Room Conversation
with Professor Francois Chenique

August 5, 1976, New Mayapur (French farm)
Hari-sauri: No, this is not him. This is a devotee.
Yogesvara: Professor's upstairs putting on a dhoti. He brought his daughter. Professor Chenique teaches a course in Bhagavad-gita at the University, and he is also doing translations of Sankaracarya and teaches for the Federation of Yoga. He considers himself a Christian Advaitist. [break] ...some questions regarding the publications in French. For example, on the front of Back to Godhead magazine, in the English edition and other language editions, they have kept the phrase "Godhead is light, darkness is nescience. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience." Now in French it is difficult to translate that. There is no word Godhead. And if you say "God is light," in French it sounds very impersonalist. In French, Dieux est lumiere, "God is light." Many groups say like that. We use the word Godhead, and that distinguishes us from the other groups. Now is the phrase very important, and do you want us to keep it on the front of the magazine? It should be there.
Prabhupada: There is a little difference between God and Godhead.
Yogesvara: So when we will have to try to find...
Prabhupada: Isvarah paramah krsnah [Bs. 5.1]. Isvarah paramah. Isvara, more or less everyone, but isvarah paramah, that is Godhead. The Mayavadis, they do not distinguish between one isvara to another isvara. That may be on the ordinary level, but there is parama isvara.
Yogesvara: One possibility would be to say God the Supreme Person is light. That we can translate.
Prabhupada: God means Supreme Person. But these advaitavadi, Mayavadis, they have made God everyone. God means Supreme Person, that is the dictionary word. "Supreme Being." That is the dictionary meaning. God does not mean ordinary, but they have made ordinary, anyone God. "I am God, you are God, he is God." Then what is meaning of God?
Yogesvara: Therefore we say Godhead.
Prabhupada: Yes. Head man. There are many men, he is the head man. Godhead word is also there in the dictionary. You find out.
Yogesvara: "Godhead-being God or a God divine nature, Deity, the Godhead, God." The word is there, but the definition they've given is not very...
Prabhupada: They do not know. They do not know what is God, what is Godhead. They think all these are fictitious. Throughout the whole world they do not know what is God. Simply they know the word, that's all. What it means they do not know. That we are giving. Here is God. Godhead. Nobody knows, nobody cares to know. That is nescience. They think it is an idea, that's all. Actually there is God, there is kingdom of God, one can go and speak with Him, dance with Him. They cannot believe there are... It is beyond their poor fund of knowledge. Therefore they do not accept Krsna as God. Avajananti mam mudhah [Bg. 9.11]. God is the Supreme Person, Supreme Being. Actually there is place where God lives. They do not know. This is first time, the Krsna consciousness movement, we are giving these ideas; otherwise, who knows it? Nobody knows it. The Christian or Muhammadan is... Nobody knows. And religion means to accept God as the Supreme Person. They do not know God. Then what is meaning of religion? Religion means to accept a Supreme Person as the supreme controller. That is religion. How the Supreme Person is working in manufacturing this flower, let the scientists explain. There is no brain? Just nicely painted, symmetrically, each flower of the same class; another class, another class, another class. (guests enters) Hare Krsna.
Yogesvara: This is Professor Francois Chenique and his daughter. They drove from Paris this morning to see you.
Prabhupada: Thank you very much. You can come forward. I have read your review of our book. It is very nice. (translation is given) Very nice. Your study about this tradition, Indian tradition, I think he has mentioned. Indian tradition, the whole Vedic literature... He understands English?
Yogesvara: Yes, but I should translate, he's asked me to translate.
Prabhupada: ...is to approach God. This is the Indian tradition. But, as you have mentioned Aurobindo's name, Aurobindo's idea was to make a better situation of this world. He wanted by yoga practice, a better situation of the world. But our tradition says that is not possible.
Bhugarbha: He asks what is meant by the situation in this world.
Prabhupada: The situation is you have to suffer. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15]. This is a place for suffering, and that also you cannot stay here. Even if you make compromise, "All right, I shall suffer and stay," Krsna says no. You suffer, and after you make adjustment, you will be kicked out.
Bhugarbha: He said do we have to completely leave the world? We cannot stay within the world and sanctify ourselves?
Prabhupada: You have to leave, you cannot stay. You do not want to leave, that's a fact, but you'll be kicked out. When Napoleon fought for France, he did not like to leave, but he was kicked out. I have seen in one park, there is a Napoleon Bonaparte there, France and Napoleon identified. But France is there, Napoleon is kicked out. (laughter)
Bhugarbha: He's asking that in view of that, is it possible to live a household life and at the same time a spiritual life?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Arjuna, Arjuna is a householder, he's a military man, but the greatest devotee of Krsna.
Bhugarbha: He wants you to mention something about the translations. He wants to express his opinion about the translations that the French translators are doing of your books.
Prabhupada: He is doing?
Bhugarbha: He wants to give his opinion.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Bhugarbha: He's asking permission to give his opinion.
Prabhupada: It would be very nice.
Bhugarbha: He says it is very interesting, very important that Srimad-Bhagavatam be translated in the same way as the Gita. The Bhagavad-gita has been translated many times into French, but the Bhagavatam was only translated once, and that also in the last century.
Prabhupada: This is our translation?
Bhugarbha: No, it's another one. In 1800 it was translated.
Prabhupada: And they simply translation, or elaborately like we are doing?
Yogesvara: Just translation. Sanskrit on the left-hand page, French on the right-hand page, but no commentaries.
Prabhupada: That is difficult to understand.
Yogesvara: It was the full twelve cantos, but a very limited edition, and only available in library archives. No one has..., very few people have seen it.
Bhugarbha: He feels that the French public is very demanding in questions of editing and writing, and he feels that the French that's used in our translations should not, he said, smell of English. Sometimes French translations seem like English written in French. He said those should be in perfect French, and that in the French language there's a need to make things more compact and condensed. He's wondering if we can condense them more than in English.
Prabhupada: So one of us who knows French nicely, he can do that. But there is no difference. They are taking the ideas from English and translating.
Yogesvara: He says, Professor Chenique wishes to know, would it not be more valuable if our men spoke Sanskrit and could translate directly from the Sanskrit into French?
Prabhupada: There is no much difference. Sanskrit is there and the Sanskrit translation is there. Where is the difference? We are giving the Sanskrit and then word-to-word translation.
Bhugarbha: He says that when one translates from Sanskrit into English and from English into French, that it's not exactly the same thing in French that it was in Sanskrit, he feels...
Prabhupada: No, if from Sanskrit to French can be translated, I have no objection. But we have no such arrangement.
Yogesvara: We have no Sanskrit scholars in French yet, no.
Prabhupada: Not only scholar, not only scholar, he must be a realized soul. Simply scholars will not help, simply scholarship will not help. There are many Sanskrit scholars in India. There are many Sanskrit scholars, original Sanskrit scholars in India, they cannot understand Bhagavata.
Yogesvara: Professor Chenique's point is that we are seeking to introduce these books on a university level, and there's a certain standard that must be met.
Prabhupada: What is that standard?
Bhugarbha: He's just saying that the style of French, he feels that it's too many words.
Prabhupada: French, he must be French, expert in language, at the same time, a devotee. Then he can explain. Otherwise no. Caitanya Mahaprabhu's secretary, Svarupa Damodara, he asked that brahmana, bhagavata pada giya bhagavata sthane:(?) "Go and study Bhagavata from bhagavata." I have discussed this in the beginning of translation of Bhagavata. So Bhagavata, that is the limit of education. Vidya bhagavata vadhih.(?) One has to study and take education up to Bhagavatam. That is, if one understands Bhagavatam, he's finished his education.
Bhugarbha: He agrees. He's saying that he wishes-he's not criticizing in any waybut he wants that your books have a better audience, then more people will accept them. And he feels that if the French, the way that the French has been written, is changed, we'll have a better audience, it will reach higher.
Prabhupada: But that is from scholarship point of view. But our point is this Bhagavata must be presented by bhagavata. And there is no much scholarship required. Just like Bhagavata begins with the words janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. This Sanskrit word means the Absolute Truth is that from where everything emanates. Now that Absolute Truth further explained: anvayad itaratas ca abhijnah svarat. That Absolute Truth is aware of everything, directly and indirectly, of all this creation. In this way, if you step-by-step study, it is not very difficult so far the word meanings are concerned, but it is a question of realization. Unless one is realized, he cannot explain properly. That is the secret. Therefore we have given the life of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in our Bhagavatam because He's living Bhagavatam.
Janadradhi: :His point, Srila Prabhupada, is that your purports, you are repeating teachings, but this is wanted. His point is that in the French language, the French language cannot accept such repetitions. So he's asking if you could compact more your purports. But we want to translate your purports with the repetitions because we know they are wanted.
Yogesvara: The English purport that you give very often will repeat one point for a clear understanding to the reader. Stylistically, in French this is difficult. It is not the accepted standard. French is generally more compact, something is said only one time. So Professor Chenique is hoping that he will see in our future translations a better French style in the translation. And Janadradhi, who is the translator, one of our translators, explains that our point is that we wish to keep your intention by repeating the point so that the reader will understand, because it is being said several times.
Prabhupada: That is the system in Vedic ways. Just like you see Bhagavad-gita. In different way Krsna has explained the immortality of the soul. You take Bhagavad-gita, that portion. Find out that. What is that verse?
Hari-sauri: Before that. Describes negatively in different ways of understanding the soul.
Prabhupada: Yes, positively, negatively.
(reads French translation)
antavanta ime deha
nityasyoktah saririnah
anasino 'prameyasya
tasmad yudhyasva bharata
[Bg. 2.18]
(French translation)
Prabhupada: The same thing is being explained in a different way.
Bhugarbha: The question seems to be a very technical one of just French language. He's not objecting to the...
Prabhupada: I've no experience of the French language, I'm talking of the Sanskrit language. (laughter)
Bhugarbha: If we give him one purport and see how he would change it.
Prabhupada: There are so many purports you can. (professor reads one purport in French)
Bhugarbha: That one was all right. (laughter)
Professor Chenique: I was, up to recent time, I was commenting Bhagavad-gita in the camping. For eleven years every summer I am commenting the Gita in the camping. I commend very warmly this edition of the Bhagavad-gita. I think it's the best that you may find in France. But when I'm reading the commentary for my students, I find some sentences which are not good French. I think because it is not a very good style, and I hope it won't be that matter with... (French)
Bhugarbha: Perhaps Professor Chenique could go over our translations and make any suggestions.
Prabhupada: I have no objection.
Yogesvara: Professor Chenique is offering to re-read our publications. To read them and when he sees something he thinks can be corrected, he will make some indication.
Prabhupada: I have no objection. It is welcome.
Yogesvara: (devotee enters) This is Hayesvara. Hayesvara dasa, in charge of the Dutch publications, Dutch translator. He has done the Bhagavad-gita, this edition, in Dutch.
Prabhupada: Jaya. Thank you very much.
Bhugarbha: This is the Dutch translation. Professor Chenique made the comment...
Prabhupada: The idea is, suppose I am in France. I do not know French language, but there is fire in my room, and I have to call my neighbors. So somehow or other I call and take their help. (laughter)
Yogesvara: Professor Chenique wishes to know whether we cannot do one very small pocketbook edition that will sell very inexpensively. Something like I think in India they have done.
Hari-sauri: Like the abridged version in America they did?
Yogesvara: No, something like this, very small.
Prabhupada: I have no objection. It is nice proposal.
Hari-sauri: Like that Chinese one? First six chapters.
Prabhupada: Where is that Chinese?
Bhugarbha: He feels that if we bring out a very small, compact edition, it will sell very nicely.
Prabhupada: First of all, we printed seven hundred copies. And now we are going to print five thousand.
Bhugarbha: He said we're making the highest record in distribution.
Professor Chenique: Oh, yes, for this kind of book.
Prabhupada: That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission,
He has to preach in every village and every town on the surface of the globe about this Krsna consciousness. So our business is... Just this example I have given, that there is fire. I do not know the language. Still, I have to call and take help. So I am doing like that. There is a story. In Calcutta when the Britishers were establishing themselves, so one clerk was working in the office and some monkey came and scattered the office files and everything. So his boss came, he asked him, "What is this, why you?" So he cannot explain, so he began to jump like monkey, that on account of the monkey coming within the room. So when the language is unknown we have to jump and show that the monkey came.
Yogesvara: Professor Chenique thanks you very much for receiving him, and he says that he is...
Prabhupada: Many thanks for his coming.
Yogesvara: ...he is very happy to see you, and he does not have any questions. He appreciates very much the Vaisnava point of view.
Prabhupada: Take this to the daughter.
Yogesvara: And he thinks that seeing the decline of religion in the West he says it is very important that we are pushing on this mission as we are doing.
Bhugarbha: He doesn't think he'll be able to follow the life of the Vaisnavas, because our life is too difficult.
Prabhupada: That attitude will help him. That humbleness, that "I cannot follow," that will help.
Bhugarbha: He says he has a tendency more of a jnani, and his training has been according to Sankarite and also Buddhist lines. But still he appreciates very much bhakti, and he is very happy to meet the devotees, and at the same time he's very depressed to meet all these intellectuals who know so many things but cannot understand anything.
Prabhupada: Without becoming jnani, nobody can become bhakta. Without knowledge, if one has become bhakta, he's sentimentalist. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, find out this verse. Samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54].
(French translation read) So without becoming fully in knowledge, nobody can become devotee.
Bhugarbha: He asks, What about the opposite, people becoming devotees without knowing anything? He asking...
Prabhupada: No, devotee cannot be without knowing anything. A devotee means, a devotee means he knows everything. Kasmin tu bhagavo vijnate sarvam idam vijnatam bhavati. This is Vedic injunction. One who knows the Absolute, he knows everything.
Yogesvara: Srila Prabhupada? That verse, does that mean that one who is neophyte...
Prabhupada: Neophyte is neophyte. Why do you bring him to become a devotee? A devotee is different. A "one plus one equal to two," he's not mathematician. He's learning. There is hope one day he'll be a big mathematician. There are three stages, kanistha-adhikari, madhyama-adhikari, uttama-adhikari. So when you speak of devotee, that is this uttama-adhikari. So he knows everything. Rather, the so-called jnani, he does not know. Because he does not know Krsna. The so-called jnani, he does not know what is Personality of Godhead. He's impersonalist. Therefore he is still unaware of the Absolute Truth. Therefore he's not jnani. His jnana, his knowledge, is lacking. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said,
If one jnani is impersonalist, he's not jnani. He is still unaware of the Absolute Truth. He does not know. Therefore it will take many, many births to come to the understanding of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore he's not jnani, he's claiming to be jnani. Such jnani will take many hundreds of births to come to the position of real jnani. Find out this bahunam janmanam ante [Bg. 7.19]. So-called jnani, after many, many births, when he understands Krsna and surrenders to Him, then he's jnani. Sa mahatma sudurlabhah. That kind of jnani is very, very rare. The impersonalist means ajnani. Yes. Because he does not know Krsna, the person. There is another verse in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [SB 10.2.32]. Aruhya krcchrena, by the jnana process, is undergoing austerities and penances, one comes to the platform of param padam, monism, or platform of oneness. But because he has no shelter, he patanty adhah, again comes to the material. Just like so many sannyasis in India, they are very learned, they have come to the platform of Brahman realization, but after some time they come to the material field for political work, for social work. They give up this world, brahma satyam jagan mithya. If jagat is mithya, is false, why does he come for social work? Just like these people going to the moon planet, but because they do not get any shelter, they take some sand and come back again. So what is the use of going there and spending so much money and come back with little sand, and satisfied, "Now we have studied"? Because they have no shelter. So the jnanis, they have no shelter. Yes. They may go very high in the sky, but because they have no shelter they come back again. Punar musaka bhava, again become a mouse. So that is not jnani, that is ajnani. Jnani is described here, mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54]. Brahma-bhuta [SB 4.30.20] is jnani, aham brahmasmi. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma, "I have nothing to do with material world." Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54], there is no lamentation, there is no hankering. When he has attained that stage, brahma-bhuta stage, reality, then he is entrance in the bhakti. Otherwise a neophyte.
Bhugarbha: He says that any person on the path of knowledge who rejects the Personality of Godhead, his knowledge is finished.
Prabhupada: That is sublime knowledge. When you talk with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dance with, that is sublime perfection. Otherwise, you will have to dance with the dog.
Bhugarbha: He's asking that since he first read the Gita when he was very young, since that time he's been trying to compact paths of jnana and bhakti and follow the teachings of all the great religions. And he's wondering if he should continue on that same path.
Prabhupada: No, jnana means that to understand the Absolute Truth. If you do not understand the Absolute Truth, what is the meaning of this jnana? That means knowledge is imperfect. But if you want to know the Absolute Truth, ultimately, then bhakti is required. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. If you want to know the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Being, then you have to go through bhakti. Jnana, so-called jnana, bhakti includes. Just like bhakti includes everything, but jnana does not include bhakti. It is imperfect. In jnana there is little touch of bhakti, but in bhakti there is full jnana. Because unless you... Absolute Truth is realized in three stages, brahmeti, paramatmeti, bhagavan iti sabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. So those who are on the stage of Brahman and Paramatma, they're not in the Absolute Truth. Part of it. But when one understands Bhagavan, then he understands Paramatma and Brahman. That is full knowledge. There are three thingssat, cit, ananda. So Brahman realization is sat. Paramatma realization is cit. But ananda is not there. But if he does not get ananda, then falls down.
Bhugarbha: He says Christianity says the same thing. Not the Christianity of today, but original Christianity said the same thing.
Prabhupada: Anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). This is the Vedanta. We are, as spirit soul, being part and parcel of the Supreme, ananda is our goal, ananda, blissfulness. But that blissfulness, you cannot get simply by understanding sat-cit. You must come to the platform of ananda. That is Krsna. So because these so-called jnanis, they do not get ananda, they do not have the entrance into the ananda platform, they come to this material ananda, this material pleasure. Therefore they take to this hospitality or opening a school or philanthropic work, another type of this material pleasure. Therefore Sankaracarya recommended:
Your simply this grammatical jugglery of words will not help you. Bhaja govindam. Therefore we, govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami **. We, our principle is to worship Govinda the adi-purusa, tam aham bhajami. So without coming to that stage, perfection is not complete. Partial, the sac-cid-ananda, the brahma-anubhuti is partial, sat. "I am not matter. I am not destructible. I am eternal." This is sat. And cit, knowledge, full knowledge about spiritual... But ananda you have to come to the third stage, brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate
[SB 1.2.11]
So we have to come to the stage of understanding Bhagavan, otherwise knowledge is imperfect. Jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. Bhakti is defined by Rupa Gosvami, jnana-karmady-anavrta, above jnana stage. Jnana, karma, karma stage, jnana stage, above them. Untouched by jnana. Karma is material and jnana is marginal between material and spiritual. So you have to go above that, karma jnana, then it is bhakti stage.
Prabhupada: Vasudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogah prayojitah [SB 1.2.7], find out this verse. Janayaty asu vairagyam. I don't see Bhagavan dasa. Why?
Bhugarbha: He's organizing the ceremony for tomorrow.
Prabhupada: The difference is, a bhakta, pure bhakta, he has jnana. But a jnani may not have bhakti.
Yogesvara: Once Professor Chenique asked me whether we thought it was possible for a Christian like himself to also realize the perfection of Vaisnavism.
Prabhupada: Why not? Christianity in Vaisnavism. Christianism is Vaisnavism. Anyone who accepts the supremacy of God, he's a Vaisnava. So Christian, Christianity, "God is great," they say. So that is Vaisnavism, "God is great."
Professor Chenique: Oui, but now the Christians say that God is dead.
Prabhupada: Eh?
Bhugarbha: Now the Christians say God is dead.
Prabhupada: No, that is not Christianity. If you can change, there is no religion. That is mental concoction. As soon as you make change, we reject immediately, useless. Religion (is) the world of God. Religion means the word of God. You cannot change the word of God. If you change the word of God, that is material, that is not religion. You cannot change the word of God by your votes. That is useless. If you say that religion..., religion means the dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Find out this verse, Sixth Canto. There is no Sixth Canto there?
Hari-sauri: We have one volume, but it's the wrong volume. We have Volume Two.
Prabhupada: Oh. The definition of religion is just like law. Law can be given by the government. You cannot make law. If you make at home some law, nobody will touch it. It is not obligatory. But if government says "Keep to the right," it is obligatory. This is law. So religion, you cannot manufacture religion. Religion means the word of God. And if yearly or quarterly you change the words, that is not religion. That is not religion. That is mental concoction. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is. No change. Others, they are interpreting in their own way. That is not Bhagavad-gita. That is something else. (to devotee:) Keep it there. He will take. In the words of God there is no question of changing. You cannot change. As soon as you make a change, immediately it is material; it has nothing to do with spiritual world. The same example, the law of government is one, and if you make change, that is not law. Government says "Keep to the right," you have to keep to the right. You cannot make "Keep to the left," no. That is nowadays happeningwhich edition of Christianity? There are so many. Therefore it is, the purport of Christianity is lost. That is lost. You have, what that verse I wanted?
Hari-sauri: They couldn't find the book.
Prabhupada: Oh, they couldn't. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. This is the verse. Religion means the words given by God. But they have no idea what is God, whether He can speak or He's a dull, dumb. That is the difficulty. The Mayavadis, they say God has no mouth. So how He will speak? He has no eyes, He has no ears. Then who will hear my prayer? That is Mayavadi definition. But Vedas say apani-pado javana grhita.(?) That both things, that He has no leg, but he can walk faster than anyone. He has no ear, but He can hear everything. Just like we have got this ear, but I cannot hear what is going on next room. But God has no ear, but He can hear here, there, everywhere. This is Vedic definition. This is Vedic definition. Srnoti akarna. He has no ears, but He hears everything. That means that it is not the fact that He has no ear, but He has no limited ear like me. And therefore described sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1]. You cannot compare with this body. Because sat means eternal. So this body is not eternal. So when God has no body means He hasn't got a body like this. He is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1]. His body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. But He has body. You cannot say impersonal. But His body is of different quality. Just like you have got body, but you cannot swim in the..., or you cannot remain within the water. Similarly, he has got body, but not the body like this, perishable. Sac-cid-ananda, this body is perishable. But He has got imperishable. Avyayatma. We have to understand in that way. Not that because it is stated He has no body that means He is zero. No, he has got body, but not body not like this.
Bhugarbha: Professor Chenique's suggesting that in the Middle Ages there were many philosophers who also were researching the same questions of the body of God and how His body is different from ours, and they came to exactly the same conclusions as are mentioned in the Bhagavatam, so he's suggesting some of our devotees should read some of these books so we'll be able to in our preaching show the French people these conceptions that God has a body are not foreign conceptions, and actually even European philosophers in the Middle Ages were saying the same things.
Prabhupada: No, you can convince by your words. It is not necessary that you have to read so many other words. If you are yourself convinced, then you can convince others by your words. The fact. The same example, when there is fire actually you can express it by any word.
Bhugarbha: He feels that it's because he has read all these books during his youth, now he's able to appreciate Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Bhugarbha: He feels that because he read all of these other books during his youth that now he's come to the point he can appreciate Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Prabhupada: Yes. Anyone who is after truth, he'll appreciate truth. That's a fact. Satyam param dhimahi [SB 1.1.1]. That is the Bhagavata beginning. Satyam param dhimahi. If one is after truth, he'll appreciate truth wherever it is. Every point, from any angle of vision, those who are searching after truth, everything is explained. Primarily in the Bhagavad-gita, and elaborately in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So about the Christian religion, what is the conception of God?
Bhugarbha: (translating) If I speak in English then I'll say that God is the father, the son and the Holy Ghostnot one person, but three persons. But if I want to say the same thing in Sanskrit, then I'll say sac-cid-ananda.
Prabhupada: Three persons? God is three persons?
Bhugarbha: Father, the son and the Holy Spirit. But he says that that means the same thing, as far as he's concerned, as sac-cid-ananda.
Prabhupada: So why three persons? God is one. Expansion, you can say expansion. Just like brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti [SB 1.2.11]. The person is one. In the dictionary it is said, "God, the Supreme Being," is it not? Person is one. So person is one, now His expansion, His son, His spirit, what is that? Holy Spirit... That is another thing. But the person is one, the Supreme. What is the definition of God? Just see.
Bhugarbha: He said that in Christianity it's more complicated than that.
Prabhupada: Yes. Person is one, but they have no idea the Supreme Person can expand. What is that?
Hari-sauri: It says, "Superhuman being, worshiped as having power over nature and human fortunes; Deity."
Prabhupada: God?
Hari-sauri: Yes, this is the definition of God. "Superhuman being."
Prabhupada: Human being?
Hari-sauri: "Superhuman being. Worshiped as having power over nature and over human fortunes."
Bhugarbha: Demigods.
Prabhupada: No other definition? God Supreme Being is not there?
Hari-sauri: "Supreme Being, creator and ruler of the universe."
Prabhupada: Yes, Supreme Being. Supreme Being means one. There cannot be many Supreme. But He can expand. This is defined in the Brahma-samhita, advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca [Bs. 5.33]. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam, ananta-rupam, many millions of expansions. Adyam purana-purusam, but He's the original person. So the Supreme Being is one, but He has got multi-expansions. That is another thing. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca [Bs. 5.33].
Bhugarbha: He says Christianity is actually coherent, but one has to study it very deeply to understand.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Bhugarbha: He says just like Vaisnavism is also coherent, but one has to study very deeply. Otherwise, one cannot see it. He said if we examine all the religions and find out the axiomatic truths of every religion, we'll see how they are all coherent.
Prabhupada: No. The thing is that religion means to understand God. If one does not understand God, then his religion is still defective. Religion means to understand God. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata [SB 1.2.6]. When you understand God and your relationship with God, then it is perfection of religion.
Bhugarbha: He said that he feels very thankful that you've given him such a long darsana. He's very happy that you've given so much enlightenment in many subjects. He's just passing through with his daughter. He'd like to stay tomorrow to see the installation of the Deities, but he has to go to a Tibetan temple in the south of France. On Saturday he has to be there, so he has to drive, and he said that he's found the Tibetans are also very good devotees.
Prabhupada: Very good. Jaya. (end)

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