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Press Conference

April 27, 1976, Auckland, New Zealand
Interviewer: Your Grace, have you been to New Zealand before?
Prabhupada: Twice. When the Deity was installed, I installed personally. Then I think I came last year here.
Interviewer: You're the leader of how many disciples or devotees throughout the world?
Prabhupada: Personally, I have got not less than ten thousand. But I was deputed by my Guru Maharaja to make propaganda in the Western countries. So this movement... Of course, I have started in the Western countries, but in India it is very common movement, Hare Krsna. Everyone knows.
Interviewer: Are you at all concerned about the, what seems to be an increasing number of gurus and swamis throughout the world?
Prabhupada: That I could not follow.
Pusta Krsna: The question is: "Are you concerned with the increasing number of gurus and swamis around the world?"
Prabhupada: No. We are concerned that in spite of so-called education and advancement of civilization, people have been kept in darkness about real knowledge. So it is our little attempt to awaken them to the real platform of knowledge.
Interviewer: Well, what do you hope to achieve by your short visit here to New Zealand, where you don't have a very big following at all?
Prabhupada: Just to encourage my disciples. They're also trying their best to spread this Krsna consciousness movement. So if I occasionally visit, they become encouraged. That's why.
Interviewer: Is your movement still growing? It was very popular here in the Beatles' era and so on and so forth.
Prabhupada: Yes, George Harrison is a good boy. He likes me. He has given us a big house in London about 200,000 pounds' worth.
Pusta Krsna: It's 250,000 pounds.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: So would it be true to say that perhaps without George Harrison of the Beatles the religion wouldn't be as well known as it is today?
Prabhupada: No, not like that. That is not that. But in the Western countries nobody comes forward to give us some contribution. But this boy is very nice, he gives us sometimes some thing. He gives, and another boy, who is the great-grandson of Mr. Henry Ford—his name is Alfred—he also helps us. But mostly we get our income by selling these books. We are selling books daily about $200,000 daily. That is our main source of income. And I have made a trust will in which fifty percent of the collection is spent for reprinting the books, and fifty percent is spent for spreading this movement.
Interviewer: One thing, New Zealand cities are passing bylaws which seek to ban the chanting of your disciples in the streets. Do you get much opposition like this?
Prabhupada: Yes, but we don't depend on the city authorities; we depend on Krsna.
Interviewer: But does it worry you that your disciples perhaps annoy city officials by their chanting and their activities in the streets?
Prabhupada: The city authorities, they like our chanting?
Interviewer: They're annoyed.
Pusta Krsna: No, they don't really understand what we're trying to do. They see it as something new, and they may feel a little threatened. We've found all over the world, though, that people are coming to accept now that they understand the character of people that we're developing.
Interviewer: But do you think that'll happen here?
Pusta Krsna: Oh, yes. I think every government is looking to develop people of high moral character. And our society is doing that.
Interviewer: Do you attempt to speak with governments and city officials and that sort of thing to spread your message?
Prabhupada: (to devotee:) I think you have talked with these city authorities.
Devotee: Yes.
Prabhupada: Here is the boy, he can...
Devotee: Yes, we've spoken with some of the government officials. I've spoken with or I've had contact with the cities where we have not personal contact but through the mail, and also some contact with the minister of immigrations.
Interviewer: How long do you intend to keep traveling and, and...
Prabhupada: If I stayed four days in each center, it takes one year to travel all the centers.
Interviewer: Four days in each center takes you one year.
Pusta Krsna: Three days.
Prabhupada: Yes. We have got 102 centers all over the world.
Interviewer: So how many centers does that make it?
Pusta Krsna: Over a hundred. A hundred and two.
Interviewer: Do you spend your whole year traveling, or is it only part of the year?
Prabhupada: Huh?
Pusta Krsna: Do you spend your whole year traveling, or only part of the year?
Prabhupada: I am traveling either in Europe, America, Africa, Canada, India, everywhere.
Interviewer: So, do you have a home, or do you have...
Prabhupada: I have 102 houses, but nowhere I am allowed to live. That is the difficulty. (laughter)
Interviewer: How old are you, Swami? How old?
Prabhupada: What do you think?
Interviewer: Oh,... How old?
Prabhupada: When one becomes old? Do you know?
Interviewer: Well, how many years do you have?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: How many years?
Prabhupada: I am eighty years.
Interviewer: Eighty. How long have you been a Hare Krsna man?
Prabhupada: Ten years. I began this movement when I was seventy years old.
Interviewer: What were you before that?
Prabhupada: I was householder. And I retired, and I was living in Vrndavana, a holy place in India. My Guru Maharaja asked me to do this. So I could not begin earlier. So I thought it wise to begin at seventy years. So somehow or other, Krsna has given us some opportunity to get cooperation of these young boys, and they're helping me.
Interviewer: What is your opinion of the Guru Maharaj-ji?
Devotee: What is your opinion of Guru Maharaj-ji?
Prabhupada: Huh? Not only Guru Maharaj-ji, so many Maharaja. So this movement is authorized. Others, they are some imaginary sentiments. That's all. This Krsna consciousness movement is authorized movement, Vedic culture. And they, in the name of Vedic culture, talking some nonsense. That's all. That is the difference. Do you know about Guru Maharaj-ji?
Interviewer: No, no.
Prabhupada: None of you?
Interviewer: You've met him?
Prabhupada: Huh?
Interviewer: You've met him, have you?
Prabhupada: No, what business I have got to meet him? He says that he is God. Do you believe that bogus statement? That he's God?
Interviewer: Do you think he's an egotist?
Prabhupada: Huh?
Devotee: Do you think he's an egotist? Do you think he's an egotist?
Prabhupada: That is all simply foolishness. If somebody says "I am God," do you think it is very reasonable statement? Bogus. Simple thing, bogus.
Interviewer: Bogus?
Prabhupada: Bogus!
Interviewer: Oh, bogus. Do you believe that Hare Krsna is the only true faith?
Prabhupada: Yes. This is real knowledge. We have got, I have already told you, only on this Hare Krsna movement, there is one book by Professor Judah. Have you got that book?
Devotee: No.
Prabhupada: He has written one book very authorized, Hare Krsna and Counterculture. So we are being accepted by learned circle, and who cares for these rascals? Nobody cares. Only some sentiment. There is no science; there is no knowledge. Here it is authoritative knowledge based on Vedic culture.
Interviewer: But if you consider your religion to be the only religion...
Prabhupada: It is not my—everyone's. You are in ignorance; you do not know; therefore we are trying to educate you. It is yours also. It is not a personal thing. It is meant for the living entities. That you people, you do not know, that we are all living entities. There is slight description of the evolution by Darwin. But he's also not in perfect knowledge. The real fact is the..., I am not this body, you are not this body. I am living entity within this body. Just like you are within your coat and shirt. The coat and shirt you are not. Similarly, we living entities, we are within this gross and subtle body. The gross body is made of earth, water, air, fire, and the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence, and egotism. So we are within this. So nobody knows; there is no educational system, what is our real constitutional position. We are wrongly accepting this body. And that kind of acceptance is there in the animals. The dog also thinking that "I am this body." So if I am thinking like that, "I am this body," then what is the difference between the dog and me? We are educating from him that point of view, that the living entity is entrapped within this body, and according to his desire, he's changing different types of body and undergoing continually birth and death. So in order to save him from the cycle of birth and death, one has to understand God, or Krsna. Krsna means God. Then he comes to his real, identical position as spiritual body, and then he lives forever. He lives forever. Just like a man changing constantly dresses; that does not mean he's dying. Similarly, we do not die. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. After destruction of this body, we are not dying. We remain. But we simply accept another body. So this is a great botheration. But people are in ignorance. They're thinking that after death there is no life. This ignorance is a great, I mean to say, difficult position. So we are trying to educate them how to get out of this entanglement of cycle, birth and death. And therefore there are so many books on this subject matter. It is a very serious movement. It is not compared to the so many rascal movements. So if you are serious, you can study our books, you can try to understand the philosophy, science; then the whole human society will be benefited.
Interviewer: Well, I'm sure many New Zealanders would like to know the very reason why your...
Prabhupada: Oh, everywhere we are liked.
Interviewer: No, why do your followers chant the Hare Krsna chant in the street? What is the reason behind this?
Prabhupada: Reason is that Hare Krsna... Krsna is the name of God, Krsna. So if you... Krsna is absolute, God is absolute. God's name and God, there is no difference. That is absolute idea. So if you chant Krsna's name, that means you associate with Krsna directly, God. And by associating with God, you become purified. Then the dirty things within your mind... You are thinking, "I am this body," as the dog is also thinking, "I belong to America," "I belong to Australia," "I belong to New Zealand," "I... India," and... These wrong conception will go away. Then we'll understand that "I am not this or that; I am spirit soul, part and parcel of God." Then real knowledge begins, and if we act accordingly, our life becomes successful. So this movement is not meant for you and me—for everyone who is intelligent human being.
Interviewer: Thank you, Swami. That wraps it up for me unless anybody's got any more questions? Thank you, thank you very much.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Thank you very much. (end)

Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/conversations/1976/apr/press_conference/auckland/april/27/1976

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