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761016 - Interview - Chandigarh
(reporters from the English-language Times of India, the Press Trust of India, UNI, the Punjabi Akali Patarika and Ajit, and the Hindi and Urdu Hind Samachar)
Interviewer: No, I've seen this. It is in the library. No, but still I (indistinct).
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Five hundred libraries in India have ordered these books in the last four months.
Interviewer: Must have. These are very good quality book, it is. Very good quality.
Prabhupāda: Give this one book from the...
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, I brought it back. (break)
Prabhupāda: India's culture and knowledge are richer than any other culture. And that is being accepted. Yes. Real knowledge, real culture is in India. Unfortunately, we did not try in that way. We simply went to the foreign countries to beg, "Give us wheat, give us this, give us this, give us that." But if we give our culture, they will accept that India is still richer than any other. (aside:) You can bring some of the press items, professor, learned scholars' opinions.
Prabhupāda: Where is Caitya-guru?
Haṁsadūta: He's out.
Prabhupāda: Opinions of the big scholars.
Interviewer: I would request you to wait for five minutes, because some other journalists are coming. They are...
Interviewer (2): Here is some material written about...
Interviewer: Oh, really?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: The electricity is off at the moment, so we (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is purely a spiritual movement. Therefore sometimes it is little difficult to understand the activities of this movement. There are two things: material and spiritual. That is the beginning of instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa begins with this statement: that this body is not the person; the soul is the person. Asmin dehe. Within this body there is the soul. And He has explained in different ways that this body is antavanta ime dehā (BG 2.18). This body is perishable, but the soul is not perishable. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20), that even after the destruction of the body the soul is not destroyed. Na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit. The soul never takes birth, never dies. Nityaḥ śāśvato 'yam na hanyate hanyamāne (BG 2.20). There are so many things explained, what is the soul. So without the soul, this body is useless. That everyone can understand. Therefore the importance should be given to the soul, not to the body. Kṛṣṇa says that anyone who is paṇḍita, in knowledge, he does not give any importance to the body, either living or dead.
So the India's particular culture is how to elevate the soul to the highest platform of perfection. That is India's culture. The whole Vedic literature is meant for that, and Bhagavad-gītā is the essence of all Vedic literature. And the purpose is that soul is now entrapped within this material world, and the human life is the opportunity for getting oneself out of this entrapment of material existence. So if we do not take care of this important business of human life—as it is explained in the Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā... This life is meant for understanding about the Brahman, or the spirit soul. And there are two kinds of spirit soul. One is called the Supersoul, and the other is called the individual soul. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: kṣetra-kṣetrajñā, this chapter. Kṣetra means this body, and kṣetrajñā means one who knows about the body. You know about your body, not fully, but at least partially. Every one of us, we know, "This is my body. I am... I got this body from such father and mother. I belong... This body belongs to such and such country," and so on. This is one knowledge.
So another soul is there. That is the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. He says that kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata (BG 13.3). That is Supersoul. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). He is everywhere within this universe, even within the atom. That is Supersoul. That Supersoul is... The distinction between soul and the Supersoul is this, that we are individual soul. I know about the pains and pleasure of my body; you know the pains and pleasure of your body. But I do not know the pains and pleasure of your body; you do not know the pains or pleasure of my body. The Supersoul, He knows the pains and pleasure of all bodies. That is the distinction. Ātmā, Paramātmā.
So these things can be understood in the human form of life. The cats and dogs, they cannot understand. If we want to educate the cats and dogs that "My dear dog, you are not this body. You are different from this body. You are spirit soul, Brahman," he has no capacity to understand. And a human being, however fallen he may be, if he is educated, he can understand about the position of spirit soul and how to become free from this material bondage.
So in India we have got immense Vedic literature for understanding this business of the soul. And in human form of body, if we do not take care of the spiritual portion of our life, then we are making suicide. That is the proposal of all great personalities born in India, ācāryas like... Recent... Formerly, there were big, big ācāryas like Vyāsadeva and others, Devala. Many, many ācāryas. And the recent, within, say, one thousand five hundred years, there are..., there were many ācāryas like Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, and within five hundred years Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They have also given us many literatures about this spiritual knowledge. But at the present moment this spiritual knowledge is neglected. So it is the Caitanya Mahāprabhu's message to the whole world that every one of you, you become guru, a spiritual master. So how everyone can become a spiritual master? To become a spiritual master is not easy job. One must be very learned scholar and must have full realization of the self and everything. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given us a little formula, that if you strictly follow the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā, and if you preach the purpose of Bhagavad-gītā, then you become guru. The exact words used in Bengali, it is said, yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa (CC Madhya 7.128). To become guru is very difficult job, but if you simply carry the message of Bhagavad-gītā and try to convince anyone you meet, then you become a guru.
So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for this purpose. We are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is, without any man interpretation. If we interpret Bhagavad-gītā in our own way, that is not very good. If you have got a different opinion, you can preach your philosophy. Everyone is free. But one should not take Bhagavad-gītā and through Bhagavad-gītā one will try to preach his own philosophy. That is very bad. You should not do that. Then the authority of Bhagavad-gītā is lost. If everyone can interpret in his own way, then where is the authority of the Bhagavad-gītā? Just like in the Vedas... We take Vedas as the authority. But if you interpret in your own way and squeeze out some meaning in your own way, then where is authority of the Vedas? So our special stress on this point is that don't squeeze out some meaning of Bhagavad-gītā for your own convenience. Present Bhagavad-gītā as it is, and people will be benefited. And that is being practically seen. We are preaching Bhagavad-gītā as it is. You have seen our book?
Interviewer: When can we put questions?
Prabhupāda: Yes, let me finish, that... We are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is, and it is being accepted all over the world. People are very much, those who are scholars, they say that even Radhakrishnan and Aurobindo, they presented Bhagavad-gītā, making some compromise with the Western ideas. But here is presentation of Bhagavad-gītā in India's original, traditional way. So they welcome it. And this is our, I mean to say, object also, that we cannot allow Bhagavad-gītā to be understood by anyone's imagination. No. That is not possible. And that is not allowed in the Bhagavad-gītā by the author. Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter that as soon as the paramparā system of understanding is lost, then the whole thing is lost. In the Fourth Chapter it is said. (aside:) Find out Fourth Chapter.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Is there another Bhagavad-gītā?
Prabhupāda: Why don't you bring another copy?
Hari-śauri: Pradyumna might have one.
Interviewer: Here is one.
Prabhupāda: Fourth Chapter, you find, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). Kṛṣṇa says that this Bhagavad-gītā knowledge was first of all given to... Fourth Chapter. Yes.
- imaṁ ivasvate yogaṁ
- proktavān aham avyayam
- vivasvān manave prāha
- manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
- (BG 4.1)
- evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
- imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
- sa kāleneha
- yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
- (BG 4.2)
"Now, this paramparā system being lost, I am again reviving the Bhagavad-gītā again to you, Arjuna." That means the author says if one does not understand Bhagavad-gītā through the paramparā system, then the whole thing is lost. So you cannot interpret Bhagavad-gītā in your own way. Then the authority and the purport of Bhagavad-gītā is lost. So we are trying to revive this paramparā system, and fortunately we have sold millions copies of this edition of Bhagavad-gītā. We are printing five hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, like that, and all over the world. There are many Bhagavad-gītās. There are about six hundred and forty different editions. But still our, this Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, it is being accepted very widely, and therefore we are very much hopeful.
And as practical example you can see so many European, American, they have taken to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness very seriously. And before this movement, many svāmīs, yogīs and scholars went to the foreign countries, but not a single person became a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. That's a fact. Not a single person. But now, because Bhagavad-gītā is being presented as it is, so many thousands, they are becoming devotees of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So this movement has practical effect, and both in the scholarly and people in general circle. And as advised by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, India should take this movement very seriously and send many trained teachers so that India's glories will be enhanced. People will take it very seriously.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: You can ask your questions now.
Interviewer: Sir, who initiated you into this movement?
Prabhupāda: My Guru Mahārāja. (aside:) You show my Guru Mahārāja's picture here. Here is a picture.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Here, here. Haṁsadūta has it right here.
Prabhupāda: He asked me to do this.
Haṁsadūta: Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda.
Interviewer: Has he a seat here in India?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Founder of the Gauḍīya Math.
Prabhupāda: He is the founder of Gauḍīya Math. He advised me to take up this movement when I was twenty-five years old, young man. But at that time I thought that "I am a married man; let me wait." So waiting, waiting. When I retired at the... I was born in 1896. So I retired in 1954. That means I retired at the age of fifty-eight years? At fifty-eight years. Then I remained as a vānaprastha in Vṛndāvana up to seventieth year of my age. Then I thought that "Guru Mahārāja asked me to do this at the age of..., when I was twenty-five years old. I could not do it. So let me try." So by his grace and Kṛṣṇa's grace, it became little successful. That's all. In 1965 I went to New York without any help. But gradually, in 1966, I registered this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in New York. And then gradually, it spread whole America, Europe, Australia, Canada. Like that.
Interviewer: What is the reason of the success of your mission in the foreign countries?
Haṁsadūta: "What is the reason of your success in foreign countries?"
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is very intelligent question. We are after material civilization, and they are fed up with material civilization. That is the position. We are now trying to imitate them, a skyscraper building, but they are disgusted with such skyscraper building. These boys, they are coming from very respectable family, rich family, and especially in America there is no question of poor man. There is no question of poor man. But still, they do not like the materialistic way of life of their father and grandfathers.
Interviewer: But does that not mean because they are rich, they can afford religion?
Prabhupāda: No, no. That is the... Because you are... We have already explained. You are a spiritual being. You cannot be satisfied with material atmosphere in any stage. Just like a fish is an animal of the water. If you bring the fish from water and keep on the land very comfortably, it cannot be comfortable. It is impossible. Similarly, we are all spiritual being. Any amount of material comforts will never satisfy us, unless we come to the spiritual platform. That is the demand. So now they have satisfied their material demands, but the urge is there, "I want something more, to be happy." And that is spiritual.
Interviewer: What is the procedure of the movement? Do you initiate yourself all the disciples, or do your other disciples also do that?
Prabhupāda: Well, initiation or no initiation, first thing is knowledge. (break) ...knowledge. Initiation is formality. Just like you go to a school for knowledge, and admission is formality. That is not very important thing. So our this movement is successful... On account of this movement... (faulty recording) (break) ...because learned scholars and those who are inquisitive, advanced, they are seeing, "Yes, here is..." (break)
Interviewer: ...success abroad?
Prabhupāda: Who has abroad success? Name them. (break) So it is not (indistinct). Nobody knows of this.
Interviewer: Maharishi (indistinct) (break)
Prabhupāda: Well, Maharishi does not say (indistinct) (break) He says that this is material. If you perform this meditation, Transcendental Meditation, you will be materially benefited. That is not spiritual meditation.
Interviewer: (indistinct) You have said that India should take this movement seriously.
Interviewer: How do you want India to take this movement?
Prabhupāda: Seriously means that a spiritual movement is India's spiritual movement. So if some of our leading men take seriously, then whatever I am doing single-handed... I don't get any support, either from the Indian public or from the government. But if they take it seriously, then we can present in more organized way, and it will be more successful. So far it is done single-handed.
Interviewer: Do you think there is a necessity to open a ministry of religion?
Prabhupāda: I think so. Because there is a cultural department in the central government, (chuckles) but they do not know what is culture. Just see.
Interviewer: What is the difference between God consciousness and Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: There is no difference. The same thing. Kṛṣṇa is God. (break)
Interviewer: What is, sir, the number of your disciples round the world?
Prabhupāda: Dedicated life—not less than ten thousand. And admirers, there are many millions. Recently one American politician has remarked in Houston that "This Kṛṣṇa consciousness..., Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is spreading like epidemic. So unless we take some steps, it may take our government." (laughter)
Interviewer: Who was the man who said it?
Prabhupāda: Just say.
Hari-śauri: A government official in Houston.
Prabhupāda: No, no, what is his name? You can give.
Hari-śauri: His name was not given.
Prabhupāda: Oh. Simply it is said a government official.
Interviewer: He said on the floor of the House or outside?
Hari-śauri: Said it on the TV.
Haṁsadūta: Houston. Houston, Texas. (everyone talking at once)
Interviewer: Are you getting any opposition from the Church?
Prabhupāda: No. That is very favorable.
Interviewer: No opposition.
Prabhupāda: No. Otherwise, it was impossible. At least in America they have never prevented me. But in Europe, especially in England and Germany, they, the Christian group, they are little angry with me. But so far America, they are very liberal. They never put any impediments in my movement. Rather, government appreciates. The appreciated one point, that the American younger generation, they have become addicted to this LSD, intoxication, and they have spent millions of dollars to stop this, but they could not. But they are surprised that as soon as this LSD man becomes my disciple, he gives up immediately.
Interviewer: Sir, apart from Catholicity of the American Church, what can be the other reasons of their indifference towards your positive ideas?
Prabhupāda: Not indifference. They are... You see, there is a remark of a politician. There is no indifference. They are appreciating that it is spreading like epidemic. There is no question of indifference. But the leaders, they appreciate. Some of the fathers of my disciples, they come to offer their thanks, "Swāmījī, it is a great fortune for us that you have come to our country." They say like that. They appreciate that their sons were going to be hippies. Now they are devotees, God conscious. So any sane man will never object to this. The priests also, they say that "These boys are our boys," in Boston, one priest said, "and they never cared to come to the church or inquire about God. And now these boys are mad after God." Not only that, practically, in many places we have purchased churches and converted into temples. So we see these churches were sold because nobody was coming. But since this movement is there, the same church is there and the same persons are there—you will find always it is crowded. This is practical. I have not imported men from India to fill up the temples. Their men and their church, but the philosophy is different, it is filled up.
Interviewer: Can you give us the number how many temples are there in foreign countries?
Prabhupāda: I have established 102 temples. Small and big. Out of them, very big temples are in Los Angeles, in London, in Hawaii, Honolulu, in Detroit... And...
Haṁsadūta: New York, Chicago.
Prabhupāda: New York, Chicago.
Prabhupāda: Toronto, Montreal, Paris, so many. Very, very big temples. The cost is sometimes fifty lakhs, fifty-five lakhs each temple.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: New York is more than a million dollars, New York temple.
Interviewer: Do you have any proposal to spread this movement in Communist countries?
Prabhupāda: Yes, we have already gone. I have been in Moscow. This, my secretary, he has brought some order from them. They are also appreciating.
Interviewer: Now two priests of your temple in America have been arrested on certain charges as we read from the newspaper...
Prabhupāda: Well, the charges will be there. Gandhi was also charged and was arrested. And that you cannot stop. That will go on in any movement. That is not any fault. Because the counter-charges are already there, everywhere. What is the American charges? I do not know. What is that?
Interviewer: That you have took money from... Extortion of money from the devotees. Asking their parents to pay, or some such thing.
Prabhupāda: Parents to pay. This is a farce.
Interviewer: As a donation or contribution.
Prabhupāda: So we can ask donation from anyone. What is the fault there? Is it extortion? What is that extortion? Suppose if I ask for donation...
Interviewer: No, they equate that this donation was extortion.
Prabhupāda: No, no, extortion, what do you mean by extortion? If I ask you donation and if you pay, does it mean it is extortion?
Interviewer: They say those two people were kept in custody before...
Prabhupāda: That is false accusation. There was no such charge. Besides that, we do not have many contribution. We have got contribution, big lump sum money... One of my disciples is the great-grandson of Mr. Henry Ford. So he has given a big contribution, and he's always prepared to spend for me. He has got enough money. Another boy, George Harrison, Beatle, he has given us the London temple. It is worth about fifty-five, sixty lakhs' worth. So we don't get any money, but they have given us many buildings. And our main source of income is the selling of these books. We are selling books daily all over the world, five to six lakhs' rupees.
Interviewer: Five to six lakhs...
Prabhupāda: Rupees. Per day.
Interviewer: Per day!
Prabhupāda: And by this collection, from this collection, we are bringing money in India. We are bringing money in India not less than ten lakhs of rupees per month. Our buildings and temples are going on in Bombay, in Vṛndāvana, in Navadvīpa. So we have got at least ten lakhs of rupees' expenditure for these temples, and that I am bringing from foreign countries. So if by laboring hard at night in this Dictaphone I write books, and I sell them in the foreign countries and I bring the money here for spending in India, do you think it is faulty?
Interviewer: One American professor who is a teacher of Hinduism there, in some of the universities you mentioned, she said, I asked him a question about ISKCON, and she said, "Well this thing is creating a bad impression in the sense that people are accosted everywhere—in the streets, on the airport, at the bus stand. They accost you and force you to buy their literature, to buy their books. And this is creating a revulsion."
Prabhupāda: So why you are forced? Suppose as preaching work... In our childhood we saw the Christian preachers were also standing on the road. So if we stand on the road and preach and sell our books, what is the fault?
Interviewer: I put that. He said you are doing what the Christian... (break)
Prabhupāda: No. What is the problem? (break) No. The government allowed them, the Christian people. The government is allowing us also. Then where is the fault?
Interviewer: The fault is...
Prabhupāda: That is your imagination, fault.
Interviewer: It's not a legal fault.
Prabhupāda: Well, that's all right. We are preacher, we must preach in every way. We shall go everyone, that "Here is Kṛṣṇa consciousness literature. Kindly take it." That is our business. The government does not object to this. There are many cases in the court, and the court allowed, "Yes. They should sell." We have got some... (break) (faulty recording—not possible to properly hear; Prabhupada is arguing that as salesmen, if we canvass and people buy, there is nothing wrong in that)
Hari-śauri: (indistinct) We distribute every week 22,000 books like this, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 16,000 medium books, (indistinct) magazines. So how is it possible we are forcing? About 150,000 people every week to take our books.
Prabhupāda: Not only that. Where is that letter? Standard Literature? Here, there is one English company, Standard Literature Company. They are proposing that "We shall purchase every quarterly 200 sets of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Let us settle terms." Do you mean to say it is extortion? And the professors are giving their opinion by extortion? It is appreciation. Unfortunately, you don't appreciate.
Interviewer: But what is the reason your...
Prabhupāda: Because there is substance. There is spiritual substance. They are appreciating.
Interviewer: What is your analysis for why it is not being... (faulty recording; inaudible)
Prabhupāda: Because you have rejected. You have rejected. Your policy is now American, technology. You have given up spiritual (faulty recording; inaudible). Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is said, find out this verse, bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānāṁ tayāpahṛta-cetasām samādhau na vidhīyate (BG 2.44). Vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ. Those who are..., whose attention is drawn to the material comforts, they cannot take an interest in spiritual life. (faulty recording; inaudible) Our attention is diverted how to improve materially. Therefore we are disinterested. But they have seen much about material advancement, they are not happy. Material advancement means generally, as we understand from the literature, viśayinaṁ saṅdarśanam atha yoṣitaṁ ca (CC Madhya 11.8). Material comfort means woman and money. So they have tasted all this woman and money enough. Woman, money are available very easily. But they are not interested.
Interviewer: Sir, do you think it is necessary for India to eschew religion?
Prabhupāda: It is not religion. I have already explained. Did you not mark that this is spiritual knowledge? You are combination of spirit and matter. The spirit I have already explained. And if you don't take care of the spirit portion, then you are making suicide. You are losing the opportunity of your human life. It is essential. One should be cognizant of the spiritual necessity of life. Otherwise, you are losing the opportunity of this human form of life. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Then you remain as cats and dogs, and there is risk, very risky life. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir (BG 2.13). You do not know what kind of body you are going to get next life. It is essential. You must be prepared... (break) ...body, but you do not know what kind of body you are going to accept. That knowledge is lacking.
Interviewer: One question. You have priced these books very high comparatively for the poorer countries. Do you have any plans to reduce...
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: "You have priced these books very high for poor countries."
Haṁsadūta: We're printing locally now. The same books, but local printing so that they can be afforded by the public.
Prabhupāda: Yes. When we print locally it will be sold at half price.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: This Bhagavad-gītā, for example, it's going to be sold to the masses at fifteen rupees in about three weeks. We are printing the Indian edition with 48 color plates. The government of India is giving us concessional paper for printing. They are very pleased with our... We're getting lot of concessional paper, so we are expanding the printing.
Interviewer: What is the price of this edition?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: This is, in America, it's seven dollars, seven dollars ninety-five cents.
Prabhupāda: And what the Home Member has said?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: The Home Minister? The Home Minister recently said that he wants this movement to be spread all over the world. One of the prominent people said he wants this movement to be spread all over the world.
Interviewer: Now, sir, from your lips, how to attain this Kṛṣṇa consciousness and to maintain it?
Prabhupāda: Once you come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you will maintain. You won't have to...
Interviewer: No, from your own, direct from your lips, how to...
Prabhupāda: No, this direction is there in the Bhagavad-gītā, that... (aside:) Find out this verse, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). It is very simple thing. Find out this verse. (Indian guest is entering or leaving and Prabhupāda requests in Hindi for him to take prasādam)
- man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
- mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
- mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
- ātmānam mat-parāyaṇaḥ
- (BG 9.34)
"Engage your mind always in thinking of Me. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."
Interviewer: Which chapter?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: It's Chapter Nine, verse 34.
Prabhupāda: So what is the difficulty? If you think of Kṛṣṇa, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto, is there any difficulty? There is no difficulty.
Interviewer: I think his problem is, it is my problem as well. You see, the spiritual consciousness does not stay at the same level. Sometimes you are well absorbed. At other times you do all the arja, the arja, the bhakti. It's not a constant factor.
Prabhupāda: No, you have to keep it constantly.
Interviewer: How to do it? That is the problem.
Prabhupāda: That we have see. If you come to our center, live with us, you'll see how we are doing it. You are welcome. You can live with us any time or any period of time. You'll see how we are doing that.
Interviewer: Thank you, but you know I have been living here quite often, but...
Prabhupāda: We have our centers. We have got big centers in Bombay, in Navadvīpa, in Vṛndāvana. We have got very comfortable guesthouse. So you can come and live with us and see practically.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: If you all don't mind, just for five minutes, we would like to read the selected extracts from some leading scholars about this movement. We're not reading the views of Western scholars. These books are being used in five thousand universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, but some of the leading Indian scholars, so you also get an understanding of the Indian appreciation of Prabhupāda's activities. This, for example, is a letter from Mr. Ghosh, District and Summon Judge in West Bengal: "I'm highly impressed at the sincerity and devotion of the disciples of the International Society of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. A visit to the Māyāpur Chandrodaya Mandir, West Bengal, sublimes the mind from all harsh talk and disturbing influences." Then...
Prabhupāda: (aside:) Stop now. Don't divert attention.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: This is a letter from Śrī Ambarish Sarkar, General Secretary of the Nadia District Congress Committee. "I have had an opportunity to visit the Śrī Māyāpur Chandrodaya Mandir on the 12th August, 1975. It is absolutely a religious institution. Jayapātāka Swami has devoted all of his efforts and endeavors to organize and propound the sacred name of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. I'm impressed by his charming manner and strength. Although it is a religious institution, this organization has performed many social services. Many poor and destitute families have had an opportunity to work, and at the same time they have become worshipers of Lord Śrī Caitanya. To engage these workers, so many industrial centers have already been started, such as handloom cloth, printing, etc. I wish this organization, with its help of the local people, all success." Now...
Prabhupāda: We're not only chanting, we are giving them work. We are trying to become self-sufficient, the same idea of Gandhi's village organization, so they may not come out from the village. They'll be satisfied, village economics. That we are doing.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Actually, Prabhupāda is doing the same thing in America now. Prabhupāda's...
Prabhupāda: America we have nine..., eleven centers like that.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Farms. This is a review from a local, from O. P. Baradraj, Principal of Government College for Men, Chandigarh.
Prabhupāda: One minute. Perhaps you are, any representative of Novara Times here?
Interviewer: Yes, he is here.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So you published, I think two years before, about our New Vrindavan. And you stated that it is a wonderful land, that... What is that?
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: (Hindi)
Prabhupāda: (Hindi) It is your remark. You have seen. Your representative went there and saw it.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: In October '74.
Interviewer: Yes. Along with photographs.
Prabhupāda: In big, whole page article with the...
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: (indistinct) published a series of four..., three articles on last year's Janmāṣṭamī. This review from Mr. Baradraj...
Prabhupāda: We are giving cow protection in the country where they are eaten by the people. Their staple food, beef, and they are accepting this movement, giving cow protection.
Interviewer: Which are those areas?
Prabhupāda: West Virginia, Philadelphia, New Orleans and... Where? Miami, Canada, Vancouver. Like that.
Interviewer: So if you don't mind, what is bad about eating..., people who are eating beef? What is bad about it?
Prabhupāda: Bad means you become bad. That's all. You can see these things are...
Interviewer: But we can eat goat's meat, and other animal's meat.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And the thing is that cow is especially recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā, kṛṣi-go-rakṣya vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44), that you must produce enough food grains by agriculture and give protection to the cows. That means if you have got enough food grains to eat and if you have got enough milk to get fatty substance, then your whole economic question is solved. Annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14). If you get sufficient food, there is no question of agitation. Everyone is satisfied, animal and man. So you must produce. That is recommendation in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Interviewer: Sir, in the modern technological...
Prabhupāda: Modern, we are not talking of modern or... We're talking...
Interviewer: In this age, how has the, you know, instrument of production because of this tractor, mechanization of agriculture?
Prabhupāda: So that is your interpretation. But we are trying to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is. That is our mission, that you produce food grains sufficiently and give protection to the cows so that food grains and milk will give you all benefits of economic question. You'll be satisfied. That's all. Not only that, I have practically seen that by God's arrangement there are so much land on this planet that you can produce ten times foodstuff of the whole population. But they are not doing that. They are utilizing land... Just like in Africa I have seen, enough land is there, but what they are doing? They are keeping some cows and bulls, and when they are grown up... They are not given anything to eat; there is enough grass. And as soon as they are fatty, they are taken to the slaughterhouse—not for their own eating, but exporting. This business is going on. Similar business is going on in Australia and New Zealand. Unnecessarily they are killing these cows, and this shortage of foodstuff and shortage of milk, this is not good arrangement.
The recommended process in the Bhagavad-gītā, that annād bhavanti bhūtāni (BG 3.14). If you have sufficient foodstuff, then everyone is satisfied. And it is the duty of the vaiśya class, kṛṣi go-rakṣya vāṇijyam, go-rakṣya vāṇijyam vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). The, according to Bhagavad-gītā, this is the business of the vaiśyas. The brāhmaṇas, they should be very much highly educated, enlightened in spiritual knowledge. The kṣatriyas, they should govern, give protection. The vaiśyas, they should produce enough food. And those who are neither brāhmaṇa nor kṣatriya, śūdras, they can help. That's all. This is their.... Then everyone will be satisfied. The society will go on. Just like in your body you require brain, the head; you require arms, you require belly, you require legs. Similarly, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. That is essential. If you have simply brain and no leg, then it is also useless. There must be brain and leg also. There must be brāhmaṇa, there must be śūdra, there must be... Then the social arrangement is perfect.
Interviewer: Would that mean that you support the ancient caste system?
Prabhupāda: Huh? It is not caste system; it is division of labor. It is not caste system. A class of men must be intelligent; a class of men must be strong to give protection; and a class of men must be to produce food; and a class of men, general worker. It is not caste system. Bhagavad-gītā never says caste system. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13): according to quality and work. You have made it caste system. You have no qualification of a brāhmaṇa, you are calling "I am brāhmaṇa." That is caste system. But if you have got the quality of a brāhmaṇa and you work as a brāhmaṇa, that is necessary. That is necessary. Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: Could we just take two minutes of your time? This is a review from Śrī Baradraj, Principal of Government College for Men, Chandigarh. He says, "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is one of the great classics of India. This commentary is a significant contribution to the religious literature of this country. Many of the conflicting views on certain ślokas have been beautifully resolved by Swāmījī. I congratulate the members of the Society for bringing out this wonderful work in such a lucid form. I shall be looking forward to the other publications." This is a review from Dr. Varshneya, senior professor and Head of Hindi Department, Dean and Curator of Arts, honorary librarian, Allahabad University, Allahabad. "Śrī A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda has really done a great service to Indian philosophy, religion and culture by translating Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam into English, with learned commentaries, and has thus provided source material to the Western world. Other philosophical and religious works published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust also present a golden opportunity to the Western philosophers and scholars to drink deep at the celestial fountain of ancient Indian philosophy and spiritual wisdom." I'm just reading a few very quick ones.
There's one from a leading professor in Chandigarh, who you must be knowing, Dr. Jagadish Sharma, M.A., (indistinct) Delhi? He's from Punjab University. Author of nineteen books including Encyclopedia of India. So here is what Dr. Sharma says: "India's contribution towards the revivalism of the Hindu civilization culture by way of printing the Harvard Oriental Series was tremendous. But the work done by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda is unsurpassable." He says it's even greater. "His Holiness has done a great service to the Indian culture by re-interpreting the concepts enshrined in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This edition of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will go a long way to help the scientists in rediscovering phenomena of the universe which is yet to be discovered. The printing and the get-up of this book is excellent. The thoughts of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam radiate to anyone who sees it. This book helps to brighten the gloomy and dark clouds which are covered by the nuclear fear and apprehension of society."
Prabhupāda: Where is that book, Scientific Basis of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness? Some of my students, they are Ph.D's in science. They have written this book, Scientific Basis of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. And we are going to publish another book, Life Comes From Life.
Interviewer: Sir, why don't you present us one set of... (laughter) Some part...
Prabhupāda: Because this is our means of income. Kindly give us some contribution, you take as many... (laughter)
Interviewer: I could only purchase one book. I cannot purchase four dozen books. Now you are here, I think you should present us one set so that we may read this.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: We have a library here where everyone can come and read. Besides, five or six other..., fifteen libraries in Chandigarh have all our books. You can visit either of those fifteen or the Hare Kṛṣṇa...
(guests talk at once)
Interviewer: Thank you very much.
Gopāla Kṛṣṇa: So would any of you like to have any pictures of Gurujī?
Or... (break) (end)