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Answers to a Questionnaire
from Bhavan's Journal
June 28, 1976, Vṛndāvana
Prabhupāda: Beginning, from the beginning. You can add something.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is a questionnaire which was sent to us by one journal, a cultural and religious journal in Bombay. It's called Bhavan's Journal. And they are questioning different religious leaders, especially in India, trying to get the answers to some of these important questions which are perplexing especially the Indian public today. So there's a list of about 21 questions, and we can go through them one by one for Śrīla Prabhupāda to answer. The first question, "Is the influence of religion over the masses on the wane?" Is the influence of religion over the masses decreasing?
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is predicted in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Tataḥ anudinam. Bring that black book, Bhāgavata. Tatas cānudinaṁ dharmaḥ satyam. This is Kali-Yuga, the age of waning of these things. Religiosity, truthfulness, memory, bodily strength, duration of life, mercifulness.
Prabhupāda: These are, will be declining. These are the, I mean to say, human assets which makes a human being distinct from the animals. But these things will decline. There will be no mercifulness, there will be no truthfulness, the memory will be shortened, duration life shortened. Similarly religion will vanish. So that means gradually they will come to the platform of animals. And especially when there is no religion, it is simply animals. That any common man can distinguish, that... a dog does not understand what is religion. He's also a living being. He's not interested what is going on here about Bhagavad-Gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He is not interested. That is the distinction between dog and man. The animal is not interested. So if the human being becoming disinterested in religious things, then they are animals. And how there can be happiness, peace, in the animal society? They want to keep people as animal, and they are making United Nations. How it is possible? "United Animals?" Is it possible? "Society for United Animals." (laughter) So these things are going on. So they have detected it is declining, that is good. Declining means they are going to be animals. In the logic it is said, "Man is rational animal." So rationality minus..., animal. Where is human being? (aside:) you stand be... No. there is no place. That's all right.
Prabhupāda: No, you have written all these things or not?
Prabhupāda: So what is that? Find out tatas canudinam.
Prabhupāda: Hm. Find that verse. You can quote that "This Kali-yuga it is waning; therefore they are becoming animals." Man without religion means animals. That's all. This is the definition. In the human society, either you become Christian or you become Mohammedan or you become a Hindu or you become Buddhist. It doesn't matter. There must be some system of religion. That is human society. And human society without religion—animal society. This is plain fact. So why people are unhappy now? Because there is no religion. They are neglecting religion. That one gentleman, he has written me that Tolstoy said that "Unless one dynamite is put underneath a church, there cannot be any peace." That means they want... The Russians, the Communists, they are very strict against God consciousness. Because they think so, that this religion has spoiled the whole social atmosphere. It might have been misused, religious system. That does not mean that religion should be avoided. Real religion should be taken. Because religion has not been properly executed by the so-called priest, it does not mean that religion should be rejected. My eye is giving some trouble on account of cataract, but that doesn't mean eye should be plucked out. The cataract should be removed. So that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They have no conception of God, and they are preaching religion. What is that religion? That will be misused. Religion means dharmaṁ tu sāksād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Religion means God's order. If there is no God, where is religion? This is going on. They have no conception of God. What is God they do not know, and professing some religion. How long it will go on artificially? It will deteriorate. That has become the present condition. They have no idea of God, and how they will know what is the order of God? And religion means order of God. Just like law means order of the state. Law means order of the state. So if there is no state, where is the order? You can manufacture your own order. That is going on. There is no conception of God. We have got clear conception of God. Here is God, Kṛṣṇa. And He's giving orders. We accept it. And it is clear religion. And if there is no God, no conception of God, no order of God, then where is religion? If there if no government, then where is law? Outlaw. Everyone is outlaw. That is going on. Ask any religious system what is the conception of God. Can anyone tell clearly? Nobody can say. We shall immediately say, veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam [Bs. 5.30]. Aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti... immediately description, "Here is God." Then there is religion. And if there is no God, where is religion? Bogus. Therefore declining. They have no conception of God, and therefore there is no understanding of religion. Therefore it is declining. So this is the cause of declining. And because it is declining, human being becoming more animals. Animal means there will be no memory. A dog comes... Here is some eatables. He comes. I say, "Hut!" He goes away. Again he comes. No memory. So when this memory is reducing that means human quality is reduced. So in the Kali-yuga these eight things will reduce. That means they are becoming like cats and dogs. This is the answer to the first question.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "The traditional charge against Hinduism is that it is fatalistic, that it inhibits progress by making people slaves to the belief in the inevitability of what is to happen. How far is this charge true?"
Prabhupāda: The charge is false. Those who have charged like that, they do not know what is Hinduism. There is no such thing as Hinduism, but there is mention of sanātana-dharma, varṇāśrama-dharma. That we can find in the scriptures. I've already given note.
Prabhupāda: So what is his, what is the charge?
Prabhupāda: What is that progress? Dog's jumping is progress? (laughter) Is that progress? A dog is running here and there, here and there, and you are running on the four wheels? Is that progress? That is not Vedic system. The Vedic system is that human being has got a certain amount of energy. Better energy than the animals. Better consciousness. That should be utilized for spiritual advancement. So whole Vedic system is meant for spiritual advancement. The energy is employed in another direction, not the energy is employed to compete with the dog. Therefore sometimes those who have no idea of religion, they see that the... "Hindus" is not the proper term. The Indian saintly persons, they are not busy like the dogs. Because they think the dog race is life. But actual life is spiritual progress. Therefore śāstra says,
tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
The human being should exert the energy for that thing which he did not get in many, many lives. Many, many lives he had been in the form of dogs or demigods or cats, birds, beasts, many. There are 8,400,000. So this transmigration is going on, but in everywhere the business is sense gratification. The dog is busy for sense gratification. Where is food, where is shelter, where is woman or man, and where is defense. And the man is also doing the same business in different forms. So this is going on, life after life. Even in small insect, this is also trying for the same thing. Same struggle, ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam. Bird, beast, animal, fish—everywhere the same struggle. Where is food, where is sex, and where is shelter, and how to defend. So śāstra says these things we have done in many, many lives past, and if we don't get out of this struggle for existence we'll have to do it again in many, many lives. So these things should be stopped. So Prahlāda Mahārāja says therefore,
He's advising that, "My dear friends, pleasure, material pleasure, on account of this material body, particular type of body...": A dog, it has got a body, and I have got a body. So my sex pleasure and dog's sex pleasure, there is no difference. the pleasure derived out of sex pleasure is the same. But a dog is not afraid of having sex pleasure on the street before everyone. We hide it. That's all. In a nice apartment. But the business is the same. There is no difference. But they are taking this sex pleasure in a nice apartment and very decorated, man and woman, and electric light and so on, so on. This pleasure is advanced. But that is not advanced. And they are making dog's race for this advancement. Superficial. The Prahlāda Mahārāja says that this is a question of different types of pleasure on account of different types of body, but the pleasure is the same. But according to the different types of body the pleasure is already fixed up. That is called destiny. A pig has got a certain type of body and his eatable is the stool. It is already fixed up. You cannot change it, that "Let the pig eat halavā." It is not possible. Because he has got a particular type of body, he must eat that. Can anyone, any scientist can improve the standard of living of a pig? Is it possible?
Devotees: (laughing) No.
Prabhupāda: Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja says it is already fixed up. Sukham aindriyakaṁ daityā deha-yogena dehinām. This pleasure is the same, but according to the body... The uncivilized man in the jungle, they are having the same thing. And they are taking civilization that "Instead of living in that hut made of leaves, we are living in skyscraper building. This is advancement." But Vedic civilization says, "No. This is not advancement. The advancement is self-realization, how much you have realized yourself." Not that from the hutment you have come to skyscraper building, therefore it is advancement. Sometimes they misunderstand. In a high-court a judge is sitting soberly, doing nothing, and he is getting the highest salary. And another man in the same court, he's working day and hard rubber-stamping and he is getting not even one tenth of the salary. He's thinking, "I am so busy and working so hard. I am not getting any good salary. And this man is sitting only on the bench and he's getting so fat salary." So therefore this is question like that. The Vedic civilization is for self-realization. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido [SB 1.5.18]. Kovido means very learned. He'll simply try for that thing which was not received, which was not achieved in other life. That means self-realization. Just like we are sometimes charged, "escape." What is the charge?
Devotee: We are escaping from reality.
Prabhupāda: There is the question. (devotees laugh) but their reality is dog's race, and our reality is to advance in self-realization, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is difference. Therefore karmīs have been described as mūḍha, asses. Asses. And asses, why the example is given to the asses? Because the ass works very hard. It loads on the back tons of cloth of the washerman, and the washerman in return gives him little morsel of grass, and he stands at the door of the washerman, eats the grass, again loading. But he has no sense that "If I go out of these clutches of washerman I can get grass anywhere. Why I am loading so much?" The karmīs are like that. They're busy in the office, very busy. If you want to see him, "I am very busy now." (laughter) So what is your result of busy? "Now, I take two pieces of toast and one cup of tea. That's all." (laughter) And for this purpose you are so busy? He does not know why he's busy. Because in the books he's finding, "Now, the balance was one thousand million dollars, now it has become two thousand," that his satisfaction. But he will eat two pieces of bread and one cup of tea. When it was one million dollars, when it was two million dollars. But still he'll work hard. This is called karmī. Asses. Work like asses, without any aim of life. This is asses. Mūḍha. But Vedic civilization is different. The accusation is not correct. They are not lazy. They are busy for higher subject matter. And that busy-ness is so important that Prahlāda Mahārāja says, "Beginning from the childhood," kaumāra ācaret prājño [SB 7.6.1]. Not lose a second time. So that is Vedic civilization. But these asses, they do not see that "These men are working like us, like dogs and asses. So they are escaping." Yes, escaping your fruitless endeavor. So the Vedic civilization was meant for self-realization. Vedic civilization begins from the varṇāśrama system. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān viṣṇur ārādhyate [Cc. Madhya 8.58]. How to realize Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the system is varṇāśrama. In another place it is said, tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer [SB 1.5.17]. The varṇāśrama means there is division: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. But the ultimate goal is viṣṇur ārādhyate. The Supreme Lord should be worshiped. That is the idea. So if Viṣṇu ārādhana is available immediately, then you can give up all other occupational duty as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya, as a śūdra, as a brahmacārī, everything. Take to it, immediately, to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is so important. But that they do not know. Therefore there is no religion. A simply dog's race. The dog is running on four legs and you are running on four wheels. That's all. And they think the four-wheel race is advancement of civilization. But the Vedic civilization is different. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ [SB 1.5.18]. Then one can say that "Then we shall do nothing?" Yes, practically it is said, "Do nothing." Whatever is obtainable by you or destiny, you'll get it wherever you are. Take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You'll get it. "How I, shall I get it?" Now, kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā. By the arrangement of eternal time, everything is available. The example is given that you do not want something distressful. As it comes upon you, similarly, even if you do not want, the happiness for which you are destined, it will come. Now, Prahlāda Mahārāja says, na tat-prayāsaḥ kartavyam. You should not waste your energy for material happiness. Because you cannot get material happiness more than what you are destined to have. That is not possible. "How shall I believe..." Because you get something distressful condition although you do not want. Who wants? In our country Mahatma Gandhi was killed by his own countrymen. Who did want it? Or why did it come? He was great man, he was protected by so many and.... Still, he was to be killed. Destiny. He was killed. Who can protect you? "So if the distressed condition come compulsory upon me, the other condition, the opposite number, also will come. Why shall I waste my time for this rectification? Let me utilize my energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness." That is intelligence. You cannot check your destiny. Their question is...
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: That, the charge is that Hinduism is fatalistic, and therefore people are not making progress because they simply accept...
Prabhupāda: No, no. They are misguided. First of all, the Hinduism is also misguiding. There is no such thing as Hinduism. It is sanātana-dharma and varṇāśrama-dharma. I do not know how this word... Most probably it was given by the Mohammedans, "Hindus." But there is no such thing. In Bhagavad-gītā I don't find any word as "Hindu." Is there any word? Throughout the whole? There is no such thing.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There's a second part to this question also, Śrīla Prabhupāda. They ask: if it's false that actually Hinduism is not fatalistic or sanātana-dharma is not fatalistic...
Prabhupāda: No, no. Fatalistic in this sense, that the destiny cannot be changed. Just like I have given already the example, that the Mahatma Gandhi, nobody expected that he would be killed by his own countryman. Why it happened? This means destiny cannot change. This is a prominent example, that Mahatma Gandhi, he was in a big meeting. Who expected that Mahatma Gandhi could be killed, and by his own countryman? But it was done. That is destiny. You cannot check it. So our point is that... The whole Vedic civilization is that destiny, a certain amount of happiness in this material world... Nobody is enjoying uninterrupted happiness. That is not possible. A certain amount of so-called happiness and certain amount of so-called distress. There must be always. So as you cannot check your distressed condition of life, similarly you cannot check your happy condition of life. It will come automatically. So don't waste your time for these things. You better utilize your energy for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, they think that "These people are wasting time."
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So then, is it true then that people who have this conception, they would not try for progress?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Progress... The thing is that if you try progress vainly, what is the use of trying? If it is a fact you cannot change your destiny, so why should you try for that? Better... That is the... Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta. Therefore whatever energy you have got, you utilize it for understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Make it clear. Just like our society. We are, our main business is how to make advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are not very enthusiastic to open big, big factories and big, big money-earning machine. No. We are not interested. We'll be satisfied with the amount of happiness or distress, whatever we are destined. Let us utilize our energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the point. So the Vedic civilization is meant for realization of God. Viṣṇur aradhyate. So they try for that. And now, at the present moment.... Actually, the varṇāśrama-dharmi, they never tried for economic development. You'll find in India still, thousands of men taking bath in the Ganges. In the Kumbhamela... You have been in Kumbhamela?
Prabhupāda: At the Kumbhamela millions of people are coming to take bathing in the Ganges because they are interested how to become liberated. They're not lazy. They're going thousands miles, two thousand miles away, to take bathing in the Prayāgaa. So they are not lazy. But they are not busy in the dog's race. Yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī. Saṁyamī. He keeps night, he does not sleep. Others are sleeping. So similarly, the dogs and asses, they think that "They are not working." And they are working. The different platforms. So the Vedic civilization which is practiced in India... Now it is distorted, but actually, they are not lazy. They are very, very busy. Not only very, very busy, but from, they are trying to become self-realized from the very beginning of life. Kaumāraṁ...
Prabhupāda: Prajño dharmaṁ bhāgavatan iha. That is recommended. They are not lazy. They are so busy that want to begin the business from the very childhood. So it is a wrong conception that they are lazy.
Prabhupāda: they do not know what is the aim of life. They think that "they are not racing like dog; therefore, they are lazy." But they are busy, very busy, from the childhood. But they have no eyes to see what is, business means.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The second point is, in connection with this question, that there's a certain class of people in India—he describes them as being advanced, well-meaning and highly educated people in India today—that they're accusing Hinduism of inhibiting progress and he wants to know why is this.
Prabhupāda: That is explained. They do not know what is progress. The Vedic civilization is not interested in this so-called false progress. Just like from hut to skyscraper. They think this is progress. But the Vedic civilization thinks how much he is advanced in self-realization. Either he is in cottage or in skyscraper. But if he wastes his time to turn the huts into skyscrapers, then the whole life is finished. And next time he is going to be a dog. He does not know. That's all.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Śrīla Prabhupāda? They want to know how this can be counteracted, this idea?
Prabhupāda: Make everything clear.
Prabhupāda: No, it is clear or now?
Prabhupāda: So long it is not clear, you can go on asking. One question after one question.
Prabhupāda: Actually, destiny cannot be checked. That I have already given. Even Mahatma Gandhi could not. The destiny you cannot check.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But then the question may be raised if destiny cannot be checked, then why not, when a child is born, simply let him like an animal run around and whatever happens to him...
Prabhupāda: No. That is the advantage of... you can train him spiritually. That is possible. Therefore it is said, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido [SB 1.5.18]. For that purpose you engage your energy. That is open. Ahaituky apratihatā. The devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, apratihatā, it cannot be checked. Material destiny can be checked, or it cannot be checked. Similarly, your advancement in spiritual life cannot be checked if you endeavor for it. But your advancement of so-called material happiness, that is already destined. You cannot check it. Try to understand this.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So then in terms of advancing in spiritual life, actually we can't say that the sanātana-dharma is fatalistic. That there is actually endeavor towards progress.
Prabhupāda: Fatalistic... I have given this example also. Just like a man is condemned by the law court to be hanged. Nobody can check it. Nobody can check. Even the same judge who has given this verdict, he cannot check. But if he begs for the mercy of the king, he can check it. He can go all above the law. Therefore, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām [Bs. 5.54]. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that destiny can be changed by Kṛṣṇa for His devotees. Otherwise it is not possible. If one is condemned to death, Kṛṣṇa can check it. Otherwise, it is falsehood when Kṛṣṇa.... Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi [Bg. 18.66]," I shall give you protection from all reaction of sinful activities." Suppose you are to be killed by somebody on account of your sinful activity. Nobody can check it, ordinarily, but Kṛṣṇa can check it. Otherwise Kṛṣṇa's telling false, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi, "I shall give you protection." So therefore our business should be only to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. And if you artificially want to be more happy by economic development, that is not possible. That is not possible.
Prabhupāda: Hm? No, first of all clear by your so, melforce(?) (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Try to understand what is that. The first thing is that your destiny cannot be changed. That's a fact. But in spite of your destiny, if you try for Kṛṣṇa consciousness... Otherwise, why Prahlāda Mahārāja is asking his friends, kaumāra ācaret...? If the destiny cannot be changed, then why he's asking? It is not the... Destiny means material business. That you cannot check. But it can also be checked when you are in spiritual life.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: What is the meaning of apratihatā? You said that spiritual development cannot be checked.
Prabhupāda: Pratihatā means suppose you are destined to suffer. So apratihatā means in spite of your so-called suffering, the suffering will be reduced or there will be no suffering. But in spite of suffering, you can make progress in spiritual life. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja himself, his father was putting him in so many suffering conditions but it was not impeded. He was making progress. He was making progress. He didn't care for father'sputting him into so many suffering. That is called apratihatā. If you want to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your material condition of life cannot check it. That is the progress (?) (indistinct). But so far material condition, that cannot be checked. You have to suffer. But in case of devotee that suffering also, can be stopped. Otherwise Kṛṣṇa's version is false: ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. Suffering is there on account of my sinful activities but Kṛṣṇa says ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ. Make it clear. Ordinarily destiny cannot be checked. Therefore instead of wasting your time for change your economic condition or material destiny, you employ this energy for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That cannot be checked. Your so-called... So many men we can see, they are working so hard, does it mean that everyone has become a Ford, a Rockefeller? Why? Everyone is trying his best. Mr. Ford was to become rich man, his destiny was there, he became rich man. But does it mean that other man who has worked so hard like Ford, he has become like a Ford? No. This is practical. You cannot change your destiny simply by working hard like ass (?) and dogs. No. But you can utilize your energy for improving your Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda: That's a fact. He was destined to be killed by his countryman, he was not? Such a big man, such vigilance and so many people were guarding him and still he was killed in the meeting. Why Mahatma Gandhi? Your president, ex, Kennedy. Was less protection was taken? No, every was there, everything was there but still he was killed. Who can stop this destiny? So destiny cannot be checked. The fatalists, they know, "My material happiness or distress, it cannot be checked. It will happen so why shall I waste my energy for this purpose. Let me utilize my energy for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." Therefore it is said tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labyhate yad bhramatām [SB 1.5.18], that is intelligence.
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, if destiny cannot be changed, what does Kṛṣṇa mean when He says, "Be thou happy by this sacrifice."
Prabhupāda: Do you know what is meant by sacrifice?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That means to please Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is pleased He can change destiny. Karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti bhājāṁ [Bs. 5.54]. Sacrifice means to please Kṛṣṇa, yajña. Yajña means to please Kṛṣṇa. The whole, our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to please Kṛṣṇa. That is the whole program. In all other business there is no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. When they declare war, one nation to another, there is no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. They're pleasing their whims. The two, big, big wars began, it was not for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. The Germans wanted that their sense gratification is being hampered by the Britishers, "Declare war." That means it was a war of sense gratification. "The Britishers are satisfying their sense gratification; we cannot do. All right, fight." So, there was no question of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Hm. Then?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number three. It is said that the greatest strength of Hinduism is its catholicity, or breadth of outlook, broadness of vision, but that this is also the greatest weakness in that there is very little common prescribed religious observances which are obligatory for all as in other religions. Is it necessary and possible to outline certain basic minimum observances for all Hindus.
Prabhupāda: So far Vedic religion is concerned, it is not for the Hindus. That is to be understood. The sanātana-dharma. It is for all living entities, all human beings. It is called sanātana-dharma. That I have already explained. The living entity is sanātana, God is sanātana, and there is sanātana-dharma. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktāt sanātanaḥ [Bg. 8.20]. And where Kṛṣṇa is described sanātana in the Eleventh Chapter. Do you remember? He is described as sanātana. Sanātanam. So actually, the Vedic system is called sanātana-dharma. Not Hindu dharma. This is a wrong conception. The sanātana-dharma is meant for all living entities, not the so-called Hindus, Muslims, Christians. For everyone. That is sanātana-dharma. These are later misconceptions, Hinduism and this ism, that ism, that ism. Actually, it is called sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma. That is meant for everyone. But because it was being followed regularly in India and Indians were called by the Muslims on the other side of the River Sind, or Sindu, and they pronounce Sind as Hind. Therefore they called India as Hindustan, means on the other side of Sindu, or Hindu River. Otherwise, it has no Vedic reference. So this Hindu dharma has no Vedic reference. The real Vedic dharma is sanātana-dharma, varṇāśrama-dharma. First of all he has to understand this. Now that sanātana-dharma, or Vedic dharma, being distorted, not being obeyed, not being carried properly, it has come to the understanding of Hinduism. That is a freak understanding. That is not real understanding. We have to study sanātana-dharma or varṇāśrama-dharma. Then we'll understand what is Vedic religion.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So is there anything obligatory or prescribed for all people who follow this religion, that a minimum observance that they must do?
Prabhupāda: Yes, sanātana... The sanātana... Every living entity is eternal, sanātana. God is eternal, and we can live with God in a place which is called sanātana-dhāma. So this reciprocation is called sanātana-dharma. So Vedic religion means this sanātana-dharma, not Hindu dharma, or Muslim dharma, or this dharma. Read it.
tvam akṣaraṁ paramaṁ veditavyaṁ
tvam asya viśvasya paraṁ nidhānam
tvam avyayaḥ śāśvata-dharma-goptā
sanātanas tvaṁ puruṣo mato me
Rādhāvallabha: Your are the supreme primal objective. You are the best in all the universes. You are inexhaustible and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of religion, the eternal Personality of Godhead.
Prabhupāda: This is wanted. Kṛṣṇa is eternal, we are eternal, and the place we live, exchanging our feelings, that is eternal. And the system which teaches this eternal system of reciprocation, that is called sanātana-dharma. That is meant for everyone.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So what daily prescribed religious observances would one who is aspiring for this sanātana-dharma, what would they do? What kind of daily prescribed religious observance? Because the complaint is that within this Hinduism, or let's say sanātana-dharma, there is such a breadth, there is so much variegatedness in different types...
Prabhupāda: So why do you go to variegatedness? Why don't you take the real purpose of religion from Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa says, "This is real dharma," sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ... [Bg. 18.66]." Why don't you take that? Why are you going to variegated things or varieties under the name of so-called Hinduism? Why do you go there? Why don't you take the advice of the sanātana, Kṛṣṇa? You don't take what is sanātana-dharma, what sanātana God says, and you say, "How we can come to the right point, avoiding so many varieties?" Why you go to the varieties? Take to this one consciousness, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ. Why don't you do that?
Prabhupāda: How we are doing? Is it not practical? They'll manufacture their own way of religion. And that is... That is not practical. You take this practical system. What is this? Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī... Where is impracticality? You simply think of Kṛṣṇa, become His devotee, worship Kṛṣṇa. Or just offer a little obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. Where is the difficulty? Why don't you do that? Kṛṣṇa says, "This is the duty. If you do this, you come to Me." Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśaya. "Without any doubt you'll come to Me." Why don't you do that? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ [Bg. 18.66]. Why you remain Hindu? Why you remain Muslim? Why you remain Christian? Give up all this nonsense. Just surrender to Kṛṣṇa. "I am devotee of Kṛṣṇa, servant of Kṛṣṇa." Take this. Then everything will be immediately done. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya. So why you want to remain Hindu? And try to adjust things? Dharma means dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. What God says, that is dharma. Now, God says that "You give up all this. You just surrender unto Me." So take that dharma. Why you want to remain a Hindu? And who is a Hindu who does not accept the authority of Kṛṣṇa? Who is a Hindu? If any Hindu says, even up till now, that "I don't care for Kṛṣṇa and Bhagavad-gītā," he will be immediately rejected as a madman. Why don't you take Kṛṣṇa's instruction? Why do you go outside? Therefore your trouble is there. You do not know what is religion, you do not know what is Hinduism, what is sanātana-dharma. You do not know anything. And actually, practically, you see that in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are so-called Hindus, so-called Muslims. They do not care for Muslim or Hindu or Christian. They are taking care of Kṛṣṇa. That's all. If you take care of false religious system, then you suffer. You take real religious system, then you'll be happy.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes it's also seen, say, that Muslims and Hindus they will be converted to Christianity, and the same argument can be given. So what would be the difference for the, in this case, that one who is identifying himself as Christian or one is identifying himself as devotee of Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: First of all, you have to understand what is religion. The religion is God's law. You have to understand. Religion does not mean your manufactured, concocted ideas. What God says, that is religion. So here Kṛṣṇa is God. He is saying. Therefore this is religion. Is that clear? Make it clear. So long one point is not clear, don't go to the next point.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Especially he is trying to inquire that it appears that India, for example, today...
Prabhupāda: But India, they have given up the real religious system, sanātana-dharma, or varṇāśrama-dharma. Fictitiously, they have accepted a hodgepodge thing which is called Hinduism. Therefore there is trouble. Everywhere, but India especially, they are... Vedic religion... Vedic religion means varṇāśrama-dharma. That is... Kṛṣṇa says, God says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [Bg. 4.13]. So that is, what is called, obligatory. Just like law is obligatory. You cannot say that "I don't take this law." No. You have to take it if you want to have a happy. You cannot become outlaw. Then you'll not be happy. You'll be punished. So God says mayā sṛṣṭam. "It is given by Me." So how we can deny it? And that is religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharmam means the order given by the God. The God says that cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. "For the proper management of the human society, there should be these four divisions, social divisions." So you have to take it.
Prabhupāda: Everyone, for all people. There must be on the head the intelligent class of men who will give advice. Then next class, the... That is all given in the Bhagavad-gītā. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. But when you become Kṛṣṇa conscious you can give up all these regulative principles directly. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. A brāhmaṇa-dharma, kṣatriya-dharma, or this dharma, that dharma, Hindu dharma, Mussulman dharma. If you have everything, simply... Because the ultimate aim of dharma is to come to Kṛṣṇa. "You directly come to Me; then everything is all right."
Devotee: So many other people, they concoct their own system and they say "This is the way to go to God."
Prabhupāda: Then let them suffer. What can be done? What can be done? If you don't take the laws of the state, you manufacture your own laws, then you'll suffer. If the state says, "Keep to the right," and if make your own law, "No, keep to the left," then you'll suffer. It's a fact.
Devotee: So many innocent people are also...
Prabhupāda: So innocent suffers. Intelligent never suffers. Only the rascals, innocent, they suffer. Innocent means rascal also. He does not know what is, what to do. The rascal is also innocent. A child is innocent, but he's a rascal. It does not mean because he's innocent, he's not rascal. Rascal means he's innocent also. The child does not know that, "If I touch fire it will burn." Therefore he's a rascal. But because he is child, innocent, he'll not be excused. The rascal and innocent on the same category. Innocence of law is not, no excuse. If you go to the court, if you say, "Sir I did not know there is law like this," that does not mean... You must suffer. Why Kṛṣṇa comes? He gives advice that "You do this. Don't remain innocent and rascal. Then you'll be happy." Why should you stick to the rascaldom? He's personally advising. He says sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Why you are sticking to Hinduism and Muslimism and Christianism? Why? That is rascaldom. You take to His advice and you be happy.
Devotee: But these religions are just material. These Hindu, Christian, Muslim, they're following these things because that is simply their destiny? They don't know how to please God, so that's simply part of their happiness and distress?
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, now Kṛṣṇa is asking, "You give up this rascaldom." You do it. Don't go to the history. He says, "You give up." You give up. That's all. Then you are perfect. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Why you are going to the history? History may be something else, but now He says directly "Give up," you give up. That's all. Finish this business. Hm. That is... The point is clear now?
Prabhupāda: Then go on.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number four. Even a well read, widely traveled, and enlightened editor like the late Śrī Frank Moraes... I think that's how you... M-o-r-a-e-s. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Who is he?
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: He has died, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He's dead. He was enlightened. "...equated Hindu ethos with castism." He equated that Hindu culture, or Hindu ethos, and castism is one and the same. "Will the fundamental values of Hinduism be in any way affected by the eradication of castism, towards which a concerted effort is now being made at all levels?"
Prabhupāda: But it cannot be done. This is another foolishness. Because Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. But the difficulty is the caste system is coming on account of false notion that a brāhmaṇa is the son of a brāhmaṇa. That is caste system. But Kṛṣṇa does not say. He says, "By quality and work." He never says, "By birth." So this so-called castism in India that is a false notion of cātur-varṇyaṁ. Real cātur-varṇyaṁ means guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. One must be qualified. And how one is qualified? That is also described. Satya śamo damo titikṣva ārjava jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam. So there must be education. It is not that to abolish the caste system which is contaminated by false conception, or birth right conception. This wrong caste system should be abolished and training centers should be opened how to train a person to become brāhmaṇa or to become kṣatriya. Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. So you cannot avoid it, but because you have misconceived the caste system, that should be abolished, and the system recommended by Kṛṣṇa, that should be taken. Otherwise you cannot avoid it. Caste system will remain. Just like truthfulness. So all over the world you'll find somebody who is truthful. Why do you take it: "His father was truthful, therefore he is truthful."? This is nonsense. This is nonsense. Kṛṣṇa never said that. The father may be Hiranyakasipu, but his son is Prahlāda. Or a son... Not that the, one has to become exactly like the father. It may be. There is every possibility, but it is not a fact that the son becomes like the father. It is not fact. So similarly, the first class man is truthful. Now, wherever you find a truthful man, you classify him as brāhmaṇa. That is wanted. Why do you take that "Here is a son of truthful man; therefore he is brāhmaṇa"? That is misconception. You have to pick up the truthful men all over the world and classify them as brāhmaṇa. That we are doing. "If you follow these principles, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat-eating, you are brāhmaṇa. Come on." His father may be meat-eater or gambler or drunkard, but he is agreeing, "All right, come on, this come. You are welcome." Then it will be all right. You cannot abolish the truthful class of men. There are... You'll find truthful men everywhere. So you have to pick up. So Kṛṣṇa says that, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā, guṇa-karma... You pick up the quality of men and put them in the brahminical class, and then next, kṣatriya class, then vaiśya class, then śūdra class. But you cannot abolish that system. That is a false attempt. Because more or less, there will be a class of men who are truthful. You cannot abolish. More or less, there will be a class of men who are sinful. So as soon as you want to pick up from a family, then it is mistake, miscalculated. That caste system should be abolished. But real classification... Not caste. It is classification. Intelligent class of men, or truthful class of men, the fighter class of men, that will continue all over the world. You cannot abolish it. Even if you abolish caste system in India, you cannot abolish the class of truthful men. That is not possible. In spite of so much degradation, a class of men will remain truthful, a class of men will remain sinful. More or less. You cannot abolish this. So this is false attempt. And this caste system is also false. It is not based on the right description of caste system.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is wanted. That must be there.
Prabhupāda: Benefit will be then the whole thing will go in order. That is already described many times, that there must be brain, there must be arms, there must be belly, there must be legs for the complete composition of the body. If there is no brain, there is no head, then what is the use of these arms and legs and belly? It is all dead. So in the society, human society, if there is not a class of selected, truthful, honest, and so many brahminical qualifications, then society is ruined. Therefore they are perplexed. Everyone is a śūdra. Go to the factory. That's all. Go to the factory and bring money. And he is getting 25 dollars or 50 dollars daily and immediately purchasing wine and flat on Bowery Street. You'll produce such men, useless men, disturbing in the human society. You cannot make classless. If you make classless, naturally they will be all śūdras, fourth-class men. Then there will be society chaos.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Another part of this same question: if the harijanas, who constitute a sizable population amongst the Hindus, are made to feel that their very religion...
Prabhupāda: These are all artificial. The harijana word was used by Gandhi unnecessarily for a class of men who are not fit for the position. Harijana means "the men of Hari." Just like Nārada. Nārada is called harijana. Great devotee is called harijana, "the persons related with Hari." But if you select some bhangis and camaras and keep them as he is and rubberstamp it, "Here is a harijana," what will be the effect? There is no harm to pick up a low class man and to elevate him to the position of harijana. There is no impediment. You can do. But if you keep him a low class man and if you stamp him harijana, then what will be benefit? Just like we are initiating selected men. "Are you ready to follow these rules and regulation? When he says, then "Come on. Become harijana." Not that "I'll keep myself in that same abominable condition of life and I shall become harijana." So this "harijana" word has come from Gandhi. He did not try to make him real harijana. He simply rubberstamped him. So what is the value of this harijana?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There's another section to this question. In other words, how can all sections of Hindus be made to take an equal interest and have the same sense of belonging to the Hindu religion?
Prabhupāda: Why you sticking to the Hindu religion? Any Hindu will accept Bhagavad-gītā and Kṛṣṇa. So why not ask them to take Kṛṣṇa? Why so-called Hinduism? Who is a Hindu who will deny the authority of Kṛṣṇa? Is he a Hindu? Every Hindu observes Janmāṣṭamī, the birthday of Kṛṣṇa. So why do they not take Kṛṣṇa's advice and remain practically Hindu? They will not take advice of Kṛṣṇa, and they, how they can claim to be Hindu?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So can all people have an equal interest in religion despite their different classifications?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That I have already explained, that any human civilized man, he has got some religion. So religion, basic principle of religion is with reference to God. So here is God, What God says, if you take that system, then it will be perfect, not only for the Hindus, for Christian, for Mohammedans, for everyone. And that is being practically done in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We have got devotees from all groups of human society and they are taking to it. It is practical. There is no difficulty. So Hindus, Muslims, Christian, everyone take to this Kṛṣṇa religion, Kṛṣṇite. Kṛṣṇian. (laughter) Not Christian, but Kṛṣṇian. The word christo is also a Greek word. From this christo the Christ has come. So instead of c-h-r-i, k-r-i, the same thing. Christian or Kṛṣṇian, or Christian. Krishta is also another broken, I mean, another spelling of Kṛṣṇa. In India, if one's name is Kṛṣṇa, we say Krishta. My younger brother, his name was Kṛṣṇa. So we were calling him Krishta. So Krishta, Christian. So actually, if we take the root meaning, Christian means Krishnian or Krishtian. So that is a controversial point, but everyone can take to Kṛṣṇa. Then everything will be settled up. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam... [Bg. 18.66]. Make everything clear.
Prabhupāda: No, you can go.
Prabhupāda: Hm. (laughter)
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He had given a positive suggestion that one of the best ways for the harijanas to command respect amongst all sections of...
Prabhupāda: Where Vivekananda was there when harijana word was manufactured by Gandhi? At that time Vivekananda was not there. So why he's putting Vivekananda?
Prabhupāda: Long, long ago. (laughter)
Hari-śauri: He's just using the word "harijana" in place of śūdra or what was formerly "untouchables."
Prabhupāda: He can use, but this "harijana" word was manufactured by Gandhi. Vivekananda died some time, 1900... I do not exactly remember. When Gandhi's movement was not started. Gandhi's movement was started in 1917. And long ago Vivekananda expired.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Anyway, his question is, "Swami Vivekananda has given a positive suggestion that one of the best ways for harijanas to command respect among all sections of people is to learn Sanskrit, the study of which is being neglected even by brāhmaṇas today. What incentives can be given to harijanas to learn Sanskrit, the repository of Indian culture and religion?"
Prabhupāda: That is another misgiving. They will never be able to learn Sanskrit, and neither it is possible that by learning Sanskrit they will be elevated. There are many Sanskrit scholars. So how they are elevated? They are rotting. It is not a good suggestion, this. If the harijana actually becomes harijana, then it will benefit. That training we can give. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that we can make a harijana, a so-called, I mean to say, camaras, bhangis... Now they understand harijana means he must be a camara or bhangi. But that is not the actual... harijana means devotee, "The man of Hari." So in spite of their illiteracy in Sanskrit language, we can make him harijana, actually. So why do you take the trouble of learning Sanskrit? Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. Pāpa-yoni means low-grade birth. So anyone. That includes the camaras, bhangis, they can be purified if they take to the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Because Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. The best thing is to induce them to come to Kṛṣṇa. Then they will be purified. And the simple method is recommended by Kṛṣṇa Himself and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, His incarnation: this kīrtana. Engage them in saṅkīrtana movement which is being pushed by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and they will be purified. They don't require to learn Sanskrit even. As he, it is. Let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and they will be purified. And if you want to teach them Sanskrit, it will take three thousand years. (laughter) That is impossible.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It is a fact though that the repository of Indian culture and religion is Sanskrit. So are you saying then that the harijanas or these class of people...
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is Sanskrit, but the Vedic mantras are received not by learning Sanskrit, but by hearing from the authorized person. Therefore it is called śruti. It is in Sanskrit because there was no other language. Sanskrit was the only language. So now they're being translated into English. So it doesn't matter whether it is in Sanskrit or English, one has to learn it by hearing from the proper person. That is wanted. It is... The Vedic mantras are called śruti, not Sanskriti. (laughter). It is called śruti. Śruti means the first business is hearing. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. What is the purpose of going to guru? Means to, guru is the authorized person from hear..., from him hear. So it doesn't require that one has to learn Sanskrit. We have got so many disciples. It is not that they first of all learned Sanskrit. They heard. It may be in Sanskrit language or in English language. It doesn't matter. Let him hear the real fact. That is wanted. Although the Vedic mantras are in Sanskrit, the process to understand is to hear. To hear it may be any language, to hear and understand, then he becomes perfect. It is not the Sanskrit language. It is the hearing which is important.
Prabhupāda: Śravanaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇu. Hear and chant about Viṣṇu. That is wanted. Not kṛn pratyaya, di-pratyaya, du-pratyaya. No. That is not wanted. Na hi na hi rakṣati du-kṛn-kāraṇe. This will not save you. If you have become a Sanskrit scholar, du-pratyaya, di-pratyaya, da-pratyaya, that will not save you. Na hi na hi rakṣati dukṛn-kāraṇe, bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha mate. So this, they are thinking by learning Sanskrit they will become perfect. In the Bhagavad-gītā I don't find that "You learn Sanskrit, then you become perfect." "You surrender unto Me, then you become perfect." That is wanted. If you learn Sanskrit, there is no harm, but it is not the only condition that "You have to learn Sanskrit, then you will be able." Who knows in our camp Sanskrit? Who knows Sanskrit? How many?
Prabhupāda: He may know little. (laughter) Sanskrit language... that is...
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: His question here, Śrīla Prabhupāda, especially is that the harijanas are very downtrodden...
Prabhupāda: Downtrodden, you keep them downtrodden. You manufacture wine and let them drink, and he will be uplifted. One side, (chuckles) you are manufacturing wine and advertising, "Come on, take here," and you remain, become harijana. How it is possible? You must stop all this nonsense, the slaughterhouse, the liquor shop or the breweries or the prostitute quarter. You stop this. But that cannot be also stopped. Anyone who wants to become harijana, he can become in spite of all these things. He can defend himself.
Prabhupāda: What is that effort? Teach them Sanskrit?
Prabhupāda: Anyone can respectable. That is already described. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya [Bg. 9.32]. Kirāta-hūṇāndra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ. Everyone can be, śudhyanti, they can be purified. But if you take the real process, this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness process. Otherwise, simply by learning Sanskrit, what will be able...? There are so many big, big Sanskrit scholars in India. They are loitering in the street. Huh? What is that? You have met so many scholars. What is their position? That Prabhakara you know? He was my first student.
Pradyumna: Ah, Prabhakara. Hm, hm.
Prabhupāda: He's a big Sanskrit scholar. But what is his position? He got big, big position also, but he could not stay. If one's mind is not fixed up, you learn Sanskrit or no Sanskrit, it will.... [break] To make a good man, it is not necessary that one has to learn Sanskrit. He can be made good provided he fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa. Sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana. If one has got unflinching faith and devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ. All good qualities will develop automatically. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad guṇā. If he's not a devotee, he will hover over the mental concoction. Manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ [SB 5.18.12]. Then he'll remain in the material platform. Never mind he's a Sanskrit scholar or this or that.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It is said that while the śrutis embody the eternal truths of Hinduism, the smṛtis, which embody the rules of conduct need to be revised according to the dictates of the changing times.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Will such a stand be acceptable to all sections of Hindus, and if so, how can the new smṛtis come into being and who will give them sanction and sanctity?
Prabhupāda: The authority will give. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is giving authority. The śāstra is giving authority. But in this age, Kali-yuga, it is full of faults, the ocean of faults. And Śukadeva Gosvāmī is giving direction,
kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
hy asti eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
So although in this age there are so many faults, it is like the ocean of fault, but still there is one very great advantage, that simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, one becomes purified. So this smṛti injunction we should take up, and actually we see all over the world how it is purifying all section of people. So take this, then śruti smṛti... Ah...
Prabhupāda: Yes, everything will be fulfilled. The easiest method. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51].
Prabhupāda: Śruti, it is based on śruti. Śabdad anavrtti. In the Vedānta-sūtra. Simply by chanting, śabdat, brahma, śabda brahma. Śabdad anavṛtti, in the Vedānta-sūtra. By chanting the holy name of Lord, one can become liberated.
Prabhupāda: Yes, smṛti... Bhagavad-gītā is considered smṛti. So Bhagavad-gītā also says: satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ [Bg. 9.14]. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇadi [BRS 1.2.101]. Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa: Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam [Ādi 17.21]. And it is practiced by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam [SB 11.5.32]. Kṛṣṇaṁ varṇayati. Always chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So these are the evidences. So introduce this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Everyone will be purified.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Smṛti means... The Vedas are considered as, taken as śruti. But simply by hearing one cannot understand. Therefore smṛtis, they have explained. Purayati iti purāṇa. Complete. The Vedic mantra is not always understood. Just like the Vedānta mantra, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. This is very short cut. But Bhāgavata explains, janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ. Explanation. The smṛti is explanation. So either you take śruti or smṛti, subject matter is the same. But these are the evidences. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pāñcarātriki-vidhiṁ vinā [BRS 1.2.101]. You cannot be purified or become actually God conscious without reference to the śruti-smṛti. We are pushing on this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it is not whimsically. It is based on śruti-smṛti-pāñcarātriki-vidhi. Therefore it is becoming effective.
Prabhupāda: That cannot be changed.
Prabhupāda: Nothing can be changed. But according to the time you have to... Just like in Kali-yuga the smṛti order is kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. So you have to do this. Just like a physician gives a medicine that "Morning you take this medicine, in the evening you take this medicine." It is not a change of treatment. It is according to the time a different medicine. But it is recommended by the physician, not by your whims. Śruti-smṛti cannot be changed, but they have recommended different process in different times. So the reference to the śruti-smṛti is there, authority is there. It is... You cannot modify.
Prabhupāda: No. New smṛti, they may take it, "new smṛti." But smṛti is smṛti. It is not new. You have to give reference to the past śruti-smṛti. Otherwise, it is not... Veda pramāṇa, śabda pramāṇa. Otherwise there is no evidence. It is invalid, not valid. You cannot change the original śruti-smṛti, but you have to take the timely recommendation. Just like Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva... [Ādi 17.21]. This is the only method. You take it. But this is śruti-smṛti-pramāṇa.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Then they say that if this is the method, then how does Deity worship fit into the scheme?
Prabhupāda: You can avoid even Deity worship, but you cannot avoid chanting.
Devotee: Their idea is to abolish Deity worship. They consider it antiquated.
Prabhupāda: If you want... If you want... Why you should try to avoid this? That means you are disregarding the śruti-smṛti. But that is not the policy, that you should avoid it. But if you..., it is not possible... Just like it is not possible to introduce the Deity worship everywhere, anywhere. It doesn't matter. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is not avoiding. It is the circumstance that does not make very favorable. Just like I did not introduce the Deity worship in the beginning. That was not possible. But when there is favorable condition we introduced. That is not avoidance. That is conditional. But especially chanting, that is possible in any condition of life. That is possible.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So there's no question then, as he says, of bringing new smṛtis which would come into being if someone would give them sanction and authority. The position as you...
Prabhupāda: But there cannot be new smṛtis. We are giving the sanction to Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra because it is already there in the śruti. But for this time it is suitable. I am taking a certain type of medicine in the evening, it is already recommended by the physician. I am not doing it whimsically. So whimsically you cannot change. It must have reference to the śruti-smṛti-purāṇadi [BRS 1.2.101].
Prabhupāda: Nobody can change. Nobody can change. But rules and regulation for different times, different circumstances are there in the śruti-smṛti. We have to take it. You cannot change.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are following the footprints of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is not whimsical. You have to follow the authority in all circumstances. You cannot avoid. That is illegal. It will have no power. Just like all of a sudden you make a low class man a harijana. It will not stay. But you can make harijana any class of man provided you adopt the proper means.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I think one more question then would be appropriate because it kind of ties in which this last question. "Number seven: Hinduism has always renewed or revitalized itself according to the need of the times. In today's context, are any correctives called for, and if so, who will bring them about and how can they be brought about and made acceptable to all the masses?
Prabhupāda: First of all, who will take it? Kṛṣṇa has given already according to the time, He has summarized the whole Vedic scripture in the Bhagavad-gītā, but who is taking it? And Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the ācāryas, they have explained how to accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness or Kṛṣṇa's instruction. So first thing you must be ready to take the presentation according to the time and circumstances. Then everything will be all right. If you manufacture your own way of life, if you do not take it from the authority, then it will be failure. Just like this harijana. Harijana is very good idea, make everyone harijana. But harijana is being picked up from the lowest class of men, the bhangis and camaras. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā, papa-yoni. But how this pāpa-yoni can be purified? Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya. By accepting Kṛṣṇa as everything, that means full surrender. Then he can be, even if he's pāpa-yoni, he can be rectified. But if there is no question of surrendering to Kṛṣṇa and if you rubberstamp a low class man that he has become harijana, how it will be effective? The condition is there, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya. Find out this verse.
māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim
"O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth, women, vaiśyas, as well as śūdras, can approach the supreme destination."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The condition is that "those who take shelter unto Me." Now, Mahatma Gandhi manufactured the harijana, but where there is the teaching that "You take shelter of Kṛṣṇa?" So how this harijana will be effective? The condition is there, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya [Bg. 9.32]. Read the purport.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: "It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower or higher clases of people. In the material conception of life there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that even the lowest, who are called caṇḍālas, dog-eaters, can be elevated by association with a pure devotee. Therefore devotional service and guidance of a pure devotee are so strong that there's no discrimination between the lower and higher classes of men. Anyone can take to it. The most simple man, taking center of the pure devotee, can be purified by proper guidance."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The guidance means how to take him to Kṛṣṇa's shelter. Then he will be all right. The guidance is wrong, no question of Kṛṣṇa, and he, simply by rubberstamping, "Here is a harijana," how it will be effective? Therefore it is failure. He remains the same drunkard, same meat-eater, and he becomes harijana. How it is possible? The guidance required. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate [Bg. 9.59]. He must be guided.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: You started this explanation by saying, "But who will take it?" So is this to say that this religion that you're speaking of is not trying to be made acceptable to the masses, or is it only for those who will take it?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Unless you take it, where is question of religion? So that requires guidance. Just like to make a child educated, there is teacher required. Automatically how he can...? A child, now you give him a rubberstamp, "Now you are MA." Is he MA? He must be guided to pass the MA examination, then he'll be, he's MA. And "Because he is born in a certain family, he cannot be MA," that is not the fact. He can be MA provided the guidance is there, training is there. He can become MA. It doesn't matter that because he is lowborn he cannot become MA. No. He can become. The training is how to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Then he goes back to home, back to Godhead.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It appears from his question that his idea is that Hinduism is so flexible that whatever condition of life the masses are in, Hinduism will kind of envelop them, and they can still call themselves Hindus. But what you're saying is that actually the standard is there...
Prabhupāda: We have already refuted. There is no such thing as Hinduism in the Vedic conception. It is sanātana-dharma or varṇāśrama-dharma.
Prabhupāda: Sanātana means eternal. So na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. The identification of the living entity is already described, that it does not perish after annihilation of this body. That is sanātana. So that is meant for everyone. Not that the Hindus, after giving up this body, exist, and the Muslim or Christian does not exist. Everyone exists. Everyone is eternal, so sanātana-dharma is meant for everyone.
Prabhupāda: If he thinks. Otherwise nobody is outside. If you think that you are not... There are so many rascals, they think that with the body everything is finished. But he may think so, but that is not fact. Similarly, if one thinks that "I am not sanātana-dharmi, I am Christian." You may think like that, but actually you are sanatanist. But if you think otherwise, you can think. Who can check it? When Kṛṣṇa says, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20], the soul does not annihilate after the destruction of the body, is it meant for the Hindus? Everyone. Everyone is a living entity, everyone is a soul, and he's eternal. And eternal means sanātana.
Prabhupāda: Then... One acts means he must act accordingly. If he does not act accordingly, that is his business. That's all.
Prabhupāda: What they will answer? What do they know? All rascals.
Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Śrīla Prabhupāda, you speak perfectly.
Prabhupāda: The scientist agrees?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is question number eight for this Bhavan's Journal, Bombay. We've covered the first seven questions. The eighth question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, is "In the Kali-yuga, bhakti has been described as the most suitable and easiest of paths for God realization. Yet how is it that Vedantic teachings, with their accent on jñāna, are being given the pride of place by noted savants or knowers?
Prabhupāda: The so-called Vedantists are bluffers. They do not know what is Vedānta. But the things are going on that people want to be bluffed and the bluffers take advantage of it, and therefore... Veda means knowledge, and anta means end of knowledge. That is the combination of Vedānta. So in the Vedānta the beginning is, Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsāḥ. "Now, in the human form of life, they should inquire about the Absolute Truth." That is the Vedānta philosophy. And what is that Absolute Truth? Sūtra means in aphorism, in small words, a big philosophy is given. That is called sūtra. A little link. So Vedānta-sūtra begins when one is inquisitive to understand the Absolute Truth. That is called Vedānta-sūtra. And it is answered, first question is now about brahma-jijñāsa, inquisitive, inquiry about Brahman. So Brahman is, in nutshell, described: "Brahman means the origin of everything." Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. And in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [Bg. 15.15]. All the Vedas, all the book of knowledge, their business is how to search out God. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]. So the whole Vedānta is description of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But because in this Kali-yuga people will not be able to study Vedānta nicely on account of lack of education, therefore Vyāsadeva personally wrote a commentary on the Vedānta. That commentary is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhāṣyaṁ brahma-sūtrānam **. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the real commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra written by the author himself. The Vedānta-sūtra is also given by Vyāsadeva, and under the instruction of Nārada, his spiritual master... Get this light on. He wrote commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. That is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also begins with the same aphorism, janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñāh sva-rāṭ [SB 1.1.1]. So actually, Vedānta-sūtra is explained by the author of the Vedānta in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So some rascals, without understanding Vedānta, without reading the commentary, natural commentary of the Vedānta-sūtra they are posing themselves as Vedantist. That means they are misguiding people. And because people are not educated, they're accepting these rascals as Vedantists. Actually, the so-called Vedantists, they are bluffers. They are not Vedantists. They do not know anything of the Vedānta. That is the difficulty. Otherwise, what is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that is real Vedānta. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, jīvasya tattva-jijñāsa. That is Vedānta-sutra-bhāṣya. Find out this verse.
Prabhupāda: Find out.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ. Like that. So actually Vedānta-sūtra is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and if we take Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as the real explanation of Vedānta-sūtra, then we understand what is Vedānta. And if we take the shelter of the so-called bluffers, then that is not Vedānta. People do not know anything and they can be bluffed and cheated by anyone. That is the... And now they should learn from this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement what is Vedānta and what is the explanation of Vedānta. Then they will be benefited. If we take Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as the real commentary on Vedānta-sūtra, then we'll find that in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ. In this Kali-yuga, which is the ocean of all faults, there is one benediction, opportunity. What is that? Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. One can become liberated simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is real Vedānta. And actually it is happening. So they want to be misguided. And there are so many bluffers, they misguide them. What can be done? Otherwise Vyāsadeva has given already what is Vedānta-sūtra explanation. This is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Let them read the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. They will understand what is Vedānta.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is that to say that the conclusion of the Vedānta-sutra and the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is one and the same. Bhakti.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Bhāṣyaṁ brahma-sūtrānam **. This is the real commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. And it begins with Vedānta-sutra. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca [SB 1.1.1]. Find out this?
lābho jīveta yāvatā
nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ
"Life's desires should never be aimed at gratifying the senses. One should desire to live only because human life enables one to inquire about the Absolute Truth."
Prabhupāda: That is the Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā. Here it is same thing explained, that don't be entrapped with these temporary bodily necessities of life, sense gratification. You must inquire about the Absolute Truth. In the next verse it is explained, vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam [SB 1.2.11]. Tattva. Tattva means truth. The truth is explained by the tattva-vit, one who knows the truth. How? Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate. He is explained as Brahman, as Paramātmā, or as Bhagavān. This is Vedānta-sūtra. Now one should learn what is Bhagavān, what is Brahman, what is Paramātmā. In this way one should make advancement of his spiritual consciousness. That is the purpose of Vedānta-sūtra.
Prabhupāda: Hm. Yes. The Vedantists they have come from the impersonal explanation of Śaṅkarācārya. Śārīraka-bhāṣya. But they simply give stress on the Śārīraka-bhāṣya, but there are other bhāṣyas. Bhāṣyas means commentary. And the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary by the author himself. Besides that, there are Vedānta-bhāṣyas written by the Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, and all the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas. Unfortunately, they do not care to read all these Vedānta-bhāṣyas. They simply take Śārīraka-bhāṣya and become impersonalist and call themselves as Vedantist.
Prabhupāda: Reason means people do not know. They cheat. Suppose I present something, a misconception, and if there are others also who can speak something on the... There are two lawyers. One is speaking one point of law, another lawyer is speaking. So if you take one side only, then how you will understand? So they are simply reading this Śārīraka-bhāṣya. They are not reading other bhāṣyas, just like the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is natural. And they are cheating people. That's all. Why there are two lawyers? Two opposite parties, there are two lawyers. One lawyer says this law is like this, and the other party says, "No, it is this." And the judge is there, he will take what is the real meaning. But this interpretation is required when things are not clear. Now the Vedānta-sūtra says, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1], "The Absolute Truth is that from whom everything comes in, emanates." Now, here is... In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa said that ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate [Bg. 10.8]. Clearly. That "I am the origin of everything, and everything comes from Me." So why don't you take it? Why simply you remain theoretically understood that Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates. But when the Absolute Truth comes before you and says that "I am the origin of everything. Everything comes from Me." Why don't you accept Kṛṣṇa as Absolute Truth? Why do you take the so-called impersonalist view only, that God has no form? Here is God speaking, person. Why don't you take it? If you want to be cheated, then who can stop you? Here Kṛṣṇa says, sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo [Bg. 15.15]. Find out this verse. Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca...
sarvasya cāham hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
Prabhupāda: Vedānta-kṛd, I am the compiler of Vedānta. Why these rascals do not take who compiled Vedānta? Vyāsadeva is the incarnation of God. He compiled Vedānta. Why he does not take the original Vedantist. Here it is clearly stated, vedānta-kṛd. Read the purport.
Hari-śauri: "Translation: I am seated in everyone's heart and from Me comes remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta and I am the knower of the Vedas."
Prabhupāda: So they do not go to the compiler of Vedānta. They go to a rascal. How they will understand Vedānta? Suppose I have written this book. If you cannot understand something, if you come directly to me, that is real. Why do you go to a rascal who has nothing to do with this book? If some rascal claims that "I am Vedanti," so your description should... Why shall I not go to the real compiler of Vedānta. Why shall I go to a rascal? That means they are rascals. They are being cheated. Let them take to Bhagavad-gītā and let them take to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. They will understand Vedānta. They're real Vedantist. But these rascals, they're avoiding Bhagavad-gītā and avoiding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and claiming themselves as Vedantist. So if you go to a cheater you'll be cheated. That is your business. Read the purport.
Hari-śauri: "The Supreme Lord is situated as Paramātmā in everyone's heart and it is from Him that all activities are initiated. The living entity forgets everything of his past life, but he has to act according to the direction of the Supreme Lord, who is witness to all his work. Therefore he begins his work according to his past deeds. Required knowledge is supplied to him and remembrance is given to him and he forgets also about his past life. Thus the Lord is not only all-pervading, He is also localized in every individual heart. He awards the different fruitive results. He is not only worshipable as the impersonal Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the localized Paramātmā, but as the form of the incarnation of the Vedas as well. The Vedas give the right direction to the people so that they can properly mold their lives and come back to Godhead, back to home. The Vedas offer knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa in His incarnation as Vyāsadeva is the compiler of the Vedānta-sūtra. The commentation of the Vedānta-sutra by Vyāsadeva in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the real understanding of the Vedānta-sūtra. The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul, He is the supplier and the digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, the giver of knowledge in the form of Vedas, and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gītā, He is worshipable by the conditioned soul. Thus God is all good, God is all-merciful. Anantaḥ praviṣṭaḥ śaṣṭa janānam. The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life. So not only does a living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart, but he receives the opportunity to understand Vedas from Him. If one is serious to understand the Vedic knowledge, then Kṛṣṇa gives the required intelligence. Why does he present the Vedic knowledge for understanding? Because a living entity individually needs to understand Kṛṣṇa. Vedic literature confirms this. Yo'sau sarvair vedair gīyate. In all Vedic literature, beginning from the four Vedas, Vedānta-sūtra and the Upaniṣads and Purāṇas, the glories of the Supreme Lord are celebrated. By performing Vedic rituals, discussing the Vedic philosophy and worshiping the Lord in devotional service, He is attained. Therefore the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Kṛṣṇa. The Vedas give us direction to understand Kṛṣṇa and the process of understanding. The ultimate goal is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedānta-sūtra confirms this in the following words: tat tu samanvayāt. One can attain perfection by understanding Vedic literature, and one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead by performing the different processes. Thus one can approach Him and at the end attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse, however, the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined."
Prabhupāda: He clearly says, vedānta-kṛd. "I am the compiler of..." So why one should go to learn Vedānta from others?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: How does bhakti tie into the Vedantic, the conclusion of Vedantic knowledge or wisdom? He says here that bhakti is the most suitable and easiest path of God realization. This is proclaimed, but the Vedantic teachings... He says in the Vedantic teaching the stress is on jñāna. Is that a fact?
Prabhupāda: Jñāna, what is jñāna? Jñāna means... That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. So unless one surrenders to Kṛṣṇa, there is no jñāna. This is all nonsense. And they're passing as jñāna. There is no knowledge at all. Vedānta means the ultimate knowledge. So ultimate knowledge, the subject matter of ultimate knowledge is Kṛṣṇa, God. So if one does not know who is God, who is Kṛṣṇa, then where is knowledge? This is fact, the knowledge, but if a rascal claims that "I am man of knowledge," then what can be done? Knowledge is explained, that when one understands that Kṛṣṇa is everything.... Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ [Bg. 7.19]. When one understands that Vasudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is everything, then that is knowledge. Before that, there is no knowledge. It is simply misunderstanding. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. One may begin with impersonal Brahman by the speculative method or one can realize the, what is called, Paramātmā, localized aspect. That is the secondary stage. The final stage is understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [Bg. 15.15]. That is the final knowledge. But if you do not understand Kṛṣṇa, then where is your knowledge? Knowledge, half-way knowledge is not knowledge. Complete knowledge. That complete knowledge is possible, as it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante [Bg. 7.19]. Those who are striving to acquire knowledge, such persons, after many, many births, when actually by the grace of God and by the grace of a devotee comes to the knowledge, then he agrees, "Oh, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], everything is Kṛṣṇa." Sa mahātmā, that mahātmā, great soul is very rare to be found. Sudurlabhaḥ. Durlabhaḥ means very rare to be seen but the word is used sudurlabhaḥ, very, very rare. So you cannot find such a mahātmā who understands clearly Kṛṣṇa. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye, yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin... [Bg. 7.3]. Siddha means liberated. So one may become liberated even that.... but from that liberated position again he falls down unless he understands the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa. Aruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ [SB 10.2.32]. Unless he comes to the final understanding of the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, he'll fall down. Therefore so many Vedantists, they first of all, they give up this world brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, this world is false. But again they come down and they become busy in doing some philanthropic work, opening hospitals.... Why? If the world is false, why you are coming down again on this platform? That means they could not get any substance by their so-called renouncement of this world. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa, for going to that platform of siddhi, liberation, they had to undergo so much difficulties and austerities but still, even going there.... Just like these people are going to the moon planet and.... Actually whether they have gone or not, that is a doubtful thing, but the thing is, why they are coming down again? That is our challenge. If you have gone to the moon planet then colonise there. But why you have come down again and do not talk anything about. What do you think?
Brahmatīrtha: Well I couldn't say. They've been there they say.
Prabhupāda: They say, you believe, but we are common man, lay man, we say that if you have gone there, why you do not live there?
Brahmatīrtha: Yes, they just bring back rocks to show us, we have rocks here.
Prabhupāda: If there is rock, if there is sand, then why don't you colonise there? What is their answer? If there is same sand, same rock there, then why not... [break] ...some money and can bring some sand and bluff people that you have gone to moon planet. And people are satisfied, they're paying for another excursion to the Mars. This is going on. If you have gone there, there is land. If you fly in the sky and if you get a land then you can stay there. And because you cannot stay there, you come back again. So their... The Māyāvādīs position is there, āruhya kṛcchreṇa param, they merge into the impersonal Brahman but there is no place to stay, they come down again to this material world. You may go many thousands and millions of miles in the sky but you want to stay somewhere. But if you cannot get any place to stay then again you come to this Moscow and New York. So our enquiry is that if you have gone there, then why don't you stay there? What is the answer? Hm? Kīrtanānanda Maharaj?
Kīrtanānanda: They say the atmosphere is not suitable.
Prabhupāda: Then why rascal, you go there? (laughter) And spend so much money, rascal? You could not understand the atmosphere is not good for us, go there and spend so much money?
Brahmatīrtha: They impress the people.
Prabhupāda: That means they are bluffer and they bluffing the all fools and rascals. That's all. He could not understand before going there, before spending so much money the atmosphere is not good?
Prabhupāda: For your direct whims you have to spend so much money? The people are so befooled they do not challenge them. Yes. Everyone knows, suppose one is coming to the western country, Europe and America, we knew it, that it is cold country, we must take proper dress. And we have come and we are staying. So this is knowledge. So if you do not know what is the atmosphere there, what do you spend so much money? And again you are going to the Mars. Are you fixed up what is the position there? Then you'll again bring something, some dust and rock. (laughter) This business will go on at the expense of the... You can do. You have got money. You can do that. But we are Indians, we are coming from poor country. If you spend so much money for nothing, that is very, not very palatable for us. If one tenth of the expenditure you would have given to us for spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement... No. Not a single paisa they will give. And they'll spoil money for going to the moon planet and bring some dust. That's ... Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja is struggling to construct a small residential quarter here, and he has to beg, he has to collect, he has done... Why the government does not pay? "Here so many people are living. Let them live comfortably." But they'll spend this money, millions of dollars, and to bring some dust. Is that very sane government? And people are so fool that they do not challenge the government, "Why you are spending for nothing?" They can do that. They brought back Nixon. Why not stop this unnecessary expenditure? Hm? Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja?
Kīrtanānanda: It makes perfect sense, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes. For nothing. And it is sure certainly you can write down, their Mars going also will be failure. Let it, you take in writing. I may die. I am old man. Take it down. It will be failure. I told ten years before that "It is childish." One press reporter inquired in San Francisco, what is your... "No, this is childish, wasting money." The reporter came to see me in Los Angeles. He remembered that. If you want to spend for nothing like that, you can do that. You have got money.
Brahmatīrtha: If you say to a politician, "Give Śrīla Prabhupāda money..." Like I said to one man running for governor of this state, I said, "Why can't you help the community in New Vrindaban?"
Prabhupāda: Oh, you said?
Brahmatīrtha: He cited to me so many rules and regulations. They're not interested. They're interested in pleasing themselves. A man runs for government, his whole position to run for governor is to please himself so that he can become rich.
Prabhupāda: That's it. Here, you are right. Sense gratification. Nobody wants to do anything. Nixon captured the presidential post for his own satisfaction. And when the people found that "Here is a trick," they agitated and got him down. So this is the difficulty, that andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās the 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ [SB 7.5.31]. We are blind and we are being guided by blind men. So the result is catastrophe.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Can I ask another question, Śrīla Prabhupāda? Question number nine. Is a guru essential to one to enter the spiritual path and attain the goal, and how does one recognize one's guru?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is explained, that guru is necessary. In the Bhagavad-gītā when Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna were talking as friend, there was no conclusion. The talking was going on but no conclusion was made. Therefore Arjuna decided to accept Kṛṣṇa as his guru. Find out this verse. Kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ.
pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking you to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am your disciple and a soul surrendered unto you. Please instruct me."
Prabhupāda: Yes. So therefore guru is necessary. Everyone is perplexed. Nobody can decide himself. Even a physician, a medical man, when he is sick, he does not make his own treatment. He calls for another physician because he is sick, his brain is not in order. How he can prescribe the real medicine for himself? That is natural. So similarly, when we are perplexed, bewildered, we cannot make any solution, at that time the right person, guru, is required. It is essential. You cannot avoid it. So in our present existence we are all perplexed. Arjuna is representating the perplexed position of the materialistic person. And we are actually all perplexed. So under the circumstances, to give us real direction a guru is required. Now, here is the example that Arjuna decided Kṛṣṇa as guru. He did not go to anyone else to accept as guru. The explanation is there. Find out. Na hi prapaśyāmi. "Without you I don't find anybody..."
Hari-śauri: Na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād yac chokam ucchoṣaṇam indriyāṇām, avāpya bhūmāv asapatnam ṛddhaṁ rājyaṁ surāṇām api cādhipatyam [Bg. 2.8]. "I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth..."
Prabhupāda: No. There is another verse that "Without You I do not find anyone else who can give me real..."
Devotee: The doubt when... The fallen yogi. "Who else can...? I think so.
Prabhupāda: In the, is the,... There is... What are you finding?
Prabhupāda: What is the śloka? The śloka I do not remember exactly, but there is continuation. You read the whole thing. What is that chapter?
Prabhupāda: Begin it.
Prabhupāda: Um, hm.
Hari-śauri: "Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words."
Prabhupāda: One translation of every verse, go on, read.
Hari-śauri: "The Supreme Person Bhagavān said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy. O son of Pṛthā, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy. Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu, Kṛṣṇa, how can I counteract with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa who are worthy of my worship? It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood. Nor do we know which is better, conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield. Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am your disciple and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me. I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like that of the demigods in heaven. Sañjaya said: Having thus spoken, Arjuna the chastiser of the enemies told Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, I shall not fight, and fell silent. O descendant of Bhārata, at that time, Kṛṣṇa, smiling in the midst of both the armies spoke the following words to the griefstricken Arjuna."
Prabhupāda: So he has said already that "I do not find any other means to pacify me, and You are the only..." The purport is that Arjuna is accepting Kṛṣṇa as guru to instruct him how to get relief from the perplexed position. So in this sense the real guru is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is guru. Not only for Arjuna, for everyone. So if we take instruction from Kṛṣṇa and abide by that order, instruction, then our life is successful. That is our mission. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means accept Kṛṣṇa as guru. We don't say... Don't divert your attention. We don't say that "I am Kṛṣṇa." We never say that. We simply ask people that "You abide by the order of Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66], and we say that "You surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Give up all other ideas of so-called dharma or religiosity." The same thing. But we don't say that you or me, "I am the authority." No, we don't say that. We say, "Kṛṣṇa is the authority, and you try to understand Kṛṣṇa." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Therefore the question is guru. So here, from the behavior of Arjuna, we see that guru is necessary. Arjuna was talking with Kṛṣṇa as friend, but Arjuna saw that "This is, there is no good talking like this. We can continue talking.... Because we are equal status. Kṛṣṇa is my friend. I am also His friend. So He's answering, I am giving something. If this talking will go on, there will be no fruit." Therefore he said, "Now, Kṛṣṇa, I am becoming Your disciple." Disciple means there is no argument. Whatever the guru will say, you have to accept. That is disciple. That is final. There is no argument. So Arjuna put him into that position that "I cease to talk with You on equal level of friends. Now I accept You as guru." Therefore the guru is necessary, undoubtedly, because every one of us in perplexed position. But who is guru? Guru means Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa's representative. And all others are bogus. If one does not say on the standard of Kṛṣṇa, then he's not guru. He's a bogus. In that way everyone can become guru. I have got some opinion, I can say. But unless.... Just like a lawyer is he who follows the standard law. If a lawyer says that "I have manufactured my own laws," so who will hear him? And what will be the use of becoming lawyer? No. You have to follow the standard law. Then you are a lawyer. And a big lawyer means who knows the standard laws very well. Similarly, guru is Kṛṣṇa and guru is necessary. But one must surrender to Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa's representative. Then he will be successful. So so far.... Now, one can say that Kṛṣṇa is not present. But Kṛṣṇa is not present, how you can say? Kṛṣṇa's instruction is there, Bhagavad-gītā. How you can say that.... Kṛṣṇa, absolute, means the Supreme Lord is not different from His words also. The words of Kṛṣṇa and the Kṛṣṇa, they are the same. That is Absolute Truth. In the relative world the words "water" and the substance water are different. If I am thirsty, if I simply chant "water, water, water," my thirst will not be satisfied. I require the real water. That is relative world. But in the spiritual world.... Just like we are chanting Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is different from Hare Kṛṣṇa, then how we are satisfied chanting whole day and night? This is the proof. The ordinary thing, if you chant, "Mr. John, Mr. John," after chanting three times you'll cease. But this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, if you go on chanting 24 hours, you'll never be tired. this is the spiritual Absolute Truth. That is practical. Anyone can perceive. So Kṛṣṇa's present by His words, by His representative. Why don't you take? You have to take guru. Why do you go to the pseudo guru who will mislead you? Why don't you take to the real guru? That is your mistake. Therefore you are now disappointed. Now you are in doubt whether guru is needed. Yes, guru is needed, but you go to the real guru. That is instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā. Just find out this verse.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."
Prabhupāda: So this is guru. What, is that? One who has seen the truth.
Prabhupāda: So one who has seen... Just like Arjuna has seen Kṛṣṇa. That's a fact. He was talking. How that if you take instruction of Arjuna, then you understand. So what is the instruction of Arjuna? Find out in the Tenth Chapter.
paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
"Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier."
Prabhupāda: And that Vedānta-sūtra says, athāto brahma jijñāsaḥ. Now here Arjuna is experienced, "You are the Supreme Brahman." So he has seen the Supreme Brahman. So you make Arjuna guru, Kṛṣṇa guru. Arjuna is representative of Kṛṣṇa, friend of Kṛṣṇa. So why do you go to a bogus guru? You must be cheated. Guru is essential. It is necessary. But take the real guru. But if you go to the bogus guru, you must be disappointed. For your treatment you need to go to a physician. That's all. When you are diseased you cannot say, "No, no, I don't want to..." It is necessary. But go to the real physician. Don't go to a cheater. He has no knowledge in the medical science, and he places himself as "I am physician, MD." Then you'll be cheated. The guru is necessary, that's a fact. But go to the real guru. Who is real guru? Real guru is Kṛṣṇa or one who has seen Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna. Take them. Then you'll be benefitted. And if you go to a bogus man who does not know Kṛṣṇa, who does not know what is Kṛṣṇa's instruction, then you must be cheated. So the answer is guru is absolute necessary. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. This is Vedic injunction, that one must go. But he must go to the real guru. And who is real guru? Who knows Kṛṣṇa. Take, for example, Arjuna, how he studied Kṛṣṇa. And he says, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12]. Read the translation.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Nārada, Asita, Devala, and Vyāsa, proclaim this of You and now You Yourself are declaring it to me."
Prabhupāda: Arjuna is rectifying this because people may say, "Arjuna was Kṛṣṇa's friend, he is accepting Him as guru." No, Arjuna says, "Not only I, but other authorities, they also accept." So it is..., everything is clear, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He should be accepted as guru or His representative should be accepted guru. Then it will be... So our, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that we are presenting Kṛṣṇa as the supreme guru. You take instruction from Him and be benefited. But one who is carrying this message, he is also authorized. Just like one money order, it is coming through the post office, but an ordinary peon is handing over the money. But he is representative of post office. Actually, the money order is being delivered by the post office, general post office. But it is coming through an ordinary peon. But because he is authorized to deliver you, he is also post office. He's as good as the post office. Just you have got a letter box, a small box, but if you put your letter there, your letter will surely go ten thousand miles away. Therefore, although it is a small box, you don't think it is small box. It is whole post office. Similarly, anyone who is carrying the message of Kṛṣṇa, don't think that he's ordinary man. If you imitate one box like that post box and put your letter, for thousand years it will lie down there. Because it is not authorized. So if somebody says this small box, red box, is as good as the post office, one may say, "Huh, this is small box. How it can be as good as the post office?" But you see. You post your letter, it will go. Therefore, sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ **. Guru is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Why? Because he is presenting the words of Supreme Personality of Godhead without any deterioration. Therefore he is so honored. So therefore the conclusion is guru is necessary and guru is he who is representative of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise he's bogus.
Prabhupāda: So-called gurus, they are so-called gurus. They are not gurus. That is already explained. If one does not speak what Kṛṣṇa speaks, he is not guru. If you accept so-called guru, that is your misfortune. What can be done?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Some of them will say some things that Kṛṣṇa says, but they'll take from other places also. What is the position of such persons?
Prabhupāda: He's most dangerous. He's most dangerous. He is opportunist. He's finding out customer, something here... According to the customer he is giving something, as the customers will be pleased. So he is not guru. He's a servant. He wants to serve the so-called disciples so that he may be satisfied and pay him something. He's servant. He's not guru. Guru is the master. You cannot disobey guru. But if you become a servant, you want to please the disciple by flattering him to get his money, then you are not guru, you are servant. Just like a servant pleases the master. He's not guru. He's servant. So our position should be servant, yes, but servant of the Supreme. So guru means heavy. You cannot utilize him for satisfying your whims. That is not guru. (pause) Now? What other question?
Prabhupāda: No. Tomorrow. (devotees offer obeisances—break)
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So we're continuing with this questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal in Bombay. This is question number ten. Question number ten, Śrīla Prabhupāda, is "Will mantras lose their sanctity if they are not in Sanskrit?"
Prabhupāda: Mantra in Sanskrit language, it may... The letters may be different, but it is a transcendental sound. The sound must be vibrated. You cannot translate it. The sound as it is... Just like Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the sound must be produced. You cannot translate. Then it will be artha, arthavad. That is prohibited. You cannot interpret or do other way... The sound vibration must be there. Then it will continue in sanctity.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is that to say the mantras can be written in Devanāgarī script or in Roman letters, but...
Prabhupāda: It doesn't matter.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The sound is important.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So the sanctity is in the sound vibration and not so much that it's in the Sanskrit letters itself. May I ask another question, Śrīla Prabhupāda? "Are fasting and other dietary regulations necessary for leading a spiritual life?"
To advance in spiritual life these things are essential, tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting something which may be painful. Just like we are recommending no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating. So those who are accustomed to these bad habits, for them, in he beginning it may be a little difficult. But in spite of becoming difficult, one has to do it. That is called tapasya. To rise early in the morning, those who are not practiced, it is a little painful, but one has to do it. So this is called tapasya. So according to the Vedic injunction, there are some tapasyas that must be done. It is not, "I may do it or not do it." It must be done. Just like in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad it is ordered that one must go to the spiritual master. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. So there is no question of voluntarily, but it must be. And one must carry out by the order of a spiritual master and the order of the śāstra. That is called tapasya. Just like in our line ekādaśī is compulsory. One may feel some inconvenience fasting or simply eating fruits. No. It must be done. There are so many rules and regulations which is essential. It must be done. That is called tapasya. Without consideration whether it is convenient or inconvenient for you, which is, must be done, that is called tapasya. Tapaḥ, divyam... Just like Rsabhādeva orders that this human life is meant for tapasya. Therefore in our Vedic civilization we find so many rules and regulations. This is tapasya. From the very beginning of life, brahmacārī, to go to the spiritual master's place and act like menial servant. Nicavat. It is said. If the spiritual master says that "You go and pick up some wood from the forest," and one may be a king's son, but he cannot deny it, the spiritual master's order, "You must go." As Kṛṣṇa, He was ordered to go and pick up some dry wood from the forest. So He had to go. Although He was, His father was Nanda Mahārāja, a village vaiśya king, and Kṛṣṇa was Personality of Godhead, but He could not deny. He had to go. Nicavat. Just like menial servant. That is called brahmacārī. This is tapasya. So tapasya is so essential that one has to do it. There is no question of alternative. Then brahmacārī, then.... If he marries, then gṛhastha. That is also tapasya. He cannot have sex life whenever he likes. No. The śāstra says, "You must have sex life like this: once in a month and only for begetting children." So that is also tapasya. They do not follow, people do not follow any tapasya at the present moment. But human life is meant for tapasya, regulative principles. Even in ordinary life.... Just like you are driving your car, you are going to some urgent business, and you saw the red light. You have to stop. You cannot say, "I have to leave by this time. I must go." No. You must. That is tapasya. So tapasya means to follow the regulative principles strictly by the higher order and that is human life. And animal life means you can do whatever you like. They keep to the right, keep to the left, it doesn't matter. But their offense is not taken because they are animals. But a human being, if he does not follow the regulative principles, it is sinful. He'll be punished. The same principle. Just like when there is red light, if you do not stop, you'll be punished. But a cat and dog, if he transgresses, "Never mind red light, I shall go," he's not punished. So tapasya is meant for the human being. He must do it if he wants at all progress of life. That is essential.
Prabhupāda: That is also tapasya. That is also tapasya. Just like we are prohibiting meat-eating. So in your country this is little troublesome. From the very beginning of his life he is, I mean to say, habituated to eat meat. The mother purchases powdered meat and mix with... I have seen it. And by force. So he has been trained up eating meat, and I say, "Don't eat meat." So therefore that is troublesome. And if he's serious, he must accept the order. That is tapasya. Tapasya means in diet, in practice, in behavior, in dealing, and so on, so on. Everything there is tapasya. That is all described. Mental tapasya, bodily tapasya, and what is called? Word? Just like vāco-vegam, this is tapasya. You cannot talk nonsense. You want to talk something nonsense, but according to... So they don't talk nonsense. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvar... If you talk, you must talk about Kṛṣṇa. That is tapasya. "Śāstra has ordered me not to talk loosely anything, only talk of Kṛṣṇa." So if he does that, that is tapasya. Tapasya in the matter of words. Tapasya in connection with body. Tapasya in connection with mind. Vāco-vegaṁ krodha-vegam. One has become angry and he wants to express it by beating or something doing very..., but tapasya will restrict him. "No, don't do it." "I want to kill you." Tapasya will restrict. Vāco-vegaṁ krodha-vegaṁ manasa-vegam udara-vegam. "I am sexually inclined, but I cannot do it. This is not the time." That is tapasya. I am restricted. In this way, tapasya in every way, bodily, mental, words, practice, dealing. So these have to be learned. That is called tapasya. And that is human life. Tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. If you want to make progress in spiritual life and you are human life, human being, you must act according to the sastric injunctions. That is called tapasya. Brahma, before creation he had to undergo tapasya. Is it not stated? Yes. So tapasya is essential. You cannot avoid. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Read it.
"The austerity of the body consists in this: worship of the Supreme Lord, the brāhmaṇas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother. Cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy, and nonviolence are also austerities of the body." Shall I do the purport?
Prabhupāda: No. Tapasya, words, not there?
"Austerity of speech consists in speaking truthfully and beneficially and in avoiding speech that offends. One should also recite the Vedas regularly."
"And serenity, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purity of thought are the austerities of the mind."
"This threefold austerity, practiced by men whose aim is not to benefit themselves materially, but to please the Supreme, is of the nature of goodness."
Prabhupāda: That's it. The aim is to please the Supreme through the spiritual master. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo **. This is the idea. Now, who is teaching this tapasya? Where is the school, college? Smoke: this is tapasya. And they are smoking before teacher. No offense. What you'll expect from such student? Animal civilization. This is not civilization. No tapasya, no brahmacārī. Tapo divyaṁ [SB 5.5.1]. And tapasya begins from brahmacārī. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena [SB 6.1.13], to control. Brahmacārī guru-gṛhe vasan dantaḥ. How to control senses, that is the beginning of life. Not ABCD learning and maybe your character may be less than an animal's, and you have got a degree of the university. You become a learned man. No. That is not accepted. Even from moral instruction, who is educated? That is described by Canakya Pandit.
Here is paṇḍita. That is learned man. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. Vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi [Bg. 5.18]. He is learned man. Not this degree holder. A degree holder, he has no tapasya, he has no character and his knowledge is called māyayāpahṛta-jñānā. Although he has learned so many things, but māyā has taken away his knowledge. He's a rascal. He's animal. This is Vedic civilization. [break]
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number twelve. "What is the role of rituals in religion? Are they to be discouraged as it is being advocated by some reformists or are they to be encouraged? If so, in what form? What is the role of rituals in religion?"
Prabhupāda: Ritual is a practice based on tapasya. Unless one undergoes the ritualistic ceremony, he remains unclean. But in this age, because it is practically impossible to induce people to take all these ritualistic processes, therefore it is recommended that "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." That is special advantage of this age, that by constant chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra he automatically becomes purified. That is recommendation given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. The beginning is cleansing the heart, because we are impure on account of dirty things within our heart accumulated life after life in the animalistic way of life. So everything, advancement of spiritual life, culture, tapasya means cleansing the heart. So this process, chanting the mahā-mantra, the first installment of benefit is cleansing the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. And when the heart is cleansed, then he becomes eligible for being free from the clutches of māyā or the materialistic way of life. When he understands that he is not this body, he's spirit soul, his business is different, and he understands that "I am engaged only in these bodily comforts of life, it is not at all essential because it will change. Today I am in American body, I have got so many duties as American. Tomorrow I may be American dog body. So immediately my duty changes. So that is not my real business. My real business is how to elevate myself as spirit soul to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead." Then he changes his... Ceto... Bhava... Then this materialistic activity is stopped. He is no more interested, that "This is simply waste of time." That is knowledge, that "I am simply acting for the benefit and comfort of the body. This is simply waste of time. I must act spiritually." That is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], cleansing the heart. He is wrongly working on the basis of bodily concept of life. That illusion is over simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This is the first installment, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam, and bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. Then he is in the process to stop the blazing fire of material existence. Then vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam. Then the ocean of transcendental bliss increases. Ānandāmbudhi-vardanaṁ sarvātmānam snapanaṁ. Wholesale blissful life. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam. All glories to the chanting of Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana. Then the other processes... That is described in the Śikṣāṣṭaka. So this is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's gift, that kevalaya bhaktya. All the practices of austerities, penances, and mystic yoga, and so on, so on. There are so many things. Everything will be totally achieved simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Bhakti.
Just like when there is sunrise, immediately the all-pervading fog disappears. Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question kind of relates a little bit in the same direction. Question thirteen. "There are various saṁskāras prescribed in the life of a Hindu right from his birth to death."
Prabhupāda: Saṁskāra... The real aim is to bring the rascal to the platform of knowledge. That is called saṁskāra. Janmana jāyate śūdra. By birth everyone is the same, śūdras, means without any knowledge. But the saṁskāra means śūdra, rascal, without any knowledge of spiritual life, to gradually bring him to the spiritual platform. That is called saṁskāra. And saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. That is essential. The human life is the opportunity for understanding what he is and what is the aim of his life. The aim of life is back to home, back to Godhead. We are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other we are in this material existence. So aim is again come to our spiritual life, spiritual existence, where there is no struggle for existence, blissful, happy life. Because actually we want happiness, blissful life. That is not possible in the material world. That is in the spiritual world. That is the aim. So every human being should be given chance. That is real education. That is called saṁskāra. So these saṁskāra, there are dāsa-vidha-saṁskāraḥ... So in this age it is very difficult, but if one chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without any offense, being trained up by the spiritual master, all the saṁskāras automatically become done and he comes to his original spiritual position, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am spirit soul. The Kṛṣṇa is Param Brahman, and I am Brahman." As Arjuna said, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]. Kṛṣṇa is also Brahman, I am also Brahman. But He's Supreme Brahman, I am minute Brahman. So my business is to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is teachings of Lord Caitanya, jīvera 'svarūpa' haya (sic:) nitya kṛṣṇa-dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. So if he engages himself in his original spiritual business, to act as the servant of Kṛṣṇa, then all reformation is done. So that advantage is given in this age: kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ param... [SB 12.3.51]. Reformatory process is meant for purifying him so he becomes mukta-saṅgaḥ. Mukta-saṅgaḥ means liberated from all this bad association of material existence. And he becomes eligible to go back to home, back to Godhead. So this is the special advantage. The question is "Whether they should be revived?" They should be revived to the lowest necessity, but all of them cannot be revived in this age. But people should be induced to take to chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra. Then all reformation will automatically become manifest and he will come to spiritual platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ, the realization of Brahman. Then prasannātmā, he'll be happy. There is no lamentation, there is no undesirable hankering. Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. He sees everyone on the spiritual platform. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. In this way he comes to the platform of devotional service, and then his life becomes successful. Is that question answered or not?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Just one question I have. You said that the saṁskāras should be revived to the lowest?
Prabhupāda: The minumum possible way. Just like to make him a brāhmaṇa. So to become a brāhmaṇa these four things are essential: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. This must be there. You cannot avoid wholesale.
Prabhupāda: Wholesale. You must avoid at least sinful activities.
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
bhajante māṁ dṛdha-vratāḥ
You cannot become a devotee unless you are completely sinless. So to become completely sinless you have to begin with these four prohibitory injunctions, or avoid sinful activities like illicit sex, meat-eating, smoking, intoxication and gambling. Then you'll be gradually completely sinless. One side, to practice things, and another side, to engage yourself in devotional service. To engage oneself devotional service under the order of spiritual master and the śāstra means to remain on the transcendental platform. Transcendental platform means there is no sinful activity. It is above. Sinful.... Pious and sinful activities are there so long you are on the material platform. Good and bad. Piety and sinful. But when you are on the transcendental platform, then you are automatically without sin.
māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicārena
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
Sin, life of vice and life of piety, they are within this material world. But when one is spiritually engaged, he is above the spiritual plane. Sa guṇan samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. So one side, voluntarily accepting these prohibitory process.... You can keep it open. (the door)
Prabhupāda: So the whole thing is that if you chant hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and give up these sinful activities, automatically you become reformed, come to the spiritual platform, and in this way your life will become successful.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question fourteen. "It is said that the karma-kāṇḍa in the Vedas has almost gone out of use, except for a few rites which remain in vogue for marriage, śraddhās, etc. Is it advisable to revive the karma-kāṇḍa with its stress on the performance of various yajñas?"
Prabhupāda: So that is not possible in this... Taking consideration of the time, circumstances, it is not possible. There are different kinds of karma-kāṇḍīya-yajña. It is expensive also and there is no expert brāhmaṇa to guide how to perform this yajña. So Kali-yuga, it is not possible to perform yajñas. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ [SB 12.3.52]. In the Treta-yuga yajñas were possible. Dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt, that in this age of Kali-yuga the real yajña is hari-kīrtana. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. Therefore those who are intelligent, having good brain substance, they take to this yajña, saṅkīrtana-yajña. And practically we are experiencing, simply by saṅkīrtana-yajña, even the lowest person in the sinful activities, he is becoming purified. So karma-kāṇḍa is, to revive them in this age is not possible. Neither jñāna-kanda. That is also not possible. People are so fool and rascal that it is impossible. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said... He has condemned karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa. Even it is properly done. Karma-kāṇḍa, by performing ritualistic ceremonies of karma-kāṇḍa, you can go to the heavenly planet. But what is the benefit there? You can enjoy there materialistic way of life in higher standard. That's all. You can live for a very, very long duration of period. But that does not mean that you become immortal. The demigods, they are called amara. Amara means they have got very long duration of life. Does not mean he is immortal. So by karma-kāṇḍa you can elevate yourself to the higher planetary system. Even it is properly done... And now it is not possible to do it properly. And even it is properly done, that is condemned. It is not required. Similarly jñāna-kāṇḍa. Even it is properly done... You can merge yourself into the Brahman effulgence. But that is also not safe because in the śāstra we see that arūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ [SB 10.2.32]. Even one merges oneself into the impersonal Brahman, he again falls down. Patanty adhaḥ. We have seen practical, in India many sannyāsīs, they elevate themselves by jñāna-kāṇḍa, but because they cannot stay, they again come to the karma-kāṇḍa, philanthropy activities and hospitals and schools. That is their fall down. So either in karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa you cannot achieve the real purpose of life. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said, karma-kāṇḍa jñāna-kāṇḍa sakali visera bandha. Either you accept karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kanda, they're different pots of poison. Amṛta boliya jeba khai. If by mistake you take poison, death is inevitable. Similarly, by karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa nobody can derive any actual benefit. By upasana-kāṇḍa, that is the... The Vedas, Vedic ritualistic ceremony means there are three kāṇḍas: karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, and upāsana-kāṇḍa. So upāsana-kāṇḍa, there are recommendation of many, worship of many demigods. But the best upāsana is Viṣṇūpāsana. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ sarveṣāṁ. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ param. Oṁ tad viṣṇuṁ paramaṁ padam. There are different types of upāsana recommendation, but the viṣṇor arādhanam, worshiping Lord Viṣṇu, that is the Supreme. That is Supreme. So gradually, there is elevation to karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, upāsana-kāṇḍa, but in the Kali-yuga all these things are not possible to revive. Best directly give him the best upāsana-kāṇḍa, Viṣṇūpāsana, bhakti, everything will be automatically achieved by bhakti-mārga.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, fifteen. "Hinduism has been defined as a way of life."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Actually it is the way. That, I have already described it. It is not a sectarianism like Muslimism, Christianism or "Thisism..." Hinduism also now one of them. Actually, it is a way of life, varṇāśrama-dharma, how to become elevated to the spiritual platform. So that begins by the varṇāśrama-dharma, to select persons according to his capacity to different varṇas. Some of them selected, trained as brāhmaṇas. Some of them trained as kṣatriya, some of them as vaiśya, some of them as, remain... Those who cannot take any training, they are śūdras. So in the ways (indistinct) there must be social division not by birth, but by education. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. That we have lost. The so-called Hinduism they have lost. And because they did not follow real varṇāśrama-dharma, therefore India, so many renegades, Muslim became... Once they become Muslim, there was no reformation. But according to Vedic principle, even one is fallen, he can be raised to the highest standard. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. One may... Saṁskārād bhaved dvija. And Sanātana Gosvāmī says that
As by chemical process the bell metal can be turned into gold by adding with the mercury.... This is a chemical process. If you can add in the bell metal proportionately mercury, then it will turn into gold. Here is the process given in the śāstra. If you are able to do it, you can do it, turn gold some of these bell metals. So the example is given that as the bell metal, base metal, can be turned into gold by chemical process, similarly, by dīkṣā-vidhānena, by proper initiation by the bona fide spiritual master, everyone can be turned into dvija, twice-born. Dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇam. Nṛṇam means all men. It is not there is no discrimination, that only the Hindus, only the Indians, or only the so-called brāhmaṇas can be turned. Everyone can be turned. That is the injunction. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to do that, trying everyone to become a bona fide brāhmaṇa. Without becoming a brāhmaṇa you cannot become Vaiṣṇava. So this reformatory process is recommended in the śāstras. What is the question?
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is the way of life, that by reformatory process recommended in the śāstras one should be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśyas, and śūdra. Śudra means one who cannot take any reformation. But one who can take up the reformation, he can be situated as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya. This is not by birth, but by education, by training. That is recommended for the all human society. Not for the Hindus or... Otherwise, why Kṛṣṇa says pāpa-yoni? Pāpa-yoni. Striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās. They are also taken as pāpa-yoni. And what to speak of the śūdras and caṇḍālas? They must be pāpa-yoni. Only the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, they are taken as highly elevated. But nowadays, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. In this age you cannot distinguish who is brāhmaṇa, who is kṣatriya, who is a vaiśya, who is a śūdra. It is accepted that everyone is a śūdra because there is no reformation. So according to Pāñcarātriki-vidhi everyone should be given the chance of becoming a Vaiṣṇava, a dvija. And that is recommendation in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, that by the proper initiation process everyone can be brought into the platform of dvija, twice-born, and then he becomes... After initiation, his second birth is there. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Then he's allowed to read the scripture. Veda-pathād bhaved vipraḥ. He becomes vipra. Then when he really comes to the knowledge of Brahman, his relationship with Brahman, and acts accordingly, then he is brāhmaṇa. And when he is perfectly situated in the eternal relationship with God, Viṣṇu, then he becomes a Vaiṣṇava. That is perfection of life.
Prabhupāda: Yes. We are doing it. See. If anyone has eyes to see they can see how we are accepting the pāpa-yoni, so-called pāpa-yoni to become the topmost Vaiṣṇava, that is possible. Unless it is possible how it is being done all over the world? There is no consideration. The process is so effective that it is being done. They are taking it as a proselytization. But it is not proselytizing. Proselytization is superflous. If one is Hindu you make him a Christian, and you change the name. But what is the use of changing the name if you do not reform him about his character? Simply changing the name from Hindu to Muslim or Muslim to Christian, that does not make him better...
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This next question is rather interesting. Question sixteen. "Is it not possible for all sections of Hindus, be they Advaitans, Dvaitans, or viṣiṣṭādvaitans, to come together instead of remaining isolated as warring factions?"
Prabhupāda: Yes. Dvaita and advaita. This is the process of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to bring all the dvaitas and advaitas in one platform. To understand that he is essentially servant of God. The Advaitas, they are wrongly thinking that he is God himself. That is wrong, or not the proper way of thinking. How you can become God? God is ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pūrṇam, full with six opulences, all-powerful, all-strenght, all-beauty, all opulent. So this is artificial, to think to become God. And... This is Advaita. And Dvaitas, they think that one is different from God, God is separate from the living entity. But actually, from the Bhagavad-gītā we understand that God is always the Supreme and the living entities, they are subordinate. And in the Vedas also it is said, nityo nityānaṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). Both of them are living entities, but God is the chief. The difference between the two, that God maintains other living entities. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. That is a fact. We are maintained and God is the maintainer. We are predominated, we are not independent, and God is predominator. But because the predominated living entities, they are part and parcel of God, therefore in quality they are one. This is acintya-bhedābheda, one and different. The living entity is one in the sense because he is part and parcel of God. So if God is gold, the living entity is also gold. That is one in quality. But god is great and we are minute, small. In that way we are different. Now, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has enunciated acintya-bhedābheda, inconceivable, simultaneously one and different. That is real philosophy. So on this philosophy everyone can come if they are reasonable. If they remain unreasonably stuck up in their own concocted philosophy, then it is difficult. Otherwise this is the fact, that the living entity is eternally part and parcel of God. Sanātana. What is that verse? Find out. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātana [Bg. 15.7]. Fifteenth chapter.
"The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind."
Prabhupāda: So if he's eternal fragmental parts, how he can become one with the whole? The part is never equal to the whole. That is axiomatic truth. This is wrong conception, to become like God. The Māyāvādīs, they are trying to become God. That is impossible. They... Let them remain godly. Godly means servant of God. That will make him perfection, his life perfect. Vaiṣṇava philosophy is to remain, to act as servant of God. That is perfect. And if the servant tries to become like the master, that is artificial. Although in the spiritual world there is no difference between the master and the servant... Just like the boys, Kṛṣṇa's cowherd boy friends, they do not know Kṛṣṇa is God. They are playing with Him on equal terms. When Kṛṣṇa is defeated in the play He has to take His friend on His shoulder and he rides on the shoulder. So there is no such distinction who is God and who is not God. So that is spiritual conception. But the difference is always there. God and the part and parcel. Kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ. We can attain that position after many, many lives' pious activities. That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
itthaṁ (satāṁ) brahma-sukhānubhūtyā
dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena
sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ
These boys are playing with Kṛṣṇa. Who is Kṛṣṇa? He is the essence of Brahma-sukha, Param Brahman. So these boys are playing with Param Brahman. Itthaṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena. And for the devotees He's the supreme master, and for the ordinary man He is ordinary child. But these other children who are playing, they have got this position kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ. "After many, many births' pious activities, now I have got this position, playing with Kṛṣṇa on equal terms." So this is the conception of devotional service, that when you go to the Goloka Vṛndāvana you cannot distinguish.... But they have got unflinching love for Kṛṣṇa. That is Vṛndāvana life. The cows, the calves, the trees, the flowers, the water, the elderly men, Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodāmayī, everyone is attached, central point is Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is loving Kṛṣṇa. And there is no such knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality.... Sometimes they see Kṛṣṇa's wonderful activities and they talk on: "Kṛṣṇa may be some demigod. He has come here." But they could never recognize that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Kṛṣṇa passed some dangerous position, so many demons were coming, mother Yaṣodā was chanting some mantras to protect Kṛṣṇa that "He may not be put into some calamity." They never understood that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality. But their natural love for Kṛṣṇa so intense. Therefore Vṛndāvana life is so exalted. Arādha... What is called? Arādhyo bhagavān vrajeṣa-tanāya tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that first of all Kṛṣṇa, Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanada Mahārāja, He is arādhya. Tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam. And His dhāma, His abode, Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable. They are equal. Vṛndāvana-dhāma and Kṛṣṇa, they are equal. So these are higher standard of understanding. Unless one is devotee, purified, he cannot understand that to become one with God is not the sublime idea. In Vṛndāvana one who wants to become the father or mother of God, to control God, that these Māyāvādīs cannot understand, Advaitavādīs. This is to be understood by the pure devotion, devotees. What is the benefit to become equal with God? Just become.... equal.... Other Vaiṣṇava philosophies they could not explain our relationship with God. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained the higher relationship with God. That is called vatsalya-rasa and madhurya-rasa. Especially madhurya-rasa. Anarpita carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatirṇaḥ kalau samarpayitum unnatojvala-rasāṁ sva bhakti śriyam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave information of the madhurya-rasa, that our relationship can be with Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love. So unless one comes to the platform of devotional service, one cannot understand. But for general understanding this philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda, simultaneously one and different.... That is explained in this verse. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. The living entities are part and parcel of God. So if God is gold, then living entities are also gold. This is equality in quality. But God is great, and we are always subordinate. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. We are protected, we are maintained, we are predominated. That is our position. We cannot attain the position of predominator. That is not possible.
Prabhupāda: There is no future. It is already gone. (laughter) The future is already there. And what do you want more future? A man was beaten with shoes, and again he said that "He has threatened me, to insult me." So if he is beaten with shoes, then what insult remains to be done again? So Hinduism now finished. Now take to the process of Kṛṣṇa's order, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Teach this teaching of Bhagavad-gītā to the whole world. Not only Hinduism; Christianism, and Muslimism, everything's gone. And even it is not gone, Kṛṣṇa says, " Give up all this nonsense." Sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. "Give up Hinduism, Muslimism, Christianism. Simply surrender unto Me." That is to be preached all over the world, and that is being effective. So if the Hindus are interested in Bhagavad-gītā, which was spoken in the Hindustan, in the land of Hindus, they must seriously take to this instruction of Kṛṣṇa and combine together and preach all over the world and make others benefited and themselves benefited. That is the only way. There is no other second way.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Next question. Question number 18. "As the world is coming to be divided into just two classes, atheist and theist, is it not advisable for all religions to come together, and what positive steps can be taken in this direction?"
Prabhupāda: That is already taken, already explained. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The atheist class and theist class, they will exist always. This is material world. Even at home the father is atheist, Hiraṇyakaśipu, and the son is theist. So even at home the father and the son different. So that atheist class and theist class men will always exist in family, in community, in nation, in the... as you go on. But the theist class should take to the proposition of the Bhagavad-gītā and take shelter at his lotus feet, giving up so-called religious principles. That is oneness. Religion without conception of God, conception of God is humbug, bogus. Religion means to accept the order of God. So if you have no conception of God, if you do not know who is God, so there is no question of accepting His order. It is stated in the Vedic literature dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Find out this verse in the Sixth Canto. [break] ...Yamarāja's instruction.
Devotee: Yes. (pause)
dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītaṁ
na vai vidur ṛṣayo nāpi devaḥ
na siddha-mukhya asura manuṣyāḥ
kuto nu vidyādhara-cāraṇādayaḥ
"Translation: Real religious principles are enacted by..."
Prabhupāda: Ha! Real.
Hari-śauri: "Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great ṛṣis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyādharas and Cāraṇas."
Prabhupāda: Hm. [break]
Hari-śauri: This is Sixth Canto, Third Chapter, Text Nineteen. When challenged by the Viṣṇudūtas to describe the principles of religion, the Yamadūtas said, veda-praṇihito dharmaḥ: the religious principles are the principles enacted in the Vedic literature. They did not know, however, that the Vedic literature contains ritualistic ceremonies that are not transcendental, but are meant to keep peace and order among materialistic persons in the material world. Real religious principles are nistraiguṇya, above the three modes of material nature, or transcendental. The Yamadūtas did not know these transcendental religious principles, and therefore when prevented from arresting Ajāmila they were surprised. Materialistic persons who attach all their faith to the Vedic rituals are described in Bhagavad-gītā (2.42), wherein Kṛṣṇa says, veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha nānyad astīti vādinaḥ: the supposed followers of the Vedas say that there is nothing beyond the Vedic ceremonies. Indeed, there is a group of men in India who are very fond of the Vedic rituals, not understanding the meaning of these rituals, which are intended to elevate one gradually to the transcendental platform of knowing Kṛṣṇa (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]). Those who do not know this principle but who simply attach their faith to the Vedic rituals are called veda-vāda-ratāḥ.
Herein it is stated that the real religious principle is that which is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That principle is stated in Bhagavad-gītā. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] one should give up all other duties and surrender unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. That is the real religious principle everyone should follow. Even though one follows Vedic scriptures, one may not know this transcendental principle, for it is not known to everyone. To say nothing of human beings, even the demigods in the upper planetary systems are unaware of it. This transcendental religious principle must be understood from the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly or from His special representative, as stated in the next verses.
Prabhupāda: So, therefore... Next verse.
svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ
kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
balir vaiyāsakir vayam
Prabhupāda: Vaiyāsakir vayam.
Hari-śauri: Dharmaṁ bhāgavataṁ bhaṭāḥ, guhyaṁ viśuddhaṁ durbodhaṁ yaṁ jñātvāmṛtam aśnute. "Lord Brahma, Bhagavān Nārada, Lord Śiva, the four Kumaras, Lord Kapila (the son of Devahūti), Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka Mahārāja, Grandfather Bhīṣma, Bali Mahārāja, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and I myself know the real religious principle. My dear servants, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as bhagavat-dharma or surrender unto the Supreme Lord..."
Prabhupāda: So these people, these mahājanas, they know what is the principles of religion. Religion means bhagavata-dharma, to understand God and our relationship with God. That is religion. You may call it Hindu religion or Muslim religion or Christian religion, but real religion is that which teaches how to love God. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. If by following the religious system, you come to the platform of loving God, then your religious system is perfect. Otherwise it is a simply waste of time, bogus religion, without conception of God. So unless one understands what is God and what He says, and we have to abide by that order, then we are religious and there is religion and there is God, there is everything complete.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is off the record, but one may ask if someone like Christ or Moses was not mentioned amongst the mahājanas, present some sort of religion...
Prabhupāda: No, mahājana there is in Christian messiahs. There is mahājana. And later on, after Christ, there was so many other. Saint Matthew, Saint Thomas, like that. Mahājana is mentioned there. How can you say there is no mahājana? Mahājana means who is strictly following the original religion. That is called mahājana. Or who know the things as they are. They are called mahājana. And that means paramparā system. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna is learning Bhagavad-gītā directly from Kṛṣṇa. He's mahājana. So you learn from Arjuna. And after hearing Bhagavad-gītā, as Arjuna acted, as Arjuna understood Kṛṣṇa, you follow that. Then mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Then you are following the mahājana. You are on the real path. Just like we are. Here it is said, mahājana, Svāyambhu. Svāyambhu means Brahmā, Lord Brahmā. So our, this sampradāya, Gauḍīya sampradāya, is Brahma-sampradāya. And Svāyambhu, Nārada. Nārada is also in the brahma-sampradāya. And Śambhu, Lord Śiva, he is also mahājana. He has got his sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya. And similarly, Śrī-sampradāya. So all these sampradāya we must follow. Sampradāya vihina ye mantras te niṣphala mataḥ. If you do not belong to sampradāya, mahājana, then you are useless. You cannot concoct any religious system. So either you be Christian or Hindu it doesn't matter. You have to follow the mahājana. If a Christian says, "I don't believe in St. Thomas," what kind of Christian he is? Similarly, it doesn't matter who is a mahā... But real mahājana is he who is strictly following the principle as enunciated by God. That is religious system. Otherwise there is no religion. There is no question of religion. It is simply concoction. Mano-dharmi, mental speculator. Mental speculation is not religion. Religion is the order of Kṛṣṇa and one who follows that order, he is religious. That's all.
Prahupada: Now this question is clear?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. So far I can understand, you're saying that there's no need to label that there's one religion in the world. Rather, everyone can...
Prabhupāda: One religion is there already, that how to love God. This is one religion. Will the Christian say, "No. We don't want to love God"? Will the Christians say? Will the Mohammedans say, "No, no. We don't want to love God"? So religion means how to love God, and any religion which teaches how to love God, that is perfect. It doesn't matter whether he's Christian or Muslim or Hindu. It doesn't matter. You have to be educated to take your degree. It doesn't matter from which college you take degree. Similarly, religion means you have to learn how to love God. If you have no love for God, it is all useless. That is not religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Sākṣād, Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa says, "You surrender unto Me." You cannot surrender until you love. You are surrendered to me, I am also an Indian. Because you have love for me, therefore there is surrender. If I say that "You die," you'll die. Why? Because you love me. So when there will be surrender? Unless one loves God. Unless that platform is not there, that "I love you, I can sacrifice everything for you." That is on the the basic principle of love. Therefore that religion is perfect which teaches the followers how to love God. This is religious principle. So let everyone come to this platform, how to love God. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are teaching nothing, but training them how to love God, how they can sacrifice everything for God. So that is religion. Otherwise a bogus waste of time, simply following the ritualistic ceremonies. That is not religion. That is superfluous.
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
You are very good, you are following your religious principle very strictly, adherently. That's all right. But what about your love of God? "Oh, that I do not know." So śāstra says, śrama eva hi... It is simply waste of time, and simply laboring. That's all. If you have not learned to love God, then what is the meaning of your religion? Then, when you're actually on the platform of love of God, you understand your relationship with God, that "I am part and parcel of God. Not only I am part and parcel of God, this dog is also part and parcel of.... Every living entity." Then you'll extend love for animal also. If you actually love God, then your love for insect also is there because you understand that "This insect, it has got a different body only, but he is also part and parcel, or my brother." Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. Then you cannot maintain slaughterhouse. If you maintain slaughterhouse and disobey the order of Christ, thou shall not kill, and you proclaim yourself as Christian or Hindu or this.... That is not religion. Then śrama eva hi kevalam. Your going to the temple and church and everything is simply waste of time. Śrama eva hi kevalam. Because you do not understand God. You have no love for God. That is going on, all over the world. They're stamping under some sect, but there is no real religion. So in order to bring them all in one platform, they have to accept the principles of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you do not accept in the beginning Kṛṣṇa, that He is the supreme, then you try to understand that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is education. There is somebody supreme. So if I say, because I am Hindu, I am Indian, that "Kṛṣṇa is the supreme," you may say, "Then why Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is Indian." "No. He is God. Just like the sun rises first in India, then comes to Europe. But that does not mean the sun is different. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, although appeared in India, now He has come to Western countries, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You try to understand whether Kṛṣṇa is not God or God. But He is God. There is no doubt about it. If you have got intelligence to understand what is God, then try to understand. But He is God undoubtedly. So take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and abide by the order of Kṛṣṇa. Then everyone comes on the same platform, the religious platform, one religion, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Now, this is clear or not?
Prabhupāda: Anyone? We are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, our business is to surrender to Him. And Kṛṣṇa personally advises that "You surrender unto Me. I shall give you all protection." This is religion.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes we meet people in our preaching activities. They may, of course, claim to be very devout Christian or Muslim, but at the same time they will blaspheme Kṛṣṇa. Is it possible that such persons can actually be associates of God?
Prabhupāda: No, no. It is just like in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are so many Christians, so many Jews, so many Mohammedan, and Hindus. Everyone is there. It is a question of understanding. So in the beginning if... But if he's serious to understand what is God, then he will accept Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Lord. If he knows what is God, then he'll understand, "Here is God." If he remains in darkness, he does not know what is God, then how he'll understand Kṛṣṇa? He'll understand Kṛṣṇa as one of us. That's all. But if he knows what is God then he'll understand. Yes, here is God, Just like if a person knows what is gold, then anywhere gold, he'll understand, "Here is gold." It does not mean only gold, in certain shop only gold is available. But if he knows what is God, what is meaning of God, that he will find in Kṛṣṇa in fullness. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. The śāstra says how He is Bhagavān, what is Bhagavān. You should understand and see from the activities of Kṛṣṇa whether He is not Bhagavān. It requires brain to understand. I say, "Here is God." Now it is up to you. If you know what is God, then test it, and then you'll accept God. If you do not know how to test it, then you may refuse. That is another thing. You'll accept iron as gold. That is your ignorance. You do not know what is gold. But if you actually know what is gold, you will accept Kṛṣṇa as God, there is no doubt about it. So this is the only platform, Bhagavad-gītā. Everyone come and take to Kṛṣṇa and understand God and learn how to love Him and your life is perfect.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But if the Christians are saying that "This is the only platform, the Bible," and the Muslims are saying, "This is the only platform, Koran," and the community of followers of Bhagavad...
Prabhupāda: But we have to see by the result. The result is... Only platform, that only platform, that is decided... Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ. That is actually religion. How? Yato bhaktir adhokṣaje. If one has learned how to love God. If there is no love of God, then what is the use of claiming that this is the only platform? Where is the sign of love of Godhead? That is to be seen. Simply if you say... Everyone will say, "This, my, this property is the best, or my understanding is..." But there must be practical proof. The practical proof-say how to love God, what is the process of loving God? If you do not know your relationship with God and other's relationship with God, then how you know God? That is lacking. Nobody can give clear conception of God. Can the Christians give? Then where is love of God? If you have no understanding of what is God, where is the question of love? Love is not fictitious. You cannot love air. You love a person, a beautiful person, a beautiful woman. If you say, "I love air. I love the sky..." Where there is question of love?There must be a person. So who is that person we want to love? But they have no personal conception of God, neither they can describe the personal beauty, capacity, strength, ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pūrṇaḥ. There is no such description. So they have got the conception of God, but actually they do not know what is God. But religion means you must know God and love Him. That is religion. That is first class religion. Is that clear or not?
Prabhupāda: When there is question of love, then you must know what is God, then love. But if you do not know who is God, then how do you love Him?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Real religion is how to love God. And love cannot be done without knowing the person whom you love. That is the criterion, test. So if you have no conception, God, His personality, then how you'll love? Where is the question of love? Love is something tangible. It is not fictitious. So we accept, Kṛṣṇa conscious people, Kṛṣṇa is God, and we are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. And we are making progress. Just see our behavior and other persons behavior and judge. Hm? What do you think?
Kulādri: We had one priest who came. He was discussing with Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja. He did not know what God looked like, he never gave anything, never talked about God, but he said he loved God.
Prabhupāda: Then? What kind of love it is?
Kulādri: Nor did he say his people ever came to church. He said, "At best they come once a week." He said that's all that is necessary.
Prabhupāda: Well, love does not mean that you come once in a week at my house. Love means you come to my house, give me some presentation, and take something from me. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam. Love means if you love somebody, then you must give him something, you must accept something from him. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti. You must disclose your mind to him and he should disclose his mind to you. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati, and bhuṅkte bhojayate. If you love somebody, you give him something eatable and whatever eatable he offers you accept. These six kinds of exchange makes love. But if you do not know the person, the boy or the girl, then where is the question of love? Love begins... If you love some girl, if you love some boy, then you give something, some presentation, and he gives you some presentation. That develops love. You give something to eat and whatever he gives you to eat, you eat. You disclose your mind, "My dear such and such, I love you. This is my ambition." He dis... These are the exchange of love. So if there is no persons to person meeting, where is the question of love? That is not love. If I love somebody and weekly I visit that house, "This is the house," that's all. Where is the exchange of love? Love means there is exchange. If you love somebody, if you have not given anything to that somebody, neither you have taken something from him, where is the love? Is that love? Means imperfect knowledge. You love... The conclusion is religion means to love God, and to love God means you must know who is God. There cannot be any other alternative. You must know the person who is God. Then you exchange. That we are teaching. We are asking our disciples to rise early in the morning, offer maṅgala ārati, then bhoga ārati. Are we so fools, rascals, that we are wasting time in worshiping a doll like that? Sometimes they think like that. But that is not the fact. You know definitely, "Here is Kṛṣṇa. He is God, and we must love Him like this." That is the superexcellence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We do everything definitely on positive platform. Is that clear? Huh? Or anyone, any question?
Pradyumna: Then... You said we must know God before we can love Him. So that means devotional service is preceded by knowledge.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Yes, that is the process in the Bhagavad-gītā. There are 18 chapters. The whole 18 chapters is the education how to know God. And when Arjuna completely in awareness he accepted, "Kṛṣṇa, You are paraṁ brahma, paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12]," that is understanding. Then surrender, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. Unless you know God, how you'll surrender? If some third class man comes, "You surrender unto me." Will you do that? Why shall I surrender to him? You must know, "Now, here is God. I must surrender." The 18th Chapter is described to know God, and then Kṛṣṇa proposes, "Surrender unto Me." Then Arjuna did it, "Yes." So without knowing, how you can surrender? Know God. Then you surrender. Otherwise how, blindly, you can surrender? That is not possible. So this is the science how to know God, Bhagavad-gītā. The preliminary. If you want to know more, then read Bhāgavatam. And if you are in intense love with God, then next, Caitanya-caritāmṛta, how the intensification can be more intensified. That is Caitanya-caritāmṛta. So Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary book to understand God and surrender. And from the surrendering point, further progress, that is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And when the love is intense, to make it more intensified, that is Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, mad after God. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me. "I find everything vacant without Kṛṣṇa." That is the supreme ecstasy. So these things cannot happen (chuckles) without love. If you love somebody, then if he's not there you find everything vacant. Otherwise why? There are so many things. "How," people will say, "you are seeing vacant? Everything is filled up." That is another stage, transcendental platform. Lover and beloved, they can understand. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me. That is the supreme stage of love. Is that clear or not?
Pradyumna: There's just one more thing. What's the minimum knowledge one must have to...
Prabhupāda: God is great. That's all. God is great. Kṛṣṇa proved that He's great. Therefore He's God. Everyone says, "God is great." Allah akbar, Muslims say. God is great. It is translated, "God is great." And Hindu says, paraṁ brahma. So God is great. So Kṛṣṇa proved that He is all-great. Therefore He is God. Kṛṣṇa, when He was present, He proved it that He is the great. Therefore He's God. If you accept God is great, and if you find somebody, he is great in everything, then he's God. How can I deny it? At least, you can see Kṛṣṇa great by His Bhagavad-gītā. It is still going on. Five thousand years passed, still Bhagavad-gītā is accepted as the greatest book of knowledge all over the world. Even among the Christians, among the Muslims, those who are really learned, they take it, "Yes." That is greatness of Kṛṣṇa, the knowledge. Who can give such knowledge? That is the proof that He is God. Aiśvaryasya samāgrasya viryasya yasasaḥ... Jñāna, knowledge. Where is such knowledge throughout the whole world? Everything, every line is sublime knowledge. If one studies scrutinizingly Bhagavad-gītā, you find Kṛṣṇa is Supreme Lord.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Question nineteen. "Do you envisage or envision a different role for Hinduism in the Western countries where the influence of other great religions has been felt for centuries?
Prabhupāda: No. There is no different role. God is one. God cannot be duplicate. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg. 7.7]. "There is no more superior authority than Me." That is God. Now people is to understand that Kṛṣṇa is God. There is no different role. The role is the same. Five thousand years Kṛṣṇa said that "I am the supreme authority. There is no more superior authority than Me." Still He is so. So we are simply attempting to introduce Kṛṣṇa. Nobody attempted. Although five thousand years past, nobody attempted to introduce the supreme authority Kṛṣṇa. We are just trying to introduce following the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He, five hundred years appeared. He is Kṛṣṇa. He wanted that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be spread all over the world.
Kṛṣṇa is not for India. He is for everyone because He is God. He claims that "I am the seed-giving father for all living entities." Not only the human society, but also other living entities like the aquatics, the insects, the plants, and the animals, all living entities. He says, ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]. Everything is there, but this cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or Bhagavad-gītā as it is, was not preached properly. Everyone interpreted Bhagavad-gītā in his own way to satisfy his own whims. We are just trying for the first time to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is, and it is being effective. So it is not a different role. It is the actual role. Nobody tried for it. Therefore Kṛṣṇa was unknown, but we are trying for this for the few years. But because it is reality, it is being accepted. It is being accepted. No attempt was made that. So it is not a new role. The role is already there: to preach. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's vision. He says especially to Indian people,
Indians are meant to do this business for para-upakāra because all over the world they are unaware of Kṛṣṇa. So anyone who is actually Indian, he should attempt to broadcast the message of Bhagavad-gītā and Kṛṣṇa. That is order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
This is paropakāra. They are suffering without any knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. Give them this knowledge. That is para-upakāra, doing welfare activities to others. So that attempt is now being made, and people actually accepting. So it not a new role. The role is already there. Caitanya Mahāprabhu five hundred years told, years before He told it. But the so many swamis and yogis, they came here, they never introduced Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now it is being done and people are accepting, naturally. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So if everyone joins, either Indian, non-Indian, in this movement there will be one religion and there will be peace. Peace will prevail. This is the only way.
jñātvā mam śāntim ṛcchati
This is the way of śānti, understand Kṛṣṇa, that He is the supreme enjoyer, He is the supreme proprietor, and He is the supreme friend for everyone. Accept Kṛṣṇa as your friend, you'll be happy. This is the message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This next question is very closely related to the last question. Question twenty. "What is your view regarding proselytization or preaching? If you are..."
Prabhupāda: It is not proselytization. Proselytization has no meaning. To bring one to the real understanding. Kṛṣṇa says that mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. All living entities are His part and parcel. He claims, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya [Bg. 14.4]. In all forms of life, as many living entities are there, ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ, I am the seed-giving father. So the natural position is that every living entity, not only human being, but also animals, plants, everyone... So why not Indian, American, or Czechoslavakian, everyone is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa? So it not the process of proselytizing to convince the idea. It is actually bringing them to their real position, that they're all part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. It is not artificial proselytization that "You are Christian, now you are Hindu." Or "You are Hindu, now you are Christian." "You are a sweeper, now you are harijana." It is not like that. It is actually bringing him to his own position, part and parcel of God. It is not... Proselytization will not stand. When one comes to the real understanding of his position, then that will continue. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that. Bringing one to the original position. He's in diseased condition, he's thinking otherwise than servant of Kṛṣṇa. Now this movement is trying to bring everyone to the position that he is eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. It is not a rubberstamp proselytization that "You are Hindu, now you are Christian." Or "You are Christian, now are Hindu." So if he does not know what is his position by simply stamping that he is Hindu or Muslim or Christian, what benefit he will derive?
Prabhupāda: If you keep him in the ignorant platform, then what is the benefit of making a Hindu Muslim or Muslim Hindu? That was going on, "holy war," between Christians and the Muslims. Because both of them will die. (chuckles) And they are engaged in holy war. War, but "holy war." "Holy impiety." Artificial change of "ism" will not help. One must know the philosophy of life. One must know what is God. One must learn how to love God. That is real life.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There is one more question, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Question 21. "Are changes visible in Hinduism in its doctrinal content, mode of individual and collective worship as a result of Hinduism's contact with the West?"
Prabhupāda: Yes, they are worshiping... This is... First of all, you must forget that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not Hinduism. It is Vaiṣṇavism. Vaiṣṇava means Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and one who loves Viṣṇu or loves God, he is Vaiṣṇava. So Hinduism is not like that. Present conception of Hinduism, they have got so many demigods. Demigods are there in the Vedas, but demigod worshipers, they are all materialistic persons. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ yajanti anya-devatāḥ [Bg. 7.20]. Those who are worshiper of demigods, they are lusty. Kāmuka. And the kāmuka platform is material world, lusty. Everyone is trying to enjoy sense gratification. So demigod worship is for sense gratification. If you worship Durga, then you pray, "Mother Durga, give me name, fame, wealth, good wife, and so on, so on." Dhanaṁ dehi rūpaṁ dehi rūpavati-bhāryaṁ dehi. Simply demanding for sense gratification. So that is not love of Godhead. That is to select one agent of God and exact from him as much as you can for your sense gratification. That is not recommended in the Vedic religion. Vedic religion, although there are demigods, but the ultimate is oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ. Those who are sūraya, actually advanced, they see to the Viṣṇu paramaṁ padam. Viṣṇor aradhanaṁ param. The worship of Viṣṇu is the supreme worship. So actually everyone should be worshiper of Viṣṇu. And that is Vaiṣṇavism. So Vaiṣṇavism means for everyone or sanātana dharma. That I have already explained. The human.... The living entity is sanātana. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātana [Bg. 15.7]. He is sanātana. God is sanātana. The exchange between God and the living entity is called sanātana-dharma or Vaiṣṇavism. So we are teaching that. We are not teaching Hinduism, Muslimism, Christianism. We are teaching how to love God. That's all. There is no question of proselytization. It is the natural. We are, by nature we are lover of God. Just like father and son. The love is already there. It cannot be extinguished. The father and son may be separated for many, many years, but when they come together the affection immediately revives. So we are teaching that, that we have got eternal relationship with God and revive it. We are embarassed by establishing artificial relationship with my family, country, and society, and so-called religions. These are all artificial. Real relationship, that "God is great and I am His servant," that is real religion. So we are teaching that thing.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is being proved. Otherwise how they are worshiping Kṛṣṇa all over the world?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This question here is "In doctrinal content and mode of individual and collective worship..." Is that to say that in your preaching in the Western countries and your preaching in India, you haven't attempted... In the Western countries where there is so many mlecchas, outcastes, so to speak.
Prabhupāda: That is accepted by Kṛṣṇa. Even one is mleccha. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. So there is no question. That is artificial. One is mleccha or one is brāhmaṇa, but that is artificial. That is skin. But within the skin of the mleccha or the brāhmaṇa the same spirit soul is there. Therefore those who are paṇḍita, those who are learned,
One who is actually learned, he sees the same spirit soul within the brāhmaṇa, within the mleccha, within the cat. (end)
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