Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
750301 - Conversation A - Atlanta
(Conversation with three Trappist Monks, Psychologists from the University of Georgia, and Atlanta Lawyer, Michael Green)
Prabhupāda: That is the Vedic description. The religious principle cannot be manufactured by anyone within this universe. It is the codes or laws given by God. That is religion. That means we have to know who is God, what is His desire, and we have to abide by that. That is religion. Just like a good citizen means he knows the government and the government laws, and he abides by it. Then he is good citizen. Otherwise he is criminal. If he does not abide by the laws of the state, he is criminal. Similarly, if one does not abide by the orders or the codes or the laws of God, he is Satan, or demon. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā (SB 5.18.12). Therefore anyone who is disobedient to God, he cannot have any good qualification. And yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate suraḥ, and one who is devotee, abiding by the orders of God, he has got all the good qualification of God's.
Therefore, the duty of the state, duty of the father, duty of the teacher—everyone, those who are guardians—they should teach their subordinate how to become faithful to God. This one qualification will make him perfect. That is not being done. Everyone is godless mostly. And therefore there is problems, chaotic condition. Nobody is abiding by the supreme law. Everyone is creating his own law. That is the trouble. So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for making the human society law-abiding citizen of the laws given by God. So that is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa, God, is giving, "You do like this." If we do like that... Or take even Bible. If we follow strictly, then we become happy. So, am I right or wrong? What is your opinion?
Guest (1) (Indian man): You are very right in saying this because we cannot solve many problem. The problems keep on multiplying. When we solve one problem, there are twenty ahead of us.
Prabhupāda: Our first problem is—because we have got this material body—eating. Everyone must eat. So Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14): "If there is sufficient food grains, then both man and animal, they become happy." Therefore our first religion is to produce food grain sufficiently to feed everyone. Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva (BG 18.44). This matter has been entrusted to the vaiśyas. They should produce sufficient food and give protection to the cows for sufficient milk. Then the whole human society, animal society, will be happy.
But we are disobeying the orders, or the rules, given by God. Instead of producing food, we are producing motorcars. And motor tires, motor parts, and so many other things. And therefore people are starving. The manual labor is being misused. We are disobeying the orders of God. Therefore we are unhappy. I have seen all over the world, there are enough space for producing food grains. And if we actually produce food grain, we can maintain ten times of the population, present population of the whole world. There is no question of scarcity, because God has created everything complete. Pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate (Īśo, Invocation). There cannot be any defect in the creation of God. We have created these defects on account of our disobeying the orders of God. God never said that "motorcar-ād bhavanti bhūtāni." He never says. Instead of producing food grains, we are producing so many unwanted things. People energy's engaged for... Just like in America or in every country, so much energy and resources are engaged for preparing war materials. And that means there must be war, and you must be killed; I must be killed. You will kill me; I will kill you. That's all.
Therefore God says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). The human society should be divided into four classes of men: the most intelligent class, brāhmaṇa; the next intelligent class, kṣatriya; then next intelligent class, vaiśyas; and the fourth-class men, who cannot become brāhmaṇa, neither kṣatriya, nor vaiśya, they are called śūdra. Śūdra is meant for giving service to the others. Paricaryātmakaṁ karyaṁ śūdra-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). So in this age, ninety-nine percent people are engaged as śūdra, working for others. No independence. Otherwise brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, they are independent. They are nobody's servant. But at the present moment, education means how to become expert servant. That means śūdra. So we cannot expect any good things from śūdra. That is not possible. Formerly there was monarchy, and the king were called rājarṣis, saintly king. Imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). These instruction are meant for the rājarṣis, not for the śūdras. So the rājarṣis, they would take instruction from superior authority, brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas, and they will accordingly rule over. And the vaiśyas would produce food grains sufficiently and milk sufficiently. People would eat very nicely, and they keep their health fit and save time for understanding his relationship with God. That is perfect civilization.
Guest (2) (American man): Who is a śūdra? Is it determined by jāti?
Prabhupāda: Yes, one who is seeking service like dog. The dog goes door to door and moves his tail: "Give me some food. Give me some..."
Guest (2): Is it determined by jāti, by birth?
Prabhupāda: No. His quality... He has no quality.
Guest (2): Spiritual type.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Not spiritual type, it..., material type. He cannot maintain himself independently. Nowadays people are being educated highly, but if there is no service he has no value.
Guest (2): So the tamasi.
Prabhupāda: Yes. He has no value. I have seen one doctor of chemistry—he could not get any service—in Allahabad. His name was Raghunatha Mitri, Dr. Raghunatha Mitri. So he was living at the cost of his father-in-law and making some soap and going to the shop for selling, doctor. That means he could not get any service. Now his independence was to manufacture some soap as ordinary man is doing. But he was chemist; he could not do anything. He could manufacture some soap. So in spite of high education, because he could not get a good job, he had no value. That is the dog. The dogs, if they do not get a master, nice, then he's street dog. He is lean and thin and no shelter, no...
Guest (1): That is what is happening...
Guest (1): ...at the present time in this country to ten percent of the people. They don't have jobs. They are let out. They can't...
Prabhupāda: Yes. That, every country, every country. Now, just like you are highly educated. Your country could not give you service. You have come here. And that is śūdra. One who cannot live independently, he is śūdra. Paricaryātmakaṁ karyaṁ śūdra-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). Kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ (Skanda Purāṇa). In this age, everyone is practically śūdra, because nobody can live independently. So we are producing mass śūdras. Therefore it is in chaotic condition. The Communist is the last word of the śūdras. The Communist philosophy is that "We are worker. We have all the power. We must have all the power." And that they are doing. And because they do not want to obey any authority, therefore they are denying existence of God. This is the tendency of the modern society. Not only they do not know what is God, and they are trying to disobey the orders of.
So practically there is no religion. And without religion human society is animal society. Dharmeṇa hīnā pasubhiḥ samānāḥ: "Human being without any ideas of religion, God, he is no better than animal." That is the difference between animal and human being. Animal eats, we eat; animal sleeps, we sleep; animal have sexual intercourse, we have; animal also defends, we also defend. These are common features. And what is the special feature? The special feature of human being—that he can understand what is God. So if he does not understand God, he is animal, because the distinction between animal and man is being avoided. So far other activities are concerned, they are the same as of human being and as of animal. But what is the distinction? The distinction is that in the human society there is an endeavor to understand God, and the animal society, there is no such endeavor. So when the human so... so-called human society becomes devoid of God consciousness, it is animal society. Sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for raising the human society to the real platform of human society, not to keep them in the animal platform. Try to understand God and love Him. This is the substance of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So, yes?
Guest (3) (Trappist monk): There's three of us here that are monks from Conyers, Trappist monks, and you use Hare Kṛṣṇa as a way to God consciousness, while in our Christian tradition we use the name Jesus, and we repeat it constantly and try to become conscious of him.
Prabhupāda: Jesus, did he say... Jesus Christ, did he say that Jesus is the name of God?
Guest (3): Well, that's what Christians believe, yeah.
Prabhupāda: No, is there anything mentioned in the Bible that Jesus is the name of God?
Guest (3): I'm not sure.
Guest (1): He didn't say it himself, did he? Either in the New Testament. He didn't say it himself, did he?
Guest (3): Did he did what?
Guest (1): Did Jesus say that he is God? Jesus isn't the name of God. He said, "Son of God, son of man."
Guest (3): No, he said God. There's three places that Jesus said he's God, in Hebrews and John, and two places in...
Guest (4): "I and the father are one" is in John.
Guest (1): Oh, the father and the son is one. Of course it is one. So are we, because we are all children of God. God must be in us, otherwise we couldn't exist.
Guest (3): Of course.
Guest (1): I am not denying anything, but I'm saying that the meaning might be that "God and Jesus is one" is in a similar way that I and God is one.
Prabhupāda: That is fact. That is fact.
Guest (3): Well, again it depends upon the belief of each individual.
Prabhupāda: No, Jesus is described as son of God. Do you deny that?
Guest (3): Definitely, he is definitely son of God, just as you and I are. But at the same time, as Christians... Of course, it's a matter of belief.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. The son and the father, they are the same because son is born out of father. So how he can be different? In that sense it is one.
Guest (3): Yeah, I'm not denying the fact that God...
Prabhupāda: No, no, try to understand. Just like here is a son, and here is a father. So there is no difference because the son is the expansion of the body of the father. So how the body and expansion of the body can be different? They're one. But still, in relationship, son is son, father is father.
Guest (3): They're still one.
Prabhupāda: In relationship... Just like the mother is there, and her relationship with husband is different from her relationship with her son. In that sense, the son and the father, different, but in quality they are one because son is the expansion of the father's body. Therefore, simultaneously, they are one and different. That is real understanding. So if the son sometimes says, "I am one with the father," there is no controversy because he is one in quality.
Guest (3): This tradition of the names was a tradition that was developed for two thousand years, beginning with the monks, and which most Christians are really not aware of, that through this japa a man can come to consciousness of God.
Prabhupāda: Yes, when one comes to God consciousness. And the relationship is "God is great; we are subordinate." Just like the father is the maintainer, and the son is maintained. Although the father and the son of the same quality, still, the relationship is the father is the maintainer and the son is maintained.
Guest (4): That's, of course, not the orthodox Christian interpretation that's supposed to be. It's very clear by the time the decrees were worked out that Jesus is not a creature. He's incarnate God.
Guest (5): You say that we are creatures, and we are subordinate to God, and I can understand that. Christ was not created.
Prabhupāda: Yes, none of us are created. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā...
Guest (5): Yes, I understand now. I spoke earlier with some people... In other words, you say we are co-eternal with the father, just as Christ is.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are all eternal. That is nityo nityānām. I have already explained. Nitya means eternal. There are two eternals: one chief eternal, God, and one subordinate eternals, they are plural number. God is one, and we are many. Father is one; the children are many. Similarly, both the father and the children are eternal. God is not created, and the childrens are not created. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, na jāyate na mriyate vā. All these living entity, they are never created; neither they ever die. Nityaḥ śāśvatam na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). They are eternal, ever existing. Even after the destruction of the body, they are not annihilated. So God is eternal. That I have already explained. And we living entities, we are also eternal. How the son can be otherwise? If the father is eternal, the son is also eternal. The son cannot be... Because son is the expansion, part and parcel of the father, so all the qualities of the father are there. The only quality difference is the father maintainer and the sons are maintained. That means the father has got unlimited resources to maintain the sons, and the sons, they have no resources. They are maintained by the father. This is perfect philosophy. Otherwise, if you are self-sufficient, then why you go to church and beg father, "Give us our daily bread"? That is... That means you are maintained. You are begging the father, "Please maintain us." So if the Supreme Being, who is maintaining millions of trillions of living entities, He is great, or the living entities who are maintained by God, they are great? Therefore God is great, and we are subordinate. This is natural conclusion. How you can go otherwise? If you are self-sufficient, why go to church and pray, "God, give us our daily bread"? Are you independent? Are you independent?
Guest (5): No. I am a creature.
Prabhupāda: That is subordinate. Yes. Everyone is creature. He is the supreme creature.
Guest (5): I am servant of God. He is my life. Without Him, I can't live. I understand what you're saying, but I believe that our tradition from the Old Testament says that we were created by God.
Prabhupāda: In one sense we are created, just like father creates the sons, not the sons create the father. In that sense we are created. (pause) So taking this word, that "sons were created," so the father existed before our creation.
Guest (5): Existed before our creation?
Prabhupāda: Creation. So He's not of the same quality again.
Guest (4): It's a mystery. We can only bow down before Him then.
Prabhupāda: That is our business. (laughter)
Guest (4): That's beautiful.
Prabhupāda: This word, "creation," is applicable in this material world. In the spiritual world there is no creation—the father and the son existing eternally. When we come to this material world... Material world means it has got beginning and it has got end. And spiritual world means there is no beginning, no end. That is sanātana, eternal.
Guest (1): That is the point of a Steady State theory of the universe also, that it... Arthur Hubble, I think, in Oxford, he talks about a Steady State theory of the universe. But the whole idea is that the whole universe has always been there, and it will always be there. It might change in shape, like on the expressway in the morning. Any one morning you may look at it, blue car is here and the red car is there, and another day the green car might be in the same place. So there might be transitory change, but he maintains that it has always been there. So I can see the point. There is a big controversy going on, and he might be very well right.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: (explaining) He's talking from a physical concept.
Guest (1): The Big Bang theory and the Steady State theory of the universe. And they have come up with a cyclical theory of the universe also, that there is a big bang and the universe expands and then comes back again, like in Vedic philosophy, they have one mantra...
Prabhupāda: Hmm, bṛhattvād bṛhannatvād iti brahma.
Guest (1): So they are coming back to that kind of thing that we have not solved any questions. From the point of view of science things are changing all the time. It is very exciting. I read the Old Testament too and the New Testament. I don't remember everything.
Guest (3): We can tie in with the idea of the spirit being eternal in Christ, and I believe Christ himself said that we have all been with him from the beginning.
Guest (1): And there is no beginning. According to the ideas, one group of science (indistinct), there is no beginning, and therefore there is no beginning, there is no end.
Guest (4): It's the alpha and the omega then. Swami, do you see a difference or a conflict between being a devotee of Jesus and a devotee of Kṛṣṇa? May one be both?
Prabhupāda: A devotee means, real devotee means, he has no purpose for material gain. That is real devotee. Now we have to see what kind of devotee he is. There are two kinds of devotees: with purpose and without purpose. The "without purpose" devotee is pure devotee, and "with purpose" devotee, they are material devotee. That is distinguished in Bhagavad-gītā,
- ārto arthārthī jijñāsur
- jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
- catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
- sukṛtinaḥ arjuna
- (BG 7.16)
There are pious men and sinful men. Sinful men cannot become devotee. Pious men can become devotee.
- yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- (BG 7.28)
These are the definitions. One who is completely free from all sinful activities, they can become pure devotee. So even after becoming free from sinful activities, one, if one has got some motive, then he is also not pure devotee.
Pure devotee means without any material motive: "God is great. I am His subordinate. I must love God. I must render service to God." This is pure living. And if I go to God, "Please give me my bread," that is not pure devotee, because he has got some purpose. As soon as his purpose is fulfilled, he may turn nondevotee. Just like one of my German Godbrothers said that in Germany during the last war, Second World War, many women used to go to the church to pray to God to get back their husband, son or brother. But nobody came back, and they became atheist: "There is no God. We prayed so much, and my father did not come, my brother did not come, my son did not come." So motivated devotion is sometimes frustrated, and they become atheist.
Therefore the devotee who has no motive is pure devotee. "In any condition, it is my duty to love God and to serve Him, not for my benefit but God's satisfaction." That is pure devotee.
- ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
- śilānaṁ bhaktir uttama
- (Brs. 1.1.11)
This is the definition of pure devotee. "If God satisfies me in my sense gratification, then I love God. Otherwise I have no connection with Him"—that is not devotion; that is business. So business-type devotion is not devotion. It is devotion—it may be accepted as a pious activity, not devotion. Devotion is transcendental to pious and impious activity. Just like Arjuna was thinking to fight with his cousin-brothers and kill them is impious. But when he understood, "Kṛṣṇa wants this fight," he transcended the impious activity, and by the order of Kṛṣṇa he killed his relative. Therefore this devotion is above the position of pious and impious activity. Therefore it is called transcendental.
Guest (4): I am not clear on what you're saying that for someone...
Prabhupāda: It is clear. If you have got some motive, and with motive you go to God, that is not pure devotion.
Guest (4): It is wrong to petition God?
Prabhupāda: No, it is not wrong, but it is not pure devotion.
Guest (4): I see.
Prabhupāda: Some way or other, if you go to God, that is very good. With motive or without motive, you have come to God, that is piety. That is better than to become impious. Impious men, they do not go to God. Just like nowadays nobody goes to church. Church are selling. Simply... Temples also. So now there are in India so many township development. They are constructing very fashionable houses, and no temple. Nobody is constructing temple. At the present moment everybody has become disinterested with anything religion and God—all over the world. That is degradation. Especially I am seeing in Bombay, that Juhu scheme, very nice houses are being manufactured. You have all seen. But nobody is constructing a temple. The modern economists, they say "nonproductive endeavor"—and there is no income; simply you have to spend money for maintaining the temple. So they are not interested in nonproductive things. So this is degradation of the human society. Either as Christian or Hindu or Muhammadan, nobody is interested. A few may be interested.
(pause) (new guests enter)
Balavanta: These are some psychologists, Śrīla Prabhupāda, from the University of Georgia. This is Michael Green. He's a lawyer in Atlanta helping us.
Prabhupāda: Your question was devotee and nondevotee, no? You questioned?
Guest (4): I am a Christian, yes.
Prabhupāda: No, no. Your question...
Guest (4): Oh, do I have a question? Yes, to my question, you answered it. Thank you.
Prabhupāda: So, what is the question of Mr. Psychiatrist? Who is psychiatrist? You are? Come here.
Guest (6): No, I have just come to listen.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. The other day in Caracas two or three psychiatrists came. His question was how to solve the problems. So our statement is that unless you treat the spiritual disease of the human society, then the problems will increase. It will be never be solved. The real disease is spiritual disease.
Guest (6): The young children also? What about young children?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Young children should be educated from the very beginning about God consciousness, or the science of God. We had the opportunity in our childhood. My father taught. And then, when I was grown up, my spiritual master taught. So for that reason we have got some sense. Spiritual education should be given,
- kaumāra ācaret prājño
- dharmān bhāgavatān iha
- durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
- tad apy adhruvam arthadam
- (SB 7.6.1)
This is statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja. He was a five-years-old boy and a devotee. So he was trying to preach amongst his class fellows. The class fellows said, "Why you are bothering about spiritual consciousness, God consciousness, now? We are young men. Let us play." He said, "No. The spiritual life should begin kaumāra, just at the beginning of five years." Why? Durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma: "This human form of life is very rarely obtained, and we do not know when we shall die. So before our next death we must be spiritually equipped. That is the business of human life." There is no guarantee when death will come. A child may also die tomorrow. There is no guarantee. Therefore spiritual education should begin as soon as a child can understand something. Because there is no guarantee that he will remain for many years. There is no guarantee.
So the business of human life is to revive our lost relationship with God. So if we miss, then I may get another body, not even human body. Then I miss the opportunity. There are 8,400,000 types of forms. Just like the trees, they are also... (break) ...human form of life. And that may take millions of years. So if we miss this opportunity of human life, to revive our relationship with God, and next life I become something else, then how much great loss it is, just try to understand. This human form of body is obtained after many, many millions of years' struggle. So this is also temporary, as the cats' and dogs' body, they are also temporary. But although it is temporary, it is arthadam. You can achieve the real purpose of life. That is the privilege of this human form of...
Therefore as soon as possible, the spiritual education should begin, immediately. If the child simply can understand, (break)... "God is great," that is immense profit for him. (pause)... (break)... Means from five years to twenty-five years, brahmacārī, he has nothing to learn except God, brahmacārī. Brāhme carati iti brahmacārī. He is simply interested in Brahman. That is called brahmacārī. He has no material interest. That is the foundation of spiritual life, brahmacārī. And if he can, he remains brahmacārī throughout the whole life. But if he is unable, then he is allowed to marry, gṛhastha. So according to Vedic civilization, the any education should begin at childhood. Therefore even one is king's son, he was sent to gurukula to remain as brahmacārī to learn the basic principle of life. That is Vedic civilization. Thik hai?
Guest (1): Quite right.
Prabhupāda: Nowadays small boys, they are learning how to smoke. When I was first in America, in Butler, so I saw small children, ten to twelve years or almost ten, nine, they were smoking. I was surprised, because in India, at least, that is not allowed. I think there is law. If any boy smokes less than sixteen years old, he is punished, in India. What is that? (referring to picture?)
Guest (1): I am looking at him. He is ten years old.
Prabhupāda: Oh, you can give him some book to see. (end)