760615 - Conversation C - Detroit

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



760615R3-DETROIT - June 16, 1976 - 75.08 Minutes


(Conversation with Clergymen)



Jayādvaita: That should be finished in not more than one or two days.

Viśākhā: Tell him this has to be turned over when it stops.

Hari-śauri: If it runs out.

Viśākhā: Yeah, it flops up.

Hari-śauri: Yeah, keep it there.

Lekhaśravantī: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this is Father Kern and Father Scheuerman. Father Scheuerman is from this church across the street from the temple here. He came also tonight.

Prabhupāda: Yes, let him...

Ambarīṣa: There's another chair coming. There's another chair coming.

Priest: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: Bring one āsana.

Hari-śauri: Put a mat out, cushion.

Priest: Thank you.

(commotion in background, mic moving around while devotees bring seats)

Scheuerman: This is just fine.

Kern: We're happy the way we are.

Scheuerman: I don't think I could quite sit too long like that. I have to practice more. (break)

Prabhupāda: ...habituated to sit cross-leg, like that. They have learned also. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. So people in general, they are now out of God consciousness. Is it not?

Scheuerman: Yes, I would agree that in our society, that the consciousness of God is definitely on the wane. There's no question about that. We find it very, very difficult, I think, even to speak about the Lord God in the presence of people, because the ears are closed or stopped. There's not a willingness to listen.

Prabhupāda: Why the people have come to this condition, that they are not prepared even to hear about God?

Scheuerman: I think..., I think that, perhaps...

Prabhupāda: One priest in Boston, he issued one booklet, that "These boys, they're our boys, mostly they are coming from Christian or Jewish family. But before this movement, they were not coming even to the church, never inquired about God. Now they are mad after God." He issued one pamphlet like that. These boys.

Scheuerman: Oh, you're referring to the young men right here, coming from Boston, that's what you're saying, I see. Right.

Prabhupāda: We have got many places. Los Angeles we purchased one church, a very big church. That church was vacant, nobody was coming. They tried so much to invite men, but nobody was coming. But after we have purchased, the church is the same, and the inhabitants are residents of Los Angeles, but it is always packed up.

Kern: I think there are many good signs, however—your own movement. And we have... I noticed you use the beads. We have a priest, Father Peyton, who gathers thousands to recite the rosary. Mostly young people. There are other movements that gather young people, which require a discipline. And perhaps since we think more in terms of the individual rather than the group, and the individual's decision, we possibly have forgotten that group discipline is very important. Therefore the attraction of your own movement and many others like that... Within the Roman Catholics, there is now a very hopeful sign of mostly young people who are in what is called the charismatic movement, seeking to learn more of the Holy Spirit, seeking to change their lives for the better, however, at the same time, staying involved in the world. And it could be said that they seek to carry on the redemptive work of Jesus that he wishes done in the world, since he would be the key to our..., to our advancement in the world. "Our advancement," I say, and I'm not speaking of myself as a young man. But I think many young people in this charismatic movement, this is within Protestants and Catholics and others, I would say. There's a great emphasis among Jewish young people in the schools, to the development of the Jewish religion.

Prabhupāda: What is the difference? Can you explain? Young... I have been several times inquired that why young people coming in this movement? What is the reason?

Jayādvaita: The specific qualification of our movement is that Śrīla Prabhupāda is giving information very scientifically in understanding God as the Supreme Person. Understanding not just that God is great, but understanding how God is great. Generally, we understand God is great, but how God is great, what His name is, what His form is, what His world is, there's no specific information.

Kern: You say there is not specific information?

Jayādvaita: Generally speaking, there is no information given. But the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, from Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Vedic books, the information is given very specifically about how God is great.

Kern: I suppose that theology, study of God, is quite specific. Now whether would that information be given to groups? Yes, I think so. We would speak of God as revealing Himself to us in very many ways. And therefore a group as large as this... For example, tonight, Tuesday, there would be meetings of young people, Roman Catholics—and probably Protestants too, but I'm just thinking of Roman Catholic young people—who would be praying very earnestly and searching for God's revelation to them through their friends, neighbors and their own experience of God. I don't know if... I'm not familiar with the charismatic movement yet, so I'm only speaking in great generalities.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: The difficulty I have found by my personal experience with these groups is that it couldn't give me a concrete enough realization, neither a whole practical lifestyle by which I could stay on the platform of God realization. You can go to the meeting, but then when you go out in the society you're forced to act in so many sinful ways because of the conditioning and the advertising and the force of pressure in the society. But even... I lived in a Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, with the monks there, and there was still that gap between how I could not only fulfill my own spiritual life there, but also how to help others in theirs, without losing my purity. And that I've been able to find in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, because it gives you a twenty-four-hour a day program to remain in God consciousness.

Kern: You think it...

Prabhupāda: In our Bhagavad-gītā there is a verse. Find out:

yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
(BG 7.28)

Those who are addicted to sinful life, they cannot understand God. So therefore we have to stop sinful activities. If you keep them in sinful activities, and if you expect that God will be revealed to them, it is not possible.

Scheuerman: Yes, we certainly agree. No contradiction on... I think it's very, very important—we do not see you in competition with our...

Prabhupāda: No, there is no competition. It is a science. Science is to...

Scheuerman: We rejoice when we see people coming to the Lord God, wherever it may be and however it may be. Do you have the passage there?

Jayādvaita: Yes. "Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination."

Scheuerman: Yes we, too, see sin as an obstacle to communication and relationship with the Lord God.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Read the purport.

Scheuerman: In fact, we define sin as that which separates us from the friendship of God.

Rakṣaṇa: So that means following God's instructions, such as "Thou shalt not kill," right?

Jayādvaita: This is the purport. "Those eligible for elevation to the transcendental position are mentioned in this verse. For those who are sinful, atheistic, foolish and deceitful, it is very difficult to transcend the duality of desire and hate. Only those who have passed their lives in practicing the regulative principles of religion, who have acted piously and have conquered sinful reactions can accept devotional service and gradually rise to the pure knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, gradually, they can meditate in trance on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the process of being situated on the spiritual platform. This elevation is possible in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the association of pure devotees who can deliver one from delusion. It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that if one actually wants to be liberated, he must render service to the devotees; but one who associates with materialistic people is on the path leading to the darkest region of existence. All the devotees of the Lord traverse this earth just to recover the conditioned souls from their delusion. The impersonalists do not know that forgetting their constitutional position as subordinate to the Supreme Lord is the greatest violation of God's law. Unless one is reinstated in his own constitutional position, it is not possible to understand the Supreme Personality or to be fully engaged in His transcendental loving service with determination."

Scheuerman: Yes, we can certainly agree with that.

Prabhupāda: So, we have to teach people how to refrain from sinful activities. Then, when he's pure, then God will reveal. If we keep them in sinful life, at the same time we want to preach them, it will not be possible. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that those who are animal killer, they cannot understand about God. Vinā paśughnāt (SB 10.1.4). So if in the human society unnecessary animal killing is encouraged, he will never be able to understand what is God. The greatest sinful activity, paśu-ghnāt. So in human society, unnecessarily the animal killing is going on. So they are entangled in sinful activities; therefore they are unable to understand what is God.

Kern: Are you speaking specifically about all animal killing, Your Excellency? Or, how do you speak of animal killing? In other words, vegetarian living, is that what you're speaking of?

Prabhupāda: No, animal means the four-legged animals. Vegetables are not called animals, even in dictionary.

Kern: Does the group live a vegetarian life, without any meat? Is that what you're saying?

Scheuerman: I see. That's a basic principle of your way of life, is not eating any meat, any flesh.

Prabhupāda: The verse..., I think there is no Bhāgavata here. The Second Canto, I think, it is said,

nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād
bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano-'bhirāmāt
ka uttamaśloka guṇānuvādāt
virajyeta pumān vinā paśu-ghnāt
(SB 10.1.4)

The glorification of the Lord is done by the liberated person. It is so nice, glorification of the Lord. So who can refrain from the glorification of the Lord unless he is animal killer? It is said there.

Kern: The origin of the group, where...? Who was the original founder, Your Excellency? The original founder of the group?

Prabhupāda: Which group?

Kern: This group, your group, Kṛṣṇa movement.

Prabhupāda: I am the founder. I am the founder.

Kern: You founded it.

Prabhupāda: In 1966.

Scheuerman: Nineteen sixty-six. And you utilized the traditions of Oriental..., especially of Indian origin.

Prabhupāda: This book, this book. We are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is.

Scheuerman: So this is a collection of the ancient writings as well as modern writings that reflect the way of life.

Prabhupāda: This is the summary of all Vedic literature.

Kern: Of what kind of literature?

Prabhupāda: Vedic.

Scheuerman: Vedic, oh, yeah.

Rakṣaṇa: Vedas means "knowledge."

Scheuerman: This comes out of a Hindu rhetoric.

Prabhupāda: So, here in this Bhagavad-gītā, it is ordered that the human society must be divided into four divisions, and they should cooperate for understanding God. Just like in our body there is the head, there is the arm, there is the belly and there is the leg. So they are all cooperating for maintaining the body. Although head is very important than the leg, but leg is also required. Simply head will not be able to keep the body in good condition.

Scheuerman: Yes, our Saint Paul uses that very imagery in his Epistle to the Corinthians, Tenth Chapter. Yes.

Prabhupāda: So that is mentioned in this book. So head means first-class intelligent. A class of men.

Kern: How about people who aren't first-class intelligence? People, as you mentioned, the foolish. What message...? I mean the foolish. We have...

Prabhupāda: No, they should be trained up. The foolish man... Just like a foolish child can be trained up to be very nicely educated to pass M.A. examination. Child is..., all children are foolish. That is accepted. But by training him, we can make him the first-class intelligent man.

Scheuerman: Training and discipline is a very important aspect of your asceticism.

Prabhupāda: But that training is wanted at the present moment.

Scheuerman: Yes, I think that, I would agree that the willingness of modern...

Prabhupāda: There's no training to qualify a person to become first class. There is no training.

Kern: I'm thinking of the retarded, the mongoloid, the encephalitis, those who are born with...

Prabhupāda: Nobody's born intelligent; that is not possible.

Kern: No, I understand. But you see, it mentions in there that... I was thinking what message do you have for the parents of a child...

Prabhupāda: How to train them first class.

Kern: No, this is a retarded...

Scheuerman: A child that is born handicapped, intellectually handicapped.

Kern: Cannot walk nor talk.

Prabhupāda: Well, that is another... That is exceptional. Generally, anyone is born, according to Vedic civilization, everyone is born fourth class. When he takes his birth, it is to be accepted he's a fourth class. Now by training, you can make him first class, second class, third class. By birth, everyone is fourth class.

Kern: I saw a film of a leader of ours, Jean Vanier from Canada and France. He took five thousand retarded—in Spanish, we say desamparados—to Rome just for the experience. And they were all in wheelchairs, old and young and small ones—not understanding very much, but a wonderful experience for them, the weak and the disenchant.., well, the weak and the wounded.

Jayādvaita: (explaining to Prabhupāda) One priest took many handicapped people, who...

Prabhupāda: No, why you are speaking of handicapped? Who has taken the handicapped? Handicapped is handicapped.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Our program for them is also like this, to give them spiritual...

Prabhupāda: No, no. Apart from that, we shall deal with the handicapped later on.

Kern: That's my, that's my...

Prabhupāda: First of all, we take the general people.

Kern: No, but you were saying that you speak..., you are looking for the intelligent, the...

Prabhupāda: Not looking for. I am talking that anyone can be, I mean to say, elevated to the intellectual platform by training. Not the handicapped. Handicapped, there are special cases. That is another thing.

Kern: But...

Prabhupāda: Generally, everyone is born fourth class. Is to be understood. But by training such people you can make them division, first class, second class, third class.

Scheuerman: I think we certainly would have no quarrel with that. I think Father's concern is what is your message for..., what is your attitude toward those who are handicapped in our society? How do you respond? How do you treat those?

Prabhupāda: Handicapped... Suppose your hand is cut. So I cannot bring another hand to join. It is not possible. Suppose your hand is cut. The handicap, now "handicut." So can I join any other hand? Is it possible?

Kern: No, but...

Prabhupāda: Then what is the use of...

Kern: No, but you can..., my point is if a child would be born...

Prabhupāda: I'm talking that those who are handicapped, by nature defective, we shall deal with them. That's all right.

Kern: How? How do you deal with them? That's my question.

Prabhupāda: Well, what? How you are dealing? You cannot. I told you that if your hand is cut, is it possible for me to add another hand in your body?

Kern: No, but...

Prabhupāda: Then you are unable. You have to accept it. But as far as possible we can give them help. That is not the question. Question is, those who are not handicapped, they are rotting without education, without enlightenment. They're keeping themselves as fourth-class, fifth-class men. Why not train them to become first-class men? That is the point. If one is blind, you cannot give him eyes. If one is lame, you cannot give him leg. That is beyond your ability. That is another thing; we shall deal with them later on. First of all, those who are born as human being, why should you keep them as third-class, fourth-class men?

Kern: So this is a development. Saint Ignatius did the same, somewhat. When he began, he sought the leadership, and he sought the intelligent, so that they might do what, obviously, you do it also, seeking the leadership that can then teach. We call it sometimes elitism, and this is perhaps a good word for it.

Prabhupāda: (aside) So you find out the verse, satyaḥ śamo damas titikṣā, the qualification of brāhmaṇa. Here, it is meant, the first class, second class, third class, fourth class. Yes.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work."

Prabhupāda: This is first class. Again repeat that.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness."

Prabhupāda: So why they should not be educated to become first-class men on this basis?

Scheuerman: That's right. I would agree that that is a worthy and very important goal.

Prabhupāda: So where is that institution who is teaching these things?

Kern: He said that the monastery did not teach this. I don't know if you can generalize about all monasteries.

Prabhupāda: I don't say monastery. I'm speaking that this is the way of training. Even a third-class born or fourth-class born to become a first-class man. This training should be given. There must be an institution how to become peaceful, how to become truthful, how to become honest, how to become religious, how to become believer in God. Why not this institution? They have opened institution how to learn to deal the hammer, technology. But if, in the society, there is no first-class man on this basis, then who will guide? If there is no brain, then who will guide the hand or the leg?

Scheuerman: So your particular plan is then to provide this kind of enlightenment, this kind of direction and education, through the ascetical process in which your group is involved. Yes. We, of course, have made efforts along this line through our schools and through our religious communities that have been successful more or less, depending on efforts given to it.

Prabhupāda: The second-class man is also described, who is the second class.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are qualities of work for the kṣatriyas," or the administrators.

Prabhupāda: This is second class. They are not first class, they are second class. First class is above mentioned.

Scheuerman: The brāhmaṇa

Prabhupāda: Yes, then second class. Second class also required.

Scheuerman: Also requires training, yes.

Prabhupāda: Suppose if there is war. So first-class men, they cannot go to fight; they are not trained up. But the second-class man who is trained up... What is that quality?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "Courage in battle."

Prabhupāda: Courage in battle. Now we have got report that in Vietnam battles, what happened?

Hari-śauri: Whenever they fight, most of the soldiers run away.

Prabhupāda: Run away. (laughter) He's fourth class. He has been placed in the second class. So how he'll do the...

Scheuerman: Yeah, but we have a principle called "A man tends to rise to the level of his incompetence." (laughter)

Prabhupāda: These are the defects of the society at the present moment. A fourth-class, fifth-class man is on the first class or second class. Why Nixon had to be dragged down? He's a third-class man.

Scheuerman: Third-class man.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughter)

Scheuerman: That's rather high on the ladder, I'd say, Your Excellency. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: So these mistakes are going on.

avyāpare suvyaparam
'yo naraḥ kartum icchati
sa-mulo hanyate
'khila pārthiva vānaraḥ.

So one man's food is another man's poison. So one should not misplace what he's unable to do.

Scheuerman: Many of these expressions that you are reading sound very similar to what we call the "Wisdom Literature" of the Old Testament of our Bible, of Syrac and Ecclesiasticis and Ecclesiasticus, and also, of course, some of the sayings of Jesus are very close to what you're saying here. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these other things will be added besides." That's the first-class man, who's constantly working toward the kingdom. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek," and so on.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. If there is a first class, set a first-class man on the head of the society, then everything will be done properly.

Kern: In the Mass today Jesus said, "You must be perfected as your heavenly father is perfect."

Prabhupāda: Yes. That's nice.

Scheuerman: I was wondering if you had some plan, some thoughts, in the way in which we could mutually cooperate for the...

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. There is plan. Now suppose if I say "Let us create some peaceful man," so who will disagree with this? I don't say everyone will be peaceful, but some of them can be trained up. Some of them can be trained up courageous in battle. We have to select by practical psychology what is the tendency. Similarly, we should divide...

Scheuerman: In other words, you would utilize practical psychology in the selection of people for the various levels.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, yes.

Kern: Well, you see, in our training for priests, our training for religious women and men, brothers, our people in this work would heartily agree in the need that there is for that training.

Prabhupāda: There is. Just like I have already said that to keep your body in order you require to keep the head, the hands, the belly and the legs in order. Otherwise, there will be disorder. The present position of the whole human society is in disorder.

Scheuerman: So you are talking not only about an intellectual fitness development, but also a physical fitness of body to go along with that.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: No.

Hari-śauri: Social body.

Prabhupāda: Physical fitness, they are, this... To keep the brain in order, that is also physical thing. So... And the soldier trained up how to fight, that is also physical. But you cannot ask the high-court judge to go and fight in the field. Both of them are physical, but you cannot ask the high-court judge, "Go and fight in the front." His business is different, his business is different.

Scheuerman: Each has a different role, function in the society.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Kern: But that..., that seems to abandon the foolish.

Scheuerman: Father Kern's concern is always for the poor, for the downtrodden, for those who suffer, for those who are deprived.

Prabhupāda: Oh, that is imagination. That is never will be fulfilled. That is simply imagination. It will never... As I told you, that, what you can do? There are so many poor men. We can estimate like this: the rich men and the middle class men and the poor class men. These three orders are there everywhere.

Scheuerman: So you see that as in nature, as coming from the Lord God Himself, these three levels. And you think that...

Prabhupāda: Now, when I did not come to your country, I thought that in America, everyone is rich.

Scheuerman: (laughs) Most everyone in another country thinks everyone in America is rich, yes. There's only one class here.

Prabhupāda: But when I came here I saw there are so many bums—are called bums? (laughter) They are lying on the street.

Kern: But we think that...

Prabhupāda: First of all, let me finish. So why, America, they are lying on the street?

Kern: They're not. They're not.

Prabhupāda: How, what can you do?

Kern: A few are, but...

Prabhupāda: Not few, many.

Kern: No.

Prabhupāda: Maybe few, but why there should be at all?

Scheuerman: You mean in a rich country like this, why should anyone be on the street?

Prabhupāda: You cannot do anything. There will be a third-class or poor class man, which you even want to help them, they'll not accept your help. That is another thing. These three phases... I have seen in London, the British Empire, and the hippies, they are lying on the park, and the police kicking, "Hey, hut, hut." (laughter) But I mean to say, the nature is law...

Scheuerman: But that's just a fad.

Prabhupāda: ...nature's law, that a richer class, middle class and a poorer class. That will continue.

Scheuerman: Jesus said the poor you have always with you. But at the same time, he said we must go out and give what assistance we can as a Christian community.

Prabhupāda: That assistance means to.... First of all, a man is...

Scheuerman: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the homeless.

Prabhupāda: A man is poor when he's in ignorance.

Scheuerman: So you see that as a greater poverty, is the ignorance, rather than the physical poverty of not having enough food.

Prabhupāda: So food problem can be solved simply by accepting... That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. (aside:) Find out. Annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14). How everyone can... Find out.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by the performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is born of prescribed duties."

Prabhupāda: So if you produce enough food grains, both the man and the animal will live very peacefully. Food grains. And I've seen in your country, in America, in Africa, in Australia, so much vacant land without producing food grains. So men are not engaged to produce food grain, but they are brought in Detroit to manufacture of wheels of motorcar.

Kern: For ambulances to bring the sick to the doctor.

Prabhupāda: So we have to correct this. First of all, produce food.

Scheuerman: So if I understand you correctly, you are saying utilize intelligence to correct the problem.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Scheuerman: Produce more food rather than worry about the fact... So that the poor can have to eat and the animals can have to... So your approach, then, is not one of direct assistance to the person who is starving or suffering, but rather indirect, utilizing intelligence to produce food.

Prabhupāda: Yes, and there will be no starvation.

Scheuerman: That's an intellectual approach. I think our approach would be, we would be concerned with a person-to-person assistance. That is the way, our way, that Jesus has taught us. He said, "Feed the hungry and harbor the harborless and visit the imprisoned."

Prabhupāda: Yes. If you have got enough food grains... Just like in our headquarter in Bengal, we are giving food daily, at least one thousand men.

Scheuerman: So you are feeding the hungry at your headquarters in (sic:) London. You do utilize then the direct approach as well.

Prabhupāda: No, our process is that everyone who is hungry, come and take your food. But our program is going on, but the feeding the poor is automatically there. If anyone comes to our temple, even here, anyone comes and take prasādam.

Kern: Couldn't get in. If a poor person came here, they could not get in to eat. (laughing)

Makhanlāl: No, we have many people coming from the neighborhood here. They are coming regularly. Even young children. Everything. They are coming. We have groups, community groups are coming.

Kern: Oh, do you? Very good, that's fine.

Scheuerman: And we too. We have always responded to those who have a need for food or clothing or shelter. This comes to us every day, too.

Kern: But that is... That, to make a person ask is not the right kind of society. Shouldn't, if a person be the first-class citizen and therefore independent, and therefore seek his own so that he could serve God by his own intelligence and his independence... There's no virtue to be giving; it's more of a virtue to receive.

Jayādvaita: He's suggesting that because we are requiring that a person come to us for food, that somehow this is interfering with his independence.

Prabhupāda: Where is that independence? With his family he can come and take food. What is wrong there? We say that we should not..., we are not simply supplying food. Anyone who is coming, he is getting spiritual education. Not that it is a free hotel. No. It is not that. We give them spiritual education. You come here, you take your shelter, you take your food and learn how to be first-class man. That is our program. Don't be implicated in sinful activities. Be God conscious and live here with us comfortably, take your food. We have got this nice palace.

Kern: Doctor, do you recruit people to come?

Prabhupāda: Yes, we are inviting everyone come. We have no such distinction.

Kern: I mean, I have four young alcoholics I'd like to send over. (indistinct background comments; laughter)

Prabhupāda: No, these boys and girls I have not imported from India, recruited. They are recruited here. I came alone. They are all recruited. I have got so many centers all over the world. They are simply recruited.

Scheuerman: Your asceticism, your way of life, your training program, having its Eastern origins, has a great appeal, I think, for many young people.

Prabhupāda: It is not Eastern, Western. It is the life. Just like to become peaceful, is it Eastern or Western? Peaceful is peaceful. Why do you bring Eastern?

Scheuerman: No, but the way in which..., the method in which..., is it Eastern? This is not to say it is bad; it is good too. There are many traditions...

Prabhupāda: No, I mean to say, it we look for "Eastern," "Western," then it become sectarian. But it is for all. If you teach a person to become peaceful, it is not the question of Eastern and Western. It is meant for everyone.

Scheuerman: Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall see God." Yes.

Prabhupāda: That's right. That's right. So why should you say that it is Eastern or Western?

Scheuerman: Well, your methodology, much of your personal vocabulary, your garb, is from the East.

Prabhupāda: It is not personal. It may be said that in Eastern countries or in India, these things were very much appreciated and developed. That is another thing. But the thing as it is, it is neither Eastern or Western.

Scheuerman: Oh, good. I grant it that the principles that you are utilizing are general and universal, granted.

Kern: May I ask you, Your Excellency, your own background? Were you born in India? Were you born in any other...?

Prabhupāda: Yes, I am Indian. I was born in Calcutta.

Kern: In Calcutta. And when you were there in Calcutta, did you receive the training?

Prabhupāda: Yes. I..., fortunately I was born in a very good family. So our familywise training was there. Especially in India, every family, it is like that. Trained up.

Kern: And your own schooling, then, in the local schools in Calcutta?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Not in the school, but in my family.

Kern: In the family. Any formal?

Prabhupāda: In our family, my mother taught us: if there is one grain on the floor, we shall take it, keep it on the head. It is God-sent.

Kern: Yes, and our mothers too, the same thing.

Prabhupāda: It is God-sent. The grain, food grain, it is actually given by God. You should not misuse it. This was the beginning of our training.

Kern: And then were you at the university or the school or somewhere?

Prabhupāda: Yes, Calcutta University. I was taught at the Scottish Churches College.

Scheuerman: The Scottish Churches College.

Prabhupāda: All my professors were Fathers and Reverends. Our principal was.... They were all Fathers. Mr. Scott.

Scheuerman: They were clergymen of the Church of Scotland, your teachers.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. My professor of philosophy was Dr. W. S. Urquhart. He was a very famous man in India. He became vice chancellor.

Kern: Did you then begin, after you finished the university, did you begin your writing?

Prabhupāda: Yes. No, I was family man. But even one is family man, he's trained up how to become God conscious. So that was the... That is, practically every Indian, at least in our time, they were trained up how to become God conscious in the family life. Therefore there is classification—the brāhmaṇa, the kṣatriya, the vaiśya. So these four classes, that first-class man, that brāhmaṇa, the brain. Kṣatriya, they used to rule over, taking instruction from the first-class man. And then the third grade, the productive class. (aside:) So you read there the third class.

Scheuerman: So I can see that this is probably a very important element that appeals to most of the young people that come to you is this training that can be received in this particular way. I can also see too that somewhere..., I'd like to move into this area of religious experience, enlightenment.

Prabhupāda: I shall request that... There is no question of Eastern, Western. Now people are intermingling. Now I think that we shall have institution, especially in America, to train these first class, second class, third class, and the balance fourth class. Who cannot take up any training, they are fourth class. So how they should be trained up, that indication is there. It is not the question of Eastern and Western. You become peaceful...

Scheuerman: Now, how would you proceed in this training program? I'd be interested in that.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is... If I say that to live peacefully, this instruction is neither exclusively for America or Indian. It is for everyone.

Scheuerman: That's universal, peaceful. That's universal.

Prabhupāda: Universal. What is another quality? Peaceful, and then?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Self-control.

Prabhupāda: Self-control. This is also not either for American or... "The Americans should not be self-controlled, only Indians should be self-controlled." (laughter) This is not the proposal. Self-control. Then?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Austerity.

Prabhupāda: Austerity. Tapasya. Austerity means that naturally I am inclined to do something... Take, for example, generally people are addicted or inclined to eat meat or to drink. Natural. Not for all, but a class. But if, if I train him that "Although you like this, you should give up this," that is austerity. He feels some inconvenience in the beginning.

Scheuerman: Austeritas(?) is a Latin word that refers to strength. To be able to stand and be sharp and deciding.

Prabhupāda: So this is austerity, when voluntarily accepting something which he does not like to give up. That is austerity.

Scheuerman: Disciplined.

Prabhupāda: Discipline, yes.

Scheuerman: As well as self-controlled.

Prabhupāda: So in order to go to the highest status of life, he has to accept some austerity, tapasya. Especially for God realization. Austerity required. Then?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Purity.

Prabhupāda: Purity. So our purity... Not our—everyone. Externally, internally. Externally, by taking bath or cleansing the body with soap or something else. And internally, to remain God conscious.

Kern: Internally to what?

Prabhupāda: Remain God conscious.

Scheuerman: Remain God conscious.

Prabhupāda: Simply washing externally will not help us. Therefore our mantra of purity is bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ.

apavitraḥ pavitro vā
sarvāvasthāṁ gato 'pi vā
yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ
sa bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ
(Garuḍa Purāṇa)

Śuciḥ means purified.

Scheuerman: Means?

Prabhupāda: Purified.

Scheuerman: Purified, yes.

Prabhupāda: So purification, simply externally rubbing soap and cleansing the coat and shirt, that is not purification. Internally he must be pure. Peaceful. Then, purity?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Tolerance.

Prabhupāda: Tolerance. This is also one of the good qualifications for the first-class man. Then?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Honesty.

Prabhupāda: Honesty. So there are so many things. If we want to make the whole human society very peaceful and happy, then we have to divide the society into four classes. Not that everyone will be peaceful. That is not possible. But if we have an ideal class of men who is following austerity, peacefulness, purity, knowledge, people will learn: "Oh, here is the ideal class."

Kern: Mr. Gandhi had a great effect.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That training is lacking now.

Scheuerman: I think all over the world it is lacking, it is needed. Right.

Prabhupāda: All over the world, yes. Therefore... In your country, you are opulent in every respect. You should... We are cooperating; we can cooperate. Let us start that "Here is a school or college..." Just like there is engineering college, technological... "Here is a college to learn how to become first-class men." Why not?

Scheuerman: It is part of your plan to operate schools for this purpose?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, yes.

Scheuerman: You hope eventually to have schools where training of this kind can be given.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is wanted.

Kern: When did you begin, Your Excellency?

Prabhupāda: I began... What do you mean by beginning? My beginning is from my childhood.

Kern: The Kṛṣṇa movement, in the Kṛṣṇa movement.

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa movement I started 1966.

Kern: Sixty-six.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Kern: In the West? In California?

Prabhupāda: No, here, in your America.

Scheuerman: America. I would like perhaps to hear some of your thoughts on the area of religious experience, God consciousness, how do you achieve that?

Prabhupāda: I wrote one letter to your secretary.

Mādhavānanda: The President.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (to devotee:) What is the purport? You just explain.

Hari-śauri: Prabhupāda wrote that on the bills, the monetary, on the coins or whatever, they put "In God We Trust," but actually no one understands. If you want to trust someone, then you have to know who that person is; you have to know that he's actually trustworthy. So he was asking that we could cooperate together, the American government and our movement, and we could train people practically how to trust God, like that. So Prabhupāda sent that letter. But that was a month ago, and there's still no reply.

Scheuerman: To the Secretary of the Treasury? Is that it?

Devotee: The Secretary of the President.

Scheuerman: The President, White House Secretary, his personal secretary.

Hari-śauri: So far, after one month, there's no reply.

Scheuerman: Bureaucracy. We have lots of that. You may get a reply, and then again you may not. You'll get a reply, but it would be very general I presume, originally. It's a good idea.

Prabhupāda: No, I think that for the welfare of the whole human society... America is opulent. They can start, that here is a college for training first-class men, here is a college for training second-class men, and here is a college for third-class men, and balance fourth class. Fourth-class man doesn't require any training. They are simply to help the first class, second class, third class.

Kern: That would be difficult. (laughs)

Scheuerman: That is one of the difficulties we have in this country. Everybody wants to be first class.

Prabhupāda: What is difficulty? You do not like to train first-class men?

Scheuerman: Everybody wants to be first class.

Prabhupāda: Yes, so why not train him? If I simply by imagination, that "I have become first class," will that do? Simply by imagination, I have become a medical man, will that do? You must have training.

Scheuerman: So you say put him in a training program, and if he can make it, okay, and if he can't make it, then he'll be..., he goes as far as he can in training program.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that process we can help. Therefore how to become peaceful.

Kern: Are all the people here first class?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are training them, at least.

Kern: You're training them for first class.

Prabhupāda: To become first class. Because there is a great need of first-class men.

Scheuerman: Indeed there is. Indeed there is.

Kern: Do you have any in training for second class?

Prabhupāda: No, for the time being. (laughs) We have no means. Suppose... Second class means he must be courageous to fight. So I have no means how to train them, you see? And without training, the second class, if you send him to the war, the experience is they will flee away. The many enemies coming, and they are going away.

Scheuerman: Are you training people to become teachers in this school, this process of education?

Prabhupāda: Yes, as soon as you become. Without being first-class man, you cannot teach. A second-class, third-class, fourth-class man is not meant for teaching.

Scheuerman: Where would you do this teaching?

Prabhupāda: Teaching everywhere, wherever there is possibility.

Kern: Do you do this by yourself? Are there any teachers?

Prabhupāda: No, I give them ideas, they go and teach. It is not one man's business.

Kern: No, I understand. Will you be here a good long while? Or will you be going to...

Prabhupāda: The thing is that I have established so many centers. So I have to go from one center to another just to encourage them. Otherwise, I am old enough. I am eighty years. So traveling is not very good job for me, but still I do it just to encourage them.

Kern: Do you... Your lines of authority then come from you, or is it an elective authority?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is work on higher authority.

Kern: In other words, there would be no election. Like if you go to San Francisco...

Prabhupāda: No, I have got my secretaries. I have got about twenty secretaries who are in charge of some group of temples.

Scheuerman: I see. And you appoint the secretaries then, who are in charge of the groups, each local group.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I try to manage as far as possible, but I'm not getting any government's cooperation. It is all my personal endeavor.

Scheuerman: Do you hope to acquire school buildings for teaching school?

Prabhupāda: Yes, why not? If there is arrangement for financing such school, we can start, very nice.

Kern: Father would sell you a fine school.

Scheuerman: We have a building that will be available shortly (laughs) if you want to start a school.

Prabhupāda: So let us cooperate.

Scheuerman: (laughs) Let us cooperate. And your teachers. There's no question about the kind of thing you're talking about here is needed.

Prabhupāda: "Father" means responsibility. According to our Vedic literature, one should not become a father unless he can deliver his son from the cycle of birth and death. Pitā na sa syāj na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum (SB 5.5.18). At the present moment we are in the cycle of birth and death in the conditioned stage. So it is the duty of the father how to save the son from the cycle of birth and death. This is responsibility.

Scheuerman: The last word I didn't... The cycle of...?

Prabhupāda: Birth and death.

Scheuerman: Birth and death, right, right.

Prabhupāda: Because, I have got this life, you have got this life, so we shall give up this body, we have to accept another body. We have to enter again in the womb of the mother, and packed up for so many months. And nowadays there's a risk of losing life also. The mother is killing child.

Scheuerman: There's an area hopefully where we might be able to cooperate, this area of slaughter, senseless slaughter.

Prabhupāda: So many things. It is going on. So unless there is first-class man, who will guide them?

Kern: I think you ought to eliminate the second-class man who are soldiers. If you're training a man to be a soldier, he wants to fight.

Prabhupāda: That's all right; fighting is also required. When there is enemy, we are not discarding fighting. Fighting there will be. So long we are in the material world, there will be disagreement and there will be fight. You cannot stop it; that is not possible. So a class of men, they should be trained up for fighting. A class of men, they should be trained up for teaching. A class of men for producing food. Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). There are so many things. If you take advantage of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement cooperatively, it will be very, very good for the whole human society. And if your America takes up this call very seriously, others will follow.

Scheuerman: Well I would be very interested, as the man who lives across the street right over here, pastor of St. Mark's parish, in talking with your local leadership and discussing whatever programs you are interested in working in in this particular community. And I think perhaps...

Prabhupāda: No community—everyone is welcome.

Scheuerman: Well, there are ways in which we might work together and cooperate.

Prabhupāda: Just like a school. A school is open for everyone. Whoever wants to take up education, he can come.

Scheuerman: I can understand that very well, because I have been a teacher for many years, and also the principal of the school, and I can understand your educational concepts and the importance of them. You cannot operate a school without discipline, without training. People cannot use their brains useless they are in order.

Prabhupāda: No, there must be proper training.

Kern: God consciousness... Would you explain something of the religious experience of God consciousness?

Prabhupāda: No, God consciousness is the highest level. It is not possible for everyone. But in whatever platform he is, if there is cooperation with God consciousness movement, then he gets the result. Just like in this body... Same example: leg's duty is different and brain duty is different, hand's duty is different, belly's duty different, but when there is cooperation, all the parts of the body derive the same benefit.

Scheuerman: Yes, I see. So if one has the experience of God in a cooperative, well, good and sound social body, then all will profit from that experience.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Scheuerman: I'd like to perhaps ask you to..., what is the role of prayer? You may have another word that you utilize.

Devotee (1): Prayer is also accepted as devotional service.

Scheuerman: As devotional service.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There are nine kinds of devotional service. They are all the same. Different processes. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyam (SB 7.5.23). Vandanam, this vandanam is prayer. We are worshiping, Deity worship, and you are offering prayers in the church. So both of them we take as devotional service. We don't say that because you are offering prayer, it is less important than... No. Because it is..., prayer is offered to the Supreme Lord. So that is devotional. That is devotion.

Scheuerman: Yes, so prayer then is devotion offered to the Supreme Lord.

Prabhupāda: Supreme Lord, they are accepting the Supreme Lord. Yes. Accepting the Supreme Lord.

Scheuerman: It's a sign of one's acceptance.

Prabhupāda: Anyone, yes, that is also very pious. If you accept the Supreme Lord, then you become pious immediately. Catur-vidhā. (aside:) Find out this, catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ sukṛtino 'rjuna (BG 7.16).

Kern: Is the prayer communal, where all take part in the prayer, or is it individual?

Prabhupāda: But there are different classes of men. So therefore nine methods of devotional service. And the general method is hearing. Hearing about God.

Scheuerman: Hearing about God. So therefore the necessity of speaking aloud in one's prayer. Yes. The Father was speaking of the charismatics among Christians. That is one of their tenets, too, speaking a prayer, praise, aloud, so that it can be heard and all simultaneously join in it too.

Prabhupāda: And if factually one hears from the right source and the right words, automatically he becomes God conscious.

Scheuerman: Becomes God conscious. That is a way of...

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "O best among the Bhāratas, four kind of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute Truth."

Prabhupāda: These are four classes. One distressed, he also seeks the help of God. And another?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: The desirer of wealth.

Prabhupāda: Yes. In need of money, "God, I am so poor. Kindly give me some money." So he's approached God. That is his piety. Although God should not be asked. Pure devotion means God should not be bothered; simply we shall render service. God is great. I am His servant. So my duty is to render service without any profit. The profit is there. To be accepted as God's servant, that is the greatest profit.

Scheuerman: That's what Jesus said: "Behold the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin, and yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things—what you shall eat, what you shall drink—shall be added to you besides." Yes.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Next one? Jijñāsu, the inquisitive, curious.

Prabhupāda: Inquisitive, one is trying to understand what is God, and he is also pious.

Scheuerman: "Lord teach me, show me."

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Kern: Do you use the Bible for that?

Prabhupāda: Everyone must be there.

Scheuerman: Do you use the Judeo-Christian scriptures at all in your work?

Prabhupāda: I know that there are good instructions. So generally... We haven't got to fight with anyone or disagree. We have to accept the general principles for the welfare of the whole human society. Just like to become peaceful: it is the duty of everyone. At least, those who are in the top rank. (aside:) Just bring. First of all, give it to the Father. (referring to garlands?)

Devotee: Jaya! This is from the altar.

Scheuerman: Oh, lovely. Praise God, for His beautiful things.

Prabhupāda: Give. Give one to the president.

Kern: We are grateful for the time that you have given us.

Prabhupāda: I am also very much obliged that you came.

Kern: And we are happy.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much.

Kern: And if we can be helpful, we would be...

Prabhupāda: Yes, let us cooperate for the whole human society.

Scheuerman: I feel very much like one of the disciples, so to speak, coming with the master, and it's a great privilege to be able to join this circle this evening.

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol.

Scheuerman: Thank you. Oh, we're to eat this?

Hari-śauri: Oh, yes, that's what it's meant for.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Father, would you please accept one of our Bhagavad-gītās for your library?

Scheuerman: Thank you very much. I cook once in a while, too, so I'm very interested in what the ingredients are for various kinds of food.

Hari-śauri: We can teach you how to cook very expertly.

Scheuerman: Very good.

Mādhavānanda: Chick pea flour, butter and sugar, nuts, dried fruit.

Pālikā: They're very nice.

Scheuerman: May I take it with me?

Pālikā: Oh, yes.

Scheuerman: All right, thank you.

Prabhupāda: Take more also, give him one more.

Scheuerman: They're very good. I'm afraid I won't be very enlightened if I eat all this. (laughter)

Hari-śauri: You have the Fathers' shoes? Bring them?

Scheuerman: We'll get them when we go down. It's a great pleasure. May the Lord bless you in your work. Continue.

Pālikā: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Hari-śauri: Very nice to meet you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Scheuerman: We'll see you in.... (priests depart)

Prabhupāda: Somebody's going with the Fathers?

Hari-śauri: Yes, to see them out.

Jayādvaita: These priests like to be in the position of your disciples.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Jayādvaita: These Christian priests are taking that position.

Prabhupāda: If you remain to your principles, you can make the whole world your disciple. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. You have read that?

Jayādvaita: Yes. Upadeśāmṛta.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. If one is a gosvāmī,

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
(NOI 1)

They will accept. We don't speak Eastern-Western. We speak for everywhere. Or Christian or Hindu. We never speak like that. I think I never said like that, that "Our Eastern people think like that, Hindus think..." I never said. Why shall I say? It is for everyone. If you do not become peaceful, that is your business. But when I say "You become peaceful," that is meant for everyone. All right.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. Jaya Prabhupāda. Jaya Prabhupāda. (kīrtana) (end)