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750302 - Conversation B - Atlanta
(Conversation with Scientists)
Prabhupāda: No, no, I shall learn. I shall...
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: Śrīla Prabhupāda, they are used to cheating, and so they couldn't believe Kṛṣṇa either...
Prabhupāda: Eh? Yes.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: They are used to cheating, and that's why they don't trust anything and anybody.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Skeptic.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: Because they are cheaters themselves?
Prabhupāda: Skeptic is not a scientist or a man of knowledge. He's unbeliever, that's all.
Rūpānuga: Skeptic can actually not have full knowledge. He can never have full knowledge.
Devotee (1): The scientists, they cannot understand, for a long time, they cannot understand what is the relationship between the world of ideas, the world of names and the world that they see. How can we explain what that means?
Prabhupāda: There is spiritual and material. The material is simply a phantasmagoria. It is the imitation of the reality. That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fifteenth Chapter. Find out: ūrdhva-mūlam adhah-śākham (BG 15.1). That is called mirage. In the desert the animal is finding water. There is no water in the desert. But there is water, but not in the desert. That they do not know. So this is just like desert, this material world, and everything is reflection like the water. But there, there is no water; it is only reflection. Tejo-vāri-mṛd vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mṛṣā (SB 1.1.1). Tejo-vāri-mṛd vinimayaḥ. Here everything is a transformation of three material things, fire, water and earth, but it looks like reality. Just like the mirage, that is also tejo-vāri-mṛd vinimayam, by reflection of the sun falling on the sand, and it looks like water. This is best example. And the animal is running after water, running, running, running. When he becomes fatigued, dies. That's all.
Devotee (1): But here in the material world when we look for water, we actually take it and we can drink it.
Prabhupāda: That is not water! That you do not know.
Devotee (1): That's not water either.
Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?
Satsvarūpa: Ūrdhva-mūlam adhah-śākham. "The Blessed Lord said: 'There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is a knower of the Vedas.' "
Prabhupāda: Ūrdhva-mūlam adhah-śākham (BG 15.1). Where you have experienced this tree? You have experience: a tree is adhaḥ, down... A mūla, the root, is down and the tree is up. And here it is said, ūrdhva-mūlam, the root is up and the branches and twigs, they're down. Where you have experienced? Eh? Dr. Wolf, where you have experienced this tree?
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: I know of it, yes.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: I know of the tree with the fruits up and the leaves down, yes.
Prabhupāda: What is that? What is that?
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: There is one.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: We say the water. We say the reflection of a real tree.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: Right, right.
Prabhupāda: So reflection is not reality, and therefore it is compared like that. It is not reality.
Rūpānuga: Otherwise it would be satisfied.
Rūpānuga: If it was real, we would be satisfied with it.
Devotee (2): So the scientists are engaged in minutely analyzing this mirage, the reflection. They're wasting their time.
Prabhupāda: Yes, now you are right.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: We have some specific topics that we wanted to have Śrīla Prabhupāda's instruction about these things that we are going to write. So shall I discuss them very briefly?
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The title is The Origin of Life and Matter, and then there will be a subtitle called "Life is a Manifestation of Life Only."
Svarūpa Dāmodara: "Life is a Manifestation of Life Only." I mean "Life Comes from Life."
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is the subtitle.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Then we have some tentative titles of the chapters, and the first one is "A Unique Differentiation between a Living Spirit and a Non-living Matter."
Svarūpa Dāmodara: This will be tentatively planned to be write by me, and the second chapter is "The Eternality of the Living." That's also by me. And then the third chapter, it is called "A Look at the Natural Laws Regarding the Origin of Life and Matter." In this there are different sections. First section is "Quantum Mechanical Demonstration." That will be written by Richard Prabhu. He's a mathematician.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And the second part of it...
Prabhupāda: That theory, mathematics, you presented...
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, this is...
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, it's his.
Prabhupāda: So it is very nice. You have dedicated to Hare Kṛṣṇa. Then?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The second one is "Order Cannot Arise from Disorder." This will be based on mathematical arguments.
Prabhupāda: Very good.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is also Richard Prabhu's duty.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And third one is "The Statistical Disproof of Darwin's Theory." This is on advanced mathematics. That also Richard Prabhu's duty.
Prabhupāda: Very good.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And then on fourth chapter we have a section called "False Theory," namely that life originates from matter. This will be Mādhava Prabhu's...
Prabhupāda: Life originates from matter?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No.
Devotee: No, false theory.
Prabhupāda: About false theory. (laughter) Very good. Very good. It will be very nice. You have all Kṛṣṇa's blessing, do it nicely.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Then from fifth chapter it will be "Evolution Versus Transmigration."
Prabhupāda: Hmm, yes, very good.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And explanation. That will be written by me.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And then on the sixth chapter there will be a topic called "Molecular Evolution." This will be, taking the jumbles of the scientific findings, but we use those jumbles and turn around to Kṛṣṇa.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So that will be by me and...
Prabhupāda: That is vṛścika-taṇḍula-nyāya. Is not that? The last chapter, what he means?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, this one?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: This is molecular evolution.
Prabhupāda: Hah. Molecular evolution takes place when the life is there.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Actually when they say molecular evolution, it talks only about molecules. They don't talk about life. Because they don't know what life is.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So they talk only about molecules. That everybody knows, that molecules are around and it's evolving. But they don't know that there is life. They take...
Prabhupāda: That is their defect. That is their defect. We want to educate them on this point.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And on the seventh chapter there is that Prabhupāda's..., that theory of acintya-śakti.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That will be a collective effort of all the prabhus from the movement.
Prabhupāda: Yes, acintya-śakti is there, within our body.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: We want to present it in some sort of very good arguments, foundations are there. It will be our collective effort.
Rūpānuga: There is another devotee, Jñāna dāsa, in Germany, who is a graduate from Oxford University, a big school. And we have invited him to come to this meeting, but he did not respond. Maybe he will come and help in the future.
Prabhupāda: Mm, yes.
Rūpānuga: He has... What is his field?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, yes. His topic was classical, statistical (indistinct) proof. That was allotted to Jñāna dāsa Prabhu, to Germany. Rūpānuga Mahārāja sent a telegram, and I also personally wrote a letter saying that he should participate in writing himself(?). He has a (indistinct) background, he told me in (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is nice attempt. Kṛṣṇa will help you. They are wiping out Kṛṣṇa, and your business will be to establish Kṛṣṇa. Hmm.
- idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā
- sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
- avicyuto 'rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
- (SB 1.5.22)
You know this verse? Find out Bhagavad..., Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Take the index; otherwise how you will find out?
Rūpānuga: The index.
Prabhupāda: This I want. You are nicely educated. Now by dint of your education, you prove that background is Kṛṣṇa, that's all. Then your education will be perfect. Otherwise you are one of these fools and rascals, that's all. The particular type of education, mathematics, chemistry, physics, what you have learned after working so hard, now you should, by your educational..., departmental education, you prove that the background is Kṛṣṇa. Then your education is perfect. That is the verse, idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā.
- idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā
- sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
- avicyuto 'rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
- (SB 1.5.22)
"Learned circles have positively concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, namely austerities, study of the Vedas, sacrifice, chanting of hymns and charity, culminates in the transcendental descriptions of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry."
Satsvarūpa: Yes. "Human intellect is developed for advancement of learning in art, science, philosophy, physics, chemistry, psychology, economics, politics, etc. By culture of such knowledge the human society can attain perfection of life. This perfection of life culminates in the realization of the Supreme Being, Viṣṇu. The śruti therefore directs that those who are actually advanced in learning should aspire for the service of Lord Viṣṇu. Unfortunately, persons who are enamored by the external beauty of viṣṇu-māyā do not understand that culmination of perfection or self-realization..."
Prabhupāda: Nature, viṣṇu-māyā, nature. They're bewildered simply by seeing the nature. Then?
Satsvarūpa: "Viṣṇu-māyā means sense enjoyment, which is transient and miserable. Those who are entrapped by viṣṇu-māyā utilize advancement of knowledge for sense enjoyment. Śrī Nārada Muni has explained that all paraphernalia of the cosmic universe is but an emanation from the Lord out of His different energies because the Lord has set in motion, by His inconceivable energy, actions and reactions of the created manifestation. They have come to be out of His energy, they rest on His energy, and after annihilation they merge into Him. Nothing is, therefore, different from Him, but at the same time the Lord is always different from them. When advancement of knowledge is applied in the service of the Lord, the whole process becomes absolute. The Personality of Godhead and His transcendental name, fame, glory, etc., are all nondifferent from Him."
Prabhupāda: Absolute. That is absolute.
Satsvarūpa: "Therefore, all the sages and devotees of the Lord have recommended that the subject matter of art, science, philosophy, physics, chemistry, psychology and all other branches of knowledge should be wholly and solely applied in the service of the Lord. Art, literature, poetry, painting, etc., may be used in glorifying the Lord. The fiction writers, poets and celebrated litterateurs are generally engaged in writing of sensuous topics, but if they turn towards the service of the Lord they can describe the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Vālmīki was a great poet, and similarly Vyāsadeva is a great writer, and both of them have absolutely engaged themselves in delineating the transcendental activities of the Lord, and by so doing they have become immortal. Similarly, science and philosophy also should be applied in the service of the Lord. There is no use presenting dry speculative theories for sense gratification. Philosophy and science should be engaged to establish the glory of the Lord. Advanced people are eager to understand the Absolute Truth through the medium of science, and therefore a great scientist should endeavor to prove the existence of the Lord on a scientific basis. Similarly, philosophical speculations should be utilized to establish the Supreme Truth as sentient and all-powerful. Similarly, all other branches of knowledge should always be engaged in the service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā also the same is affirmed. All 'knowledge' not engaged in the service of the Lord is but nescience. Real utilization of advanced knowledge is to establish the glories of the Lord, and that is the real import. Scientific knowledge engaged in the service of the Lord and all other similar activities are all factually hari-kīrtana, or glorification of the Lord."
Prabhupāda: That is perfection. If you can write this book nicely, all together, it will be a great service to Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa will bless you and help you.
Rūpānuga: (to Svarūpa Dāmodara) Will you read the rest of the chapters?
Prabhupāda: Mm? Yes.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Then in the eighth chapter there will be...
Prabhupāda: Just make that Dr. Agarwal also interested.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, he can...
Prabhupāda: He is the also, professor of physics.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: "Defects and Errors in Scientific Research," it will be a title, and we will find out all the mistakes that normally found in scientific research. That will be written by Mādhava Prabhu.
Prabhupāda: And add "and how to make it perfect." Find out the defects. Don't be, what is called...?
Prabhupāda: Negative only.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, we want to bring the..., our four defects in our senses, in the sense perception. Then...
Prabhupāda: Sense perception is defective.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, there are four defects.
Prabhupāda: And if you go beyond the sense perception, that is perfection.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That will be Mādhava Prabhu's duty.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Then on the ninth chapter there will be a topic, "The Ultimate Research," our own(?) research.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That...
Prabhupāda: Ultimate research is to find out the brain.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: That's it. Absolute. Then there is no more defect. Everything is perfect. That is stated, dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi (SB 1.1.1). Nirasta-kuhakam, where there is no defect, that is vaikuṇṭha-dhāma. Dhāmnā svena nirasta-kuhakaṁ paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi. The Absolute Truth, we offer our respectful... That is the beginning of Bhāgavatam. Nirasta-kuhakam, where these defects cannot enter. Just like sunshine. In the sun, darkness cannot enter. There is no possibility of darkness going there. Is it possible? So similarly, in Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa sūrya-sama māyā andhakāra (CC Madhya 22.31), there is no question of defect there.
Rūpānuga: (aside) Read that other ones.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yeah, in this respect I wanted to base this on (indistinct)... that ultimate research, that brahma-jijñāsā.
Prabhupāda: Brahma-jijñāsā. That is beginning of knowledge, what is the Absolute Truth.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is the research topic.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Now this subject matter should be taken up seriously in the human form of life. That is the suggestion. Atha..., atha, ataḥ, now you have got this human form of life, therefore you discuss about the Absolute Truth. Paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi. Yes?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Next one is, next chapter is "Matter Originates from Life." That Mādhava dāsa Prabhu's. And on the eleventh chapter there will be Rūpānuga Maharaj, Prabhu's...
Prabhupāda: Matter is a manifestation of life's energy. We can daily experience: the matter, hair, is growing. Cut, again growing. Why? Because there is life. Dead body, hair never grows. Is it not?
Mādhava: Well, the scientists will say it's just recombination of matter.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, when there is body dead, no hair grows.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That's a nice example. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: They can use some bombastic word, but they, who is layman, we see this is the position. And you do not know how it is being done, but the energy is there in you. That is called acintya-śakti, inconceivable energy. That is there. Now you shave every morning, and next morning, again millions of hairs. You do not know how it is being happened. But it is happening, and this is called acintya-śakti. From Kṛṣṇa such big, big things are coming out. Even Kṛṣṇa may not know, but Kṛṣṇa has got the inconceivable energy by which it is coming. The same example.
Devotee: People will speculate so many theories as to why the hairs are coming out, but then after some time they will see that theory is wrong; they'll have to present a new one.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is their rascaldom.
Devotee: And until they come to understand that Kṛṣṇa is pushing it, then they will never understand what's actually causing everything to grow.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: False ego.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: False ego and the hunt for prestige.
Prabhupāda: That's it. So give something.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The last but one is called, entitled, "Intellectual Analagam(?), Psycho-Social Implications." That will be Rūpānuga...
Prabhupāda: What is it?
Rūpānuga: It was their idea. In a book like this there has to be some social conclusion as to the effects of such atheistic theories.
Prabhupāda: Yes, the people are being misguided. That we want to stop. They have got this human form of body, that is an opportunity to understand himself and God and act accordingly. Now they are being misled. It is a social disservice. Cheating. In the name of scientist, they are exploiting this innocent person, taking their money and spoiling it without any good result.
Rūpānuga: My idea is that they are... Actually, the scientists are preaching void. They are preaching to the people...
Prabhupāda: But what is the necessity of preaching void? Void is void, that's all.
Rūpānuga: There's nothing to say about that. But because they're saying that, the people think that at the time of death there's nothing, so they want sense gratification. So the scientists are selling them their gadgets. They're selling them cars and things to keep them in sense gratification.
Prabhupāda: We can see when a man is in coma, he cries, he suffers. Before death, when a man is coma, sometimes tears come. Now why he says there is nothing? Imperfect knowledge, that's all. Misguiding people.
Rūpānuga: The last chapter's the nicest.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The last chapter is—that Śrīla Prabhupāda suggested—that was "The Original Idea Is Kṛṣṇa."
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is the concluding chapter. That will be a collective effort from the...
Prabhupāda: That's nice. Very good. Do it. Sincerely pray to Kṛṣṇa and He will give intelligence. Now write nicely. Teṣāṁ satata-yuktānām, dadāmi buddhi-yogam (BG 10.10), Kṛṣṇa will give intelligence, yena mām upayānti te, "such intelligence which will help him to come back home, back to Me."
Rūpānuga: If we are strong in the principles, then we will have the intelligence to write this book.
Prabhupāda: Yes, Kṛṣṇa will give the intelligence. Hmm. What is that?
Satsvarūpa: "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."
Prabhupāda: That's nice.
Rūpānuga: It will take us some time.
Prabhupāda: It may take, that is... But do it very nicely. How many pages will it be?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: We plan about five hundred.
Prabhupāda: That's nice. Then we shall immediately publish. What the title you have given?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: It's called The Origin of Life and Matter. The origin of everything. When one talks about the life here in the material world, one cannot leave matter. Because the scientists, what they are doing, is the materialists taken it for granted. They do not ask who made this matter. So they've started at, "Oh, matter is already there, given by nature." So they'll take the matter and then start life. That is their conclusion. So we want to bring it that matter is also from life.
Rūpānuga: That's like saying the car produces the driver. That's what they're thinking.
Prabhupāda: The car necessitates the driver's service. Otherwise car is useless.
Rūpānuga: Neither is the driver dependent on the car for his existence. He doesn't need the car; the car needs him.
Devotee: They also say that the car created itself somehow or other, the metal and everything.
Prabhupāda: That is not the fact. Car requires the help of the driver.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: I have interest for these journals, say life, origin of life, that started from last year. So here the international scientists from all over the world, they have combined together and then they formed this,
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. This is all chemicals, this. And they're a big group.
Prabhupāda: So why don't you protest?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, that's what we're starting the background.
Prabhupāda: Refute their arguments, then it will be nice. Aiye (Hindi—Prabhupāda greets guests and asks which province of India they come from and they reply Punjab). How long you are here?
Guest (1) (Indian man): (Hindi; they say they have been in Germany)
You have business with them?
Guest (1) Emory University.
Devotee: Oh, Emory.
Guest (1): Yes, Emory. (Hindi—explains that he works at the Primate Center)
Svarūpa Dāmodara: They are doing research on primates.
Guest (1): I work on the nervous system of primates, trying to find out the effect of broking(?) malnutrition of the mother on the developing fetus.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: This is, Śrīla Prabhupāda, in the field where the scientists are trying to prove that life is originated from matter, this type of research work. I called the director of that institute just a couple of days ago, and I told him I wanted to look around. And he told me that we need a formal application in order to visit that center, so I'm going to make a... (to guest:) Ordinarily in there, what do they do?
Guest (1): There are a number of projects and there are a number of disciplines in which people work. Mine is experimental nutrition.
Prabhupāda: So you are also believing that life comes from matter? (laughter)
Guest (1): No, I don't think we think in those directions at all. We simply just conduct experiments, not knowing what they will lead to, and try to describe whatever we see under the microscope. Those are the chemical matters that we use.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But I think you have assumed that Darwin's theory or theory of evolution is already there, and even to study something intermediate, higher levels, evolution is all right, but...
Prabhupāda: Basic means evolution.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. But they want to study more some of the intermediate stages, like this metabolism in some...
Prabhupāda: Mother's, mother's body? No?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Any system, yeah, mother's body or any living systems.
Guest (1): What we are trying to do is to study the growth and differentiation of the nervous system, different parts of the nervous system, and how it is affected by lack of protein in the diet of the mother.
Prabhupāda: That is medical science.
Guest (1): Because all over the developing world there are millions of mothers who would not get any great quantities of protein while they are pregnant. In the first instance, before they are pregnant, they are not nutritionally prepared for having another burden of a baby inside their body, and without that adequate preparation when they become pregnant, this is a double stress on their physiological systems. And we would like to see how the baby gets affected.
Prabhupāda: So if by chance there is baby, killing. Is that the conclusion?
Guest (1): No, our conclusions just say that there is a critical period in the development of the baby that if it does not get any good nutrition at that time, then he's likely to be retarded in many respects.
Guest (1): If the number of cells that he comes equipped with is less than the normal, and number of enzymes that must be equipped in certain proportions do not come in the right proportion so that the later functioning is not to the mark, therefore full and cognitive ability is very much affected. So what we are trying to do is—hopefully in the next five years we can do it—is to define a critical period. We do not know yet what is a critical period. We are talking of a very large time, large span of time, but most probably it is only a few months' period in which if the baby is supplied very well, at least the nervous system will not be affected. His body may be affected. By the lunch program in a school they have been able to improve very much the physical characteristics of the body, but if the mental mischief has been done, it is done. It cannot be corrected later on. So...
Prabhupāda: No, now this killing of the babies are going on.
Guest (1): You mean abortions.
Prabhupāda: Yes, and not abortion, killing, regular killing. Sometimes they kill, the doctors. So it is going to be supported, like that, scientific research?
Guest (1): No, Swāmījī, it's a matter of opinion when the, mentally, fetus becomes an individual. If you think that as soon as it is conceived it is an individual—of course it is, because it's going to grow into one—then of course it's killing.
Prabhupāda: You believe that the child in the womb is not individual?
Guest (1): No, I don't have any personal thoughts about it, though. But I think if a woman thinks that she is not suited as a mother...
Prabhupāda: Then why she has sex?
Guest (1): Well, in this present world I think, you know, sex is not for procreation, it is more for fun. I think ninety-nine percent of the couples who indulge in sex do not think of children at that time.
Prabhupāda: But that is sinful.
Guest (1): That's true. But this is also true that ninety-nine percent of people, when they indulge in it...
Prabhupāda: Ninety-nine percent may be all rascals and fools, that is not true.
Guest (1): For the common, I think, masses, some practical means are needed rather than...
Prabhupāda: Practical is that our śāstra says that pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt, na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum (SB 5.5.18). The idea is that one should not become a father, one should not become a mother, unless they know how to make his child immortal. Because soul is immortal, but he is entangled in this material body; therefore death takes place. Actually soul is not born, na jāyate na mriyate vā (BG 2.20). So this process is going on, transmigration of the soul from one body to another, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). The father and mother should be so enlightened and educate the son in such a way that this is the last acceptance of material body. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9), he may not accept again this material body. If the father and mother is determined in that way, then they should become parents; otherwise no.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, I think, you know, you are very right, but we are the one in India who face this problem the most. We should not have gone to this stage which we are, six hundred million people. I think the most of us are, you know, procreating without any thoughts about the next generation.
Prabhupāda: Then that is not for Indian and European, that is for everyone. That ignorance and knowledge is everywhere. It is not the Indian or American. That ignorance is everywhere.
Guest (1): But Swāmījī, while the family norm here in the Western countries at this time is 2.3 children per couple, we still have a family norm of about six children per family. You know, I think there are a lot of cultural factors that are...
Prabhupāda: No, that śāstric injunction is, that is spiritual restraint. Therefore one should train himself when to have sex life or when to become father, when not to become. That education is... Not to become like animal, dogs and cats—whenever there is sex desire, we must have. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said, dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo 'smi (BG 7.11). (aside:) Find out this, dharmāviruddhaḥ.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, do you recognize that India does need some method at this point...
Prabhupāda: Why you are speaking of India? Everyone needs, all over the world.
Guest (1): Because we are the most unfortunate one that with only...
Prabhupāda: You are unfortunate because you are now following misleaders. You do not follow the real leader.
Guest (1): We have only 2.4 percent of the land area and we support 16% of the human population. You see, this land...
Prabhupāda: That is due to your ignorance. You have followed the so-called rascal politicians. You have not followed Kṛṣṇa. Therefore this misfortune is there. Misguided. Now...
Guest (1): Everything comes from the mother earth. We are in very short supply of things.
Prabhupāda: No, no. No shortage. That is everything supply. You have got the Vedic knowledge. You don't take care of that. You now manufacture your own knowledge. Now there is knowledge, this Bhagavad-gītā is perfect knowledge, but even a political leader like Gandhi, he says that "I don't believe that there was anybody like Kṛṣṇa living ever." This is your leader. All the ācāryas, previous ācāryas, big, big ācāryas, Śaṅkarācārya, big, big stalwart, learned, they have accepted Kṛṣṇa. Now Gandhi says, "I don't believe." Now you are guided by Gandhi; you are not guided by the ācāryas. That is your misfortune. You are not guided by Kṛṣṇa. You are guided by Dr. Radhakrishnan. That is the misfortune. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ (SB 7.5.31): one blind man is being..., is following another blind man. That is going on. That is going on all over the world, not only in India.
Guest (2): I think Mahatma Gandhi followed the Gītā, all these...
Prabhupāda: But he did not believe in Kṛṣṇa and he followed Gītā. Just see.
Guest (2): But who did... Who gave him...
Prabhupāda: No, just try to understand the psychology. He says plainly that "I do not believe there was anybody Kṛṣṇa living, ever." And he's following Kṛṣṇa's instruction. Just see his position.
Guest (2): No, he must have also answered this question.
Prabhupāda: No, no, there is no questioning. If you do not believe in somebody, how you are reading His book of knowledge?
Guest (2): That's my point also.
Prabhupāda: Yes, so therefore... This kind of leader we are following, contradictory. That is our misfortune.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, we are not following any person, but we do see the realities all around the world.
Prabhupāda: Realities... If you have no knowledge, what do you know about reality? If you have no knowledge, then what is reality, what is non-reality, how can you know? If your knowledge is imperfect, then how you can say reality? Suppose beyond this wall you cannot see, and how you can speak of the reality beyond this wall? That is misfortune. You do not see what is there clearly, and you are speaking on the reality. Your senses are defective. What do you know about reality?
Guest (1): In the spiritual level, yes, we are very blind.
Prabhupāda: Just see. That is reality.
Guest (1): But at the material level, at the level where people eat their food and live their lives, I think...
Prabhupāda: That is also on account of presence of the spirit soul. Actually it... Whatever little you are doing on account of presence of the spirit soul, as soon as the spirit soul is gone then your body and senses are simply lump of matter. So you are working with that lump of matter on account of presence of the spirit soul. Therefore that is more important. To understand what is that spirit soul, how it is working, what is his position, that, that is real knowledge. Therefore Kṛṣṇa begins in the Bhagavad-gītā, first lesson, about the spirit soul, dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). So you are studying the deha, that we are discussing just now. One is studying the motorcar, but he has no knowledge of the driver.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: Śrīla Prabhupāda, may I venture very humbly to this opportunity of saying something I've experienced so much with people, that they would say, "Oh, yes, we are ready to respect the spiritual values, but we live in this real world, in this material world, and so we would rather not have the spiritual values interfere with it. Settle everything in the material sense."
Prabhupāda: No, they, what they are saying, "real world," that is unreal.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: They don't realize that.
Prabhupāda: No, their knowledge is so imperfect, they're taking asatyere satya kori māni. Asatyere... You understand Bengali?
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: No.
Prabhupāda: Asatyere satya kori māni, accepting the untruth as truth. Asatyere nitāi-pada pāsariyā. Ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā nitāi-pada pāsariyā, asatyere satya kori māni. By forgetting our relationship with God and being proud of their so-called... (break) Therefore Bhāgavata says, satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi (SB 1.1.1): the real truth, not this relative truth. Satyam param dhīmahi.
Guest (1): Certainly I recognize that happiness does not come out of material prosperity, but the material prosperity is also equally important for a good existence.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like you repair the motorcar, but motorcar is not your life. That is being misguided. Everyone is thinking that this body, motorcar, is everything. But within, the driver, he's starving. So how long he'll carry on this motorcar? So first of all take care of the driver, who will protect this motorcar nicely. And if the driver is a nonsense, he's starving, then how can I expect the car will go very nicely? It will create disaster. Disaster means... Suppose you have got very nice car, Cadillac or..., many good cars there are, Rolls-Royce, and he smashes. Then he'll get ordinary car. This human body is smashed...
(break) ...hāntara-prāptiḥ, you enter into the dog's body—finished. That is not in your control; that is God's control, nature's control. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13), it is not under your control or so-called science. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27), kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu (BG 13.22), these things are there.
Guest (3): Do you think, Swāmījī, the scientists would be able to create life as they...
Prabhupāda: That I was discussing, that is foolishness. That is—I was discussing—life is never created; life is already there. The body is created. So they are going on on a wrong theory.
Guest (1): I think our definition of life is a little different.
Prabhupāda: You may define differently; that is your concern.
Guest (1): We are talking about a protoplasm, something that moves. It may not have the soul, it may not have any...
Prabhupāda: "May not have," that means you have no real knowledge, "may not have." "May not have," that is not knowledge. I say "may have," then what is the difference between you and me? "May not have," that is not knowledge. That is simply suggestion, speculation.
Guest (1): Want me to give examples...
Prabhupāda: Therefore we have to take knowledge from the perfect. Kṛṣṇa says, "Yes, dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13)." You have to take that knowledge. You cannot say you are perfect and you'll say "may not have." And what is this knowledge, "may not have"? Say definitely and prove it, scientifically. That is knowledge. "Perhaps," "may not," "may be," these are not knowledge.
Guest (1): Just to give one example, these days the science experiments have conclusively done that a particular egg can be—in the body of the womb—can be manipulated into either a male or a female.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. We say the soul is within the body, so you can make it male or female, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. We are not concerned with male and female; we are concerned with the soul.
Guest (1): Science does manipulate life.
Prabhupāda: Maybe. Even if you manipulate, then what you have done? You cannot create the soul. That is not possible. If you manipulate life, then give the dead body again energy to rise up. Then we shall admit that you can manipulate. Otherwise it is false. If you are so expert in manipulation, then give the dead body life again. That is my request. If depend on others and you manipulating, this false knowledge will not help.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, what actually I was coming to, most humbly, cannot spread to the (indistinct) science go together. It's not...
Prabhupāda: No, if science is really science, that is helpful. If science is based on wrong theory, then what is the use of that? Everything is wrong. So many mathematical calculation, if there is any item wrong, then whole thing is wrong.
Guest (1): So we are all moving in the darkness, ignorance, to begin with.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that if you admit, then you will get knowledge. But that is not the position. You are falsely proud that you are very advanced in knowledge.
Guest (1): No, Swāmījī, no...
Prabhupāda: Then you are qualified.
Guest (1): Even for a small experiment, I don't pretend that we know anything, whatever it is.
Prabhupāda: Actually that is the position. Therefore our business is to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa demands that: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). Then Kṛṣṇa will give you intelligence how to become perfect.
- teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ
- bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
- dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ tam...
- (BG 10.10)
This is the process. You take instruction from Kṛṣṇa, the perfect. Don't be proud of your paltry knowledge. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that Kṛṣṇa is perfect, and take knowledge from Him, you'll be perfect. That is our propaganda.
Guest (1): That we believe in.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are not perfect. We can speculate only, and that is not perfection. "Maybe," "perhaps," like that. No definite knowledge. The definite knowledge you can get from Kṛṣṇa, the perfect. Therefore all the ācāryas accept Kṛṣṇa. We have to follow the ācāryas, ācāryopāsanam. So in India all these ācāryas—Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Lord Caitanya—they accept Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Absolute. Why you should not? Are you more than these ācāryas? Then? That is the defect of modern education: they manufacture education although they're imperfect. They have no the common sense that "I am imperfect. How I am manufacturing education and becoming teacher?" My becoming teacher is cheating, because I have no perfect knowledge. Knowledge means it must be perfect, not "maybe," "perhaps." This is not knowledge. Definite knowledge.
Guest (1): But to bring some message of truth to the people all over the world which are...
Prabhupāda: Yes, the message is there, Kṛṣṇa's message.
Guest (1): Four billion, we need some people who will say, "I am the teachers."
Prabhupāda: No, that we are teaching, that you take Kṛṣṇa as the authority. Don't go to the rascals. All problems will be solved. But they are going to the rascals instead of going to Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Guest (3): You mean, Swāmījī, then, that all scientific efforts, whatever they are, that are made, should be stopped altogether?
Prabhupāda: No, not stopped. Just like you have got ordinary car and you purchase a Rolls-Royce car. The business is the same. It is simply an artistic improvement. In the ordinary car there is much jerking, and the Rolls-Royce car there is no jerking. That will not benefit you. After all, it is car. You can use it for going here to there, there to here, that's all. Therefore our Vedic civilization, they are not very much eager to manufacture a motorcar; they are satisfied with the bullock cart. Because after all, you have to go from this place to that place. And there was no need of big, big roads, three thousand miles long, for driving the car. You see? The bullock cart was sufficient, here to there, a few miles. But they were interested to cultivate spiritual knowledge. That is Indian civilization. Vyāsadeva was living in a cottage, and just see his literature. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita was prime minister of India, and he was living in a cottage, drawing no salary, and he has given his politics and moral lesson, so sublime. So here at the present moment, the motorcar civilization, he's anxious how to get a Rolls-Royce motorcar, that's all. That is his business.
Guest (3): When you say, Swāmījī, very humbly I would like to know, that scientific inventions should not be stopped, what should be the actual modus operandi continuum on...
Prabhupāda: Modus..., athāto brahma jijñāsā, to enquire of the Absolute Truth. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ (SB 1.2.10). Karma you should do, but the kāmasya nendriya-prītiḥ... (aside:) Find out this verse. You can close this door. Kāmasya nendriya-prītiḥ, our desires should not be engaged for sense gratification. That is going on. All desires, all improvement, all science, they are being... Just like you were speaking about the protein deficiency. That is all concerning the body. Body means senses. There is no higher study.
Guest (3): That we admit, that there's not very high study, and it's not something final, but I think some...
Prabhupāda: No, that protein fooding supply... Suppose the birds and bees—they have no research institute. They have sufficient protein supply, this supply and that supply—by nature. An elephant has got so big body and so much strength that they have not found it by your scientific research. The nature is supplying. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27), it is being done. Why you are wasting time in this way? You study what is prakṛti and what is behind prakṛti. That is real study. The protein supply is already being done. Just like a cow is eating grass and she's supplying milk, full of protein; so do you think the protein is coming from the grass? Can you eat grass?
Guest (3): Something must be... (laughs)
Prabhupāda: Some... That is something. Then there's no perfect knowledge. That is not perfect knowledge. It is... Everyone knows the cow does not take any protein food; it takes on the grass.
Guest (1): Grass is quite rich in protein.
Prabhupāda: Then you take. Why you are searching after protein?
Guest (1): Because we cannot digest the fiber in it.
Prabhupāda: Then? Then it is not suitable for you. Therefore nature's arrangement is that protein can be produced through the body of the cow.
Guest (1): I think, Swāmījī, nature's arrangement was not made for that many human beings that we have come.
Prabhupāda: Nature was defective, you mean to say?
Guest (1): No, sir.
Guest (1): I mean nature's way is designed as a ecological balance of the...
Prabhupāda: Nature's... If you follow the nature's law, then everything is there. If you deviate the nature's law, then that is defective.
Guest (3): Yes, that is correct. Everything is there.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, nature's balance has been upset by us, us...
Prabhupāda: That's all right. Therefore I say...
Guest (1): Otherwise there would not be that many human beings here. It was all the time checked by nature's forces. We have just constrained nature by our efforts.
Prabhupāda: So that is..., that is my point, that nature is doing. As soon as you violate nature, then you become defective. That is... Therefore one should live natural life.
Satsvarūpa: Kāmasya nendriya?
Satsvarūpa: Do you want me to read this, kāmasya nendriya-prītiḥ?
Prabhupāda: India? No, I'm not speaking of India.
Satsvarūpa: Kāmasya nendriya-prītiḥ.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, kāma, yes. Read it.
Satsvarūpa: "Life's desires should never be aimed at gratifying the senses."
Prabhupāda: Read the verses.
- kāmasya nendriya-prītir
- lābho jīveta yāvatā
- jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā
- nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ
- (SB 1.2.10)
Prabhupāda: Yes. This is the meaning, that kāmasya, we have got some demands of the body. That does not mean it is meant for sense gratification. We require something, āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunam. These four things are the demands of the body. We must eat something, we must sleep for some time, we must have sex life also, we must defend. That is all right, but not for sense gratification. That a child is required, progeny is required, for that sex life is good. But they are using sex life for pleasure and killing the child—and implicated in sinful activities and therefore suffering. And scientists encouraging them, "Yes, you can kill child." Why should you create child and kill him? That, nonsense, they cannot understand.
Guest (3): That's right.
Prabhupāda: This nonsense thing has created all problems. Therefore Vedic civilization is—first teaching is brahmacārī, how to learn to avoid sex life. If one can continue without sex life he is praised, naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī. If one cannot, all right you become a perfect gṛhastha, so many rules and regulations. Dharmāviruddhaḥ kāma, that is all right, but if you use sex life for sense gratification and becomes implicated in so many sinful activities, then how he'll be happy? A sinful man cannot become happy. That is not possible. All our sinful activities, the so-called scientists are helping: "Yes, you can do this." And the Church is sanctioning. This is going on. The Christian religion says, "Thou shall not kill," and they are now teaching, "Yes, you can kill the child. You have killed cows and so many things, that is all right. Again you kill your child."
Guest (1): Swami, can I ask you a very silly question which has been asked to us a lot of times and we don't have a satisfactory answer, to whit: why is the cow sacred and not the other animals?
Prabhupāda: Because it gives milk.
Guest (1): But there are a lot of other an... Buffaloes give milk too.
Prabhupāda: Not so much.
Guest (1): In larger quantities.
Prabhupāda: But, milk means—it is scientifically proven—milk means cow's milk.
Guest (3): But what about the killing of those cows which are not the milching type, as cows that are being bred here?
Prabhupāda: First of all, killing is sinful. Christ said, "Thou shall not kill." That is sinful, it doesn't matter whether you kill cow or goat or anything. But from economic point of view, cow is very important because it supplies milk. And milk preparation, we Indians know how many you can get nice milk preparation—dahī, rābṛi, this, that, Huh? But how nutritious, how palatable. And that is good for human being. First thing is that why you should kill if you have got sufficient food, eh? Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26). Eh? Vegetable, fruits, then food grains, then sugar—everything is there sufficient. At least we Indian, we know we can prepare hundreds and thousands of preparations, nice, palatable, enjoyable. Why should you go to kill the animal?
Guest (2): Well, scientists claim that meat, ah...
Prabhupāda: Scientists, first of all we have rejected that.
Guest (2): ...provides excellent quantity of proteins. (laughs)
Prabhupāda: But however protein you may accumulate, can you stop your death?
Guest (2): No.
Prabhupāda: Then what is value of protein? If you think that protein will save you from death, then you collect the best protein. But after all, you are going to die. Nature will not allow you to live, even you take much quantity of protein.
Guest (2): That's correct.
Prabhupāda: First of all make solution that you will not die. Then try to find out best protein. What is your answer about this birth, death, old age and disease? Can you check it?
Guest (2): No, sir.
Prabhupāda: Then? You take protein; why you are becoming old?
Guest (2): The researches, though, they have been made, they are imperfect again.
Guest (2): They are imperfect, surely imperfect. "Maybe," "perhaps." (laughs) Those (indistinct) are there. But scientists say that Rome was not built in a day. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Therefore Indian civilization is that you take rice, wheat, ḍāl, vegetable, a little milk, whatever protein and vitamin A, B, C, D can be available, that is sufficient.
Guest (2): Dr. Malhotra has done excellent work on malnutrition, and he has written two books. In those books he has advocated that milk is not the only best diet. Balanced food, you can have by, I mean, your ḍāls and so many other sources.
Guest (2): Milk is not the only one.
Prabhupāda: In, in, in your Punjab, in United Province...
Guest (2): At least his is the right approach. It is not one-sided.
Guest (1): Swāmījī, my main question is although spiritualism is the absolute truth, can we not in some way make spiritualism in such a way, modify in such a way, as to help the common people?
Guest (1): The masses.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that we are doing.
Guest (1): They have been steeped in ignorance for such a long time, it will take a long time to bring them into the fold of spiritualism.
Prabhupāda: No, it has been made easy by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu: that you don't commit sinful activities, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and don't commit sinful life, that's all. And sinful life we have given them: no illicit sex—we don't say "no sex"; no illicit sex—no illicit sex, no meat-eating. Suppose... They are not now eating meat. Are they unhealthy? They are known now as bright-faced. So no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication and no gambling. This is avoiding sinful life. And chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Do you see the result? Do you see the result, within four, five years, how they have advanced? Not that they're Vedāntists or they have studied all the Vedas. Not that. Simple thing. Have you ever come here in the evening when they perform ārati, kīrtana? Just see how ecstatic it is. Simple thing. Don't commit sinful activities, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, bās. You'll become elevated.
Jagāi, Mādhāi, they were in those days—because they were drunkards, women hunters, meat-eaters—they were considered most sinful. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu delivered them by this process. There were two Jagāi and Mādhāi, and now hundreds and thousands of Jagāis and Mādhāis are becoming purified. Pāpī-tāpī jata chilo, hari-nāme uddhārilo, tāra sākṣī jagāi mādhāi. Everyone wants evidence. Huh? Pāpī-tāpī, all sinful men, were delivered simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So you may ask, "Where is the evidence?" Tāra sākṣī jagāi mādhāi. The evidence is here, jagāi mādhāi. So not that Jagāi, Mādhāi five hundred years ago, now see at the present moment. They did not come to me after studying all the Vedas, and Vedāntists. They come to me, I ask them that "Don't commit these sinful activities, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." That's all. Everyone can do, even the child can do.
So you are all educated men. You study this philosophy, try to understand; also join. It is your duty, because you are Indian. Caitanya Mahāprabhu entrusted this mission to the Indians.
- bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
- janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra
- (CC Adi 9.41)
Indians are meant for doing good to others. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission. An Indian can become perfect because there is all the Vedic literature. Janma sārthaka kari'. First of all you become perfect, then preach the knowledge for others' benefit. This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission. Now our leaders says, "Throw away these all śāstras in the water." This is going on. And what they have gained by throwing away? And actually, government is against us, against my movement in India. What can I do?
Guest (1): At this time I think India also needs as much spiritual movement as anybody else in the world.
Guest (1): At this time I think India itself needs as much as spiritual needs.
Guest (1): We are as much backwards as anybody else in the world, probably more so.
Prabhupāda: Because we have lost our original culture and we could not take the Western culture. So we are in the wilderness.
Guest (1): Because here the average man takes more interest.
Prabhupāda: Because they are fed up.
Guest (1): Whereas in India the average man doesn't even take interest.
Prabhupāda: No, he knows, "What is this Hare Kṛṣṇa? We know it, now reject it."
Guest (2): An average Indian, I think, he will not be able to tell you how many chapters there are in the Gītā.
Prabhupāda: Yes, they have never been taught. But still they are Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Guest (2): Yes.
Prabhupāda: When we hold our meeting in India twenty thousand, thirty thousand people come still, because by nature they are inclined. By artificial means they are being subdued. And in every step I can feel—they are not openly saying—the government is giving me trouble. They don't want this movement may go on nicely in India.
Guest (2): But rules cannot be...
Prabhupāda: No, that cannot be suppressed, that cannot be suppressed.
Guest (2): ...cannot be subdued, even if this prime minister or Mahatma Gandhi, (indistinct) of Lord Kṛṣṇa and this and that. That is foolishness. (indistinct)
Balavanta: This is Dr. Fenton, Prabhupāda. He's a Professor of Religion at Emory University.
Prabhupāda: Oh! Very good. Hmm. (aside:) What is the time now?
Devotee: It's twenty of two.
Guest (1): Can we touch your feet, Swāmījī?
Prabhupāda: Yes, that's all right.
Guest (1): Can we please?
Prabhupāda: Come... You can offer obeisances. Hmm, so that is the father's duty to see the child is grown completely spiritual, so that he may not have to come again in the mother's womb. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti (BG 4.9). So...
Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. (Indian guests leave and devotees offer obeisances) I talk with the professor of religion sometimes, "What is the meaning of religion?"
Devotee: Professor of Religion from Emory University, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Professor of Religion.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. What is that college you are employed?
Professor Fenton: Emory University. Its about three miles from here.
Prabhupāda: So, what definition you give to religion?
Professor Fenton: It has to do with saving, something that binds societies together. It has to do with the supernatural of the God. And... Sometimes...
Prabhupāda: That there is relationship with God. Is it not? Religion has got relationship with God.
Professor Fenton: Yes. But sometimes it's simply something that holds a society together. Both are religion. Sometimes religion is shameful; sometimes it's man's highest glory.
Prabhupāda: Hmm... (aside:) You come here, I could not follow him.
Satsvarūpa: He says sometimes religion is shameful.
Prabhupāda: What is that shameful?
Satsvarūpa: Shameful, something a... Not good. Uh, disgraceful.
Devotee (2): Ashamed.
Satsvarūpa: There is a false religion and there's... Sometimes religion is the most glorious thing.
Prabhupāda: Then there is no standard definition of religion. Sometimes this, sometimes that, like that. What is the definition...?
Satsvarūpa: There seems to be no standard definition of religion. Sometimes it's this and sometimes that. Isn't there something more definitive you could...?
Professor Fenton: Oh, no. The more I study it, the more it slips through my fingers. I've been teaching for fourteen years and still don't know what I'm teaching.
Prabhupāda: Just like Christian religion, what it is teaching?
Professor Fenton: Christian? It is the humanization of man, to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And why trust Lord Jesus Christ?
Professor Fenton: Because he is the root to reality, the truth.
Prabhupāda: That means he's son of God, is it not?
Professor Fenton: Yes, but I personally am not that orthodox. That is the orthodox teaching.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Teaching must be orthodox; otherwise what is the value? If the teaching changes, that is not very good.
Professor Fenton: Well, it may be that it changed in the early history of Christianity through Greek influence on its Jewish background.
Prabhupāda: It is changing now also. They are... So change is of the material world. In the spiritual world there is no change: absolute. In the relative world there is change. So our definition of religion is little different from the worldly definition. Our definition... "Our" means there should be the real definition: religion means the laws which are given by God.
Professor Fenton: Sanātana-dharma.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. Sanātana... Yes, religion should be sanātana. Sanātana means there cannot be any change. Just like every living being eats. You cannot change it. You cannot say that this living entity is not eating. Apart from human society, even in animal society, a living being eats. This is his religion. Sleeps, has sex—these are eternal characteristics. Similarly, religion means spiritual characteristic. That spiritual characteristic is also pervertedly reflected in the material world. Just like everyone is servant. Anyone, any one of us, we are all servant. You are serving the University. He is serving the...
Devotee: (explaining) He is serving. Serving.
Prabhupāda: He is serving International Society. I am serving Kṛṣṇa, or he is serving Kṛṣṇa, like that. So everyone is servant. This is religion—to remain a servant. It does not mean that the Hindus are only servant, or Muslims are servant and Christians are not. Everyone is servant. Is it not a fact?
Professor Fenton: I hope it is.
Prabhupāda: So that servitude or service has to be rendered to God. That is perfection of service. So that is religion. We are serving—I am serving this, you are serving that, you are serving... But when that service is rendered to God, Kṛṣṇa, that is perfect service, perfect, perfection, ah..., satisfaction. That is religion. According to Sanskrit dictionary or..., what is it called? The dictionary?
Satsvarūpa: Sanskrit dictionary?
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Religion..., in Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa, God, is demanding that you surrender. This surrender business is of the servant. Just like I can say to my servant, "Just hear me, what I say. Do it." And he does it. That is servant. A servant cannot dictate; the master can dictate. Servant is to obey the dictation of the master. That is religion. When the servant obeys the dicta... (aside—indistinct; sounds of things being moved around) Hmm. Take this picture, keep there. This picture. Here, here. You come here. Take this vase down. Yes. We... God is great. God is great. Do you understand? God is great.
Professor Fenton: Great.
Prabhupāda: And we are subordinate. Is it not our position?
Professor Fenton: Being servant, yes.
Prabhupāda: This is our position. God is maintainer and we are maintained. God is predominator and we are predominated. This is our position. We are not equal to God, neither over God. We are always subordinate. And why you are subordinate? Because He maintains us. That is the difference between God and ourselves. He is the Supreme Being and we are subordinate being. We are maintained by God. That is Vedic instruction. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). This is understanding of God. He is nitya, He's eternal, and we are also eternal because we are samples of God. God is great and perfect, and in our this position we are subordinate, and in material condition we are imperfect. So even if we become perfect, still we remain subordinate. Therefore our position is always to abide by the orders of God. This is religion. When we abide by the orders of God, then we are religious. When we do not, then we are demons, or Satan. Aiye.
(Hindi conversation with arriving guests, inviting them to come in and asking whether they have been to the temple in Vṛndāvana)
So the religion means to remain faithful to God and abide by His order. That is religion. (end)