760609 - Conversation C - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



760609GC-LOS ANGELES - June 09, 1976 -71.21 Minutes


(Garden Conversation)



Nalinīkaṇṭha: ...Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Seventh Canto, Part Two.

Prabhupāda: You read it, from very beginning.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Introduction?

Prabhupāda: No, kaumāra ācaret prajño dharmān bhāgavatān iha.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

śrī-prahrāda uvāca
kaumāra ācaret prajño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
(SB 7.6.1)

"Prahlāda Mahārāja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection."

Prabhupāda: The guests, you may read aloud to them.

(long pause; Śrīla Prabhupāda exchanges a few Hindi sentences with an Indian woman who has come from Nairobi)

Nalinīkaṇṭha: "The whole purpose of Vedic civilization and of reading the Vedas is to attain the perfect stage of devotional service in the human form of life. According to the Vedic system, therefore, from the very beginning of life the brahmacārya system is introduced so that from one's very childhood—from the age of five years—one can practice modifying one's human activities so as to engage perfectly in devotional service. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Two, verse 40, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt: 'Even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.' Modern civilization, not referring to the verdicts of Vedic literature, is so cruel to the members of human society that instead of teaching children to become brahmacārīs, it teaches mothers to kill their children even in the womb, on the plea of curbing the increase of population. And if by chance a child is saved, he is educated only for sense gratification. Gradually, throughout the entire world, human society is losing interest in the perfection of life. Indeed, men are living like cats and dogs, spoiling the duration of their human lives by actually preparing to transmigrate again to the degraded species among the 8,400,000 forms of life. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is anxious to serve human society by teaching people to perform devotional service, which can save a human being from being degraded again to animal life. As already stated by Prahlāda Mahārāja, bhāgavata-dharma consists of,

śravanaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
(SB 7.5.23)

"In all the schools, colleges and universities, and at home, all children and youths should be taught to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, they should be taught to hear the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, and to put them into practice in their lives, and thus to become strong in devotional service, free from fear of being degraded to animal life. Following bhāgavata-dharma has been made extremely easy in this age of Kali. The śāstra says:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
(CC Adi 17.21)

"One need only chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Everyone engaged in the practice of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra will be completely cleansed from the core of the heart, and will be saved from the cycle of birth and death."

Prabhupāda: Go on.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Canto Seven, Chapter Six, text 2.

yathā hi puruṣasyeha
viṣṇoḥ pādopasarpanam
yad eṣa sarva-bhūtānāṁ
priya ātmeśvaraḥ suhṛt
(SB 7.6.2)

"The human form of life affords one a chance to return home, back to Godhead. Therefore every living entity, especially in the human form of life, must engage in devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. This devotional service is natural because Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the most beloved, the master of the soul, and the well-wisher of all other living beings." Purport: "The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Five, verse 29,

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
(BG 5.29)

" 'The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.' Simply by understanding these three facts—that the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu, is the proprietor of the entire creation, that He is the best well-wishing friend of all living entities, and that He is the supreme enjoyer of everything—one becomes peaceful and happy. For this transcendental happiness, the living entity has wandered throughout the universe in different forms of life and different planetary systems, but because he has forgotten his intimate relationship with Viṣṇu, he has merely suffered, life after life. Therefore, the educational system in the human form of life should be so perfect that one will understand his intimate relationship with God, or Viṣṇu. Every living entity has an intimate relationship with God. One should therefore glorify the Lord in the adoration of śānta-rasa or revive his eternal relationship with Viṣṇu as a servant in dāsya-rasa, a friend in sakhya-rasa, a parent in vātsalya-rasa or a conjugal lover in mādhurya-rasa. All these relationships are on the platform of love. Viṣṇu is the center of love for everyone, and therefore the duty of everyone is to engage in the loving service of the Lord. As stated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, Twenty-fifth Chapter, thirty-eighth verse: yesām ahaṁ priya ātmā sutaś ca sakhā guruḥ suhṛdo daivam iṣṭam: 'In any form of life, we are related with Viṣṇu, who is the most beloved, the Supersoul, son, friend and guru.' Our eternal relationship with God can be revived in the human form of life, and that should be the goal of education. Indeed, that is the perfection of life and the perfection of education."

Prabhupāda: Any question about this statement? You can discuss.

Nalinikantha: This chapter is entitled "Prahlāda Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates." Teaching the children.

Prabhupāda: He was taking opportunity to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness during tiffin hours. When the teachers would go away—during tiffin time, of course, the teachers go away—and Prahlāda Mahārāja immediately will... (aside:) Āsun. Let him come here. He'd immediately take the opportunity of preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (greets Indian guests in Bengali) Āsun, come on. (break) ...Kṛṣṇa consciousness even in the classroom. All the school friends were sons of demons, means atheist class of men. So they did not know anything about God, and Prahlāda Mahārāja was taking advantage of the school tiffin hour and preaching. So his first beginning of the teaching was kaumāra ācaret prajño dharmān bhāgavtān iha (SB 7.6.1): "From the beginning of life, when we are children, we should learn about Kṛṣṇa consciousness." That is the beginning of his teachings. Go on.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

sukham aindriyakaṁ daitya
deha-yogena dehinām
sarvatra labhyate daivād
yathā duḥkham ayatnataḥ
(SB 7.6.3)

Prabhupāda: Allow some Indian dress may come in.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: "My dear friends born of demoniac families, the happiness perceived with reference to the sense objects..."

Prabhupāda: He is addressing his friends, "born of demoniac families, my dear friends." (laughs) Give him one chair, Dr. Wolfe. Yes, that's nice. He used to address his father also as "the best of the demons." Once his father asked him, "My dear son, what nice lesson you have learned in the school? Please tell me." So he addressed his father, asura-vārya, "the best of the asuras."

tat sādhu manye 'sura-vārya dehināṁ
sadā samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahāt
hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ
vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta
(SB 7.5.5)

So "My dear father..." Not "father"; "the best of the asuras," asurya-vārya, the chief asura. "To my opinion," tat sādhu manye, "I think, so far I have studied," tat sādhu manye, "I think that is very nice, very honest profession of occupation for persons who are always full of anxieties." In the material world everyone is full of anxiety. That's a fact. Even in your country, the President Nixon, he was full of anxiety while he was in office, and now, out of his office, he's also full of anxiety. So just see. This is the best man in your country, president, the foremost man. So if he is full of anxiety, the others naturally... Everyone. So what is the cause of the anxiety? Asad-grahāt. Sadā samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahāt. Asat means that does not exist, "not eternal." It is just opposite. Eternal is called sat, om tat sat, and asat means just the opposite.

So here in this material world everything is asat. Even this body is asat; it will not exist. And what to speak of other things with reference to the body. Everything is asat. Anything material is asat; it will not stay, either these trees or this land or this world or this country or this..., anything, asat. So asad-grahāt, on account of accepting things which are asat, not permanent, they are always full of anxiety. Just see how nicely explained, why one is full of anxiety. The reason is, he has accepted something which will not stay, endure, and he has accepted: "This is all in all. My country is all in all. My family is all in all. This body, all in all." But it will not stay. That's a practical fact. But they are sticking to these things. Dehāpatya-kalatrādiṣv ātma-sainyeṣu asatsu api (SB 2.1.4). There is another verse where this word is used, asat. Everyone is thinking, "I am secure. I am born in a very good nation, state. My body is very strong. My family members are very nice, well educated. I have got good bank balance, and I have got respectable position," so on, so on. He is thinking, "These things will save me." This world is struggle for existence, and when there is struggle, there are some soldiers. So ātma-sainyeṣu asatsu api. One is thinking that "These are my soldiers. I'll own victory in the struggle for existence." But pramattaḥ tasya nidhanaṁ paśyann api na paśyati. But he's so mad, he knows that these things will be vanquished, and still he does not see to it. Paśyann api na paśyati. Therefore his anxiety.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja's, this version, sadā samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahāt: "On account of accepting nonpermanent things as permanent, therefore he's full of anxiety." Sadā samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahāt. Then what is the remedy? The remedy is hitvātmā-ghāṭaṁ gṛham andha-kūpam: "This andha-kūpam, dark well of ignorance, one must give up." Then vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta (SB 7.5.5): "He must go to vana." When one goes to vana, it is called vānaprastha. So after family life, according to Vedic civilization, one has to accept vānaprastha life. And when one is fully prepared, he takes sannyāsa after vānaprastha life. So vanaṁ gataḥ means one should prepare by going to the forest for the next life of renounced order of life. That is human civilization: brahmacārī, gṛhasta, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. Sannyāsa means fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta (SB 7.5.5). Otherwise, what is the use of going to the forest? In the forest there are many monkeys also. So that kind of life is not harim āśrayeta. He must take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari. That is oṁ tat sat. And then he'll be happy. That is Vedic civilization. So Prahlāda Mahārāja is teaching to the boys, his class friends. He was five-years-old boy. Naturally, his friends are also of the same age, and he's teaching this bhāgavata-dharma. Read that.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: "The happiness perceived with reference to the sense objects by contact with the body can be obtained in any form of life, according to one's past fruitive activities. Such happiness is automatically obtained without endeavor, just as we obtain distress."

Prabhupāda: Thank you. So here in the material world happiness means sense gratification, that's all. So Prahlāda Mahārāja said, "The happiness of sense gratification, obtainable in any form of life..." The birds, beasts, human being or even the demigods, cats, dogs—everyone has got the happiness of sense gratification, namely eating, sleeping, sex and defense. That is obtainable everywhere. But the spiritual happiness, that is obtainable in human form of life. Therefore the human being from childhood... Kaumāra ācaret prajño dharmān bhāgavatān iha (SB 7.6.1). From the very beginning of childhood. Why so early? Durlābhaṁ manusam janma. This human form of life is obtained after many, many births' evolutionary process. And adhruvam. There is no certainty that I shall live so many years. Although it is estimated that one is expected to live for at least hundred years—that is estimation—but at the present moment at least, nobody is living up to that.

So even there is such indication, still, there is no guarantee. We can die at any moment. Adhruvam, but arthadam. Although it is adhruvam—there is no guarantee—but whatever period we get, we can utilize it for the best purpose. Arthadam. We can gain the ultimate goal of life, arthadam. That is... He is giving stress. Arthadam means spiritual realization. That is arthadam. Otherwise, we remain like animals. The animal has also sense gratification process: how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex and how to defend. So sukham aindriyakaṁ daitya. He is addressing his friends as daitya, "sons of the demons." He is addressing his father as "best of the demons." (laughs) There are two classes of men: deva and asura. Dvau bhūta-sargau loke daiva asura eva ca (BG 16.6). In this material world there are... (aside:) Why not Dr. Wolfe may come here, bring his chair here? You can sit down there. You can bring your chair.

So this sense gratification is available. Viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ yat. These are called viṣaya. Viṣaya means sense enjoyment. So viṣayaḥ sarvataḥ syāt. In any form of life these four principles are there. Eating arrangement is there. (aside:) Come on. Sleeping arrangement is there. The bird, he is not anxious about eating, sleeping, mating. It is already there. He has got a nest above the tree. At night he is very safe and sleeping nicely. And in the morning, he knows, somewhere there is some fruit, he'll get his food. He's not anxious. He goes anywhere. And for mating, the male and female bird are always together. The pigeons, they are having every hour, four times, five times, mating. So that arrangement is always there. And defense? They are on the ground. As soon as there is some man, immediately they go up, defense. So they know, everyone knows, how to enjoy this viṣaya—eating, sleeping, mating and defending. So the śāstra says, viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt: "These four principles of necessities of the body are available anywhere." Either you are born as a human being or a cat or a dog or a bird or a beast or demigod, these are available.

So we should not bother about these things. The arrangement is already there. By the grace of God, things are already there. So Nārada Muni said, "Don't bother about these things." Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (SB 1.5.18). So we are wandering within this universe in different forms of life, in different planets, upary adhaḥ, upari adhaḥ, upper planetary systems, down planetary system, we are having these facilities in different standard. The demigods, they have got their different standard of life, thousands and thousands of times better than ours. We have got better standard of life. Just like the Americans, they have got better standard of life than the Indians. So this high standard, lower standard, but whatever standard may be, the thing, the taste of material enjoyment, is there. Sex intercourse in the human form of life and the sex intercourse of the dog on the street, the taste is the same. Taste is not changed. You put any eatable either in the gold pot or in the iron pot: the taste is the same. Therefore viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt. The taste of these sense enjoyable things are the same everywhere. Therefore he says sukham aindriyakaṁ yat... What is that verse?

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Sukham aindriyakaṁ daityā deha-yogena dehinām.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Deha-yogena dehinām. Sex means one body is being united with another body. Deha-yogena dehinām. That is enjoyment. So Prahlāda Mahārāja says, "These things are available anywhere, without any endeavor. It can be available anywhere." Read it.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Sarvatra labhyate.

Prabhupāda: Sarvatra labhyate. Sarvatra means every form of life, in every place, either in the higher planetary or lower planetary or this—everywhere, sarvatra. Hmm?

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Sarvatra labhyate daivād.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Daivāt. Daivāt means "by the superior arrangement." Superior arrangement... One has become human being, one has become cat, one has become dog, one has become demigod, one has become worm of the stool, daiva-yogena, by the arrangement of the supreme controller. But the material happiness is the same everywhere. Either one is worm in the stool or he is king in the heaven, the standard happiness is the same. Then?

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Yathā duḥkham ayatnataḥ

Prabhupāda: Ah. And these things are available without any endeavor, as we get distressed condition of life without any endeavor. There are two things in this world: distress and happiness. So we don't call for distress, that "Malaria fever comes to me. I shall enjoy." Nobody says, but it comes. So similarly, this is distress. If distress comes by the superior arrangement, so happiness also will come by superior arrangement. So why should we bother about these things? Now, tasyaiva hetoḥ praya... Therefore our endeavor should be for understanding ourself, self-realization, and our relationship with God or what is God, what is the nature. These things, athāto brahma jijñāsā, this is our business, not to waste our valuable time for searching after sense gratification. It is not human civilization, and that is..., that is demonic civilization. That is Prahlāda Mahārāja, stressing. Sukham aindriyakaṁ yad... Read it?

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Next one?

Prabhupāda: No, no, this verse.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

sukham aindriyakam daityā
deha-yogena dehinām
sarvatra labhyate daivād
yataḥ duḥkham ayatnataḥ
(SB 7.6.3)

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Now translation and purport, read.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: We just read that. Read again?

Prabhupāda: The purport you have read?

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Oh, then next verse.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: No, I haven't read the purport.

Prabhupāda: Oh, purport read.

Nalinīkaṇṭha: "In the material world in any form of life there is some so-called happiness and so-called distress. No one invites distress in order to suffer, but still it comes. Similarly, even if we do not endeavor to obtain the advantages of material happiness, we shall obtain them automatically. This happiness and distress are obtainable in any form of life without endeavor. Thus there is no need to waste time and energy fighting against distress or working very hard for happiness. Our only business in the human form of life should be to revive our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become qualified to return home, back to Godhead. Material happiness and distress come as soon as we accept a material body, regardless of what form. We cannot avoid such happiness and distress under any circumstances. The best use of human form of life, therefore, lies in reviving our relationship with the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu."

Prabhupāda: So, is there any question about this statement?

Arnold Weiss: Yes. What originally caused us to lose our relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa? I understand it is due to our desires, but how is this desire manifest?

Prabhupāda: Relationship is not lost. Just like you... Either you are in the prison house or you are in the kingdom of the state, your relationship with government is there. It does not mean that when you are put into the prison house to suffer, it does not mean you have lost relationship, is it that?

Arnold Weiss: Yes, but why are we in the prison house?

Prabhupāda: This is the cause: because you are criminal, you are put into the prison house, but the relationship continues.

Arnold Weiss: What have we done to make ourselves criminals?

Prabhupāda: What you have done, you are put into prison?

Arnold Weiss: No, but what have we done to make ourselves criminals? What criminal acts have we performed?

Prabhupāda: That you might have forgotten. Because your nature is to forget, you cannot immediately remember what you are doing exactly this time yesterday. That is your... You have forgotten. But suppose you, without any knowledge, you do something criminal. So you must be punished. You may not know it. You cannot say in the court that "I did not know by committing this act I'll be punished." So you know or not know, you have done it; you must be punished. You may not know what you have done, but that does not mean you can avoid punishment.

Arnold Weiss: I understand that. It sounds reasonable to me. When we do this act for which we are punished, is it done in this life or is it done in some prior life?

Prabhupāda: This life or prior life, because you are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). You are eternal.

Arnold Weiss: Would the prior life have to be an animal life?

Prabhupāda: Yes, might be.

Arnold Weiss: Or could the prior life also be human life?

Prabhupāda: No, not necessarily. There are 8,400,000 different forms of life, and you are one of them now. So you, as soul, you are the same; the body is changed. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said in the Second Chapter that "Arjuna, you, Me and all these persons who are assembled here, they existed in their previous lives, they are now existing, and they'll continue to exist." So our life is eternal. That is the first instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā. Na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). This living entity, soul, is never born, neither he dies. It is simply change of body. Just like you just took this sweater. That means you are there, and you may give up the sweater again. So your body is changing like dress, but you are the same. So your... In previous... Just like now we are elderly gentleman, but we were a child. That's a fact. At that time the body was different. You are a young man; the body was different. And again you'll become old man like me, your body will be different. So in this life also we are experiencing going through different types of body. Similarly, after giving up this body, I'll have another body. Where is the difficulty to understand? Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati.

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

So dehāntara-prāptir, to accept another body, that is inevitable. Now, what kind of body you'll accept... You'll not accept; you'll be forced to accept, according to your work, karmaṇā daiva-netrena (SB 3.31.1), by superior arrangement. After death, after giving up this body... Generally, at the time of death, your mental condition will carry you to a similar body. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram (BG 8.6). This is the general, but it is under superior arrangement. So we are changing this body continually, cycle of birth and death. That is material world. Therefore it is said that according to the body, the standard of happiness, distress is there. So that will come automatically by nature's law. Therefore there is no need of endeavoring, improving or subduing this kind of bodily comforts. That you cannot change; it is all destiny. You try for self-realization. What you are? Why you are in this body? Why you are suffering? These questions should be discussed. That is human life.

Arnold Weiss: God, of course, has put this entire human life picture together, and we, of course, cannot really understand His motives or His reasons for this. But if there was some understanding that could be imparted to us... Is there? I ask the question, "Is there any understanding that can be imparted to us, to understand some of His motives for this?" Because it seems to me that we suffer a great deal to be able to turn towards Him, and yet in the Bhagavad-gītā He says something like "One million will seek Me, but only one out of that million will find Me."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Arnold Weiss: So your chances are very, very little, and God, of course, understands this.

Prabhupāda: No, chances are very little, and chance is immediate. Ordinarily, the chance is very little, but if you accept what God says, then immediately. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated,

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
(BG 7.19)

So by regular process, it will take many, many births, bahūnāṁ janmanām. When he is actually jñānavān, then he surrenders to God, and he understands vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: "Everything is Vasudeva." Sa mahātmā sudur... So if we are intelligent, we can take this verse seriously, that "Although it is very difficult to understand Vasudeva"—it takes many, many births to understand this fact—"but if one has to come to this point, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti, why not do it immediately?" That is intelligence. So if we surrender to God immediately, the thing is very easy; it is a task of one minute only. But if you don't do that, then it is difficult. Go on, birth after birth, birth after birth.

Arnold Weiss: Why... I understand that. It seems very acceptable in an intuitive sense, but then the mind sort of questions some of these things.

Prabhupāda: (aside:) Is there water? Bring it. Hmm. Yes?

Arnold Weiss: The mind questions some of these things, and these questions kind of flow naturally, and one wonders why the structure of the universe or of the world has been made in such a fashion that it takes a great deal of misery and difficulty for us to turn towards God.

Prabhupāda: Because he doesn't want to turn towards God.

Arnold Weiss: Because we don't want to?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like God says that "You surrender unto Me." And who is going to surrender? He says clearly, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), and who is doing that? So why he'll not suffer? He must suffer.

daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
(BG 7.14)

He will not do that. He'll try to become himself God: "No, why shall I surrender to God? I am God." He is dog, he is kicked even by dog, and he's still thinking, "I am God." This is the difficulty.

Arnold Weiss: So as I understand it—tell me if I interpret it correctly—we're being put more or less into our place, being shown where we really are in relation to God through our suffering.

Prabhupāda: Yes. God is giving you the remedy, that "You surrender to Me, you are immediately relieved from all sufferings." But we shall not do that. So what is the alternative than suffering? This is common sense.

Arnold Weiss: This is a lesson in learning through contrast, then.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Arnold Weiss: This is a lesson in learning through contrast, the contrast of suffering versus not suffering.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Suffering..., this is only suffering. This material world is only suffering, but under illusion we are accepting suffering as enjoyment.

Arnold Weiss: Is this because the illusion that we see is a representation of the spiritual world in a sense?

Prabhupāda: Illusion is another punishment. We wanted to forget God, and God's illusory energy is giving him facility to forget God. This is called illusory energy.

Arnold Weiss: In the beginning, when we were first part of God, as I understand from reading Bhagavad-gītā and some of your other translations and purports, which I enjoy very much—I thank you for making them available—I understand that our souls are also part of God, as a drop of water is part of the ocean. How... Is there any knowledge or information of how we incurred this first separation from God?

Prabhupāda: Separation... Generally, when we want to become God, there is separation.

Arnold Weiss: A rebellion.

Prabhupāda: You cannot... There is one God, and if you want to become God, you are immediately driven away: "Just become God in the material world. Go there and try to become God."

Dr. Wolfe: Prabhupāda? There is a parallel in the Bible that Lucifer broke away from God because he wanted to be God.

Prabhupāda: That's it.

Arnold Weiss: I was thinking that, too.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) This rascaldom... This rascaldom makes him a dog. Instead of God, he become a dog. So this rascaldom is going on, that "I am God." For this purpose he's suffering, and still, he wants to continue it. Nobody can become God; God is one. Ekaṁ brahma dvitīyaṁ nāsti. So how we can become God? But that endeavor is going on.

Arnold Weiss: As I understand it, since God is omnipresent, omnipotent, all-knowledgeable and all-remembering, then He is in a position where He can know what our choices are going to be, and what is going to happen with us in the future.

Prabhupāda: No, no. You make your choice; you can change it. But as soon as you change it, God knows what you are going to do. This is very common sense. Suppose you are honest man; I entrust you with something. But as soon as you become dishonest, immediately I withdraw my entrust, because I know what you'll do. So you have got little independence. You are put into certain position, but you can change it at anytime. So your position is, actually, you are eternal servant of God. As soon as you change it, then your suffering begins. (break) ...of God. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find, after instructing Bhagavad-gītā to Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa is asking, "Now I have instructed you everything. Now whatever you like, you can do." Yathechasi tathā kuru. That independence you have got. Kṛṣṇa, or God, does not interfere with the little independence He has given to us. And because we are part and parcel of God, God is fully independent, so we have got little portion of independence. So by misusing that independence, we can desire to become God, and we suffer.

Arnold Weiss: Isn't it within the nature of our souls to have...

Prabhupāda: That is the nature, little independence. That is the nature. You can properly use independence, and you can improperly use. That is the meaning of independence, that you can use it improperly; then you suffer. That is the meaning of independence. If it is that I have got independence—I cannot use it otherwise—that is not independence.

Arnold Weiss: So that small, miniscule amount of independence that we have represents our free will in making decisions and choices towards either returning toward God or trying to go on our own way, which is the origin of our original position, being in this material world. Very interesting.

Prabhupāda: So therefore Kṛṣṇa said that "The most confidential part of knowledge I am giving you, Arjuna, because you are My very intimate friend, that you give up your all nonsense plans." Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66): "You just surrender to Me. This is the most confidential knowledge. You can misuse your independence, but I am instructing you most confidentially because you are My intimate. Don't make plans like rascals. You just surrender to Me. This is confidential." Or in other words, "Don't foolishly try to become God. You remain a servant. Surrender to Him." This is the ultimate instruction. Find out in the Eighteenth Chapter, sarva-guhyatamam. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru.

Dānavīra:

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiśyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo 'si me
(BG 18.65)

Prabhupāda: Where it is? Which chapter?

Dānavīra: Eighteenth chapter.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There, sarva-guhyatamam? Before that, there is another verse, sarva-guhyatamam.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

sarva-guhyatamam bhūyaḥ
śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo 'si me dṛḍham iti
tato vakṣyāmi te hitam
(BG 18.64)

"Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit." Purport. "The Lord has given Arjuna confidential knowledge of the Supersoul within everyone's heart, and now He is giving the most confidential part of this knowledge: just surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the end of the Ninth Chapter He has said, 'Just always think of Me.' The same instruction is repeated here to stress the essence of the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā. This essence is not understood by a common man, but by one who is actually very dear to Kṛṣṇa, a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. This is the most important instruction in all Vedic literature. What Kṛṣṇa is saying in this connection is the most essential part of knowledge, and it should be carried out not only by Arjuna but by all living entities."

Prabhupāda: Then next verse.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiśyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo 'si me
(BG 18.65)

"Always think of Me and become My devotee..."

Prabhupāda: So instead of becoming devotee, he wants to become God. And that is the problem. But it is the most confidential part of knowledge. Instead of carrying out the orders of God, he wants to order God. You see? Even in the lower stage of devotion, that mentality continues, that "God is order-supplier. If God carries my order, then I accept God. Otherwise I reject Him." In Germany... One of my German Godbrothers, he told me in 1935 that in the last world war, many people became atheists. They went to the church and prayed, especially women, "My husband may come back," "My brother may come back," or "My father may come back." Because all men went to the war field, and the women were there, they prayed in the church. But nobody came back, and they became atheist. That means they took God as order-supplier. They ordered God, "Return my father," "Return my brother," "Return my husband," and God did not return. "Ah, there is no God. I don't care." This is going on. God is order-supplier. But our philosophy is: God is not order-supplier; we are order-carriers of God. Anukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśilanaṁ bhaktir uttamā (CC Madhya 19.167). Just like Arjuna became. He became carrier of order of Kṛṣṇa. He did not like to fight, to kill the family members, but when he understood that Kṛṣṇa wants it, then he, "Yes." Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava (BG 18.73). Find out this verse, naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labhdā tvat-prasādān madhusūdanaḥ.

Nalinīkaṇṭha:

naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
tvāt-prasādān mayācyuta
sthito 'smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
(BG 18.73)

Prabhupāda: Tava. Sthito 'smi gata-sandehaḥ: "Now I am situated in the real position, without any doubt." What is that position? Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava: "I shall carry out Your order. I'll not ask You to become my order-supplier, but I shall carry out Your order." And this is perfection of Gītā knowledge. And he did it. He did not like to kill his family members, but he did it. He killed Bhismadeva. He killed his teacher, Dronācārya. He killed his nephews, brothers—everyone. Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava: "You want it? All right, never mind. Even though I don't want it, I must do it." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava. Anukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śilanaṁ bhaktir uttamā (CC Madhya 19.167). Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11). "I should not place any motive before God. I shall carry out the motive of God"—that is bhakti. So what is that confi...? Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65).

Nalinīkaṇṭha: Mām evaiśyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo 'si me: "Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me."

Prabhupāda: Now, if He is ordering to become His devotee, how can I try to become another God, competitor? This is the folly, and for this we are suffering. He asked him, "You become My devotee." And I want to become another God, competitor. And therefore we are suffering. We cannot become another God. That is not possible. But artificially you are trying. Therefore you are suffering. Anything you try artificially, you'll suffer. If you try for a thing artificially, then what is the result? Result will be suffering and disappointment. Therefore śāstra says, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayeteta kovidaḥ. Don't try for such things you have tried all through in different forms of life. You have failed. So don't try for that. But try to become servant of God. Then your life will be successful.

Because in the material world the endeavor is how to become God in different varieties: how to become president, how to become minister, how to become master, how to become very strong man, very wealthy man, very beautiful man, so on, so on, so on, up to—when everything fail—then how to become God. When everything fail, then, ultimately, "Now I shall become God." The same disease is there, how to become big, now the biggest. And that is the same disease in a different form. Therefore, Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said, kṛṣṇa-bhakta-niṣkāma, ataeva śānta, bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī śakali 'aśānta' (CC Madhya 19.149). Bhukti means material enjoyment. Karmīs... Just like ordinary men, they are working so hard day and night. This airplane is running here and there, (loud airplane passing over) day and night, carrying karmīs. So this is bhukti. How to enjoy this material world fully, this is called bhukti.

So because they are after bhukti, how there can be peace? He has to work very hard. And mukti, those who are jñānīs, they are trying to become one with God. So that is also very difficult. But still, there are so many sādhanas. That is also... But the desire is there. The karmīs are desiring to enjoy material world, and the jñānīs are desiring to become the Supreme. That is also another desire. So bhukti mukti siddhi. Yogīs, they are trying to achieve some mystic power. If you attain some mystic power, without airplane if you can fly... The yogīs can do that. Or if you can walk on the water... The yogīs can do it. This is called laghimā-siddhi, to become light, very light. So that... By yoga practice you can do that. So animā, laghimā, siddhi, prāpti, mahimā—there are so many siddhis. So siddhi-kāmī, they are also desiring something. And the jñānīs, they are also desiring something, and karmīs, they are also desiring something. The bhakta, he does not desire anything. Therefore peacefulness is for him, because he does not desire anything. He does not ask God anything. That is śūnyam. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11)—no motive. That "I am becoming a devotee for this purpose"—no, that is not pure devotee. "I am eternal servant of God, so it is my duty to serve Him, that's all." That is peace. And so long he'll desire, then he'll not have any peace. That is not possible.

Indian Lady: This siddhis, do they harm sometimes humanity with their siddhis also?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Indian Lady: With the siddhis... One who has attained all these siddhis, all these powers, do they harm humanity sometimes?

Prabhupāda: Anything without devotion to the Lord is harmful to the humanity. Anything, either karmī or jñānī or siddhi, it is all harmful, because all these things will keep him aloof from God. His mission is that he is separated from God. His mission should be how to go back to home, back to Godhead. So all these things—bhukti, mukti, siddhi—will keep him aloof from God. Therefore it is harmful. It will not allow him to go nearer to God, and that is harmful. That is the greatest harm. Being aloof from God, he's suffering. So these bhukti, mukti, siddhi will keep him aloof from God. He'll falsely think that "I am God." Yogīs, if they can show some mystic yogic power, then naturally foolish people will think him that "Oh, here is God." And he's satisfied with that. He's not God, but foolish people will adore him as God, and he's satisfied. That means he keeps himself aloof from God. After this mystic power is gone, then he is no more valuable. So anything which keeps one aloof from God, that is harmful.

Indian Lady: But if they misuse these mystic powers, then they cannot stay as a mystic.

Prabhupāda: And why he's after mystic power? What is the use of mystic power. Suppose if you have got this mystic power—you can walk over the water—so what benefit you'll get? There is a boat also. It can walk on the river or on the ocean. Does it mean his all questions are solved? Suppose you can walk over the water. So I cannot walk. I take a boat and pay him four annas. So what is the difference between you and me? It is a question of four annas, that's all. (laughter) So why do you endeavor for this rascaldom, and make some jugglery to the foolish people? If you have to walk over the water, you can pay four annas to the boatman and can do it. Why for this so many mystic power?

Baradrāj: Kaitava.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Baradrāj: This is all kaitava-dharma.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes, kaitava. You do not get any more benefit. After practicing yoga for ten years, twenty years, if you learn this art how to walk over water, so you can show the magic to the foolish man. But intelligent man will say, "It is a question of four annas. I can walk. That's all. Why shall I waste my time, twenty years, for learning this art?"

Indian Lady: Sometimes these mystic powers, they use on human beings...

Prabhupāda: This is one of the mystic powers which amaze people, foolish people.

Indian Lady: But they can use on human beings also...

Prabhupāda: What human being?

Indian Lady: In their life or...

Prabhupāda: No, no, suppose human being learns how to walk over water. Is that the solution of all problems? So what is the benefit to the human being? Suppose you have this mystic yogic power, you can walk over the water, and you teach the whole human society how to walk over the water. (laughter) What is the benefit there?

Indian Lady: But for some creation of something or so many things they show you...

Prabhupāda: That means you have no clear idea, "something, something." Actually there is no benefit. You do not know what is benefit.

Indian Lady: Can anybody create anything with this mystic power, any idol of God or any idol of devotee or anything, and then turn them to... It's just a good mission to turn them to God.

Prabhupāda: What is that mission?

Indian Lady: Well, er...

Prabhupāda: Practically come to the... Suppose if you learn how to walk, or how to fly in the air. Nowadays they are flying, the big, big airplane flying. They have not learned this mystic power. By machine they are doing that. Suppose if you fly by mystic power from here, Los Angeles, to Bombay or Nairobi, and another man flys over by the plane. Then where is the difference? It is a question of pound or dollars. So what benefit do we get? Why do you give so much importance, who is flying or walking on the water? Better utilize the time how to realize God. Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). This is called in the śāstra, that anything you do, if it does not awaken your God consciousness, then it is śrama eva hi kevalam. It is simply working for nothing, waste of time. Śrama eva hi kevalam. (aside:) Hmm, give him some prasāda. And others, what about? No, you can take this... Prasāda. Others, give them also. (Hindi)

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

If we do not awaken our God consciousness, anything you do, that is all waste of time. That is wanted in the human form of life, to revive our God consciousness. That is the most important business. So, any other question?

Arnold Weiss: I do, but I can't take all your evening. It would be unfair of me if I did, but I have a lot of questions.

Prabhupāda: So we shall also go. Distribute this prasādam to everyone.

Devotees: Jaya, Prabhupāda. (break)

Prabhupāda: If you cannot do anything, you can ask anybody, "Become a devotee of God." Three words: "Just become a devotee of God." Anyone can, even a child can do. It is so easy. Ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ mad-bhakteṣv abhidhāsyati (BG 18.68). Kṛṣṇa says that "Anyone who preaches this gospel, he is the dearmost person to Me." So what is that gospel? Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān partiyajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: "You just surrender unto Me." So if we go to every home, every person, and say "Just you surrender to God, Kṛṣṇa," that is our preaching.

Devotees: Jaya, Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)