740524 - Conversation A - Rome
(Conversation with Catholic Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope - His Eminence Cardinal Pignedoli and Monsignor Verrozano)
Yogeśvara: That dharma by which the soul becomes fully satisfied . . .
Yogeśvara: . . . can it be found anywhere else aside from Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: I don't think.
Yogeśvara: In other words . . .
Prabhupāda: Because they are all ahaitukī; there is motive. Motive. And conditional. Therefore it is very difficult. And it is clearly said, ahaituky apratihatā (SB 1.2.6). That is the version. (break)
Dhanañjaya: . . . our spiritual master, and he is the founder of our International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you.
Dhanañjaya: This is Prabhupāda's first visit to Rome, to Italy.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Oh, yes. You will stay some days here?
Bhagavān: You have visited India?
Cardinal Pignedoli: Oh, I have been many times, yeah, in India.
Bhagavān: You have been to Vṛndāvana?
Cardinal Pignedoli: No, I have been to Vārāṇasī, to Calcutta, to Bombay, Agra, Darjeeling and many other places in . . . Nepal also.
Prabhupāda: Nepal. My birthplace is in Calcutta.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes, very nice. New Delhi, same. And Monsignor too, he has visited all the places, huh?
Monsignor Verrozano: South India.
Cardinal Pignedoli: In Kerala?
Monsignor Verrozano: Kerala, Tiruchirappalli . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: I haven't been there.
Monsignor Verrozano: . . . Cochin, Madras. Bombay, of course. Yes, last year I attended a kind of manifestation of your movement in Bombay.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, I visited.
Prabhupāda: Bombay, there was function.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Prabhupāda: At that time, you were there?
Monsignor Verrozano: In January.
Dhanañjaya: At Cross Maidan. Cross Maidan.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Bhagavān: That was our festival, the Bhāgavata-dharma discourses. We had a festival program in India. We've had one in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, and for one week, and Śrīla Prabhupāda has spoken many times every night there. There's been thousands of people, ten thousand people.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, yes. And just last year about the twentieth of January, it was this week of festivals also, this . . . (indistinct) . . . of preaching sermons, many manifestations. Many people attended, and I too visited this, yes, also.
Prabhupāda: In Calcutta also we had such functions. About thirty thousand people were coming in . . . (indistinct)
Monsignor Verrozano: Could you be so kind to say to us something about your movement which is spread in the world.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Our movement is that . . . that is first-class religious system which teaches how to love God. This is the sum and substance of our movement. There is a Sanskrit statement in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,
- sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
- yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
- ahaituky apratihatā
- yayātmā suprasīdati
- (SB 1.2.6)
If you want to be happy, then you must take to the superior type of religious system which teaches the followers how to love God without any motive, and which is never checked by any material condition. God's name is given here as Adhokṣaja. Adhokṣaja means beyond experimental knowledge. God has got many name according to different situation, and one of the name, for the materialistic person, Adhokṣaja. Akṣaja means experimental knowledge. Akṣa means eyes or senses. Beyond sense perception. So we cannot speculate about God, but we can understand about God from authorities. This is the conception of Bhāgavata-dharma.
So the human life is especially meant for understanding God. That is the version of the Vedānta-sūtra, Vedānta philosophy. The Vedānta philosophy teaches, athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now this human form of body, which is above the lower grades of forms . . ." There are 8,400,000 forms of body. The soul is transmigrating, evolution. But when we get this human form of body, our main business is to inquire about God. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Now, if somebody inquires what is God, the immediate reply is, God is the source, original source of everything. Janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). So the human form of life is meant for understanding God, and according to our philosophy, if human body is not utilized for understanding God, then it is misused. If we simply spoil our life like the animals—eating, sleeping, sex life and defending—then the human life is spoiled like animals. The real necessity of human life is to understand God. Not only to understand God superficially, but to understand our eternal relationship with Him, and then prayojana, the ultimate goal of life, is to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is ultimate goal. And if you simply try to understand God as we get it from the revealed scriptures, then after giving up this body, tyaktvā dehaṁ . . . Deham means this body. After this death . . . There are many deaths in many bodies, but after this death, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9), he does not enter again into the material body. In his original, spiritual body he goes back to home, back to Godhead.
So this is sum and substance of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and we have got many Vedic literatures about it, especially the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So we have published Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. The publisher is Messrs. Macmillan and Company, and we are selling. It has already gone fifth edition. And each edition they have published fifty thousand copies, and this is the preliminary study book, to understand God. And then, when one is passed of this knowledge, then he can be given the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which we have published like this, sixty volumes, all original verses from Bhāgavatam, and explained. Then . . . This is graduate study. Then after this there is postgraduate study, this Caitanya-caritāmṛta. This book is in twelve volumes, and other book, Bhāgavatam, is sixty volumes. There are many other corollaries, just like Science of Devotion. Have you got this book? No. Nectar of Devotion. So we have already published about two dozen books of this nature. So people are accepting, especially in the Western countries. Recently we have received report, some of the learned scholar professors, they have ordered all the books. They have introduced in their class, Yale University, Temple University. And they are enlisting my books in the bibliography of Indian philosophy, and they are distributing to the learned circles. And last year we have sold . . . Eh?
Dhanañjaya: Four million pieces.
Prabhupāda: Four millions pieces of books in the Western countries. So you are encouraged. And these boys, young boys, they have encouraged me by joining this movement. And one priest in Boston, he issued one pamphlet that "These boys are our boys. How is that? Before that, they did not come to church. They did not inquire what is God. And now why they are mad after God?" This was his remark. And some of the American public, they inquire from them, "Are you Americans?"
So this movement is getting ground all over the world, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and amongst the higher scholarly section also. This is sum and substance of our movement. Our principle is to become sinless. Because in the Bhagavad-gītā you will find this verse. (aside:) Find out.
- yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- (BG 7.28)
Yeṣām, y-e-s-a-m. A person who is completely free from all sinful contamination, such person can become a pure devotee of God. Yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām, te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā. (aside) Read it.
- yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- (BG 7.28)
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination."
Nitāi: "Those eligible for elevation to the transcendental position are mentioned in this verse. For those who are sinful, atheistic, foolish and deceitful, it is very difficult to transcend the duality of desire and hate. Only those who have passed their lives in practicing the regulative principles of religion, who have acted piously and have conquered sinful reactions can accept devotional service and gradually rise to the pure knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, gradually, they can meditate in trance on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the process of being situated on the spiritual platform. This elevation is possible in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the association of pure devotees, who can deliver one from delusion.
"It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that if one actually wants to be liberated, he must render service to the devotees; but one who associates with materialistic people is on the path leading to the darkest region of existence. All the devotees of the Lord traverse this earth just to recover the conditioned souls from their delusion. The impersonalists do not know that forgetting their constitutional position as subordinate to the Supreme Lord is the greatest violation of God's law. Unless one is reinstated in his own constitutional position, it is not possible to understand the Supreme Personality nor to be fully engaged in His transcendental loving service with determination."
Prabhupāda: So we forbid our students to refrain from four sinful activities: No illicit sex life, no meat-eating, and no intoxication, up to drinking tea, coffee or smoking. They are also intoxicants. And no gambling. These four principles they avoid completely. And as it is recommended in this book, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65): "Always think of Me," man-manā. "Just become My devotee. Just offer your obeisances unto Me and just worship Me." Four principles. If you follow these four principles without any offense, then you go back to home, back to Godhead. So for remembering God, we chant always God's name on these beads.
Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare
Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare
(door buzzer sounds) And we worship . . . (pause) (someone enters) (guest showing pictures) This is also a church?
Monsignor Verrozano: This is Japan. This is from Tibet.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. Tibet. Also a gift of Dalai Lama.
Monsignor Verrozano: Buddhist, but this is from India.
Prabhupāda: This is Hindu temple.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. The Mahakrish.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, I think that because you are friends of God, we are friends to God, we are all friends, and this is good. But I think that, if I understand it well, that your aim is to reach people who are unbelievers or people who are atheistic, as you said before. And then I would like to know . . . You are not obliged; you are completely free to do what you want. But I would like to know if you go into these places or amongst these people . . . There are many places and many peoples in the world who are in these conditions, without faith and without the spiritual values. Because it is for us, we hope so. We are good friends of God, and we are always in our prayers and meditation united to God, and to . . . But we thank you for your visit and for your . . . for this reason we are good friends altogether. But I would like to know historically your work, I mean if you go into these areas or into these places where is possible. For instance, take the example of Russia, eh? Now you are in good relations. India and Russia, probably for Indians it is easier than for Europeans or for some of our countries or for Americans. Are you . . . Have you this problem? Do you go into these areas, into these places?
Prabhupāda: Yes. I went to Moscow. I was invited.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Because they need badly. They need this spirit of friendship with God and with His supreme values. God . . . Well, I wouldn't say to the Muslim world, because they are good believers, and God is probably . . . they are more faithful to. And for instance, these areas of the modern world like, also in the States sometime, because these big cities like New York or Tokyo or Toronto, and so on, these are cities where they are areas where spiritual values have no meaning for these people. It's a pity, and we have to be very open and very friendly to them. I gather this. And your method is meditation and prayer, eh, if I understand it well.
Prabhupāda: There are two things. We recommend two things. For the mass of people, this prayer, kīrtana, a prayer: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma . . . So this is prayer. Hare means appealing to the energy of God. And Kṛṣṇa is God. "O the energy of God, O God, please engage me in Your service." This is the sum and substance of the Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare: "O the energy of God, Kṛṣṇa, O the Lord, please engage me in Your service." Because we are now engaged in the service of Satan, māyā. I think . . . Māyā. So therefore we are suffering. Service we have to render, because we are meant for rendering service. But when you forget God, then you render service to māyā. Therefore it is the prayer to God that "Please pick me from this service and engage me to Your service." That's all. Service is my occupation. I cannot become master. That is not possible. The Māyāvādī philosopher, they sometimes say that "We are now in māyā. As soon as we are out of māyā, then we become master." We do not agree to this philosophy. We remain servant even after liberation. We are servant here, and we are servant always. Just like a citizen and government. The government is always master. If you do not accept the laws of government, then you are put into prison. There also you are subjected to the laws of God, or the government. Similarly, either in māyā or liberated, we are always servant, eternal servant. But when we are servant in liberation, giving service to God, that is our real life, or real happiness. But when we give service to the māyā, that is our miserable condition. So in Moscow I have been. I had a long talk with Professor Kotovsky, the indologist.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. Did you talk with people there? Were you permitted, were you allowed to talk with the people in the streets and so on?
Cardinal Pignedoli: You were.
Prabhupāda: No, not on the street. Some of the boys, they came to my hotel. So, so far I saw, the people, they are very nice. They are very nice, but the government suppresses their sentiments. Everyone has got religious sentiments. The people is as good as in other places. I don't find any difference. It is not that the whole Russia is atheist. It is not that. They are as others. They are like that. And our philosophy is that everyone is God conscious; simply it is being suppressed, either by the so-called leaders or by the influence of external energy, which is called māyā. We have got a verse in this Caitanya-caritāmṛta where it is said that nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-bhakti sādhya kabhu naya (CC Madhya 22.107). It is not an artificial thing. To make one God conscious is not artificial. God consciousness is there, even in the life of aborigines, most crude people. It has to be awakened by education. Śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte. One has to be educated. And he should be given chance to hear about God. And then, as soon as he becomes purified in his consciousness, he accepts and begins to love God. So it is not an artificial thing. Either in Russia or any place, any human being, he has got dormant love for God. It has to be awakened by processes. Therefore I began: That process which quickly awakens that God consciousness and engages him in the service of the Lord, that is first-class religious system. Paro dharmaḥ. Paraḥ means first class. But simply a sentiment will not help. Therefore religion must be based on philosophy, and my spiritual master used to say this, that "Philosophy without religion is mental speculation, and religion without philosophy is sentimentality." They should be combined. Philosophy and religion must be . . . Or religion must be based on philosophy. Then it is perfect. We cannot separate these two things. Simple philosophical speculation will not help, and simple sentiments, rituals, formalities will not also. They should be combined. So this combination is here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā.
Monsignor Verrozano: In our Christian faith the love of God is joined with the love for man. Are you also interested with this love for man, for our rivals?
Prabhupāda: No, love for man . . . Let me say it. Love for man is imperfect conception, because God is for everyone. God is not monopolized by simply the human society. The animal society, the bird society, the tree society, they are all living entities, soul. According to our karma, they are differently dressed. That is the most important philosophy, that soul is part and parcel of God. Somehow or other, the soul is now separated from the service of the Lord, and according to his desire of enjoying this material world, he has been offered different types of body. So either human being or animal or trees or aquatics, birds, beasts, everyone, all living entities, they are all part and parcel of God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ. (aside:) Can you find out this?
- sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
- sambhavanti (yaḥ) murtayaḥ
- tāsāṁ mahad-yonir brahma
- ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
- (BG 14.4)
There are different species of life, sarva-yoni. Yoni means species of life. And there are forms, different forms. But within that form . . . (aside) Yes, read it.
- sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
- murtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
- tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
- ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
- (BG 14.4)
"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father."
Prabhupāda: That's it. So from God's standpoint of view, we cannot take simply that to serve the human being is to serve God. Another point is that living entities, the service, according to Sanskrit conception, service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior, mercy. There are two words: sevā, the Sanskrit word sevā, and dayā. You know something of Sanskrit, no?
Monsignor Verrozano: Some words, yes.
Prabhupāda: Seva means service. So service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior, or subordinate, we offer our compassion. So similarly, as we are eager to give service, similarly, we should be eager to be compassionate. So it is not very good idea . . . Just like in India they say daridra-nārāyaṇa, some mission, that to give service to the human being and cut the throat of the animals. This philosophy is not good.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. I have something in the Bhagavad-gītā. If I am not wrong, in the Chapter Eighteen of Bhagavad-gītā, verse sixty-four, there is the affirmation that God loves man, "You are beloved for Me." And in some cases, we consider this affirmation as the very core of Indian religiosity, and we appreciate very much this affirmation of love of God for man.
Monsignor Verrozano: What do you think about this . . .
Prabhupāda: No. Man is supposed to be elevated position, how to love God. (break) . . . cannot make any distinction between a human being and animal. That is really the symptom of God, that sarva-yoniṣu . . . Just like if I am obedient son of my father, how can I neglect one son who is very stupid? Rather, if I say to my father, "Father, this son is stupid. He does not bring any service. So please allow me to cut his head," the father will never agree. The father, either a stupid son or very intelligent son, he is kind to everyone, because they are sons. So similarly, if a man is real lover of God, he cannot cut throat of the animals. I think, therefore, Jesus Christ said, "Thou shall not kill." That is not . . . If actually one is lover of God, how he can give trouble, pains, to others? That is not possible.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Excuse me if I insist on the first question I asked for. Your aim, your most important aim, if I understood it well, is to bring the faith and love for God to man. No? This is your first aim, to encourage man to be a . . .
Prabhupāda: Lover of God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: To become lovers of God, friends to God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: All right. Do you believe, I mean now from the point of view of facts, of events—not of ideas; of events, of reality—do you think there are many—these men who are without spiritual ideas in the world of today?
Cardinal Pignedoli: Mostly. You think so.
Cardinal Pignedoli: And then you think that men of God are a minority?
Cardinal Pignedoli: This you admit. Well, and then I ask for a second question. Before, I give to you an example. I have a hobby, as many men in the world, they have their own hobbies. My hobby is to, I mean . . .
Prabhupāda: God has also some hobby.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. What I used to do when I am traveling . . . I travel a lot. I used to make friends among young people, generally teenagers. And then I choose always—I try to do this—people who are unbeliever, who are in difficulties, who are men of the weak faith and who don't love, at least, they say they don't love God. Because I think that we are few men who love God, friends to God . . . We are not many. And we have to go and to look for these people, and for these areas or environments where these peoples live. And it is for this reason that I say always when I am good friends, you know . . . Priests, Catholic priests, will, go to an area, because here is too many. They don't need you here, but go to, well, I would say Stockholm or go to Copenhagen, where there are a few really also, Christians, I mean Catholic or Protestants. We are all brothers. But they go there because there are very few people who are dedicated to God. What do you believe about this? I mean your Society, your movement, your spiritual movement, is dedicated for this kind of people and for these areas, or not? I ask. It's not . . .
Prabhupāda: For all.
Cardinal Pignedoli: For all. Well, also we are for all. But I mean, you have not so many people. You have some thousand people. Do they . . . Do you prefer for this your people? Do you prefer they go to a place where God is not known, where spiritual values are not estimated? Or they go also to places where God is loved and God is present.
Prabhupāda: No, we go everywhere.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Everywhere.
Prabhupāda: Just like you go in the villages of Africa. They are almost aborigines, with their . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: Local people. Local citizens.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So our process is so nice—that is recommended process in this age—the chanting the holy name of God. So we chant this holy name of God, perhaps you have seen: "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa," we dance.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Then anyone, even children, they join. Even the children, they join. Man, woman . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: It is very similar to the Christian masses. We bring it everywhere.
Prabhupāda: We have no such distinction. So to the mass of people, we chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. But when there are learned scholars, elevated person, then we present about our philosophy. And we have got so many writings. Both ways: the mass and the class, or the scholars. We are prepared to meet everyone. Our mission is to make everyone; no distinction, that "This class should be given preference, and that should be neglected." No. We have got instrument to awaken everyone. By chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, we can enthuse thousands and thousands of men to join us. And those who are advanced in philosophy and religious system, we have got these books. So we do not neglect anyone. We approach everyone.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, thank you for your explanations.
Prabhupāda: And it is being effective. It is being effective. In our group we find Africans, Americans, Indians, Europeans, Canadians, Japanese, Chinese—everyone.
Monsignor Verrozano: And what concern the Buddhist countries where God is not so, at least, the prayers or the name of God is not so well known? I am just coming from Bangkok, where we had a meeting with Buddhist monks of the . . . (indistinct) . . . order. And have you also some movement, some kind of action to spread love of God to . . . (indistinct) . . .?
Prabhupāda: Well, Buddhists, they do not believe in God.
Cardinal and Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So according to our Vedic conception, Buddhist philosophy is atheistic philosophy.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. Also practically . . . Theoretically yes, but practically, do you think that they are atheistic, practically? Because . . . Theoretically you see.
Prabhupāda: No, no. Our . . . Yes. Theoretically atheistic, but because they believe in Lord Buddha, they are theistic. Because we accept Lord Buddha as incarnation of God, Kṛṣṇa.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Also some of them, they believe in . . . They think Buddha is a god, and they are believers.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Buddha is God. That is stated. You will find . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: Excuse me if I go back for a moment to this question which is not that I ask if you are, excuse it, if you go only to some, you go to all the people. I agree this is not what . . . But because we are few . . . I give an example. Why, instead of going, suppose, to South Africa, where the majority, the great majority, are believers, you don't go to Japan?
Prabhupāda: Yes, we go.
Cardinal Pignedoli: This is more important, because you have not so many. If you go to South Africa, and although . . . I mean because also we. We have not so many. It's a question of possibility, of chances. Why you don't choose these . . .? This is my question. These areas where Japan, for instance, is an area very atheistic and where yesterday I had this sect with me of the not perfectly, but the . . . It's called . . .
Monsignor Verrozano: . . . (indistinct)
Cardinal Pignedoli: No. It's a different one. Mr. Kalyana is the president. He came yesterday. He came yesterday, Mr. Kalyana. Well, they don't believe, as you say. This is philosophy. Welfare is happiness, but not in your meaning, in my meaning. Well, this is only to ask. Then you go to Japan?
Dhanañjaya: Yes, we have a center in Tokyo.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We have got center in Japan, in Hong Kong.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Are you welcome in Japan? People are interested, eh?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Recently some of our preachers, they have collected fifty thousand dollars from the Japanese people. They wanted to contribute me for my Vṛndāvana temple, but the Japanese government will not allow to let the money go out. He wrote me. And I have seen personally, when I went . . . I went to Japan three, four times. These Japanese boys and girls, they are as good as these American, Europeans boys. And that is my practical . . . Or they, they are my students. They offer me respect so much. The Japanese boys, without being my students, they offer the same respect. So I thought that Japan is very good. Everywhere. That I told you already, that the love of Godhead is dormant in everyone. It doesn't matter what he is. It is the process to awaken that love of Godhead. That is first-class religion. The matter is already there. Simply we have to awaken. And now, that process which awakens very quickly, that is first-class religion. That is the first . . . And besides that, really understanding of God is very rarely found. In the . . . (aside) Find out this verse,
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścid vetti māṁ tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
"Out of many millions of persons," manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu, "somebody is trying to make his life perfect." Others, they are simply trying to enjoy life like animals. So manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye, and yatatām api siddhānām (BG 7.3): "And out of many millions of such persons who are trying to make his life perfect, hardly one can understand what is God." This is the statement. (aside:) Read it.
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
"Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection. And of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Read the purport.
Nitāi: "There are various grades of men, and out of many thousands one may be sufficiently interested in transcendental realization to try to know what is the self, what is the body, and what is the Absolute Truth. Generally mankind is simply engaged in the animal propensities, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating, and hardly anyone is interested in transcendental knowledge. The first six chapters of the Gītā are meant for those who are interested in transcendental knowledge, in understanding the self, the Superself and the process of realization by jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga and discrimination of the self from matter. However, Kṛṣṇa can only be known by persons who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Other transcendentalists may achieve impersonal Brahman realization, for this is easier than understanding Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person, but at the same time He is beyond the knowledge of Brahman and Paramātmā. The yogīs and jñānīs are confused in their attempts to understand Kṛṣṇa, although the greatest of the impersonalists, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, has admitted in his Gītā commentary that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But his followers do not accept Kṛṣṇa as such, for it is very difficult to know Kṛṣṇa, even though one has transcendental realization of impersonal Brahman.
"Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the primeval Lord Govinda.
- īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
- anādir ādir govindaḥ
- (Bs. 5.1)
It is very difficult for the nondevotees to know Him. Although nondevotees declare that the path of bhakti, or devotional service, is very easy, they cannot practice it. If the path of bhakti is so easy, as the nondevotee class of men proclaim, then why do they take up the difficult path? Actually, the path of bhakti is not easy. The so-called path of bhakti practiced by unauthorized persons without knowledge of bhakti may be easy, but when it is practiced factually, according to the rules and regulations, the speculative scholars and philosophers fall away from the path. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu:
- pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
- aikāntikī harer bhaktir
- utpātāyaiva kalpate
- (Brs. 1.2.101)
'Devotional service to the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, Nārada Pañcarātra, etc., is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.'
"It is not possible for the Brahman realized impersonalist nor the Paramātmā realized yogī to understand Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the son of Mother Yaśodā or the charioteer of Arjuna. Even the great demigods are sometimes confused about Kṛṣṇa: muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ, māṁ tu veda na kaścana, 'No one knows Me as I am,' the Lord says. And if one does know Him, then sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ (BG 7.19), 'Such a great soul is very rare . . .' If one does know Him, such a great soul is very rare. Therefore unless one practices devotional service to the Lord, he cannot know Kṛṣṇa as He is (tattvataḥ), even though one is a great scholar or philosopher. Only the pure devotees can know something of the inconceivable transcendental qualities in Kṛṣṇa, in the cause of all causes, in His omnipotence and opulence, and in His wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, because Kṛṣṇa is benevolently inclined to His devotees. He is the last word in Brahman realization, and the devotees alone can realize Him as He is. Therefore it is said:
- ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
- na bhaved grāhyam indriyāiḥ
- sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
- svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
- (Brs. 1.2.234)
'No one can understand Kṛṣṇa as He is by the blunt material senses. But He reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service to Him.' " That's from the Padma Purāṇa.
Prabhupāda: So the position is that hardly, out of many millions, one can actually understand what is God. So our field of activity is everywhere in that sense, not in this particular and that particular . . . Because in truth, hardly very few people understands what is God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yeah, that's wonderful. We ought to see you in India sometimes for real, again, and . . .
Bhagavān: Do they have a copy of Bhagavad-gītā?
Dhanañjaya: I don't think you have this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: What is this?
Dhanañjaya: If you like, you can take this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: I have, I have this.
Dhanañjaya: You can have this.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes, I have. Thank you.
Bhagavān: There are many copies of Bhagavad-gītā, but the unusual happening with this version is until this was presented, there was no devotee . . .
Prabhupāda: Professor Dimock has said very nicely.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, we have also many translations. Yes.
Prabhupāda: You have not brought by the fruit?
Nitāi: Yes, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja did.
Monsignor Verrozano: We have here one translation of the commentary of Professor Zaehner from Oxford.
Prabhupāda: Here is my foreword by Professor Dimock.
Yogeśvara: This is a professor from Chicago University who wrote the foreword to this edition. He makes an interesting comment.
Prabhupāda: You read, read it.
Prabhupāda: Professor Dimock's.
Cardinal Pignedoli: It's very strange and famous. That's the gospel.
Prabhupāda: Read it.
Dhanañjaya: (reading) "Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view. And that is legitimate."
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is legitimate.
Dhanañjaya: "More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Kṛṣṇa devotee interprets his own texts. It is a Vedic . . ."
Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes.
Prabhupāda: A Kṛṣṇa devotee interpreting on Kṛṣṇa, and a nondevotee interpreting on Kṛṣṇa, there is far difference.
Monsignor Verrozano: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Realize, Realize.
Prabhupāda: So mostly the editors are by nondevotee. So they cannot interpret.
Monsignor Verrozano: Oh, yes. The same problem we have with our scriptures, because when the scriptures are interpreted by devotees, by believers, they are very faithful translated. When the scripture is translated by . . .
Prabhupāda: That is because it is legitimate.
Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, it's very important.
Prabhupāda: Read it again.
Monsignor Verrozano: You are the best interpreter, yes, qualified interpreter.
Dhanañjaya: "In this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Kṛṣṇa devotee interprets his own texts. It is the Vedic exegetical tradition, justly famous, in action. This book is then a welcome addition from many points of view. It can serve as a valuable textbook for the college student. It allows us to listen to a skilled interpreter explicating a text which has profound religious meaning. It gives us insights into the original and highly convincing ideas of the Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇava school. In providing the Sanskrit in both Devanagari and transliteration, it offers the Sanskrit specialist the opportunity to re-interpret, or debate particular Sanskrit meanings—although I think there will be little disagreement about the quality of the Swami's Sanskrit scholarship. And finally, for the nonspecialist, there is readable English and a devotional attitude which cannot help but move the sensitive reader. And there are the paintings, which, incredibly as it may seem to those familiar with contemporary Indian religious art, were done by American devotees.
"The scholar, the student of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, and the increasing number of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold; and arguments for understanding, in these days of estrangement, need not be made." This is stated by Professor Edward C. Dimock, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization, University of Chicago. Please take this.
Monsignor Verrozano: Thank you. It will be a source also for . . . (indistinct) . . . also to give true interpretation, yes, by devotee.
Prabhupāda: The trades manager of Messrs. Macmillan Company, he has reported that this book is selling increasing, and other editions, they are decreasing.
Cardinal Pignedoli: A great sign of interest. Thank you. Well, may we be united in hopes and prayer and . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: . . . stressing . . . each other.
Prabhupāda: Kindly pray to God.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Thank you for your kindness, for coming, and if sometimes you come to Rome, don't forget this. This is a very difficult place to find out . . . (indistinct) . . . Now you know it. You have been here, with Monsignor Verrozano. That's nice. I will leave now for Africa, Bamako, Mali, for a meeting with Muslims. Bamako, be there for a few days, Bamako, Freetown, Bathurst, Conakry these cities of West Africa, French-speaking Africa.
Dhanañjaya: Some of our devotees are going to Lagos.
Cardinal Pignedoli: Ah, Lagos. Ah, yeah. You are going, also you?
Dhanañjaya: No, not me. My Godbrothers . . .
Cardinal Pignedoli: I have been there for three years, in Lagos, a big city. The majority are Muslims, sixty percent. And others are Christians or local religions. They are deeply religious people in Nigeria. Deeply religious. All believers, they say. Thank you. I am so happy. (end).