Why Do You Need To Study Medicine If All You Need Is A Doctor?

Conversation with His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The greatest authority on the science of bhakti-yoga today and the ever-present spiritual master of the worldwide Hare Krsna movement His divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada clears up different misunderstandings about the movement in a memorable conversation with a mother of one of his disciples. He also points out the defects of the modern educational system and religious sectarianism.



Prabhupāda: The villagers, they have cows and land. That is sufficient for their economic problem. But the industrialists, they are alluring them, "To get more money, come here." So they are going to the cities. And the food production in the village is neglected. And therefore the food grain price is rising. Actually, everyone should be engaged to produce food, but the modern set-up of civilization is that few people are engaged in producing food, and others are eating. They are offering... They are artificially getting money. So they are offering paper, "Here is ten dollars." Although it is a paper, cheating. And they are captivated by cheating. They, they are thinking, "I have got now hundred dollars." What is this hundred dollars? It is paper. So some people are cheating and some people are being cheated. This is the society.

Mother: Yes. But I think one has to be clever enough not to let people cheat you.

Prabhupāda: Clever means that he must stay in his own land. He should not be cheated by the paper and go to the city.

Mother: But we have to teach our young to be able to define between those who cheat and those who..., be able to tell people who...

Prabhupāda: The whole civilization is a plan of cheating others. That's all. And they're all sinful. According to our Vedic understanding, there are four things sinful, pillars of sinful life: illicit sex, unnecessary killing of animals, intoxication and gambling.

Mother: But you can lead a very happy life still, eating...

Prabhupāda: No. Our students are trained in that way.

Mother: There are a lot of very good people in the world.

Prabhupāda: Just see. You can see from your son. They can sit down anywhere. They can lie down. There is no artificial living. They are satisfied with nice foodstuff made from vegetable and milk. And chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, holy name of God.

Mother: I see he's happy. But, you know, he came from a very happy home. So he should be happy, shouldn't he?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Very happy home. Brothers and sisters. And we've all been very happy. And I hope he will remain happy.

Prabhupāda: He's still happier.

Mother: Yes, I can see.

Prabhupāda: He was happy; now he's happier. That is the difference.

Mother: Yes. Oh, I don't think he's happier. (laughter) You are? I didn't think it was possible.

Prabhupāda: You are not happier.

Mother: I didn't think it was possible.

Prabhupāda: Because your son has come here, you may not be happier. But he happier.

Mother: Oh, you're saying this. I'm not saying this. I'm very disappointed that he is not continuing with education. I'm not sorry that... I'm happy for his happiness, wherever he is.

Prabhupāda: But what is the... What is the purpose of education?

Mother: You are a cultured man. You're educated.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Did you not learn...? Who gave you the talent to translate your Vedic scriptures?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Who gave you the talent, father?

Prabhupāda: No, I'm asking that what is the best part of education? So far my school, college education is concerned, that is not being used here.

Mother: Oh, but you're cultured. You in your old age are getting tremendous comfort from being able to read and understand what the world is doing, the goodness of your books, and you have..., you're able to understand the spiritual way of life.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That...

Mother: If you couldn't, if you hadn't been educated, father, well, how would you be able to have...?

Prabhupāda: No, education is required.

Mother: Now, I, I, I don't... I am so happy that my son is happy, truthfully. But I am very distressed... And little boys, don't laugh because this is serious. Um. I am very distressed that none of these boys continue their education. What is going to happen to them when they are like you, when they're older, they have no talents?

Prabhupāda: But your educational system, in the western countries, the, you have got big, big universities. Why the university students becoming hippies?

Mother: Oh, well, there're always a certain amount becoming hippies, in America, anywhere. But we must...

Prabhupāda: No...

Mother: But we must develop...

Prabhupāda: I think the college students university students, they're all hippies.

Mother: Yes, but we must develop the good ones that have talent. We must develop them. You have the power to give these boys...

Prabhupāda: I mean to say that if the chance of education is there... In India there is no such big, big universities, facilities, but in your western countries you have got nice universities, nice teaching system. Why the result is hippie?

Mother: Oh, but you... We're talking of you. You have got the power. But people follow you because they believe in you. So you have the power to educate them. And you're not hippies, are you?

Prabhupāda: My point is that this simple, this education for eating, sleeping, mating and defending, this sort of education will not satisfy.

Mother: Well, you're educated, you see.

Prabhupāda: No, I am educated.

Mother: Yes, but how many of these are?

Prabhupāda: But I am not educated only on this platform, eating, sleeping and sex life and defense. I am educated in a different platform.

Mother: But you, aren't you translating your books still?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that's all right.

Mother: Isn't that a great joy, a great joy to you?

Prabhupāda: That's... For translating of books it does not require... Of course, it requires when the purport of the translation is given. Otherwise,... Real thing is culture. That education is culture. Simply money-making education for maintaining this body, that education will not satisfy any more. Just like I told you, that despite all arrangements of education, why the young men are turning to be hippies? That is my question.

Mother: Oh, but not your followers. Your followers are not being hippies, people who follow you. Therefore you've got the people who you could help to become cultured like you.

Prabhupāda: So my father educated me in a different way. Therefore I have come to this stage. My father never allowed me even to drink tea.

Mother: Well, I'm disappointed in you. I came to see you because I felt that, being so cultured, you would want all your boys to have this culture and to have this, to have the best...

Revatīnandana: We've got, we've got this culture.

Mother: Oh, but you haven't, you see. You're all, you're all young boys...

Revatīnandana: No, your culture, your culture we don't have.

Mother: ...but you're not mature yet.

Revatīnandana: But the culture that he has, he's giving to us.

Mother: Yes, but you're not mature. It takes years to become mature. Hurt, pain, happiness, everything together... You find God? Yes, I've found God. We all... I feel very close to God, and I feel very happy. But I would also still wish to be educated. And fortunately, I was given the chance to have an education.

Prabhupāda: Education means to know God.

Mother: And I don't misuse it.

Prabhupāda: That is education. Our Vedic culture, the high class man is called brāhmaṇa.

Mother: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Brāhmaṇa, you know that.

Mother: Brāhmaṇa, yes.

Prabhupāda: So who is a brāhmaṇa? Who knows God, he is called brāhmaṇa. Therefore culmination of education is to understand God. That is education. Otherwise, to get education how to nicely eat, how nicely sleep, how nicely have sex life, and how to defend, this education is there even in the animals. The animals also, they know how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life and how to defend.

Mother: Yes. It seems to worry you, this sex life. I mean, we, we don't take...

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. I'm not worried.

Mother: ...any notice if... It fits into its place.

Prabhupāda: This is also necessary. This is also necessary.

Mother: It fits into the place in my life or our life.

Prabhupāda: No, no. This is also necessary.

Mother: Yes. It doesn't worry us at all.

Prabhupāda: But these four type of branches of education is not sufficient for human being. A human being, above all this education, must have the knowledge how to love God. And that is perfection of life.

Mother: Yeah, well, Michael was taught that when he was very small. The Jesuits saw to that.

Prabhupāda: That is perfection.

Mother: The Jesuits certainly did.

Prabhupāda: So to understand God or how to love God, there is religious system. In every civilized human society, it doesn't matter whether it is Christianity or Hinduism or Mohammedanism or Buddhism, the aim, religious system is there in human society besides the education of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That is there in the animal society. So a human being is distinct from the animal when he has education how to understand God and how to love Him. That is perfection.

Mother: Well, you've got a good tape there now, haven't you?

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Mother: You've got a good tape there now. Yes.

Prabhupāda: So that is now wanting. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not depriving people of their education. You get education how to eat, how to sleep, and that's all right. But side by side, you take education how to know God and how to love Him. That is our proposition.

Mother: Yes. I agree with you.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Yes, I agree with you every time.

Prabhupāda: We don't say that you stop all this education. No.

Mother: No, I don't agree with you there. No, father, no, no. No, no.

Prabhupāda: We don't say.

Mother: No, I think they must...

Prabhupāda: You can go on with your industries. You can go on with your university. But side by side, you become competent to know what is God and how to love Him. Then your life is perfect.

Mother: I could mention a lot of names that (are) still very close to God and brilliant men in science... Where would we be without our scientists, without our doctors, medicine? They all have to go to university and get a degree before they...

Prabhupāda: That I say. You get.

Mother: Yes, but we need them.

Prabhupāda: You get.

Mother: Yes, well, the some of your boys could be doctors.

Prabhupāda: But simply to becoming doctor at a medical science will not save me. Unfortunately, they do not believe in the next life.

Mother: Oh, yes they do. I go to... I had a doctor who came to church—and Michael knows him—every Sunday, a very good man.

Prabhupāda: Mostly. I have spoken with many educated persons. In Moscow I was talking with Professor Kotofsky. He said, "Swamiji, after finishing this body, everything is finished." But he's a big professor. Generally, even they do believe next life, they do not believe it very seriously. If we actually believe there is next life, then we must be prepared: "What kind of next life I am going to have?"

Mother: Yes, well, father...

Prabhupāda: Because there are eight million, four hundred thousand forms of life. The trees are also life, the cats and dogs, they are also life. And ther


" I have asked this question to so many people, that "Why you are killing although it is prohibited, 'Thou shall not kill.'?" They cannot give me any satisfactory answer."
" I have asked this question to so many people, that "Why you are killing although it is prohibited, 'Thou shall not kill.'?" They cannot give me any satisfactory answer."

higher planetary systems. They are also life. The worm in the stool, that is also life. So, calculating all of them, there are 8,400,000 species of life. So if I am going to have next life... Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. We have to change this body to another body. So our concern should be "What kind of body I am going to get next?"

Mother: I agree for some people to, you especially, to think of this because you are a leader of your Vedic religion. But for everybody to do that, where would we be? We couldn't all sit down and think all the time.

Prabhupāda: But where is that education?

Mother: But we... You can also work and think.

Prabhupāda: No, I mean to say, where is that education in the university to prepare the student for the next life?

Mother: Oh, but he must fit it in.

Jesuit Priest: All the Catholic Universities all over the world are doing it. That's our main purpose, is to teach the young man and the young girl the success in this world, but above all,...

Prabhupāda: Then the next question...

Jesuit Priest: the success in the next, which means union with God for eternity. That's top priority. And following Christ's words, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God," then all the other things are of very minor importance. It's closeness to God and return to be one with the Beatific Vision in heaven. That's the top priority, that's our aim in education, and that's what Michael was taught when he was at Sunnyhurst. And that he does well and gets a degree, yes, very good thing. He could be a doctor or an architect or a leader in commerce, what have you, of which all of which are essential for the well-being of the world. This time last year I was dead. I was picked up as unconscious in the corridor, and the doctors said that I had experienced... I was as near death as makes no difference. Well, if it hadn't been for the skill of the man that...

Prabhupāda: So...

Jesuit Priest: ...looked after me, I wouldn't be here this afternoon.

Prabhupāda: So next life, how it will be ascertained? What kind of body I am going to next life?

Jesuit Priest: I don't think it matters very much. I couldn't care less what's happening after I'm dead. All I know, there's not annihilation. I'm going to be joined with almighty God.

Prabhupāda: No, it cannot be blind.

Mother: We're going to almighty God. That's all.

Jesuit Priest: Not that I want another life.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Mother: We're going to almighty God when we die. We don't have to worry.

Jesuit Priest: That's in his hands.

Prabhupāda: So what is the qualification?

Mother: We know. We...

Prabhupāda: Everybody is going to God?

Mother: Yes. Everybody who believes in God. Yes. And leads a good life, does their best in this world, and that is truth for me.

Prabhupāda: Then the question comes: What is the good life?

Jesuit Priest: Obeying the commandments of God.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So if the commandment is "Thou shalt not kill," if somebody kills, so that is good life?

Jesuit Priest: No, no, no. Father, you're being a bit unfair. It isn't... Interpretation, "Thou shalt not kill," thou shalt not unjustly take away life. If a man walks in this afternoon through those bushes with a revolver, I have every right... I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but I have every right to defend myself against that unjust aggressor. And if I kill him...

Prabhupāda: Yes, you can, you can protect yourself...

Jesuit Priest: ...that is justified.

Mother: Yes.

Prabhupāda: ...from the aggressor, but when you kill innocent animal, what is the reason?

Jesuit Priest: Oh, well then... Yes. Well, again, that's got to be interpreted. We wouldn't be able to... What foo... How would we live on food? How do we live if we don't eat?

Prabhupāda: How we are living?

Jesuit Priest: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: How we are living?

Jesuit Priest: Well, I don't know...

Prabhupāda: We don't kill animals.

Jesuit Priest: I don't know what your food is, but...

Mother: No, but you have a vegetarian diet...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: ...which is...

Jesuit Priest: Well, all right.

Mother: A lot of people have that.

Prabhupāda: But that is not killing.

Jesuit Priest: No, but... By, fa..., er, look at it this way. You've just said a few minutes ago there are eight million different kinds of life. Would you agree that the potato, the cabbage...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: ...and what have you also has a life?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Because there's vegetative life, there's sensitive life, there's rational life...

Prabhupāda: That's all right.

Jesuit Priest: :...there's supernatural life, and there's a life of God.

Prabhupāda: Yes

Jesuit Priest: All right. And therefore—I'm not being facetious—when you boil those potatoes, you are taking away the life of that potato.

Prabhupāda: So what is your philosophy? That you can take any life?

Jesuit Priest: But you said, "Thou shall not kill."

Prabhupāda: No, no. Yes. "Thou shall not kill." That's all right.

Jesuit Priest: But you kill the potato.

Prabhupāda: Now, suppose there is potato and there is your child. So would you like to kill your child in preference of potato?

Mother: No, no.

Jesuit Priest: You've not answered my question.

Prabhupāda: Why this discrimination?

Jesuit Priest: Why you've not answered my question?

Prabhupāda: Yes, I am answering you, that you are to kill, but you have to discriminate what kind of killing you shall do.

Jesuit Priest: Well, I've just said that. I gave the example of the chap who comes to you with a revolver. I can maybe protect myself. You said... You're implying...

Prabhupāda: No, no. When somebody comes with a revolver, you defend. That is another thing. But if somebody's innocent, why you should kill?

Jesuit Priest: And I say I shouldn't. God said, "Thou shalt not kill."

Prabhupāda: Then why you are killing animals?

Jesuit Priest: Well, you're doing it when you eat your potatoes.

Prabhupāda: No, the potato is not animal.

Jesuit Priest: It's a vegetable, life.

Prabhupāda: No.

Jesuit Priest: It starts with a little tiny seed. That's life.

Prabhupāda: No, no, no.

Jesuit Priest: It grows.

Prabhupāda: Potato is not animal. It is fruit.

Jesuit Priest: Is that tree alive?

Prabhupāda: It is a fruit.

Jesuit Priest: Is that tree alive?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Has it got life?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Are you doing anything wrong when you cut it down...?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: provide...?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: provide...?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes, yes.

Jesuit Priest: You are doing something wrong?

Prabhupāda: We don't cut down trees unnecessarily. Unnecessarily.

Jesuit Priest: No, but, but, uh, but, uh, but, uh... I don't kill...

Prabhupāda: No. But the... I have asked this question to so many people, that "Why you are killing although it is prohibited, 'Thou shall not kill.'?" They cannot give me any satisfactory answer.

Jesuit Priest: Well, I think I've given you one. I'm just thinking in a way...

Prabhupāda: Innocent animal killing and taking a potato from the tree, you are making equalized. It is not very...

Jesuit Priest: Oh, no, I'm not (indistinct) and saying. All I'm saying is if you're logical and accept different...

Prabhupāda: This is logical. Now...

Jesuit Priest: ...kinds of life.

Prabhupāda: I have to live. We agree that we have to live by eating another living entity. Jivo jīvasya jīvanam. But if I eat this grass, taken some grass, and if I eat some animal, do you think they are equal?

Jesuit Priest: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Equal? Then why don't you kill your child, own child?

Jesuit Priest: Because there's a, I mean, a... That's, that's... Logical. I just tried to show you the difference between...

Prabhupāda: Now, we don't agree that...

Jesuit Priest: ...vegetative life, sensitive life and rational life.

Prabhupāda: ... that innocent... That... That's all right.

Revatīnandana: Rational? Animals have got rationality.

Jesuit Priest: No they haven't. Omnia animalia intelectu carent.(?) (Latin)

Revatīnandana: Even your...

Jesuit Priest: This is bringing out exactly...

Revatīnandana: Even your own psychologists will display to you rational life in the monkeys.

Jesuit Priest: No, no.

Revatīnandana: And so many other animals. Rats.

Jesuit Priest: No.

Revatīnandana: They make rational decisions.

Jesuit Priest: No they don't.

Revatīnandana: Oh?

Jesuit Priest: Well, I mean it's been accepted. ...

Revatīnandana: Your own psychologists will display that to you.

Jesuit Priest: Well, all I can say is it's been accepted in the teaching of not many western philosophers...

Revatīnandana: Not eastern philosophers.

Jesuit Priest: But all eastern philosophers... Omnia animalia intellectu carent.(?) (Latin) And now, as Mrs. Christie just said, if you've done a bit of study...

Prabhupāda: So because, because some animal is not intelligent, you are right to kill?

Jesuit Priest: No, no, no. We're not talking about killing. He, his theme now, that there's no difference between us and the dog.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Yes.

Revatīnandana: You're more intelligent than a dog—to some degree.

Prabhupāda: No, if...

Jesuit Priest: So in other words, if we are, all of us here...

Prabhupāda: Even the animal is not intelligent, you cannot kill. Because your child is also not intelligent, so that does not mean you can kill your child.

Jesuit Priest: Oh, but nobody, I'd, nobody'd, nobody'd, master, nobody'd for one second would think about killing a child.

Prabhupāda: No, no. That is not a very good reasoning, that because the animal is not intelligent, they may be killed. That is not very good reason.

Jesuit Priest: Oh, no, that isn't the reason. That isn't the reason why we kill it. We kill the animal because we need it for a means of living.

Prabhupāda: No...

Jesuit Priest: As food.

Prabhupāda: You need it... Just like if you can get nice fruits, grains, milk, why do you need animal? You have to eat. You have to eat and live. Not to kill. Similarly, that if you can get nice foodstuff from food grains, from fruits, from flowers, from vegetables, from milk, why you should kill the animals?

Mother: Well, a lot of people now are going over to health foods.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Mother: This is thought of by a lot of people.

Prabhupāda: Well, lot of people may do anything.

Mother: I agree with you. Yes...

Prabhupāda: But a reasonable man, a religious man, he should have discrimination, that "If I get my foodstuff from here, why shall I kill a big animal?"

Mother: Well, it's not... I always think it's not for me to condemn people, whatever they do. All I ask for in life is... I'm not condemning you, but uh...

Prabhupāda: No, we are thinking in that way. It is all right that we have to eat some living entity, but a difference... If we can get... Besides that, when you get the grains, it is not actually killing. When you get the fruits, I am getting these fruits from the tree. It is not killing. The fruits are there. I take it. It falls down. I take it. The grains also. It is not killing.

Mother: Well, I think... No, well, I don't think we're really worried about whether we kill or you...

Prabhupāda: So similarly, if I take milk from the cows, that is also cow's blood, but I don't kill it. So if I can live in such nice way, without killing, I get the fruits and flowers and the milk and the grains, why should I kill the animals?

Mother: There're a tremendous number of people being vegetarians today.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: You're not the only people. I mean, a lot of people just have, yes, they do...

Prabhupāda: That is nice. That is nice, very nice. They should be vegetarian.

Mother: ...but we don't condemn people who do.

Prabhupāda: That will make them less sinful. And that will qualify them to go back to home, back to Godhead. If they remain sinful, they cannot go.

Jesuit Priest: Would you say that because we—and I talk about myself—because I have meat and bacon and so on, I am a, does that make me sinful? If I didn't eat those, I would be less sinful?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. That is our philosophy.

Jesuit Priest: So if I give up eating meat and bacon and sausages and things, I'll suddenly become a different person.

Prabhupāda: Then you become pure. You become pure.

Revatīnandana: Yes. Yes.

Jesuit Priest: That's very interesting.

Revatīnandana: I just met a gentleman who told me exactly that. Just a few min... He's a businessman here in London. He's about forty years old. And three months ago, he decided, because he learned, heard this from us, he decided to become a vegetarian. And a few weeks later, I talked to him. He said, "You know, it's amazing the difference in my consciousness." He says, "I have become a completely different man." Yeah, he told me that.

Prabhupāda: Well, yes...

Revatīnandana: And he's a very intelligent man. He's in the Mensa Society.

Prabhupāda: In the Vedic literature it is said the animal killers cannot understand God.

Mother: Well, this is very good, sir, that you find this, and I say, this is not my argument... Yes. Hmmm.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Not practical also. I have seen the animal killers. They do not understand what is God. That is a fact. Neither they have got brain to understand it.

Mother: But you don't need brain if you're not going to study or to do anything further. If you just sit and sleep like...

Prabhupāda: No, we are studying. Because we are preaching, we are studying that. The animal eaters, they cannot have any conception of God. The brain is so dull.

Mother: What about your children? Where do they? Do they go to school?

Prabhupāda: Why not.

Mother: Are they edu...? Do they go to schools, your children?

Prabhupāda: They have now grown up. My grandsons are going to school.

Mother: Well, I didn't mean yours in particular. I'm talking now of all of you. I'm not talking of you particularly. I'm talking of all of you. All your children, the married devotees...?

Prabhupāda: Yes, our children, we have got our own school. All these boys, they have got their children. They are gṛhasthas, householders. So we have got our nice school at Dallas, very big school.

Mother: But you have got a school, a Kṛṣṇa school?

Prabhupāda: Yes, oh, yes.

Mother: And now, how...? Do they go through college?

Prabhupāda: They are now little children. But we don't wish to send them to college. We have got sufficient books.

Mother: So you'll cut off their education like that?

Prabhupāda: What is this nonsense education?

Revatīnandana: No, no.

Mother: Now, do you think that's not cruel to them?

Prabhupāda: We don't care for this...

Revatīnandana: We cut off your education, and we take education from the Vedas and from our spiritual master. We learn how to read, how to write, how to handle numbers sufficiently, and whatever we need practically for our work. And we learn the science of God from our spiritual master. And we find that sufficient for us. We haven't got to spend extra time and many extra years irrelevant subjects that are never going to relate to our practical life or to our God conscious life.

Jesuit Priest: But you're depending on other people, then, to do the other side of your life for you.

Prabhupāda: We are not depending on anyone.

Jesuit Priest: Well, what happens when suddenly one of you gets, very ill tomorrow morning?

Prabhupāda: Eh? What is that?

Jesuit Priest: What happens if somebody gets very ill tomorrow morning?

Prabhupāda: So we give them medicine.

Mother: You call the doctor.

Jesuit Priest: No, you call the doctor, don't you?

Prabhupāda: So we pay for that.

Jesuit Priest: I know, but you call him, don't you? You want him to be, you want the doctor in existence.

Prabhupāda: So does it mean to say that because we require necessary, we have to take education of medical man?

Mother: But you don't train people to be medical men.

Prabhupāda: No, first of all, if we can get it easily...

Mother: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Our training is... First of all, try to understand. We... Just like you have got four divisions in the body for maintaining the body. So the head division, the arm division, the belly division, and the leg division. The leg is doing its own work, walking. The hand is doing its own work. And the belly's doing its own work. And the brain is doing own work. It does not mean that when the brain is work, it does not require the help of the leg. But a brain does not require to learn the business of the leg. This is the idea. The brain requires the help of the leg. But does not mean that brain has to learn how to walk also.

Mother: Well, I'm a nurse, and so that is why I would like...

Prabhupāda: So there must be division of work. So you take from... When there is necessity of brain work, you take help from him. And when there is need of the walking, take leg, help from the leg. It is a cooperation. Not that everyone has to learn everything.

Mother: Yes. Well, as I say...

Prabhupāda: It does not...

Mother: I myself did a training. I became a nurse.

Prabhupāda: You are asking us "Why you are not taking medical education?" Why we shall take?

Mother: Because if everybody...

Prabhupāda: No, there is no necessity. If the... If I can pay, I can get the help of a medical man, why should I waste my time in that way? Let me...

Mother: You think? Ah, but you should be self-supporting. You should be...

Prabhupāda: Let me engage my time for understanding God.

Mother: You should be self-supporting in that way.

Prabhupāda: Self-supporting. We are self-supporting. Just like... I have given the example. The body, the social body... You can take of this body. There are four divisions: the head division, the arm division, the belly division, and the leg division. So belly is doing the work of the belly, stomach. The leg is walking. The hand is doing, defending, and the head and the brain is giving instruction to everyone. This is cooperation. So that is Vedic system of civilization. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. There must be divisions of work. Not that everyone has to learn everything.

Mother: No, I don't mean that. You're misunderstanding me.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. Then your question is replied. When I need the help of a medical man, I go to the medical man.

Mother: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So what is the wrong there?

Mother: Well, what I'm saying to you is that...

Prabhupāda: No, what is the wrong? You find.

Mother: can love God and be near God and train to be a medical man. Why don't you let some of your boys be trained to be medical men? Why do you say no?

Prabhupāda: But again you are putting the same question. We are training them for the brain, and you are asking me that "Why don't you train them for the leg?" That is your question.

Mother: But they can still love God. They can still work for God at the same time.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Why you are asking this brain to learn how to walk? Why you are asking this odd question?

Mother: Well, my brain works and I also, if there was a war tomorrow, I could go and be a nurse and look after the sick...

Prabhupāda: That's all right. That's all right.

Mother: ...and still be with God.

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained. There are four divisions. So one division can take help of the other division. That is another thing. But you are asking that, "You are simply interested in brain. Why not for the leg?" But we are interested. But not in that way. When we can see that I can pay for the medical man and I can get the help, why shall I waste my time to become a medical man.

Mother: I think it's so sad to see a lot of very good...

Prabhupāda: No, no. Just, just try to understand this point.

Mother: ...young men becoming cabbages.

Prabhupāda: They're misunderstanding. Yes. When I can get... Just like here is father. He's trained up how to preach. He's not a medical man. But he doesn't require to learn the medical science.

Mother: No, but I didn't ask you to be a doctor. I said some of your boys.

Prabhupāda: Why... Why you are asking? My boys are the same.

Revatīnandana: Which ones? Which ones of us should become doctors here?

Mother: Well, all, all, all...

Revatīnandana: Supposing they all want to be preachers. Do you go to your seminaries and take one boy from each class to become a doctor?

Mother: Yes, well, if you had an epidemic of smallpox...

Revatīnandana: No. No, no.

Mother: ...or typhoid, you... You know what smallpox is like in India.

Prabhupāda: Presupposing. There must be division.

Revatīnandana: Do you go to your seminary and take one boy from each class to become a doctor?

Mother: It'd be no good at all being priest if you had smallpox, would it?

Revatīnandana: So therefore you do that. You go to your seminary and take one boy from each class to be a doctor. By force. "Now, you come..."

Prabhupāda: We are treating them.

Revatīnandana: "...and be a doctor." They all want to be preachers.

Mother: You've got to have balance, balance otherwise. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Balance, this is balance. Let us... You, you take some students and train them as medical man. But I am training to become preachers. Why you interfere with my business? You do your own business.

Mother: Well, my son is my business.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So your son, your son is not dependent on you. He's independent.

Mother: Yes, but he was...

Prabhupāda: You want independence. He's already independent of you.

Mother: He was snatched out of the university by your people going round the universities. He was in university.

Prabhupāda: But... That's all right. If some of our student goes to the university... There are many students...

Revatīnandana: Now wait a minute. We didn't snatch Michael.

Prabhupāda: We don't object to that.

Revatīnandana: Michael came to the temple in London, sat down, and didn't want to go away.

Mother: He'd been taking LSD, and he was very sick. And somebody took him in.

Prabhupāda: So,... So when he was taking LSD, what did you do for him?

Revatīnandana: Why was he taking LSD? He had wonderful education, happy home, so many things.

Mother: Well, he was experimenting. Now this is it...

Revatīnandana: So LSD is acknowledged a dangerous thing to experiment with.

Prabhupāda: You like that? You like that?

Mother: Well, he had a false... This was not...

Prabhupāda: When he was taking LSD, did you like that?

Mother: I didn't know, did I?

Prabhupāda: Then?

Mother: Until afterwards, and we found him.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: And this is it.

Prabhupāda: So there must be division for upkeep of the soc... That is missing. At the present moment, there is no division.

Mother: But he had a false religious experience, due to the LSD.

Prabhupāda: No, I am talking generally, not of him, that everything must be, there must be division. Just like naturally we have got division. The whole object is to keep the body fit, but there is division: the head division, the arm division, the stomach division, and the leg division. So similarly, there must be four classes of men in the society: the intelligent class of men, the administrator class of men, the productive class of men, and the laborer class of men. Everything is required. But not that the intelligent class of man has to learn the business of the laborer class of men. That is not required. Just try to understand. The laborer class of men, they are required. But one who is intelligent class, he, he cannot be trained up as laborer, ordinary laborer in the factory. That is mistake. He must work according to his capacity. If he's intelligent, he must be preacher, he must be God conscious. He would educate people that "This eating, sleeping is not all. There is God. You should understand. You have got a relationship with Him. If you want to have better life next, then you must become God conscious, you must be sinless." These things are required in the society. (loud noise of jet going over). What is the use of talking?

Mother: Father, I understand that you have translated ten books.

Prabhupāda: Now again. Again the same question.

Mother: Is it not...?

Prabhupāda: I say that there must be divisions. We are working on certain division.

Mother: Well, tell me about the books you have translated. Are there some more to translate?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mother: Well, one day you will die. Now who will translate them then? Continue the translating?

Prabhupāda: There are many. There are many. They are being trained up. There are many.

Mother: Ah, yes. So people are being trained. Ah. This is what I'm asking you.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Revatīnandana: Well, I explained that to you earlier, that we have our classes.

Prabhupāda: We are training every day.

Mother: But then, this is languages. You've got to, you've got to study languages. You can't just be taught...

Revatīnandana: Yes. So a few of us, so the few of us who have an aptitude for Sanskrit language are studying Sanskrit language.

Prabhupāda: We are teaching Sanskrit, we are teaching English. Especially. Especially we are giving training to our boys to learn simply English and Sanskrit. Then they will be help. By learning Sanskrit, they will be able to read...

Mother: Latin? And...? What...?

Prabhupāda: There is no need of... One language sufficient. English language, practical...

Mother: Ah, but then that is one-sided then, isn't it?

Revatīnandana: Most of us don't even study Sanskrit very much.

Prabhupāda: No. Just like English book. We are translating in German, translating in France, in Spanish...

Mother: But there's a lot of Latin that needs translating too. I mean, you must, you must, you must have a full understanding of everything if you're going to translate.

Prabhupāda: Yes. It will be better. If you also join, then we'll have full understanding. (mother laughs)

Mother: You have a sense of humor.

Jesuit Priest: What language, master, was your books originally written in?

Prabhupāda: Sanskrit.

Jesuit Priest: Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Don't you find it extremely difficult to get the literal meaning from the Sanskrit to the English?

Prabhupāda: No. You may, it may be difficult for you, but...

Jesuit Priest: No, no. I'm just thinking...

Prabhupāda: ...for one who knows Sanskrit, it is not difficult for him.

Jesuit Priest: When I did my studies, we had to do Greek and Hebrew and Latin and, naturally, reading the scriptures in English. But it helped enormously with a background of a little bit of Hebrew. Not very much. But certainly Greek and Latin. You get a much more comprehensive notion of what's in the scriptures.

Prabhupāda: Therefore we are teaching Sanskrit.

Jesuit Priest: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: We are teaching Sanskrit to our students.

Jesuit Priest: Yes, but all I was saying was, isn't it difficult to get across at times what you can see the meaning in the Sanskrit, but you can't put it into acceptable English? You know what I mean. The idiom isn't the same.

Prabhupāda: We are giving every word, meaning. The book... Have you got any book? Bring it. You can see. Each and every word of Sanskrit we are giving meaning. Our mode of presentation is first of all we put the original Sanskrit language in devanāgarī character. Then we give English, Roman transliteration, pronouncing the same word by diacritic mark. Then each word is translated into English. Then we give translation, the whole. And then we give the purport. This is our way. So we are giving meaning of each and every word means we have got considerable knowledge of that word. Otherwise how we can give? Yes.

Jesuit Priest: I was just thinking how difficult it is. I read Latin pretty well. And Greek. And I can see the meaning in the original, in the Greek when it was translated from the Aramaic. Now in your translating you can get a phrase, and if you know the language, you know exactly what it conveys.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit Priest: Put it into English and somehow, some of the meaning has come...

Prabhupāda: Then that exact...

Jesuit Priest: It's like the French. How do you say in..., how do you translate "au revoir"?

Prabhupāda: Otto?

Revatīnandana: He's asking you how to translate a French word, "au revoir."

Jesuit Priest: How do you translate into English?

Prabhupāda: No, no. I'm not translating. The person who knows French language, he translates from our English.

Jesuit Priest: Yes. No, well, I'm only trying to... A very simple question. It's not a question of trying to try anybody. I happened to say or give an example of what I mean. How'd you say in English, "au revoir."

Prabhupāda: Just... Just the... You have seen the... Just show him how it is done. Yes, you can do it.

Revatīnandana: That's all right. Mahādeva, you do it.

Prabhupāda: You see the original Sanskrit.

Mahādeva: Here's the text, here's the original Sanskrit. And we have a Roman transliteration, and then individually, the word meanings.

Jesuit Priest: Oh, I see. I've got it, yes.

Mahādeva: And then a full translation.

Jesuit Priest: Translation. Yes. They're marvelous. Yes. Yes.

Revatīnandana: Actually, most of the Sanskrit, much of that work is done by one of Prabhupāda's disciples now. He handles much of the Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Yes, they are being trained.

Revatīnandana: It's a mechanical process, after all. But the translation, that requires not only knowledge of the language, it requires spiritual realization.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Revatīnandana: And the spiritual translation is done by Prabhupāda. Not just from knowledge of Sanskrit, but from spiritually realized knowledge. That is the qualification to put the meaning into any language. You have to have realized the message.

Jesuit Priest: Oh, I agree. Certainly our, the great, in the western church, all the translations of the Gospels and the Old and New Testament is done by, for the most part, by men who were saints, and, in other words, it wasn't merely their knowledge of the language, but their incredible closeness to God, in everyone of them, Garems(?) and Augustine and all the great men...

Revatīnandana: The most recent translation accepted by the Church of England, in England, was done by Oxford scholars. Saintly men? I know some of them. I don't think they're actually saintly men.

Jesuit Priest: Well, I wouldn't know anything about that.

Revatīnandana: Well, it's the modern... It's accepted by the Church of England and most other Protestant churches in England. It's the new English Bible.

Jesuit Priest: Yes.

Revatīnandana: And it's recommended by all these churches for their followers to read. And it's translated by scholars, Oxford scholars.

Jesuit Priest: Yes. I see. I take your point, that you can have a translation which is purely academic and a translation which is not merely academic, but has a, sort of a spiritual experience behind it.

Revatīnandana: Um-huh.

Jesuit Priest: In fact, I can say, by... I'm a Catholic priest, and by and large, I think our men, who are to, doing the translations are pretty, like, good chaps anyhow.

Revatīnandana: Hmh. So if, if the translators and the knowledge are adequate, then why is it, as Mrs. Christie just pointed out that so many young people are interested instead in false religious experience of LSD?

Jesuit Priest: Well, I wouldn't know. Because, I would say, because there's some kind of inadequacy in their lives. There's something missing, and that, the thing which is missing, is what we in the Catholic Church call the life of grace, the supernatural. Somehow, something's gone wrong somewhere. And so, they, lots of the young people today...

Prabhupāda: That, that I was trying to explain, that nobody can understand God and God's conception, being sinful.

Jesuit Priest: There's a vacuum created, and so they'd rather take it up in...

Mother: It's very extraordinary, though, that every boy that I have spoken to here...

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁpāpam... [Bg. 7.28].

Mother: ...have all taken LSD or drugs of some kind.

Prabhupāda: ...janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām.

Revatīnandana: That was one who hasn't.

Mother: Even your president...

Devotee: I haven't.

Mother: I said...

Revatīnandana: This one, this one...

Mother: The ones I have spoken to. I said the ones I have spoken to. Even your president...

Revatīnandana: And Father Bernard? Father Bernard spent twenty-three years in a Cistercian monastery. He left and came to us right afterwards, and he's never taken LSD.

Jesuit Priest: Who was in a Cistercian monastery?

Revatīnandana: Father Bernard there.

Jesuit Priest: Are you a priest?

Mother: But I say quite a lot of your young people have come to you since they took drugs. I've spoken to... Even your president admitted that he'd taken drugs.

Prabhupāda: There is no restriction for anyone. God is open for everyone.

Mother: But you said... Michael, I said, "Most of the people that I have spoken to." I didn't say "most of the people here." I said, "most of the people..." One person I'd spoken to hadn't, but I can truthfully say that only one hadn't, out of the ones I've spoken to. They have come here... You are... You seem to be able to help the people that have taken drugs so that...

Prabhupāda: That is my duty.

Mother: You've helped them tremendously, and I can see this, but I am so sad that you can't help them to further their education. That's all my, my problem is...

Mahādeva: Prabhupāda was making the point that the purpose of education is to know God.

Mother: Yes, I know. I know. Yes, he has, and I've seen that point.

Prabhupāda: Don't you think this is education?

Mother: Well...

Prabhupāda: This translator work?

Mother: Yes.

Prabhupāda: If we are teaching our boys...

Mother: But you know what I me...

Prabhupāda: ...Sanskrit and English to translate the original Vedic lit..., is it not education?

Mother: Yes, I agree with you. That is education. But I mean a fuller education.

Prabhupāda: You are trying to induce our students to become technologists, medical men. You want that.

Mother: Yes, because the world must have them.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. But our point is that if we can get the help of technologist by paying little money...

Mother: Well, you'd laugh if you were ill and there was no doctor, wouldn't you?

Prabhupāda: ...why should we waste our time?

Mother: If you had acute appendicitis, what would you do?

Devotee: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Mother: Well, you wouldn't. You'd die. I mean... You laugh when I say that. Somebody's got to be a doctor. You're being very childish. Father agrees. There must be doctors.

Revatīnandana: Well, it's good that... In the society we observe there are many, many people becoming doctors. But there are not very many people becoming brāhmaṇas, people who live a sinless life and who learn the science of God and distribute it to the people. There're not very many people...

Jesuit Priest: I think that... I think that... (?)

Revatīnandana: Not very many, not very many people are doing that.

Jesuit Priest: I don't know. I think that that's a gratuitous statement for which you can have no proof.

Revatīnandana: I'm just saying not many people are doing it. How many pe... How many people, compared to the number of medical students in England, how many people are students in religious seminaries?

Jesuit Priest: Well, do you know?

Revatīnandana: No, I'm asking you.

Jesuit Priest: Well, I do. I do. I do know it.

Revatīnandana: So give us a comparison.

Jesuit Priest: Yes. Well, I... We've no problem at all...

Prabhupāda: Now, another thing is...

Jesuit Priest: finding plenty of young men to go along with the principles...

Revatīnandana: Neither have we. And you're teaching them to preach God consciousness.

Jesuit Priest: Yes.

Revatīnandana: And Prabhupāda is teaching us to preach God consciousness.

Jesuit Priest: Yes. Well, I know... I've never questioned that...

Revatīnandana: So there's no necessity, there's no necessity of canvassing amongst the seminaries or here for medical doctors.

Mother: No, no. You've missed the whole point. Mrs. Christie's original statement was, if the young men here went on, not mer..., keep the knowledge and the search for the knowledge and love of God, by all means, but let them go on to develop their knowledge in the world of science, in the world of learning, and thus become leaders in that particular branch with a spiritual motif behind it, and instead of enclosing yourselves inside a circle like this, being able to spread the love of God amongst the tens of thousands of young people in the world. That's all...

Revatīnandana: No. I, I suspect...

Mother: We need it. We need it.

Revatīnandana: I suspect that for the hundred, hundred or hundred and twenty of us in England, I think, for the number of us, I'll bet we're doing more work per man to spread it among the young people than your mission is.

Jesuit Priest: I wouldn't know. You're making this statement. I haven't proof.

Revatīnandana: Well, I know that in almost all of our centers they suddenly happen to be developing a temple like this. We spend every day, from ten o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock at night engaged in preaching work.

Jesuit Priest: I think most of us do, too.

Prabhupāda: Now, in each of our centers we have got minimum fifty heads, maximum two hundred, 250. In Los Angeles, you see... Just we have got recent photograph. Bring the photograph from my room. You can bring. So we are giving them place, we are giving them food, we are giving them education.

Jesuit Priest: Yes.

Prabhupāda: In this way. So we invite anyone, everyone, without any distinction, without any discrimination. He may be Christian, he may be Hindu, he may be Mohammedan. "Come on. Live with us, and learn how to love." That is our mission. We say, according to our Vedic description,

sa vai puṁsāṁparo dharmo

yato bhaktir adhokṣaje

ahaituky apratihatā

yayātmā suprasīdati

 [SB 1.2.6]

If you actually want peace of your mind, then you must try, you must learn how to love God. So our preaching is... It doesn't matter, whatever religion you are following, it doesn't matter. If you have achieved this aim, how to love God, then your system is first-class. That's all. That is our question. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. Bhakti, means love of God. How much you have learned to love God, that much we want to know. We don't say that "You are Christian, you become followers of Hindu rituals or Mohammedan rituals." No. You remain in your position, but just try to love God to the best of your capacity.


Garden Conversation with Mahādeva's Mother and Jesuit Priest -- July 25, 1973, London



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