760716 - Interview - New York
(Interview with religious editor of the Associated Press)
George Orwell: You say not separating but liberating?
Prabhupāda: Not liberating.
Hari-śauri: What was the point?
George Orwell: I didn't understand your repl . . .
Hari-śauri: Could you repeat the question again?
George Orwell: Many people say that members of the International Krishna Consciousness Society are being cut off from work in the world, and therefore their contributions to the world are being lost to the world, and I wondered how you felt about that.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But they have misunderstood.
George Orwell: That is true?
George Orwell: Misunderstood.
Prabhupāda: The difficulty is they do not understand on which platform we are working.
George Orwell: How would you describe that platform?
Prabhupāda: Just like you or me or anyone, this living condition is one platform, and when I or you, we are dead, that is another platform. So generally people are working on the bodily concept of platform.
George Orwell: What kind of?
George Orwell: Oh, bodily, walking on the . . . yes, yes.
Prabhupāda: And we are working on the spiritual platform. Just like what is the distinction between a dead man and a living man? There is some distinction.
George Orwell: Right.
Prabhupāda: So those who are working on the bodily platform, they are working on the dead platform.
George Orwell: Does that involve a majority of the people, or . . .?
Prabhupāda: Anyone. It is a little difficult. Try to understand that this body, so long the living force is there, the body is important. Do you follow it or not? This body is important how long? So long the life is there.
George Orwell: Sure. What I'm trying to get at is you say that . . .
Prabhupāda: You'll understand, just try to understand me, that this body is important so long the life is there.
George Orwell: Right, I agree with that.
Prabhupāda: So this body minus life, what is the value?
George Orwell: None whatever.
Prabhupāda: This body minus life, what is the value?
Bali-mardana: He said none.
George Orwell: None, no value.
Prabhupāda: No value.
George Orwell: Except as fertilizer.
Prabhupāda: So we are working on that platform where the life is there. And people in general, they are working on the platform of this body.
George Orwell: On the platform of . . . on the dead platform? You say people in general . . .
Prabhupāda: The body is dead. Body is dead. Just like your shirt. It is dead always, either on your body or hanging on the hanger. Your shirt and coat, is it not?
George Orwell: My shirt and coat are dead?
Prabhupāda: Is it not dead?
George Orwell: Right.
Prabhupāda: Similarly . . .
George Orwell: But my body is not dead.
Prabhupāda: Body is not, because the living force is there.
George Orwell: Right. But people in general you say are walking on the dead platform in live bodies?
George Orwell: Oh, working. Oh, working on the dead platform in live bodies.
Prabhupāda: Dead, you don't talk, you don't talk.
George Orwell: Is that correct?
Bali-mardana: (laughs) He, Prabhupāda has explained to you previously that those who identify on the bodily concept, because the body itself is dead without the soul, it is considered the dead platform. Because the body itself without the soul is dead, whereas we are concentrating on the platform of life, the life within the body, the soul. So that is the platform of life.
George Orwell: Well is that what makes the people make this distinction between the life you are leading and the life of the world?
Prabhupāda: Yes, because we are working in different platform.
George Orwell: Uh-huh.
Prabhupāda: We are working on the live platform, and general people, they are working on the dead platform.
George Orwell: So in a sense the movement involves a rejection of the general world activities and . . .
Prabhupāda: Not rejection.
George Orwell: . . . separation from it.
Prabhupāda: Not rejection. Just like your car. Your car is important so long it is moving. But if it does not move, then what is the importance of the car, motorcar?
George Orwell: Not . . . if it's not in use it's serving no purpose.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Similarly, if you simply concentrate on the car without any attention to the car driver, then what is your knowledge?
George Orwell: It takes both.
George Orwell: It takes both, the car and the driver.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Car is important so long it is moving, and if it is not moving it has no importance, it is lump of matter. So the car in both the condition, while moving and not moving, it is lump of matter.
George Orwell: Well does that mean that the world, the general world's activities, are like a non-moving car? A lump of matter?
George Orwell: And that's why the Kṛṣṇa movement is separate, separate.
Prabhupāda: Appears to be different.
George Orwell: Appears to be separate from the world . . .
George Orwell: . . . is that the proper word? How would you put that?
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
George Orwell: How would you put it, that "We are . . ."
Bali-mardana: We are also utilizing the car, but our attention is on the life principle, not on the dead metal.
George Orwell: Appears to be separated, that's the way you would put it. Well, is it separated?
Prabhupāda: It is always separated. It is always separated. Just like the driver and the car, they are always separated.
George Orwell: I'm talking about the movement, from the secular world.
Prabhupāda: First of all, understand the analogy. The car and the driver is always separated. The driver is not car, neither the car is the driver.
George Orwell: Well, is the Kṛṣṇa movement the driver or the car?
Prabhupāda: Why you bring Kṛṣṇa? First of all, try to understand the analogy.
George Orwell: They're separate entities.
Prabhupāda: There is car and there is the driver. That car is always different from the driver and the driver is always different from the car. Is it not?
George Orwell: Absolutely. The car can't drive itself.
Prabhupāda: So if you take attention of the car and you do not know anything about the driver, then what is your knowledge?
George Orwell: I didn't quite get the question.
Bali-mardana: If you pay attention to the car without paying attention to understanding who the driver of the car is, what is the driver, then what is the use of your knowledge? In other words, the driver is the living entity, or the soul, and the car is this body, the material elements of this material world including the body. So without understanding who you are, who the living entity within the body or the driver within the car, then what is the use of your knowledge of the material elements without understanding who you are?
George Orwell: Well, since this dichotomy appears to be the case, I mean that there is a . . . that the movement is sort of cut off from the world in general, does that not deprive the world of the service, of the usefulness of these people?
Prabhupāda: First of all, if you do not understand what is the movement, then how you can give your verdict like that? First of all, try to understand what is this movement.
George Orwell: The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society.
Prabhupāda: Then what is that Kṛṣṇa movement? That Kṛṣṇa movement is just like to understand the driver.
Bali-mardana: The Kṛṣṇa movement is meant to help people to understand the spiritual knowledge, knowledge of who they actually are. That is what our movement is dedicated to. We are not dedicated for our own . . .
George Orwell: What is the purpose of the movement, Your Grace?
Prabhupāda: Purpose of the movement is to know who is the driver of the car.
George Orwell: To know who is the driver of the car?
Prabhupāda: Of the car.
George Orwell: And who is that?
Prabhupāda: That is, we are contributing. People are in ignorance about his own identification, who is he. He's thinking he's dead body. That is misconception.
George Orwell: There's no way to identify the driver of the car then.
Bali-mardana: No, no.
Prabhupāda: Just see, it is so difficult subject matter. I am speaking to you, still you feel difficulty. It is little difficult subject matter. We say the car and driver, if you understand this analogy, the car and the driver, so who is important? The driver is important, the car is important? Both combined together giving a service, the car is moving. But if they are separated, who is important? The car is important or the driver is important?
George Orwell: I don't know how I'm going to get the point you're making there across. If the car and the driver are separated, the car is useless and the driver is a person. The driver is always important.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, driver is always important. Within the car or without the car.
George Orwell: Within or without the car, and if he's a chauffeur driving a carload of people then he becomes less important. The people are primarily the ones that are important, that are in the car. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: First of all try to understand the car is moving with the help of the driver. So the driver and the car, they are always different identity. So when the car is dead, the driver do not work with the car, but the driver is important within the car or without the car.
Bali-mardana: In other words, the soul is important with this body or without this body. But the body without the soul is simply fertilizer, like you said—it's dead, useless. So our mission is to educate people about the driver, about the soul within the body.
Prabhupāda: And people are generally working on the body.
George Orwell: People are generally working on the body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And we are working on the driver of the body. That is the difference.
George Orwell: Working on the driver of the body. On the spirit, right?
Prabhupāda: Yes, on the spirit soul. And because they do not know what is the difference between the soul and the body, they cannot understand what is our contribution.
George Orwell: Because they do not understand the difference between the soul and the body, that's why they don't understand what you are contributing.
Bali-mardana: We're going to give you a transcript.
George Orwell: Do you think that . . .?
Prabhupāda: Now, just you try. We are trying to give enlightenment about the driver of the car. Because the driver of the car is always important, either on the car or without the car. And people in general, they are giving importance on the car only. They have no knowledge of the driver. The car requires petrol and the driver requires nice food. So people in general, when they see that we are not giving petrol to the driver, they are surprised.
George Orwell: When they see that you are not giving a role to the driver?
George Orwell: Oh, petrol.
Prabhupāda: They think that petrol is the food of the driver. (laughter)
Bali-mardana: In other words, to satisfy the body does not satisfy the person within the body.
Prabhupāda: Therefore they misunderstand, "Oh, they are not giving petrol to this man for eating." But the man's eatable is not the petrol.
George Orwell: I would like to ask you another question, Your Grace.
Prabhupāda: You have understood this point?
George Orwell: Okay.
Prabhupāda: No, have you understood this point?
Bali-mardana: Have you understood the analogy?
George Orwell: Yeah. I accept, ah, I suppose what you are saying is that the driver . . .
Prabhupāda: You have to understand. You have to understand.
George Orwell: . . . that the driver is the spirit of man and that the car is his physical functioning.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. So the car requires petrol. Does it mean the driver also requires petrol?
George Orwell: You mean the spirit? Food? Does the spirit require food?
Prabhupāda: No, no. This analogy. The driver's food is different from the . . .
George Orwell: Body food.
Prabhupāda: . . . from the power of the . . . the motorcar. The motorcar without petrol cannot work. Similarly, the driver without food cannot work. But the food of the driver and the power of the motorcar, different.
Bali-mardana: The needs of the body and the soul are different.
Prabhupāda: So we are supplying the needs of the soul, and they are supplying the needs of the motorcar. Therefore they find difference. They are thinking, "They are not supplying petrol to this man for eating." That is the difference. They are crying, "Oh, they are not giving petrol for eating to the driver."
Bali-mardana: Actually, we are giving all those things as well. We're giving both.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are supplying everything, driver's food and the car's power. But they see that "Why they are wasting time giving food to the driver?" They think that petrol is the food of the driver as well as the car. They do not know that the food of the driver is different from the petrol for the car. Try to understand this analogy . . . (indistinct)
George Orwell: I gather what you are driving at is that bodily food is different than, mental, reading, intellectual food, spiritual food, it all comes into the body, and we take it all information, ideas, this is the kind . . .
Prabhupāda: Not ideas; that is a fact, fact that you driver, you must have your food. Otherwise you will die.
George Orwell: I'm looking at you. That's taking in a certain kind of information.
Prabhupāda: You cannot drive the car without food.
George Orwell: You have all kinds of information that you have to have to survive. To get down the sidewalk without running into the buildings, you've got to see the wall.
Prabhupāda: The sum and substance is that if a person thinks that he is the car . . . the driver, if he thinks wrongly that he is the car, then his life is spoiled.
Bali-mardana: So if someone identifies too closely with the body, then his life is spoiled.
George Orwell: You think, if he identifies with the body too much, his life is . . .
Prabhupāda: Not too much.
George Orwell: At all.
Prabhupāda: He should know that he is different from the car. That is real knowledge. And if he identifies himself with the car, then he's a fool.
George Orwell: Well, can he . . . is he supposed to care about and honor the body in the physical world . . .
Prabhupāda: That is already taken.
George Orwell: . . . and to see that, see the physical world as important?
Prabhupāda: Suppose if you are utilizing this coat, you are taking care of it. But if you think that you are coat, then you are doomed.
Bali-mardana: If you use the body you should take care of it, but if you think that you are the body, then you are doomed, then it is foolishness. But you naturally you take care of the body, but you should still . . . you don't identify with it.
George Orwell: Well you know, Your Grace, the spiritual quality is an important part of life of course . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, otherwise the animal. If the man does not understand the value of his spiritual quality then he's no better than the dog. The dog does not know.
George Orwell: What do you think of Jimmy Carter?
Bali-mardana: Jimmy Carter is the Presidential candidate.
Prabhupāda: I do not know. What is the name is, I do not know, neither I . . .
George Orwell: Not aware of that.
Bali-mardana: Doesn't care about politics.
George Orwell: But isn't . . . that's part of what I'm thinking about, that you and your movement tend to separate people from concern with what's going on in the world, like that's a Presidential election, and Jimmy Carter is the Democratic candidate. This is a disregard of what's going on in the world. Isn't that an example of it?
Prabhupāda: No, the thing is that there were many presidents before . . . what is this name of this?
Bali-mardana: Jimmy Carter. He is not president yet.
Hari-śauri: Ford is the president.
Prabhupāda: Ford. So what improvement you have done by having this president or that president? What improvement you'll make unless some false promise? That's all. What is the improvement? You have changed so many hundreds and thousands of presidents, but what is the improvement about spiritual knowledge?
Bali-mardana: Prabhupāda sees everything spiritually.
George Orwell: How's that?
Bali-mardana: He's seeing everything spiritually. What is the improvement spiritually out of all these presidents? So therefore we do not care.
George Orwell: You do not care what the president . . .
Prabhupāda: We take care, but we take care more for the spirit soul than the body. That is our basic principle.
George Orwell: But do you think most of the Hare Kṛṣṇa members will vote in the election in November?
Prabhupāda: They're attending?
Bali-mardana: He's asking if you think that they will vote, our members will vote.
George Orwell: Will they participate in the election? Will they register and vote, do you think?
Prabhupāda: Personally I never give votes.
George Orwell: Never voted. You're a citizen, however, aren't you, a U.S. citizen?
Prabhupāda: I am permanent resident.
Bali-mardana: Permanent resident.
George Orwell: Well, will they follow your example and not vote?
Prabhupāda: I do not know, but our principle is that I vote for this man or that man, so what is spiritual benefit? That is our point.
Bali-mardana: If he was Kṛṣṇa conscious, then he might vote. If the politician is God conscious, then we'll support him.
George Orwell: Vote for this man or that, what spiritual difference would it make—is that the way you put that?
Bali-mardana: Yes, as long as the candidate is not God conscious it wouldn't make any difference which way we vote, but if he's God conscious, then we'll vote.
George Orwell: Well, would he have to be in the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to be God conscious?
Bali-mardana: Would the candidate . . . in order for a candidate to be God conscious, would he have to be part of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement?
Prabhupāda: He must know the science, this science, this spiritual science.
George Orwell: To be God conscious, you must . . .
Prabhupāda: That's a great science.
Bali-mardana: Great science.
George Orwell: How's that?
Bali-mardana: In order to understand God, it is a great science.
George Orwell: Do you need to be involved in the Kṛṣṇa movement to be God conscious?
Prabhupāda: No. You may take part in the movement or not, but he must know the science. Movement is preaching . . .
George Orwell: You mean the Bhagavad-gītā, he must know that, or what?
Prabhupāda: Not Bhagavad-gītā or anything, but he must . . . just like a book, mathematics, it may be written by different men, but one must be a mathematician.
George Orwell: I think what Bali was saying is that if a Kṛṣṇa consciousness member were running for an office then you would get out and vote for him. That he would be God conscious.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
George Orwell: But I'm trying to ask does he have to be Kṛṣṇa conscious involvement in order to be God conscious?
Prabhupāda: Everyone should be Kṛṣṇa conscious.
George Orwell: Huh?
Prabhupāda: Everyone should be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Not only the . . . president or not president, everyone. That is the objective of human life. He must know himself what he is.
George Orwell: Now, that leads up to another question I wanted to ask you: Do you think that the . . . one of the attractions of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the rather exotic, Hindu, unusual customs in the West? I mean these customs are unusual in the West, and they have a sort of exotic appeal, a fascination for young people.
Prabhupāda: No, no, that ignorance is there both in Western and Eastern. It is the ignorance of the human society.
George Orwell: But do you think it's unusual, the fact that it's an Eastern, mysterious Eastern religion has an appeal to American young people?
Prabhupāda: Why do you bring Eastern religion, Western religion? It is a science. Two plus two is equally important both in East and the West.
George Orwell: Well, it originated in the East, and it's not very . . . it hasn't been customary in the West.
Prabhupāda: That originated . . . just like the sun rises in India first. That does not mean the sun in America and the sun in India is different. The sun is the same sun. It may appear first in the Eastern side, but that sun does not belong either to the East or the West. Sun is sun.
George Orwell: Well, do you think that the Eastern sun, meaning Hare Kṛṣṇa, is appropriate in a culture that has a different religion traditionally?
Prabhupāda: No, no, it is ignorance. Why do you say . . .?
George Orwell: The Jewish, Biblical Christian tradition is traditional in the West; the Hindu tradition . . .
Prabhupāda: I never said that Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Muslim.
Bali-mardana: We aren't Hindus.
Prabhupāda: We do not belong either to the Hindus or Christian or Jewish. We belong to Kṛṣṇa, or God. Kṛṣṇa means God.
George Orwell: Yeah, but you use the Hindu scriptures.
Prabhupāda: That is another thing. Just like we say the sun, sūrya, and you say the sun, the "sun." But the subject matter is the same. You say the sun in the sky as s-u-n, "sun." And we say in India sūrya, s-ū-r-y-a. So the name may be different but the object is the same.
George Orwell: In other words, do you think the India-originated religion is . . . serves its particular purpose in the Western society? I mean, does . . . is it of particular value in a rather technological society, the Hindu tradition?
Prabhupāda: Generally speaking, everywhere, everyone everywhere is identifying his body as the self. It does not mean East or West. This is ignorance. Wherever there is ignorance one identifies himself with the body. This is ignorance. It may be in the East or in the West. It doesn't matter.
George Orwell: Well, can a self exist without a body?
Prabhupāda: No. Self can exist without body.
George Orwell: I mean you say that people identify themselves, the body as the self.
George Orwell: And that this is ignorance to identify the self with the body.
Prabhupāda: That I have already explained, that the driver . . .
George Orwell: But does that mean a sort of rejection of the body as unimportant?
Prabhupāda: Not rejection. Again, you come to the . . .
George Orwell: But the body is important to the self, isn't it?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just try to understand. That we have already explained. The driver and the car are two different identities, is it not?
George Orwell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: The driver can exist without the car, and the car without the driver has no value.
George Orwell: Well, in that same . . .
Prabhupāda: So why don't you understand first of all this?
George Orwell: . . . in keeping with that analogy, can the self exist . . . does the self exist without the body in this world?
Prabhupāda: Yes, oh, yes.
George Orwell: In this life?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Life is always there.
George Orwell: As a spirit apart from the body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. That is the ideal life.
Bali-mardana: That is the goal.
Prabhupāda: That is the goal. When the soul lives without this material body, that is his liberated life. Just like the criminal, he can live within the jail and without the jail. But he's thinking wrongly that without jail he cannot live. But his life without jail is real life.
George Orwell: That reflects the old . . . the Hindu view that . . .
Prabhupāda: Why you again bring Hindu view?
George Orwell: Or the, at least the Eastern religious view, that to leave this life . . .
Prabhupāda: Why we are bringing Hindu and Muslim view?
George Orwell: Well, okay, I take that back then. I take that back. Anyway, what you're saying is that this life is a jail and that really the goal is another life.
Prabhupāda: Ah, yes.
George Orwell: Right? I mean that this life is an evil prison.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. Now you have understood.
George Orwell: Well ah . . .
Prabhupāda: This is not a desirable life, to live in the jail, conditioned.
George Orwell: Well in other words, in a sense that is to reject or at least to repudiate this life, this world.
Prabhupāda: Not repudiate, to understand.
George Orwell: That it is not a good life.
Prabhupāda: It is not a good life, and the whole material world is false identification with myself.
George Orwell: Well is it important to try to improve this life so that it won't be a prison?
Prabhupāda: Yes, improve, improve, to understand that I am not a person of the jail; I am a person of freedom. Long living in the jail, one who identifies that "Without jail I cannot live."
George Orwell: Well, I hope we all get out of it sometime, somehow, someway, either here or there. (laughs)
Prabhupāda: But we are trying to educate the prisoners that, "Your life is not perfect within the jail. Your life is perfect without the jail." This is our education.
George Orwell: Life is not perfect in the jail.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And the person in the jail, they are thinking, "What is this? They are not working for the jail life?"
George Orwell: Person in the jail . . . I didn't get that.
Prabhupāda: Because they cannot understand that there is life after jail. They are so fool, rascal, that they cannot understand that without jail one can live.
Bali-mardana: So what you were saying before, the persons in the jail are thinking, "These people are not working for life in the jail," so they don't understand what we are doing.
George Orwell: How's that now?
Prabhupāda: We're not working to keep people in the jail conception of life. So that's why they cannot understand what we are doing.
George Orwell: You mean you're not working for the jail life?
Bali-mardana: To keep people within the conception that life is within the jail.
Prabhupāda: Just like a man has gone to jail, he's giving education to the prisoners, "My dear brother prisoners, this life is not good. You become honest; don't come to the jail." So other prisoners, they are working hard, they are hammering on the bricks, they think that "This man is not hammering on the bricks, he's talking only."
George Orwell: I didn't gather that.
Bali-mardana: In the prison the people are . . . their work is, say, to hammer on bricks. So when, if someone comes into the jail and tells the prisoners, "You shouldn't be doing this. Actually you should become honest and go out of the jail and be free." Now the persons in the jail . . . because . . . they will then become envious, that "This person, instead of working hard like us, he's simply talking." They cannot understand the benefit that he's giving them, and they become envious that, "Because he's not working like us he is nonsense." So do you understand the analogy? It's an analogy. Just like we are coming in the world and telling people to get out of this world, to understand the spiritual world, spiritual side of life. But because we're not working like them, sometimes they misunderstand what is our purpose.
George Orwell: In other words, you think people should get away from what they're doing in the world.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. That is real life.
George Orwell: Huh?
Prabhupāda: Oh! (laughs)
George Orwell: That they really shouldn't concentrate so completely on the world.
Prabhupāda: No, no. So long you are in the jail, you have to work according to the principle of the jail. But you must know that jail life is not good.
Bali-mardana: You may work within the material world, but you have to understand that the purpose is to get out of the material world.
George Orwell: Well, are your Kṛṣṇa members out of the materi . . . out of jail?
Prabhupāda: Just like, some of us are working like the hammer man, breaking bricks with hammer, but that does not mean he does not understand. So long one is in the jail, one is not in freedom; he has to work like that by force. But that is not his proper work. He has got a different work outside the jail, or in his freedom life.
George Orwell: Well, what people are saying about the members of the Kṛṣṇa Society is that they are not doing the jail work.
Prabhupāda: That I have already explained. The prisoner who is hammering the bricks, he's thinking that this man is simply instructing that you have a different life outside the jail, he's not hammering on the brick. Therefore he is surprised, "How is that he is not hammering like me?"
George Orwell: In other words, he's not participating in jail life.
Bali-mardana: He's educating them.
George Orwell: What's he doing?
Prabhupāda: He's educating.
George Orwell: He's trying to show them a different way?
Prabhupāda: Not different way; he's educating differently.
Bali-mardana: So they can understand what they're doing, what they're supposed to be doing.
George Orwell: He's educating them to what? That this jail life is no good?
George Orwell: That the jail life is no good?
George Orwell: But then is that man that's hammering the bricks, isn't he going to quit hammering the bricks, too?
Prabhupāda: He may not hammer, he's giving instruction. Just like I was invited in Ahmedabad jail to give some instruction. So I'm not hammering on the bricks because I was in the jail.
George Orwell: No, you're giving instruction.
Prabhupāda: Yes, I'm meant for giving instruction. I am not meant for hammering on the bricks.
George Orwell: But then once you get this . . .
Prabhupāda: So the person who is hammering on the bricks, he's thinking that "This man is simply talking."
George Orwell: That's why he thinks that the Kṛṣṇa people are separate.
Prabhupāda: He wants to draw him in the business of hammering bricks.
George Orwell: Of hammering bricks. Right, right.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference.
George Orwell: That's the difference. Well, what I'm talking about is . . .
Prabhupāda: He's thinking that, "He's not contributing in hammering the bricks." But he does not know that this hammering on the bricks is not a very good business.
George Orwell: Not a very good business.
Prabhupāda: He does not know, the rascal, who is trying to bring us also in the business of hammering the bricks.
George Orwell: . . . of hammering the bricks, that's right. Yes.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference.
George Orwell: Yes. Well when you get through with the guy . . . talking, instructing the man hammering the bricks, is he going to lay down his hammer, too?
Prabhupāda: No, he doesn't require. The same . . . you try to understand.
Bali-mardana: He may continue hammering, but his knowledge will be complete. He'll have complete understanding.
Prabhupāda: At least he must know that, "This hammering is my punishment." He knows that, "This hammering is not my business, it is my punishment." That is knowledge. That is knowledge, when a prisoner understands that "This hammering business is not my real business, it is my punishment."
George Orwell: Isn't that a rather negative way to look at the work?
Prabhupāda: Why negative? It is the fact. That is the positive understanding. Why do you take negative? If you are suffering, and if you say . . . if I say: "Don't suffer," is that negative or that is positive?
Bali-mardana: In other words, if you are suffering and I tell you "Don't suffer," it may sound negative but actually it's positive.
Prabhupāda: Yes, positive. But they are rascals, they are taking as negative.
George Orwell: Why is work in the world necessarily suffering? It is . . . it has a mixture of pain and joy, but it's negative to look on it as useless work. Huh?
Prabhupāda: Therefore they are envious of the Kṛṣṇa conscious men. They do not see that, "These people, they are not hammering like us." So therefore they are thinking that there is no contribution of hammering. They think the hammering is the real business.
George Orwell: That's pretty good. (laughter) I think people understand the analogy, they think hammering is the business. What do you think is the business?
George Orwell: The world thinks hammering is real business.
Prabhupāda: Yes, so our business is to educate them that, "Your hammering business is not your life. Your freedom is real business."
George Orwell: Freedom is what?
Prabhupāda: Real business.
George Orwell: You've . . . I'm sure you've heard or read about these claims by these parent groups that claim that the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement members are, ah, sort of controlled by intensive indoctrination? Brainwashed they call it, you know, by getting up and having the two hours or three of chanting in the morning and prayer beads constantly and the group life, that they're sort of controlled and denied their freedom. What do you say about that?
Prabhupāda: It is due to a misunderstanding. They do not understand what kind of preaching, what kind of education we are giving. We are giving education how to become free from the hammering business in the jail. They think hammering business and keep oneself within the jail is the real life, because they have been accustomed to that. And when we speak that "Hammering, or to keep within the jail, is not your real business: your real business is freedom," naturally they find contradiction, and they think that we are doing something against their business. That is the difficulty.
George Orwell: Like doing something against their what?
Bali-mardana: Against their business.
George Orwell: But in other words, you think that there . . . is there not something to this idea of brain . . . of being spiritually controlled or spiritually directed?
Prabhupāda: It is not controlled. It is not controlled.
George Orwell: Well, what would you call it?
Prabhupāda: Controlling one from coming to the jail life. If you give good instruction to a man, that "Don't become criminal, don't come to the jail, don't be engaged in the hammering business," it appears negative, but that is positive life.
Bali-mardana: If you tell someone not to do something that's bad for him, it's positive for him.
Prabhupāda: That is his positive life. When the physician says to a patient that, "Don't eat like this, then you will increase your diabetes. Don't eat this, don't eat starch, don't eat sugar," so people may think he's simply giving negative, but that is his positive life. They misunderstand.
George Orwell: I guess when you started out down here in Greenwich Village in 1965 you didn't have any idea that your movement was going to become the rather large. I mean you aren't leaving this country for good. You're a permanent resident, right?
Prabhupāda: Who said?
George Orwell: I don't know, I just heard that somewhere.
Prabhupāda: From where?
George Orwell: I don't know, somebody said it.
Prabhupāda: How can I answer this? Somebody madman must have said it. (laughter)
George Orwell: I'm just checking it out, but there's nothing to it, huh?
Prabhupāda: I am touring always.
Bali-mardana: He's always traveling.
George Orwell: Where is your main home?
Prabhupāda: My home is back to home, back to Godhead.
George Orwell: Is where?
Hari-śauri: Back to Godhead.
Bali-mardana: With God.
Prabhupāda: That is my real home. That means every temple is my home.
George Orwell: Did you work out the spiritual disciplines for the group yourself? I mean about the morning chanting and the recital of the two thousand Hare Kṛṣṇas a day and . . . did you work those out yourself?
Prabhupāda: Still I am working.
George Orwell: Still working, on those disciplines.
Prabhupāda: Yes, you see. I have got, these men, they have got.
Bali-mardana: He's saying did you think of these things yourself, to chant on the beads and follow the program in the morning? Have you made these up yourself?
Prabhupāda: No, this is the disciplic process.
Bali-mardana: Disciplic process.
George Orwell: Yes, who originated those steps?
Prabhupāda: It is since time immemorial.
Bali-mardana: Time immemorial.
Prabhupāda: Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find, satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ (BG 9.14). (aside) Find out this.
George Orwell: Well, I understand you do a lot of work translating and that you only sleep two hours a day. Is that right?
Prabhupāda: Not two hours; I sleep about four hours.
George Orwell: Four hours? Four hours.
Hari-śauri: . . . verse Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: Satataṁ kīrtayanto mām.
- satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
- yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
- nitya-yuktā upāsate
- (BG 9.14)
"Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion."
Prabhupāda: So this was spoken five thousand years ago, and we are doing the same thing.
George Orwell: Now what's your, what's your . . .?
Prabhupāda: Now your answer is there; it is not that I invented something.
George Orwell: Yes, you didn't invent it. I get the point, that it derives from the Vedic scriptures.
Prabhupāda: Whatever we are doing, it is authorized. That is the principle for spiritual understanding.
George Orwell: What I was trying to ask you a while ago, do you think that these particular Vedic disciplines and spiritual principles . . .
Prabhupāda: All Vedic principles . . .
George Orwell: Concentration on the spirit instead of the body, has a particular usefulness in Western society nowadays?
Prabhupāda: It is useful for every human being. If the Western society thinks that they are not human being, that is another thing. (laughter)
Bali-mardana: In other words, this is the business of human life.
George Orwell: What's your view of Judaism and Christianity?
Prabhupāda: I have not studied, but any "ism," if it is meant for making the soul free from this bodily condition, that is first class "ism." Otherwise, it is simply waste of time.
George Orwell: Any religion that is . . .
Prabhupāda: That gives facility.
George Orwell: . . . emphasizes making us free from the bodily condition.
George Orwell: That's a first-class religion.
Prabhupāda: That's it.
George Orwell: I don't think Judaism and Christianity do that.
Prabhupāda: I do not know that.
George Orwell: They consider the body very important.
Prabhupāda: Again you come to the same. Body is important so long the soul is there. The car is important so long it is moving.
George Orwell: But they don't . . . they cherish the physical, you know, the world itself.
Prabhupāda: That is ignorance. That is ignorance.
George Orwell: That is ignorance.
Prabhupāda: We have got students from every community: from Jewish community, from Christian community, from Muhammadan community, from Buddhist community, from Hindu community—everywhere. Because the knowledge is for everyone. It doesn't matter whether he's Jewish, Christian or . . . "Two plus two equal to four" is good for everyone. It is not that, "Two plus two" is good for the Christians, not for the Jews. Gold is gold.
George Orwell: I didn't get that.
Bali-mardana: The principle of, say, "two plus two equals four" is the same for a person whether he's Christian, Jewish, Muhammadan or whatever, just as the same way that gold is gold. Gold always has its value in any situation.
Prabhupāda: You cannot say because gold is in the hand of a Muhammadan it is Muhammadan gold, or if it is in the hand of a Christian it is Christian gold. Gold is gold.
George Orwell: Right.
Prabhupāda: In anyone's hand. You cannot designate it.
George Orwell: Who's got the gold?
Prabhupāda: Huh? Everyone has got the gold.
George Orwell: Who has the gold?
Prabhupāda: No, everyone has got the gold, but they have . . . they are not in awareness that what is that gold.
Bali-mardana: Everyone has the gold. They are simply unaware that they have it. Everyone is originally Kṛṣṇa conscious, or God conscious. What Prabhupāda is doing is making people aware of it, that it's within them, within their heart.
George Orwell: Well, are there other paths to awareness of spirit consciousness other than the Kṛṣṇa consciousness path?
Prabhupāda: That, how can I say? That is your subject matter. You study both of them and see and give your judgment.
George Orwell: I mean what is your view? What is your view? Are there other paths to spirit consciousness?
Prabhupāda: There is, but not very elaborate.
George Orwell: There are, but not very what?
Bali-mardana: Elaborate, scientific.
Prabhupāda: Not very elaborate.
George Orwell: Not very good?
Prabhupāda: Not very elaborate.
George Orwell: Well is Kṛṣṇa consciousness very elaborate?
George Orwell: By elaborate you mean effective, is that?
George Orwell: You mean "effective" by elaborate?
Prabhupāda: Effective also.
George Orwell: I mean is that the proper synonym for elaborate?
Bali-mardana: These are some of our books that Prabhupāda has published just to explain this science.
Prabhupāda: We are explaining this science in so many books. It is open to everyone.
George Orwell: That's quite a library.
Hari-śauri: This is just the beginning. And there's another forty volumes after this.
George Orwell: Are all of these translations that you've made, Your Grace? I don't blame you for sleeping only four hours a night. I tell you, just to produce a half a dozen books in a lifetime is quite a job, you know.
Prabhupāda: It is very difficult, but I have already produced eighty books.
George Orwell: Eighty? Eighty?
Prabhupāda: Eighty books.
George Orwell: Eighty?
Prabhupāda: Eighty. Eight zero.
George Orwell: Translations of the Vedic scriptures.
Bali-mardana: And commentaries.
George Orwell: Translation and commentaries.
Prabhupāda: And all world scholars, professors, universities, they are receiving so nicely.
Bali-mardana: We have standing orders for all of Prabhupāda's books that he has now and in the future, all over the world in all the leading universities, and the professors are using them as texts. We have hundreds of letters.
Prabhupāda: You can see some of the lists.
George Orwell: You know, what I've heard, what I've heard some Hindu professors say is that Hinduism is such a complex and profound religion, and that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness members are very superficial about it. They simply go through these disciplines and really don't involve themselves in the . . . they take a superficial version of Hinduism.
Prabhupāda: That may be Hindu religion. But we do not belong to any religion. That may be true for the Hindu religion what the professor has said, but we do not identify with any religion. We are different from any religious system.
George Orwell: But the scriptures are the same. The Vedic scriptures are Hindu scriptures.
Prabhupāda: No, Hindu religion . . . of course, the scripture is the Vedic principle, but the word is not Vedic. This word "Hindu" is not Vedic word.
Bali-mardana: "Hindu" is not Sanskrit, it's just a popular, general term.
Prabhupāda: Vedic, Vedas, Vedas, that is real, the word. But they have taken it in a different way. Actually the "Hindu," this name is given by the neighbor Muhammadans. There is a river called Sindhu. That river is still there; it is now in Pakistan. So outside the border of India, the Muhammadans, they used to call the inhabitants of the neighborhood of that river Sindhu "Hindu." Because they pronounce s as h. So this is the origin. So "Hindu" is a title given by the Muhammadan neighbors. It is not found in the Vedic literature.
George Orwell: I see, I see. That's like most religious names derived quite often out of ridicule or scorn. Like the Quakers, that was originally a scornful . . . a title of scorn. And Methodists, they were the methodical ones. That was a title of scorn. And the Baptists were the baptizers.
Prabhupāda: Real Vedic principle is called varṇāśrama: observing the principle of four varṇas—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya . . . it is a very long science. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, this is called varṇa. And brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, this is called āśrama. So the Vedic civilization is called varṇāśrama-dharma, not Hindu dharma. This is later contribution of the so-called scholars.
George Orwell: Well, ah, I thank you very much for your time, Your Grace, and I'm glad I finally got acquainted with you. I missed you in Brooklyn.
George Orwell: I missed you in Brooklyn. I came over there and you were in the backyard. I think you were asleep or having a backrub or something. So I didn't get to see you.
Prabhupāda: Yes, in the daytime I am . . .
George Orwell: It was good to catch you this time, and I hope to see you again.
Prabhupāda: So kindly put the matter properly, because people misunderstand. On account of their ignorance they misunderstand our movement.
George Orwell: What are their main misunderstandings?
Prabhupāda: Of this bodily concept. They are thinking that they are body. "I am Muhammadan," "I am Christian," "I am American," "I am Eastern," "I am Western." All bodily conceptions.
George Orwell: You mean about the Eastern and Western?
Prabhupāda: Eastern, Western, that is also bodily conception. Why they are thinking "Eastern," "Western"? Everyone is human being.
George Orwell: Well, what is it that they particularly understand . . . misunderstand about the movement?
Prabhupāda: They do not understand that we are talking on the spiritual platform and they are on the material, bodily platform. Therefore they find contradiction. One has to be little sober to understand this movement and what platform we are speaking. They are accustomed, on the same example, hammering the bricks. And when they see others they are not hammering the bricks, they think they are different. They cannot understand that life can be without hammering the bricks. Karmīs. In the Bhagavad-gītā, the word mūḍha, that has been explained by Viśvanātha Cakravartī, karmīs, these mūḍhas. They cannot understand.
George Orwell: I'm going to have to go back and hammer a few bricks. (laughter) It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much for your time.
Prabhupāda: (laughs) Give him prasāda. Thank you very much.
George Orwell: Thank you again. I hope to see you again sometime.
George Orwell: Good day. (end)