Room Conversation
with Reporter

June 4, 1976, Los Angeles
Reporter: I wonder if you can tell me a little bit about your routine. I understand that you only sleep about two or three hours a day. And do you usually sleep during the middle of the daytime as well?
Prabhupada: Yes. Daytime I sleep two hours, and night also two hours.
Reporter: Ah! Two hours at night also.
Prabhupada: Hmm.
Reporter: Does it...? Is it more difficult to do this when you're traveling a lot?
Prabhupada: No. I..., my work is going on. By traveling also, I carry this machine. Dicta..., dictaphone. I dictate, and then my assistants, they write, transcribe, and then it is..., it goes to the Press. In this way my work is.... (noise comes from outside)
Reporter: I'd like to ask one.... Is your role in the Krsna consciousness movement in the United States particularly or worldwide? Ten years ago, when you first came to the United States, did you take a very active role in the organization, and I'm wondering whether you do much of that now?
Prabhupada: No, although the volume of work has.... [break] ...a hundred times, but these American disciples, they are helping me, so I haven't got to work personally so much. I simply give the instruction and they carry out, but the work has increased voluminously, there's no doubt it. I came here alone in 1965 without any help practically. Where to live, where to sleep, there was no destination. Sometimes some friend's house, sometimes some friend's house, practically loitering on the street. And in this way were passed more than one year. I arrived here in 1965 in September, end of September, 17th of September, in Boston. Hm. Is it Boston?
Devotee (1): Yes, Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Yes. Then, in Boston, I stayed on the sea, on the only, but I saw the Boston city. Then I was brought to New York. So I had one friend in Butler, Pennsylvania. Hm. After my arrival, I was received by some representative of my host. So he took me to Butler, and there I stayed for twenty days. Then I came to New York. [break] One (indistinct), one Dr. Misra, so that is the beginning of my life in New York. Then struggling, then gradually, when these boys came to me, I got some relief. And in this way, we are propagating, opening branches, and the movement is going forward.
Reporter: Are there many decisions that people asked you to make, about whether the movement should do this, or should do that, or do they bother you of that now, or are you just busy writing and translating?
Prabhupada: No, we do not accept anywhat is called?defective suggestion. We do not accept. We have got our program. This program is coming directly from Krsna. The Bhagavad-gita is there.
Reporter: OK.
Prabhupada: So we are simply giving a practical set(?) of the instruction of Gita. This is our business. We don't manufacture any imaginative thing.
Ramesvara: His idea.... His question, Prabhupada, is also, suppose someone wants to buy a farm or wants to do some new project. Do they ask your permission first?
Prabhupada: Yes. The whole society is going on under my direction. Whatever they do, they take my permission and they put into (indistinct). Nothing is allowed without my permission.
Reporter: I wonder if you might have any opinions on some of the leaders of cults and groups in the United States, such as the Divine Light Mission, or the T.M. and so forth. I'm wondering if you have any opinions on Guru Maharaj-ji or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Prabhupada: There are different groups. I know that. But I do not go in detail to understand them. But our..., we have got a crucial test. That anyone who is..., does not know about Krsna, he is put into four different types of categories as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. One category is that he is sinful. Another category is that he is rascal. Another category is that he's lowest of the mankind. Another category is that his so-called knowledge is taken away by illusory energy. So this is our test. That is stated in Bhagavad-gita, that
Anyone who is not talking about God, he is either of these group: sinful, rascal, lowest of the mankind, and knowledge taken away by illusion. This is our conclusion, and that's a fact. Because a person who does not know about God, what he is? He is animal. The animal has no knowledge about God. But a human being, if he poses himself to be very learned, then he must have knowledge about God, otherwise what is his knowledge?
Reporter: Do you have any opinion about Ted Patrick, who I guess you've probably heard of?
Prabhupada: I, I do not care to read these persons. But I have no business, because we are strictly following Krsna, our signboard is Krsna consciousness. So anyone who does not know anything about Krsna, we reject him immediately. That's all, simple business.
Reporter: Is the only way to know Krsna through the Krsna consciousness movement?
Prabhupada: Yes. Certainly. If you want to know me, then you must know about me from me. You can not speculate about me. If you speculate that "Swamiji is so rich," or "Swami might have so much bank balance also," or.... This is all speculation. But when I say that my bank balance is such and such, that is right knowledge.
Reporter: I didn't understand you.
Prabhupada: That suppose if you are speculating what may be the Swamiji's strength of bank balance. So how you can know it by speculation? But if I say that my bank balance is such and such, than you can understand what is bank balance. So by speculative knowledge you can not understand God. When God says what He is, then you can understand.
Reporter: Do you feel also that if someone read the Bhagava...? I can't pronounce it...
Ramesvara: Bhagavad-gita.
Reporter: ...Bhagavad-gita and other books, that a person merely by reading these could attain knowledge of Krsna?
Prabhupada: Yes. Why not?
Reporter: Would that person have to have contact with you and learn from you also?
Prabhupada: Yes, it is explained, there is no difficulty. But if there is difficulty to understand, then we have to approach a person who has understood Bhagavad-gita. Otherwise the language is very plain, there is no difficulty. Unfortunately they bring their own interpretation and spoil the whole thing.
Reporter: Ah...?
Prabhupada: Otherwise where is the difficulty? Just like the beginning of Bhagavad-gita it is said,
The beginning of Bhagavad-gita is the battlefield, and the battlefield is called Kuruksetra. So Kuruksetra is still there in India, but these so-called learned scholars, politicians, they're squeezing out some meaning out of Kuruksetra. What is the necessity? Kuruksetra is a place where actually, historically the battle took place. (Reporter changes cassette of tape recorder) [break]
Ramesvara: ...culture
Prabhupada: Yes. Attentive.
Reporter: You don't see any slowing down of the impact of...
Prabhupada: No. It can be slowed down unless we spoil it.
Reporter: Is there anyone who is designated to succeed you as the primary teacher of the movement?
Prabhupada: I am training some, I mean to say, advanced students so that they may be very easily take up the charge. I have made them GBC. They are under my direct training, and I think they will be able to conduct this movement.
Reporter: Do you expect to name one person as your successor or have you already?
Prabhupada: That I am not contemplating now. But there is no need of one person. As other things are managed, but by committee, so this can also be managed, and the committee may elect one person as chief. As, just like in the democracy there are senators and there is president, so it may be I may nominate or they can nominate.
Reporter: Do you feel are you in good health now? You look it.
Prabhupada: Yes. After all, of course I am some eighty, eighty years old. And I complete eighty years next September. So the age is there, although I am feeling not aged by..., the effect of age must be there.
Reporter: I didn't understand that.
Ramesvara: He says although.... Prabhupada says although he's not feeling aged, the effect of age is there.
Reporter: When I interviewed you perhaps five or six years ago, it was before there were reports of the astronauts landing on the moon, and I asked you at that time if you thought, what you thought about it, and you said that, as I recall, that they would not be able to land or explore, because spirits or creatures that lived on the moon would not allow it. The reports of course said that indeed people did land and explore and return safely. I understand you have further thoughts about that (laughter) and you've even written a lot about it. I wonder if you could tell me, not at great length perhaps, but what your belief about those events is.
Prabhupada: Yes. From the.... That question I was discussing the other day. In the common sense, gross sense, that all over the world, they accept Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in this way Saturday last. So why these arrangement? Sunday first and Monday second, and nobody could reply it. But as a layman I can conclude that Sun planet is first and the moon planet is next. So if you cannot go to the sun planet, which is ninety-three million miles away, how you can go to the moon planet within four days? Nobody could answer me. Can you answer?
Reporter: Well, I don't think it's worth the answer now, but I'm wondering what your response is.
Prabhupada: But this is the arrangement all over the world. Sunday first, Monday second, then Tuesday. So Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, in this way. Last Saturn. This is the arrangement of the planets. So if this is the arrangement of the planets, moonday next to..., moon next to sun, and if you cannot go to the sun, how can you go to the moon?
Reporter: Do you, in other words, do you believe that astronauts landed somewhere?
Prabhupada: That is next question. First of all, whether you actually went to the moon, that is the first question. You have to conclude that you did not, because the sun planet is first, the moon planet is second. You cannot go to the sun planet, ninety-three millions of miles, how can you go to the moon planet?
Reporter: Well, except that...
Prabhupada: According to our sastra, the moon planet is above the sun planet, and the distance is 1,600,000 miles. So accepting that the sun is 93,000,000 miles away, then you add another 1,600,000, almost 2,000,000, it becomes 15,000,000 miles away. So if you go at the speed of 18,000 miles per hour, it takes more than 6 months. So how you go there in 4 days? And you advertise in the paper: "Now, they have reached." After 4 days.
Ramesvara: They don't accept that the moon is further away.
Prabhupada: They don't accept, that is another thing, but we have got this information. How we can accept it?
Reporter: I didn't understand that last.
Ramesvara: I said to Prabhupada that the modern man believes that the moon is closer, but Prabhupada said, "But our ancient literatures teach that the moon is further away." So since we have that information, how can we accept the version of the modern scientists?
Reporter: Hm hm.
Ramesvara: We've got...
Prabhupada: Not only that. Why this arrangement that Monday and, Sunday first, Monday second?
Reporter: Well, that doesn't necessarily speak of distance.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Reporter: It doesn't necessarily speak of distance.
Prabhupada: That.... Distance may not be, but you have to accept the sun planet first, moon planet next.
Reporter: Er...
Prabhupada: Distance is not the question.
Reporter: OK.
Prabhupada: Why this arrangement: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday? There is some system. The system is, just like first, second, third, fourth. So it is naturally concluded the moon planet is next to the sun planet.
Reporter: Do you feelmaybe you answered this, but I didn't understand the answerdo you feel that astronauts did land somewhere, but it was some other planet?
Prabhupada: That may be. Or it may not be also.
Tamala Krsna: What about that sometimes people ask us what about the pictures of man on the moon?
Ramesvara: They show man in a spacesuit walking on some other planet.
Prabhupada: That is also, what is called, argumentative. Somebody says it is arbitrary arrangement.
Reporter: Hm. Laboratory.
Prabhupada: Of course, we do not go into the details of this. My question is that why Sunday first and Monday second? Nobody can apli..., replies.
Ramesvara: Prabhupada once also argued that the dust, the dirt that they brought back, it did not reflect any light, but the moon is always reflecting light. So it was a different substance than what must be on the moon surface.
Prabhupada: Now, according to our Vedic scripture, Moon is one of the heavenly planets.
Reporter: Are there any other Vedic scriptures that you believe speak to a situation that is greatly misunderstood today besides this?
Prabhupada: No. Vedic understanding means there is no different Vedic version.
Reporter: But do people, say another example where what you hold is very different from what the rest of society holds, is there something else that would be...
Prabhupada: No. Why...
Ramesvara: No, he means, Prabhupada, that just like modern man is thinking that they went to the moon, and our Vedic scripture says they didn't, so he's asking are there any other controversies, just like reincarnation, transmigration...
Prabhupada: No, so far Vedic students are concerned, there are no controversies.
Ramesvara: But from what the modern man believes there may be some differences.
Prabhupada: Modern man believes, that's all right, but...
Ramesvara: That's what his question is.
Prabhupada: Our, our basic knowledge is on the Vedic principle. That whatever.... Just like we are explaining now, veda-vihito dharmah. We have to understand everything from the Vedas, from this Vedic knowledge. So anything which does not speak acc.... in terms of the Vedic formula, we do not accept such knowledge as valid.
Reporter: OK.
Prabhupada: But practically you are seeing that. But...
Reporter: Would you accept conclusions from science that..., only if it agreed with the Vedic scriptures?
Prabhupada: First of all.... As you say science. What do you mean by science? Can you explain?
Reporter: Well, what the..., the best conclusions of the best people in science.
Prabhupada: Yes. That's all right, but what is the best conclusion?
Reporter: Well, rely on their opinions.
Prabhupada: That is opinion, the opinion is changing. How you can rely? That is not fixed up. So what is this opinion, what is the value of this opinion?
Reporter: Well...
Prabhupada: You give some opinion, and after some years you change it. So what is the.... How can I rely on your opinion?
Reporter: Would Darwin's theory of evolution and other evolutionary theories...
Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. If it is being changed every year or every ten years, then what is the value of this opinion? There is no value.
Reporter: Well, but religious thought in India has changed over the years too.
Prabhupada: No. Nothing. We do not change. Just like your Bhagav...
Reporter: Well, others ...
Prabhupada: Bhagav...
Reporter: Others change.
Prabhupada: Ah, others may deviate, that's another thing. But the system is not that. You cannot deviate from the Vedic injunction that if you have to follow the acaryas, just like India is obeying. The mass population or the sane population, they are following the acaryas. Acaryas means great teachers, bona fide teachersperhaps you have heard their name, just like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, Visnu Svami, Lord Caitanya. So they are followed, and they are of the same opinion. Millions of years ago, what was the opinion, and that opinion is still there. Accha, take for Bhagavad-gita. And that is.... Not a single Indian who does not accept Bhagavad-gita as authority. This is besides the foreigners who also take interest so much in Bhagavad-gita. So far Indians are concerned, even some of the Muhammadans, so apart from Muhammadans, those who are claiming as Hindu, they all accept the authority of Bhagavad-gita. So this Bhagavad-gita, they might have changed, but that is not acceptable.
Reporter: I think I covered most questions that I wanted to in the interview. Did you say that somebody would be transcribing?
Ramesvara: Yes, I'm going to arrange to have it transcribed.
Reporter: Because there are a lot of things that I couldn't catch, just because I'm not atuned to hearing you, so a lot of words I did not understand. But...
Ramesvara: I'll arrange for that.
Reporter: OK.
Ramesvara: You'll get it tomorrow.
Reporter: Oh, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
Prabhupada: Thank you. [break]
Ramesvara: Just like there is this one point that the scientists say something which everyone in the world believes, but you are saying something different. So he was very interested...
Prabhupada: No. Ahh.... I...
Reporter: Well the Vedic scriptures say that.
Ramesvara: Yes, the Vedic scriptures...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Ramesvara: ...something different.
Prabhupada: The thing is, that is practical. That scientifics statement given today, and after few days it is changed.
Reporter: Yes.
Prabhupada: Then if I say "What is the value of such statement if you change it?" That is my point. And so far Vedic injunctions are there, you don't change. What was given millions of years ago, that we carry.
Reporter: Thank you very much.
Ramesvara: Thank you, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. (end)

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