conversation with His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Guest: I have three points. First of all I have nothing... I have seen nothing in Bhagavad-gītā, although it is a work of the most beautiful of all these books which are attributed to God and are supposed to be speaked in the name of God. It is one of the beautiful book among these (Parsi?). But sincerely there is nothing in Bhagavad-gītā about God which you cannot find similar passage, a passage similar to it in Koran or in other teachings. That's my first point. The second point is that if we believe to God and we believe that the God has spoken only through Bhagavad-gītā to, thus, a people who live in a given country, then we are going to have a very narrow-minded God who doesn't love all human beings...
Prabhupāda: No. No there. Here, here I impress...
Guest: He has bestowed all His love to a given people. And my third point is that if we believe God as a life force or who must be discovered by a human being and the human being who has to proceed toward this truth, then also we have no reason to confine this into one people.
Indian man: Swamiji, I may take your leave.
Prabhupāda: (Hindi) Why you are going soon?
Indian man: I have to go still far off.
Prabhupāda: Oh, all right. Jaya. Jaya.
Guest: So I think what we have in Islam is... They say that the road, the way towards God, the ways are many, as many as the human beings, that is said. So in the number of human beings you have ways towards God. So everybody, each person, has his own way towards God. And it's really hard for me, difficult for me to believe that there's only one way and there is only one book and one school, one way of teaching.
Guest: And when Muhammad said that God is great, he simply said God is great, and he adds nothing to it for somebody who is well acquainted with Islam culture and he who knows well about Koran's teachings, it cannot be understood and accepted. It is the same with somebody who is well acquainted with Christianity and the truth spoken through Christianity. It is the same with the Buddhism or other ways which are designed, which are...
Prabhupāda: So your point is that God is understood in different ways. That is not point?
Atreya Ṛṣi: That's one of his points.
Prabhupāda: And what is the other point?
Atreya Ṛṣi: That all the scriptures speak of the same truth. Scriptures coming from God speak of the same truth that is in Bhagavad-gītā. And all the scriptures give a real path to God, and that there..., as many as individuals as there are, there are ways of getting to God, and that God could not be fair if He just gave one book at one time to one group of people. Being just, He has given the scripture... He should have...
Prabhupāda: No, just like dictionary. The small pocket dictionary is also dictionary, and the international dictionary, (sic?) Webs, that is also dictionary. So both of them are dictionary, but they are not equal. One dictionary is meant for children and one dictionary is meant for the higher scholars. So although are dictionaries, they are two kinds of dictionaries.
Guest: Do you know, sir, that it is exactly the same way of thinking which we have in our people who believe to Muhammad? They think that the teaching of Muhammad is the most superior one. And others... Of course, Muslims do believe to others' religions, to Moses, to Christ, and so on. They have the same way of thinking. They think that they are elementary stages...
Prabhupāda: The point is... Yes.
Guest: ...and Muhammad's teaching is supposed to be the superior one. So everybody thinks that his way or his way of thinking, his theory, his religion is the most superior one.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. That is all right. If you accept progress... Just like you are seeing the sun, I am also seeing the sun, the boy is also seeing the sun, but the understanding of the sun may be different. Everyone is seeing the sun. The objective is the same. But a child's understanding of sun and an elderly man's understanding of sun, a scientist's understanding of sun, or one man who has actually gone to the sun planet, there are different categories. Do you accept or not? The sun is there. God is accepted in every scripture. That is a fact. But in the same way, how far He is understood, that is different. That is different. The same example, that everyone is seeing sun: "Here is sun," there is no doubt. But a child's understanding of sun, his father's understanding of sun, or a scientist's understanding of sun, or a person who has gone to the sun planet, his understanding of sun is different. The objective is the same. And everyone is right. Either you understand fully sun or not, as soon as you come before the sun you get the light. The child is getting the light, the scientist is getting the light, and the ordinary person getting the light. Everyone is getting light, heat and light. But their understanding different, of degrees. [break] ...sun-god or sun, no, we don't say that.
Guest: From what you have said in the answer to this gentleman, I thought you meant, sir, when the only perfect...
Guest: ...teaching about God is provided through the sun.
Prabhupāda: No, just like if you want to understand sun, say... what is called? Geography? Then you have to learn from the person who knows geography. You cannot learn from a person who has superficially studied. Then you have to go to the person who knows scientifically, astronomically, that sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this planet. You have to go to the astronomer. How far the sun is situated from us? So you have to go to the particular person who knows it. You cannot say that his knowledge and the child's knowledge, who is seeing the sun as a disc is the same. That you cannot say. If you want to know further enlightenment of the sun then you have to go to the person who is studying sun scientifically. So one who has studied the sun scientifically, his knowledge and a casual person seeing the sun, his knowledge is not the same. That you cannot say. Although everyone is seeing the sun, that's all right, but the knowledge of the sun, there are different.
Devotee: That seems to answer all of your three points at once.
Atreya Ṛṣi: One thing here is that we are not talking about religion or designation.
Guest: In that case I think we have no (indistinct).
Atreya Ṛṣi: Yes, it's not a religion.
Prabhupāda: No, if you want to study something, and suppose you are sometimes from India, the same subject he's going to study in foreign country, farther enlightenment, it is also not necessary that to study a subject matter more and more, we have to remain in the same jurisdiction. If I am actually anxious to know more and more, it doesn't matter whether I get the knowledge from Mohammedan or Hindu or Christian, it doesn't matter. Knowledge is knowledge. When a student goes from one country to another to get farther enlightenment on a subject matter, he does not think that "I'll have to learn it from here, from my university." For knowledge, progress of knowledge, you can go to any university. Because knowledge must be scientific. It is not restricted within the jurisdiction of a particular university. So, sun we are seeing, everyone, the sun, getting heat and light but if anyone is interested (to) know how the heat is coming, how the light is coming, what is the situation of the sun globe, whether there are living entities or not. They're also subject matter. So if you can get enlightenment of the sun, we should not restrict ourselves that we have to study with this jurisdiction of my university, or my country, or my society. If the knowledge is there, we should be prepared to go forward. Mm.
Lady: If we believe in God as the Supreme Being... I have a question. Why do we wish to God, to Kṛṣṇa movement in chanting worldly name because the name of God is something which is eternal. If Kṛṣ...
Prabhupāda: Hold on, then, what is the name of God?
Lady: Right, in Christianity there is write: "In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God."
Prabhupāda: That's all right. But what is the name of God?
Lady: In Islamic religion, they say...
Prabhupāda: No, what is the name of God? Islam is the system of religion, but what is the name of God?
Lady: The name of God is something which is always with God, constantly with God...
Prabhupāda: That means you do not know that. You do not know that.
Lady: I do know that...
Prabhupāda: Then why don't you say?
Lady: ...experience the name of God...
Guest: It's very similar to what we have got in Bhagavad-gītā. He says, "You call it Allah..."
Prabhupāda: That's all right.
Guest: "...or you call it ātman, whatever name you call it, He has all nicest names." So all nicest name are His.
Guest: That's what we have got in...
Prabhupāda: Well, I accept, I accept that all the, that's all right, all the nicest name. So Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. Is it not very nice? Just reply whether this Kṛṣṇa name is nice or not?
Guest: Yes, of course. Nobody is against Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Then chant it. Then chant it.
Guest: Everybody loves Kṛṣṇa and...
Prabhupāda: No, no, if you accept Kṛṣṇa name is nice, then chant it.
Guest: I don't think that point is...
Prabhupāda: No, you say God has got the nicest name.
Prabhupāda: I say...
Guest: But the name is just an indication, the name is something we call it, it is for us to have a word.
Prabhupāda: But that I ask you, that what is that name? As I have... We have got the nicest name, Kṛṣṇa. Now you suggest that this is the nicest name in Mohammedan, Kṛṣṇa. You say me that.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Allah.
Prabhupāda: You say, "What is that name?"
Guest: First of all, this man is talking (indistinct) any difference to call it Allah.
Prabhupāda: No, no, I don't make any difference but I want to know, I want to know what is that nicest name. I don't make any difference.
Guest: Well, it's called (indistinct) they call it Allah.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. Then our request is that you chant the name of God. So if Allah is the name of God, you chant Allah, don't chant Kṛṣṇa. We say that.
Lady: The name of God is not something could be spoken to (indistinct), it is unspoken.
Prabhupāda: No, we don't accept that. Name means it can be spoken. (guests all speak at once) Not commentary, name means that... When I call you by your name, it is spoken. It is spoken. I know your name... If I say I cannot speak it. (laughter) This is...
Guest: ...is for me to designate me because it is...
Prabhupāda: No, you have said that God's name is Allah, that is accepted. Very good. And we request you...
Guest: ...means of communication.
Guest: Just, not that, no, a word Allah is not to God, it is a means of communication.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, you have accepted the name of God as Allah, is it not?
Atreya Ṛṣi: But he's saying that their name is material, it's different...
Prabhupāda: No, no, then you have no idea of God. God is not material. God is not material.
Guest: Well, you have said though have a lion, lion who lives in the forest and you write lion.
Prabhupāda: That is material, that is material.
Guest: What you write here is not the true lion. Is, is a way of communication, you put it here in words.
Prabhupāda: Lion is, lion is material, and his name is also material, but God is not material. God is spiritual. Therefore His name is spiritual.
Guest: We accept that.
Prabhupāda: As spiritual... (two of the guests speak at once)
Guest: What do you think about the spirit?
Guest (2): Soul, human soul, soul is not material, but when you write it, it's a word, a material word.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Yes, but the name of God, we accept as the same quality as God. If it is a concocted name, then it's not the same quality. But if it is the name of God, given to us by God, or by His representatives, we accept that as good as God and that is the philosophy behind chanting. Otherwise why chant?
Guest: Well, it's a very old teaching. We have got it.
Atreya Ṛṣi: I know you have it, accept it. Accept it. There is no question, just accept it. It doesn't matter if you have got it, or I have got it.
Guest: You attribute some sort of mysterious attributes to word, to certain word.
Atreya Ṛṣi: None. There is only...
Guest: They are created by the human being.
Atreya Ṛṣi: It is not created by human being.
Guest: It is because it does..., it differs from one country to from one language to other language.
Atreya Ṛṣi: God, God has many, many names like it says in Koran.
Guest: Yes, but one name in Turkish when you say Tamgri, Tari (?) in Arabic when you say Allah, in French, in English, in Sanskrit. So these are different words.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Those are names.
Guest: These different things are created by human beings.
Atreya Ṛṣi: We are talking about one name which is to describe the concept of God. When we are also talking about the name of God. When we are talking about the name of God... In other words, if I don't know who you are, I have to ask somebody, "What is his name?" That is your name.
Guest: But my name is my name in Turkey, in English, in Arabic, in anywhere you go.
Prabhupāda: That's all right, then let the Turkish chant the name of Turkish name.
Guest: But God, the name is different.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Yes, But if you find what his name is,...
Prabhupāda: But the name must be chanted that is our program. It may be Turkish name, it may be Arabic name, it may be Sanskrit name. Whatever he knows let him chant. That is our program.
Atreya Ṛṣi: But the concept of name of God is separate than designation, which you are talking about. Man-made designation. And this concept, if you don't accept this concept, how do you accept the concept of chanting in Islam. These are the points. Bhagavad-gītā also. There are so many concepts in there, but we want to interpret them all, we don't want to accept them. We want to accept our mind. Prabhupāda, what he has been saying all evening is: "Let's accept Bhagavad-gītā as authority. Let's accept Koran as authority. Let's accept an authority." Because we want to go by our senses. We want to go around modern...
Guest: Yes, (indistinct) as authorities.
Atreya Ṛṣi: But let us accept it. Let us accept it. It's not they... I accept them and they are still the victim of my interpretation. If we accept them, what is this? That let's not interpret that God's name is just a designation just like my name. It's just a word.
Guest: Name cannot be perfect(?). Name of name cannot be perfect.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Well, then we are talking about the difference...
Guest: Something is something else.
Atreya Ṛṣi: What is it?
Guest: You are entitled to chant the name of your beloved, that is something else. It does not mean different stages with the name...
Atreya Ṛṣi: But who is this beloved? Who is this beloved? Who is this beloved? Who is this beloved?
Guest: In our case, God.
Atreya Ṛṣi: So this name of God is diff... If God is transcendental, if God is spiritual then how could His name be committed to our relative conceptions. [break]
Prabhupāda: ...indicates God, then it is not bad. That is our point. If we indicates to God... Just like Allah. If this name indicates to God, then it is this Allah word as good as God. There is no difference. Nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija sarva śakti. The Allah, the conception of Allah means The Great, is it not? So God is Great. So by chanting Allah, I am meaning God, the Supreme Person, so it is as good. And actually in Mosque, they chant Allah-u-akbar, like that, so far I've heard. So that prayer, if it is not God's name, then what is the use of this prayer? That is God's name. Similarly, the Hindus may chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, they're indicating to the same personality. It may be different language; therefore, it is as good as God because God is absolute. But this, this name is authorize because Muhammad said that you chant, "Allah." So it is authorized, because he is God's representative. Therefore my request is, or our request is that you chant the name of Allah. We don't say that you chant Kṛṣṇa. You chant the Holy name of God. If Allah is approved name of God, you chant it. That is our request. We don't force you that you chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. No, we don't say that. If somebody says Jehovah is the name of God, that's all right, you chant Jehovah. Allah is the name of God, that's all right, you do it. We simply request that you chant the holy name of God. That's all. If you have got it, we don't force you that you chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. That is not our way. We accept: if Allah is God's name, it is as good as the name Kṛṣṇa. We are not so sophisticated that you have to chant this Kṛṣṇa's name. No, we say: Harer nāma. That is the śāstra, harer nāma. The name of the Lord. So there are many thousands of names, that's a fact. So you actually chant the name of God. Pick up of the millions of God's name, whatever you like, you pick up and chant. That is our propagation.
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva, nāsty eva, nāsty eva gathir anyathā
[Cc. Ādi 17.21]
In this age of quarrel and disagreement, God realization is very difficult; therefore, you chant the Holy name of God, then you'll gradually realize Him. This is our program. So we don't force you that you chant this name Kṛṣṇa. No, śāstra says, harer nāma, the holy name of God, chant. That is our program.
Lady: Before you ask with something else. I ask, how could you meet the Supreme being by chanting...
Prabhupāda: By chanting, yes.
Lady: ...by chanting of worldly name, tuned on prayer...
Prabhupāda: That is not worldly name. Why do you mistake that? God's name is not worldly.
Lady: Because if you, if you really know the tuning of God...
Prabhupāda: Do you think Allah is wordly name?
Lady: We recognize that it is before Kṛṣṇa...
Prabhupāda: That's all right, you recognize it. Allah, Allah is not worldly name. It is given by the authority Muhammad so you have to chant it, who knows God.
Lady: But he didn't really mean Allah is the name of God.
Prabhupāda: If... Why do you say he didn't mean?
Prabhupāda: That is you say. Muhammad did not say that "What I say, I did not mean it."
Lady: No, the name of God. He didn't mean Allah.
Prabhupāda: You say, you say. Who cares for your word? Muhammad said this is the name of God. We have to accept, that's all.
Lady: So why...
Prabhupāda: You cannot say he didn't mean. You are not a private secretary of Muhammad. (laughter)
Lady: So then how do they say that the name of God rests in God.
Prabhupāda: No, these things are not accepted.
Lady: Was before God.
Prabhupāda: Don't talk childish.
Lady: Was God.
Prabhupāda: Muhammad said. That is authority. That we accept. We accept Muhammad as the representative of God. Whatever he says, we accept, that's all. What you meant, that is his business. But he is authority, he said that "This is the name of God. You chant, you pray." Allah or God. That's all. That is authority.
Guest: Is it also good to chant the name of a person who is holy, who is one with God, not the name of God.
Prabhupāda: That you have to find out, but here it is already there. Why should do trouble to find out a holy man, another holy man? The holy man says, Muhammad never said that "You chant my name." Then how one can be holy man if he says like that? We have to test whether he is holy man or not. Here is the perfect holy man. He never said that "You chant my name." He said "Chant Allah's name." That is holy man. That is test of holy man. He does not become God, he serves God. That is holy man.
Prabhupāda: All right. Take, give prasādam. All right.
Devotee: We have a feast.
Prabhupāda: All right.
Devotee: Thank you Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. (devotees pay obeisances, and some guests leave) Jaya, Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. [break]
Devotee: Jaya, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: We accept Muhammad's authority. That's a fact. He's authority.
Room Conversation with Yoga Student -- March 14, 1975, Iran