Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
720406 - Lecture at Christian Monastery - Melbourne
(Lecture at Tarrawarra Abbey)
(introducing; sounds of devotees setting up in background)
- śrīmate bhaktisiddhānta-svāmin iti nāmine
- om ajñāna-timirāndhasya
- cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
- tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
- sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
- svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ
- dadāti sva-padāntikam
I want first of all to offer my respectful obesance unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who forced us to open our eyes with the torchlight of knowledge, when we were in ignorance of this great knowledge of God.
There is a verse in our scripture which run follows:
- imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
- proktavān aham avyayam
- vivasvān manave prāha
- manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
- (BG 4.1)
This great chanting, this great science that we are now delivering in all major country of the world—we have now eighty-five center all over the world—it is not a new religion, a new American religion. There are so many new religions. This is not new religion. Evaṁ paramparā (BG 4.2): it is very, very old—thousands and thousands and millions of years old, and this great science was passed down throughout time to the saintly kings, as a saint like this, from guru to guru. We are giving this great science, delivering this great science, and like this it is coming to us from time immemorial.
So for thousands of years, holy man in India, they have attained the real, most super consciousness, or the real transcendence, by following the footsteps of these great saints, which are giving us this great science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God..., conscious of God.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, our spiritual master, the founder of this Society, is in direct line of this disciplic succession. He is the last representative of this line. Just like in your Christian Church also you have this paramparā of pope, and one pope disappeared and another pope legislates, so from Peter down to Pope Paul now you have a disciplic succession, so similarly, for thousands and thousands of years, we have a disciplic succession, and His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta is the representative of this great disciplic succession, which is called the Brahma-Gauḍīya-sampradāya.
Just like if you have a very nice tree, and..., a mango tree, and on the top of the tree you have a very, very beautiful and mature fruit, then you are very careful to take down the fruit. So therefore you put the man on each branches, and the man on the top of the tree pick up the mango and pass down, down, down to man, and finally the mango arrives on the bottom of the tree very unbroken, uncontaminated.
So His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta like this has received this mature fruit of knowledge of God from this disciplic succession, and on the order of his spiritual master His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda, he went in America about six years ago, six, seven years ago, in New York, alone, without knowing anyone, without any money, just like a traveling monk, and he arrived in New York, with so many millions of people, like this. He didn't know anyone. He sat down under a tree there in the main park, and he began to glorify God, like this.
So one disciple came. From many disciple we have opened one center, and then His Divine Grace give initiations. Some have become monks or sannyāsī, brahmacārī; some also can get married. And like this we opened a center in New York, in San Francisco, Montreal, and now we have center in every major city in the United States and Europe. We have a total eighty-five center all over the world, and we are opening about two center, one or two center, every month.
So there is something very..., very, very powerful there, very great, why thousands of young boys, girls, men, women, are giving up everything—giving up their wealth, their nice house, their nice television, their nice everything. They are giving up everything, and they are giving their lives to this great saint, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta, because he delivers something that cannot be found in this world. It cannot be found in this world. It can only be obtained by listening to this great message that is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So I just beg you to listen very carefully to his divine words. Thank you very much for your time. Jaya.
Prabhupāda: Respectful Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly giving me a chance to speak about this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, which is going on all over the world with the..., especially with the assistance of my American and European disciples.
Long, long ago, prehistoric age practically... Because the modern history cannot give account of the world more than three thousand years. But about five thousand years ago a meeting was held at Naimiṣāraṇya. Naimiṣāraṇya is a place in India still existing. Perhaps some of you who might have visited India...
This place is situated near Lucknow in the northern India provinces, a very nice place, sanctified place. Still people go and find peace for spiritual meditation. In that tract of land, Naimiṣāraṇya, from time immemorial this place was especially recognized for spiritual meeting. So there was a meeting of great saintly persons, and Sūta Gosvāmī, one of the disciples of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he was selected the president to speak on Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So the question from the saintly persons—there were many questions—one of the question was that "After departure of Kṛṣṇa, who is in trust of dharma and jñāna?" Dharma means religion, and jñāna means knowledge. Because Kṛṣṇa, when He appeared on this planet, He said that,
- paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
- vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
- sambhavāmi yuge yuge
- (BG 4.8)
"I appear in every millennium." According to Vedic scripture, Kṛṣṇa appears on this planet in one day of Brahmā. And Brahmā's duration of life is described in the Bhagavad-gītā. It is a very, very long period. His one day, daytime, twelve hours, from morning to evening, is described, sahasra-yuga-paryantam arhad yad brahmaṇo viduḥ (BG 8.17). Sahasra-yuga. Yuga, this age. Just like this is, according to Vedic culture, this yuga is called Kali-yuga.
So there are four yugas: Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga, Dvāpara-yuga and Kali-yuga. So the aggregate of all these yugas is about forty-three hundred thousands of years. And if you multiply by one thousand, then that becomes Brahmā's one day only, twelve hours. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam arhad yad brahmaṇo viduḥ. So similarly, he has got one night also, and similarly, one day and night, then one month, then one year. In this way he lives for one hundred years. So during this period of daytime, Kṛṣṇa appears once. That we learn from the Vedic literature.
So Kṛṣṇa said that what is His mission to come here. Kṛṣṇa is God. He does not require to come here, but He comes to serve some purpose. If God wants to come, nobody can check. Sometimes people question that "Why God should come?" So our answer is, "Why God should not come?" If He is all-powerful, who can check Him to come here? If we say that God cannot come, that means God becomes under our rules and regulation. So according to Vedic scripture, God comes, and He says personally why He comes: yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati (BG 4.7). Whenever there is discrepancies in the prosecution of religious principles, He comes. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati, abhyutthānam adharmasya. And whenever there is discrepancies in religious procedure, irreligious activities increase. That is natural. Whenever there is lenient government, the rogues and thieves will increase. It is natural. And if the government is very strict, then rogues and thieves cannot become very prominent. So when Kṛṣṇa comes, He has got two business: paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām (BG 4.8)—for giving protection to the devotees, to the faithful, and for killing the demons.
So Kṛṣṇa, when He was present, He exhibited these two things. Perhaps you have seen our picture of Nārāyaṇa or Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu has got four hands. In two hands He has got lotus flower and conchshell, and in the other two hands He has got a club and a disc. The disc and club is meant for vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām, for killing the demons and the miscreants. And the conchshell and the lotus flower is meant for giving benediction and blessings to the devotees.
So in the Bhagavad-gītā we understand about Kṛṣṇa. Bhagavad-gītā is a well-read book all over the world. In any country you will find edition of Bhagavad-gītā by the language of the country. So in this Bhagavad-gītā we find that Kṛṣṇa is giving instruction about what is dharma, religion. He says... And at the end of His instruction He says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), that "You give up other types of so-called religious principles. You simply surrender unto Me."
So in another place in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19): "Religion means the codes of God." Just like the state gives us some rules and regulation to live, and one who follows the rules and regulation or the laws of the state, he is called good citizen, and those who do not follow, they are called outlaws or rogues or so many things. Similarly, religion is very simple thing. It is not cumbrous. Simple thing.
If we take it simply, religion means..., our definition of religion is to accept the orders of God. That's all. It doesn't matter what religion you are following. You may be Christian, I may be Hindu, that may be Muhammadan, but the test of religion is how one has developed his God consciousness. That is the definition given in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ. There are different types of religion, but the best of them... Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro. Para means superior, the best. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). Adhokṣaje. Adhokṣaja is another description of God. Adha, "where material senses cannot reach." Adhokṣaja. Direct experimental knowledge cannot know God. There are many places... In the Bhagavad-gītā also, it is said,
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścid vetti māṁ tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
"Out of many millions of persons, one is interested to make his life successful. And out of millions of successful person, one can very rarely understand what is God." That is the statement in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Actually, we find that people are generally interested with economic development, sense gratification, that's all. At least, I am traveling all over the world; I see people are very busy for searching out food and shelter. But according to Vedic scripture, it is said that food and shelter is already there, given by God. Because there are 8,400,000 species of life. Out of that, human beings are very few, 400,000 species of life in different planets. And out of them, civilized men, they are very, very few. But God is giving food to everyone actually.
In the Vedas it is stated that,
- nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
- eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān
- (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)
"God is the supreme living being amongst all living beings." Nityo nityanam: "And He's the supreme eternal amongst all the eternals." We are also eternal. Because we are part and parcel of God, we have got all the qualities of God. But because we are minute part and particle of God, therefore all the qualities of God are there in minute particle.
The example is just like the ocean. Ocean water is vast, and drop of ocean water, you analyze chemically, you will find all the chemical ingredients in that drop of water as there is in the water. The difference is of quantity. In the drop of water there is salt, and in the vast mass water in the ocean there is also salt. But the salt containing in the ocean water is very, very big quantity than the salt containing in the drop of water. And another example can be given—these are Vedic examples—just like the fire and the sparks of the fire. We have seen, experienced: when there is fire, sometimes there is some sound, phut!—immediately hundreds and thousands of sparks coming out. Now these sparks, they are also fire, but not as big as the original fire. But they are fire.
Therefore our philosophy, we, following the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu: acintya bhedābheda-tattva. The difference is simultaneously we are one with God and different from God. One in quality. God is spirit; we are also spirit. He is Supersoul; we are individual. But God is great, and we are minute fragment. That is difference. Therefore, simultaneously we are one and different, one in quality but different in quantity. You accept also, "God is great." And we say that nobody can be greater than God, neither anyone can be equal to God. That is our philosophy. Asama urdhva. Asama. Sama means equal. Nobody can be equal to God. That is not possible. God is one.
You may have some understanding that in the Vedic literature there is mention of many demigods. But the demigods, they are also living entities—a little more powerful than the human beings, that's all. Just like here, in this world also, we find somebody is more powerful than others. But that does not mean he is God. God is supreme, all-powerful. Here you may be a little more powerful than me, but another may be found who is more powerful than you; another you can find more powerful than him. In this way go on. There is no limit. Anyone, you will find somebody lower than him and higher than him. But nobody can say that "I am the supreme." Nobody can say. That is not possible.
According to our Vedic literature, Brahmā, the creator of this universe, he is considered to be the highest creature within this universe, but he is also not God. That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ (SB 1.1.1). God instructed him to create. Ādi-kavi. He is the original creature within this material world. Somebody may question that "If he is original creature, than how he got this knowledge of creating?" So that is explained: tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye. Hṛdā: "from the heart God instructed." God is situated in everyone's heart. That is called Paramātmā. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānām hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). God has got three features: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Brahman is impersonal feature, and then Paramātmā, the localized feature, and Bhagavān, the personal feature.
- vadanti tat tattva-vidas
- tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
- brahmeti paramātmeti
- bhagavān iti śabdyate
- (SB 1.2.11)
The Absolute Truth is one, advaya-jñāna, without any duality, but according to our capacity, we realize the Absolute Truth from three different angles of vision. So one of them is realization of God in His impersonal Brahman feature, and another realization is to realize Him... Generally, the jñānīs, the philosophers, the speculators, by dint of their own knowledge, they realize the Absolute Truth in His impersonal Brahman feature. And those who are yogīs, they realize this God, the Supreme Lord, as Paramātmā within the heart. And those who are devotees, they realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the Supreme Person. But the Paramātmā and impersonal Brahman and this person God, they are all the same thing.
The example is given: just like the sunshine, the sun planet, and within the sun planet, the sun-god. According to Vedic religion, Vedic conception, every planet contains living entities. That is also very natural to conclude, because within this material world, everything is made of five elements, gross: earth, water, air..., earth, water, fire, air and sky. These are gross elements. And the subtle elements are mind, intelligence and ego. So in some of the planets earth is prominent, some of the planets water is prominent, some of the planets the fire is prominent. In this way these five elements, gross elements.
Every planet in the material world is made of these five gross elements. So just like here also we can experience that some of the living entities, just like the fishes, they are living in the water very peacefully. But if you are put into the water, you will not be comfortable. Perhaps you will die. Similarly, if the fishes are taken—that also we experienced—from the water, they will die on the land. Here we can see that some of the living entities, they can live comfortably within water. Some of the living entities, they can live comfortably on land, some of them in the air. Similarly, why not some of them in fire? Because after all, fire is also one of the material elements.
So according to Vedic scripture there is life in the sun planet also. They have got fiery bodies. That's all. That is the difference. Just like the fishes here, we see they have got watery bodies; similarly, one may have got fiery body. From logic, from argument, we cannot deny that. So this example, that in the sun planet there is a predominating deity or president or god, whatever you call; he is called sun-god, and his name is also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, Vivasvān. His name is also there. And Kṛṣṇa says,
- imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
- proktavān aham avyayam
- vivasvān manave prāhur
- manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
- (BG 4.1)
Kṛṣṇa says that "This instruction, bhakti-yoga instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, was first given, imparted by Me, to the sun-god, Vivasvān." That is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Now, it is a question of believe or not believe. That is a different thing. We believe. We take it. Because it is said by Kṛṣṇa, we take it, accept it. And we apply our reason also, not blindly take it, that if I see that in every planet, in our this planet there is a president... Formerly, in this planet also, there was only one king, and he was ruling over all the planets. Gradually, people have divided their interests and become different nations. From Vedic history we can see... I understand, somebody was telling me that in Australia also there is some Śiva temple here.
(aside:) Who was telling me that? Yes. He was telling me.
So the archaeological investigation has found so many relics, and in the Vedic literature we also find the mention of all the island, sapta-dvīpa, seven islands. Seven islands means Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Australia and Oceania. These are mentioned already in the Vedic literature. So it is not that the world was not known to Vedic culture. It was fully known. And one king—he was that Mahārāja Pṛthu—he was the only one ruler all over the world, and he was ruling over these seven islands—that is mentioned—although his residential quarter was in the Brahmāvarta, the piece of land between the rivers Yamunā and Ganges. That tract of land is still considered a very sanctified land. Practically all the Vedic culture is there still.
So the example is that as there is a chief man or king... He is also supposed to be God's representative. God gives power to somebody to look after the interest of the inhabitants of that particular planet. Similarly, there is a king in the sun planet. We may call him sun-god or something like, but there is a predominating personality. He has got his personal effulgence, body. Just like fire has got effulgence, heat and light, similarly, he is the fiery god or fiery person, and his effulgence is spread all over the universe.
In the Brahmā-saṁhitā it is said,
- yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ
- rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
- yasyājñayā bhramatisambhṛta-kāla-cakro
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
- (Bs. 5.52)
It is the description of the sun planet. The sun planet is described as the eyes of all other planets. Yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇām. That's a fact. Unless there is sunrise, you cannot see. You may be very proud of your seeing, "Oh, I want to see," but we do not know that our seeing power is limited and conditioned. Unless there is sunrise, these eyes are useless. Just like at the present moment, at night, we cannot see even four yards. So what is the value of these eyes? It is conditional. If there is sunrise, then we can see. That condition is made by God.
Therefore in the Upaniṣad it is said, "When God sees, you can see. When God walks, you can walk." These are the description in the Upaniṣad. Practically, that is the fact. We are completely helpless, simply dependent upon God. The word that "Not a single blade of grass moves without the sanction of God," that's a fact. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is said, sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ: "I am living in everyone's heart." Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca (BG 15.15): "From Me there is remembrance and forgetfulness." There is... We sometimes forget and sometimes remember. That is by God's grace. We are practically under the... Not exactly directly, but through His agent, the material agent.
So there are so many things to be understood about God. So we are preaching God consciousness throughout the whole world just to study the science of God. So please do not take us as something sectarian. Just like the science of mathematics or any science you take, that is not localized in one place. Any advanced student, if he wants to know about that science practically, he can go to some country or..., either to preach or to learn.
So our coming and going throughout the whole world... We are interested to enlighten people about the science of God. That is our business. And our test of religion is how one has developed God consciousness or love of God. Practically throughout the whole world they are rejecting God. You know also very well. In England there are many, many churches, they are vacant now, redundant. And they are..., in the Parliament they have passed law that these redundant churches can be sold for any other purpose. So it doesn't matter whether one is Christian, one is Hindu or one is Muslim. Our simply request is that whatever you may be, you make cultivation of God consciousness. That is our program. Scientifically try to understand what is God. And if you consult Vedic literature you'll get very accurate, scientific, authentic information.
So if anyone is serious to understand God, so there is no objection. Just like if one is serious to understand some particular science, he goes to some other university in other country. That does not mean that person is fallen. No. He is searching after that particular scientific knowledge. Similarly, our request is... We invite everyone, that "There is great necessity of God consciousness at the present moment throughout the whole world. Without God consciousness, all qualification are useless."
That is a Vedic verse: aprāṇasyaiva dehasya maṇḍanaṁ loka-rañjanam (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 3.11). Just like this body. Because there is a minute particle of God's part and parcel, the soul, this body is so valuable. One is "Sir such-and-such" or "Lord such-and-such," and big scientist, big philosopher. Why? Because that spark of God's parcel, part and parcel, is there. As soon as that particle is gone, this body is useless. It may be a body of "Sir such-and-such" or "Lord such-and-such," but it is useless. It is simply a lump of matter. But people are giving more importance to this body, which is nothing but lump of matter. But they have no information.
I have traveled so many countries, universities also. There is not a single institution where there is a department where scientific knowledge is being given about understanding God or soul. That is not very good sign for human civilization. Human civilization is especially meant for understanding God. Therefore in any civilized human society there is system of religion.
Religion means, as I have already explained, to abide by the orders of God. It may be a little different from one country to another. Just like in the political state management also, it is not exactly the same. But the obedience to the state is everywhere. The state may be..., the constitution may be little different, but the obedience to the state is absolute necessity. Similarly, religion may be different according to time, country, position, understanding, but the obedience to God must be there, obedience to God. Otherwise it is not human civilization.
So this is our program of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We invite all learned scholars, priests, philosophers to combine together and save the world from this falldown, without God consciousness. It is not good at all. That is our request. So I think you all respectable priests and Fathers will kindly help me in this mission, and I shall be very much obliged to you.
Thank you very much.
Hanumān: Would you like them to ask you some questions?
Hanumān: If you have any question you would like to ask His Divine Grace, you can ask on the subject matter of the lecture.
Guest (1): Your Divine Grace, you referred to the body as simply matter. Do you believe in a life after death for the body, the human body?
Hanumān: "Do you believe in a life after death for the body?" (break)
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Certainly. This is experienced in this life also. Just like you had a body of a child. That body is finished, but you are existing. You can remember that you had the body of a child, you had a body of a boy, but that body of the child, body of the boy is no longer existing. You are in a different body, but you know that you are existing. That is the proof that after this body, you will have another body. This is the proof. There is no difficulty to understand. As I am still living, in spite of my changing childhood body, babyhood body, boyhood body, youthhood body, so naturally it should be concluded when I give up this body...
Actually, I don't give up. The body... There are two kinds of bodies. This is gross body, made of the five elements: earth, water, fire air and... And there is subtle body: mind, intelligence and ego. Just like we have got shirt and coat. So when we give up this gross body, we are carried by the subtle body to another gross body. So I am not giving up. Actually, I am not giving up this body; I am giving up this... Just like sometimes you give up the coat, but your underwear remains, and you take up another coat or..., similarly, my, the subtle body will remain with me so long I am not emancipated or liberated from material condition.
So presently when I give up this body, so I am carried by the subtle mind. And at the time of death, the condition of my mind will carry me to a particular type of body. And there are 8,400,000's of bodies. We may accept any of them according... That will be given by superior authority. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa (SB 3.31.1). Just like in huge, big establishment, management, a man is promoted by the superior authority, or sometimes he is degraded, similarly, in this form of human body we have got intelligence to understand about God, about ourself, our relationship with God. If we don't utilize this body for this purpose, there is every possibility to be glided down in the animal kingdom.
Guest (2): What has been written about the future of civilization? Will we have a happy human family ever on the earth, or will there always be conflict between...
Prabhupāda: That we are experiencing. This godless civilization is... There is no peace, although we are improving... Just like I was talking yesterday. We have discovered this airplane, but we have given chance another kind of danger.
(aside:) What is that? Skyjack?
Devotee: Skyjack. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So this is going on. We are making something for our convenience, but we are creating something else which is inconvenient. So this is due to godless civilization. But if we become God conscious, then our progress of civilization will be very peaceful and happy. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā mano-rathena asato dhāvato bahiḥ (SB 5.18.12). That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ: "Anyone who has got devotion to the Lord, he is qualified with all the good qualities." Just like you are God conscious, so you have invited us to hear, because you..., the good qualities are there.
So without God consciousness there cannot be any good qualities. We are trying to educate people to be honest, to be gentle, fair-dealing, but actually, the result is people are becoming dishonest, miscreant, rogue, thief, due to (lack of) God consciousness. Just like in the airport, all gentlemen are searched out. What does it mean? That every one of us dishonest. That is to be understood. So what the education has produced? Simply dishonest men. Why? Because godlessness. That's all.
And they are trying to become... Every state is trying to become secular: "Don't talk of God." "Don't talk of God," then what you are? That is animal society. The animal society has no talk of God. There is only talk of how to fill up the belly. That's all. That is the business of hog. Śāstra says,
- nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke
- kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye
- (SB 5.5.1)
Viḍ-bhujām. Viḍ-bhujām means the hogs, the stool-eaters. The stool-eater is also working very hard day and night and gratifying senses. So does the human civilization is meant for imitating the hogs and dogs to work very hard day and night and gratify the senses, that's all? This is the only program at the present moment.
So it doesn't matter whether you are Christian or Hindu. People must be raised to God consciousness scientifically. Otherwise it is doomed. It is not progress. It is already doom. They are simply inviting war after few years. In America, in New York, there is United Nation. They are spending millions of dollars every month, but they cannot stop war. Simply the flag is increasing. That's all. Because it is godless. They may talk all big, big words in the assembly, but at heart they are all dishonest, politicians.
And God consciousness means cleansed heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). "I am servant of God." That is wanted. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12). This is the definition given in Vedic literature, that "If anyone develops God consciousness, then all the good qualities will develop automatically. And you give him all kinds of education, but if he is godless, it is all useless." That is compared with decorating the dead body. Just like dead body. A dead body is decorated. So it may be a satisfaction for the relatives, but what is the use of it, decorating a dead body?
Bhagavad-bhakti-hīnasya jātiḥ japas tapaḥ kriyaḥ (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 3.11): "Great nationality, great work, great achievement minus bhagavad-bhakti, God consciousness, is just like decorating the dead body." That's all. What is the use of decorating the dead body? Because actually this body is dead. As soon as the soul is away from this body, it is a lump of matter. So when the soul is off from the body, if somebody decorates that dead body, what is use? It is simply concoction. That's all.
Therefore according to Vedic system, as soon as a body is dead, there is no question of decorating. Immediately burn it and finish, make it into ashes. That's all. The body has no importance. Real, the soul is important, the living force. So we have no education about that living force, and the original living force is Kṛṣṇa, or God. So we have no information. So therefore this education is very, very essential, at least at the present moment. You may educate in any way—Christian way, Hindu way, Muslim—but educate all the people about God consciousness. Otherwise the civilization is doomed.
Śyāmasundara: Śrīla Prabhupāda? At the beginning you mentioned a question. Śukadeva Gosvāmī was asked, "If, after the disappearance of Kṛṣṇa..."
Prabhupāda: Yes. That I... Munayo sādhu pṛṣṭo 'haṁ bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam (SB 1.2.5). When a question about Kṛṣṇa, or God, he congratulated them, "My dear sages, your question is very welcome because it is the question of God." So there may be questions, but every sincere man must question what is God and try to learn it. That will bring auspicity all over the world. Simply in school, colleges, in business, in assembly, in society there must be some discussion about God. Then it will be very much auspicious for all the world. There must be some question. The question may be offered in the beginning, but if the question is sincere, and if he takes the answer sincerely, then he will understand about God.
So therefore he welcomed,
- munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo 'haṁ
- bhavadbhir loka-maṅgalam
- yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśno
- yenātmā suprasīdati
- (SB 1.2.5)
"My dear sages, you have inquired about Kṛṣṇa. It is very welcome because it is auspicious," kṛṣṇa-sampraśno. "And by question and answer in this subject matter, you'll feel satisfaction," yenātmā samprasīdati. Simply by question-answer, you feel satisfaction. And when you understand, oh, you feel the supreme satisfaction, the bliss. But simply in the period of question and answer you feel satisfaction. Yenātmā suprasīdati.
Therefore in schools, colleges, assemblies, societies—everywhere—there must be questions of "What is God? What I am? What is my relation?" These should be answered scientifically and understood scientifically. Then there will be peace. Otherwise there is no possibility.
Guest (3): Your Divine Grace, we can know something about God, either through our sense knowledge or true concept, etc., but how do we know God, if I can make that distinction? You know? God isn't something that can be sensed, and He isn't something that can be grasped by the finite mind. The infinite, as you said... But how do we know God?
Prabhupāda: Yes. God is unapproachable by your mental concoction. But there is another process: if you understand God by this the paramparā system. Just like on this roof there is some sound, and every one of us making some suggestions what is the sound: "This may be like this. This may be like that. This may be like that." This is one process of knowledge—to understand the unseen by speculation. This is one.
It may be successful or may not be successful. There is no certainty. But if somebody from the roof says, "The sound is due to this," then our knowledge is perfect. Similarly, if we speculate about God, who is Adhokṣaja, who is beyond the range of our mind and speculation, then it is very... Then we can come to the conclusion of Brahman realization, impersonal God, no more than. But if we hear from God or His representative, then we get perfect knowledge of God.
Guest (3): Well, even in revealed religion, where we have the scripture, say, a Vedic scripture or a Jewish or a Christian scripture, it's still being put into human words and therefore become circumscribed again. And so it seems to me that you've still got the same problem even in revealed religion—that it's not God; it's something short of God.
Prabhupāda: No. Just like in the Bible it is said, "God said, 'Let there be creation,' and there was creation." Is it not? It is fact. It is fact. Now you find out who created this universe. If you deny this fact, "No. God does not create," then you explain how it was created. So there is no difference between Bible and Vedic literature. We accept also, "God created."
But in the Vedic literature you will find how God created. That you'll find. So if you are actually serious to understand how God created, why don't you come to Vedic literature? That is the duty of every student. If you are after the knowledge, why should you stick to one particular place or...? If the knowledge is available in other places, you must have it. That is inquisitiveness, seriousness.
But if you say, "No. We are Christian. We have studied Bible, that is all. We do not touch," I don't think that is very nice conclusion. You remain Christian, but what is the harm to study other literatures where more informations are there? That is quite reasonable. We are not asking you to become Hindus. We simply want to, everyone, that you become God conscious. That is our mission. Our mission is not that to convert. What is the use of converting? If my habits are the same... Suppose I am Hindu, I become Christian, but my habits are not changed. Then what is the use of becoming from Hindu or Christian or to Christian or Hindu?
Now, our principle is that if you want to understand God, then you must be sinless, because God is pure. Anyone who is sinful, he cannot understand God. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā:
- yeṣām (tu) anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvanda-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- (BG 7.28)
That is the secret. You see? If your eyes covered with something, how you can see things perfectly? Similarly, we have got many dirty things within our heart due to our so many sinful activities. That should be cleansed. Then immediately, as the mirror, when it is clean you can see your face nicely... But if the mirror is full with..., overcast with dust, you cannot see. Therefore there is a process. We must adopt this process.
So anyone who is adopting this process, they are understanding very quickly the science of God. The sum and substance of this process: that we should be freed from sinful activities. That's all. Then God realization will be very easy. But if you surrender to God fully, then God will help you to become free from all sinful activities. There are two processes. Either you try to become sinless by your efforts, but if you think that you are unable, then you simply surrender to God, and He will help you. He will help you.
He says in the Bhagavad-gītā,
- sarva-dharmān parityajya
- mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
- ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
- mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
- (BG 18.66)
One thing is that nobody can understand God if he is sinful. But Kṛṣṇa says, God says, that "You surrender unto Me. I shall help you how to get rid of the resultant action of your sinful life." So to approach God, either you become sinless by your own efforts or you simply surrender unto God, and He will help you to become sinless. Whichever you like. He is giving full freedom.
He is asking that you surrender. He is not forcing. God can force you—He is all-powerful—but He doesn't interfere with your independence. Because we are part and parcel of God—God is fully independent—so we have got also little particle of independence. As soon as we misuse that independence, disobey the words of God, we become sinful.
Guest (4): When one becomes sinless, would he then experience the indwelling of God?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, certainly. That is the platform of understanding God.
Guest (5): And this indwelling of God urges one to go out into the world and other people in love, a love which not only seeks to...
Prabhupāda: Yes. It is ye yathā māṁ prapadyante (BG 4.11). If you are serious to understand God, then God will help you also. He is within you. He'll help you. Yes.
Guest (6): Swāmī, in the Christian history, one of the people that many of us look up to was a man called Francis of Assisi, and he talks about knowing God, and he rates it up with experiences such as on the occasion on which he embraced the leper.
And he says, "If this, we turn to our fellow man with an attitude like this, then we are not reaching God, or God consciousness." And this is in line with one of the central teachings of the Christian scriptures, which is that if any man says he loves God and does not love his neighbor, then that man is a liar.
Prabhupāda: No. If actually one loves God, he must love everybody. That is the sign. That is the sign. Just like my heart is now thirsty. I am quenching with drinking water and putting here. So as soon as put this water here, immediately the energy distributed all over the body. So a God conscious person cannot be neglectful or envious to anyone. That is the test. This is test. Sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12).
All good qualities. So this is a good quality, to love your neighbor, to give them service. So if actually one person is God conscious, he must be sympathetic with the troubles of his neighbor, or anyone, not only human being; animals also. They are also living entities. A God conscious person has no discrimination between human being and animal or trees or plants, because they are also living entities.
Guest (7): Swāmījī, an old (indistinct) has been wandering around. He's called Fred Robinson. He's been forecasting doom to happen very shortly for the human race and says that it is far too hopeless to try and grab for the spiritual plane until one goes back to the land, back to simple living, and where one just makes one's task to supply food for the children, the new children of the new age. And then yoga and the spiritual disciplines will flow much easier. What would you say to that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are also distributing food. (devotees laugh) Yes. In our Māyāpur daily we are distributing food to two thousand, three thousand. So that is one of our program: chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and distributing prasādam. We are distributing... When I started this movement, I was cooking myself and distributing prasādam. But we do not discriminate that "He is needy." Everyone is needy.
So actually, everyone is in need of spiritual understanding. So by distributing food, the spiritual food, simply by eating he will be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, even if he does not do anything. But actually, we are inviting persons to come, sit down, chant with us Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and take prasādam and go home. That's all. This is our program. So prasādam is already included. And there is the question of needy men. So we invite any needy man to come and join with us, and we shall feed him. That's all. We invite anyone.
But they do not like to come to us to chant. That is the difficulty. "Oh, we'll have to go there and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." So they are afraid. So what can I do? We invite everyone, "Please come here, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, dance with us, and when you are hungry, take some food. We are prepared to give you." So our program is very easy. And actually, these boys and girls, they were not advised in the beginning to become my initiated student. I simply invited, "You please come." I was chanting in the Tompkinson Park in New York, and many of them were coming. So I invited them, "Please come with me. Take some prasādam." So they used to take that.
In this way, gradually, they developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and after some time they proposed, "Swāmījī, make me your disciple, initiation." So I said that "You have to follow the rules and regulation." They agreed, "No illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. If you are prepared, then I accept you." They are prepared. They have given up. I accept them. That's all. Yes?
Guest (8): Swāmījī, something you said that I didn't understand was the connection between the necessity for obedience to the state and necessity for their obedience to God. To take an example that occurs to many young man in this country, and I suppose in America, the question of military service arises, where the state demands their absolute obedience, and many young people feels this clashes with their obedience to God. How do you advise people to resolve this sort of conflict?
Śyāmasundara: (explaining) About the draft. If one has to obey the state and go to war, how is that the same as obeying God?
Prabhupāda: Well, God consciousness does not prohibit war, but it must be for the right cause. Just like in Bhagavad-gītā we see that the instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā was given to Arjuna in the battlefield. And in the beginning, Arjuna did not like to fight. He was a good..., good man, religious man, devotee. Naturally he was not inclined to fight with his relatives, kinsmen.
He said, "Kṛṣṇa, the opposite side, they are all my brothers and nephews and fathers and grandfather. So there is no use of fighting like this, to kill them and take the... Let... Let them enjoy." That was his conclusion. But Kṛṣṇa induced them, induced Arjuna, "No. This is the right cause. You must fight."
So similarly, war is not always bad. Nothing is bad, nothing is good, unless it is used for God. That's it. Our philosophy is everything is good. God is all-good. So if He advises to fight, that is also good. But we shall depend on the discretion of God. If God wants us to fight, then we shall fight.
If God wants us to stop fight, then we shall not fight. Because we are surrendered to God, so whatever God orders, we have to do. That's all. We don't say, "This is good; this is bad." Whatever God says, that is good. What God does not say, prohibit, that is bad. This is our conclusion.
Guest (8): The question remains of how does one discover what God says, and many, many people have been brought up to believe that you find what God says by asking what does the state say. Now, as I understand the Christian tradition, it was quite different to that. The conscience coming from God can often bring you into conflict with the state, as Jesus himself found.
Now, I think I understand what you are saying about the Bhagavad-gītā, and Kṛṣṇa can say a certain war is good, the cause is right. But in today's circumstances the question still remains of can you find what God thinks or God says by finding out what the state wants and...
Prabhupāda: God says... For the time being you are not in direct touch with God, but you can follow the Biblical instruction. God's agent, Lord Jesus Christ, says—you follow that. The Ten Commandments are there. Lord Jesus Christ said, "Thou shall not kill." So you should not kill. Why should you kill? You follow this instruction, God's representative. Then you gradually develop your God consciousness.
Guest (8): But you haven't answered the question about the conflict between the state and God. You haven't taken that at all.
Upendra: He's giving an analogy that as one must follow... He wasn't saying that necessarily we have to follow all the dictates of the state. Prabhupāda was giving the analogy just as one follows the dictate of the state, one also must follow the dictates of God. I believe that was the analogy. It wasn't that he was supporting the dictates of the state or in accordance with... (indistinct)
Guest (8): What does that mean... (break)
Hanumān: That's all right. So we thank you very much for your kindness to receive our spiritual master, and we will request you to come and visit us. We have a temple, 14 Bernard Street in (indistinct). You're always welcome. We are... There is not many place you go in town, you go in some street, go in a store, they will ask you some money. They will give you some service but they will ask you some money. But you can come at 14 Bernard St., you can come, eat with us, and pass the day with us, talk with us. We are your servant. So you are most welcome. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Guest: We would like to thank Swami Prabhupāda for his kindness and extreme gentleness in coming to us. We've listened with respect to the words of life (indistinct) warmed my heart, anyway, and gave me hope for a family of human brothers to which we belong. I think we are closer to one another now, to the devotees of the temple. It's very beautiful coming here tonight, and I certainly feel that this little meeting, the human brothers under a (indistinct), of particular inspiration or coming in contact with a God whom we're all reaching out for but who has many faces. Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)