760805 - Conversation A - New Mayapur

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



760805R1-NEW MAYAPUR - August 05, 1976 - 91.16 Minutes


(Conversation with Professor Francois Chenique)



Prabhupāda: How are you?

Hari-śauri: No, this is not him. This is a devotee.

Yogeśvara: Professor's upstairs putting on a dhotī. He brought his daughter.

Prabhupāda: Oh?

Yogeśvara: Professor Chenique teaches a course in Bhagavad-gītā at the University, and he is also doing translations of Śaṅkarācārya and teaches for the Federation of Yoga. He considers himself a Christian Advaitist. (break) ...some questions regarding the publications in French. For example, on the front of Back to Godhead magazine, in the English edition and other language editions, they have kept the phrase "Godhead is light, darkness is nescience. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience." Now in French it is difficult to translate that. There is no word Godhead. And if you say "God is light," in French it sounds very impersonalist.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Yogeśvara: In French, Dieu est lumiere, "God is light." Many groups say like that. We use the word Godhead, and that distinguishes us from the other groups. Now, is the phrase very important, and do you want us to keep it on the front of the magazine? It should be there.

Prabhupāda: There is little difference between "God" and "Godhead."

Yogeśvara: So then we will have to try to find...

Prabhupāda: Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ (BS 5.1). Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ. Īśvara, more or less everyone, but īśvaraḥ paramaḥ, that is Godhead. The Māyāvādīs, they do not distinguish between one īśvara to another īśvara. That may be on the ordinary level, but there is parama īśvara.

Yogeśvara: One possibility would be to say "God the Supreme Person is light." That we can translate.

Prabhupāda: God means Supreme Person. But these advaitavādī, Māyāvādīs, they have made God everyone. God means Supreme Person, that is the dictionary word. "Supreme Being." That is the dictionary meaning. God does not mean ordinary, but they have made ordinary, anyone God: "I am God, you are God, he is God." Then what is meaning of God?

Yogeśvara: Therefore we say Godhead.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Head man. There are many men; He is the head man. Godhead word is also there in the dictionary. You find out.

Yogeśvara: "Godhead: being God or a God, divine nature, Deity, the Godhead, God." The word is there, but the definition they've given is not very...

Prabhupāda: They do not know. (laughs) They do not know what is God, what is Godhead. They think all these are fictitious. Throughout the whole world they do not know what is God. Simply they know the word, that's all. What it means they do not know. That we are giving. Here is God, Godhead. Nobody knows, nobody cares to know. That is nescience. They think it is an idea, that's all. Actually there is God, there is kingdom of God, one can go and speak with Him, dance with Him. They cannot believe there is a... It is beyond their poor fund of knowledge. Therefore they do not accept Kṛṣṇa as God. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ (BG 9.11). God is the Supreme Person, Supreme Being. Actually there is place where God lives. They do not know. This is the first time, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we are giving these ideas; otherwise, who knows it? Nobody knows it. The Christian or Muhammadan is... Nobody knows. And religion means to accept God as the Supreme Person. They do not know God. Then what is meaning of religion? Religion means to accept a Supreme Person as the supreme controller. That is religion. How the Supreme Person is working in manufacturing this flower, let the scientists explain. But there is no brain? Just nicely painted, symmetrically, each flower of the same class; another class, another class, another class. (guests enters) Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Yogeśvara: This is Professor Francois Chenique and his daughter. They drove from Paris this morning to see you.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. You can come forward. I have read your review of our book. It is very nice.

(Bhūgarbha translates from this point onward)

Prabhupāda: Very nice. Your study about this tradition, Indian tradition, I think he has mentioned. Indian tradition, the whole Vedic literature... He understands English?

Yogeśvara: Yes, but I should translate. He's asked me to translate.

Prabhupāda: ...is to approach God. This is the Indian tradition. But, as you have mentioned Aurobindo's name, Aurobindo's idea was to make a better situation of this world. He wanted, by yoga practice, a better situation of the world. But our tradition says that is not possible.

Bhūgarbha translating: He asks what is meant by the situation in this world.

Prabhupāda: The situation is you have to suffer. Situation is you have to suffer. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15). This is a place for suffering, and that also you cannot stay here. Even if you make compromise, "All right, I shall suffer and stay," Kṛṣṇa says no. You suffer, and after you make adjustment, you will be kicked out.

Bhūgarbha: He said so do we have to completely leave the world? We cannot stay within the world and sanctify ourselves?

Prabhupāda: You have to leave. You cannot stay. You do not want to leave, that's a fact, but you'll be kicked out. When Napoleon fought for France, he did not like to leave, but he was kicked out. I have seen in one park, there is a Napoleon Bonaparte is there—France and Napoleon identified. But France is there, Napoleon is kicked out. (laughter)

Bhūgarbha: He's asking that, in view of that, is it possible to live a household life and at the same time a spiritual life?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Bhūgarbha: You can do.

Professor Chenique: I hope so, yes.

Prabhupāda: Arjuna, Arjuna is a householder, he's a military man, but the greatest devotee of Kṛṣṇa.

Bhūgarbha: He wants you to mention something about the translations. He wants to express his opinion about the translations that the French translators are doing of your books.

Prabhupāda: He is doing?

Bhūgarbha He wants to give his opinion.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Bhūgarbha: He's asking permission to give his opinion.

Prabhupāda: It would be very nice.

Bhūgarbha: He says it is very interesting, very important that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam be translated in the same way as the Gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā has been translated many times into French, but the Bhāgavatam was only translated once, and that also in the last century.

Prabhupāda: This is our translation?

Bhūgarbha: No, it's another one. In 1800 it was translated.

Prabhupāda: And they simply translation, or elaborately like we are doing?

Bhūgarbha: Just translation.

Yogeśvara: Sanskrit on the left-hand page, French on the right-hand page, but no commentaries.

Prabhupāda: That is difficult to understand.

Yogeśvara: Yes, no one has read. It was the full twelve cantos, but a very limited edition, and only available in library archives. No one has..., very few people have seen it.

Bhūgarbha: He says he feels that the French public is very demanding in questions of editing and writing, and he feels that the French that's used in our translations should not have a smell of English. Sometimes French translations seem like English written in French. He said those should be in perfect French, and that in the French language there's a need to make things more compact and condensed. He's wondering if we can condense them more than in English.

Prabhupāda: So one of us who knows French nicely, he can do that. But there is no difference. They are taking the ideas from English and translating.

Yogeśvara: He says, Professor Chenique wishes to know, would it not be more valuable if our men spoke Sanskrit and could translate directly from the Sanskrit into French?

Prabhupāda: There is no much difference. Sanskrit is there and the Sanskrit translation is there. Where is the difference? We are giving the Sanskrit and then word-to-word translation.

Bhūgarbha: He says that when one translates from Sanskrit into English and from English into French, that it's not exactly the same thing in French that it was in Sanskrit. He feels that it would be more...

Prabhupāda: No, if from Sanskrit to French can be translated, I have no objection. But we have no such arrangement.

Yogeśvara: We have no Sanskrit scholars in French yet, no.

Prabhupāda: Not only scholar. Not only scholar; he must be a realized soul. Simply scholarship will not help. Simply scholarship will not help. There are many Sanskrit scholars in India. There are many Sanskrit scholars, original Sanskrit scholars in India; they cannot understand Bhāgavata.

Yogeśvara: Professor Chenique's point is that we are seeking to introduce these books on a university level, and there's a certain standard that must be met.

Prabhupāda: What is that standard?

Bhūgarbha: He's just saying that the style of French, he feels that it's too many words.

Prabhupāda: French..., he must be French, expert in language, at the same time, a devotee. Then he can express. Otherwise not. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's secretary, Svarūpa Dāmodara, he asked that brāhmaṇa, bhāgavata paḍā giyā bhāgavata sthāne: "Go and study Bhāgavata from bhāgavata." I have discussed this in the beginning of translation of Bhāgavata. So Bhāgavata, that is the limit of education. Vidyā bhāgavata vadhiḥ. One has to study and take education up to Bhāgavatam. That is, if one understands Bhāgavatam, he's finished his education.

Bhūgarbha: He agrees. He's just saying that he wishes—he's not criticizing in any way—but he wants that your books have a better audience, then more people will accept them. And he feels that if the French, the way that the French has been written, is changed, we'll have a better audience, it will reach higher.

Prabhupāda: But that is from scholarship point of view. But our point is this Bhāgavata must be presented by bhāgavata. And there is no much scholarship required. Just like Bhāgavata begins with the words janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). This Sanskrit word means the Absolute Truth is that from where everything emanates. Now, that Absolute Truth further explained: anvayād itarataś ca abhijñaḥ svarāṭ (SB 1.1.1). That Absolute Truth is aware of everything, directly and indirectly, of all this creation. In this way, if you step-by-step study, it is not very difficult so far the word meanings are concerned, but it is a question of realization. Unless one is realized, he cannot explain properly. That is the secret. Therefore we have given the life of Caitanya Mahāprabhu in our Bhāgavatam because He's living Bhāgavatam.

Janadrādhi: His point, Śrīla Prabhupāda, is that your purports, you are repeating teachings; but this is wanted. His point is that in the French language, the French language cannot accept such repetitions. So he's asking if you could compact more your purports. But we want to translate your purports with the repetitions, because we know they are wanted.

Yogeśvara: The English comment-purport that you give very often will repeat one point for a clear understanding to the reader. Stylistically, in French, this is difficult. It is not the accepted standard. French is generally more compact; something is said only one time. So Professor Chenique is hoping that he will see in our future translations a better French style in the translation. And Janadrādhi, who is the translator, one of our translators, explains that our point is we wish to keep your intention by repeating the point so that the reader will understand, because it is being said several times.

Prabhupāda: That is the system in Vedic ways. Just like you see Bhagavad-gītā, in different way Kṛṣṇa has explained the immortality of the soul. You take Bhagavad-gītā, that portion. Find out that. What is that verse?

Bhūgarbha: Na jāyate mriyate vā kadācit?

Hari-śauri: Before that. Describes negatively in different ways of understanding the soul.

Prabhupāda: Yes, positively, negatively.

Bhūgarbha:

avināśi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
vināśam avyayasyāsya
na kaścit kartum arhati
(BG 2.17)
(Reads French translation)
antavanta ime dehā
nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ
anāśino 'prameyasya
tasmād yudhyasva bhārata
(BG 2.18)

(French translation)

Prabhupāda: The same thing is being explained in a different way.

Bhūgarbha: The question seems to be a very technical one of just French language. He's not objecting to the...

Prabhupāda: I've no experience of the French language. I am talking of the Sanskrit language. (laughter)

Bhūgarbha: If we give him one purport and see how he would change it.

Prabhupāda: There are so many purports you can. (professor reads one purport in French)

Bhūgarbha: He said that that one was all right. (laughter)

Professor Chenique: I was, up to recent time, I was commenting Bhagavad-gītā in the camping. For eleven years every summer I am commenting the Gītā in the camping. And I commend very warmly this edition of the Bhagavad-gītā. I think it's the best that you may find in France. But when I'm reading the commentary for my students, I find some sentences which are not good French, I think because it is not a very good style, and I hope it won't be that matter with... (French)

Bhūgarbha: Perhaps Professor Chenique could go over our translations and make any suggestions.

Prabhupāda: I have no objection.

Yogeśvara: Professor Chenique is offering to re-read our publications, to read them, and when he sees something he thinks can be corrected, he will make some indication.

Prabhupāda: I have no objection. It is welcome.

Yogeśvara: (devotee enters) This is Hayeśvara, Hayeśvara dāsa, in charge of the Dutch publications, Dutch translator. He has done the Bhagavad-gītā, this edition, in Dutch.

Prabhupāda: Jaya. Thank you very much.

Bhūgarbha: This is the Dutch translation. Professor Chenique made the comment...

Prabhupāda: The idea is, suppose I am in France. I do not know French language, but there is fire in my room, and I have to call my neighbors. So somehow or other I call and take their help. (laughter)

Yogeśvara: Professor Chenique wishes to know whether we cannot do one very small pocketbook edition (of Bhagavad-gītā) that will sell very inexpensively. Something like I think in India they have done.

Hari-śauri: Like the abridged version in America they did?

Yogeśvara: No, something like this, very small.

Prabhupāda: I have no objection. It is nice proposal.

Hari-śauri: Like that Chinese one? First six chapters. Like that?

Prabhupāda: Where is that Chinese?

Bhūgarbha: He feels that if we bring out a very small, compact edition, it will sell very nicely. (devotee leaves to find book)

Hari-śauri: First six chapters.

Professor Chenique: Wonderful. I am (indistinct) Chinese, but I am not able to read.

Prabhupāda: First of all, we printed seven hundred copies. And now we are going to print five thousand.

Bhūgarbha: He said we're making the highest record of distribution.

Professor Chenique: Oh, yes, for this kind of book.

Prabhupāda: That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission,

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
(CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126)

He has to preach in every village and every town on the surface of the globe about this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So our business is... Just the example I have given, that there is fire; I do not know the language. Still, I have to call and take help. So I am doing like that. There is a story. In Calcutta when the Britishers were establishing themselves, so one clerk was working in the office and some monkey came and scattered the office files and everything. So his boss came, he asked him, "What is this? Why you...?" So he cannot explain, so he began to jump like monkey, that on account of the monkey coming within the room. So when the language is unknown, we have to jump and show that the monkey came.

Yogeśvara: (asks professor if he has any philosophical questions) Professor Chenique thanks you very much for receiving him, and he says that he is...

Prabhupāda: Many thanks for his coming.

Yogeśvara: ...he is very happy to see you, and he does not have any questions. He appreciates very much the Vaiṣṇava point of view...

Prabhupāda: Take this to the daughter.

Yogeśvara: And he thinks that seeing the decline of religion in the West, he says it is very important that we are pushing on this mission as we are doing.

Bhūgarbha: He doesn't think he'll be able to follow the life of the Vaiṣṇavas, because our life is too difficult.

Prabhupāda: That attitude will help him. That humbleness, that "I cannot follow," that will help.

Bhūgarbha: He says he has a tendency more of a jñānī, and his training has been according to Śaṅkarite and also Buddhist lines. But still he appreciates very much bhakti, and he is very happy to meet the devotees, and at the same time he's very depressed to meet all these intellectuals who know so many things but cannot understand anything.

Prabhupāda: Without becoming jñānī, nobody can become bhakta. Without knowledge, if one has become bhakta, he's sentimentalist. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Find out this verse: samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (BG 18.54).

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
(BG 18.54)

(French translation read by the professor) So without becoming fully in knowledge, nobody can become devotee.

Bhūgarbha: He asks, What about the opposite—people becoming devotees without knowing anything? He asking...

Prabhupāda: No, devotee cannot be without knowing anything. A devotee means..., a devotee means he knows everything. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam idaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavati (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.3). This is Vedic injunction. One who knows the Absolute, he knows everything.

Yogeśvara: Śrīla Prabhupāda? That verse, does that mean that one who is neophyte...

Prabhupāda: Neophyte is neophyte. Why do you bring him to become a devotee? A devotee is different. A "one plus one equal to two," he's not mathematician. He's learning. There is hope one day he'll be a big mathematician. There are three stages, kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī, uttama-adhikārī. So when you speak of "devotee," that is this uttama-adhikārī. So he knows everything. Rather, the so-called jñānī, he does not know, because he does not know Kṛṣṇa. The so-called jñānī, he does not know what is Personality of Godhead. He's impersonalist. Therefore he is still unaware of the Absolute Truth. Therefore he's not jñānī. His jñāna, his knowledge, is lacking. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
(BG 7.19)

If one jñānī is impersonalist, he's not jñānī. He is still unaware of the Absolute Truth. He does not know. Therefore it will take many, many births to come to the understanding of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore he's not jñānī; he's claiming to be jñānī. Such jñānī will take many hundreds of births to come to the position of real jñānī. Find out this bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19). (devotee reads in French) So-called jñānī, after many, many births, when he understands Kṛṣṇa and surrenders to Him, then he's jñānī. Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ. That kind of jñānī is very, very rare. The impersonalist means ajñānī. Yes. Because he does not know Kṛṣṇa, the person.

There is another verse in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Āruhya kṛcchreṇa, by the jñāna process, is undergoing austerities and penances, one comes to the platform of paraṁ padam, monism, or platform of oneness. But because he has no shelter, he patanty adhaḥ, again comes to the material. Just like so many sannyāsīs in India, they are very learned, they have come to the platform of Brahman realization, but after some time they come to the material field for political work, for social work. They give up this world, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā. If jagat is mithyā, is false, why does he come for social work? Just like these people going to the moon planet, but because they do not get any shelter, they take some sand and come back again. So what is the use of going there and spending so much money and come back with little sand, and satisfied, "Now we have studied"? Because they have no shelter. So the jñānīs, they have no shelter. Yes. They may go very high in the sky, but because they have no shelter they come back again. Punar muṣaka bhava: again become a mouse. So that is not jñānī; that is ajñānī. Jñānī is described here, mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (BG 18.54). Brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20) is jñānī, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā, "I have nothing to do with material world." Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54), there is no lamentation, there is no hankering. When he has attained that stage, brahma-bhūta stage, reality, then he is entrance in the bhakti. Otherwise a neophyte.

Bhūgarbha: He says that any person on the path of knowledge who rejects the Personality of Godhead, his knowledge is finished.

Prabhupāda: That is sublime knowledge. When you talk with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dance with Him, that is sublime perfection. Otherwise, you will have to dance with the dog.

Bhūgarbha: He's asking that since he first read the Gītā when he was very young, since that time he's been trying to compact paths of jñāna and bhakti and follow the teachings of all the great religions. And he's wondering if he should continue on that same path.

Prabhupāda: No, jñāna means that to understand the Absolute Truth. If you do not understand the Absolute Truth, what is the meaning of this jñāna? That means knowledge is imperfect. So, but if you want to know the Absolute Truth, ultimately, then bhakti is required. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (BG 18.55). If you want to know the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Being, then you have to go through bhakti. Jñāna, so-called jñāna, bhakti includes. Just like bhakti includes everything, but jñāna does not include bhakti. It is imperfect. In jñāna there is little touch of bhakti, but in bhakti there is full jñāna. Because unless you... Absolute Truth is realized in three stages, brahmeti, paramātmeti, bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). So those who are on the stage of Brahman and Paramātmā, they're not in the Absolute Truth. Part of it. But when one understands Bhagavān, then he understands Paramātmā and Brahman. That is full knowledge. There are three things—sat, cit, ānanda. So Brahman realization is sat. Paramātmā realization is cit. But ānanda is not there. But if he does not get ānanda, then falls down.

Bhūgarbha: He says Christianity says the same thing. Not the Christianity of today, but original Christianity said the same thing.

Prabhupāda: Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12). This is the Vedānta. We are, as spirit soul, being part and parcel of the Supreme, ānanda is our goal, ānanda, blissfulness. But that blissfulness you cannot get simply by understanding sat-cit. You must come to the platform of ānanda. That is Kṛṣṇa. So because these so-called jñānīs, they do not get ānanda, they do not have the entrance into the ānanda platform, they come to this material ānanda, this material pleasure. Therefore they take to this hospitality or opening a school or philanthropic work—another type of this material pleasure. Therefore Śaṅkarācārya recommended:

bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ
bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha-mate
prāpte sannihite kāle na hi
na hi rakṣati dukṛn kāraṇe

Your simply this grammatical jugglery of words will not help you. Bhaja govindam. Therefore we, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi. We, our principle, is to worship Govinda, the ādi-puruṣa, tam ahaṁ bhajāmi.

So without coming to that stage, perfection is not complete. Partial, the sac-cid-ānanda, the brahma-anubhūti is partial, sat. "I am not matter. I am not destructible. I am eternal." This is sat. And cit, knowledge, full knowledge about spiritual... But ānanda you have to come to the third stage, brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
(SB 1.2.11)

So we have to come to the stage of understanding Bhagavān; otherwise knowledge is imperfect. Jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167). Bhakti is defined by Rūpa Gosvāmī, jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛta, above jñāna stage. Jñāna, karma, karma stage, jñāna stage, above them. Untouched by jñāna. Karma is material, and jñāna is marginal, between material and spiritual. So you have to go above that, karma jñāna, then it is bhakti stage.

Yogeśvara: Also that verse in Bhāgavatam,

vāsudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyam
jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
(SB 1.2.7)

Prabhupāda: Vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ. Find out this verse. Janayaty āśu vairāgyam. I don't see Bhagavān dāsa. Why?

Bhūgarbha: He's organizing the ceremony for tomorrow.

Prabhupāda: The difference is, a bhakta, pure bhakta, he has jñāna. But a jñānī may not have bhakti.

Yogeśvara: Once Professor Chenique asked me whether we thought it was possible for a Christian like himself to also realize the perfection of Vaiṣṇavism.

Prabhupāda: Why not? Christianism is also Vaiṣṇavism. Christianism is Vaiṣṇavism. Anyone who accepts the supremacy of God, he's a Vaiṣṇava. So Christian, Christianity, "God is great," they say. So that is Vaiṣṇavism, "God is great."

Professor Chenique: Oui, but now they say God is dead.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Bhūgarbha: Now the Christians say that God is dead.

Prabhupāda: Now, that is not Christianity. If you can change, there is no religion. That is mental concoction. As soon as you make change, we reject immediately, useless. Religion: the world of God. Religion means the word of God. You cannot change the word of God. If you change the word of God, that is material, that is not religion. You cannot change the word of God by your votes. That is useless. If you say that religion... Religion means the dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Find out this verse, Sixth Canto. There is no Sixth Canto there?

Hari-śauri: We have one volume, but it's the wrong volume. We have Volume Two.

Bhūgarbha: I think he's bringing.

Prabhupāda: Oh. The definition of religion is just like law. Law can be given by the government. You cannot make law. If you make at home some law, nobody will touch it. It is not obligatory. But if government says "Keep to the right," it is obligatory. This is law. So religion, you cannot manufacture religion. Religion means the word of God. And if yearly or quarterly you change the words, that is not religion. That is not religion. That is mental concoction. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is. No change. Others, they are interpreting in their own way. That is not Bhagavad-gītā. That is something else. (to devotee:) Keep it there. He will take. In the words of God there is no question of changing. You cannot change. As soon as you make a change, immediately it is material; it has nothing to do with spiritual world. The same example: the law of government is one, and if you make change, that is not law. Government says "Keep to the right," you have to keep to the right. You cannot make "Keep to the left," no. That is nowadays happening: which edition of Christianity? There are so many. Therefore it is the purport of Christianity is lost. That is lost. You have, what that verse I wanted?

Hari-śauri: They couldn't find the book.

Prabhupāda: Oh, they couldn't. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). This is the verse. Religion means the words given by God. But they have no idea what is God, whether He can speak or He's a dull, dumb. That is the difficulty. The Māyāvādīs, they say God has no mouth. So how He will speak? He has no eyes, He has no ear. Then who will hear my prayer? That is Māyāvādī definition. But Vedas say apāni-pāda javana gṛhīta(?), that both things, that He has no leg, but he can walk faster than anyone. He has no ear, but He can hear everything. Just like we have got this ear, but I cannot hear what is going on next room. But God has no ear, but He can hear here, there, everywhere. This is Vedic definition. This is Vedic definition. Śṛṇoti akarṇa. He has no ears, but He hears everything. That means that it is not the fact that He has no ear, but He has no limited ear like me. And therefore described sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (BS 5.1). You cannot compare with this body, because sat means eternal. So this body is not eternal. So when God has no body means He hasn't got a body like this. He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (BS 5.1). His body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. But He has body. You cannot say imperson. But His body is of different quality. Just like you have got body, but you cannot swim in the..., or you cannot remain within the water. Similarly, He has got body, but not the body like this, perishable. Sac-cid-ānanda. This body is perishable. But He has got imperishable. Avyayātmā. We have to understand in that way. Not that because it is stated He has no body that means He is zero. No, He has got body, but not body not like this.

Bhūgarbha: Professor Chenique's suggesting that in the Middle Ages there were many philosophers who also were researching the same questions of the body of God and how His body is different from ours, and they came to exactly the same conclusions as are mentioned in the Bhāgavatam. So he's suggesting some of our devotees should read some of these books so we'll be able to in our preaching show the French people these conceptions that God has a body are not foreign conceptions, and actually even European philosophers in the Middle Ages were saying the same things.

Prabhupāda: No, you can convince by your words. It is not necessary that you have to read so many other words. If you are yourself convinced, then you can convince others by your words. The fact. The same example, when there is fire actually you can express it by any word.

Bhūgarbha: He feels that it's because he has read all these books during his youth, now he's able to appreciate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bhūgarbha: He feels that it's because he read all of these other books during his youth that now he's come to the point that he can appreciate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Anyone who is after truth, he'll appreciate truth. That's a fact. Satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi (SB 1.1.1). That is the Bhāgavata beginning. Satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi. If one is after truth, he'll appreciate truth wherever it is. Every point, from any angle of vision, those who are searching after truth, everything is explained—primarily in the Bhagavad-gītā, and elaborately in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So about the Christian religion, what is the conception of God?

Bhūgarbha: He said, "If I speak in English then I'll say that God is the father, the son and the Holy Ghost—not one person, but three persons. But if I want to say the same thing in Sanskrit, then I'll say sac-cid-ānanda."

Prabhupāda: Three persons? God is three persons?

Bhūgarbha: Father, the son and the Holy Spirit. But he says that that means the same thing, as far as he's concerned, as sac-cid-ānanda.

Prabhupāda: So why three persons? God is one. Expansion, you can say expansion. Just like brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti (SB 1.2.11). The person is one. In the dictionary it is said, "God, the Supreme Being," is it not? Person is one. So person is one, now His expansion, His son, His spirit... What is that? Holy Spirit. That is another thing. But the person is one, the Supreme. What is the definition of God? Just see.

Bhūgarbha: He said that in Christianity it's more complicated than that.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Person is one, but they have no idea the Supreme Person can expand. What is that?

Hari-śauri: (reading from dictionary) It says, "Superhuman being, worshiped as having power over nature and human fortunes; Deity."

Prabhupāda: God?

Hari-śauri: Yes, this is the definition of God. "Superhuman being."

Prabhupāda: Human being?

Hari-śauri: "Superhuman being. Worshiped as having power over nature and over human fortunes."

Bhūgarbha: Demigods.

Prabhupāda: No other definition? God Supreme Being is not there?

Hari-śauri: "Supreme Being, creator and ruler of the universe."

Prabhupāda: Yes, Supreme Being. Supreme Being means one. There cannot be many Supreme. But He can expand.

Bhūgarbha: That's the point. (translates for professor)

Prabhupāda: This is defined in the Brahma-saṁhitā, advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca (BS 5.33). Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam. Ananta-rūpam: many millions of expansions. Ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣam: but He's the original person. So the Supreme Being is one, but He has got multi-expansions. That is another thing. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca.

Bhūgarbha: He says Christianity is actually coherent, but one has to study it very deeply to understand.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Bhūgarbha: He says just like Vaiṣṇavism is also coherent, but one has to study very deeply. Otherwise, one cannot see it. He said if we examine all the religions and find out the axiomatic truths of every religion, we'll see how they are all coherent.

Prabhupāda: No, the thing is that religion means to understand God. If one does not understand God, then his religion is still defective. Religion means to understand God. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje ahaituky apratihatā (SB 1.2.6). Just when you understand God and your relationship with God, then it is perfection of religion.

Hari-śauri: Verse 6.

Bhūgarbha: He said that he feels very thankful that you've given him such a long darśana. He feels very happy that you've given so much enlightenment in many subjects. He's just passing through with his daughter. He'd like to stay tomorrow to see the installation of the Deities, but he has to go to a Tibetan temple in the south of France. On Saturday he has to be there, so he has to drive, and he said that he's found the Tibetans are also very good devotees.

Prabhupāda: Very good. Jaya. (end)