Woman: Your Grace, I would like to know why you call the body, the material world, "darkness" and "diseased." You refer to the..., to the body as diseased and darkness, is but one necessary(?), but a different form of energy as the light. And darkness and light are but one of many aspects of the supreme form of energy.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: The question is why do you refer to the material world as darkness and as a disease?
Prabhupāda: Don't you see darkness? You require light.
Woman: Dark, yes, but darkness is but another form of light.
Prabhupāda: Yes, ignorance. Darkness means ignorance. Material life means we do not know things as they are. That is darkness.
Woman: You said it in a figurative sense.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The knowledge is not perfect; therefore everyone is in darkness.
Woman: But why do you call the body and the spirit...? The spirit and the body is the polemic of light, of being, the universes.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Woman: Polemic. The counterpoint. You have darkness on one side, light on the other. Ignorance, if you want, in this aspect, identify this ignorance as darkness.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: I think the question is why do you consider the body as a disease?
Prabhupāda: Because there is birth, death and old age. This is disease.
Woman: But if it's only one form of energy, why, one certain level of energy, and energy never gets lost.
Prabhupāda: No, there are two...
Woman: Even people die. It surely, sir, is only a different level of energy, a different form of energy. Energy never...
Prabhupāda: Yes. That I have already explained, material energy and spiritual energy. In the material energy you have got all these birth, death, old age and disease. In the spiritual energy there is no such thing. So we have to go to the spiritual energy.
Woman: What do you call disease?
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: You are eternal spirit soul, and you have to undergo birth and death. That's an unnatural condition, just like a fever is an unnatural condition for a healthy person. That's a disease.
Woman: But why should the supreme energy make it a disease? It's been ordained to have that, the form of the body...
Prabhupāda: Disease you contact. Nobody forces you to contact disease. When you become diseased, you contaminate some infection, not that anyone forces you to contaminate. So when you come to the material world, it is your own disease.
Woman: But it is a disease if you have to be reborn. It's reincarnation then, going to another form of disease again. But you haven't attained the spiritual, complete spiritual...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Then you'll be cured of this material disease. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Johannesburg, October 22, 1975