710718 - Conversation - Detroit

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



710718R1-DETROIT - July 18, 1971 - 37:11 Minutes



Mohsin Hassan: ...quite, came four weeks ago, and I received the response from you. I think I had the letter with me, and you indicated that you would like to meet me and give me some hint, a suggestion for my thesis writing. So here I am first to introduce myself to you and hope to learn some more about the objective of the movement. And maybe I could put in the thesis, and to be...

Prabhupāda: We require help from personalities like you, because it is very important movement, checking a great mistake in the modern civilization.

The (break) modern civilization is very risky. Risky in this sense: that the human form of life is an opportunity for self-realization, but our leaders, they are miseducating, that "You are this body." A basic mistake. But I am not this body, but just like you are sitting there, if I take account of your shirt and coat only, not you as a person, then there is a great mistake.

Similarly, the modern civilization, education, everything is based on this bodily concept of life. But actually we are not body. Body is my shirt and coat. Mind, intelligence and ego, that is the shirt, finer dress. And this five-element body—earth, water, air, fire, ether—this is gross. Just like shirt and coat. Similarly, we are dressed, the spirit soul. The spirit soul is also a measure, one ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very important in this sense, that they are trying to bring people to the constitutional position. A living entity is transmigrating from one body to another, as we are in our present body also, we are transmigrating. In my childhood I had a small body. That body is no longer existing, but I am existing. So there is no reason to believe that when I give up this body I'll not exist. No. I shall exist, but in another body.

So people are not interested to make research work how the soul is working and so on. This is ignorance. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to revive the pure consciousness of the human society so that he can know himself and act accordingly. Then his life is successful.

Mohsin Hassan: May I ask you, my master, how did this movement formed, came to the Western world? (loud sound of mṛdaṅgas)

Prabhupāda: (indistinct) Your question is how this movement...?

Mohsin Hassan: Yes, how this movement was formed when you came here. You are the father of this movement. How this idea was created in the beginning? Because everybody asks me this question, how this movement...?

Prabhupāda: The movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very firm. (makes comment about other room; loud sounds of kīrtana and fire yajña) Bhagavad-gītā was there, so Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was there. India, it was existing. Unfortunately, some of the less intelligent svāmīs and philosophers, they could not understand what is Kṛṣṇa, and they misinterpreted the Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore people could not understand. In spite of reading Bhagavad-gītā all the world over, they were not aware what is Kṛṣṇa, although Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa understanding. You have read Bhagavad-gītā?

Mohsin Hassan: Oh, yes, all of it. From beginning to end.

Prabhupāda: So it is the book to understand Kṛṣṇa, but these people, unscrupulous people, even great scholars, they tried to explain something on the..., taking advantage of the popularity of Bhagavad-gītā. Instead of understanding Kṛṣṇa, they wanted to present something of their concoction through the Bhagavad-gītā.

So this movement was already there since five thousand years. But these, I may say, the foolish scholars, they suppressed it. Caitanya Mahāprabhu revived it. Five hundred years ago he revived it. So from Caitanya Mahāprabhu's time we are trying to revive this movement in different way. Different way.

And about two hundred years ago, hundred and fifty years ago, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura revived it, and then about fifty years ago, my Guru Mahārāja, he revived it, and he also ordered me that "You go and preach this philosophy to the Western world." So under his order I came, and I presented Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, as you have read.

Mohsin Hassan: Yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: So the acceptance has been very marvelous, because the things are presented in pure form, so it has acted very nice. Otherwise, it is not a movement that I have manufactured something. No. The movement was already there. I am simply presenting as it is. That is my service. That's all.

Mohsin Hassan: My master, what's your opinion on the Ramakrishna Mission? There are Ramakrishna Mission in Chicago.

Prabhupāda: Ramakrishna Mission, if I say it frankly, they distorted the Bhagavad-gītā to the greatest extent. Yes. Because they presented somebody as Rāma-Kṛṣṇa, as God. Ramakrishna said that "I am the same Kṛṣṇa, I am the same Rāma," and they accepted it. But one thing is, anybody can say that "I am the same Rāma, I am the same Kṛṣṇa." First of all we have to see the proof. So many..., there are many ways of..., to understand. So Ramakrishna Mission is pushing on this, I mean to say, wrong idea.

But another thing is that supposing this Ramakrishna is the same Kṛṣṇa, then the philosophy is different. Ramakrishna's philosophy and Bhagavad-gītā's philosophy is different, because Ramakrishna says that you can accept any method; every method is all right. But Kṛṣṇa says only unto Him, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam (BG 18.66). "Give up everything. Simply surrender unto Me." Now Kṛṣṇa says one: "Simply surrender unto Me," and Ramakrishna says that you can accept any way. So which one we shall accept? Kṛṣṇa's or Ramakrishna's? What is your opinion? If something is spoken by Kṛṣṇa and something is spoken by Ramakrishna, so which one we shall prefer to accept?

Mohsin Hassan: Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: That's the answer. Therefore Ramakrishna Mission is misguiding.

Mohsin Hassan: There is another question many people like to know about. They visit the temples in Chicago and many temples all over the United States. They are fascinated in the ritual things, the ara..., during the offering food to the Deities, and especially this initiation service. I would like to record the meaning of these ritual things, because it's very important to explain in great detail about it.

Prabhupāda: Yes. This is, this is essential for advancing in spiritual consciousness. Just like kindergarten system, the children are given some wooden, I mean, some plans to form A, B and C like that, (indistinct). So this not like..., exactly like the (indistinct) system. This system is introduced by great ācāryas, authorities. So we have to follow. In the beginning we have no love for Kṛṣṇa, so this process will help how to invoke his love for Kṛṣṇa. This is standard process.

Mohsin Hassan: This is the basic philosophy of the ritual.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And they are introduced by great ācāryas. You'll find, if you go in India, there are many thousands of temples, the same things are being followed from, shall we say, thousands and thousands of years—not only since the time of Kṛṣṇa; before the time of Kṛṣṇa. This is called arcana-vidhi, the regulative principle for worshiping the Lord. Therefore..., so they have to be... Pañca..., this is called Pañcarātrika-vidhi, the regulative principle on the authority of Nārada Pañcarātra. So they must be followed. Otherwise one cannot be purified. This is purificatory process.

Mohsin Hassan: Would you please mention something about the meaning of the ritual of the initiation. They put their hand in the oil and the burning of the fire, for example.

Prabhupāda: They are not putting their hand on the oil. It is called yajña, offering ghee to the fire. This is Vedic. This is Vedic rituals, to offer clarified butter and grains in the fire. Fire is supposed to be the mouth of God. So we are offering eatables to the Supreme Person, rūpa.

Mohsin Hassan: What is the goal of this movement for the future? Is there any program set for the future?

Prabhupāda: Because it is genuine movement, it will make progress, provided it is presented in pure form. It was not presented before me in pure form, at least in the Western countries. Therefore people could not take it, nor they could understand it. Now it is being placed in pure form in the right way of paramparā system, as the ācāryas introduced, and actually it is happening. It is..., they are taking. Wherever they are going, people are very much anxious to take this movement, as if they are waiting. Anywhere we go, even we have sent men to (indistinct).

(aside:) What town? (indistinct)

Devotee: In Russia?

Prabhupāda: Yes. So this method is very effective, and people are accepting, any part of the world, without any discrimination. Here mostly you see our students are from the Christian group, the Jewish group; there are many students from Muhammadan group, from Parsi group. Everyone is taking.

Mohsin Hassan: Now, this movement must have structure. Will you please tell us about the structure of the movement from the hierarchy on the top, and all the way down.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is..., this movement is started from Kṛṣṇa.

Mohsin Hassan: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Then, from Kṛṣṇa, Nārada. From Nārada, Vyāsadeva. From Vyāsadeva to Madhvācārya, from Madhvācārya to Īsvara Puri, Mādhavendra Puri, then Caitanya Mahāprabhu, then His disciples, the six Goswāmīs, then Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja, then Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. So we are taking account very rigidly from Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and I am the tenth generation from Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Mohsin Hassan: Yeah, the tenth. After you, is it..., any decision has been made who will take over?

Prabhupāda: Yes. All of them will take. These students who are initiated from me, all of them will act as I am doing. Just like I have got many Godbrothers, they are all acting. Similarly, all these disciples which I am making, initiating, they are being trained to become future spiritual masters.

Mohsin Hassan: How many svāmīs do you initiated, American? I'm speaking just on the American...

Prabhupāda: About ten.

Mohsin Hassan: You have ten svāmīs. And outside of svāmīs, what's the lower...

Prabhupāda: Now, they're competent. They can..., not only the svāmīs, even the gṛhasthas, they are called dāsa adhikārī, and brahmacārīs, everyone can, whoever is initiated, he is competent to make disciple. But as a matter of etiquette they do not do so in the presence of their spiritual master. This is the etiquette. Otherwise, they are competent.

They can make disciples and spread. Become, too whom, I mean, recruit more members in this. They do, but they are being trained up. Just like here in this meeting, one of my disciples, he is acting as priest. Instead of myself; he is acting. So some of my students, they are acting as priest, some of them are svāmīs. So they are competent to make disciples.

Mohsin Hassan: Do you have any hope in the future that you..., your movement will involve printing a lot of books, making..., building schools for your children, for...?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We have got already many books. You have not seen?

Mohsin Hassan: Oh, yes. I have almost all of your printed, but I'm trying to prepare... Ramakrishna, they have big library and bookstore, and this is where goes most of their income. I was wondering... And many..., they have so many scholars for this movement because they are for a variety of religions. And one argument I always receive from some teacher, they say this movement insists on the chanting, and they are not trying to open all the other doors for other religion. And I have no answer to them.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Mohsin Hassan: They tell me that..., the Ramakrishna Mission, they offer all kinds variety of books about every religion.

Prabhupāda: We have got varieties of books.

Mohsin Hassan: Yes.

Prabhupāda: We have got at least twelve books, four hundred pages, different ways we are presenting. But our main aim is, end is, Kṛṣṇa, to understand Kṛṣṇa through different philosophical thoughts. We have presented, I think. You have not...? You say you say you have seen all these books.

Mohsin Hassan: Yes.

Prabhupāda: We have got Kṛṣṇa, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Easy Journey to Other Planets, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is the Topmost Yoga System. In this way we have presented so many.

Mohsin Hassan: How about the meaning of the chanting. You are..., you insist on chanting.

Prabhupāda: Chanting is to make the process very easy. Because in this age people are unfortunate, short-living, and they are attracted in false things, they are very slow, they do not take it very seriously. Therefore chanting is a common platform. Anyone can chant. Anyone, even the child can chant, the old man can chant, the fool can chant, the intelligent can chant, the rich can chant, the poor can chant. So the chanting is the common; therefore it is becoming successful.

And chanting means, Kṛṣṇa being absolute, Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa there is no difference. Absolute means there is no duality. As in this dual world there is difference between the name and the substance, in the absolute world there is no difference between the name and the substance. Both of them are the same. So therefore chanting of Kṛṣṇa name means associating with Kṛṣṇa directly.

And because we are associating with Kṛṣṇa directly, they're quickly becoming purified. Just like if you touch a metal rod with the fire, it becomes warm, and then it acquires the quality of the fire. The metal rod, you can touch anywhere, it will burn, although it is metal rod. But because it acquired the quality of the fire, it can burn; it can act as fire. Similarly, if we constantly associate with Kṛṣṇa, then we acquire the spiritual quality. Then we can act as spiritual very quickly. This is the point.

Mohsin Hassan: My master, many people are interested to know something about you, and I found just not enough to know about you, and I could write volumes about your life. Could you expand about your life?

Prabhupāda: Well, a sannyāsī should not be inquired about his life. What he's acting, that's all. But I was formerly gṛhastha, householder, that's all. My life is described in short in the Īśopaniṣad, so you can see it from there.

Mohsin Hassan: Could you recall the beginning of your first trip to USA and how you spread the message? I was told that you came here with six dollars, and then...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Because our government, India government, would not allow to take money to go outside. So somehow or other I got the P-form sanction, and one big shipping company, they allowed me free passage. So I came here with great difficulty. Of course I was very comfortably situated on the sea, but still, because I am not accustomed, I got sea-sickness. So the travel was very miserable. Still I came.

Then for one year, I was going here and there, there was no fixed-up position, and then in 19..., I came here in 1965, September, then 1966, July, I incorporated the Society and started my preaching in a storefront, and..., Second Avenue.

And then gradually the students came and it developed, one branch after another. Now we have got sixty branches, and our expenditure is very heavy. According to Indian calculation it is about 700,000's of rupees. We are paying heavy rent. We have got in each center not less than twenty-five devotees, up to hundred, hundred and fifty. So it is going on by Kṛṣṇa's grace.

Mohsin Hassan: Now what do you expect from your disciple, basic thing?

Prabhupāda: They will also preach, just as I am preaching.

Mohsin Hassan: I see.

Prabhupāda: They'll preach the same thing. As I am preaching according to my spiritual master's instruction, similarly they will preach according to my instruction.

Mohsin Hassan: What if someone deviated from your teaching?

Prabhupāda: There is no loss. This was..., I was explaining. Because this, it is spiritual science. Anything spiritual, that is eternal. It is never, I mean to say, lost, never destroyed. So whatever they have learned, that is basic for further learning.

Suppose they cannot finish the total process, program, then they will get a chance, another chance to begin in the human form. So practically there is no loss. As ordinary beings, whatever they are creating in this life, after giving up this body everything is lost. But this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, even it is not completed, whatever they have learned, that will go with them, because it is spiritual; it will not be destroyed.

But they're being trained up to finish the course and program within this life, not to wait for the next life. That is our goal. They have got the regulative principles, that "You must follow this, that no illicit sex life, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling, and chanting in a prescribed method Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, taking only Kṛṣṇa prasādam, and be twenty-four-hours..."

You'll find, whenever you'll come to our temple, you'll find they're busy with something. Similarly, we are simply busy with Kṛṣṇa business. We try to remember Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours. That is our method.

So this method of religious prescription I think you'll not find. At least in the Western world you won't find. Twenty-four hours they're engaged. Twenty-four hours.

Mohsin Hassan: Serving the Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mohsin Hassan: May I ask you about, for example, we have Bahulāśva. He's married, he has two children, twins. Now, how is the future as you foresee it, from now until his...?

Prabhupāda: Our everyone's future is Kṛṣṇa. You believe in Kṛṣṇa, and nobody of our group has got any need, because we believe in Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that "Those who are engaged in my service, I personally attend to their needs," yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham (BG 9.22).

Perhaps you know this. Those who are engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, Kṛṣṇa is supplying the necessities of everyone, because Kṛṣṇa is God. So God is supplying the necessities of everyone. That is one thing. But He takes special interest for those who are devotees, pure devotees. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā:

samo 'ham sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ
ye tu māṁ bhajanti prītyā
teṣu te mayi
(BG 9.29)

"I am equal to everyone. Nobody is My enemy; nobody is My friend. But anyone who is engaged in My service with love and devotion, I am especially attached to them."

So Kṛṣṇa is feeding even cats and dogs, and why He shall not feed us, we are engaged in His service? Why? (Mohsin laughs) It is simply a question of understanding. One should know that Kṛṣṇa is feeding the elephant, Kṛṣṇa is feeding the ant. So there are 8,400,000 species of living entities. So if one who has completely forgotten Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is feeding them, then why not we? We have no other business than Kṛṣṇa.

So it is a question of confidence and surrender. But actually we have no problem. So far our children are going, these boys, they are taking prasādam, we are taking prasādam, we are traveling all over the world, spending, as I told you, about 700,000's of rupees per month, but we have no source of income fixed. We have no business. Nobody goes to the factory, nobody goes to work, but still we are maintaining our establishment.

Mohsin Hassan: And this is a..., simply a real miracle. Yes.

Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, it's getting late.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Devotee: It's getting late, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: So I am (indistinct).

Mohsin Hassan: Will you accept a comment about, final thing, what do you suggest for me to put my energy on, and present beautiful picture, nicely...

Prabhupāda: Yes, so you try to understand the whole philosophy nicely, then you'll paint the picture all right. Unless you understand very nicely.... So not only one sitting. You have to question, and I shall answer. You have to learn this philosophy. But one thing is that unless one is submissive to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and he follows the Vaiṣṇava principles, it is a little difficult to understand.

Mohsin Hassan: I thank you very much for this wonderful interview. I hope I'll give you a copy of what you said as soon as I type it down, and I shall keep in contact with you in the future.

Prabhupāda: You are welcome

Mohsin Hassan: There are many, many teacher of DePaul University—I am of DePaul University—interested to meet you, and this just to invite you in the future for some lecture.

Prabhupāda: So you try to understand our philosophy from any angle of vision and we shall be able to answer. There will be no difficulty. Because we are taking our lessons from Kṛṣṇa. So there is no difficulty to answer any opposite element.

Mohsin Hassan: Thank you again. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (break)

Prabhupāda: ...First Canto Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Second Canto Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third, Fourth, Fifth. These five big, big books, not less than thousand pages each, and Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, eleven hundred pages. So..., and each book will cost us twenty thousand, twenty-five thousand. So any amount of money will come we can engage in printing books.

Mohsin Hassan: Yeah. It seems to me this is the biggest problem, the cost of operations.

Prabhupāda: Never mind. Kṛṣṇa is giving. You have seen our publication?

Mohsin Hassan: No. I have seen the books. I have most of them.

Prabhupāda: Small Bhāgavata, chapterwise it is publishing. It is very scholarly. (aside:) Bring some chapters of Bhāgavatam.

Devotee: Yes. Prabhupāda, he has almost all of them.

Prabhupāda: You have got the chapterwise Bhāgavatam?

Devotee: Those little tiny ones, Śrīla Prabhupāda? The soft-covered ones?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.

Devotee: Like The Lord in the Heart? He has them.

Prabhupāda: He has got. There you will see how it is scholarly written.

Mohsin Hassan: Oh, yes. Wonderful.

Prabhupāda: So we are publishing all our books in a scholarly way so that professors, teachers, philosophers, they..., they can read it. And it is very easily done. Word-to-word, Sanskrit word, English, and diacritic marks. So we are working very hard. So if it is introduced among the scholarly sections, professors, teachers, it will be very beneficial to the human society.

Mohsin Hassan: Do you do your printing in Japan and America?

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. I am... Whenever I travel, I travel all over, around the world.

Mohsin Hassan: I want to ask... Just a few more minutes. You went to Russia. What's your impression?

Prabhupāda: Yes, Russia is the same people. They are anxious to receive this movement. Very much anxious.

Mohsin Hassan: And are you intent to (indistinct) over there?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mohsin Hassan: I see.

Prabhupāda: But their government is very strict. Government is very strict. So unless we get permission from the government... Because they have no culture in literature. They're simply reading this Lenin book. So one professor, a Dr. Kotovsky, he told me that Indian Rāmāyaṇa, Tulsi dasa's Rāmāyaṇa—that's not very good philosophy—still, it was translated into Russian language, and within a week, all the books are sold. Just see. So they are hankering after this cultural book. Unfortunately, we have no means now; otherwise there is immense, good field for Kṛṣṇa consciousness in Russia.

Mohsin Hassan: You are the founder of this movement. You are the founder.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mohsin Hassan: Is it the same you found in all over the world, everybody speak the language, English-speaking language, you went and you did the same thing; you went up there, chant, and with the miracle of Lord Kṛṣṇa you received your devotees...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mohsin Hassan: ...and disciple?

Prabhupāda: The same process. We follow the same process, anywhere. It doesn't matter whether it is America or Russia or Europe. It doesn't matter. Japan. The same process.

Mohsin Hassan: So you are intent to serve the Lord Kṛṣṇa in the same method for ever.

Prabhupāda: Yes, because I am ordered by my spiritual master in that way. So I am trying my best. That's all.

Mohsin Hassan: How old are you?

Prabhupāda: I?

Mohsin Hassan: Yes.

Prabhupāda: I am now seventy-six.

Mohsin Hassan: Seventy-six. Do you have any children, family?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Mohsin Hassan: How many?

Prabhupāda: I have got great-grandchildren.

Mohsin Hassan: You have two sons?

Prabhupāda: I have two sons. I have three sons..., two sons, two daughters.

Mohsin Hassan: They were, I was told, associated with Gandhi. What's your relation with Mahatma Gandhi?

Prabhupāda: Gandhi... In my young age I was Nationalist, so I followed Gandhi. I was interested. Later on, when I met my spiritual master, I became disinterested with this temporary, ephemeral things, you see. So this is permanent. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is permanent.

It is very long subject matter. We are simply dreaming. All these activities are just like at night you dream, but they are all false. Whatever you dream at night, they're not facts; they're false. Similarly, these are also daydream, these activities. Daydream. They're also false. The only thing what we can actually take benefit out of it is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That's a fact. It will take some time... (break) (end)