Room Conversation with
Ganesa dasa's Mother and Sister

May 14, 1975, Perth
Prabhupada: Any city which has river and sunshine is considered to be first class.
Mother: You don't feel the cold in the nighttime here?
Prabhupada: I am going on.
Ganesa: She asked if you feel the cold in the nighttime.
Prabhupada: Oh, a little, not very much. Yes.
Sister: Is this your first visit to Perth?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Sister: It is. That's really good, good experience.
Ganesa: My sister is learning at one institute of technology just like the university. She is doing some course in, course in social work... [break] She works at one hospital. Also where else? One psychiatric nursing hospital. She is learning how to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others.
Prabhupada: And what for your benefit?
Sister: Pardon?
Prabhupada: What you are doing for your benefit?
Sister: For my benefit? It develops me because it helps me to learn to give to others rather than, you know, for myself.
Prabhupada: That's all right. Everyone is doing for others, but what he is doing for himself?
Sister: Well, I feel it has developed me as a person. You know? I can look more into myself by helping others.
Prabhupada: So what is the way of helping?
Sister: Well, in the society it's full of problems and people are just sort of lost, and I can't solve their problems, but I can help them to cope with them more adequately. That's what I hope to be able to do when I'm qualified.
Prabhupada: But do you know what is the problem?
Sister: The problems? No. That's why they come to you, really. You know? They're expecting an answer. You can't really give them one, but...
Prabhupada: The real problem is birth, death, old age, and disease. So we are dealing with that problem. Now... Does anybody like to die?
Sister: No, I don't think so.
Prabhupada: Yes. But the death is there.
Sister: Yeah, death is there. It's inevitable.
Mother: It's inevitable, isn't it?
Prabhupada: Inevitable, but you can avoid it. That we are giving. That is the Krsna consciousness movement, that you can avoid this problem: birth, death, old age, and disease. That is our propaganda.
Mother: But you'll always have disease and you'll always have old age.
Prabhupada: Yes, but just like you are diseased, so all the problems are there. But when you become cured of the disease, then there is no more problem. Similarly, the Krsna consciousness movement means training people how to go back to home, back to Godhead. And as soon as he is educated to go back to home, back to Godhead, then all problems solved. Find out this verse,
Translation. "One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."
Prabhupada: This is the solution of the real problem, that after... If you understand Krsna, then after giving up this body, you don't accept another material body. And in the material existence the problems are not solved because you have to, after death, you have to accept another material body. And as soon as you accept a material body, the sufferings are there, at least these four sufferings: birth, death, old age, and disease. So it continues. If you take the body of a human being, the birth, death, old age, disease are there. If you take the body of a heavenly demigod, the birth, death, old age, and disease are there. Or if you take the body of a dog, the birth, death, old age, disease are there. So any kind of birth, material body, you have to accept these four problems. And there are many other problems. But if you stop accepting a material body, then these things are finished. So we are training people, simply janma karma ca me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. What is the purport?
Ganesa: "Purport. The Lord's descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the sixth verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting this present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy. The impersonalists and the yogis attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then, the liberation they achieve—merging into the impersonal brahmajyoti of the Lord—is only partial, and there is the risk of returning again to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning again to this material world. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations: advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam [Bs. 5.33].
Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas: eko devo nitya-lilanurakto bhakta-vyapi hrdy antaratma. 'The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees.' This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Gita personally by the Lord. He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version, 'tat tvam asi,' is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krsna to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, 'You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,' is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed.
In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion: tam eva viditvati mrtyum eti nanyah pantha vidyate 'yanaya. One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no alternative because anyone who does not understand Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance. Consequently he will not attain salvation, simply, so to speak, by licking the outer surface of the bottle of honey, or by interpreting the Bhagavad-gita according to mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily eligible for liberation. Such puffed up mundane scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One should therefore cultivate Krsna consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way attain perfection."
Prabhupada: So if you distribute this knowledge, that will be real social work. And if you give some help, temporary, but he remains subjected to the rules of birth, death, and old age, that is temporary.
Sister: If you're devoted enough can you gain release from birth, death, and old age completely in one life?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. That is explained here.
Sister: Yeah, within one material life? You necessarily don't have to return?
Prabhupada: No.
Sister: It's only if you haven't got rid of these impurities that you have to return, take on another body?
Prabhupada: Just if you do not try to understand Krsna, then you have to. Here it is said, "One who understands Me definitely, he does not come." So try to understand Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness movement. And you become free from birth and death and old age.
Mother: And what about before they joined Krsna consciousness?
Prabhupada: He was subjected to birth and death and old age, that's all.
Mother: And after they join it...?
Prabhupada: And if you take to Krsna consciousness, you understand Krsna, then you become free.
Sister: But your body still suffers death, old age.
Prabhupada: Yes, as soon as you get a material body, you have to suffer. Either this body, Australian body or American body or dog's body or cat's body or tree's body, any body, material world, you will have to suffer. First of all, this transfer of body, that is also suffering. In the material world it is only suffering, but because people are in ignorance, they take suffering as enjoyment.
Mother: Then why there is so much human suffering?
Prabhupada: Because he has accepted this material body.
Mother: And this is why there's so much human suffering.
Prabhupada: Yes, on account of accepting a material body. Therefore every one of us should try how to avoid this process of accepting a material body. That should be our only endeavor, not to make a temporary solution. That is not very good solution.
Mother: But the world will never all become Krsna conscious, will they? There will always be different scriptures.
Prabhupada: What different there may be?
Ganesa: Different scriptures.
Srutakirti: She said everyone won't all become Krsna conscious in the world.
Prabhupada: Hmm. So if you are serious to become Krsna conscious, then you hear Krsna, what does He say. Then you do that.
Sister: What about for a child, a newly born baby. Are they born into a material body because of their parents' bad doings?
Prabhupada: No, he has taken that particular body in terms of his past activities. One is born as a human child; one is born as a dog, cat; one is born as something else. So according, the body is offered by material nature according to his work. That we were discussing, prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani [Bg. 3.27]. Material nature, by the order... God is within you. God is sitting there. He knows what you want. So God orders material nature, "Give him such and such body. He wants to enjoy like this." So material nature... Just he gives up this body, he is under the control of the material nature. The material nature sends him to such a father and the father gives the semina in the mother's womb, and mother gives him the body.
Mother: I believe that there's God in everybody, but why are some people so evil?
Prabhupada: Because he does not care for the words of God.
Mother: But as I say, God is within all of us.
Prabhupada: Yes. God is there. God says that "You don't do like that." Sarva-dharman parityajya mam... [Bg. 18.66]. "You just surrender to Me." But he will not do that.
Mother: And yet people can be so evil.
Prabhupada: Therefore God gives him chance, "All right, you enjoy as you like, and make your life risky. What can I do?"
Mother: But people know when they're doing evil, don't they?
Prabhupada: Just like you have got children. You say, according to your knowledge, every children, "My dear children, you do." But it is not necessarily that they will abide by your order. Similarly, God gives the instruction that "You give up all this. You simply surrender to Me. I shall take charge you." But he does not do that. He wants to live independently. Therefore he is suffering.
Mother: But there's so much evil in the world.
Prabhupada: Avil?
Ganesa: Evil.
Mother: Evil.
Prabhupada: Yes, this is evil. You don't try to carry out the orders of God, this is evil.
Mother: But what I'm trying to say is there's more evil in the world than goodness.
Prabhupada: Yes. Unless there is evil, why you are in this material world? You have accepted evil. Therefore you are in this material world. And if you accept God, the good, then you are in the spiritual world. You don't accept God; you want evil. Therefore you are in the material world. Just like in the jail, prison house, who are they? They are all criminals. Similarly, every one of us who are within this material world, they are all criminals because they have disobeyed the order of God. In different status only, but they are all criminals. Because every one of them is subjected to the rules of nature: birth, death, old age, and disease. So your child is very intelligent. He has taken to this. Now you can do also the same thing, both mother and daughter.
Mother: And his wife.
Ganesa: My wife.
Prabhupada: Where is your wife?
Ganesa: Melbourne. Subhalaksmi-devi.
Prabhupada: Oh, she is also nice.
Ganesa: Big BBT distributor.
Prabhupada: Oh, very... So both the husband, wife, and child is happy. Now the mother and sister should be happy.
Mother: (laughs) I'm happy if my children are happy.
Prabhupada: Yes. But if you take to Krsna consciousness, you will be more happy. (laughter) You will have to take because son inherits the quality of mother. So you have got the quality. You are not exhibiting now. So by the influence of your son, you will take to it.
Sister: Has everyone the potential to accept Krsna?
Prabhupada: Everyone, yes, oh, yes, everyone.
Sister: But what about people that are never..., that are always kept in ignorance. There's a lot of people...
Prabhupada: He does not take. He does not take willingly.
Sister: That's what I mean, yeah. There's a lot of people that just don't even know He exists.
Prabhupada: But if he takes, he has the potentiality. If you agree... Krsna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam... [Bg. 18.66]. If you agree to Krsna's proposal, then you will, that potentiality is manifested.
Sister: But what about people that are never exposed to Krsna consciousness?
Prabhupada: Then he will suffer. He will constantly change his body one after another, sometimes good body, sometimes bad body, and he will suffer. So as soon as you accept a material body, you will suffer. It may be good body or bad body. It doesn't matter. Suffering is there. When a dog is taking birth, he has to take the suffering within the womb of his mother, and when a human man, human body is coming out, he has also to take the... It is not joke to remain ten months within the packed-up abdomen of the mother. Is it very pleasant, do you think? If you are kept in that way now, you will die within three seconds. In that condition you have to live ten months. So how much suffering it was!
Mother: Suffering for whom?
Prabhupada: Suffering for the man who is taking birth. Sometimes now they are killing. The mother is killing. The time is coming so bad that mother is killing child.
Sister: What about like euthanasia, say. Isn't that nonacceptance of a material body? If by some, for some reason the child isn't allowed to be born?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is said here, that if you understand Krsna, then after giving up this body—this is material body, you have to give up—so you are not coming again in the womb of another material mother. You are transferred to the spiritual world by nature's law. They do not know the subtle laws which is going on underneath. They are simply concerned superficially. Because they have no knowledge of the spirit soul—they think the body is everything—so therefore knowledge is imperfect. Body is only the covering. Real person is the spirit soul. So the modern education has no knowledge of this.
Mother: But most people are materialistically minded, aren't they? There's very few that aren't.
Ganesa: Most people are materialistically minded. Not many people are spiritually inclined.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is the defect of the modern civilization.
Mother: Yes.
Prabhupada: And therefore they are suffering.
Sister: How can you get back to Godhead...
Prabhupada: That is stated here. You try to understand Krsna and go back to home, back to Godhead.
Sister: Yeah, how can you follow it if you've never been exposed to Krsna?
Prabhupada: The book is there.
Sister: Yeah, but people who've never seen the book, never met Krsna conscious.
Prabhupada: So book is available. Why don't you see it?
Sister: Yeah, I can see it, (laughter) but there's a lot of people all over the world who have not.
Prabhupada: Therefore we are going door to door canvassing, "Take this book."
Mother: You're not doing it, your boys.
Prabhupada: Our business is to sell this book so that people may take advantage of it.
Mother: And that's the only way.
Prabhupada: That is our movement. We have got fifty books like that, four hundred pages each. This is one thousand pages. We are giving enough knowledge.
Mother: For people to become interested.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Mother: But nobody off the street would go into the temple, would they?
Prabhupada: Any way, if he comes in contact with us, he is gainer. We are giving opportunity, canvassing, "Come in contact with us." Just now, before you, one big man came. So I talked about first-class men, and he admitted. So he said at the last moment, "Now let me go and engage myself in fourth-class activities." So everyone is engaged in fourth-class activities, and we are trying to make first-class men. That is the Krsna consciousness movement.
Mother: You've got a hard job ahead of you, then.
Prabhupada: Ah, yes, very hard job. But everyone can become first class if he likes.
Mother: If they want to.
Sister: This is similar to many views of psychologists who believe in self-actualization.
Prabhupada: Belief is different thing and fact is one thing.
Sister: Philosophi..., or, say, hypothesize that you can reach self-actualization.
Prabhupada: Belief is no good. I believe. You may believe something wrong. That is not... You must know the fact. That is wanted.
Mother: But a person knows if they're doing wrong always.
Prabhupada: If you are educated in a wrong way, then you will do wrong.
Mother: But I mean a person knows when they're doing wrong. They know when they're doing evil.
Prabhupada: No, they cannot understand. They are sometimes doing wrong thing as right thing. So many wrong things they are doing. One has to suffer. Nature will not excuse. (Pause)
Ganesa: You have some more questions to ask Srila Prabhupada? I think they have finished, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Give them prasadam.
Ganesa: Yes.
Prabhupada: So try to bring your mother and sister to Krsna consciousness. That is your duty also. And Krsna will help. Because they are in relationship with you, Krsna will help them, your family. Krsna will think of your family, yes. Just like a soldier fighting, the government takes cares of his family. That is special prerogative. If he dies in the fighting, the government gives pension to the family members. So you are fortunate in that way because your son is fighting with maya. So you take advantage of it. You read the books. You try to become Krsna conscious. And your own son is there. You can take instruction from him. So take advantage. Don't lose this opportunity.
Mother: What do you think about Hebrew religion?
Prabhupada: Well, there cannot be Hebrew religion, Christian religion, Hindu... Religion is one. Religion means God's rules. So God is one. So if you are this or that, you can manufacture so many ways, but God's ruling is one, that "You surrender to Me." That's all.
Mother: So we all believe in the one God.
Prabhupada: Yes. God is one. God cannot be two. Then He is not God. There cannot be two Gods. God is one. Otherwise how..., what is the meaning of God?
Mother: That's right.
Prabhupada: So, find out this, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg. 7.7].
Translation: "O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread."
Prabhupada: God is the Supreme Truth. So Supreme Truth cannot be Hebrew truth, Christian truth, Hindu truth. Truth is truth. Just like gold. Because gold is found in America, nobody says, "It is American gold." It is gold. So similarly, God is one. He is for Hebrew, He is for Hindu, He is for Muslim, He is for everyone. Simply we have to know what is God. So if you try to understand through Hebrew religion, that's all right. But if you come to know what is God, that is all right. Otherwise useless. If you cannot understand what is God, then Hebrew, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, these different names, they are useless. And if you understand God, then whatever method it is, it is all good.
Mother: Yes.
Prabhupada: So first of all, whether the Hebrews, they do understand what is God? That is the point. You are asking about the Hebrews, so do you think that through the Hebrew method one can understand God?
Mother: I think one can understand God regardless of what religion you are.
Prabhupada: Understand, but suppose... Are you Hebrew?
Mother: Yes.
Prabhupada: So what is the nature of God? Can you explain?
Mother: No, I can't explain.
Prabhupada: Then what do you know about God? You do not know what is God.
Mother: I believe in God.
Prabhupada: Believing, that is one thing. Believe in father. Everyone has got father. But if you do not know who is your father, what does he do, then that is not perfect knowledge. It is a fact: without father, nobody is born. So even your child has not seen who is her father, but it is a fact that there is a father. But she or he must know who is he, what is his nature, what does he do. And that is perfect knowledge. Simply to know "I have got a father" is not perfect knowledge. I must know who is that father, what does he do, where does he live. That is perfect knowledge. Otherwise it is assumed that every man has got a father. Without father, how you can come into existence? That's a fact. But if he does not know who is actually his father, that is imperfect knowledge. What do you think, the nature of God?
Sister: I think He's just something all-knowing, you know...
Prabhupada: Old?
Ganesa: All-knowing. All-knowledgeable.
Prabhupada: All-knowledgeable.
Sister: Yes, my conception of...
Prabhupada: Then all-knowledgeable means you must know, all-knowledgeable. You just explain what is the nature of God.
Srutakirti: She's saying God knows everything, that is her conception.
Prabhupada: Oh. God knows everything, but everything means then, if you, we accept this formula, then He knows past, present, and future.
Sister: No, that's right. No past, present, or future. No, I don't think that. Just eternal.
Prabhupada: No, no. God knows everything means He knows past, present, and future. That is all-knowing. So if He knows past, present, and future, then you should accept His instruction. That should be the next. So what is His instruction? His instruction is man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru.
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo 'si me
[Bg. 18.65]
Translation: "Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend."
Prabhupada: Now, man-manah, you have to think of God. But if you do not know who is God, then how you will think of Him? If I say that "You always think of me," now you are seeing me, you can think of me. But if you have no knowledge about me, who is, then how you can think of me?
Sister: It's only by what you are told about God, and you have to develop your own conception until you actually meet Him.
Prabhupada: Yes. Now we are saying that here is God, Krsna. They are accepting, and they are thinking of God, and they are making progress.
Sister: But have they met God?
Prabhupada: Yes, Krsna is God.
Sister: They can believe in Him, but have they met Him?
Prabhupada: So belief, that is being effective. It is not blind belief. They are seeing the picture of Krsna, and they are thinking of Krsna, and they are making progress.
Sister: But that would be the same if I could see a picture of you or I could see a...
Prabhupada: Yes, that is a fact. My self and my picture, is there any difference?
Sister: Yes.
Prabhupada: If you see my picture, you see me. This is material picture. But God is omnipotent. God's picture is also God. That is God's potency. Otherwise we are worshiping Deity. People may think: "This is the form of Krsna." The form of Krsna, the name of Krsna, the quality of Krsna—they are all Krsna. That is Absolute. In the material world there is difference. Otherwise, why they are engaged in chanting, "Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, Hare Krsna Hare..." Have they become mad? Because Krsna person and Krsna's name, the same thing. That is Absolute. So here it is said, man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. So if you chant Krsna's name, that means you are directly associating with Krsna. Therefore you are becoming purified. Just like if you associate with fire, you will remain always warm. Is it not? If you remain near the fireplace, you remain always warm. Similarly, if you chant Krsna-Krsna's name and Krsna, not different—then you will remain always spiritual.
Simple thing. You chant Krsna, easy thing, and you remain with Krsna. Where is the difficulty? Because Krsna and Krsna's name, Krsna's form... This picture is here; then Krsna is here. You have to realize that. Krsna is so kind. Because you cannot see Krsna now with your material eyes, so Krsna has appeared before you so that you can see Him with your material eyes. This is Krsna's mercy. But He is Krsna. Krsna is everything. God is everything. So why the picture of God is not God? We say "God is omnipotent, omnipresent." So why Krsna is not present in the picture? Then what is the meaning of omnipresent? If He is omnipresent, He is present also within His picture. Where is the objection? And that's a fact. He is omnipresent. He is present everywhere. Now, to become convenient for you, He has appeared like picture.
Sister: But you don't need to see the picture... With His omnipotence, you don't need to have the picture.
Prabhupada: No, because you, without seeing Him, you do not develop Krsna consciousness. You require to see Him. So He has appeared before you so that you can see Him. That is His mercy, so that you see Him and you think of Him. Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. You see Him and think of Him. That is the meaning of picture. You cannot say, "I have not seen God." Here is God. You see God's picture here in the temple. In the sastra description is there. Just like in the Brahma-samhita it is said, venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam: [Bs. 5.30] "Krsna is playing on His flute." That is the information in the Vedas. Here He is playing on flute. Venum kvanantam aravinda-dalaya... "His eyes are like lotus petal." You see? The description in the Vedas and the picture the same. It is not imagination. It is in the Veda. Vedas will give you information. Then surabhir abhipalayantam [Bs. 5.29]. There are cows. Krsna is very much fond of cows. So what is stated in the Vedas about Krsna, that is depicted.
It is not imagination, not that we have imagined something like, "This is like..." No. It is corroborated, established by Vedic knowledge. So you'll find Krsna's form like this everywhere. In India there are millions of temples. Everywhere you will find this.
Mother: How old is Krsna?
Prabhupada: He is never old. That is material question. He is the oldest person. He is the origin of everything.
Mother: It is.
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore He is the oldest. That is stated in the Brahma... Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam [Bs. 5.33], ananta-rupam, adyam, the origin, nava-yauvanam, but He is always young man. He is the oldest person. He is the original father, from whom we are all born, but He is always young. Nava-yauvanam. Nava, nava means newly youthful life. It is not that because Krsna is the oldest person, therefore He has become very old. No. That is material conception. (whispering between mother and daughter) (pause)
Ganesa: I think I will leave now, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Jaya. (end)

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