conversation with HIs Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a member of UNESCO
Prabhupāda: ...suppose the United Nations is the organization of the whole human society, so if I ask the United Nations, as an organization that: "What is the purpose of this cosmic manifestation?" That is a fact. There is a cosmic manifestation. The scientists, they are also trying to understand. So there are so many scientists, philosophers, what is their answer? Suppose I am inquisitive to know something. So where shall I inquire?
Dr. Inger: Now if you were to inquire from... Because the only organization which deals with culture, therefore philosophy, therefore religion, therefore art, therefore music, is UNESCO Paris. Not New York. And if you did put such a question, you would get some kind of reply from one of the directors who says: "We, we... Such a proposal has not been made. But if such a proposal is made, let us say, presented, by any member state, out of the hundred and twenty-six or twenty-seven member states, and it is submitted to the general conference where it meets in session, two years in October, and is passed through, we will be able..." Now usually what happens is one country presents it and if the, and what it means in terms of expense, how much, how many people are going to be invited, and what is going to be the plan. And if that is done, they would say: "Yes, I think such a study has to be made." And it's possible to make it.
Prabhupāda: A sectarian question.
Dr. Inger: No, no, no. It won't be.
Prabhupāda: It is... Why it should be presented to Pārtha-sārathi. Even American representative or English representative or French representative, any representative can do...
Dr. Inger: Because being a governmental organization, the only kind of reply one would get from such a question would be a very polite and courteous one, but it wouldn't have... No action would be taken. Action can only be taken, if it is governmentally presented. That is the only problem. There are many ideas which come forward, boundless ones, but the people need to present them officially. And... [break]
Prabhupāda: ...your position there?
Dr. Inger: Well, now I am a consultant. I used to be a regular member of the staff for a long time. Now I do certain projects for them, and I'm a visiting professor, and I'm a writer, visiting professor at different universities. So I'm connected with, with UNESCO in a way that I can not be now a permanent member of the staff which I was... [break]
Prabhupāda: ...purpose is not to propose only. Because I wish that there are so many scient..., scientific men, philosophers and thoughtful men... Suppose even if I ask you, what is your answer, that what is the purpose...? The cosmic manifestation is there, the universe is there, and there are innumerable planets within this universe, and they are very organizely kept. Everything is nicely going on. The sun is rising in due time. The moon is rising in due time. The seasons, seasons are changing. There is nice organization. So is it not a bona fide inquiry to, "What is the purpose of this organization?"
Dr. Inger: Well, the purpose is to understand oneself in relation to the cosmos.
Dr. Inger: And therefore everything else is valueless if it has no relation to the total.
Prabhupāda: No, relation is already there because, as the sun is part of this cosmos, I'm also one of the parts. So why the sun is made and why I am also made? What is this purpose? That is my question.
Dr. Inger: There's a discovery of...
Prabhupāda: Yes. The relation is already there.
Dr. Inger: The discoveries...
Prabhupāda: Because I am part of this creation. Now why I am created a man, another is created an elephant, another is created Brahmā, another is created ant, another is created...? So many. Why this is?
Dr. Inger: The purpose of life?
Prabhupāda: Yes. I, I, I, I don't think anyone has thought over this matter.
Dr. Inger: It certainly needs to be...
Prabhupāda: But there is. There are so many philosophers, scientists... Why do they not try to think of it? What is this purpose?
Dr. Inger: Well, some have tried to talk about the purpose of existence that we are little entities of no significance. Some... Because...
Prabhupāda: No. My question is why you have become a little entity, another has become big entity?
Dr. Inger: Some people would say that it is due to our past. Past connections or reincarnations.
Dr. Inger: karma.
Prabhupāda: So. Yes, karma...
Dr. Inger: Exactly. What we have gone through. We are the, we are the result of our past actions.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is a fact. That is a fact. Because we get all this information from Vedic literature. Karmaṇā daiva netreṇa [SB 3.31.1]. You understand Sanskrit?
Dr. Inger: Little bit.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Karmaṇā daiva netreṇa jantor deha upapattaye. A living entity is getting body by, as a result of his karma. And supervised by higher authority. Now when we speak of karma, or result of karma, there must be somebody who will judge. Just like one has stolen something, and the magistrate is judging the karma, the criminal activity, and he's putting him either in the prison house or getting him released. "No, he's not culprit." So as soon as we speak of karma, there must be somebody else to judge. And that judgement is said: daiva netreṇa. Daiva means divine supervision. So what is that divine supervision? Next question immediately comes. As soon as you accept karma, and the resultant action, and it is supervised by the divine authority, then next question will be: what is that divine authority? In this way, we have to go forward. So that sort of education is nowhere in the world.
Dr. Inger: No. Not here, in any case.
Prabhupāda: No, here, or India, or everywhere.
Dr. Inger: Yes. Nobody is...
Prabhupāda: So that means people have become so dull in spite of so-called education.
Dr. Inger: That is true.
Prabhupāda: That's, that's my point.
Dr. Inger: Oh yes. Education is merely book knowledge.
Dr. Inger: ...of substance given, read, prepared.
Prabhupāda: That's all.
Dr. Inger: They don't go to the basic.
Prabhupāda: Śrama eva hi kevalam. That is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as simply wasting time. That's all.
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhithaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed ratiṁ yadi
śrama eva hi kevalam
Śrama eva hi kevalam. Everyone is acting. Dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhithaḥ. According to Vedic civilization, there are four divisions of men. brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, and further, spiritual divisions, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. So everyone has got some duty according to his position. So Bhāgavata says that even a person executes his duty very perfectly, but if he does not awaken his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then all that he has done is simply a waste of time. So our point is that the UNESCO, United Nations, UNO, they're simply wasting their time. From practical point of view, they're unable to do anything. Because the original idea was to stop war. But the war is going on, fighting is going on. They could not stop it. And United Nations... But actually they are becoming disunited more and more. Pakistan was not there. You know very well. Lahore was your country. Now it is other's country. So in this way, there cannot be any solution. There cannot be any solution. We must know the central point. The central point is Kṛṣṇa. We get from... I'm not manufacturing these ideas. Bhagavad-gita is recognized book. There it is stated that:
suhṛdaṁ sarva bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
If, actually, anyone wants śānti, peace, he must know these three things: The Lord, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is the enjoyer, bhokta. What is called? Beneficiary? Yes. Because He's the owner. Sarva-loka-maheśvaram. And He's friend of everyone. Suhṛdaṁ-sarva-bhūtānām. Jñātvā, knowing this, mām, Me, Kṛṣṇa says, śāntim ṛcchati, there is śānti. There is śānti. Otherwise, this, this so-called conference, and big, big office, big, big salary, big, big officers, it will never be successful.
Dr. Inger: Quite. And this basis, which is the essence of everything.
Prabhupāda: Three things only.
Dr. Inger: Yes. That is one thing they want to avoid.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is their nonsense.
Dr. Inger: In other words, everything else is a plan or an excuse to escape from yourself.
Prabhupāda: That means it is a association of cheaters and cheated. Somebody wants to cheat and somebody's being cheated. That's all. That is our opinion. So how the association of cheaters and cheated can do anything good to the human society? They're cheaters. They do not know how this peace has to be attained, and they're trying to attain peace in their own way. Therefore they're cheaters. You do not a subject matter, how to do it, and you're trying to do it, that means you are cheater. It may be very strong words, but the fact is there. Why should you try something which you do not know adequately? That is our protest.
Dr. Inger: Well, many people would say that the use of the intellect alone, which is an excuse for not going deep into oneself, is the technique that is used. What can be rationally explained, only rationally explained, is what matters.
Dr. Inger: Anything where, something beyond reason, call it intuition...
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is quite reasonable. When... [break]
Prabhupāda: Everything... In this table, whatever is there, it is created. The table is created. The light is created. Everything is created by somebody. So how I can deny this fact, that somebody has created the whole universe? If you say, "It has comes automatically, dropped," that is rascaldom. It must be accepted somebody has created. So who is that somebody? You have not created. The Americans have not created, the Englishmen have not created, or I have created, you have created, but we can understand that somebody has created. So who will be the proprietor? I shall be proprietor or the creator shall be proprietor? Who shall be the proprietor?
Dr. Inger: Creator. Of course.
Prabhupāda: Creator. So why you are claiming other's property as "my own"? "This is my country. This is my country." And we are so rascal and we are making United Nation.
Dr. Inger: It doesn't belong to anyone.
Prabhupāda: It doesn't belong to anyone. And these rascals are claiming, "This is my. This is my, this is my flag. This is..." Therefore they are all cheaters. And they are combining and trying to cheat other that "How much I can cheat you." "I am American. How much I can cheat you, Russian." Russian thinking, "Yes, I am also cheater. How much I can cheat you." This is going on, cheaters and cheated. And they are wasting their time. Is that civilization, to become cheater and cheated and waste our time in some so-called conferences? Is that civilization, do you think?
Dr. Inger: No. Not at all, but that's exactly as you say.
Prabhupāda: American, they cheated the Red Indians. They got the land. Now they are claiming, "It is my land." But where you got this land? You have cheated the Red Indians, and you claim now it is your land. "Nobody should come here." Everywhere that is there it belongs to... Napoleon, he thought, "France is mine." France is there. Where he has gone, the proprietor? Yes. And with this idea he fought so much. Now nobody knows what he has become, where he is living, either in France or in hell, maybe in heaven. But there are so many places and so many forms of life. And our Bhagavad-gītā says, tathā dehāntaraṁ prāptiḥ. Just like I am now in this body. Child is in this body. So all of us sometimes were in this body, childish. So where is that body? That body is not existing. But I am existing; you are existing. You know that you had such a body. You were also playing like this child. I also remember. So the body is not existing. I am existing. So I have got a different body now. So where is the difficulty to under-stand that when this body is also finished I get another body? Where is the difficulty? And Bhagavad-gītā says, tathā dehāntaraṁ prāptiḥ. As we are changing from one body to another, another, another, even within our experience, similarly, as soon as this body is finished, I get another body. Now I am working in this body as national, as Napoleon, as Gandhi, as you according to our own whims and ideas, and fighting in the UNESCO, everything, just like recently Pakistan representative, India... But as soon as the body is finished, just like Gandhi finished, Jinnah finished, now what kind of body he has got now? May not be Indian or Pakistani. Now in that body he is thinking according to his body, a dog is thinking according to the doggish body. A man is thinking according to the man's body. So thinking and everything is changed with the change of the body. Just like this child is. This child, she cannot concentrate because due to the body. Other gentlemen, ladies, they can concentrate. So she has to get a different body to have a different mentality. So in other words, with the change of the body the mentality changes. So in this body I am thinking of France, and if my next body, it is not in France or is not human, I will think otherwise. So the whole duration of my life which I thought in one way, that is simply wasted. Simply wasted. They do not know. This knowledge is lacking. There is no such knowledge in the university, any education, nothing. Simply they are wasting time. Simply. They have no perfect knowledge. They are wasting their time, and doing something just like childish, and going on as advanced in civilization, and so on, so on, so on. Now they should think. Simply on some utopian ideas they should not go. They should know, "What is the purpose of life, what is our connection with this cosmic manifestation, if... There must be some creator. Who is that creator? What is my relation with Him?" These... There are so many things. But they are neglecting. And still, they are passing on as scientist, as philosopher, as politicians and leaders.
Dr. Inger: That's the worst of governments you see, because they stand, as You said rightly each for himself.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it is, we are discussing this point, that this illusion is going on. But human form of life, a human being can get out of this illusion. We have got sufficient sources of knowledge, especially in the Vedic knowledge. So why do we not take advantage of this knowledge and make our life successful? Yes. That is my proposal. And we are struggling with this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement with this purpose only, that these people are missing the point and wasting their time and life unnecessarily under some illusion. To try to save them, that is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
with French Journalist and UNESCO Worker
August 10, 1973, Paris