Chapter Three
The Real Goal of life
February 28, 1972 (continued)
Srila Prabhupada: This movement is especially meant to enable a human being to reach the real goal of life.
Bob: The real goal... ?
Srila Prabhupada: The real goal of life.
Bob: Is the real goal of life to know God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. To go back home, back to Godhead. That is the real goal of life. The water that comes from the sea forms clouds, the clouds fall down as rain, and the actual goal is to flow down the river and again enter the sea. So, we have come from God, and now we are embarrassed by material life. Therefore, our aim should be to get out of this embarrassing situation and go back home, back to Godhead. This is the real goal of life.
[“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.”] [Bg. 8.15] That is the version of Bhagavad-gita. If anyone comes to Me—mam upetya: he does not come back again. Where? To this place—duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15]. This place is the abode of miseries. Everyone knows, but they have been befooled by so-called leaders. Material life is miserable life. Krsna says, God says, that this place is duhkhalayam—it is a place of miseries. And it is also asasvatam, temporary. You cannot make a compromise: “All right, let it be miserable. I shall remain here as an American or Indian.” No. That also you cannot do. You cannot remain an American. You may think that, having been born in America, you are very happy. But you cannot remain an American for long. You will have to be kicked out of that place. And your next life you do not know! Therefore, it is duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15]miserable and temporary. That is our philosophy.
Bob: But when you have some knowledge of God, then life is not so miserable?
Srila Prabhupada: No! Some knowledge will not do. You must have perfect knowledge.
Tattvatah means “perfectly.” Perfect knowledge is being taught in Bhagavad-gita. So, we are giving everyone in human society a chance to learn Bhagavad-gita as it is and make his life perfect. That is the Krsna consciousness movement. What does your science say about the transmigration of the soul?
Bob: I think... that science... cannot deny or affirm it. Science does not know it.
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore I say that science is imperfect.
Bob: Science may. though, say something. It is said in science that energy is never destroyed; it is changed.
Srila Prabhupada: That’s all right. But how the energy is working in the future—that science does not know. How is the energy diverted? How, by different manipulations, is the energy working differently? For instance, electrical energy. By different handling it is operating the heats and it is operating the refrigerator. They are just the opposite, but the electrical energy is the same. Similarly, this energy—living energy—how is it being directed? Which way is it going? How is it fructifying in the next life? That they do not know. But in Bhagavad-gita it is very simply stated.
You are covered by a dress, by a shirt. When this shirt is unuesable, you change it. Similarly, this body is just like a shirt and coat. When it is no longer workable, we have to change it.
Bob: What is the “we” that has to change? What is constant?
Srila Prabhupada: That is the soul.
Bob: From one life to the next?
Srila Prabhupada: That is the soul—I. What “you” is speaking? You! What “I” is speaking? Identity: atma, or soul.
Bob: My soul is different from your soul?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. You are an individual soul, I am an individual soul.
Bob: You have removed yourself from karmic influences. If I was to remove myself from karmic influences, would our souls be the same or different?
Srila Prabhupada: The soul is of the same quality in all. You are under a certain conception of life at the present moment, and these countrymen of yours [the Krsna conscious devotees] were under a certain conception of life, but by training they have taken to another conception of life. So the ultimate training is how to become Krsna conscious. That is the perfection.
Bob: If two people are Krsna conscious, is their soul the same?
Srila Prabhupada: The soul is always the same.
Bob: In each person? In each person is it the same?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: [pointing to two devotees] If these two are Krsna conscious, are their souls the same?
Srila Prabhupada: The soul is the same but always individual, even if one is not Krsna conscious. For instance, you are a human being, and I am a human being. Even if I am not a Christian, even if you are not a Hindu, still we are human beings. Similarly, the soul may not be Krsna conscious, or he may be Krsna conscious—it doesn’t matter. But the soul is the soul.
Bob: Can you tell me more about this?
Srila Prabhupada: Soul—as pure spirit, all souls are equal. Even in an animal. Therefore it is said, panditah sama-darsinah: [Bg. 5.18] those who are actually learned do not see the outward covering, either in a human being or in an animal.
Bob: If I may ask another question on this?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: I have considered the soul somewhat as part of God. At times I think I feel God. I’m here, and you may say God is here. So if the soul is inside me, then should I be able to feel God inside me? Not all of God, I mean, but a...
Srila Prabhupada: Part of God.
Bob: But I don’t feel God in me, but God may be here, separate—separate from me. But should I be able to feel God inside me, since my soul is Part of God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. God is inside also. God is everywhere. God is inside and outside also. This is to be known.
Bob: How do you feel God inside you?
Srila Prabhupada: Not in the beginning, but you have to know from the sastras [scriptures], by the Vedic information. For example, in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati: [Bg. 18.61] God is there in everyone’s heart. Paramanu-cayantara-stham: God is also within every atom. So this is the first information. And then, by the yogic process, you have to realize it.
Bob: Yogic process?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: Is chanting Hare Krsna such a yogic process?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, it is also a yogic process.
Bob: What kind of yogic process must I do to find out—to feel this information—to feel the soul inside?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, there are many different yogic Processes, but for this age this process is very nice.
Bob: Chanting.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: Through this I can feel not only God outside but God inside?
Srila Prabhupada: You’ll understand everything of God—how God is inside, how God is outside, how God is working. Everything will be revealed. By this attitude of service, God will reveal Himself. You cannot understand God by your endeavor. Only if God reveals Himself. For instance, when the sun is out of your sight at night, you cannot see it by your torchlight, or any light. But in the morning you can see the sun automatically. without any torchlight. Similarly, you have to create a situation—you have to put yourself in a situation—in which God will be revealed. It is not that by some method you can ask God, “Please come. I will see You.” No, God is not your order carrier.
Bob: You must please God for Him to reveal Himself. Is that correct?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: How do we know when we are pleasing God?
Srila Prabhupada: When we see Him. Then you will understand. Just as, when you eat, you do not require to ask anyone whether you are feeling strength or your hunger is satisfied. If you eat, you understand that you are feeling energy. You don’t need to inquire from anyone. Similarly. if you actually serve God, then you will understand, “God is dictating to me. God is there. I am seeing God.”
A devotee: Or God’s representative.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee: It comes easier.
Srila Prabhupada: You have to go through God’s representative.
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **
“By the mercy of the spiritual master one is benedicted by the mercy of Krsna.” If you please God’s representative, then automatically God becomes pleased, and thus you can directly see Him.
An Indian gentleman: How to please God’s representative?
Srila Prabhupada: You have to carry out his orders, that’s all. God’s representative is the guru. He asks you to do this, to do that—if you do that, that is pleasing.
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ’pi
“Without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement.” If you displease him, then you are nowhere. Therefore we worship the guru.
saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam **
[“The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord because of his being the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged by all revealed scriptures and is followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Lord Krsna.”] The guru should be accepted as God. That is the injunction of all sastra.
Bob: The guru should be accepted as a representative of God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, the guru is God’s representative. The guru is the external manifestation of Krsna.
Bob: But different from the incarnations of Krsna that come?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: In what way is the external manifestation of the guru different from the external manifestation of, let us say, Krsna or Caitanya when They come to earth?
Srila Prabhupada: The guru is the representative of Krsna. So there are symptoms of who is a guru. The general symptoms are described in the Vedas.
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
[MU 1.2.12]
A guru must come in a disciplic succession, and he must have heard thoroughly about the Vedas from his spiritual master. Generally a guru’s symptom is that he is a perfect devotee, that’s all. And he serves Krsna by preaching His message.
Bob: Lord Caitanya—He was a different type of guru than you are?
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Gurus cannot be of different types. All gurus are of one type.
Bob: But He was—was He also an incarnation at the same time?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, He is Krsna Himself, but He is representing the guru.
Bob: I... I see.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: And then...
Srila Prabhupada: Because Krsna was God, He demanded:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” But people misunderstood Him. Therefore Krsna again came as a guru and taught people how to surrender to Krsna.
Syamasundara: Doesn’t He say in Bhagavad-gita, “I am the spiritual master”?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, He is the original spiritual master because He was accepted as spiritual master by Arjuna. So what is the difficulty? Sisyas te ’ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam. Arjuna told the Lord, “I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” So unless He is a spiritual master how does Arjuna become His disciple? He is the original guru. Tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye: “It is He only who first imparted Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahma, the first created being.” Therefore He is the original guru.
Bob: Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. He is the original guru. Then His disciple Brahma is a guru, then his disciple Narada is a guru, then his disciple Vyasa is a guruin this way there is a guru-parampara [disciplic succession of gurus]. Evam parampara-praptam: the transcendental knowledge is received through the disciplic succession.
Bob: So a guru receives his knowledge through the disciplic succession, not directly from Krsna? Do you receive some knowledge directly from Krsna?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Krsna’s direct instruction is there: Bhagavad-gita.
Bob: I see, but...
Srila Prabhupada: But you have to learn it through the disciplic succession, otherwise you will misunderstand it.
Bob: But presently you do not receive information directly from Krsna? It comes through the disciplic succession from the books?
Srila Prabhupada: There is no difference. Suppose I say that this is a pencil. If you say to him, “There is a pencil,” and if he says to another man, “This is a pencil,” then what is the difference between his instruction and my instructions?
Bob: Krsna’s mercy allows you to know this now?
Srila Prabhupada: You can take Krsna’s mercy also, provided it is delivered as it is. Just as we are teaching Bhagavad-gita In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says:
“Just give up all other forms of religion and simply surrender unto Me.” Now we are saying that you should give up everything and surrender to Krsna. Therefore, there is no difference between Krsna’s instruction and our instruction. There is no deviation. So if you receive knowledge in that perfect way, that is as good as receiving instruction directly from Krsna. But we don’t change anything.
Bob: When I pray reverently, faithfully, does Krsna hear me?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Bob: From me to Him?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because He is within your heat He is always hearing you—whether you are praying or not praying. When you are doing some nonsense, He is also hearing you. And when you pray, that is very good—welcome.
Bob: To Krsna’s ear, is praying louder than nonsense?
Srila Prabhupada: No. He is all-perfect. He can hear everything. Even if you don’t speak, even if you simply think, “I shall do it,” then He hears you. Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivistah: Krsna is seated in everyone’s heart.
Bob: But one should pray—is that so?
Srila Prabhupada: That is his business—praying.
Bob: Whose business?
Srila Prabhupada: Every living entity’s. That is the only business. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. That is the statement of the Vedas.
Bob: What does that mean?
Srila Prabhupada: He supplies everything to everyone. He is supplying food to everyone. So He is the Father. So why should you not pray, “Father, give me this”? Just as in the Christian Bible there is, “Father, give us our daily bread.” That is good—they are accepting the Supreme Father. But grown-up children should not ask from the father; rather, they should be prepared to serve the father. That is bhakti [devotion].
Bob: My questions you solve so nicely. [Everyone laughs with affection.]
Srila Prabhupada: Thank you very much.
Bob: So, should I ask you another question now?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Yes!

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