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Interview with Newsday Newspaper

July 14, 1976, New York
Prabhupada: Give him chair. They... Give...
Ramesvara: These gentlemen are a reporter and a photographer from a very large newspaper in Long Island called Newsday. This is Mr. Kevin Layhart...
Prabhupada: So they require chair?
Ramesvara: He's asking if you'd like a chair.
Interviewer: No, this is all right.
Ramesvara: This is Mr. Bill Semm. He's a photographer from their newspaper.
Prabhupada: Thank you. Sit down. You have seen our books?
Interviewer: Yes, I have. You translated all of those. (pause) [break] ...I wonder if you could tell me how you came to founding the movement here in the United States.
Prabhupada: I was ordered by my spiritual master to do this work, so on his order I came in 1965. That is the beginning of this. I came alone with no help, no money. Somehow or other (laughs) I started.
Interviewer: :How did you attract people? You landed in New York...
Prabhupada: My attraction is this chanting. That's all.
Interviewer: Did you stand on street corners and chant?
Prabhupada: Yes, I had no magic. Just like others. They say some..., show some magic. I never showed any magic.
Interviewer: No, I understand that.
Bali-mardana: Thompkins Park.
Prabhupada: By Thompkins Park I was chanting, and these boys gradually came. First picture was published by the New York Times. Then we started branches in San Francisco, in Montreal, Boston. And then Los Angeles. In this way...
Interviewer: So you just chanted in Thompkins Park, and people came?
Prabhupada: Yes, I was underneath a tree. I think that picture was published by that Voice, very big article, published.
Interviewer: What did you have to offer then. If you were chanting in the park and I said "What are you doing? Why are you chanting? What's your thing here?"
Bali-mardana: He said what did you have to offer.
Ramesvara: He said, "If someone had come up to you while you were chanting and said, 'Why are you doing this? What are you offering?' How would you have replied."
Prabhupada: They came... Naturally they came and joined me and began to dance, that's all. That is the beginning.
Ramesvara: But what if they asked you, "What is this all about?"
Prabhupada: No, this is for spiritual realization. If you chant, then, gradually, you realize yourself that you are a spiritual being; you are not this body. Then his spiritual life begins. Actually human life is meant for spiritual realization, and if one does not spiritually realize his identity, then he remains an animal. That is the difference between animal and man. Man is supposed to be spiritually realized.
Interviewer: How is that spiritual dimension realized?
Prabhupada: One has to realize that he's not this body, he's spirit soul, and the spirit soul is within the body, and after annihilation of this body, the spirit soul is transferred to another body. So there are 8,400,000 different forms of life. And we have to transmigrate to any one of these forms. So today I am in American body or Indian body, very comfortably situated, but at the time of death my particular mentality will transfer me to a particular type of body. Exactly like if a man infects some contagious disease he has to develop that disease. It is very subtle material laws. So similarly, we are composed of gross body and subtle body. The gross body is made of this earth, water, air, fire, ether, like this. And the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. And the spirit soul is within that outward gross and subtle bodies. When the gross body is annihilated, the subtle body, mind, carries the soul to a similar body as he was thinking at the time of death. It is, example is given... Just like the flavor of a rose garden is carried by the air or the bad odor of a filthy place is also carried by the air, similarly, mind, intelligence carries me to a particular type of body as I was absorbed in thought at the time of death.
Interviewer: What is the ultimate?
Prabhupada: Ultimate is that you are spirit soul, you are being materially engrossed, you are creating different situations and you are being transferred to different bodies. That is different situations.
Interviewer: But for what purpose and to what end? What's the final end?
Prabhupada: Yes, so final, that unless you are spiritually realized, you do not know what is the final end. The final end is that we are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other we are in contact with this material atmosphere. So our final aim is to go back to home, back to Godhead. Unless we know this and we practice how to return back again to Godhead, then we have to remain within this material world, transmigrating from one body to another. Therefore the human intelligence is meant for understanding the spiritual identity and the goal of life and act accordingly. That is Krsna consciousness movement. It is an educational movement to enlighten the people from gross ignorance to the highest enlightenment of spiritual understanding.
Interviewer: Is it an internal educational process or external?
Prabhupada: It is internal but externally... Just like externally, behavior makes internal inclinations. If you associate with some bad company, the internally also you develop bad propensities. And if you associate with good company, then internally you develop good propensities. So internally, externally, they are interrelated. By external behavior we influence our internal energy. And by internal atmosphere we get the external body.
Interviewer: I'm trying to find out whether the consciousness lies within us, brought out...
Prabhupada: Yes, consciousness... Consciousness will be... Because... Just like sunshine and the sun. Similarly, the soul means consciousness. It is just like sunshine. The soul is very small particle, but it is shining as consciousness.
Interviewer: So we can allow it to fulfill itself or not.
Bali-mardana: He wants to know, is this consciousness within us.
Prabhupada: Yes. So long the soul is there, the consciousness is there.
Bali-mardana: Krsna consciousness.
Prabhupada: Not Krsna cons..., immediately Krsna conscious. Consciousness is there. Just like so long the soul is there, you pinch any part of your bodyyou'll feel pain. That is consciousness. And when the soul is gone out of the body, If you cut the hand, there will be no consciousness.
Ramesvara: Did you mean to ask whether the ultimate state of consciousness is within us that has to be brought out?
Interviewer: Yes.
Prabhupada: No, consciousness is already there.
Ramesvara: He meant the dormant Krsna consciousness, is that...
Prabhupada: That is original consciousness.
Ramesvara: So that is within us.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Ramesvara: And it needs to be brought out.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Interviewer: And how is that brought out?
Prabhupada: That is brought out by this process. You have to go under some process. Just like a man can be made unconscious and again conscious under some process. If you... What is called?
Ramesvara: Anesthesia?
Prabhupada: Anesthetic, he becomes unconscious. Then, another process, we can bring him to conscious.
Interviewer: All right, let me ask a rather long question. Let's assume that all human beings have an innate ability to speak, and depending upon the circumstances they find themselves in when they are very small, they will learn Sanskrit, they will learn English, they will learn French, they will learn Chinese. What... Now, if I were Chinese, I would say, "Well Chinese is the best language." I would have a, you know... I could take a different mode on what's the best way to communicate.
Prabhupada: No, Chinese...
Interviewer: Now, in terms of your movement, you're bringing out consciousness, which I would analogize...
Prabhupada: No, I say...
Interviewer: To the ability to speak. Now, how is your path or your way different from (or) better than others?
Prabhupada: No, but there is no question of "better than others." It is the only thing.
Interviewer: It is the only way?
Prabhupada: Only thing. It is not the question of better or superior. But Krsna consciousness means God consciousness. So either you are Chinese or English or American, there is consciousness. When that consciousness is purified, that is God consciousness.
Interviewer: Yes. But is your way the only way?
Prabhupada: No, that is only way. Because God is one and God consciousness is one, so when you are Chinese consciousness, that is foreign. Or either American consciousness, it is foreign.
Interviewer: Okay, I was speaking in an analogical way. There are different way to express oneself or different languages one can learn. Similarly, I would think there would be different ways to get to consciousness.
Prabhupada: Different ways may be, but if you actually come to that consciousness, that different way is approved. Otherwise it is bogus.
Interviewer:. Other way?
Prabhupada: It is bogus.
Ramesvara: You judge by the results.
Prabhupada: If you come to God consciousness, either through the Christian process or Chinese process or Indian process, it doesn't matter. But if you do not come to God consciousness, then it is all bogus.
Interviewer: But you can come to God consciousness through a variety of paths.
Bali-mardana: He's saying that. He's saying "if."
Ramesvara: He says, "But you can come to God consciousness by different processes."
Prabhupada: No, different processes... Our...
Bali-mardana: Can do.
Prabhupada: No, it is not that. The aim is to come to the God consciousness. And the means may be different. So that means is justified by the end. If at the end, you do not come to God consciousness, then whatever process you have, that is bogus. That is not bona fide.
Interviewer: You say it works?
Prabhupada: If it works, it is bona fide. If it does not work, then it is bogus.
Interviewer: And to your mind is it possible to come to God consciousness through other means than yours?
Prabhupada: I say if it is possible, then it is all right.
Interviewer: Is it possible?
Prabhupada: Yes, if it is possible.
Interviewer: Is it, though? (laughter)
Ramesvara: That you have to see.
Prabhupada: No, thing is that...
Hari-sauri: That you have to see. You have to judge whether you are going to get that result.
Prabhupada: Yes. People... Whether he is coming to God consciousness or dog consciousness, two things are there. Consciousness means when he understands that "I am part and parcel of God. I am servant of God." Then it is all right. But if he is thinking that "I am servant of dog," then it is not proper way.
Interviewer: Your movement has been criticized.
Prabhupada: Well, how it is criticized? How it is criticized?
Interviewer: People have said that it works against the family, it works against Western society, that you...
Prabhupada: No, here is a family man.
Interviewer: Hm?
Prabhupada: Here is a family man.
Interviewer: I'm sorry.
Hari-sauri: Here is a family man.
Prabhupada: Here is a family man. How you say it is against family? There are so many families here, children. You have seen our class in the morning?
Interviewer: No, I have not.
Prabhupada: All family members, children, husband, wife, they are present there. How do you say it is against family? Wrong criticism. This is...
Interviewer: Are your followers encouraged to visit with their...
Prabhupada: No, first of all you take your answer one by one. You say, "against the family." It is a wrong. It is a wrong propaganda. Oh, there are so many families in our society. It is a society. There are family members. There are brahmacaris. There are sannyasis and vanaprastha. Whatever situation is suitable for you, you can accept, and in any situation, you can become God conscious. That's a wrong propaganda, that we are against family. Here is a wife of a boy. They have family. There are so many families. Why do you say like that, "We are against family? It's a wrong. You should note it especially that this type of criticism is envious. It is not proper. We invite all families, children, husband, wife, "Come on. Take Krsna consciousness."
Interviewer: I've been accosted at airports, on streets, places like that by devotees, and I've been told that you operate drug centers and a number of other things.
Prabhupada: Drug centers?
Ramesvara: He means we're curing people. Places where people will become cured from the bad habit of taking drugs. That's a drug center.
Prabhupada: Yes. But our people are all free from all that drug disease.
Ramesvara: He is saying that he has simply met devotees at airports and other places where they approach him to maybe ask for some contribution, to see if he's interested, and they say that they are representing some drug center, something like that. So what's the question?
Interviewer: Well, and they think how to sell literature and... Is that the way to God consciousness, by selling and soliciting? Is that...?
Prabhupada: No, no, if you are...
Interviewer: How does that fit in?
Prabhupada: If you are God conscious, naturally you give up all intoxication habit.
Interviewer: Yeah, but just going out and selling and accosting people on the street...
Hari-sauri: He's asking how does our sankirtana activities relate to God consciousness, the selling of books and collecting of donations.
Prabhupada: So if I sell a book to you, you read because you have paid for. Then you'll get benefit.
Interviewer: How does it benefit the seller?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Interviewer: How does it benefit the person who works on the selling...
Prabhupada: Unless you purchase, how you'll get reading?
Bali-mardana: How does it benefit the person who is selling the book, the devotee.
Prabhupada: Oh, devotee.
Ramesvara: How is he benefited by selling books to others?
Prabhupada: But he... He is giving service to Krsna. He's not charging anything. If we appoint some bookseller, you have to pay, but we haven't got to pay. Out of his love for Krsna he's doing that.
Ramesvara: See, our men who distribute these books, they do not receive salary.
Bali-mardana: It's like welfare work.
Prabhupada: That is the sign of love. That is in material field also. There are so many philosophers, scientists and artists, they have done out of love for their subject matter, not for payment. That is love.
Bali-mardana: But aren't they also purified spiritually by doing this?
Prabhupada: Yes. This spiritual realization means the more you give service to God, you become spiritually profited, in any way.
Interviewer: What are some of the other, aside from...? I mean, I see people selling things. What other practices are involved?
Prabhupada: Then you stay one day, whole day and night, and see practically, from morning four o'clock to night ten o'clock, how we are engaged in different practices.
Interviewer: You rise at four?
Hari-sauri: Three-thirty.
Ramesvara: In this temple three, three-thirty.
Interviewer: And chant.
Ramesvara: Chant, study.
Prabhupada: You go any room of this house. You'll find simply Krsna consciousness.
Ramesvara: Preparing for the morning services.
Prabhupada: That you can describe, the whole day's program.
Interviewer: What's the purpose of that rising? What's the purpose of that, the rising at 4:30, the chanting and study?
Prabhupada: It means to be fixed up in (indistinct) spiritual life. Just like in military there is training. You must have to do at this time this thing, this time, this time... So any training means regulated life.
Interviewer: What is the most important part of it?
Prabhupada: The most important part is how to become Krsna conscious.
Interviewer: Yes, what's the most important practice.
Prabhupada: Practice, yes. This is practice.
Bali-mardana: Which devotional practice...?
Ramesvara: He is asking whether one technique is more important than another.
Prabhupada: Everything is important. Everything is important. You cannot say, "This is most important; this is less important." Everything is important.
Ramesvara: But suppose someone cannot live in our temple. Then we may recommend to him at least chant Hare Krsna in your home...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Ramesvara: And take Krsna prasadam and read the books.
Prabhupada: And follow the regulative principles.
Ramesvara: And follow as far as possible...
Prabhupada: Refrain from sinful life. What are the sinful life?
Bali-mardana: No illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating, and no intoxication.
Ramesvara: We find that these activities disturb the body and the mind. They are not compatible or conducive for spiritual practices.
Prabhupada: Just like a diseased man. If he wants to be cured, there are something, prohibition, "Don't do this. Don't eat this." So it is also curing the diseased mind and to bring him in the spiritual platform. So there are something "Do's," something "do not." That's all. That is everywhere.
Interviewer: You came here ten years ago, or eleven years ago. You were almost seventy at the time...
Prabhupada: :Yes, actually I came here at the age of seventy years.
Interviewer: What had you been doing previously?
Prabhupada: Previously? I was family man. I retired in 1954. My Guru Maharaja asked me to take this task seriously when I was twenty-five years old.
Interviewer: Who asked you?
Prabhupada: Twenty-five years old.
Ramesvara: His spiritual master.
Prabhupada: So I was at that time family man, so I thought, "Let me adjust my family affairs. Then I shall take it." So by doing the adjustment it took me long years. So I retired at the age of fifty-eight. Then I took up seriously. And when I was seventy years old, then I came here.
Interviewer: Were you a businessman?
Prabhupada: Yes, I was connected with some chemical industry. I was manager in a big chemical industry. Then I started my own business. In this way I was family man.
Ramesvara: But at the same time, Srila Prabhupada was always Krsna conscious.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Bali-mardana: And He was writing.
Ramesvara: And also he was writing transcendental or spiritual books even at that time.
Bali-mardana: 1944.
Ramesvara: It's not that he has adopted a new occupation now.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Ramesvara: He has always been Krsna conscious.
Prabhupada: This Back to Godhead was started in 1944, when I was still a family man.
Interviewer: You started that in India.
Prabhupada: India. The first copy is here, some copy?
Hari-sauri: The first copy is in the Library of Congress in Washington.
Interviewer: Your family, your blood family, are they Krsna conscious as well?
Prabhupada: Not very much. Therefore I had to leave them and create another family. (laughter)
Interviewer: How many children do you have.
Prabhupada: I have got two daughters and two sons. My wife is also still living.
Interviewer: Is she Krsna conscious?
Prabhupada: Not very much. Naturally women are after worldly opulence.
Interviewer: Was it difficult for you to give up what you had been doing in order to devote full time.
Prabhupada: No, it is the Vedic system that at a certain age they should give up family connection and completely devote for God consciousness. In the beginning, twenty-five years, he should learn from guru about Krsna consciousness. Then, if he is able, he does not become a family man, but if he is unable or circumstantially, he may become a family man. So he can remain a family man up to fiftieth year and then he retires from family life. He travels in holy places with his wife, and sometimes he comes home and sometimes he goes home. In this way, when he's practiced to give up family attachment, then the wife goes back home to the care of her elderly children, and the man takes sannyasa, and he remains alone simply for spreading Krsna consciousness. This is Vedic system.
Ramesvara: Vedic system means very traditional, from ancient India.
Interviewer: Yes. Now, you are not practicing the Vedic system, then, here, are you? Or are you?
Ramesvara: We are following.
Prabhupada: No, it is all Vedic system. It is Vedic system.
Interviewer: Is it better to do it the way you did it or to start from a very early age in the, er...?
Ramesvara: In other words, some of our members are sannyasa at an earlier age.
Prabhupada: No, if... The purpose is to train a person in brahmacari, not to enter into the entanglement of this material life. That is Vedic system. Basic principle is that don't be entangled with this material energy. So at the early age, up to twenty-five, he's trained up. If he can, he can continue as brahmacari. He directly can take sannyasa. But if he's unable, so let him go by step by step. Let him become a family, householder life, then retired life, then... But sannyasa at the end, that is compulsory, not that unless he is shot down by somebody, he's not going to give up family life. That is not Vedic system.
Interviewer: But young men don't tend to be wise, do they?
Prabhupada: Eh?
Interviewer: Young men do not generally possess a great deal of wisdom.
Prabhupada: No, if he's trained up. Just like here we have got so many young men. They are trained up. So there is no prohibition that a young man cannot become a sannyasa. If he's able, he can take sannyasa from the very beginning. But if he's not able, let him enter into household life and then remain as householder up to fiftieth year, then retire, then take sannyasa. It is not an enforcement. A gradual process. But the ultimate end is to become free from all material attachment and completely devote life for Krsna consciousness. That is the ultimate end. Because human life is meant for that purpose, self-realization or spiritual realization, that opportunity must be given to all human beings. Unfortunately at the present moment the civilization has no scope for spiritual realization. They live like other animals, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That's all. They do not know there is another life, spiritual life, and neither there is any education or institution to educate them. Now we are trying for that purpose.
Interviewer: How important is it to look after physical life?
Prabhupada: Physical life, so you must keep yourself fit to execute Krsna consciousness. It is not our desire that you become sick and you cannot chant. But our purpose is to chant and we require the physical necessities just to keep ourselves fit, not more than that. Eating is necessary. Without eating, I will die. So we take Krsna prasadam, not in the restaurant or hotel anything, no. We take nice vegetables, nice food grains, rice, wheat, sugar, milk, all vitaminous, full of vitamins. So there is no deficiency of food. Even from food value it is very nice. We do not unnecessarily kill animals.
Interviewer: You run farms as well, do you not?
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes.
Interviewer: What do they...
Prabhupada: So you try to...
Interviewer: Are they working farms, producing farms?
Prabhupada: Yes, there are many farms in your country. Just now I am coming from New Vrindaban in West Virginia. They are living. If you go sometime, you can see how independently they are living. And there are other farms, New Orleans, and just now we are going tomorrow...
Ramesvara: Pennsylvania.
Prabhupada: Pennsylvania. So we get enough milk, enough food grains, enough fruits. So there is no economic problem. Our purpose is to save time from unnecessary necessities of life, from unnecessary necessities of life, to save time and utilize the time for developing Krsna consciousness. And so far the body is concerned, as much as it is required take and maintain the body. That's all.
Interviewer: Your devotees' health is looked after, then.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: By who?
Prabhupada: They are instructed in that way, plain living, high thinking.
Interviewer: Do you have arrangements with hospitals in case somebody gets sick, and do you watch diet carefully and...?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Why not? Why not? Take care of the body. But we keep our habits in such a way that we don't fall sick very often.
Interviewer: You said before that with respect to achieving Krsna consciousness, that the end was most important, that becoming God conscious...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: ...Was the most important thing. Would that ever allow you to or any one of the devotees, to engage in practices that would be considered unjust or criminal in a broader society?
Prabhupada: That is his interest.
Interviewer: In terms of, you know, "This is for Krsna. This is for developing God consciousness..."
Prabhupada: No, if you are interested in Krsna, you are interested for everyone. And if you are interested for a particular person, society, then you are not interested in Krsna. The example I can give you. Just like if you supply food to your stomach, then you supply food to your eyes, ears, hands, legs, everything. But if you supply food to your eyes, then you become blind.
Bali-mardana: He wants to know that would you be justified in doing something that society would consider criminal, like, say...
Ramesvara: Like stealing for Krsna, or killing for Krsna.
Prabhupada: Killing?
Ramesvara: If it is... Something that is judged by, say, the US government as criminal, would be still do it if it was for Krsna?
Prabhupada: No, we do not do anything which is harmful to the society. We do not do anything, not only to the human society. To the animal society, to the tree society, to the aquatic society, we do not do anything. We do not support the slaughterhouse, killing the animals. Krsna consciousness means to see every living entity on the same level. Panditah sama-darsinah [Bg. 5.18]. We are not cruel to anyone. Either he's a man or animal or tree or bird.
Interviewer: Does that take on a positive aspect as well so that by not only do I not kill animals and I don't kill men, do I, am I obliged under your system, am I obliged to actively help...
Prabhupada: Yes, suppose if you are coming to kill me, then I must take advantage of killing you first.
Interviewer: I understand that, and obliged to go beyond.
Bali-mardana: Are you also obliged to help animals, to help other human beings.
Prabhupada: Yes, we are maintaining animals, giving them food, giving them security of life in all our farms the animals are very free.
Ramesvara: We're obliged because they are all part and parcel of God.
Interviewer: And what about with people?
Prabhupada: Every people. You come to stay with us, we give you all help. Anyone who comes to our society we give shelter, we give food, we give instruction, we give dress, everything. Without any condition. You please come and live with us. For such a nice building we have taken. Our farms are so nice, you can go and see how they are doing. We have got one hundred and two centers all over the world. You'll find they are living very comfortably.
Interviewer: How many centers in the United States?
Prabhupada: About forty.
Ramesvara: Forty or fifty.
Hari-sauri: Fifty with the farms.
Interviewer: How are those supported? Do they support themselves?
Prabhupada: That is Krsna consciousness.
Interviewer: I beg your pardon?
Prabhupada: That is Krsna consciousness.
Interviewer: The way they support themselves?
Prabhupada: Yes, Krsna supports.
Interviewer: Krsna supports?
Prabhupada: Yes. We do not know what we shall eat tomorrow, but we have no insufficiency. Rather, neighbors they are grudging that these people do not do anything and they live so comfortably. Sometimes they ask...
Interviewer: How does Krsna support them?
Prabhupada: That is Krsna consciousness.
Interviewer: He mediates through physical things, does he?
Prabhupada: Everything belongs to Krsna.
Interviewer: Yes.
Prabhupada: So Krsna is within you. So if Krsna dictates, "Give him three thousand dollars," you'll give me. That's all. That actually it is fact. Yesterday Mr. Coleman came? He gave me a check for three thousand. I never asked him.
Bali-mardana: Who? Mr. Coleman?
Hari-sauri: Coleman.
Prabhupada: So we are immediately depositing for our Vrndavana and Mayapura scheme. So Krsna sends money. We do not bother what will happen tomorrow. But we are very nicely maintained by Krsna's grace. That is Krsna consciousness. And Krsna says tesam nityabhiyuktanam yoga-ksemam vahamy aham. Find out this verse.
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
[Bg. 9.22]
Interviewer: A question: you are now the leader and the spiritual master. Who will take your place?
Prabhupada: That Krsna will dictate who will take my place.
Interviewer: Krsna will tell you that?
Hari-sauri: You want that verse, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Hari-sauri: This is the translation of what the Sanskrit...
Prabhupada: No, you can read the Sanskrit also.
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
[Bg. 9.22]
"But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental formto them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have."
Interviewer: They still have to go out and ask occasionally?
Bali-mardana: It's not that we sit back and wait for Krsna to send it to us.
Ramesvara: No, we're very industrious.
Prabhupada: We don't sit down idly.
Bali-mardana: God helps those who help themselves.
Prabhupada: We are not idle preachers, we are working. All, very hard, more than the karmis.
Ramesvara: These men, they go out to engage people in taking our books maybe twelve hours a day sometimes, ten hours a day, without any salary.
Prabhupada: I am now eighty years old, I am working twenty-four hours. I think I work more than my young disciples (laughter).
Bali-mardana: Oh yes, definitely.
Prabhupada: I work at night.
Ramesvara: It is hard to keep up with Srila Prabhupada.
Hari-sauri: Very difficult.
Prabhupada: We are not idle creatures.
Ramesvara: We are publishing his books and sometimes he is ahead of us by seventeen volumes.
Interviewer: How do you spend your days? You do an awful lot of traveling I understand.
Prabhupada: Traveling is going on throughout the whole world and wherever I go, at night I write books.
Bali-mardana: Translates.
Prabhupada: Translate. And daytime I meet devotees.
Bali-mardana: Manage.
Prabhupada: Manage.
Interviewer: You arrange the marriages?
Bali-mardana: Manage.
Prabhupada: They have to ask me, final decision is taken from me. From all over the world, from all over the world letters are coming some problem, some problem, some problem. Although I have got about twenty secretaries, still they have to consult, I have to give them advice.
Hari-sauri: In the evening Srila Prabhupada goes to bed at ten o'clock and gets up at eleven-thirty to begin translating.
Interviewer: You just sleep a couple of hours, then?
Prabhupada: No, one and a half hour.
Interviewer: That's it?
Prabhupada: Yes. Of course in daytime I take rest two hours. So in this way altogether about three to four hours. Our philosophy is not that you sit idly and God will send everything, no, not like that. We know God will send everything, still we work. Without God's sanction nothing can come. But we must be qualified to receive the favor of God. That is our philosophy.
Interviewer: Are you surprised at the way this organization has prospered?
Prabhupada: What do you mean?
Hari-sauri: Are we surprised at the way the movement has expanded and prospered in just a few short years.
Prabhupada: No, it is not surprising, it is natural. If you do, just like if you do business in proper way there will be profit. Similarly, as it is enjoined in this book of knowledge, if you do like that it will expand, it will prosper. Two plus two equal to four. Mathematical calculation. If you make two plus two, it will become four. It will neither become three nor five. So here it is said, you have read the, that "One who is engaged twenty-four hours in My service, so I, yoga-ksemam vahamy aham [Bg. 9.22], I supply whatever he requires and I protect whatever he has got." So if you actually serve Krsna, then everything you want, it will come.
Ramesvara: Do you have any questions about our festival coming up this Sunday? You know we're marching down Fifth Avenue.
Interviewer: Are you going to march?
Ramesvara: He asks if you are going to participate in the Ratha-yatra Parade.
Hari-sauri: This is the parade that it's based on.
Ramesvara: This is a photograph of what takes place in India every year. It's a traditional festival in India, we are bringing it to New York. We've got our permits and everything.
Prabhupada: We have already got in San Francisco, in Chicago...
Ramesvara: Philadelphia.
Prabhupada: In Philadelphia.
Ramesvara: In London.
Prabhupada: London.
Sudama: Melbourne.
Prabhupada: Melbourne.
Hari-sauri: Paris we're beginning also.
Prabhupada: This year?
Hari-sauri: Yes.
Ramesvara: First year Paris.
Hari-sauri: This is our festivals that we've begun in the West based on the one on the front there.
Prabhupada: You can take that book.
Interviewer: You are participating in it, are you not?
Prabhupada: Somewhere when I have opportunity I participate, otherwise they do it.
Ramesvara: In other words, Prabhupada doesn't attend every festival all over the world.
Interviewer: Will you attend the one here in New York?
Prabhupada: Yes, I go.
Interviewer: How do you choose, you are responsible for the organization.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: Are you the one who chooses who runs each center, who is responsible in each temple.
Prabhupada: Yes. Our program is to open centers in every village, every town, to propagate Krsna consciousness.
Interviewer: And you choose the leaders, or Krsna does and tells you, how does that work?
Prabhupada: No, I have been chosen by my spiritual master.
Interviewer: Yes. And you in turn choose others?
Prabhupada: Oh yes. That is our succession.
Interviewer: On what basis?
Prabhupada: Basis, on the order of Krsna. Originally the order is from Krsna.
Interviewer: How does that come?
Prabhupada: Comes by disciplic succession. Just like Krsna said this knowledge to Arjuna and Arjuna said to others and it is open. Everyone can take it, there is no secrecy. We have to accept only, that's all.
Interviewer: I missed that, I'm sorry.
Prabhupada: The order is already there, it is open, open secret. There is no secrecy. Anyone can take it.
Interviewer: All right. But in terms of specific, say, choosing, specific things, specific details.
Prabhupada: Yes, in all details, how to become Krsna conscious, there is all details in this book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
Hari-sauri: So he's asking what's a man's qualification to be chosen.
Ramesvara: In other words Prabhupada will decide who should be leader if he's qualified and there's a process for making him qualified and there's a process for testing to see if he is qualified. So in that way it all comes from Krsna.
Interviewer: You chose, for example, these fellows here to run the publishing house and be responsible for the east coast.
Prabhupada: Yes, like that. He's in charge of publication, he's in charge something else, he's charge, like that.
Interviewer: On what basis, though, can you tell me some of the things that...
Prabhupada: Basis, just to see whether he's qualified, that's all. Just like ordinarily one manager is appointed by the superior authority on the merit, on his qualification. That's all.
Interviewer: Okay, is it a mediated choice or is it a direct communication from Krsna, that's my question.
Prabhupada: No.
Ramesvara: He's asking whether we claim that God speaks to us directly.
Prabhupada: Yes, God speaks to you when you are qualified. You cannot expect God as order supplier. When he sees that you are qualified, he will speak to you.
Bali-mardana: The spiritual master is the representative of God to the disciple because he is in direct contact with God.
Prabhupada: My spiritual master appointed me that "You do this." Similarly I shall appoint somebody else, this is the way.
Ramesvara: It's difficult for people to understand that God can speak to a man. They question, "How can God speak to some man?"
Prabhupada: That is, anything, that, the radio message is coming, a foolish man cannot understand how it is coming. He'll think "How it is that, speaking?" So any foolish man will be astonished how things are happening. That is foolishness. But God says, find out this verse...
Hari-sauri: Four three? Sa evayam maya te 'dya [Bg. 4.3]?
Prabhupada: Huh? No no. Buddhi-yogam dadami tam yena mam upayanti te.
Prabhupada: Ah, yes.
Hari-sauri: "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give them the understanding by which they can come to Me."
Prabhupada: God is situated in everyone's heart. As soon as He sees that "Here is a qualified person," then He gives him instruction.
Interviewer: But in the same way that Krsna says He'll provide for your needs you still must work to achieve whatever Krsna is giving you.
Prabhupada: Yes. You work for Krsna. You have to work to get your necessities.
Interviewer: In the same way I'm curious with respect to the way Krsna communicates with you, whether it's in a similar kind of way that He gives you your necessities.
Bali-mardana: In other words, when you decide that someone is to be in charge of a particular temple does Krsna tell you that this person should be in charge.
Interviewer: Or do you by judging him say this person is qualified.
Prabhupada: Yes, because a devotee always consults Krsna and He gives order.
Interviewer: It's a more direct communication.
Prabhupada: Yes. And He gives order.
Ramesvara: Because intelligence, our philosophy is that intelligence comes from Krsna. So if I have some...
Interviewer: And your philosophy is that your daily necessities come from Krsna as well.
Ramesvara: Yes, try to understand. Suppose my intelligence sees that this person is qualified, that means Krsna has told me.
Prabhupada: No, not necessarily, Krsna will tell directly. A devotee always consults Krsna and Krsna tells him, "Do like this." Not figuratively.
Interviewer: Does that apply then to other kinds of decisions and other kinds of activities as well?
Prabhupada: Everything. Because a devotee does not do anything without consulting Krsna.
Bali-mardana: But that applies to a very greatly elevated soul, that is not an ordinary person.
Prabhupada: That is, therefore the minor devotees, they consult the spiritual master. That is our process. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **.
Ramesvara: I see, I was trying to explain the minor devotees.
Interviewer: No, I was talking about...
Ramesvara: You're talking about the topmost level.
Interviewer: Yes.
Bali-mardana: He's getting right to the source.(laughter) Right to the top.
Interviewer: That will do it for me, I thank you, kindly.
Prabhupada: Give him prasadam.
Bali-mardana: We were going to take care of him.
Prabhupada: Thank you for your coming. Take this flower. (end)

Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/conversations/1976/jul/interview_with_newsday_newspaper/new_york/july/14/1976

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