731209 - Conversation - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

731209R1-LOS ANGELES - December 09, 1973 - 32:13 Minutes

(Conversation with British Professor)

Prabhupāda: . . . is that at the ultimate issue, God is person.

(hammering sound in background)

Stop that tok-tok.

Hṛdayānanda: He's stopping it now.

Śrutakīrti: Banging.

Prabhupāda: Just like this sun, the sunshine, the sun globe, and within the sun globe. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find, Fourth Chapter, the person sun, whose name is Vivasvān, he was instructed by Kṛṣṇa. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (BG 4.1). You are a Sanskrit scholar.

Professor: No, I'm afraid not.

Dharmādhyakṣa: That was the gentleman whose works he translated. In other words, the gentleman that he worked for was the Sanskrit scholar.

Prabhupāda: I see. So . . . oh, you have no seat? They are giving him? All right. So from Bhagavad-gītā we understand that Bha . . . just like in this planet we are so many persons, or the President Nixon is the president—similarly, in every planet there are living entities, and the president of the sun planet is called Vivasvān. So he was instructed by Kṛṣṇa long, long ago. In the higher planetary system, the time is different. That was proved when the Russian aeronautics were on the sky.

In one hour twenty-five minutes, he went round the earth, twice or thrice, like that. So time is different. So the point is . . . just like the sunshine is impersonal, the sun is localized, and the president of the sun globe is a person; similarly, the Absolute Truth is realized in three phases: brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). The first realization is impersonal, then localized, and then personal. So ultimately, God is person. And that is Kṛṣṇa.

So we are hearing directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead about Godhead, and that is perfect knowledge. If you speak yourself about yourself, that is my perfect knowledge of yourself. And if I simply speculate that, "Professor may be like this, like that," that is not perfect. I am speculating, but if you come to me, "Swāmījī, I am like this," then my knowledge is perfect. Otherwise, I can go on speculating for millions of years, still my knowledge is imperfect.

So we cannot manufacture God; neither we can speculate. That is not possible. But you can get some idea, but there is no possibility of getting perfect knowledge of God. God is unlimited. I am limited. So my speculative knowledge is limited. So how I can understand the unlimited by my limited knowledge? That is not possible. We can make little progress, and that is impersonal understanding. The perfect understanding is that He is person, all-powerful, all-mighty, all-beautiful, all-wise, all . . . everything perfect, six opulences: riches, strength, influence, beauty, knowledge and renouncement. These are the six opulences. And God is complete. This is conception of God.

Professor: For me, and I suppose for so many others, the difficulty is getting from the intellectual willingness to accept the notion of God, and even to get beyond a kind of fleeting intuition from time to time that there is something beyond the humanistic world conception to a real inner understanding of that reality. And I suppose that is what your work is all about, to . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. God is . . . God is beyond our intellectual platform. (door opens; someone enters) Come on. Hare Kṛṣṇa. So Professor—give him some seat. He'll stand?

Śrutakīrti: I sent someone out for a chair, but he hasn't found one.

Prabhupāda: And what is that?

(aside) Good morning. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

There are three stages. First stages of understanding is direct perception, by senses. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhuḥ (BG 3.42), in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find. Here, from the material platform, our source of knowledge is direct perception. That is crude, pratyakṣa. It is called pratyakṣa. That is crude knowledge, direct perception. Just like I am seeing the sun. I am getting some idea of the sun, but that is not the perfect idea, although I am seeing it daily. I am seeing just like a disc, but it is very, very big.

So my direct perception cannot give me perfect knowledge. The first . . . besides that, at our present stage, material condition, we are imperfect because we commit mistake. By direct seeing the sun, I am thinking that it is just like a disc. Then we are illusioned. We, sometimes we accept something for something. Then, with this imperfect knowledge, we try to become teacher. That is cheating. And at the end, our senses are imperfect. So with so many imperfectness, how we can get perfect knowledge? What is your answer?

Professor: I have no answer.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore, our speculative knowledge, intellectual platform, is not helpful. We must receive knowledge from superior source, perfect source. That knowledge is perfect. Just like we give generally this example, that to find out who is my father, my search out, research, will not help me; but if my mother says: "Here is your father," that is perfect knowledge, because she's authority. Therefore, for perfect knowledge we have to take it from the perfect authority, not by our speculative intellectual gymnasium. No. That will not help. Because our intellectual jurisdiction is very limited. That is Vedic process. Vedic process is not to acquire knowledge by ascending process, inductive process. Vedic knowledge is to receive knowledge by descending process, knowledge coming from authority.

That, that you will find in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fourth Chapter: evaṁ paramparā prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). Knowledge has to be received . . . just like a child receives knowledge. He is inquisitive: "Mother, what is this? Father, what is this?" And mother informs him, "My dear child, this is this, this is this." So he is acquiring knowledge by descending process. And if the child wants to get knowledge independently, that is not knowledge. He'll touch the fire. Mother: "Don't touch, don't touch, my dear child!" But he does not know. He's thinking the fire as something eatable.

So by the Vedic process, this experimental knowledge is no useful. Yes. The Vedic injunction is, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12): "In order to receive perfect knowledge, you must approach the guru." Guru means who has the perfect knowledge. So you cannot independently get perfect knowledge, intellectual. That will remain always imperfect. So intellectually, how you can conceive about God, who is unlimited, beyond your sense perception? We cannot know even ordinary material things, how great the sun is, how this universe is. We have imperfect knowledge.

So our process is to receive knowledge from the perfect. Therefore, we are receiving knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, the supreme perfect. I am not perfect, but because I am receiving knowledge from the supreme perfect, therefore whatever I say, it is perfect. And that is guru. Guru does not say anything of his own manufacture or research. He says only what he has heard from the Supreme. That's all. So it is easier. It is easier. If the child says: "A watch, a watch," the child may be imperfect, but he has heard from his father, "Here is a watch," then that knowledge is perfect. This is our process. And Veda, Veda means knowledge, perfect knowledge. Veda, this word, Sanskrit word, it means perfect knowledge. Otherwise, there is no way to have perfect knowledge. There must be some source of perfect knowledge. That is Veda.

For example, we . . . just like cow dung. Cow dung is the stool of an animal. So in the Vedic principle, if you touch the stool of an animal, even your own stool, you become impure; you have to take bath. But the Vedas says: "The stool of cow is pure." And we accept that, because Vedic injunction. And if you analyze, it is full of antiseptic properties, although it is stool. So by argument, one will say: "How is that? Sometimes you say that stool is impure, and again you say this stool is pure." But that is fact. Similarly, if we accept Vedic injunction, we save so much time for so-called research work. That is the standard knowledge.

So every knowledge is there in the Vedas. There are so many Vedas. Even for our ordinary dealings . . . just like Āyur-veda. Āyur-veda means medical science. Similarly, Dhanur-veda, military science. Similarly, Jyotir-veda, jyotis, the astronomical science. And those who are, mean, accustomed with Vedic knowledge, it is so nice and, I mean to say, perfect that . . . take, for example, that Āyur-veda, medical science. Their process is that this body, the physiological condition, is depending on three things, tri-dhātu, kapha-pitta-vāyu: mucus, bile and air. And the air is felt by the pulse beating.

So they learn how to examine the pulse beating, the heart beating. And they have got description. Just like the sparrow walks, the crow walks, so in this way they have given the example, "If the pulse is beating like the walking of the sparrow, walking of the crow, then his health, his condition, is like this, and the symptoms will be like this." So the physician first of all studies the pulses, and he remembers the symptoms, and he corroborates, asking the patient, "Do you feel like this? Do you feel like this? Do you do this, like this?" If it is corroborated, then his diagnosis is there: "He has got this disease."

So similarly, in Jyotir-veda they have got similar symptoms, "If such-and-such stars are now nearer to this star"—they have got this calculation—"then the position is this." So they learn very quickly. Indian brāhmins, they learned Jyotir-veda, Āyur-veda very quickly. Because brāhmaṇas, they are meant to go to every house to inform the date, the everything. So generally people are inquisitive about the health. So they ask, "Now I am feeling like this." So they give medicine. And they give some astrological hint also. So in this way people gave them some contribution. That is their livelihood. So this . . . all the systems were made very easy on account of this Vedic injunction.

So therefore we take Vedic knowledge as perfect, and we understand everything by Vedic knowledge—about God, about His place, about His activities. And God comes as incarnation. He sends His representative. Then it is corroborated. And that is perfect knowledge of God. Kṛṣṇa's . . . God's feature—everything is described in the Vedas: Brahma-saṁhitā, Yajur-veda, Sāma-veda, like that. And when Kṛṣṇa descends, He practically demonstrates all the symptoms of God. So then we accept God. And it is confirmed by authorities.

Just like Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa Himself says that, "I am the Supreme." Arjuna accepts, the direct listener from God. And later on, the ācāryas, big, big ācāryas, who control the society, just Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, they accept. Latest, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He accepts. So our guru-paramparā all accepts Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa describes Himself. So where is the difficulty to understand God? The symptoms are there in the śāstras, and those symptoms are visible in Kṛṣṇa. Just like everyone can understand, "God is all-powerful." So Kṛṣṇa showed that He is all-powerful. So there is no difficulty to understand.

So our method is easy. Instead of intellectual gymnastic, we take it very easily. And that acts. Now, so far our Society is concerned, we accept Kṛṣṇa as God. We're preaching Kṛṣṇa as God. So we have no difficulty. It is acting practically. So we . . . I may be Indian, Hindu; I may accept Kṛṣṇa as God. Maybe superstition, you may say. But why these European, Americans, Africans, they are accepting, and within very short time? Even Christian priests, they are astonished that, "These boys, our boys, they did not care for God, never came to church, never inquired about God. Now they are mad after God"? They have not become mad. They are quite sane, educated. But why they are accepting Kṛṣṇa as God? Ask any one of them, they'll give explanation. And how it has become possible? Because they have accepted the method.

So our guru's business is to teach him the method. Then he will understand everything. So far vegetable-eating is concerned, it is actually very scientific to eat vegetables. I think some German doctor proved it, that our teeth are meant for eating vegetables. So as devotee of Kṛṣṇa, we are not after accepting a vegetarian and rejecting a nonvegetarian. That is not our criterion. God is open for vegetarian and nonvegetarian, both. But once he becomes, I mean, a devotee of God, automatically he becomes vegetarian. So we don't make any propaganda to make one vegetarian. We make propaganda to make one devotee of God. One . . . if one becomes devotee of God, automatically all good qualities will come. That is the test. How one has become devotee of God, it will be tested that he is qualified with all good qualities. You cannot find fault with him. That is God consciousness.

A God conscious person having a bad character, it is incompatible. It is not possible. A God conscious person must be a very good man. A God conscious man cannot kill any animal, because he knows the relationship that, "This animal is as good as I am. He is also part and parcel of God, as I am. But fortunately or unfortunately, he has got a different dress." That you will find in the Bhagavad-gītā: vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya (BG 2.22). So you are gentlemen. You have got a different dress. I have got a different dress. He has got a different dress. That does not mean we are not human being because we have got a different dress. Similarly, all living entities—there are 8,400,000 forms—they are all sons of God. That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā. So they have got different dresses only. But because they have got different dresses, they are not different from me. This is God consciousness.

So therefore, when one is God conscious, how he can kill another animal? He knows that, "If I am killed, I feel pains and pleasure, pains, then why shall I kill him? And he's also son of God. I am also son of God. So God, how He can allow to kill another son?" Suppose a father has got ten sons. One is useless, cannot earn anything. If the earning son says, "Father, he is useless. Let him . . . let me kill him," the father will agree? No. Father is kind to everyone. So similarly, when one is God conscious, if he kills animal, that means he has no sense of God consciousness. He has no sense of God. He has no sense of God. That is the test.

So our propaganda is that you make people God conscious. Then all good qualities will come. Instead of trying to qualify man in so many ways—"You don't become thief, you don't become murderer, you don't become this, don't become this, don't become intoxicant"—simply by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious he becomes everything, by one stroke. That is our propaganda, that if one becomes God conscious, then he is becoming perfect, not . . . (indistinct) . . . materially and spiritually, both. And that is happening practically. Now these boys, these girls, they are European, American. They were accustomed to so many bad habits and according to our standard, and now they have given up. They have no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating, no intoxication, even up to smoking or drinking tea. Yes. We don't allow our students . . . not allow . . . they become accustomed. Once I say, "Don't do this," they agree. They agree immediately. Intoxication . . . there were many students, they were habituated to this nowadays intoxican . . . immediately gave up. And your government is making so much propaganda to give up this intoxication; they are failure.

So a little God consciousness helps so much. And what to speak of when one is perfectly God conscious. Then he's perfect man. Therefore a devotee is not of this material world. He's in the spiritual world. He's above this material world. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26).

(aside) Find out this verse.

Devotee: Is that in Bhagavad-gītā?

Prabhupāda: Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26).

Devotee: Hṛdayānanda?

Hṛdayānanda: Jaya.

Prabhupāda: Read it.

Hṛdayānanda: Whole verse?

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
(BG 14.26)

"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."

Prabhupāda: Yes. To come to the level of Brahman means, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, means he's above the control of these modes of material nature. Material dicta . . . material nature dictates, "Now you are . . . your tongue is dry. Just take one cup of tea, or smoke." (break) (end)