760629 - Conversation B - New Vrindaban, USA
(Bhavan's Journal, Answers to a Questionnaire 1)
Prabhupāda: Beginning. From the beginning. You can add something.
Hari-śauri: Read out what it is and everything, as well.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is a questionnaire which was sent to us by one journal, a cultural and religious journal in Bombay. It's called Bhavan's Journal. And they are questioning different religious leaders, especially in India, trying to get the answers to some of these important questions which are perplexing especially the Indian public today. So there's a list of about twenty-one questions, and we can go through them one by one for Śrīla Prabhupāda to answer. The first question, "Is the influence of religion over the masses on the wane?" Is the influence of religion over the masses decreasing?
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is predicted in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Tataḥ anudinam. Bring that black book, Bhāgavatam. Tatas cānudinaṁ dharmaḥ satyam (SB 12.2.1). This is Kali-Yuga, the age of waning of these things—religiosity, truthfulness, memory, bodily strength, duration of life, mercifulness.
Hari-śauri: Pradyumna's just going to come with it.
Prabhupāda: These are . . . will be declining. These are the, I mean to say, human assets which makes a human being distinct from the animal. But these things will decline. There will be no mercifulness, there will be no truthfulness, the memory will be shortened, duration life shortened. Similarly, religion will vanish. So that means gradually they will come to the platform of animals. And especially when there is no religion, it is simply animals. That any common man can distinguish, that . . . A dog, he does not understand what is religion. He's also a living being. He's not interested what is going on here about Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He is not interested. That is the distinction between dog and man. The animal is not interested. So if the human being becoming disinterested in religious things, then they are animals. And how there can be happiness, peace, in the animal society? They want to keep people as animal, and they are making United Nation. How it is possible? "United Animals"? Is it possible? "Society for United Animals." (laughter) So these things are going on. So they have detected it is declining, that is good. Declining means they are going to be animals. In the logic it is said, "Man is rational animal." So rationality minus . . . animal. Where is human being? (aside:) You stand be . . . No, there is no place. That's all right.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Second question, Śrīla Prabhupāda? Question two?
Prabhupāda: No, you have written all these things or not?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It's being taped. I'll transcribe it later.
Prabhupāda: So what is that? Find out tatas canudinam.
Pradyumna: Tatas cānudinaṁ satyaḥ, dharmaḥ satyaṁ śaucaṁ kṣamā daya (SB 12.2.1).
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Find that verse. You can quote that "This Kali-yuga, it is waning; therefore they are becoming animals." Man without religion means animal. That's all. This is the definition. In the human society, either you become Christian or you become Muhammadan or you become Hindu or you become Buddhist, it doesn't matter. There must be some system of religion. That is human society. And human society without religion—animal society. This is plain fact. So why people are unhappy now? Because there is no religion. They are neglecting religion. That one gentleman, he has written me that the Tolstoy said that "Unless one dynamite is put underneath a church, there cannot be any peace." That means they want . . . The Russians, the Communists, they are very strict against God consciousness, because they think so, that this religion has spoiled the whole social atmosphere. It might have been misused, religious system. That does not mean that religion should be avoided. Real religion should be taken. Because religion has not been properly executed by the so-called priest, it does not mean that religion should be rejected. My eye is giving some trouble on account of cataract, but that doesn't mean eye should be plucked out. The cataract should be removed.
So that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They have no conception of God, and they are preaching religion. What is that religion? That will be misused. Religion means dharmaṁ tu sāksād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Religion means God's order. If there is no God, where is religion? This is going on. They have no conception of God. What is God they do not know, and professing some religion. How long it will go on artificially? It will deteriorate. That has become the present condition. They have no idea of God, and how they will know what is the order of God? And religion means order of God. Just like law means order of the state. Law means order of the state. So if there is no state, where is the order? You can manufacture your own order. That is going on. There is no conception of God. We have got clear conception of God. Here is God, Kṛṣṇa. And He's giving orders. We accept it. And it is clear religion. And if there is no God, no conception of God, no order of God, then where is religion? If there if no government, then where is law? Outlaw. Everyone is outlaw. That is going on. Ask any religious system what is the conception of God. Can anyone tell clearly? Nobody can say. We shall immediately say, veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam (BS 5.30). Aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti . . . immediately description, "Here is God." Then there is religion. And if there is no God, where is religion? Bogus. Therefore declining. They have no conception of God, and therefore there is no understanding of religion. Therefore it is declining.
So this is the cause of declining. And because it is declining, human being becoming more animals. Animal means there will be no memory. A dog's come—here is some eatables; he comes—I say, "Hut!" he goes away. Again he comes. No memory. So when this memory is reducing, that means human quality is reduced. So in the Kali-yuga these eight things will reduce. That means they are becoming like cats and dogs. This is the answer to the first question.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number two?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "The traditional charge against Hinduism is that it is fatalistic, that it inhibits progress by making people slaves to the belief in the inevitability of what is to happen. How far is this charge true?"
Prabhupāda: The charge is false. Those who have charged like that, they do not know what is Hinduism. There is no such thing as Hinduism, but there is mention of sanātana-dharma, varṇāśrama-dharma. That we can find in the scriptures. I've already given note.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes, I have that.
Prabhupāda: So what is his . . . what is the charge?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He says that people are accusing that Hinduism, it inhibits the progress of mankind.
Prabhupāda: What is that progress? Dog's jumping is progress? (laughter) Is that progress? A dog is running here and there, here and there, and you are running on the four wheels. Is that progress? That is not Vedic system. The Vedic system is that human being has got a certain amount of energy. Better energy than the animals. Better consciousness. That should be utilized for spiritual advancement. So whole Vedic system is meant for spiritual advancement. The energy is employed in another direction, not the energy is employed to compete with the dog. Therefore sometimes those who have no idea of religion, they see that the . . . "Hindus" is not the proper term. The Indian saintly persons, they are not busy like the dogs. Because they think the dog race is life. But actual life is spiritual progress. Therefore śāstra says,
- tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
- na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
- tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
- kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
- (SB 1.5.18)
The human being should exert the energy for that thing which he did not get in many, many lives. Many, many lives he had been in the form of dogs or demigods or cats, birds, beasts—many. There are 8,400 . . . So this transmigration is going on, but in everywhere the business is sense gratification. The dog is busy for sense gratification: "Where is food? Where is shelter? Where is woman or man? And where is defense?" And the man is also doing the same business in different forms. So this is going on, life after life. Even in small insect, this is also trying for the same thing. Same struggle, ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam (Hitopadeśa). Bird, beast, animal, fish—everywhere the same struggle: Where is food? Where is sex? Where is shelter? And how to defend? So śāstra says these things we have done in many, many lives past, and if we don't get out of this struggle for existence we'll have to do it again in many, many lives. So these things should be stopped.
So Prahlāda Mahārāja says therefore,
- sukham aindriyakaṁ daityā
- deha-yogena dehinām
- sarvatra labhyate daivād
- yathā duḥkham ayatnataḥ
- (SB 7.6.3)
He's advising that "My dear friends, that pleasure, material pleasure, on account of this material body, particular type of body . . ." A dog, it has got a body, and I have got a body. So my sex pleasure and dog's sex pleasure, there is no difference; the pleasure derived out of sex pleasure is the same. But a dog is not afraid of having sex pleasure on the street before everyone; we hide it, that's all, in a nice apartment. But the business is the same. There is no difference. But they are taking this sex pleasure in a nice apartment and very decorated, man and woman, and electric light and so on, so on, this pleasure is advanced. But that is not advanced. And they are making dog's race for this advancement. Superficial. The Prahlāda Mahārāja says that this is a question of different types of pleasure on account of different types of body, but the pleasure is the same. But according to the different types of body, the pleasure is already fixed up. That is called destiny. A pig has got a certain type of body, and his eatable is the stool. It is already fixed up. You cannot change it, that "Let the pig eat halavā." It is not possible. Because he has got a particular type of body, he must eat that. Can anyone, any scientist, can improve the standard of living of a pig? Is it possible?
Devotees: (laughing) No.
Prabhupāda: Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja says it is already fixed up. Sukham aindriyakaṁ daityā deha-yogena dehinām. This pleasure is the same, but according to the body . . . The uncivilized man in the jungle, they are having the same thing. And they are taking civilization that "Instead of living in that hut made of leaves, we are living in skyscraper building. This is advancement." But Vedic civilization says, "No. This is not advancement. The advancement is self-realization, how much you have realized yourself." Not that from the hutment you have come to skyscraper building, therefore it is advancement. Sometimes they misunderstand. In a high court a judge is sitting soberly, doing nothing, and he is getting the highest salary. And another man in the same court, he's working day and hard rubber-stamping, and he is getting not even one tenth of the salary. He's thinking, "I am so busy and working so hard. I am not getting any good salary. And this man is sitting only on the bench, and he's getting so fat salary." So therefore this is question like that. The Vedic civilization is for self-realization. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido (SB 1.5.18). Kovido means "very learned." He'll simply try for that thing which was not received, which was not achieved in other life. That means self-realization. Just like we are sometimes charged "escaping." What is the charge?
Pradyumna: We are escaping from reality.
Prabhupāda: There is the question. (devotees laugh) But their reality is dog's race, and our reality is to advance in self-realization, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is difference. Therefore karmīs have been described as mūḍha, asses. Asses. And asses, why the example is given to the asses? Because the ass works very hard. It loads on the back tons of cloth of the washerman, and the washerman in return gives him little morsel of grass, and he stands at the door of the washerman, eats the grass, again loading. But he has no sense that "If I go out of these clutches of washerman I can get grass anywhere. Why I am loading so much?" The karmīs are like that. They're busy in the office, very busy. If you want to see him, "I am very busy now." (laughter) So what is your result of busy? "Now, I take two pieces of toast and one cup of tea. That's all." (laughter) And for this purpose you are so busy? He does not know why he's busy. Because in the books he's finding, "Now, the balance was one thousand million dollars, now it has become two thousand," that his satisfaction. But he will eat two pieces of bread and one cup of tea when it was one million dollars, when it was two million dollars. But still he'll work hard. This is called karmī. Asses. Work like asses, without any aim of life. This is the asses. Mūḍha.
But Vedic civilization is different. The accusation is not correct. They are not lazy. They are busy for higher subject matter. And that busy-ness is so important that Prahlāda Mahārāja says, "Beginning from the childhood," kaumāram ācaret prājño (SB 7.6.1). Not lose a second time. That is Vedic civilization. But these asses, they do not see that "These men are working like us, like dogs and asses. So they are escaping." Yes, escaping your fruitless endeavor. So the Vedic civilization was meant for self-realization. Vedic civilization begins from the varṇāśrama system. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58): how to realize Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the system is varṇāśrama. In another place it is said, tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer (SB 1.5.17). The varṇāśrama means there is division: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. But the ultimate goal is viṣṇur ārādhyate: the Supreme Lord should be worshiped. That is the idea. So if Viṣṇu ārādhana is available immediately, then you can give up all other occupational duty as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya, as a śūdra, as a brahmacārī, everything. Take to, immediately, to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is so important.
But that they do not know. Therefore there is no religion. A simply dog's race. The dog is running on four legs and you are running on four wheels. That's all. And they think the four-wheel race is advancement of civilization. But the Vedic civilization is different. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (SB 1.5.18). Then one can say that "Then we shall do nothing?" Yes, practically it is said, "Do nothing." Whatever is obtainable by you or destiny, you'll get it wherever you are. Take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You'll get it. "How I . . . shall I get it?" Now, kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā: by the arrangement of eternal time, everything is available. The example is given that you do not want something distressful as it comes upon you, similarly, even if you do not want, the happiness for which you are destined, it will come. Now, Prahlāda Mahārāja says, na tat-prayāsaḥ kartavyam. You should not waste your energy for material happiness, because you cannot get material happiness more than what you are destined to have. That is not possible. "How shall I believe . . .?" Because you get something distressful condition although you do not want. Who wants? In our country Mahatma Gandhi was killed by his own countrymen. Who did want it? Or why did it come? He was great man, he was protected by so many, and . . . Still, he was to be killed. Destiny. He was killed. Who can protect you? So if the distressed condition come compulsory upon me, the other condition, the opposite number, also will come. Why shall I waste my time for this rectification? Let me utilize my energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is intelligence. You cannot check your destiny. Their question is . . .
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: That the charge is that Hinduism is fatalistic, and therefore people are not making progress because they simply accept . . .
Prabhupāda: No, no. They are misguided. First of all, the Hinduism is also misguiding. There is no such thing as Hinduism. It is sanātana-dharma and varṇāśrama-dharma. I do not know how this word . . . Most probably it was given by the Muhammadans, "Hindus." But there is no such thing. In Bhagavad-gītā I don't find any word as "Hindu." Is there any word? Throughout the whole? There is no such thing.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There's a second part to this question also, Śrīla Prabhupāda. They ask: If it's false that actually Hinduism is not fatalistic, or sanātana-dharma is not fatalistic . . .
Prabhupāda: No, no. Fatalistic in this sense, that the destiny cannot be changed. Just like I have given already the example, that the Mahatma Gandhi, nobody expected that he would be killed by his own countryman. Why it happened? But this means destiny cannot change. This is a prominent example, that Mahatma Gandhi, he was in a big meeting. Who expected that Mahatma Gandhi could be killed, and by his own countryman? But it was done. That is destiny. You cannot check it. So our point is that . . . The whole Vedic civilization is that destiny, a certain amount of happiness in this material world . . . Nobody is enjoying uninterrupted happiness. That is not possible. A certain amount of so-called happiness and certain amount of so-called distress, there must be always. So as you cannot check your distressed condition of life, similarly you cannot check your happy condition of life. It will come automatically. So don't waste your time for these things. You better utilize your energy for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they think that "These people are wasting time."
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So then, is it true then that people who have this conception, they would not try for progress?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Progress . . . The thing is that if you try progress vainly, what is the use of trying? If it is a fact you cannot change your destiny, so why should you try for that? Better . . . That is the . . . Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta. Therefore whatever energy you have got, you utilize it for understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Make it clear. Just like our Society. We are . . . our main business is how to make advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are not very enthusiastic to open big, big factories and big, big money-earning machine. No. We are not interested. We'll be satisfied with the amount of happiness or distress, whatever we are destined. Let us utilize our energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the point. So the Vedic civilization is meant for realization of God, viṣṇur aradhyate. So they try for that. And now, at the present moment . . . Actually, the varṇāśrama-dharmī, they never tried for economic development. You'll find in India still, thousands of men taking bath in the Ganges. In the Kumbha-melā . . . You have been in Kumbha-melā?
Prabhupāda: At the Kumbha-melā millions of people are coming to take bathing in the Ganges because they are interested how to become liberated. They're not lazy. They're going thousands miles, two thousand miles away, to take bathing in the Prayāga. So they are not lazy. But they are not busy in the dog's race. Yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī (BG 2.69). Saṁyamī. He keeps night, he does not sleep. Others are sleeping. So similarly, the dogs and asses, they think that "They are not working." And they are working. The different platforms. So the Vedic civilization which is practiced in India . . . Now it is distorted, but actually, they are not lazy; they are very, very busy. Not only very, very busy, but from . . . they are trying to become self-realized from the very beginning of life. Kaumāraṁ . . .
Devotee: Kaumāraṁ acaret prajñā?
Prabhupāda: Prajño dharmaṁ bhāgavatan iha. That is recommended. They are not lazy. They are so busy that want to begin the business from the very childhood. So it is a wrong conception that they are lazy.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So then if this is false, that actually they're not . . .
Prabhupāda: They do not know what is the aim of life. They think that "They are not racing like dog; therefore they are lazy." But they are busy, very busy, from the childhood. But they have no eyes to see what is business means.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The second point is, in connection with this question, that there's a certain class of people in India—he describes them as being advanced, well-meaning and highly educated people in India today—that they're accusing Hinduism of inhibiting progress, and he wants to know why is this.
Prabhupāda: That is explained. They do not know what is progress. The Vedic civilization is not interested in this so-called false progress. Just like from hut to skyscraper, they think this is progress. But the Vedic civilization thinks how much he is advanced in self-realization, either he is in cottage or in skyscraper. But if he wastes his time to turn the huts into skyscraper, then the whole life is finished. And next time he is going to be a dog. He does not know. That's all.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Śrīla Prabhupāda? They want to know how can this be counteracted, this idea?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Don't get . . .
Hari-śauri: (whispering) This is going to be transcribed.
Prabhupāda: Make everything clear.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes, that is very clear. Would you like to hear the next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: No, it is clear or no?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So long it is not clear, you can go on asking. One question after one question.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The point was made by you that they don't understand what actual progress is.
Prabhupāda: Actually, destiny cannot be checked. That I have already given. Even Mahatma Gandhi could not. The destiny you cannot check.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But then the question may be raised if destiny cannot be checked, then why not, when a child is born, simply let him like an animal run around, and whatever happens to him . . .
Prabhupāda: No. That is the advantage of . . . You can train him spiritually. That is possible. Therefore it is said, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido (SB 1.5.18). For that purpose you engage your energy. That is open. Ahaituky apratihatā (SB 1.2.6). The devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, apratihatā, it cannot be checked. Material destiny can be checked . . . it cannot be checked. Similarly, your advancement in spiritual life cannot be checked if you endeavor for it. But your advancement of so-called material happiness, that is already destined. You cannot check it. Try to understand this.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So then in terms of advancing in spiritual life, actually we can't say that the sanātana-dharma is fatalistic. That there is actually endeavor towards progress.
Prabhupāda: Fatalistic . . . I have given this example also: Just like a man is condemned by the law court to be hanged, nobody can check it. Nobody can check. Even the same judge who has given this verdict, he cannot check it. But if he begs for the mercy of the king, he can check it. He can go all above the law. Therefore, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (BS 5.54). In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that destiny can be changed by Kṛṣṇa for His devotees. Otherwise it is not possible. If one is condemned to death, Kṛṣṇa can check it. Otherwise, it is falsehood when Kṛṣṇa . . . Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi (BG 18.66): "I shall give you protection from all reaction of sinful activities." Suppose you are to be killed by somebody on account of your sinful activity. Nobody can check it ordinarily, but Kṛṣṇa can check it. Otherwise Kṛṣṇa's telling false, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: "I shall give you protection." So therefore our business should be only to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. And if you artificially want to be more happy by economic development, that is not possible. That is not possible.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number three?
Prabhupāda: Hmm? No, first of all clear by your so, mailforce(?). (laughter)
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It may take several issues to . . .
Prabhupāda: Try to understand what is that. The first thing is that your destiny cannot be changed. That's a fact. But in spite of your destiny, if you try for Kṛṣṇa consciousness . . . Otherwise, why Prahlāda Mahārāja is asking his friends, kaumāra ācaret? If the destiny cannot be changed, then why he's asking? It is not the . . . Destiny means material business. That you cannot check. But it can also be checked when you are in spiritual life.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: What is the meaning of apratihatā? You said that spiritual development cannot be checked.
Prabhupāda: Pratihatā means suppose you are destined to suffer. So apratihatā means in spite of your so-called suffering, the suffering will be reduced, or there will be no suffering. But in spite of suffering, you can make progress in spiritual life. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja himself, his father was putting him in so many suffering conditions, but it was not impeded. He was making progress. He was making progress. He didn't care for father's putting him into so many suffering. That is called apratihatā. If you want to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your material condition of life cannot check it. That is the progress. But so far material condition, that cannot be checked. You have to suffer. But in case of devotee that suffering also can be stopped. Otherwise Kṛṣṇa's version is false: ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. Suffering is there on account of my sinful activities, but Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ. Make it clear. Ordinarily destiny cannot be checked. Therefore instead of wasting your time for change your economic condition or material destiny, you employ this energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That cannot be checked. Your so-called . . . So many men, we can see, they are working so hard, does it mean that everyone has become a Ford, a Rockefeller? Why? Everyone is trying his best. Mr. Ford was to become rich man; his destiny was there, he became rich man. But does it mean that other man who has worked so hard like Ford, he has become like a Ford? No. This is practical. You cannot change your destiny simply by working hard like ass and dogs. No. But you can utilize that energy for improving your Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (break)
That's a fact. He was destined to be killed by his countryman, he was not? Such a big man, such vigilance, and so many people were guarding him, and still he was killed in the meeting. Why Mahatma Gandhi? Your president, ex, Kennedy. Was less protection was taken? No, every was there, everything was there, but still he was killed. Who can stop this destiny? So destiny cannot be checked. Therefore fatalists, they know, "For my material happiness or distress, it cannot be checked. It will happen. So why shall I waste my energy for this purpose? Let me utilize this energy for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." Therefore it is said, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labyhate yad bhramatām (SB 1.5.18). That is intelligence.
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, if destiny cannot be changed, what does Kṛṣṇa mean when He says, "Be thou happy by this sacrifice."
Devotee: When Kṛṣṇa says, "Be thou happy by this sacrifice," what does he mean if destiny cannot be changed like that? How one can be more happy by performing . . .
Prabhupāda: Do you know what is meant by sacrifice?
Devotee: Sacrifice to Kṛṣṇa, to Viṣṇu.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That means to please Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is pleased He can change destiny. Karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti bhājāṁ (BS 5.54). Sacrifice means to please Kṛṣṇa. Yajña. Yajña means to please Kṛṣṇa. The whole, our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, means to please Kṛṣṇa. That is the whole program. In all other business there is no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. When they declare war, one nation to another, there is no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. They're pleasing their whims. The two big, big wars began, it was not for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. The Germans wanted that their sense gratification is being hampered by the Britishers, "Declare war." That means it was a war of sense gratification. "The Britishers are satisfying their sense gratification; we cannot do. All right, fight." So there was no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Hmm. Then?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number three: "It is said that the greatest strength of Hinduism is its catholicity, or breadth of outlook, broadness of vision, but that this is also the greatest weakness in that there is very little common prescribed religious observances which are obligatory for all, as in other religions. Is it necessary and possible to outline certain basic minimum observances for all Hindus?"
Prabhupāda: So far Vedic religion is concerned, it is not for the Hindus. That is to be understood. The sanātana-dharma. It is for all living entities, all human beings. It is called sanātana-dharma. That I have already explained. The living entity is sanātana, God is sanātana, and there is sanātana-dhāma. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktāt sanātanaḥ (BG 8.20). And where Kṛṣṇa is described sanātana in the Eleventh Chapter. Do you remember? He is described as sanātana. Sanātanam. So actually, the Vedic system is called sanātana-dharma. Not Hindu dharma. This is a wrong conception. The sanātana-dharma is meant for all living entities, not the so-called Hindus, Muslim, Christian. For everyone. That is sanātana-dharma. These are later misconceptions, Hinduism and this "ism," that "ism," that "ism." Actually, it is called sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma. That is meant for everyone. But because it was being followed regularly in India, and Indians were called by the Muslims on the other side of the river Sind, or Sindu, and they pronounce Sind as Hind, therefore they called India as Hindustan, means on the other side of Sindu, or Hindu River. Otherwise, it has no Vedic reference. So this Hindu dharma has no Vedic reference. The real Vedic dharma is sanātana-dharma, varṇāśrama-dharma. First of all he has to understand this. Now that sanātana-dharma, or Vedic dharma, being distorted, not being obeyed, not being carried properly, it has come to the understanding of "Hinduism." That is a fake understanding. That is not real understanding. We have to study sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma. Then we'll understand what is Vedic religion.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So is there anything obligatory or prescribed for all people who follow this religion, that a minimum observance that they must do?
Prabhupāda: Yes, sanātana . . . The sanātana . . . Every living entity is eternal, sanātana. God is eternal, and we can live with God in a place which is called sanātana-dhāma. So this reciprocation is called sanātana-dharma. So Vedic religion means this sanātana-dharma, not Hindu dharma or Muslim dharma or this dharma. Read it.
- tvam akṣaraṁ paramaṁ veditavyaṁ
- tvam asya viśvasya paraṁ nidhānam
- tvam avyayaḥ śāśvata-dharma-goptā
- sanātanas tvaṁ puruṣo mato me
- (BG 11.18)
Rādhā-vallabha: "You are the supreme primal objective. You are the best in all the universes. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of religion, the eternal Personality of Godhead."
Prabhupāda: This is wanted. Kṛṣṇa is eternal, we are eternal, and the place we live, exchanging our feelings, that is eternal. And the system which teaches this eternal system of reciprocation, that is called sanātana-dharma. That is meant for everyone.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So what daily prescribed religious observances would one who is aspiring for this sanātana-dharma, what would they do? What kind of daily prescribed religious observance? Because the complaint is that within this Hinduism, or let's say sanātana-dharma, there is such a breadth of . . . there is so much variegatedness in different types . . .
Prabhupāda: So why do you go to variegatedness? Why don't you take the real purpose of religion from Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa says, "This is real dharma: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ . . ." (BG 18.66) Why don't you take that? Why are you going to variegated things or varieties under the name of so-called Hinduism? Why do you go there? Why don't you take the advice of the sanātana, Kṛṣṇa? You don't take what is sanātana-dharma, what sanātana God says, and you say, "How we can come to the right point, avoiding so many varieties?" Why you go to the varieties? Take to this one consciousness, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ. Why don't you do that?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: How can people practically do this on a daily basis?
Prabhupāda: How we are doing? Is it not practical? They'll manufacture their own way of religion. And that is . . . That is not practical. You take this practical system. What is this? Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī . . . Where is impracticality? You simply think of Kṛṣṇa, become His devotee, worship Kṛṣṇa. Or just offer a little obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. Where is the difficulty? Why don't you do that? Kṛṣṇa says, "This is the duty. If you do this, you come to Me." Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī . . . mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśaya: "Without any doubt you'll come to Me." Why don't you do that? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ (BG 18.66). Why you remain Hindu? Why you remain Muslim? Why you remain Christian? Give up all this nonsense. Just surrender to Kṛṣṇa: "I am devotee of Kṛṣṇa, servant of Kṛṣṇa." Take this. Then everything will be immediately done. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya. So why you want to remain Hindu, and try to adjust things? Dharma means dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). What God says, that is dharma. Now, God says that "You give up all this. You just surrender unto Me." So take that dharma. Why you want to remain a Hindu? And who is a Hindu who does not accept the authority of Kṛṣṇa? Who is a Hindu? If any Hindu says, even up till now, that "I don't care for Kṛṣṇa and Bhagavad-gītā," he will be immediately rejected as a madman. Why don't you take Kṛṣṇa's instruction? Why do you go outside? Therefore your trouble is there. You do not know what is religion, you do not know what is Hinduism, what is sanātana-dharma. You do not know anything. And actually, practically, you see that in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are so-called Hindus, so-called Muslims. But they do not care for Muslim or Hindu or Christian. They are taking care of Kṛṣṇa, that's all. If you take care of false religious system, then you suffer. You take real religious system, then you'll be happy.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes it's also seen, say, that Muslims and Hindus, they will be converted to Christianity, and the same argument can be given. So what would be the difference for the . . . in this case, that one is identifying himself as Christian or one is identifying himself as devotee of Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: First of all, you have to understand what is religion. The religion is God's law. You have to understand. Religion does not mean your manufactured, concocted ideas. What God says, that is religion. So here Kṛṣṇa is God. He is saying. Therefore this is religion. Hmm? Is that clear? Make it clear. So long one point is not clear, don't go to the next point.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Especially he is trying to inquire that it appears that India, for example, today . . .
Prabhupāda: But India, they have given up the real religious system, sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma. Fictitiously, they have accepted a hodgepodge thing which is called Hinduism. Therefore there is trouble. Everywhere, but India especially, they are . . . Vedic religion . . . Vedic religion means varṇāśrama-dharma. That is . . . Kṛṣṇa says, God says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam (BG 4.13). So that is, what is called, obligatory. Just like law is obligatory. You cannot say that "I don't take this law." No. You have to take it if you want to have a . . . happy. You cannot become outlaw. Then you'll not be happy. You'll be punished. So God says mayā sṛṣṭam: "It is given by Me." So how we can deny it? And that is religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Dharmam means the order given by the God. The God says that cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13): "For the proper management of the human society, there should be these four divisions, social divisions." So you have to take it.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This would be the prescription for all people?
Prabhupāda: Everyone, for all people. There must be on the head the intelligent class of men who will give advice. Then next class, the . . . That is all given in the Bhagavad-gītā—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. But when you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, you can give up all these regulative principles directly. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66). A brāhmaṇa-dharma, kṣatriya-dharma, or this dharma, that dharma, Hindu dharma, Mussulman dharma. If you have everything, simply . . . Because the ultimate aim of dharma is to come to Kṛṣṇa. "You directly come to Me; then everything is all right."
Devotee: So many other people, they concoct their own system, and they say, "This is the way to go to God."
Prabhupāda: Then let them suffer. What can be done? What can be done? If you don't take the laws of the state, you manufacture your own laws, then you'll suffer. If the state says, "Keep to the right," and if you make your own law, "No, keep to the left," then you'll suffer. It's a fact.
Devotee: But so many innocent people are also . . .
Prabhupāda: So innocent suffers. Intelligent never suffers. Only the rascals, innocent, they suffer. Innocent means rascal also. He does not know what is . . . what to do. The rascal is also innocent. A child is innocent, but he's a rascal. It does not mean because he's innocent, he's not rascal. Rascal means he's innocent also. The child does not know that "If I touch fire, it will burn." Therefore he's a rascal. But because he is child, innocent, he'll not be excused. These rascal and innocent on the same category. Innocence of law is not . . . no excuse. If you go to the court, if you say, "Sir, I did not know there is law like this," that does not mean . . . You must suffer. Why Kṛṣṇa comes? He gives advice that "You do this. Don't remain innocent and rascal. Then you'll be happy." Why should you stick to the rascaldom? He's personally advising. He says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). Why you are sticking to Hinduism and Muslimism and Christianism? Why? That is rascaldom. You take to His advice and you'll be happy. Hmm.
Devotee: But these religions are just material. These Hindu, Christian, Muslim, they're following these things because that is simply their destiny? They don't know how to please God, so that's simply part of their happiness and distress?
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, now Kṛṣṇa is asking, "You give up this rascaldom." You do it. Don't go to the history. He says, "You give up," you give up. That's all. Then you are perfect. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Why you are going to the history? History may be something else, but now He says directly, "Give up," you give up. That's all. Finish this business. Hmm. That is . . . That point is clear now?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: Then go on.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number four: "Even a well-read, widely traveled, and enlightened editor like the late Śrī Frank Moraes . . ." I think that's how you . . . M-o-r-a-e-s. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Who is he?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I don't know. He's late, though.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: He has died, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He's dead. He was enlightened. " . . .equated Hindu ethos with castism." He equated that Hindu culture, or Hindu ethos, and castism is one and the same. "Will the fundamental values of Hinduism be in any way affected by the eradication of castism, towards which a concerted effort is now being made at all levels?"
Prabhupāda: But it cannot be done. This is another foolishness. Because Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). But the difficulty is the caste system is coming on account of false notion that a brāhmaṇa is the son of a brāhmaṇa. That is caste system. But Kṛṣṇa does not say. He says, "By quality and work." He never says, "By birth." So this so-called castism in India, that is a false notion of cātur-varṇyaṁ. Real cātur-varṇyaṁ means guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. One must be qualified. And how one is qualified? That is also described: satya śamo damo titikṣva ārjava jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam. So there must be education. It is not that to abolish the caste system, which is contaminated by false conception, or birthright conception. This wrong caste system should be abolished, and training centers should be opened how to train a person to become brāhmaṇa or to become kṣatriya. Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. So you cannot avoid it, but because you have misconceived the caste system, that should be abolished, and the system recommended by Kṛṣṇa, that should be taken. Otherwise, you cannot avoid it. Caste system will remain.
Just like truthfulness. So all over the world you'll find somebody who is truthful. Why do you take it: "His father was truthful, therefore he is truthful"? This is nonsense. This is nonsense. Kṛṣṇa never said that. A father may be Hiranyakasipu, but his son is Prahlāda. Or a son . . . Not that the . . . one has to become exactly like the father. It may be. There is every possibility. But it is not a fact that the son becomes like the father. It is not fact. So similarly, the first-class man is truthful. Now, wherever you find a truthful man, you classify him as brāhmaṇa. That is wanted. Why do you take that "Here is a son of truthful man; therefore he is brāhmaṇa"? That is misconception. You have to pick up the truthful men all over the world and classify them as brāhmaṇa. That we are doing. "If you follow these principles—no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat-eating—you are brāhmaṇa. Come on." His father may be meat-eater or gambler or drunkard, but he is agreeing, "All right, come on, this come. You are welcome." Then it will be all right. You cannot abolish the truthful class of men. There are . . . You'll find truthful men everywhere. So you have to pick up.
So Kṛṣṇa says that cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā, guṇa-karma . . . You pick up the quality of men and put them in the brahminical class, and then next, kṣatriya class, then vaiśya class, then śūdra class. But you cannot abolish that system. That is a false attempt. Because more or less, there will be a class of men who are truthful. You cannot abolish. More or less, there will be a class of men who are sinful. So as soon as you want to pick up from a family, then it is mistake, miscalculated. That caste system should be abolished. But real classification . . . Not caste. It is classification. Intelligent class of men, or truthful class of men, the fighter class of men, that will continue all over the world. You cannot abolish it. Even if you abolish caste system in India, you cannot abolish the class of truthful men. That is not possible. In spite of so much degradation, a class of men will remain truthful, a class of men will remain sinful—more or less. You cannot abolish this. So this is false attempt. And this caste system is also false. It is not based on the right description of caste system.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: You're saying, rather, it's a classification according to the quality of a man's . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is wanted. That must be there.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: And what will be the benefit of classifying men according to their qualities?
Prabhupāda: Benefit will be then the whole thing will go in order. That is already described many times, that there must be brain, there must be arms, there must be belly, there must be legs for the complete composition of the body. If there is no brain, there is no head, then what is the use of these arms and legs and belly? It is all dead. So in the society, human society, if there is not a class of selected truthful, honest, and so many brahminical qualification, then society is ruined. Therefore they are perplexed. Everyone is a śūdra. Go to the factory. That's all. Go to the factory and bring money. And he is getting twenty-five dollars or fifty dollars daily and immediately purchasing wine and flat on Bowery Street. You'll produce such men, useless men, disturbing in the human society. You cannot make classless. If you make classless, naturally they will be all śūdras, fourth-class men. Then there will be society chaos.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Another part of this question, same question: "If the harijanas, who constitute a sizable population amongst the Hindus, are made to feel that their very religion . . ."
Prabhupāda: These are all artificial. The harijana word was used by Gandhi unnecessarily for a class of men who are not fit for the position. Harijana means "the men of Hari." Just like Nārada. Nārada is called harijana. Great devotee is called harijana, "the persons related with Hari." But if you select some bhangis and cāmāras and keep them as he is and rubberstamp it, "Here is a harijana," what will be the effect? There is no harm to pick up a low-class man and to elevate him to the position of harijana. There is no impediment. You can do. But if you keep him a low-class man and if you stamp him harijana, then what will be the benefit? Just like we are initiating selected men: "Are you ready to follow these rules and regulation?" When he says, then "Come on. Become harijana." Not that "I'll keep myself in that same abominable condition of life and I shall become harijana." So this "harijana" word has come from Gandhi. He did not try to make him real harijana. He simply rubberstamped him. So what is the value of this harijana?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There's another section to this question. "In other words, how can all sections of Hindus be made to take an equal interest and have the same sense of belonging to the Hindu religion?"
Prabhupāda: Why you sticking to the Hindu religion? Any Hindu will accept Bhagavad-gītā and Kṛṣṇa. So why not ask them to take Kṛṣṇa? Why so-called Hinduism? Who is a Hindu who will deny the authority of Kṛṣṇa? Is he a Hindu? Every Hindu observes Janmāṣṭamī, the birthday of Kṛṣṇa. So why do they not take Kṛṣṇa's advice and remain practically Hindu? They will not take advice of Kṛṣṇa, and they, how they can claim to be Hindu?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So can all people have an equal interest in religion despite their different classifications?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That I have already explained, that any human civilized man, he has got some religion. So religion, basic principle of religion, is with reference to God. So here is God. What God says, if you take that system, then it will be perfect, not only for the Hindus—for Christian, for Muhammadan, for everyone. And that is being practically done in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We have got devotees from all groups of human society, and they are taking to it. It is practical. There is no difficulty. So Hindus, Muslim, Christian, everyone take to this Kṛṣṇa religion, Kṛṣṇite. Kṛṣṇian. (laughter) Not Christian, but Kṛṣṇian. The word christo is also a Greek word. From this christo the "Christ" has come. So instead of c-h-r-i, k-r-i, the same thing. Christian or Kṛṣṇian, or Christian. Krishta is also another broken, I mean, spelling of Kṛṣṇa. In India, if one's name is Kṛṣṇa, we say Krishta. My younger brother, his name was Kṛṣṇa. So we were calling him Krishta. So Krishta, Christian. So actually, if we take the root meaning, Christian means Krishnian or Krishtian. So that is a controversial point, but everyone can take to Kṛṣṇa. Then everything will be settled up. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam . . . (BG 18.66) Make everything clear.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Would you like to go on, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: No, you can go.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Next question: "Swami Vivekananda . . ."
Prabhupāda: Hmm. (laughter)
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "He had given a positive suggestion that one of the best ways for the harijanas to command respect amongst all sections of . . ."
Prabhupāda: Where Vivekananda was there when harijana word was manufactured by Gandhi? At that time Vivekananda was not there. So why he's pulling Vivekananda?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Vivekananda has already died when this harijana name . . .
Prabhupāda: Long, long ago. (laughter)
Hari-śauri: He's just using the word "harijana" in place of śūdra, or what was formerly "untouchables."
Prabhupāda: He can use, but this "harijana" word was manufactured by Gandhi. Vivekananda died some time, 1900 . . . I do not exactly remember. When Gandhi's movement was not started. Gandhi's movement was started in 1917. And long ago Vivekananda expired.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Anyway, his question is, "Swami Vivekananda has given a positive suggestion that one of the best ways for harijanas to command respect among all sections of people is to learn Sanskrit, the study of which is being neglected even by brāhmaṇas today. What incentives can be given to harijanas to learn Sanskrit, the repository of Indian culture and religion?"
Prabhupāda: That is another misgiving. They will never be able to learn Sanskrit, and neither it is possible that by learning Sanskrit they will be elevated. There are many Sanskrit scholars. So how they are elevated? They are rotting. It is not a good suggestion, this. If the harijana actually becomes harijana, then it will benefit. That training we can give. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that we can make a harijana, a so-called, I mean to say, cāmāras, bhangis . . . Now they understand harijana means he must be a cāmāra or bhangi. But that is not the actual . . . Harijana means devotee, "the man of Hari." So in spite of their illiteracy in Sanskrit language, we can make him harijana, actually. So why do you take the trouble of learning Sanskrit? Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ (BG 9.32). Pāpa-yoni means low-grade birth. So anyone, that includes the cāmāras, bhangis, they can be purified if they take to the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Because Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. The best thing is to induce them to come to Kṛṣṇa. Then they will be purified. And the simple method is recommended by Kṛṣṇa Himself and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, His incarnation: this kīrtana. Engage them in saṅkīrtana movement, which is being pushed by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and they will be purified. They don't require to learn Sanskrit even. As it is. Let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and they will be purified. And if you want to teach them Sanskrit, it will take three thousand years. (laughter) That is impossible.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It is a fact, though, that the repository of Indian culture and religion is Sanskrit. So are you saying then that the harijanas, or these class of people . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is Sanskrit, but the Vedic mantras are received not by learning Sanskrit, but by hearing from the authorized person. Therefore it is called śruti. It is in Sanskrit because there was no other language. Sanskrit was the only language. So now they're being translated into English. So it doesn't matter whether it is in Sanskrit or English, one has to learn it by hearing from the proper person. That is wanted. It is . . . The Vedic mantras are called śruti, not sanskriti. (laughter). It is called śruti. Śruti means the first business is hearing. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). What is the purpose of going to guru? Means to . . . guru is the authorized person from hear . . . from him hear. So it doesn't require that one has to learn Sanskrit. We have got so many disciples. It is not that they first of all learned Sanskrit. They heard. It may be in Sanskrit language or in English language. It doesn't matter. Let him hear the real fact. That is wanted. So although the Vedic mantras are in Sanskrit, the process to understand is to hear. To hear, it may be any language, to hear and understand; then he becomes perfect. It is not the Sanskrit language. It is the hearing which is important.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So will this bring respect . . .?
Prabhupāda: Śravanaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇu. Hear and chant about Viṣṇu. That is wanted. Not kṛn pratyaya, di-pratyaya, du-pratyaya. No. That is not wanted. Na hi na hi rakṣati du-kṛn-kāraṇe (Śaṅkarācārya). This will not save you. If you have become a Sanskrit scholar, du-pratyaya, di-pratyaya, da-pratyaya, that will not save you. Na hi na hi rakṣati dukṛn-kāraṇe, bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha mate. So this, they are thinking by learning Sanskrit they will become perfect. In the Bhagavad-gītā I don't find that "You learn Sanskrit, then you become perfect." "You surrender unto Me, then you become perfect." That is wanted. If you learn Sanskrit, there is no harm, but it is not the only condition, that "You have to learn Sanskrit, then you will be able." Who knows in our camp Sanskrit? Who knows Sanskrit? How many?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Pradyumna.
Prabhupāda: He may know little. (laughter) Sanskrit language . . . that is . . .
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: His question here, Śrīla Prabhupāda, especially is that the harijanas are very downtrodden, and . . .
Prabhupāda: Downtrodden, you keep them downtrodden. You manufacture wine and let them drink, and he will be uplifted. One side, (chuckles) you are manufacturing wine and advertising, "Come on, take here," and you remain . . . become harijana. How it is possible? You must stop all this nonsense—the slaughterhouse, the liquor shop, or the breweries, or the prostitute quarter. You stop this. But that cannot be also stopped. Anyone who wants to become harijana, he can become in spite of all these things. He can defend himself.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So should there be some effort?
Prabhupāda: What is that effort? Teach them Sanskrit?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: No, to make the harijanas respectable.
Prabhupāda: Anyone can respectable. That is already described. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya (BG 9.32). Kirāta-hūṇāndra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ (SB 2.4.18). Everyone can be, śudhyanti, they can be purified. But if you take the real process, this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness process. Otherwise, simply by learning Sanskrit, what will be able . . .? There are so many big, big Sanskrit scholars in India. They are loitering in the street. Huh? What is it? You have met so many scholars. What is their position? That Prabhākāra you know? He was my first student.
Pradyumna: Ah, Prabhākāra. Hmm, hmm.
Prabhupāda: He's a big Sanskrit scholar. But what is his position? He got big, big position also, but he could not stay. If one's mind is not fixed up, you learn Sanskrit or no Sanskrit, it will . . . (break) To make a good man, it is not necessary that one has to learn Sanskrit. He can be made good provided he fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa. Sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana (SB 5.18.12). If one has got unflinching faith and devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ: all good qualities will develop automatically. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad guṇā. If he's not a devotee, he will hover over the mental concoction. Manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ (SB 5.18.12). Then he'll remain in the material platform, never mind he's a Sanskrit scholar or this or that.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Would you like to hear another question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "It is said that while the śrutis embody the eternal truths of Hinduism, the smṛtis, which embody the rules of conduct, need to be revised according to the dictates of the changing times."
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Will such a stand be acceptable to all sections of Hindus, and if so, how can the new smṛtis come into being, and who will give them sanction and sanctity?"
Prabhupāda: The authority will give. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is giving authority. The śāstra is giving authority. But in this age, Kali-yuga, it is full of faults, the ocean of faults. And Śukadeva Gosvāmī is giving direction,
- kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
- hy asti eko mahān guṇaḥ
- kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
- mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
- (SB 12.3.51)
So although in this age there are so many faults, it is like the ocean of fault, but still there is one very great advantage, that simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, one becomes purified. So this smṛti injunction we should take up, and actually we see all over the world how it is purifying all section of people. So take this, then śruti smṛti . . . Ah . . .
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Purāṇadi?
Prabhupāda: Yes, everything will be fulfilled. The easiest method: kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet (SB 12.3.51).
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So the śrutis are eternally . . .
Prabhupāda: Śruti . . . It is based on śruti. Śabdad anavrtti, in the Vedānta-sūtra. Simply by chanting, śabdat, brahma, śabda brahma. Śabdad anavṛtti, in the Vedānta-sūtra. By chanting the holy name of Lord, one can become liberated.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The smṛtis are based on the śrutis?
Prabhupāda: Yes, smṛti . . . Bhagavad-gītā is considered smṛti. So Bhagavad-gītā also says, satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ (BG 9.14). Śruti-smṛti-purāṇadi (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu1.2.101). Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa: harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21). And it is practiced by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam (SB 11.5.32). Kṛṣṇaṁ varṇayati, always chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So these are the evidences. So introduce this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Everyone will be purified.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is smṛti more than just rules of conduct?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Smṛti means . . . The Vedas are considered as, taken as śruti. But simply by hearing, one cannot understand. Therefore smṛtis, they are explained. Purayati iti purāṇa. Complete. The Vedic mantra is not always understood. Just like the Vedānta mantra, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). This is very shortcut. But Bhāgavata explains, janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ. Explanation. The smṛti is explanation. So either you take śruti or smṛti, subject matter is the same. But these are the evidences. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pāñcarātriki-vidhiṁ vinā (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu1.2.101). You cannot be purified or become actually God conscious without reference to the śruti-smṛti. We are pushing on this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it is not whimsically. It is based on śruti-smṛti, pāñcarātriki-vidhi. Therefore it is becoming effective.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is it necessary from time to time to change the smṛtis?
Prabhupāda: That cannot be changed.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Smṛti cannot be changed?
Prabhupāda: Nothing can be changed. But according to the time, you have to . . . Just like in Kali-yuga the smṛti order is kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet (SB 12.3.51). So you have to do this. Just like a physician gives a medicine that "Morning you take this medicine; in the evening you take this medicine." It is not a change of treatment; it is according to the time a different medicine. But it is recommended by the physician, not by your whims. Śruti-smṛti cannot be changed, but they have recommended different process in different times. So the reference to the śruti-smṛti is there, authority is there. It is . . . You cannot modify.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There is no question then of, as he says, "new smṛtis."
Prabhupāda: No. New smṛti, they may take it, "new smṛti," but smṛti is smṛti. It is not new. You have to give reference to the past śruti-smṛti. Otherwise, it is not . . . Veda pramāṇa, śabda pramāṇa. Otherwise there is no evidence. It is invalid, not valid. You cannot change the original śruti-smṛti, but you have to take the timely recommendation. Just like Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva . . . (CC Adi 17.21). This is the only method. You take it. But this is śruti-smṛti-pramāṇa.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: They may say that if this is the method, then how does Deity worship fit into the scheme?
Prabhupāda: You can avoid even Deity worship, but you cannot avoid chanting.
Rādhā-vallabha: Their idea is to abolish Deity worship. They consider it antiquated.
Prabhupāda: If you want . . . If you want . . . Why you should try to avoid this? That means you are disregarding the śruti-smṛti. But that is not the policy, that you should avoid it. But if you . . . it is not possible . . . Just like it is not possible to introduce the Deity worship everywhere, anywhere. It doesn't matter. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is not avoiding. It is the circumstance that does not make very favorable. Just like I did not introduce the Deity worship in the beginning. That was not possible. But when there is favorable condition we introduced. That is not avoidance. That is conditional. But especially chanting, that is possible in any condition of life. That is possible.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So there's no question then, as he says, of bringing new smṛtis which would come into being if someone would give them sanction and authority. The position, as you . . .
Prabhupāda: But there cannot be new smṛtis. We are giving the sanction to Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra because it is already there in the śruti. But for this time it is suitable. I am taking a certain type of medicine in the evening, it is already recommended by the physician. I am not doing it whimsically. So whimsically you cannot change. It must have reference to the śruti-smṛti-purāṇadi (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu1.2.101).
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Can anyone change . . .
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: . . .the rules of conduct as regarded in the smṛtis?
Prabhupāda: Nobody can change. Nobody can change. But rules and regulation for different times, different circumstances are there in the śruti-smṛti. We have to take it. You cannot change.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: And who will sanction that application?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He said. He's authority. He's ācārya.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The ācārya must sanction for the particular time and place.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are following the footprints of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is not whimsical. You have to follow the authority in all circumstances. You cannot avoid. That is illegal. It will have no power. Just like all of a sudden you make a low-class man a harijana. It will not stay. But you can make harijana any class of man provided you adopt the proper means.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I think one more question that would be appropriate, because it kind of ties in which this last question. Number seven: "Hinduism has always renewed or revitalized itself according to the needs of the times. In today's context, are any correctives called for, and if so, who will bring them about and how can they be brought about, and made acceptable to all the masses?"
Prabhupāda: First of all, who will take it? Kṛṣṇa has given already according to the time. He has summarized the whole Vedic scripture in the Bhagavad-gītā, but who is taking it? And Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the ācāryas, they have explained how to accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa's instruction. So first thing you must be ready to take the presentation according to the time and circumstances. Then everything will be all right. If you manufacture your own way of life, if you do not take it from the authority, then it will be failure. Just like this harijana. Harijana is very good idea, make everyone harijana. But harijana is being picked up from the lowest class of men, the bhangis and cāmāras. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā, pāpa-yoni. But how this pāpa-yoni can be purified? Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya: by accepting Kṛṣṇa as everything, that means full surrender. Then he can be, even if he's pāpa-yoni, he can be rectified. But if there is no question of surrendering to Kṛṣṇa, and if you rubberstamp a low-class man that he has become harijana, how it will be effective? The condition is there, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya. Find out this verse.
- māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
- ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
- striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
- te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim
- (BG 9.32)
"O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaiśyas, as well as śūdras—can approach the supreme destination."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The condition is that "those who take shelter unto Me." Now, Mahatma Gandhi manufactured the harijana, but where there is the teaching that "You take shelter of Kṛṣṇa"? So how this harijana will be effective? The condition is there, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya (BG 9.32). Read the purport.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower or higher classes of people. In the material conception of life there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that even the lowest, who are called caṇḍālas, dog-eaters, can be elevated by association with a pure devotee. Therefore devotional service and guidance of a pure devotee are so strong that there's no discrimination between the lower and higher classes of men. Anyone can take to it. The most simple man, taking center of the pure devotee, can be purified by proper guidance."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The guidance means how to take him to Kṛṣṇa's shelter. Then he will be all right. The guidance is wrong, no question of Kṛṣṇa, and he, simply by rubberstamping, "Here is a harijana," how it will be effective? Therefore it is failure. He remains the same drunkard, same meat-eater, and he becomes harijana. How it is possible? The guidance required. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). He must be guided.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: You started this explanation by saying, "But who will take it?" So is this to say that this religion that you're speaking of is not trying to be made acceptable to the masses, or is it only for those who will take it?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Unless you take it, where is question of religion? So that requires guidance. Just like to make a child educated, there is teacher required. Automatically how he can? A child, now you give him a rubberstamp, "Now you are M.A." Is he M.A? He must be guided to pass the M.A. examination, then he'll be, he's M.A. And "Because he is born in a certain family, he cannot be M.A.," that is not the fact. He can be M.A. provided the guidance is there, training is there. He can become M.A. It doesn't matter that because he is lowborn he cannot become M.A. No. He can become. The training is how to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Then he goes back to home, back to Godhead.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It appears from his question that his idea is that Hinduism is so flexible that whatever condition of life the masses are in, Hinduism will kind of envelop them, and they can still call themselves Hindus. But what you're saying is that actually the standard is there . . .
Prabhupāda: We have already refuted. There is no such thing as Hinduism in the Vedic conception. It is sanātana-dharma or varṇāśrama-dharma.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is sanātana-dharma so wide that everyone can be . . .
Prabhupāda: Sanātana means eternal. So na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). The identification of the living entity is already described, that it does not perish after annihilation of this body. That is sanātana. So that is meant for everyone. Not that the Hindus, after giving up this body, exist, and the Muslim or Christian does not exist. Everyone exists. That everyone is eternal, so sanātana-dharma is meant for everyone.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is there anyone actually outside of sanātana-dharma then?
Prabhupāda: If he thinks. Otherwise, nobody is outside. If you think that you are not . . . There are so many rascals, they think that with the body everything is finished. But he may think so, but that is not fact. Similarly, if one thinks that "I am not sanātana-dharmī, I am Christian," you may think like that, but actually you are sanātanist. But if you think otherwise, you can think. Who can check it? When Kṛṣṇa says, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20), "The soul does not annihilate after the destruction of the body," is it meant for the Hindus? Everyone. Everyone is a living entity, everyone is a soul, and he's eternal. And eternal means sanātana.
Hari-śauri: So it depends on how one acts as to whether he can be accepted as . . .
Prabhupāda: Then . . . "One acts" means he must act accordingly. If he does not act accordingly, that is his business.
Hari-śauri: Jaya, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Jaya. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (devotees offer obeisances) (break)