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Interview with Newsweek

July 14, 1976, New York
Ramesvara: ...from our public relations firm. She's assisting us in arranging for these interviews. We were just meeting with Wanda and telling her a little bit about how you began the Krsna consciousness movement here in America.
Interviewer: Well, perhaps you could continue where they left off. Could you tell me why you came to the United States in 1965. Did you feel that this was a mission that you had to fulfill?
Prabhupada: Yes, not only United States, but everywhere people do not know what is spiritual life. They have no knowledge how to develop spiritual life, although it is... The only business of human form of life is to understand spiritual life.
Interviewer: Are you retiring now?
Prabhupada: I'm always retired. I began this movement in my retirement.
Tamala Krsna: Prabhupada said he was always retired, and he began... After retiring, he began this movement.
Prabhupada: What do you mean by retired life?
Interviewer: I mean are you giving up your position as spiritual leader?
Ramesvara: She means now you are going back to India. Does that mean you are retiring from traveling all over the world preaching?
Prabhupada: No, she said that spiritual life... "What do you mean by spiri...?"
Hari-sauri: Spiritual leader of the movement.
Ramesvara: Managing and everything.
Prabhupada: So why you are asking this question.
Interviewer: Well, I'm curious.
Prabhupada: No, why you are curious about this? Whether I am retiring or not, that is...
Interviewer: What's the reason I'm curious? Ah, because we're trying to, at Newsweek, develop and try to understand what the trends are in religion, all types of religion, whether it be Christianity, Catholicism, Evangelicism...
Prabhupada: Spiritual life is never retired. It is eternal. There is no question of retire.
Interviewer: I was wondering whether perhaps you would personally take a less active role.
Prabhupada: No, I am not taking any very great active part. They are doing. I am simply reading.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada is saying that the disciples are working so hard.
Interviewer: Oh, I see.
Ramesvara: But I was explaining to her that you are traveling all over the world, visiting your centers, and at the same time writing so many books.
Prabhupada: That may be lessened. That may be lessened, but that does not mean retirement.
Tamala Krsna: He may not travel as much, but that doesn't mean retiring from spiritual life, because spiritual life goes on continuously at all times...
Interviewer: I didn't mean that he was retiring from spiritual life.
Hari-sauri: From management.
Bali-mardana: His main work is his books, so he'll continue that.
Interviewer: I was wondering if he had a successor to do... Do you have a successor to take your place when you die?
Prabhupada: Not yet settled up. Not yet settled up.
Interviewer: So what process would the Hare Krsnas...?
Prabhupada: We have got secretaries. They are managing.
Ramesvara: He has appointed from all the disciples a group of secretaries. Each one is in charge of a different sector of the world.
Interviewer: How many secretaries?
Ramesvara: Presently there is eighteen.
Interviewer: And so that group of eighteen secretaries will choose another leader?
Prabhupada: I am training each one of them as leader so that they can spread extensively. That is my idea.
Interviewer: So, in other words, you started this whole movement here in the United States ten years ago. Would you say that the United States had the most active, financially, group of followers.
Prabhupada: What is that?
Ramesvara: She wants to know, seeing you chose the United States to begin this Krsna consciousness movement ten years ago, now do you find that in the United States there is the most active membership financially speaking. In terms of contributing to this movement, supporting the movement, is the best field America?
Prabhupada: No, without finance we can go on.
Ramesvara: Without finance we can go on.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: Oh, we can go on?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: How?
Prabhupada: Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not have any financial help, but His movement is going on. It does not depend on a..., on financial. It is independent. Spiritual movement is independent of any material help. That is spiritual movement.
Interviewer: But how would you be able to carry out your educational or book publishing program if you did not have a financial backing?
Prabhupada: How I am managing now?
Interviewer: But now you are doing well financially.
Prabhupada: You are stressing on financial help but my reply is that this movement does not depend on financial help. That is the reply.
Bali-mardana: In the beginning...
Prabhupada: Any time, it does not depend on financial help.
Interviewer: Why would you say you were doing so well?
Ramesvara: We don't tithe our members. In other words, our congregations do not pay dues. We are depending on Krsna. We're simply trying to print books, and we show them to people, and then Krsna inspires them to purchase or give a contribution. It's not that we have people making large contributions or a congregation that pays dues.
Interviewer: So where does most of your money come from?
Ramesvara: She wants to know where most of our money comes from.
Prabhupada: Money comes from Krsna.
Interviewer: From where?
Interviewer: Ah, Ramesvara, maybe if Prabhupada just told how, in the first year how the books were sold, before there was this publishing. There was a time in which there was just a storefront. How were these books sold in the very beginning?
Ramesvara: Prabhupada personally went to the printer in Japan. He personally made the arrangement with the printer, the first printing.
Interviewer: But how did he sell his first book in America?
Hari-sauri: On the boat to the ship's captain.
Interviewer: There was a process...
Prabhupada: I mean to say, "What is our financial arrangement?" Why these questions are being raised? This is not interview about the movement. They are very much interested about our financial help.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada's observing that they are very interested in our financial backing.
Interviewer: What do you think about some of the other gurus, if you will, since you are yourself considered a guru? Do you study anybody else?
Prabhupada: These answers you can give.
Bali-mardana: :She said what do you think about the other gurus.
Prabhupada: Why shall I think of other gurus?
Bali-mardana: He does not study them.
Prabhupada: Why shall I think of other gurus? "Oil your own machine." (laughter)
Devotees: "Oil your own machine."
Interviewer: Could you tell me a little bit about your background, when you were young, what types of things you did...
Prabhupada: Why shall I tell you?
Interviewer: Pardon me?
Prabhupada: Why shall I tell you?
Interviewer: If you wish.
Prabhupada: Why shall I wish?
Interviewer: Well, reporters have to ask these questions. Otherwise I would be out of business.
Hari-sauri: Prabhupada is hoping that you'll ask something that is relevant to this...
Ramesvara: People are interested to know about you, Srila Prabhupada. And if they take an interest in you, then they will automatically be interested in your books also. They are very eager to know about the author of all these books that we are selling.
Prabhupada: But these books, books... We'll speak about the books. Does it depend, what the author was doing previously?
Interviewer: You are the translator of many books, from what I understand.
Prabhupada: Yes. So that translation, the book, will speak how I have translated.
Interviewer: Um hm. I was wondering...
Prabhupada: You read the books, Then you'll understand. Instead of asking me, you better read the books. That is real understanding.
Interviewer: I was just wondering how he personally got interested or involved, and what his route to his consciousness was.
Ramesvara: I see. She's asking about your relationship with your Guru Maharaja, how you became inspired to start the Krsna consciousness movement and write so many books.
Prabhupada: These things you can answer. It is not very important things for public.
Ramesvara: I think the public always likes to know about the person behind the movement.
Lady Guest: Yes, it helps. People are interested. People are interested in development of a man like you because they relate. And that way they decide to read what you write.
Prabhupada: First thing is that if you are interested in our book, so, you read our books. You'll understand.
Interviewer: Understand you?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: Is that what you're saying?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: Is that what he's saying?
Prabhupada: A man is known when he speaks. When he speaks. Tavac ca sobhate murkho yavat kincin na bhasate: "A fool is so long beautiful as long as he does not speak." When he speaks, then you can understand what he is. So my speaking are there in the books, and if you are intelligent, you can understand. You haven't got to ask. Speaking... Just like in a court. A big lawyer is known when he speaks. Otherwise everyone is a good lawyer. But when he speaks in the court, then he is known, whether he is good lawyer or not. So you have to hear. You have to read. Then you'll understand. Real understanding is there.
Interviewer: Do you think that some day the Krsna consciousness movement will spread to all the people in the world?
Prabhupada: That is not possible. It is more for the most intelligent class of men. So it, this movement, is for the most intelligent class of men.
Interviewer: But amongst the most intelligent classes.
Prabhupada: Unless one is intelligent class, belonging to the in..., he cannot understand. So we don't expect that everyone is intelligent. Krsna ye bhaja se bada catura. Unless one is very intelligent, he cannot become Krsna conscious, because it is a different subject matter. People are engrossed with the bodily concept of life. It is beyond that. So dull brain cannot understand what is beyond this body. So you cannot expect that everyone will understand Krsna consciousness. That is not possible.
Interviewer: There has been a lot of talk of genetic perfection of mankind, or, say, attempting a genetic perfection.
Prabhupada: What is genetic?
Interviewer: What is genetic perfection?
Bali-mardana: We were discussing yesterday about the science of genetics. They try to understand the traits, how the body and mind are formed, and then try to change it.
Prabhupada: That we have already... Where is that book?
Ramesvara: Svarupa Damodara's book.
Prabhupada: Yes. Bring.
Ramesvara: Well, what is your question?
Interviewer: My question is... You were mentioning earlier about using the technological tools, and if there is some society where there is some...
Prabhupada: That book is not here? Nowhere?
Interviewer: Let me ask you. If through technological means mankind is somewhat improved, in other words, the average man is much more intelligent, what you would consider now to be an intelligent man...
Prabhupada: But intelligent man... If one understands that he is not this bodyhe is within the body... Just like you have got one shirt. You are not the shirt. Anyone can understand. You are within the shirt. Similarly, a person who understands that he is not the bodyhe is within the body... That anyone can understand because when the body is dead, what is the difference? Because the living force within the body is gone, therefore we call the body dead.
Interviewer: But there are some very intelligent men who are not spiritually enlightened, perhaps even men who understand that they are not, or the body is not all, the body is dead and there is something else. Why aren't these men spiritually aware?
Prabhupada: If one does not understand this simple thing, that he is not body, then he is no better than animal. That is the first understanding of spiritual platform. If he thinks that he is body, then he is in the same category as the animals.
Ramesvara: Her question is... Suppose someone has some faith in life after death, and he also may be an intelligent man by material standards. Why isn't he automatically...?
Prabhupada: No, material standard is no intelligence. Material standard is that "I am this body. I am American. I an Indian. I am fox. I am dog. I am man." This is material understanding. Spiritual understanding is beyond that, that "I am not this body." And when he tries to understand that spiritual identification, then he is intelligent. Otherwise he is not intelligent.
Interviewer: So does this mean...
Prabhupada: They have been described as mudha. Mudha means asses. So this is the first understanding, that one should not identify with this body.
Interviewer: What understandings come after...?
Prabhupada: Just like dog. Dog understands that he is body. If a man also understands like thathe is bodythen he's no better than the dog.
Interviewer: What other understandings come after this one?
Bali-mardana: After you realize that you're not the body, then what comes next?
Prabhupada: Ha! That is intelligent question. Then one has to find out that "I am engaged only in this bodily concept of life. Then what is my engagement?" That is the inquiry of Sanatana Gosvami, that "You have relieved me from this material engagement. Now let me know what is my duty." For that reason one has to go to the spiritual master, to know, understand that what is his duty now. "If I am not this body, then what is my duty? Because I am busy whole day and night for this body. I am eating, I am sleeping I am having sex, I am defendingthese are all bodily necessities. If I am not body, then what is my duty?" That is intelligence.
Ramesvara: So you said, "What is the next thing after realizing you're not this body?" Prabhupada says the next thing is to find out what you should be doing, and for that, you take information from a self-realized soul or spiritual master.
Interviewer: Spiritual master in the form of his books.
Bali-mardana: Personally or...
Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada was explaining that now in the bodily concept we have so many duties. We are working, we are having sex life, we are eating, sleeping, defending ourselvesso many things. All of this is in the relationship to the body. But if I'm not this body, then what is my duty? What is my responsibility? So the next thing is that when one understands this, then he must take instruction from the spiritual master, make progress and understand what real duty is. It's very important.
Prabhupada: Even for eating, sleeping, sex life and defense we require some knowledge from a teacher. Say for eating, so we take knowledge from expert what kind of eating we shall take, what kind of vitamin, what kind of... So that also requires education. And sleeping also requires education. And so for bodily concept of life one has to take knowledge from others. So when he is above this bodily concept of lifehe understands that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul"so similarly he has to take lesson and education from an expert.
Interviewer: Could you go over each of the three functions you've been mentioning-eating, sleeping and sexand tell me what specifically, what rules or hints that you would give people who are seeking spiritual enlightenment to aid in their lives in these ways.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes, that is our books. It is our books. We have got enough matter to understand. It is not a thing that you'll understand in a minute.
Interviewer: I understand you sleep very little. You sleep three to four hours a night. Do you feel that this is what any person who is spiritually actualized will also realize?
Prabhupada: Yes, we see from the behavior of the Gosvamis. They practically had no material necessities. This eating, sleeping, mating and defending, practically they had no such thing. They are simply engaged in Krsna's business.
Interviewer: Engaged in Krsna's...?
Ramesvara: Krsna's business or God's service.
Bali-mardana: He's setting the example of the previous spiritual masters.
Interviewer: Well, what I was interested in is why... Has he found that three to four hours is the necessary time period to sleep?
Bali-mardana: She's asking why is three to four hours the amount that you sleep. How have you reached that standard?
Prabhupada: That is not artificially. The more you are engaged in spiritual activities, the more you become free from material activities. That is the test.
Interviewer: And so you've arrived at that...
Prabhupada: No, I don't speak about myself, but that is the test. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat [SB 11.2.42]. If you advance in bhakti, in spiritual life, then you become disinterested in material life.
Interviewer: Do you think there's a difference between the various peoples of the world? In other words, do you think that Indians as opposed to Europeans have more of a tendency or are more likely to adhere to the Krsna consciousness?
Prabhupada: No, any intelligent man can become Krsna conscious. That I have already explained, that unless one is very intelligent, he cannot take to Krsna consciousness. So it is open for everyone. But there are different grades of intelligence. In Europe, America, they are intelligent, but their intelligence is utilized for material purposes. And in India their intelligence is utilized for spiritual purpose. Therefore you find so many highly spiritual standard of life, books, literature. Just like Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva was also in householder life, but he was living in the forest, and see his contribution of literature. Nobody can dream even. So by literary contribution, one's intelligence is tested. All big, big men of the material world, scientists, philosophers, even technicians, they are recognized by their writings, by their contribution, not by their gigantic body.
Interviewer: Could you tell me a little bit about your educational system that you have helped to establish, particularly here in the States.
Ramesvara: Gurukula. She's asking if you could tell her about the system of education you have established in America.
Prabhupada: That you can see, what education I have given to my disciples. The first education is that they must be free from all sinful activities. That is the first education. According to the Vedic instruction, a man is supposed to be educated, even from material point of view, a man is supposed to be educated when he sees every woman as mother.
Interviewer: As?
Prabhupada: As mother.
Pusta Krsna: He sees every woman as his mother.
Prabhupada: That is the standard of education.
Pandita means educated. So how one is educated? How it is tested? When a person takes all women except his wife as mother, then he is educated. When one thinks others' property as garbage in the street, then he is educated. And when one thinks that all living entities are of the same level, atmavat sarva-bhutesu, then he is educated. Not that for my convenience I say, "The animal has no soul, so send them to the slaughterhouse." He is not educated.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada said one of the standards of education is to see all living entities equally. So not that we say that an animal has no soul, therefore he can go to the slaughterhouse, but a man has soul, so he cannot. Because we see all living entities equally, so we do not send man to slaughterhouse, and we do not send animals to slaughterhouse. That is education.
Interviewer: What... In your system, what do you propose to do with criminals?
Tamala Krsna: What do you propose to do with criminals in your educational system? How will you reform them?
Prabhupada: Criminals should be punished.
Interviewer: Punished?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Interviewer: How so?
Tamala Krsna: How seriously should they be punished?
Prabhupada: That you have to consult sastra. There is direction. It is... Practically it is the same. Just like Manu-samhita, it says that if one is a murderer then he should be killed. Life for life. He should be hanged. That is the old system. The king used to kill a murderer. So that is almost the same punishment.
Ramesvara: What Prabhupada said is that you have to consult the ancient law books which were written, which are part of Indian culture, thousands of years ago.
Pusta Krsna: Part of the Vedic scriptures.
Ramesvara: They are our lawbook. Just like we have books of philosophy, there are also books of law, how to govern society, how to deal with criminals. In other words, we are sticking to the Vedic literatures. As they instruct, we are following.
Interviewer: What do the Vedic literatures say about adultery?
Tamala Krsna: What about adultery, Prabhupada? She wants to know what the Vedas say should be the... What is the reaction for adultery? How does one deal with an adulterer? If someone is an adulterer and he's caught, what should be the...
Prabhupada: No, there is no such direct punishment, but it is prohibited. It is prohibited.
Ramesvara: There is no direct punishment, but it is prohibited. Part of education and social convention, it is prohibited. Not that the government allows propaganda to be made for illicit sex.
Prabhupada: The other words, the woman who is chaste, she is very much glorified.
Pusta Krsna: A chaste woman is very much glorified in Vedic culture.
Interviewer: I'm particularly interested in the educational system that you are setting up. Do you think...
Bali-mardana: You mean for children?
Ramesvara: She's referring to now the system that we have for our children, Gurukula. So what's the question?
Interviewer: My question is because they are receiving this education, physical and spiritual education so that they will be free of corruption and sin, they might still, even with this education, they still might not be intelligent, what you consider intelligent people. How, you know... Is it more likely that they will be what you would term intelligent, having been educated in this system?
Prabhupada: No, there are different types of education. Just like in the material world. There is education for medical man. There is education for engineer. There is education for so many other departments. Similarly, there is education how to make one man spiritual. So we are going to give education how to become spiritually advanced. That is our purpose.
Ramesvara: Spiritually advanced, that is our purpose. No, her question was whether all the people that go to our Gurukula will become spiritually advanced.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, certainly. That is Gurukula education.
Ramesvara: Even though some are born with more intelligence and some are born with less intelligence.
Prabhupada: It doesn't matter. Average intelligence will do.
Interviewer: Well, then conceivably it seems that almost the great majority of society would adhere to Krsna consciousness.
Ramesvara: So then, since it doesn't matter whether less intelligent, small intelligent, if they go to Gurukula, they can become spiritually advanced.
Prabhupada: Yes, because spiritually everyone is free from material bondage. So materially we find one is more intelligent, one is less intelligent, but spiritually everyone can be equally intelligent.
Ramesvara: So what about the common man? If he accepts the Gurukula system he can also be spiritually advanced?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, anyone, anyone.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada's point in the beginning was whether they will accept it or not. But once they accept it, once they get trained, then they will automatically be advanced. His point in the beginning was whether they'll accept it or not. That requires intelligence.
Bali-mardana: He has to undergo a type of conditioning.
Ramesvara: Or training.
Lady Guest: I think he was defining his definition of intelligence in the spiritual realm as opposed to material intelligence.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada said intelligence means you accept the process of Krsna consciousness or you accept to be trained to be spiritually advanced.
Lady Guest: It's like an hypothesis.
Interviewer: Don't you find the whole Krsna movement more successful in an age and era when there is such laxity of moral standards and spiritual leadership and direction?
Prabhupada: No, at any stage of life, if one accepts the principles of Krsna consciousness, he can make advance.
Ramesvara: She asked, "Is it more favorable for spreading Krsna consciousness if there is some material problems, social problems? If there is a lack of God consciousness, then people become frustrated. Is that a more favorable situation for Krsna consciousness to take root?"
Prabhupada: Yes, if we arrange social, political and everything favorable for spiritual understanding, then it becomes easier.
Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada is saying the opposite than what you hypothesized. In other words, if everything is arranged socially, politically, everything, in a God conscious, Krsna conscious manner, then it is easier to accept the principles of God consciousness, Krsna consciousness.
Prabhupada: Just like... These are all discussed in the Bhagavad-gita, what kind of social arrangement should be. That... It is called varnasrama-dharma. A brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprasthathese are different groups, and if they are favorably trained up then spiritual understanding becomes very easy.
Interviewer: Can you tell me a little bit about the future direction of the movement, how you plan to expand.
Prabhupada: That is... That is going on already. Just like these boys, they did not know about Krsna some years ago, but they are taking seriously. The same process, if it is continued, then people will take.
Ramesvara: In other words, Prabhupada sees that if we just continue the programs that he has introduced, just like we have already become members, similarly, many others will continue to become members in the future if we just continue the same programs which made us members, namely the chanting of the mantra, distributing of the books, distribution of the...
Prabhupada: And following the regulative principles.
Ramesvara: And very carefully following the training system that Prabhupada has given us for becoming advanced spiritually. That involves what to eat, what not to eat, and how to avoid taking drugs, intoxicants. There are certain principles.
Bali-mardana: In other words, Prabhupada is creating a class of purified persons, so they are located throughout the world, and if other persons come to them, then they become purified. Just like we have come to Prabhupada and we have become purified, similarly his disciples are empowered to purify others because they have become pure. In that way it increases geometrically.
Pusta Krsna: It's an educational process. Someone coming from the street you can't expect that he's given a degree in chemistry. He has to be trained up. So the educational process goes on and on. It expands naturally.
Bali-mardana: Just like in the beginning Prabhupada was teaching Bhagavad-gita personally to his disciples. But now in each one of his over a hundred temples throughout the world, his instructions are being taught. So he's expanded himself through his books and his temples. So anyone who enters into them, they are associating with him and becoming purified. So then more temples, more people come and become purified.
Interviewer: Are you prepared to die?
Prabhupada: What is this question?
Bali-mardana: Are you prepared to die?
Prabhupada: You are not prepared? Why don't you answer?
Interviewer: Pardon me?
Prabhupada: You are not prepared to die?
Interviewer: I haven't thought about it too much.
Prabhupada: Why you are asking me, "Why"? Because you are afraid. You are not prepared to die.
Interviewer: Perhaps that's the reason.
Prabhupada: Everyone will die. You prepare or not prepare, you'll die. It doesn't matter whether you are prepared or not. Death must be there.
Tamala Krsna: "Sure as death."
Ramesvara: Our philosophy, as Prabhupada said in the beginning, is that spiritually there is no end. There is no such thing as death for the soul, self-realized soul. There is simply death of the body.
Prabhupada: These things are discussed. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. Find out this verse. It is an educational movement, it is not a religious movement, sentiment. One requires to be educated; then he is completely on the spiritual platform.
Interviewer: Let me ask you one more question before he reads the passage.
Prabhupada: No, first of all about death.
Tamala Krsna: The translation is, "For the soul there is never birth nor death nor having once been does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain."
Prabhupada: So there is no question of death for a spiritually realized person.
Interviewer: Is there any method for dissent within your movement? Or change?
Tamala Krsna: Reform, you mean? Changing the teaching perhaps, to fit the times?
Ramesvara: Just like in the church, as the public mood is changed, they have compromised on certain issues like abortion, homosexuality, priests getting married. So she wants to know if in our movement there will be this arrangement also. (laughter)
Interviewer: Well, I didn't necessarily mean the specifics.
Bali-mardana: In other words the purity is maintained by... The system is perfect to begin with so it remains perfect by being unchanged. If the system is imperfect, you may always be questioning.
Prabhupada: Yes. When the system is imperfect, then it has to be changed according to time and circumstance. But if the system is itself perfect, there is no question of... Just like the perfect system: the sun rises from the eastern side. So for millions and trillions of years the system is going on because the system is perfect. It doesn't require change, neither you can change. You cannot ask the sun to rise from the western side. So if the soul is eternal, it does not die or it is slain after the body is finished. But that is eternal fact. Destined in the past present and future, everything.
Interviewer: How important is your physical environment to you? If this room is very lovelyit has light and space and air and flowersis this important at all or would it be the same to you to be sitting out on the street?
Prabhupada: No, why shall I sit if I can sit down on the open space anywhere, on the bank of the river, on the bank of the ocean. There are so many open spaces. You can sit down there.
Bali-mardana: Her question was, "Is your physical place important, surroundings"?
Prabhupada: Yes. So long I have got this physical body, I have to give some physical facility. Yukta-vairagya. If I can write my books in a comfortable place, why shall I voluntarily go to a dark place? Material facilities, either dark place or lighted place, it is the same thing, but I'll have to accept which is favorable for me.
Ramesvara: In other words, our system is, as I explained out there, we are not averse to using material facilities in our service to Krsna.
Bali-mardana: We're not dependent upon them.
Ramesvara: We're not dependent on them, but if they are available, we must use them for Krsna.
Bali-mardana: Prabhupada has undergone great difficulties...
Prabhupada: After all, anything, material or spiritual, that is Krsna's arrangement.
Interviewer: That is what?
Ramesvara: Krsna's arrangement, after all. Anything material or anything spiritual, it's His arrangement.
Prabhupada: What we say material, that is not aloof from Krsna. That is also Krsna's energy. Just like darkness and light. Both of them are related to the sun. Is it not? What is darkness? Absence of light. Is it not?
Interviewer: Can you tell me what this painting up here is?
Tamala Krsna: Painting of the spiritual sky.
Prabhupada: Explain.
Interviewer: Painting of the spiritual sky?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, it's a picture of the entire creation. It shows many different... Each of these spheres is a planet. And you may notice that on the right hand bottom corner there is a darker area. That darker portion is known as the material world. By world we don't mean just mean this planet; we mean a composite of all of the material universes. But these only make up one small portion of the entire creation. Just for our understanding it's said to be about one fourth of the creation, the entire composite of all the material universes. The other three-fourths are made up of spiritual planets, which are self-illuminating. There's no need of sunshine, or moon, light or electricity. [break] ...and full of knowledge. Whereas here life is very temporary and it's not always blissful and there's a lot of ignorance also.
Interviewer: But you are living in a spiritual planet here?
Tamala Krsna: Well, this planet is part of the material universe, but because our consciousness is Krsna conscious, or God conscious, practically we are not affected very much by the conditions of the material world. Just like one of the conditions is fearfulness of death. But because we're...
Prabhupada: I can give one example. Just like royal throne. The king is there, and a bug is there.
Tamala Krsna: On a royal throne there's a king...
Prabhupada: And the bug.
Ramesvara: Also a mosquito may be there also.
Prabhupada: But the mosquito is mosquito, and the king is king, although they are sitting on the same place.
Bali-mardana: Both sitting on the throne.
Ramesvara: Everyone is here on this planet. Some people are affected by the material conditions...,
Prabhupada: He's mosquito.
Ramesvara: He's the bug.
Prabhupada: This is the best example. On the throne, both of them are sitting, but king's consciousness and mosquito's consciousness are different. It is not because they are on the same throne, therefore of the same conscious. Mosquito's business is to bite, and king's business is to rule over.
Ramesvara: Another important thing to note about this painting is that the material world is said to be a reflection of the spiritual world. Just like here in this universe there are many planets, similarly there are many planets in the spiritual world. But it is a perverted reflection.
Prabhupada: And besides that, even we are claiming to be very materially advanced, we do not know everything of the material world. Just like so big universe, material, what do you know about that? We have no knowledge practically. Even of the material world we have no sufficient knowledge, what to speak of the spiritual world.
Interviewer: Could you tell me something about your altar?
Prabhupada: Which altar? This Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, we are worshiping Him.
Ramesvara: The two figures on the throne of the altar represent an incarnation of God named Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, and They both appeared in India approximately five hundred years ago. They are incarnations of God, God Himself, who descends into this world. So those forms represent the Supreme Lord. Therefore we are worshiping Them. And below, on the step, are the pictures of the spiritual masters coming in the disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya when He appeared in this world five hundred years ago.
Pusta Krsna: Lord Caitanya started this movement, chanting Hare Krsna congregationally. It was predicted five thousand years ago in the Vedic scriptures that in this age, the present age, the Lord would appear and would teach the real religious process for this age which is chanting of the holy names.
Ramesvara: This is very traditional in India, temple worship and the figures are on the altar. It's very very traditional. It goes back many thousands of years.
Interviewer: Let me ask you one more question. Why are you returning to India? Had you ever considered staying here in the United States?
Prabhupada: I have got branches everywhere. Just like I am coming here after traveling so many branches, similarly I am going to India.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada has no fixed home.
Prabhupada: I want to see that every center, things are going on nicely.
Interviewer: Oh, I see. I thought you were not returning to the United States.
Cyavana: He has traveled the world sixteen times around?
Prabhupada: Yes, sixteen times.
Cyavana: Sixteen times around in ten years. So this is a common thing for Prabhupada to do.
Prabhupada: Just to inspect things, how they are going on.
Ramesvara: Just to inspect things.
Interviewer: But you might want to come back to the U.S.?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Why not.
Ramesvara: He might. But there are many projects in India now. That we can talk about.
Prabhupada: Every year, almost six to seven months, I pass outside India.
Ramesvara: Wanda, do you have any more questions you'd like to ask?
Interviewer: I'm looking. (pause)
Ramesvara: We've taped the conversation, and we're going to transcribe it for you and send it to your office.
Interviewer: Oh, we would certainly appreciate it. [break]
Prabhupada: They are on the same plane, but different consciousness.
Tamala Krsna: I don't think she was the senior editor that was supposed... [break] ...someone like her that...
Pusta Krsna: The first time they've ever heard such things in any case. Even if they are religious by Western standards, they've never heard such things before, "I'm not this body." She'd never heard it.
Tamala Krsna: No one has any knowledge at all about religion.
Prabhupada: Mudha. That is the general statement, mudha.
Cyavana: They see our movement as being material.
Prabhupada: Because they have no other conception than material.
Cyavana: They don't see the spiritual aspect at all.
Tamala Krsna: They have no other conception. They can't recognize.
Prabhupada: They have no other conception. Therefore they misunderstand.
Tamala Krsna: Even in India nowadays they are confused also.
Prabhupada: Yes. In Caitanya-bhagavata there is a word, vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijne na bujhaya: "The activities of a Vaisnava, even the most intelligent person of this world cannot understand." Vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijne na bujhaya.
Hari-sauri: I remember reading in the Krsna Book, you mention that to the ordinary man a Vaisnava appears to be crazy.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Prabhupada, if they are going to have another interview at one, I think perhaps you can take rest now. (end)

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

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