Lecture at the Hare Krsna Festival
at La Salle Pleyel

Paris, June 14, 1974
[I offer my obeisances to Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all others in the line of devotion.]
[break] ...kindly taking part in this sankirtana movement. (translated into French throughout by Jyotirmayi dasi) This sankirtana movement means vibration of the transcendental sound. In the beginning of creation, sound is the origin of all creation. That is admitted in the Bible also. (aside:) Where is that paper? Yes. Read it. We are reading a passage from your Bible.
Nitai: The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter One. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."
Prabhupada: Where it is? So the same thing explained in the Vedic literature. Here it is said that "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." So God being Absolute Truth, there is no difference between God, His form, His qualities, His words and everything relating to God. That is also God. Just like in the material world the name and the subject, or the substance, they are different. Just like when you are thirsty, you simply utter the word "water, water," it will not quench your thirst. But in the spiritual world, the name "God," or "Krsna," and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, They are the same. Just parallel to this Bible passage I'll quote one Sanskrit verse from the Vedas. Therefore it is said,
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
'bhinnatvan nama-naminoh
[Cc. Madhya 17.133]
Namely, the name of God is as powerful as God is Himself. It is called purna. Purna means complete. And suddha. Suddha means without any material contamination. Purnah suddha nitya. Nitya means eternal. Abhinnatvan nama-naminoh means without being different from the person whose name we are chanting.
The idea is that when we chant the holy name of Godjust like "Krsna"Krsna is present there. As soon as you chant God's name... Not necessarily that he will have to chant the name Krsna... Any other name which you know that it is God's name, you can chant it. God has got many names, and they can be chanted by different languages in different countries. The effect is the same. Practically, God has no name, but His name is given according to His activities. Just like we are chanting God's name "Krsna." Krsna means "all-attractive." So God is all-attractive. We can have the idea how we consider attractiveness in this material world. One is attractive in this material world if he is very rich, if he is very powerful, if he is very wise, if he is very beautiful. In this way, in six ways one becomes the most attractive. The statement is there in the Vedic literature:
aisvaryasya samagrasya
viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos caiva
sannam iti bhaga gana
(Visnu Purana 6.5.47)
Means God is all-attractive by six features: that He is the richest of all, He is the strongest of all, He is the most beautiful, He is the most wise, He is the most renounced order, and He is most famous.
So our position, we all living entities, all the living entities or the human being who are sitting in this hall, we are all sons of God. (someone calls out "No," and there is a little applause, Prabhupada chuckles) It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that... You find out this verse,
Read it. You read it.
"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father."
Prabhupada: So according to Vedic conception, any living entity, in any form of life, they are all part and parcel of God. (someone yells out, "No!" and yells some things in French) Your Bible says that in the beginning there was word only, and the word is God. So before the creation, the God was there. Then all the created creatures, wherefrom they came? They came from God. It is clearly stated in this verse, "All things were made by Him." So original creator of everything was God. Everything means including all, not only a certain person or certain thing. Everything means everything, all. So all things were made by God means..., "made by Him" means that all these creatures... There are different creatures, 8,400,000. They were created by God. One who creates, he is the father. Just like in the material sense also, a father creates his children. So how can you say "No"? Because here in the Bible it is said that "All things were made by Him, created by Him." Therefore He is the father of everything. "And without Him was not anything made that was made." So you cannot deny the authoritative statement of Vedas or Bible by your whimsical way. When you go to your church, you ask, "Father, give us our daily bread." That means He is father of everyone. This is perfect knowledge, that God is father of everything that is made. Here it is clearly stated, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." That is also statement of the Vedanta-sutra, the most perfect philosophy of Vedic language. In the Vedanta-sutra it is said, athato brahma jijnasa, means "This human life is meant for inquiring about God." So the first understanding of God is that He is the creator of everything.
So the present Krsna consciousness movement is meant for understanding God. This Krsna consciousness movement is started not now, say, in your country, Western countries say, for the last six or seven years, but the Krsna consciousness movement is on this planet for the last five thousand years. When I say Krsna consciousness, it means God consciousness. So human being, human life, is meant for understanding God and become God conscious. In the animal life there is no possibility of understanding God. When we invite by advertisement, "Please come here in this meeting. We shall discuss something about God," the human being comes, not the cats and dogs. This is... (big applause) So human being is the chance given by nature to understand about God. If we do not take chance, if we do not fulfill this chancethat means we have got this chance to understand Godthen our next life may not be human being. The soul is within your body. The soul is the part and parcel of God. If you try to understand what is the soul, then partially you understand what is God. If you study yourself, then you study to some extent what is God, because you are the sample of God. It is also stated in the Bible that human being is made under the image of God. So if you study yourselfthat is called meditationthen you can understand what is God. Therefore the yoga system is recommended. Those who are in bodily consciousness of life, for them, this meditation yoga, or to understand oneself, that is very important thing. If you try to understand yourself, very simple method... You take your finger. You ask yourself whether you are finger, the answer will be "No, I am not finger. It is my finger." Everyone will say, even a child will say, "This is my finger, my hand, my leg, my head." Nobody will say that "I leg, I finger, I head." Nobody will say. Therefore the conclusion should be I, the soul, is different from this material body. The material body changes on account of presence of the soul. Just like a child gets a different body like a boy; a boy gets a different body like a young man. Similarly, young man gets another body as an old man. Every one of us can consider that "I had a small body of child. I had a small body of boy. I had a youthful body. Now I have got this old body." By this simple study, I can understand that I am different from the body. And because I am eternal, in all forms of body I was existing. That I can understand also.
Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, na hanyate hanyamane sarire: [Bg. 2.20] "After the destruction of this body, I, the soul, I am not destroyed. I continue to live." The soul is eternal. That is described in the Bhagavad-gita: nityah sasvato 'yam na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. Eternal, very old, still, after the destruction of the body, the soul is never destroyed. Death means destruction of this outer, gross material body. Every day, every night we have got experience: the body lies down on the bed, but with my subtle bodymind, intelligence and egoI dream and I go somewhere else from my bedroom. So this is going on daily in our experience, that I leave this gross body, I take my subtle body, and I do something else, although my body is here. The conclusion is therefore that I, the soul, am changing my body from the gross to the subtle, from the subtle to the gross. In our daily life we have got experience that I accept this subtle body. The subtle body is there. There is no question of acceptance. But with the subtle body I dream, and again when the dream is over, then I come to this gross body. So death means when the subtle body carries the soul to another gross body, not this gross body, that is called death. So this subtle bodymeans mind, intelligence and egothat carries me to another body according to the nature of my mind. At the time of death, as the mind is absorbed, I mean to say, full of thoughts, according to that full of thoughts, we are given another gross body. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that anta-kale, yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. Bhavam, the attitude, the modes of the mind at the time of death, will carry me to the next gross body. Therefore it is necessary to prepare ourself what kind of body we are going to get after death. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, "After death, the soul," tatha dehantara-praptih [Bg. 2.13], "gets another body." Now, we can see in our experience, there are so many different types of bodies. There are 900,000 species of bodies in the water. There are two million different types of bodies in the vegetables kingdom, means the trees and plants. There are eleven hundred thousand species of life in the insect kingdom. There are one million types of bodies in the bird kingdom. And there are three million types of bodies in the beast life. And there are 400,000 species of body in the human society. Out of them, the civilized man is considered to be perfectly in bodily situation.
So this human form of body is given to us by nature to understand God. In other forms of life there is no chance of understanding God. Therefore it is our duty, everyone's duty, before the next death comes, we must understand what is God. If we simply misuse this body like cats and dogs, then we are missing the chance. We cannot say that we are free. That is not possible. We are completely under the control of the material nature. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:
That we, everyone of us, at the present moment in our conditional state of life, we are completely under the, I mean to say, mercy or care of the material nature. There are three modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. When we are under the control of this material nature, we associate with either of these qualities. If we associate with the quality of goodness, then we are promoted in the higher world. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:
Means "Those who are associating with the modes of material nature goodness, they will be promoted to the higher planetary system. Those who are associating with the modes of passion, they'll remain in the middle planetary system." [break]
So as it is said that in the beginning was the word, that means before the creation there was the transcendental sound. So that word, or transcendental sound, is not like the material sound. If we associate with the transcendental sound Hare Krsna, then we become purified to become transcendental. Just like we can have a crude example. You take one iron rod and put into the fire. The iron rod will be warm, warmer, and gradually it will be red hot. When it is red hot, then it is no longer the iron rod; it is fire. So how it has become fire? By association with the fire. Simply, therefore, if you simply keep yourself touch with God by the vibration of transcendental sound, gradually you become godly. So as soon as you become godly, you become the same quality-aisvaryasya samagrasya: full riches, full power, full strength, full knowledge, everything full. Therefore the Vedic instruction is tamasi ma jyotir gamah: "Don't keep yourself in darkness. Come to the light." So our only request is at the present moment, the whole world is for want of godly understanding. They are in darkness. So our duty is, when we have got this privilege of this human form of life, we should not keep ourself in darkness. Darkness means without any knowledge of the soul and God. So long I am thinking that "I am this body," it is in darkness. Except the human being, any other living being, they are all in darkness. Therefore human being's business is not to keep himself in darkness, but come to the light. So long we have got this material body, there are four necessities of life. They are eating, sleeping, sex intercourse and defense. So the cats and dogs, they also eat, they sleep, they have sex life and they can defend also. So therefore a human being should not be educated only for these four principles of animal necessities. The human necessity is to understand God. Therefore in civilized human society, there is some system of religion. Either you call it Christianity, Muhammadanism, or Hinduism, in civilized society there must be some form of religion. And a human being is supposed to follow the principles to have complete knowledge about God and himself, to know "What is the relationship between God and me?" and what is the goal of life.
So it doesn't matter whether you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim. The real purpose of life is to know God. And in the Vedic literature it is said, dharmam tu saksat bhagavat-pranitam: Dharma, or religion, means the codes given by God. Just like in the state we have got practical experience. We, if we abide by the laws of the state, then we are good citizen, peaceful citizen... (yelling noises and applause in the audience) (aside:) What is that?
Jyotirmayi: They don't like this because they don't like the laws of the state. So when you use the example of the state, they don't like it.
Prabhupada: You may not like, sir, but if you do not follow you will be punished. (boos and yells) Anyway, if you do not follow the codes and laws of the state or God, then certainly you will be punished. (yelling) You may declare independence, but there is no, I mean, the possibility of such independence. That requires knowledge. (someone yelling)
Jyotirmayi: He is saying that there are some people who would like to ask some questions.
Prabhupada: So immediately if you want to put some questions, then I can stop. Or if you want me to go on speaking I will speak. As you like. (more yelling) We can stop speaking?
Yogesvara: Jyotirmayi will say we can have questions after you finish.
Prabhupada: No, we can finish it now.
Jyotirmayi: (French)
Prabhupada: So now let us conclude that there is God and God's word, or God's vibration, means God is person. As soon as we accept the word of God, then we have to conclude that God is a person. Just like you are vibrating some words, I am vibrating some words. This means both of us, we are all persons. So the word of God and God is not different. But God is person and He speaks. If He speaks, then He hears, He smells, He eatseverything. All the activities are there. If He cannot hear, then our prayer to Him, "O God, give us our daily bread," is useless. So from this statement of the scripture, either you take it Bible or Bhagavad-gita, it is understood that God is a person like you. That is the statement of the Vedas, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13), namely that God means He is the supreme being. In the dictionary also it is stated, "God means the Supreme Being." We are all beings, but God is the Supreme Being. Just like in every state, there are citizens, but there is one chief citizen. He is president or something like that. (noise in the audience)
Jyotirmayi: They don't like this government example.
Prabhupada: No, no, it is not example. It is stated in the Vedic literature. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. He is the chief living being amongst all living beings. God, is eternal; we are also eternal. God is also a living being; we are also a living being. This is the meaning. But God is one; we are many. And what is the significance of that one? That is stated: eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. "That one is maintaining so many living beings." That is God. So because He is a person, we are also person, but He is the person who maintains us. Therefore we go to God and beg for our daily bread. So our constitutional position is that we are predominated, and God is predominator. We are very small; God is very great. At the present moment we are defying this position; therefore we are in trouble. In our Krsna consciousness movement we are educating people that "You are always subordinate to Krsna. You surrender unto Him and you be happy. Do not remain in rebellious condition of life. Just surrender to God and you will be happy." That is the final conclusion of Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. So you are planning, we are planning so many things to become happy, but everything is failure. But if you take this plan, "Let us surrender to God," then every problem will be solved. Our Krsna consciousness movement is not that, that "You are Hindu. You become Christian," or "You are Christian. You become Hindu." That is not our plan. Our only request is that "Every one of you, you try to understand God, love Him and be happy." The final conclusion in the Bhagavad-gita is that if you want to be peaceful, if you want the peace of your mind, you should understand three things. That three things are that to understand that God is the supreme enjoyer. This is one. He is the proprietor of everything, and He is friend of everyone. If you learn these three things only, very scientifically, that God is the proprietor, God is the enjoyer, and God is the supreme friend of everyone, then your life is successful. And these simple things will be understood by you by chanting God's name: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Hare means the energy of God, and Krsna means God, all-attractive. Similarly, Rama means God. So there are three words in this verse: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare: Hare, Krsna and Rama. So anyone can chant these three names, Hare, Krsna and Rama, and make his life successful. I hope you shall join us in this chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
Jyotirmayi: They want to ask questions.
Prabhupada: That you arrange. That arrange. No, you can ask. That's all.
Question: (French) (big applause)
Jyotirmayi: So he is saying that "You have been explaining what is God according to Bible and Bhagavad-gita." So he wants to know if to be able to talk in that way you have met God, you have seen God, and if God has given you the authority for being seated on this vyasasana and receiving the obeisances of your disciples.
Prabhupada: Yes. You can also get this position. If you know God and if you can speak about God, then you are also welcome to sit here and speak about God.
Jyotirmayi: (translating) He says that the only thing he can say about God is that he cannot talk about God.
Prabhupada: Why? You can talk about everything, and why not about God?
Jyotirmayi: (translating) "Because God is one who cannot be seen, cannot be taken to be understood."
Prabhupada: But that is your statement. But the Bible statement, Bhagavad-gita statement is different. Why shall I take you as authority?
Jyotirmayi: (translating) He says that God means freedom, and God will not be...
Prabhupada: How do you know it? First of all let me know how you know it about God that He is freedom or this or that. How you know it?
Jyotirmayi: (translating) "Because everyone has inside him knowledge of God, and one just has to listen within himself and he will know."
Prabhupada: So I have got my own knowledge of God as you have got. Why you disagree with me?
Jyotirmayi: (translating) He says but he doesn't sit on a throne and he doesn't ask people to pay obeisances in front of him.
Prabhupada: So if you want to hear me, I can get down from the throne. (big applause and yells) (some man makes an announcement in French) (general talk in French and many people yelling things out from the audience)
Jyotirmayi: He is saying two things. He is saying that when one wants to understand, he must act as a student.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is good, very good. (people still yelling) Now let us chant Hare Krsna. Chant. (end)

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