excerpt from a conversation with HIs Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Prabhupāda: This is the first step of spiritual understanding. That one must know that he's not this body. Actually anyone can understand. It is a very simple thing. I'm not this body because I had many types of body, in this life also, a child's body, a baby's body, boy's body, youth's body. Now we have got different body. So the body's changing. That's a fact. The child, you do not possess any more that, your childhood body. It is gone. Your boyhood body—gone, your youth-hood body—gone. Now you have got a different body. So although the bodies are not existing, you are existing. That's a fact.
Guest (1): Yes, yes.
Prabhupāda: Therefore, the conclusion should be that body may change or may not remain, but the soul is eternal. Therefore, the next body means when this body will be useless... I am old man, you are also getting old. What is your age now? What is your age now?
Guest (1): My age? I'm fifty-six.
Prabhupāda: Fifty-six. I am seventy-eight. I may be of your father's age.
Guest (1): We are both still boys aren't we?
Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes. Spiritually we are young. The body's getting old. Just like your garment, your shirt and coat. It may be torn, but you are not torn. These things are all explained very nicely.
Guest (1): I shall read them.
Prabhupāda: So, in this way, as soon as we understand or become convinced that I am not this body, then spiritual education begins. (If) I am different, then the next question will be, then what for I am working? Naturally at the present moment we are working for this body, maintenance of the body. For eating, sleeping, having facility for sex life or sense gratification and to protect this body from being harmed. This is our business. But if I am not this body, then, I am spirit soul, then the next question will be, what I am doing for the spirit soul? When actually I am working for this body because I, spirit soul, is within this body. Just like we are keeping this room fit for habitation because I am living here. Three months or four months ago we are not in possession of this room. So we were not anxious about this room. Because we were not living. So actually I am keeping my body fit, nice, just to live within this body. Therefore actually I do not love this body, I love myself. And to keep myself in a nice position, I love this room or this house. My main business is to get me, as I am, comfortable. Not that it is my business to keep this house neat and clean only. No. No, my business is to keep myself fit. So actually I love my soul. Then if you analyze, studying your soul, what is the constitution, you'll find the soul is part and parcel of God. Then you come to the platform that you love the soul because you love God. The ultimate issue is God. As you love this body because you love the soul, similarly you love the soul because you love God. And that is now lost. We are embarrassed in the affairs of loving this body. The background we have forgotten. This is our present stage. Therefore we are in confusion. There is no satisfaction.
with British Man
August 31, 1973, London