Lecture at International Student Society

Boston, May 3, 1969
(kirtana led by Satsvarupa dasa)
Prabhupada: (recites mangalacarana prayers) Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your participating with us in the sankirtana movement, or Krsna consciousness movement. This Krsna consciousness movement is to awake the sleeping living entities. In the Vedic literature, Upanisad, we have these verses, which says, uttistha jagrata prapya varan nibodhata. The Vedic voice, transcendental voice, says, "O humanity, O living entity, you are sleeping. Please get up." Uttistha. Uttistha means "Please get up." Just like when a man or a boy sleeps past, and the parents, who has got knowledge that he has got to do something important, "My dear boy, please get up. It is now morning. You have to go. You have to go to your duty. You have to go to your school." Just like responsible parents, fathers, mothers, they awake the sleepy, indolent boy, similarly, the Vedas are considered as the mother of the human society. So Vedas, it is crying, uttistha: "Please get up. Please get up." And what is that sleeping? Sleeping means just like when we sleep we forget ourself. Anyone, either common man or very rich man, when he's fast asleep he forgets himself. Sometimes he dreams. Although he is sleeping in very nice apartment, nice bedstead, but he is dreaming that he is thrown into the ocean or into the fire or something like that. Sometimes he is dreaming that he is flying in the skyso many things dreaming. Everyone, you have got experience. Similarly, our this state of consciousness, material consciousness, is on the sleeping state, in the darkness of sleeping state. We do not know. We do not know what is my identity. We do not know wherefrom we have come in this place, where we have to go. Neither they have any information whether there is life after death. Very gross understanding, just like animals. Animal is standing, eating some grass. Although next moment he'll be taken to the slaughterhouse and he'll be killed, but he has no information. He is very happy eating the grass. And even if it is informed, "My dear Mr. Ox, you are eating grass here very happily. Just half an hour after you will be taken to the slaughterhouse. You go away from this place," but he has no knowledge. The grass-eating is very palatable to him than to take protection from being killed. So this is called ignorance, ignorance, sleeping state. Therefore the Veda is crying, uttistham jagrata prapya varan nibodhatam, ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya: "You have got now this human form of life, a great boon, not like animal. Please do not therefore waste your time sleeping like animals simply in the matters of eating, sleeping, mating and defending." That is the verdict of Vedas. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15].
Therefore, human life should be very much responsible. This life is the preparation for the next life. Next life we have always, but we do not know what kind of life we are getting next. That we should know. That is the business of human form of life, not to waste life like animals and evolve. By the laws of nature, we get another form of life. We are evolving by the evolutionary theory. It is not theory. Of course, Mr. Darwin has called it theory, but in the Padma Purana, Vedic literature... This evolutionary process is very nicely explained in Vedic literature. Asitims caturas caiva bhramadbhih jiva-jatisu. These Sanskrit words are there in the Padma Purana, that "A living entity is traveling or evolving from lower grades of life to the higher grades of life in 8,400,000 species of life." There are 900,000 species of life in the water. There are 2,000,000 species of life of plants and vegetables. Similarly, microbes, reptiles, there are 1,100,000 species of life. Then birds, 1,000,000 species of life. Then beasts, four-legged beasts, there are 3,000,000 species of life. Then, from beastly life, he comes to the human form life. There also variety, 400,000's of varieties. In this way we come to the point of civilized human form of life. The evolution is coming. Just like we evolve our body or grew our body from the womb of our mother. It is stated... Everything is there in the Vedic literature. After the sex intercourse of the man and woman, there is an emulsification of the two kinds of secretion. And in the first night there is a pealike form that takes place. Then he grows, growing. Then many holes come out of that pealike formthat becomes our eyes and other nine holes. In this way the body is developed in seven months. Then the child gets consciousness, and he feels very much inconvenience. Therefore moves this side, that side. Then, if he is fortunate, he prays to God, "My Lord, please save me from this inconvenience, this position." Just imagine, airtight packed. In this way he comes up and cries, and again grows. But after coming out, he does not..., he forgets in what position he was. But mother, father takes care. He forgets, again grows. So this evolution is going on. In the material stage of our life, we have got birth, growth, sustenance, by-product, then dwindling, then this body vanishes, again accepting another body. This is called cycle of birth and death. But in this human form of life one can understand what he is, what is this world, who is controlling, what is God, what is his relationship with God, what is this time factor, what are his activities. These things are to be learned, not that simply like animals, cats and dogs and hogs, whole day working for getting food. You see? And satisfied only by some sense gratification, business finished. No. That is animal life. Simply people are engaged for eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. That is the modern trend of civilization. Everyone is busy how to eat and how to sleep nicely in big palatial building, nice apartment, very good room, sleeping, the business of sleeping. And economic condition, developing the business of economic condition, means the business of eating. And defendingeither you defend with atomic energy or with your nails and claws, the process is defending. That is in the animal life also. And mating, sex intercourse or sense gratification.
So human life is not meant for simply for these four kinds of business. There is another business. Therefore the Veda says, uttistham jagratam: "Please get up. Don't be sleeping simply for these four principal things(?)." These are not problems, eating, sleeping, mating, and... The Vedic literature says, "Wherever you take your birth, the eating, sleeping, and mating and defending is there, even in animal life." Suppose there is a cat. It knows how to eat, it knows how to sleep, it knows how to mate, and it knows how to defend. The dog also knows. The hog also knows. So do you mean to say scientific advancement of education is simply for this purposehow to eat, how to sleep, how to mate, and how to defend? No. That is not human civilization. These are bodily needs undoubtedly, but we are not body. That we do not know. We are spirit soul. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita very nicely in a very common sense words:
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati
[Bg. 2.13]
Just like within this body there is soul, and it is changing bodies, from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youthhood, from youthhood to old age. And then again, when the body is useless, no more, cannot be maintained, then we will give up this body and accept another body just like we change our dress." That is going on. So I am eternal. Although I am old man, I can understand what I was in my childhood, in my boyhood, youthhood. So body has changed, but I am existing. This is very simple thing. Everyone can understand. Therefore I, as spirit soul, I am not body. Body is changing; I am different from body. Therefore change of this body does not mean I am finished. I am continuing. Therefore I should be responsible: "What kind of body I am going to accept next?" That is my responsibility. If you don't take this responsibility, "What kind of body...?" It may be, if I am of doggish mentality, my next life will be just a dog because I will have to accept the dress of a dog. And if I am evolving my godly mentality, then I'll have to accept, or I will accept another body just like God. So that is in my hands.
So in the modern educational system, universities, there is no such information, we see. It is very lamentable, but these knowledges are there in the Vedic literature. The summary of all Vedic literature is Srimad-Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. There are many other literatures-Ramayana, Mahabharata, eighteen Puranas. They are meant for human society, not for these cats and dogs. So our Krsna consciousness movement is just to awake people to their rightful position, which is called Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness means to understand how he is related with Krsna. When we speak of Krsna, Krsna means God. The word Krsna, Sanskrit word, means all-attractive. So without God, nobody can be all-attractive, all-powerful, all-opulent. So this Krsna consciousness movement is directed to awake people to the rightful position of his spiritual existence, the, I mean to say, process. Of course, there are many different kinds of processes recommended in the Vedic literature. Just like some of you, or any one of you, know that one process is very important process which is called meditation, dhyana. So that dhyana, that is also mentioned, krte yad dhyayato visnum [SB 12.3.52]. This meditation process was possible to be executed in the age when people were very pious and very honest and the duration of life was very long. That is called Golden Age, or Satya-yuga. According to Sanskrit word, it is called Satya-yuga. This meditation process was possible to be executed in the Satya-yuga, Satya millennium. Then the next millennium, Treta-yuga. There is a great description of these yugas. In the Satya-yuga, people used to live for hundred thousands of years. People used to live. It is not that, that according to the modern anthropologists, they say that ten thousand years ago there was no human being. These are the not the Vedic version. We do not accept this version, because we find that there was age, which is called Satya-yuga, when people used to live for one hundred thousands of years. The next age, Treta-yuga, when people used to live for ten thousands of years. The next age is called Dvapara-yuga, when people used to live for one thousand years. Now it is called Kali-yuga, when people can live, utmost, one hundred years. These are the calculation of different ages.
So Vedic literature informs us that the meditation process was possible to be successful in the age which is called Satya-yuga, when people used to live for hundred thousands of years. The next age, Treta-yuga, the self-realization process is offering sacrifices. And the next age, Dvapara-yuga, when people used to live for one thousand years, the recommendation is temple worship or church worship, like that. But in this age the recommendation is kalau tad dhari-kirtanat. Kalau. Kalau means in this age, when duration of life is very short. Actually, although officially the age is calculated that we can live for one hundred years, but nobody goes up to that limit. Most utterly, very old man means eighty years or eighty-five years. That's all. But gradually, the duration of age in this period will decrease so much so that it is stated that if a man lives for twenty to thirty years, he'll be considered a very old man. That is also predicted. So we are gradually declining in our strength, in our duration of life, in our memory, in our merciful activities, so many things. So in this age there is no time for meditation, there is no money for offering great sacrifices, neither people are very much interested in temple worship or church worship. Therefore, wherever you remain, you can simply chant this maha-mantraHare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. That is the recommendation of Vedic literature. Kalau tad dhari-kirtanat. Simply by chanting these sixteen names, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare... There are actually three words onlyHare, Krsna, Ramabut they are set up very nicely.
So our Krsna consciousness movement is just according to the direction of authoritative Vedic literature, and we are distributing this knowledge without any charge. We don't say there is any secrecy. It is wide open. Open secret. Anyone can take up these sixteen names and chant. And test it, chanting, say, for a week, and see the result. See the result, how you are spiritually realizing yours. Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. If you go on chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, then first installment of your gain will be that you will understand that you are not this body, you are spirit soul, which takes at least many years to understand, that "I am not this body." Everybody... You ask anybody, "What you are?" He will say, "I am this, sir, this and that. I am American. I am this body. I am that body." But nobody knows that he is not this body. But if you chant this Hare Krsna mantra, the first installment of your gain will be that you will realize yourself, aham brahmasmi: "I am not this body, but I am spirit soul. I am part and parcel of the Supreme Lord." And as soon as you come to this platform of understanding, then the next stage will be you will (be) jolly. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]. Brahma-bhuta [SB 4.30.20] means self-realization, when one understands that "I am not this body." Due to this body, all sufferings are there. That we do not understand. We simply go to the physician. Although we know the body is the temple of all kinds of diseases, but we do not know how to get out of this material body. But there is possibility. There is a statement in the Bhagavad-gita, you will see, that,
We do not care for it. This is the animalistic life. Just like animals, they do not care. They are suffering, but they have no remedy. Simply eating, sleeping. This is not civilization. This is not civilization. There are ample informations. Take advantage of this knowledge, Krsna consciousness, and be benefited. That is our mission. Uttisthata: "Please get up. Don't be asleep."
So we have got this literature printed in English. Bhagavad-gita is already printed in so many editions, but unfortunately, those Bhagavad-gitas are interpreted in their own interest. You see? Therefore we have published this Bhagavad-gita. It is the essence of all Vedic literature, Bhagavad-gita as it is. You have to learn Bhagavad-gita as it is. Don't interpret in your own way. There is no possibility. But people do it, and foolish persons, they accept it. No, there is no question of interpretation. The first verse of Bhagavad-gita is,
So these are plain truths. Kuruksetra... Still there is a place of the name Kuruksetra near Delhi. And people interpret, " 'Kuruksetra' means this body." We do not know wherefrom he gets this meaning, what is that dictionary. Now, how he can establish? Kuruksetra is still existing, and it is called dharma-ksetra; it is a place of religious pilgrimage. So everything is clear. There is no need of interpretation. Simply you have to take the teachings. Then you will be benefited. So in this Bhagavad-gita you will find so many nice information that if you see... If you don't see, that is another thing. You have to see that "Why I am put into so many miserable conditions of life although I do not want it?" That should be your question. If this question does not arise in your mind, that means still you are in the animal state of life. That is the human stage of life, when one inquires that "I do not wish to suffer. I do not want this suffering, but I am put into this suffering. Why?" This "why," for this "why," there is Upanisad which is called Kena Upanisad. So this "why" question must be there in the developed stage of human consciousness. And when that "why" question comes, there is an answer. There is answer in the Bhagavad-gita, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and all Vedic literatures. So although people are not very much interested with all these questions and answers, but they are essential. If they do not question and seek for the answers, then they are simply wasting their the opportunity of human life. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
The Rsabhadeva says that "People have become mad after sense gratification." Pramattah. Pramattah means mad. Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. And they are doing which they should not have done, but they do not know that "By doing nonsense things we have got this body, which is so much miserable." And still, he's preparing for another miserable body.
So this is not very good. These things are there. Although people have no interest in all these questions and answers, but it is our mission to awake people to the Krsna consciousness. Although it is not possible that cent percent people will accept this or try to understand, but if one man can understand, one woman can understand, then our mission is successful. The subject matter is very difficult, but we are prepared to convince any man to this understanding provided he is serious to understand. But we don't... Very little, very few men are interested to understand this philosophy seriously. Simply they are busy with process of sense gratification, and if somebody comes, "All right, you go on with your sense gratification. You simply meditate for fifteen minutes, and within six months you become God," these bluffs like this will be accepted very easily. But we are not meant for giving people false information. We are trying to give you information from authoritative scriptures, Vedas. And if you are fortunate enough, you will take this information, try to understand by your reasoning, by your logic, and adopt it, and your life will be sublime. Your life will be successful. Otherwise you will be put into the cycle of birth and death and going on, and sufferings will continue. In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is said,
"One who has attained the highest perfectional stage of life, he comes to Me. He comes. Then he hasn't got to come back again in this miserable condition of material existence." These things are there.
So our business is to inform you. Just like one of the devotees of Lord Caitanya, he said that padayor nipatya, "Falling down on your feet," padayor nipatya, dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya, "taking a blade of grass on my mouth and falling down on your feet with flattering and informing you, 'My dear sir, you are very learned man. I know that. But for the time being, please set aside all your learning. Kindly hear what Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu says.' " We belong to that sect, Lord Caitanya's disciplic succession. So our business is falling down on your feet and flattering you and making many, I mean to say, salvation(?), I mean simply we request you that try to understand this philosophy, Krsna consciousness. You will be benefited. The so-called knowledge, so-called elevation, so-called upliftment, oh, this will be all finished as soon as your body is finished. But you are pure soul. You have to educate yourself how your soul can be saved from this cycle of birth and death within the species of 8,400,000's in different planets and different places. Just try to elevate to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead. That is the mission of your human life. Don't lose this opportunity. Chant Hare Krsna. It is easy thing, Hare Krsna, only sixteen names. Anyone can chant. Even the child can chant. You try it. There is no payment; there is no loss. But you try it and you'll be benefited. That is our proposition.
Thank you. Any question? So no question from the audience? Yes?
Woman (1): I want to know what it means, "If you touch the element, then you can be healed."
Prabhupada: You touch the element?
Woman (1): "If you touch the element, you can be healed."
Prabhupada: You can be healed? What do you understand by this healing?
Woman (1): Well, if you can be healed if you touch the element, I want to know how this is.
Prabhupada: No. Healing means that you have got some pain, and to get out of the pain, is that not healing?
Woman (1): I don't have a pain... No, I mean...
Prabhupada: Now, healing, because the word healing, the word healing means if somebody has got some trouble or pain, that healing is sought after, how to heal it. Is it not? What do you think? Healing? Anybody? What is the meaning of healing? Will you inform this old lady. She says she does not know what is the meaning of healing.
Woman (2): (indistinct)
Prabhupada: Illness means suffering. Is it not?
Woman (1): No. I don't mean that at all. It's sort of a truth, that if we touch the element, touch the element...
Prabhupada: What is that element?
Woman (1): I don't know. I'm asking you.
Prabhupada: Element, we generally mean, there are five elements. [break] That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita.
indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
[Bg. 3.42]
So you, the spirit soul, you are above the intellectual platform. So this dress is the gross, gross covering. It has nothing to do with Krsna consciousness. But just like you go to your office, you dress in some way, similarly, this is a particular type of dress. It is sanctioned by our predecessors. We adopt. So if you don't accept this dress, that does not mean you cannot be in Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness can be achieved in any condition of life. It doesn't matter whether you are dressed in this way or in your American way or any way. That doesn't matter. It has nothing to do.
Woman (3): But I would think, sir, that that does make a little bit difference that you feel that way.
Prabhupada: Yes, it makes a psychological condition if you dress. Just like if you dress yourself just like a queen, sometimes you feel, "I am queen." You see? Just like an actor in a theatrical stage, or if you sit down on a car, you think that you are much elevated. These are temporary, but they are not very important. If you have no objection to accept this dress, that's nice. But if you have got objection, then we have no objection. Krsna consciousness is different from this dress or that dress. Just like a policeman, police constable, he is dressed in a different type than ordinary gentleman. But that does not mean simply by dressing, he is a perfect policeman. Even without dress, he can become a perfect policeman.
Woman (4): It is motivation. It is just like policeman. He feels...
Prabhupada: Yes. Just to make others know that he is a policeman. But his business does not depend on that dress. Similarly, our this dress may be advertisement to others that "We belong to the Krsna consciousness group." That is another thing. But Krsna consciousness does not depend on dress. Ahaituky apratihata. Without any reason and without any impediment. Krsna consciousness can be executed without any material condition. There is no material condition for advancing in Krsna consciousness. (aside:) Why you are late? (chuckles)
Devotee: Somebody gave him the wrong address.
Prabhupada: Oh, thank you. It is better late than never. (laughter)
Woman (5): It sounds like whenever you have a conflict, problem...
Prabhupada: Not whenever. You have got always a problem. It is not... Because we have got this material body, we are simply meeting problems. That's all. You're simply thinking that "This is good problem, and this is bad problem." But on account of possessing this material body, beginning from this body, just like a pealike form within the womb of mother, till death, it is simply problem. If you do not understand it, then it is our less intelligence. That is called sleeping.
Woman (5): But when you have a real problem, because...
Prabhupada: Real, everything is problem with this body. Everything is problem. Beginning from the birth of your this body, manufacturing of the body by father and mother, it is a problem. Therefore a serious man will always think how to get out of this problem, setting aside all other problems. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. How to get out of this material body. It is not that "This is small problem; this is big problem." The whole body, material body, acceptance of material body, is problem. The disease... Yes.
Woman (4): But you have to accept the problem because you have the body.
Prabhupada: That's it, to make the best use of a bad bargain.
Woman (4): I wouldn't think so bad bargain. If you have a bad body, that's a bad body...
Prabhupada: It is a bad bargain because there are four problems. Even if you are very rich, you have no economic problem, you've got everything(?), but you have to take birth, you have to die, you have to suffer from disease, you have to accept old age. These problems you cannot avoid. Either you are rich man or poor man or American or Indian or white or black, it doesn't matter. The problems, the four problems of material existence, will always trouble you. Nobody wishes to die, but he has to die. Nobody likes disease, but he has to suffer from disease. So these are the problems. If you don't think they are not problems, then you are less intelligent. You have to become more intelligent. The animals, they don't care for death. Now, here is a slaughterhouse. Another animal is being killed, and this animal, little grass, oh, he is happy. He does not know that "Next moment I am going to be killed." This is ignorance. Ignorance means animal life, and knowledge means human life. Therefore there is so much educational system in every human society. Why? Knowledge means human life, and ignorance means animal life. So why should we be ignorant of these four problems, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9], the problems of birth, death, old age and disease? Why you set aside these problems and think you are happy? That is animal life. They don't care for the problems, and eating grass. That is animal life. Yes?
Man (6): What do the, what is normally called pleasure, like eating, sleeping, sex...
Prabhupada: Defense.
Man (6): What part do they play when a person's reached this higher level of consciousness?
Prabhupada: They also eat, they also sleep, they also mate, they also defend, but there is adjustment.
Man (6): But how could there... Is it more pleasurable?
Prabhupada: Yes. [break] ...not more vegetable. There is more vegetable also. An elephant eats hundred pounds' vegetables at a time.
Man (7): Is it more pleasurable?
Prabhupada: What is that? Oh. More pleasurement? Oh. There is no question of pleasure or distress. Pleasure must be there always, but it is the question of curing. Just like when you are under the treatment of an expert physician, he says that "You shall eat like this. You shall sleep like this. You shall mate like this. You shall do like this," so it may not be pleasure, but if I want to cure myself, we have to accept the physician's direction. It is pleasure because the physician is taking him to the healthy state of life. So as soon as he gets that he is getting healthy or he is getting out of the diseased condition, that becomes pleasurable"Oh, yes, I am being cured. I am being cured." So apart from that point of view, it is not the question of whether it is pleasurable or nonpleasurable, but (if) you want to cure yourself from the disease, you have to follow the directions. That is the process. Yes.
Man (6): But... But I need pleasure.
Prabhupada: Therefore it is called tapasya. The Sanskrit word is tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting some unpleasurable thing, voluntarily. That is called tapasya.
Man (6): What relationship...?
Prabhupada: What is that?
Devotee: He wants to know what relation the body and the mind have to a higher level of consciousness.
Prabhupada: As you can see, the difference of body and mind between animal and human being. Is there no difference? Do you think animal body and human body and human consciousness and animal consciousness is the same? So you have to elevate yourself. As you have elevated yourself from animal consciousness, animal body, to this beautiful human body, similarly, you have to still more elevate yourself to higher standard of life. They are called demigods. But the final stage is to get a body which is called spiritual body in Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness. That is the perfection of... This evolutionary process is going on. As you have come up so much to this civilized form of life from animal status, similarly, you can still make progress. But in the Bhagavad-gita it is recommended that by progressing, you may go to the topmost planet of this universe. A-brahma-bhuvanal-lokah [Bg. 8.16]. That is called Brahmaloka or Satyaloka. But everywhere the four problems of birth, death, old age, and disease are there. But if you come to the spiritual sky and the planets there, then there is no more death, birth, old age, and disease. Life eternal, full of knowledge, and blissful life. That should be attained, that should be endeavored in this human form of life, setting aside all others. That should be the business of human life.
Man (6): How do you explain suicide?
Prabhupada: Suicide is killing the body. What is that explanation? Untimely. Untimely. Suicide means that you were given some body to suffer or enjoy for a certain time according to your last fruitive activities. Now, if you commit suicide, that is just like a prisoner is condemned to live in the prisonhouse for six months, but some way or other, if he gets out of the prison, when he is again caught, then he is punished to remain there for one year more. Suicide is like that. You are having a particular type of body that is given to you for enjoyment or suffering according to your last work. If you finish it untimely, then you have to accept such body again, and the duration will be extended.
Man (6): I'm not sure that I understand you. You mean that suicide is putting an end to suffering which was...
Prabhupada: Suffering you cannot end in that way. Just the same example, that if you get out of the prison some way or other, that does not stop your suffering. As soon as you are arrested, you are put again. The law of nature is not so insignificant that simply by suiciding, you'll stop suffering. No. You have to accept again body and have to suffer.
Man (8): Excuse me. But how do we know that we're going to have a body in the next life?
Prabhupada: There are books, knowledge books, books of knowledge. Therefore I am speaking of Vedic knowledge.
Man (8): Books can be wrong also.
Prabhupada: No, why...? Then you are wrong also. You are learning from books. What is your education? You are learning from books.
Man (8): No, but we read these things from Bhagavad-gita, as it...
Prabhupada: No, no. What is your education? What is your process of knowledge?
Man (8): Well, the process of knowledgeyou are reading something in the form of authority.
Prabhupada: That's their way. So similarly, you take the books of authority, Vedic knowledge. You have got all knowledge.
Man (8): No, but lot of times, books you read one thing, and lot of times, as soon as you've taken to it... You don't understand it. Few days more... Something wrong from what you wanted to know.
Prabhupada: What is wrong?
Man (8): Suppose you read a book of one kind.
Prabhupada: No. You have to select the authoritative books, not "kind." Just like lawbooks. Oh, there is no "one kind" of lawbook. Lawbooks means that is given by the state. That is one lawbook, only one. That cannot be two. It is not that you take lawbook from other state or other authority. No. Lawbooks means it is the books, it is the laws, which is given by the state. Similarly, our process is to accept the Vedas, not other kind of books. There is no question of other kind of books. Only Vedas. Just like we are speaking of Bhagavad-gita. So that is one, not "other kind of Bhagavad-gita." Bhagavad-gita is one.
Man (8): But that one may be also wrong.
Prabhupada: Why?
Man (8): Why not? You take philosophy wrong. You won't take from another script(?).
Prabhupada: No. If you take in that way, then it is not book of authority. If it is wrong, then it is not book of authority. The Vedic literatures are accepted, fundamentally accepting that they are not wrong. They are not cheating. They are fact. Without this understanding there is no question of accepting any book.
Man (8): But who makes the background? (?)
Prabhupada: It is coming from... Who makes you that you are son of such and such gentleman? Who makes you convinced?
Man (8): Okay, but I have to convince myself. Suppose my father is only one.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Man (8): If I change my father's name to somebody else... What...?
Prabhupada: You cannot change your father's name.
Man (8): Why not? Who knows?
Prabhupada: Who knows me?
Man (8): You cannot prove everything by one authorized man. Another authorized man, he can change the words. Anybody can. Prabhupada: No. If he is a perfect man, then he will not change because he knows the thing, "Yes, it is this." But if he is imperfect rascal, then he will change.
Man (8): How do you know that person who wrote it was perfect?
Prabhupada: That you have to know from the perfect man. That is the way.
Man (8): And who is the perfect man?
Prabhupada: That you have to find out, if you have got that capacity.
Man (8): How do you find out?
Prabhupada: How do you find out a lawyer?
Man (8): Well, that's what I'm asking, you see. I've got a...
Prabhupada: You have to see that "This man is lawyer, and many men is going there to take law advice, and he is gaining case. He is working." In that way you have to know.
Man (8): Well, sir, you're one of the authorities in the same subject. But...
Prabhupada: No. Authority is in, not that way. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that authorities are accepted by disciplic succession. And just like Bhagavad-gita, it is accepted. There are authorities like... In our India there are authorities like Sankaracarya, authorities like Ramanujacarya, authorities like Madhvacarya, authorities like Visnu Svami, authorities like Lord Caitanya. They have all accepted that Krsna is the supreme authority. So you have to accept that. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. You have to follow the footprint of higher authorities. So if you say that "I don't accept anyone authority," then your authority is sufficient. Whatever you like, can do.
Woman (9): We have to start somewhere or the other.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is going on.
Woman (9): The basis... If we don't start the basic, change our words, what other things do... But life, what it says, "Be good." It says in Bible, it says in Koran, everything, "Be good." If you take that word, that's enough, without any big book.
Woman (1): Is astrology of any importance to a way of life, I mean...
Prabhupada: Yes. This is a science. Yes. This is a science. It is a science. That science is acceptable by the human society. Medical science, legal science, engineering science. Similarly, astrology also, another science. But the astrology is simply useful so long you have got this body. But as soon as your body is finished, there is no more use of astrology.
Devotee: Should we chant?
Prabhupada: Yes. Now you can. What is that? Take it. Chant. Authority, it is accepted like that. Because other authorities whom we are accepting, they have accepted... Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the footprints of other authorities. Leadership. In every society they are accepting leadership. So in that way you have to accept authority. There is no other process.
Man (8): No. Change is good wherever it's necessary, but according to...
Prabhupada: Authority, everywhere authority is there. You have to accept authority. Without authority there is no, I mean to say, advancement. That is impossible. Now you have to select your authority. That is a different thing. But you have to accept the authority. In every society there is leadership, there is authority. So people accept it, and that is the way. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. That is stated, that "We have to follow the footprints of the authorities." Now the next question will be whether you will accept this man as authority or that man as authority. That is a different question. But if you want to advance, you have to... Just like even in the crossing, you ask the police authority, "Whether I shall go this way or that way?" Authority is to be accepted because we are not independent. So you may select a different kind of authority. That is your selection. But authority you accepted, even if he is wrong. Without that, you cannot make progress. Yes?
Man (10): I'm not sure I understand what you mean by a spiritual body. When I look at you, it seems that you're...
Prabhupada: A spiritual body is like... This is body, but this is material body. Just like here there is, there are different kinds of bodies, as I explained, 8,400,000's different forms of bodies. Even in human form of body there are so many difference of bodies. Similarly, there is a body which is called spiritual body, of which you have no experience at the present moment, but there is a spiritual body.
Man (10): And a person can take on such body if he's been purified after...
Prabhupada: Yes. Body is already there. Spiritual body is already there. Just like from Bhagavad-gita we understand that this body is dress. Just try to understand. Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya [Bg. 2.22]. The Bhagavad-gita says that "As we give up old dress and accept another new dress, similarly, we give up one body and accept another body." Now, if this body is dress, so dress cannot stand without real body. Now, one dress is moving, coat-pant. That means that within that dress there is a man, not that automatically the coat-pant is moving. Similarly, this dress is standing so long the soul is there. As soon as the soul is gone, it is flat, no more moving. This is very easy to understand. It is dress, but dress is moving. Just like coat-pant moving, how long? The real man is there. If the man is not there, finished. The coat is coat; pant is pant. That's all. It is so simply given in the Bhagavad-gita. Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya [Bg. 2.22]. It is dress. So dress means there is real body. Otherwise how dress can be made? Because you have got this hand, therefore your coat has got a hand. Because you have got leg, therefore your dress, pant, has got a leg. So if it is dress, then it is to be understood that within the dress the spiritual body is there. It is common affair. First of all try to understand this. Yes.
Man (11): Who is the original authority of Bhagavad-gita?
Prabhupada: Krsna. Yes. You have read Bhagavad-gita? You read it thoroughly. Then you will understand.
Man (11): No, but I think (I've seen?) Bhagavad-gita without...
Prabhupada: You think. That is a wrong thing. Your thinking is not authority.
Man (12): The man's protesting.
Devotee: That's the man's opinion.
Prabhupada: That's your opinion. That's all right. Opinion may differ. That's all right. That's your opinion. Opinion may be... You may have one opinion; another have another opinion. But whose opinion should be accepted? That is the question.
Man (13): (indistinct)
Woman (9): He said he can have his opinion.
Prabhupada: All right. So any other questions? Let us chant. (kirtana) (end)

Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/classes/general/at_international_student_society/boston/may/03/1969

If you Love Me Distribute My Books -- Srila Prabhupada