760603 - Interview - Los Angeles
(Redirected from Room Conversation with Reporter -- June 3, 1976, Los Angeles)
Rāmeśvara: Do you want to sit on chairs or . . .?
Reporter: No, this is fine.
Rāmeśvara: Oh, good. Indian style. How large is the newspaper? The circulation?
Rāmeśvara: Half a million.
Reporter: Ah, Swami? What is your purpose here with your, ah . . . with the faith in seeking the growth and so on?
Prabhupāda: (to Rāmeśvara) That is the purpose you can explain.
Rāmeśvara: The purpose of our, of our seeking the growth is so that people all over the world can become happy again. People who are suffering due to lack of knowledge about who they are and what their relationship is with God, and as a result of that ignorance, they're performing so many activities which cause them pain and misery, so that they can become happy again.
Reporter: Ah. How is . . . how will this be achieved?
Prabhupāda: Misery . . . misery is caused due to ignorance. Do you admit or not? The more we are kept in darkness of knowledge, we suffer. What is the difference between ah . . . what is called? Developed nations and not developed nations. This America belonged to the Red Indians. And because they are not developed, their condition was developed, ah, different from the present America. They could not construct such big, big house, and big, big roads, and like that, because they are in ignorance. That is the difference. Prosperity, no prosperity; happiness, not happiness—they are ignorance and knowledge.
Reporter: They have . . . is it that they have confused materialism with happiness?
Prabhupāda: Not material, I mean, I mean to say, happiness is knowledge.
Prabhupāda: Happiness is knowledge. Man who is in ignorance, he is suffering, and that you say material and spiritually. A person who is not in developed consciousness, he is suffering. And they commit sinful acts also.
Reporter: I beg your pardon?
Prabhupāda: They commit sinful acts also in ignorance. That is the difference between man and animal. Animal means not developed consciousness. They . . . some of them, they say the animal has no soul. That is foolishness. Animal has soul, but the consciousness is not developed. Just like a child. Father's consciousness and the child's consciousness, different. Why it is different? The child's consciousness is not developed. Father's consciousness is developed. Because the child is talking some nonsense, you cannot say there is no soul. There is soul, but the consciousness is not developed.
Reporter: Do you see hope for mankind in the future?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Man can be happy immediately, provided the consciousness is developed.
Reporter: Can . . . do you think that this will ever be achieved?
Prabhupāda: Yes. It can be achieved. Just like I have sent a letter to your government asking them questions that you write on the bills, "In God We Trust." So whether you trust in God blindly or knowingly? That was my question. Suppose I trust you. So you must be trustworthy. Otherwise why shall I trust you? So this question I asked your government, "You write on the bills, 'In God We Trust,' so what kind of trust is this?" If you actually trust, then you must know that God is trustworthy. Only blindly trust as a slogan. But that letter is not in reply. So what is your opinion? "In God We Trust," so how do trust? Why you trust? This is my question.
Reporter: It would be a matter of faith, I suppose.
Reporter: It would be a matter of faith, I suppose.
Prabhupāda: Faith may be different. You may have faith, I may not have faith. That is not the question. Just like in the bank you deposit some money. If some may have faith or no faith, but that bank is trustworthy. You know that your money deposited in the bank will not be cheated. Similarly, if you trust in God, then you must know whether God is trustworthy. Whether . . . what do you mean by God? This is not the question of faith. Faith is blind. It is a question of understanding. So that we want, that America specially—you are favored amongst all other nations; you are well-to-do, richer than other nations—so why don't you take God seriously? Why should you trust in God as faith? No. You understand what is God and have your faith at full that, "God is, yes, trustworthy," so that others may also know that God is trustworthy. That is our mission, that why God in trust? Are we trusting God should be a slogan? Let it be a fact by scientific study, by scientific understanding. There is way to understand why God is trustworthy. It's not the question of faith. It is a fact.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Just like a child had . . . has faith in his parents. So that is not an artificial thing. That is fact. And parents are trustworthy to the child—there is no doubt about it—by nature. So similarly, why could . . . you should be trust in God? Why blindly? Why not trust with knowledge? And that is our movement. Every civilized person has got some faith in God. But now they're advanced, they should understand what is God, why you must have faith in Him. That is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Reporter: It's a matter of educating . . .
Prabhupāda: Simply faith, blind faith, will not endure. And therefore they are becoming godless. And gradually, if we do not understand factually what is God, then the whole human civilization will be godless. To become godless means again animal. That is the difference between animal and man. In the animal society there is no question of religion, faith, God. These things are not there. The human civilization, if it becomes like that, without any faith in God, without any understanding of God, then where is the difference between cats and dogs and human beings? They must know God scientifically. That is the actual aim of human life. Suppose the dog is sleeping on the street without any care whether a car is coming and smash it. He's also sleeping sound sleep. And we are sleeping in a very nice apartment. So after all, sleeping. And he is also enjoying sleeping, I am also enjoying sleeping. So do you think to change the, I mean to say, circumstances of the sleeping? I am sleeping in a very nice apartment, he's sleeping on the floor. Does it mean this is advancement of civilization? Sleeping is sleeping. Eating is eating. Sex life—the male dog enjoying with female dog, the sex pleasure is to him, and we are enjoying with a beautiful lover. The sex pleasure is the same. Therefore, you take some eatable, either on gold fork, or in iron fork, the taste is the same. Simply like putting the foodstuff in the golden fork, does it mean the taste has changed? So, the taste of eating, sleeping, mating and defending is the same for the human being as well as the animals. The difference . . . what is the difference between the animals and the human? The animal cannot know God. That is not possible. The human being can know. That is the opportunity of this human life. If we are missing that opportunity, then we are leading an animal civilization. This is not civilization. Animal life is not civilization. Civilized means not animal life. Something more than that. That is God consciousness.
Reporter: Do you have programs developed to educate mankind towards this God consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Concrete education. Not fictitious. Concrete.
Reporter: How will . . . how will you get man to become aware of the situation so he could desire—even desire unconsciously?
Prabhupāda: It is a very simple fact. If you simply understand that one verse in the Bhagavad-gītā, there it is stated that:
- sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
- sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ yāḥ
- tāsāṁ mahad yonir brahma
- ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
- (BG 14.4)
Very simple thing. Just like the art of the material nature. Everything is coming out of the material nature, beginning from the grass to the highest intellectual human being or more than that. Wherefrom they are coming? From this material nature, either earth, water, fire, this element, some material nature. Let us see from the ground, the grass is coming, the vegetable is coming. From the water the fishes are coming, all the ants are coming, the germs are coming. Then, after eating that vegetable, the animals are coming. In this way everything is coming, generated from the earth, from the material nature. Is it not a fact?
Prabhupāda: So, we are coming from material nature. That means we are . . . material nature is our mother. From the womb of mother, the child comes from. So from the material nature everything is coming. Therefore according to Vedic knowledge, this earth is also mother. We have got seven mothers according to Vedic civilization:
- ātma-mātā guroḥ patnī
- brāhmaṇī rāja-patnikā
- dhenur dhātrī tathā pṛthvī
- saptaitā mātaraḥ smṛtāḥ
- (Nīti Śāstra)
Ātma-mātā means original mother, real mother. And guroḥ patnī, the wife of teacher. The wife of a brāhmaṇa . . . Brāhmaṇa means the most intellectual class of men in the human society, brāhmaṇa. It is not a caste; it is a section in every human society. Always, there is a class of men very intelli . . . intelligent. They are called brāhmaṇa. So, ātma-mātā, guroḥ patnī, brāhmaṇī, rāja-patnikā, and the queen—formerly there were kings—she is also considered mother. And dhenu means cow is mother, because we drink her milk. She supplies milk. That's mother. And pṛthvī, in the earth, we are coming out. So earth is mother. Really we see coming. And there may be different varieties of sons. That doesn't matter. But anything coming out the earth—the earth is mother—and that is coming out, that is son. Then where is the father? There must be father. Is it possible mother can give birth to a child without father?
Prabhupāda: Is it possible?
Reporter: I wouldn't think so.
Reporter: I wouldn't think so. No.
Prabhupāda: So, there must be father. This is conclusion. So who is searching about the father? The answer is in the Bhagavad-gītā: ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā (BG 14.4), "I am father." You cannot deny father, that is not possible. If there is mother, if there is child, there must be father. This is human sense. And animal sense is, "I don't care for father. There may be father, may not be . . ." That is animal sense. So do you want to keep the human society in such ignorance, just like cats and dogs? The dogs do not care who is father. This movement wants to give education to the human society, "Yes, there is father." And that is actual fact. Without father, how there is child? Is it possible? Then? For the present moment, the human society is child playing on the lap of mother, that's all. In big, big motorcars, that's all. Without any knowledge of father. But will the human being remain simply satisfied with toys on the lap of mother, or you'll try to understand who is father? So we are satisfied with the toys, and playing on the lap of the mother. The motorcar is running very swiftly, head-break or neck-break speed, and they are thinking they are civilized, advanced. What is . . . "Who is your father?" "Don't know."
Rāmeśvara: Then "Where do you live?"
Rāmeśvara: Where do you . . . where do . . .?
Prabhupāda: But he lives on the lap of mother, that's all. That is child. Child is satisfied on the lap of the mother, that's what I am saying. He doesn't . . . the child doesn't care, "I have to know the father." But there is father, that's a fact. That means the present civilization is childish civilization, does not care to know the father. So whether the human civilization will remain child, children? They fight amongst themselves. Children, however you can . . . "My dear children, live peacefully." So for the time being they may be. Again they will fight, they will cry. That is going on. What the United Nation has done for the last forty years? They're fighting like children or animals. So you keep . . . if you keep them as child or animal, do you think there will be peace? That is not possible. It is futile attempt, the talking of big, big words for peace. That is not possible. I think in Melbourne I, in my press interview, I said if the United Nation is working.
Ambarīṣa: I just came from Vancouver from the Habitat Conference. The U.N. is having a Habitat Conference in Vancouver, and believe me, it is not united. There was constant . . . there were discussions, then arguments. Sometimes there were walkouts, so many things, and they're not able to reach any conclusions. They can't agree with each other.
Prabhupāda: How could they? Do you mean to say dogs simply barking, they will come to a conclusion? (chuckles) It is not possible. There is no aim, what is the actual aim of life. So this is very important movement. At least the intelligent class of men, they must understand it thoroughly. Just like there is body. There are different parts, different section of the body, but the most important section is the brain. Similarly, the important section of society means one who is fully in God consciousness. I . . . you can cut my hands, I shall live. You can cut my legs, I shall live. But if you cut my head . . . (indistinct) . . . life. So at the present moment, there are big, big scientists, big, big technologists. That's all right; that is hands and legs. But there is no brain. Therefore in one sense you can take it as dead society. So in my opinion, I like your country, America. Sometimes I call, "This is my fatherland," because these American boys, they are helping me pushing on this movement. So I am very much obliged to these boys. Now let us take it little more seriously, statewise. And if America takes it seriously, other nations will follow. As there is the United Nations Organization in America, and make a nice organization to understand God. United Nations God Consciousness. People will benefit.
Reporter: Do you see America getting more God consciousness?
Prabhupāda: At least I see majority of my disciples are Americans. Why not expanding?
Rāmeśvara: Prabhupāda? Before, Richard (the reporter) asked me a question: What is the difference between our movement and, say, another religion like the Sikhs or some other religion?
Prabhupāda: Don't misunderstand. It is . . . religion means a kind of faith. Just like you are Christian, I am Hindu. So you have faith in Christian religion, I have faith in Hin . . . that is another thing. But this is . . . we understand religion in a different way according to English dictionary. But real religion means the law given by God. This is the shortcut definition of religion. And if you do not know what is God, and if you do not know what is His law, then what is the meaning of religion? There is no meaning of religion. If blindly, if I have some faith in some dogmas and ritualistic ceremonies, that is not religion. Religion means the science by which you can understand God and the law of God. That is religion. It is not a kind of faith. Just like state laws: you may have faith or no faith, the state law is law; you have to obey it. Just like I have come in America. In our country the street law is "Keep to the left." So I have come to America; you say: "Keep to the right." If I say: "No, I have no faith in this. Keep to the left . . ." No, I must obey. That is law. Similarly, religion means you may have faith or no faith, but you must obey. It is a must. It is not optional. That is religion. That, I explained it many times, that character . . . (indistinct) . . . means characteristic. Just like every one of us, we are servant. So, the living entity is servant. He may have faith or no faith, he must be a servant. And if you don't become servant of God, then you become servant of dog. That is your advancement of civilization. When there is no service for God—just like here we have got service for God; there is no question of serving dog. But when we forget service of God, then automatically we become service of dog. But service . . . I am servant, that's a fact. And voluntarily keep a dog and serve him. If I have no master, then I keep a master, dog, cat. You call it by the name "pet." What is a pet? I do service, that's all. So this is our advancement of civilization. We have refused to serve God, and you voluntarily accept to serve dog. Now in India, they are also learning. (chuckles) And formerly, dog keeping, dog there was in the neighborhood, but they were not allowed to enter the room or house. Now they are keeping dogs just like the Western people keep. They are making dog show and so on, so on.
Rāmeśvara: Dog show.
Prabhupāda: They are learning how to serve the dog. And they are giving up God.
Ambarīṣa: Yeah, there are a lot of people here that worship their pets.
Rāmeśvara: The Russians served Lenin.
Prabhupāda: They are imitating. You understand people are very expert in this subject matter. They have come . . . learning everything.
Devotee (1): We can't avoid serving.
Prabhupāda: No, that is not possible.
Ambarīṣa: That's all there is in life, is service.
Prabhupāda: Now we are sitting, so many gentlemen. He's serving some paper, he's serving some paper, and you are serving God. The service is there. Nobody can say: "No, I don't serve anyone." Is there any man? No. That is not possible. You must serve. Constitutionally, you are meant for service, either you are president of the state or this anything. That is your position. That is the beginning of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy, jīvera svarūpa haya nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa (CC Madhya 20.108). All living entities are eternal servant of God.
Reporter: And all service is the same?
Reporter: All service is the same.
Devotee (1): No. He says, "All service is the same."
Prabhupāda: How can it be? All service is the same? Do you think . . .
Reporter: Everybody serves in their own way, but it's all . . .
Prabhupāda: That is . . . unless you come to the service of God, it is wrong.
Devotee (2): I think he's asking, "But if it is service to God, then in God's eyes, all service to Him."
Prabhupāda: Yes. God, service to God means, just like you put foodstuff in the stomach, then the service, supplying energy, is distributed automatically. The eyes get service, the ears get service, the hands get service, legs get service—everything. But if you put foodstuff in the eyes, instead of giving service, you make it blind. If you put foodstuff in the ear, instead of hearing, it is blocked. Then that is ignorance. You do not know where to give service. So the knowledge, God consciousness, means to know where to give service so that the service will be automatically distributed. You pour water on the root of the tree and the energy will be distributed to the trunk, to the branches, to the twigs, to the leaves, to the flowers, everyone. But we are missing their point. This is scientific.
- yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena
- tṛpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopaśākhāḥ
- prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṁ
- tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā
- (SB 4.31.14)
So instead of giving service in so many ways—social, political, philosophical, cultural, this way, that way—if you simply learn how to serve God, then everything will be done. So that is our philosophy, and we are laboring for this purpose, that you understand God and give service to Him, then the whole society will be perfect, peaceful.
Reporter: I have no more questions.
Rāmeśvara: No questions about the Society.
Devotee (1): You asked earlier about our program for educating society. Are you still interested in this?
Prabhupāda: This education is all explained.
Devotee (2): I think he was interested also in the techniques by which we go about educating society. We have some techniques which . . .
Prabhupāda: Technical knowledge is not education.
Devotee (2): No, but I mean, as far as our books are . . . we have our techniques for educating society.
Rāmeśvara: Our program is to distribute the books of the Vedas with our spiritual master's philosophical commentaries. We already discussed a little bit before we came.
Prabhupāda: And all this subject matter, everything, sixty-two books already.
Rāmeśvara: Thank you very much, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Devotee (2): Jaya!
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)