asked him, "Does this mean that the experience is different or not?" So then he argued. He finally says . . . well, he didn't say it directly, but what he said is that if . . . if you want to get the experience of touching something to find out what hot is, he says you may have different motive. Like some people may do it because it's pretty; some out of curiosity or different motive. In other words, he admitted that the experience finally was the same, even though the approach was different.
Prabhupāda: If the approach is different . . . suppose if the approach is to fire. The approach may be different, but heat or light is there. So why do they approach fire? But if you are approaching something else, how the same experience will be there?
American guest: Well . . .
Prabhupāda: If you actually approach fire, then approach may be a different way, but the goal—it is fire—you will experience heat and light.
American guest: We are, approaching means . . .
Prabhupāda: But if the approach is different, then how you will experience heat and light?
American guest: Yes, but what are we approaching?
American guest: What are we approaching?
Prabhupāda: That you have to explain.
American guest: Yes.
Prabhupāda: We say . . .
American guest: The Absolute.
Prabhupāda: We say approaching Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute. We have got Kṛṣṇa's form, we have Kṛṣṇa's name, we have personal address, His pastime. Just like you know me, I know you, means I have got form, you have got form, I know your qualities, you know my qualities; therefore you know each other. But if the approach is void, then how the approach is the same? There must be something tangible; then the approach is the same.
American guest: Well, I know your philosophy, 'cause I was very intimately involved with it, but I still believe that if, uh, your, uh . . . you may have a different style, and you may call it Kṛṣṇa consciousness or you may call it nirvāṇa, but I think that ultimately it's, uh . . .
Prabhupāda: I can . . . I can explain Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but you cannot explain nirvāṇa. That is the difficulty. I can explain my position, but you cannot explain your position.
American guest: How is it that I cannot explain my position?
Prabhupāda: Then explain what do you mean by nirvāṇa.
American guest: Well it's the ultimate state of consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Then where is nirvāṇa when you do not know the meaning of nirvāṇa? Nirvāṇa means finished.
American guest: Uh, yes. I think that . . .
Prabhupāda: Nirvāṇa means everything finished, void.
American guest: Etymologically it means "No wind."
American guest: "No wind."
Prabhupāda: No wind?
American guest: The root of the word, I believe, means "No wind." There's no wind.
Prabhupāda: No. You can derive many meanings, but nirvāṇa means, just like flame is there, extinguished, finished.
American guest: That's not the way I understand nirvāṇa.
American guest: That's not the way I understand nirvāṇa.
Prabhupāda: But this is the meaning, dictionary meaning, nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa means there is flame and you extinguish. This is nirvāṇa.
Devotee: (to guest) You want some more vegetables and purīs?
Prabhupāda: Give him. More, more.
American guest: Not more.
American guest: If it is an extinguishing, it's only an extinguishing of desire.
American guest: If there's an extinguishing . . .
Prabhupāda: So if the desire is extinguished, then what you are?
American guest: But it's not extinguishing of desire; it's transforming of desire. Like this is one . . .
Prabhupāda: That is not extinguishing.
American guest: Right. But in the sense it is, uh, the, uh, flame of, uh . . .
Prabhupāda: That we say. You don't extinguish desire, but we purify desire. That is our . . . but that is not the void, nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa means finished.
American guest: Well, the way, uh, the way it's interpreted, you know, by the people that practice it is that, uh, you don't extinguish your desires either, but they're transformed into the Buddha principles. They say this is the meaning of Mahayana Buddhism, is that you, uh, learn to identify the desire passions with the Buddha principles, and so they become transformed so that . . .
Prabhupāda: Transformed to what?
American guest: Well, for instance lust is supposed to be transformed into compassion, and the other, uh, the other passion desires are transformed to something else.
Prabhupāda: Then it is not nirvāṇa. It is purification. Then that is our principle. That is not nirvāṇa. Just like . . .
American guest: Well, this is what I mean by nirvāṇa.
Prabhupāda: You mean, but the word nirvāṇa . . . suppose I take out your eyes. This is one thing. And I . . .
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: Huh? What is that?
Devotee: Gopāla wants to see you. (break)
Prabhupāda: Suppose I take out your eyes. That is nirvāṇa. But if there is some disease, I cure it, that is purification. Suppose cataract, cataract operation.
American guest: Well, um, whatever the origin, of the word may be etymologically, the way it's used by the people that I'm studying with and the way I understand the meaning of the word is a little different than meaning just, uh, sheer nothingness. Sheer nothingness is supposed to be a misunderstanding of what nirvāṇa means.
Prabhupāda: Now you have to understand as it is in the dictionary.
American guest: Well, as it is used by people. You have to understand it as . . . as it's used, you know, in, uh, by, by the people who are using this word to . . .
Prabhupāda: Nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa means, I have already explained—this is the people take, those who know Sanskrit—nirvāṇa means extinguished. Now, you may have different meaning.
American guest: Right. Words change meaning as time goes on.
American guest: Words, I mean their root may be one thing, but then as time goes on the, uh, word doesn't remain, uh, the same as used by, uh . . .
Prabhupāda: Anyway, you can give your own meaning. What do you mean by nirvāṇa?
American guest: Nirvāṇa is identifying your, uh, uh, passion desires with the innate Buddha principles, in this system.
Prabhupāda: The life symptoms?
American guest: Hmm?
Prabhupāda: Symptoms of life?
American guest: In this system.
Prabhupāda: System? What is that system?
American guest: The, uh, Mahayana Buddhism.
Prabhupāda: Oh. So what is that practically?
American guest: The practical result?
American guest: The practical result is, uh . . . I don't see it as being far different from Kṛṣṇa consciousness, though the approach may be different.
Prabhupāda: What Kṛṣṇa consciousness is stress is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). It is directly always thinking of Kṛṣṇa.
American guest: So that is . . .
Prabhupāda: To offer obeisances to Kṛṣṇa, to worship Kṛṣṇa, to become devotee of Kṛṣṇa—this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
American guest: Buddha is Kṛṣṇa.
American guest: Buddha is Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Buddha is Kṛṣṇa, that I know, but the . . .
American guest: So that if you . . .
Prabhupāda: . . . those who Buddhist, they do not know. (guest laughs) They do not know. We know, but they do not know. Neither they agree to believe.
American guest: So that if you're aware of Buddha, then you're aware . . .
Prabhupāda: But you should talk from the platform of Buddha. We know the secrecy. Our . . . our philosophy, understanding of Buddha, that he is incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. But the Buddhists, they do not believe.
American guest: No, they've rejected the Vedas.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But we say.
American guest: But I'm not trying to, uh, to set up . . . to argue sect against sect.
Prabhupāda: That's not the question. It's a question of philosophy. Here we . . . (indistinct) . . . we know, just like we, we are devotee of Lord Buddha, keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare (Gīta-govinda). We glorify Lord Buddha because we know what is Buddha, sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam (Jayadeva Gosvāmī). So we know perfectly that he is incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. But those who are cheated by Buddha, from their point of view I want to know what is their understand.
American guest: Now how, how, how . . . why would Buddha want to cheat people?
Prabhupāda: Yes, cheated because they did not believe in God. So, but he is God, he is God; therefore he says: "What I say, you believe." That means he is cheating them.
American guest: He didn't say that.
American guest: Buddha didn't say that.
Prabhupāda: Then why do you . . . why do you study Buddha philosophy?
American guest: Well, he said: "You study Buddha philosophy to arrive at principles of truth," but what Buddha said . . .
Prabhupāda: That's all right. Buddha philosophy . . .
American guest: What Buddha said was, he says: "Don't accept anything because I tell it to you. Don't accept anything because it's been believed for a long time by many people in many different places." He says: "Only believe that which you find true for yourself, and that is for your own good and for the good of others."
Prabhupāda: But these are teachings of Buddha.
American guest: Huh, but . . .
Prabhupāda: But . . .
American guest: But he's pointing at how to arrive at principles of truth. This, this is, uh, more, uh, of an independent approach. He's not, uh, I don't think he was trying to cheat anybody, but he was trying to . . .
Prabhupāda: Not that. Cheating this sense, sometimes just so you . . . I cheat my child. The father is not cheater, but sometimes it required.
American guest: Cheating, yeah. Tells him that forest leaves are made out of gold to keep the child from crying.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So the father's cheating is not cheating, but from external point of view it is cheating. You want something, I give something. That is cheating. But that cheating is good for you. When father cheats the child, it is good for the child, but it is cheating. Therefore cheating is not always bad.
American guest: Yes. A great Buddhist saint once said the same thing. He says that, "All the scriptures and everything, it means just this, is that it's pretending that forest . . ."
Prabhupāda: Good, good lessons for . . .
American guest: ". . . leaves are made out of gold to keep children from crying," meaning that you have to arrive at truth from your own self, your own understanding. Nobody can, you know, no blind following, as you yourself say. I remember correctly that you used to preach and say, uh, that, uh, you shouldn't accept anything blindly.
Prabhupāda: That, in the Bhāgavata it is said, sammohāya sura-dviṣām (SB 1.3.24). Lord Buddha appeared for cheating or bewildering the atheistic person. They do not believe in the . . . (indistinct) . . . They did not, did not believe in God, but God is there. Lord Buddha himself is God. Just like if I say I don't want Brahman . . . (indistinct) . . . but you come in a different place. So Brahman is there, but I am thinking it is not Brahman. Similarly, God is there—Buddha—but they are thinking that they don't believe in God. This is cheating. God is there. They are worshiping Lord Buddha, exactly as we worship Kṛṣṇa. Then is it not the same? Then how do they say they don't believe in God? They are made to believe in God in a different way. That is cheating, and it is good for them. That is written in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, sammohāya sura-dviṣām (SB 1.3.24). (break) (end)