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730831 - Conversation - London

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

730831R1-LONDON - August 31, 1973 - 35:32 Minutes

Guest: . . . wisdom was not of the Western order . . .

Prabhupāda: No.

Guest: . . . nor any means at all.

Prabhupāda: No.

Guest: And since it's so very rare that I have an opportunity of hearing such wisdom, I decided to be bold enough to seek more of what you've got to say.

Prabhupāda: Thank you. (laughs) So, everything is stated in our books. You have seen all our books?

Guest: I've only seen vaguely, but I will have a look, of course.

Prabhupāda: You can show all the books. (break)

Guest (1): Could you tell me.

Prabhupāda: Here is one of them.

Pradyumna: This is Kṛṣṇa Book.

Prabhupāda: Oh, this is second part. You have got the first part? Second part is there.

Pradyumna: This is Kṛṣṇa Book and Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

Guest: (break) If I tell you how far I have been traveling, you will know into which coach to put me, yes?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: I have been seeking all my life, and I expect when I was about twenty-two I became a convert from Judaism to the Christian Church. And of recent years, as a result of a very serious illness, a heart attack, I began to get other experiences which took me right away from all this knowledge, but no wisdom. I gathered a lot of knowledge, to the extent that I was, well, I was getting nowhere.

I knew all about God, but didn't know what He . . . who He was. I knew all about Him though. Then I was led to understand a lot of other things which did not come by reading. I couldn't tell you. They just came. Thoughts, from wherever they were, they came. So I am now currently at the stage where I acknowledge that the certainty of this world isn't worth knowing about.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: We've got to live here, of course. It seems to me almost daily that the next processes in life are the much more interesting and exciting ones. But when I hear you speak of Bhagavad-gītā and so on, I know nothing about these people. So now where do I start?

Prabhupāda: You have to start from Bhagavad-gītā.

Guest (1): That's this one. Yes, right.

Prabhupāda: Yes. First of all, we have to understand what is that force which is moving this body. Then we come to the spiritual platform. As you understand, the nature of the soul, that is very elaborately explained in different way, negative, positive way, what is the soul. This morning, every morning, I speak on this Bhagavad-gītā. If you find time you can come. At quarter past seven, I'm beginning, for one hour.

Guest: Now for . . . that is for Saturday and Sunday?

Prabhupāda: No, every day.

Guest: Every day.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: Right. I will do something about it.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So . . . we . . . this is the first step of spiritual understanding, that one must know that he's not this body. Actually, anyone can understand. It is very simple thing. I'm not this body, because I had many types of body, in this life also, a child's body, a baby's body, boy's body, youth's body. Now we have got different body. So the body's changing. That's a fact. The child, you do not possess any more that your childhood body. It is gone. Your boyhood body—gone. Your youthhood body—gone. Now you have got a different body. So although the bodies are not existing, you are existing. That's a fact.

Guest: Yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: Therefore, the conclusion should be that body may change or may not remain, but the soul is eternal. Therefore, the next body means when this body will be useless . . . I am old man, you are also getting old. What is your age now? What is your age now?

Guest: My age? I'm fifty-six.

Prabhupāda: Fifty-six. I am seventy-eight. I may be of your father's age.

Guest: We are both still boys, aren't we?

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes. Spiritually you were young. The body's getting old. Just like your garment, your shirt and coat: it may be torn, but you are not torn. These things are all explained very nicely.

Guest: I shall read them.

Prabhupāda: So in this way, as soon as we understand or become convinced that I am not this body, then spiritual education begins. I am different. Then the next question will be, then what for I am working? Naturally at the present moment we are working for this body, maintenance of the body—for eating, sleeping, having facility for sex life or sense gratification and to protect this body from being harmed. This is our business.

But if I am not this body, then—I am spirit soul—then the next question will be, What I am doing for the spirit soul? But actually I am working for this body because I, spirit soul, is within this body. Just like we are keeping this room fit for habitation because I am living here. Three months or four months ago we are not in possession of this room. So we were not anxious about this room, because we were not living.

So actually I am keeping my body fit, nice, just to live within this body. Therefore actually I do not love this body, I love myself. And to keep myself in a nice position, I love this room or this house. My main business is to get me, as I am, comfortable. Not that it is my business to keep this house neat and clean only. No. No, my business is to keep myself fit.

So actually I love my soul. Then if you analyze, studying your soul, what is the constitution, you'll find the soul is part and parcel of God. Then you come to the platform that you love the soul because you love God. The ultimate issue is God. As you love this body because you love the soul, similarly, you love the soul because you love God. And that is now lost. We are embarrassed in the affairs of loving this body. The background we have forgotten. This is our present stage. Therefore we are in confusion. There is no satisfaction.

Guest: May I ask, please?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: I do believe very firmly that my soul is immortal.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: Not that it will go on, but that it always has been, so far as I can understand. Now, because of my personal experience of the teaching and love of Jesus Christ, I know that he died so that those, particularly in his time, and for all time, should live. Now if I believe that I am immortal, what does his saying really mean that I haven't quite understood? If he said that he died for me, that I might live, and if in fact I believe that I live anyway, what does it mean? Can you tell me?

Prabhupāda: Christ?

Haṁsadūta: What does it mean that Christ died for us, in order that we may live? Or in other words, died for our sins. He wants to know, because he's going to live anyway, he's eternal anyway, what is the meaning of that statement? What is the meaning?

Prabhupāda: So far I understand, the Christians give explanation that Christ took the resultant action of sinful life of everyone, and he condoned by his giving his own life. Is that not?

Haṁsadūta: Yes. It is.

Prabhupāda: So . . .

Haṁsadūta: But I think the idea is that on one condition: that the people, anyone who is Christian, they agree to follow his commandment, his order, which is so many things—thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery—on that condition. He gave his life in the service of God on this condition, to teach this message. Anyone who would accept him, they would become free from sin . . .

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Haṁsadūta: . . . if they accept his teaching. That is the meaning of the statement.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Guest: Well now, see, what does honestly bother me is . . . I believe that because there is a spirituality about his message that I have not seen all these years. Is the immortality that he has offered, for instance, me—I must talk in the first person—is it a universal thing that's happened all through time, or is it something that belongs to just when he died?

Prabhupāda: No, universal things are also eternal. Everything. The nature. Nature is also eternal.

Guest: I see. Right. I'm beginning to understand that. Another thing I would like to know very much is that I feel, but have no proof, that I have experience in my . . . in the things I do, which lead me to believe that my experience is based on a memory I don't understand, which, which belongs to previous lifetimes. Now is that, a fa . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes, previous life there was. Just like previously, you were a child. Previously, you were a boy. Previously, you were a young man. So similarly, we had previous life. Previous life means not exactly in this body but another body. But I am eternal. I live either in this body or in another body. Just like I'm a person, I live in this apartment or any other apartment. The apartment may change, but the person who lives in the apartment, he does not change. Similarly, I am spirit soul. I am simply changing different apartments. But there is a life, because I am eternal, where I haven't got to change apartment. I get permanent residence.

Guest: I see.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That we are preaching. That is spiritual life, that you act in such a way that you haven't got to change any more apartment. Suppose, take for example, we were living in rented house. Now George has given us this house. Now we haven't got to change. It is a crude example. We can live, until our death. Similarly, so long you are in material existence, you have to change this body, different types of body. But if you become fit for spiritual existence, you get rid or get out of this entanglement of changing body. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We are teaching our people that "You become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Live like that." (someone enters) Come on. "Then you get permanent life."

Guest: And now, you did mention . . .

Prabhupāda: (aside) You can find out that verse, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9), yes. I'll read one verse. You'll understand. Janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ, Fourth Chapter.


janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so 'rjuna
(BG 4.9)

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Prabhupāda: Purport.

Pradyumna: "The Lord's descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the sixth verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy."

"The impersonalists and the yogīs attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve—merging into the impersonal brahma-jyotir of the Lord—is only partial, and there is the risk of returning again to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning again to this material world."

"In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam (Bs. 5.33). Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas: eko devo nitya-līlānurakto bhakta-vyāpī hṛdy antarātmā: 'The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees.' "

"This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Gītā personally by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations, attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith one can, without a doubt, attain liberation."

Guest: Yes, I understood all that. Now also, whilst listening, I could quite see that you gain a freedom through grace, and don't have to come back here again. And then I thought that you personally must have come back here because you wanted to. Because you had a job to do, perhaps. Well, obviously—not perhaps.

Prabhupāda: Come back?

Pradyumna: He said that you must have come back here because you had a job to do.

Guest: You see you, if you were freed in your previous time and did not have to come back, it does occur to me that you have come back because you have a job to do.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is also, just like Kṛṣṇa comes. Similarly Kṛṣṇa's son, God's son, sometimes he comes. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa's great devotee, servant, he comes, because the spiritual enlightenment to the fallen souls, that is required. So in the human society, when the living entity gets the chance of having this human form of life, he has got the facility to understand his position, how to go back to home, back to Godhead. So that facility is offered by God, by Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we have got these books, we have got spiritual master, we have got ācāryas—just to enlighten these fallen souls to go back to home, back to Godhead.

Guest: Now you did say, I think you did just tell me earlier, that I think you said Kṛṣṇa or somebody last came five hundred years ago.

Prabhupāda: No, Lord Caitanya.

Guest: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: Lord Caitanya. He is Kṛṣṇa, He came as Kṛṣṇa's devotee.

Guest: I see, and that was five hundred years ago.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: Is it . . .? Do you expect Him to come again?

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is not very soon.

Guest: Not very soon.

Prabhupāda: No. That is mentioned in the scriptures, that at the end of this millennium, this yuga, Kalki avatāra will come. Kalki avatāra.

Guest: Yes. Now, because I am only versed in the Western sense of the Old and New Testament, I understand that Christ is coming again at the end of this non-believing age in the world. Does that coincide with the son of God that you understand, or is that a different sort of coming?

Prabhupāda: No . . .

Haṁsadūta: Actually, in the Bible there's, some mentions there the description that the Lord will come and He will ride on a white steed, on a white horse. And at that time He will kill all the nondevotee people. It's also in the Bible.

Guest: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: So this Kalki, this incarnation of Kṛṣṇa which comes at the end of this age, He's described, He will come and ride on a white horse all over the world, and all the . . . and He will . . .

Prabhupāda: Kill.

Haṁsadūta: Kill. Because at that time the people will be so degraded, they will not be able to accept any instructions. So the only mercy He can bestow on them is just to finish, finish the whole business. And by that killing in the presence of the Lord they also achieve salvation. This is the mercy of God. Absolute.

Guest: Yes. That, in some way, to me at this moment, it seems to be an echo of the Old Testament prophetic promises of the end of the last age, and also the revelation in the New Testament. Can this be the son of God revealing himself to the East and the West in different forms, but the same personality? I'm presuming that . . .

Haṁsadūta: God is meant for everybody. Doesn't matter East or West. Just like Kṛṣṇa appeared in India, but we are not Indians. We are all Americans and Europeans, so . . . just like the sun. The sun may appear over London, or England, but it's not English sun. Everyone's sun. Similarly, when God appears or God's representative appears, it's meant for everyone.

Guest: Yes. So, forgive me if I talk across you, please, won't you.

Prabhupāda: That's all right, yes.

Guest: Yes. So now, thinking on the terms that you have just quoted me, if I as a Jew, as a born Jew, seeing also with Christian conviction that according to the Old New Testament this Christ will come again in a latter day, and as a Jew particularly I was taught to believe that he's coming to save the Jews in their land when they're besieged. But I, of course I've always understood anyway that all nations will see him for their own particular reasons but it will still be that one coming, and whilst he may come to, shall we say, the Jewish Jerusalem, he will obviously be going to everybody else's place at the same time, I think. If place and time exists then, that's the whole . . .

Haṁsadūta: Well, the whole thing is that we can't speculate on God. We simply have to accept the authoritative statements of scripture.

Guest: Yes.

Haṁsadūta: Just like if we see . . . just like suppose President Nixon, it's announced: "Mr. Nixon is coming July 7th, 1974, to London." So this is an authoritative statement, so we accept it. We don't speculate, "Maybe he comes in August," or what he's going to do. So similarly God is so great, He can make a program over thousands and thousands of years. For instance, this Bhāgavatam, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, was compiled 5,000 years ago, and in the Bhāgavatam the appearance of Buddha is foretold, who appeared 2,400 years after that book was compiled. And Caitanya is . . . that is 5,000 years later. And Kalki avatāra is yet to come, 400,000 years from now. So God is so great that He can give His program so many thousands of years in advance, and we simply should accept it on that basis. We shouldn't speculate any further.

Guest: Fair enough.

Haṁsadūta: Whatever is given there in the śāstra, in the scripture, and whatever, we should accept it as perfect, that's all. That is our position. We should just accept the perfect.

Guest: Unquestioning.

Haṁsadūta: Yes, without . . . not without questioning. If there is some . . . but not with speculation or challenging.

Guest: No. I didn't mean to speculate, I'm sure you appreciate that. I just am wondering whether the smallness of my perception in seeing him coming for almost a national purpose, whereas in fact he's coming for an international . . .

Haṁsadūta: A spiritual purpose. Spiritual. Beyond even international. Spiritual. Because on the spiritual platform the nation is one, God's nation, kingdom of God.

Guest: Well for instance today, this evening, I have found that what I have always heard of as Kṛṣṇa is your term for God, isn't it?

Haṁsadūta: Yes. God has many names, but the chief name, best name, is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means the all-attractive. He attracts everyone.

Guest: Yes. Now in speaking some while ago to some Muslims, they were saying that there is only one God, and Allah is His name. Now . . .?

Haṁsadūta: Yes, that's a fact. God is one. But because He's the supreme, His names are many.

Guest: Many, right, lovely.

Haṁsadūta: Just like you have two or three names. You children call you "Daddy," your wife is calling you by some name, the boss calls you by another name, the neighbors by another name. So we are ordinary; we have already three, four names. God has millions of names. But He is one.

Guest: Lovely. That's a very helpful expression. Thank you very much.

Haṁsadūta: And similarly religion is one. Because God is one, His religion . . . because religion means law of God. Whatever He speaks, it must be the same everywhere, either in the Bible, Koran or Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, we are making so many differentiations or distinctions or contradictions. But actually, on principle, there is only one religion. If we actually understand religion, the word of God, law of God, there can't be two religions. Just like mathematics is one.

Guest: I do feel that. It's because I feel that so very strongly that I cannot feel impelled to give allegiance to any sect at all. It's repugnant to me.

Haṁsadūta: Sectarianism is the great enemy of . . .

Guest: It is. It's a dreadful thing.

Prabhupāda: From practical life, just like world's principal religion, Christianism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Muhammadanism also, the principle of not killing is there, every religion. Buddhism, they're completely for not killing. No circumstances, at any circumstances killing is not allowed. Similarly, in Vedic religion, killing is not allowed, but at circumstances, it is allowed. Similarly Christianity, they also say: "Thou shall not kill." Muhammadans also, they allow killing, but circumstantially. So the principle of killing is forbidden every religion. Every religion.

So the principle of religion is one. Take, for example, in every religion there is acceptance of God, and religion means to abide by the order of God. So how there can be two religion? There cannot be two religions. "I believe like that," "We believe like that," these are man-made. But actual religion is that God is one, and religion means the orders, the law given by God. That's all. Simple definition. Just like state is one, government is one, and to become good citizen means to abide by the laws of the government. That's all. Those . . . one who is abiding by the laws of God, he is perfect religionist. It doesn't matter whether he's a Hindu, he's a Muslim or Christian. Whether he has got proper sense what is meant by God and what is the order of God, then he is religionist, perfect religionist.

Guest: I understand, I think, most of what you have said. I will definitely come to some of your morning lectures, and I believe I must read one of these books, too.

Prabhupāda: Yes, you can read . . .

Guest: To know a bit more. So next time I come and see you, I shall be smiling a bit more.

Prabhupāda: All right. (laughs)

Guest: Thank you very, very much. And now perhaps you can guide me and tell me what to do, which one, you know, that I ought to be concerned with?

Pradyumna: Yes.

Guest: And I will take my leave of the master, yes? Thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: You can . . . he wants Bhagavad-gītā?

Pradyumna: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Read.

Guest: Thank you very, very much.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Thanks for your coming.

Pradyumna: Take a sweet.

Guest: Certainly. Thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. (break)

Girl: . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: No, you can sit down here. Take this pad, comfortable seat.

Girl: I know that our bodies are not eternal, and we have to leave them, and some are made male bodies and some are made female bodies. But our spirits, our souls, are there any difference?

Prabhupāda: No. As spirit soul there is no difference. Bodily difference is material.

Girl: Why is there a bodily difference?

Prabhupāda: Because you desired a body like that. God is so kind, Kṛṣṇa is so kind, whatever you desire, He fulfills. So this fulfillment requires a certain condition. So the body is conditional.

Girl: I don't know enough to ask you any questions, but I'm very happy to be here.

Prabhupāda: It is very difficult to understand?

Girl: No, no.

Haṁsadūta: She says she doesn't know enough to ask you any more questions, but she's very happy to talk with you.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Girl: I think the devotees inspiring me a little. (chuckles) (end)