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Thu

17

Jan

2013

Srila Prabhupada Challenges Prominent American Theologians

Prabhupāda: ...which is fact? The dreams and phases of different life while passing through, they are facts or I am fact? What is your answer? We are teaching that, you take care of the fact, not of the dreams. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. We are changing circumstances. The circumstances are not fact but the whole world is taking care of the circumstances not of the sheer fact. This is the defect of modern civilization. We are very much serious about the passing on circumstances, but we are not serious about the person who is going through the circumstances. This is the whole defect of modern civilization. And that is the beginning of real life. If we take care of the circumstances, that is being done by the cats and dogs and hogs, everyone. Where to find eatables, where to find sex, where to find shelter for sleeping, and how to defense—these circumstances are understood by the animals. There is no need of education. Just like this morning I pointed out. The bird is catching a small fish, "Fut!" He knows where to find out his eatable. And that you cannot do. You also eat fish, but you jump over and take a fish. You cannot do that. But he can do that. He is more expert than you. (guests chuckle) Yes. In the troubled water, he is flying. He can see a small fish and immediately pick it up. Can you do that? So he is more advanced in civilization. (laughter) He knows his techniques. He is greater scientist than you. You cannot do this. A vulture goes seven miles up, and he can see where is a dead body. So even amongst the animals there are many expert scientists than our so-called scientists. But what that science will help? That science may help how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex. That's all. And that is being done by the animals. It doesn't require any advanced scientific knowledge. Real scientific knowledge is who is God, to know. That is meant for human being, Not this where to find out a fish very expertly. That is being done by a bird. Where is the use of scientists and philosophers? Therefore in the Vedānta-sūtra the indication is there that "Now you have got this human form of life. Find out where is God." That is real science. That we have set aside. That we do not touch. That we have left to the sentimentalist. Why don't the scientists do not take up this work very seriously, "If there is God, where He is? Who is God?" That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, athāto brahma jijñāsā. So you are all learned scholars. You join this movement and help us. To keep people in darkness, that is not advancement of education. And education does not mean how to find out a fish expertly. That is being done by the birds. Education means to solve the problem of life. And what is the real problem? Birth, death, old age, and disease. That is real problem. So where is the remedy for this birth, death, old age, and disease? That is the instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]. We are trying, our struggle for existence means we are trying to mitigate how to avoid distress. We want happiness. And Kṛṣṇa presents that "Here is your distress, that you have to die. What you have done for this? Here is your real distress. You might have taken your birth in rich American nationality or might have very good skyscraper building and very, very, nice motor cars. But you will be kicked out at any moment, sir. What you have done for this, that you will be insured for all this enjoyment. Where is that insurance? You are so busy in these affairs, but where is your insurance that you will be allowed to enjoy this?" This is intelligence. You will be kicked out at any moment. Then all your labor is spoiled. And therefore Kṛṣṇa presents this problem first, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. We are looking after happiness, but we must find out where is permanent happiness. That is intelligence, not that I create a circumstance where I am happy for some years and then kicked out. Why don't you touch this problem first? Then you are scientist, then you are philosopher.

Bahulāśva: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this is Dr. Stillson Judah.

Prabhupāda: I think I saw you sometimes in Detroit.

 

Dr. Judah: Yes, we've met before. I interviewed you several years ago. Yes.

Dharmādhyakṣa: And this is Dr. John Pore. He is the chairman of the religion department at the University of Southern California, and he has written a few books called "The Radical Suburb" and "Ethical Choice," and his academic interest is in ethics and religion and culture and education in public policy. And this is Dr. Crossley back here, also from the University of Southern California. He has a doctor of theology, and he is interested in modern theology. He's written many articles on modern theologians...

Prabhupāda: Then why modern theology? (laughter) Is God modern?

Dr. Crossley: No, but one can't do all theologians, one can't do every theologian.

Prabhupāda: No, "theo" means God, is it not?

Dr. Crossley: Yes.

Prabhupāda: And theology is science of God. So what is that science? You are trying to understand God, or you know God; you are going to abide by God's dictation. First of all, two things: you do not know God; you are trying to find out God. I think this is not theology; it is theosophy. Those who are trying to find out God by speculation, they are theosophist. And theologist means one who knows God and abides by his order. Just like we know government and we accept the government's law and abide by it. That is good citizenship. And those who have no government, they are trying to find out some good system of government, and that is another thing. So what is your position? You know God or you are trying to find out God? What is the theologician's position? That is my question.

Dr. Crossley: It's both.

Prabhupāda: No, both cannot be.

Dr. Crossley: Some seek...

Prabhupāda: No, both cannot be. That is illogical. If you know God, there is no use of finding Him out. You know already who is God.

Dr. Crossley: Is knowing the end of seeking?

Prabhupāda: Oh yes. You abide by His law. That's all. You know your father. Abide by his law, that's all. Whatever father says, you abide by that. And if you do (don't) know who is your father, that is very difficult job? How do you find your father? By research? Do you find your father by research work? That is my question. Is it possible to find my father by research work? What is the answer?

Dr. Crossley: I think you know your father. You know who he is.

Prabhupāda: How I know?

Dr. Crossley: Because you see him, you talk to him, you touch him.

Prabhupāda: But what is the proof that he is my father? I see so many gentlemen. How I know who is my father?

Dr. Crossley: He tells you you're his son.

Prabhupāda: That means you accept anyone as God—he tells that "I am God"?

Dr. Crossley: No, but I accept anyone as father who tells me that I am his son because only one has ever told me that.

Prabhupāda: No, that is not the way. Everyone will say, "I am your father." You will accept? Everyone will say, "I am your father." Will you accept everyone as your father? Then how do you accept the bona fide father? Hmm?

Dr. Wolfe: Foster fathers very often say that they are the real...

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Dr. Wolfe: Foster fathers very often tell their foster children that they are the real fathers.

Prabhupāda: No, no, we are not talking of foster; we are talking of real father. How do you know your real father?

Dr. Crossley: You've grown up with him. You've known him since you were a little child. It's part of your consciousness.

Prabhupāda: So if my consciousness is not right, then I may select a wrong father.

Dr. Crossley: Well, just because you know he's your father, there's still more to know about him. There's more and more to understand.

Prabhupāda: It is... Very simple answer is: when the mother certifies, "He is your father," that's all. You don't have to make research. That is futile. By research, you cannot understand who is your real father. You can understand your real father only by the certificate of your mother. That's all. Therefore our Vedic mantra says that religion and God cannot be manufactured by speculation. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkena yojayet. Just like this example, father. Father was existing before my birth. So after my birth, with limited knowledge I make research who is my father—you will never find your father. But if you take the certificate of your mother, that is there. Similarly, acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā, things which are beyond our conception, that cannot be established simply by argument, logic, so-called science and philosophy, that is not possible. The same example: by argument, logic, science, philosophy you cannot ascertain who is your father. The only simple method and authorized method is to ask mother, and if she says, "Yes, he is your father..." Similarly, things which are beyond our conception, simply argument will be useless. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkena yo... Tarka means arguments. In another place it is said, tarka, argument, is futile. Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ: "By argument, you cannot come to the right conclusion." You can argue in a way; I can argue a better way, he can argue in better way. That is not the system. That will not help. Tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. If you study scriptures, so in the world there are many varieties of scriptures. There is Bible, there is Bhagavad-gītā, there is Koran, there is so on, so on. So which one is correct? That also you cannot decide. Śrutayo vibhinnāḥ, and nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And if you consult philosophers or scientists, every scientist, every philosopher, differs from the other. Otherwise he cannot become a big scientist. He must give a different view; then he is big scientist. So nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. Then where is the way to understand? The conclusion is mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] "Mahājana, great personalities, recognized ācārya, what they say, you follow." That is the best system. So anyone who is speaking about God with authority—take for example Jesus Christ; he is speaking in the western world—you accept him. We Indians, we accept Caitanya or Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya. That is the way. That is the way because these ācāryas, these authorities, they are speaking about God. None of them speaking that "You become happy here," no, none of them. Either Christ or Caitanya or Mohammed, nobody has said. So according to the time, circumstances, position, either you follow any one of them as it suits you or, if you can make a comparative study, you follow the best one. So therefore, our conclusion is Kṛṣṇa is the best. He is God. Christ is son of God. So we don't differ son of God and God. That is all right. But when the father is speaking personally, he is speaking what the son has spoken plus something because he is more experienced. So take the father and follow him. That's all. Mohammed says he is servant of God. Christ says he is son of God. And Kṛṣṇa says, "I am God." So where is the difference? The son will say the same thing, the servant will say the same thing, and the father also will say the same thing. So theology means to know God and abide by His order. That is my understanding. And theology does not mean to make research who is God. That is theosophy. So if you are theologicians, then you must know what is God and abide by His order. What do you think, Dr. Judah?

Dr. Judah: Pardon?

Prabhupāda: What do you think this proposition?

Dr. Judah: Yes, well, I think you're quite right. I think that it is... Certainly, in our day and age many of us don't really know God.

Prabhupāda: Then he is not theologician. He is theosophist.

Dr. Judah: We know about God, but we do not know God. I would agree.

Prabhupāda: Then that is theosophist. Theosophists, they are thinking there is something superior. But who is that superior, they are searching out. The same thing: a boy, he knows, "I have a father," but "Who is my father? That I do not know." Oh, that, you have to ask your mother. That's all." Alone he cannot understand. So our proposition is that if you do not know God and here is God, Kṛṣṇa, why don't you accept Him? You do not know first of all. And if I present, "Here is God," then why don't you accept? What is the answer? We are presenting God, "Here is God." And big, big ācāryas have accepted. Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Lord Caitanya, in our disciplic succession my Guru Mahārāja, and I am preaching, "This is God." I am not presenting a God whimsically. I am presenting a God who is recognized. So why don't you accept? What is the difficulty?

Dr. Judah: I suppose one of the difficulties for certainly many in the older generation is that we follow certain patterns of life and the... It is difficult to change. This is the great problem.

Prabhupāda: Then you are not serious about God. Then you are not serious. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-dharmān parityaja mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ: "You have to give up."

Dr. Judah: That's right.

Prabhupāda: Because if you are not prepared to give up, then you cannot accept God.

Dr. Pore: I think you're being a little unfair to Dr. Crossley. I think what you say is true, that the most important thing we can do is to seek and know God, but I don't think it's right to say that it's a bad thing to study how other people or how man has...

Prabhupāda: No, I don't say bad thing. I say if you are serious about God, now, here is God.

Dr. Pore: That's what a university in part is for, to study about how people have thought on different matters.

Prabhupāda: No, that's all right. I have already said. If you are seeking after something, if you get that something, why don't you accept it?

Dr. Pore: Do you believe that Christ said that Kṛṣṇa was his father?

Prabhupāda: The name may be different. Just like in our countries we say this flower something. You say something, something. But the subject matter must be the same. Name is not... You can say in a different way, as you understand. But God is one. God cannot be two. You may give Him different names. That is different thing. But God is one. God cannot be two.

Dr. Wolfe: We may assume, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that God has innumerable names.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Wolfe: And most of them not known to us. If we can say "most" about innumerable.

Prabhupāda: You can... Then you know from us. We can... There is Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma. Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu also. Nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktiḥ. Nāma... Nāma means the name and the person. There are many hundreds and thousands of names, and each name is as good as the person. Because it is absolute, there is no difference between the person and the person's name.

Dr. Judah: If God is known by many different names, though, is it not possible, then, to know God then in many different ways, in many different traditions?

Prabhupāda: No. Just like you are the same person, either as professor in the university or at home before your wife, you are the same person. Your wife may address you in a different name, and the students may address you in different name, but you are the same person.

Dr. Judah: It's true.

Prabhupāda: If the person is the same, so difference of name does not change the circumstances.

Dr. Wolfe: But there are many aspects of God, of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Then the aspect... The aspects have been summarized that God is realized in three aspects, brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate: [SB 1.2.11] impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā, and Personality of Godhead. Just like the sun. The sunshine is also sun, but you cannot say that you are in sun. Can you say that? But you are sunshine. The sunshine is not different from the sun. Similarly, in the Absolute Truth the first realization is Brahman, and the next realization is Paramātmā, and the ultimate realization is Bhagavān. The subject matter is the same. But according to the degree of advancement, the realization is partial. The subject matter is the same. Now you can study the sunshine, but it is not in your power to go to the sun planet and study what is actually sun. But because it is not in your power, it does not mean that sun planet is less. You cannot go there; it is not in your power. You can simply study the sunshine. But that does not mean the sun globe is false or there is no subject matter of study. You cannot go there.

Dr. Pore: In that illustration is Kṛṣṇa the sunshine or is Kṛṣṇa the sun?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is the person. God is ultimately a person. And then, by His another potency, He is situated everywhere. Aṇḍāntara-sthaṁparamānu-cay... He is situated within the atom also. That is called Paramātmā, Supersoul. And He is situated in His impersonal, the whole material creation or any creation. The example is given just like fire. Fire is one place but its heat and light is expanded to mines. Just like the sun. It is a fire light, but heat and light is expanded throughout the universe. So similarly, God is one and His energy is expanded everywhere. You can understand Him by His energies. Just like the government, the president, he is not here, but still, we are under government. Who can deny, that "I am not under government"? If you say, "I do not see who is president. What is the government?" That is not argument. You are. Simply you have to make your eyes to see how you are under Kṛṣṇa. That is required. But you are already.

Dr. Pore: But then God in His essence is Ātman, Brahman, not Kṛṣṇa. Is that what you're saying?

Prabhupāda: God is three. I have already given you the example. The sunshine, then sun globe, and the deity within the sun globe, they are all one; still, they are different.

Dr. Pore: And we as human beings, are we part of that too?

Prabhupāda: Why human being? Even the trees, plants, everyone. We are part and parcel of God.

Dr. Pore: And how is Kṛṣṇa different from us?

Prabhupāda: He is not different. Because we cannot realize Him we are thinking He is different from us. That is māyā. Just like father and son. They are not different, but the son, out of his foolishness, he is thinking father is different from him.

Dr. Judah: Wouldn't you say, though, that, in the case of us, that we are, as it were, jīva-śaktiḥ, we are the marginal energy, and so we do have, as it were, that aspect of Kṛṣṇa, but we also have in this world then the māyā-śaktiḥ. We are the combination, as it were, here in the...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Everyone is... That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā find out this verse,

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ

jagad avyakta-mūrtinā

mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni

na (cā) haṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ

 [Bg. 9.4]

Mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam.

Revatīnandana:

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ

jagad avyakta-mūrtinā

mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni

na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ

 [Bg. 9.4]

Translation: By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.

Purport: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not perceivable through the gross material senses. It is said that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa's name, fame, pastimes, etc., cannot be understood by material senses. Only to one who is engaged in pure devotional service under proper guidance is He revealed. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated, premāñjanacchurita.... One can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, always within himself and outside himself if he has developed the transcendental loving attitude towards Him. Thus for people in general He is not visible. Here it is said that although He is all-pervading, everywhere present, He is yet not conceivable by the material senses. But actually, although we cannot see Him, everything is resting in Him. As we have discussed in the Seventh Chapter, the entire material cosmic manifestation is only a combination of His two different energies, the superior spiritual energy and the inferior material energy. Just as the sunshine is spread all over the universe, the energy of the Lord is spread all over the creation, and everything is resting in that energy.

Yet one should not conclude that because He is spread all over He has lost His personal existence. To refute such argument the Lord says, "I am everywhere, and everything is in Me, but still I am aloof." For example, a king heads a government which is but the manifestation of the king's energy; the different governmental departments are nothing but the energies of the king, and each department is resting on the king's power. But still one cannot expect the king to be present in every department personally. That is a crude example. Similarly, all the manifestations that we see, and everything that exists both in this material world and in the spiritual world, are resting on the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The creation takes place by the diffusion of His different energies, and, as is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, He is everywhere present by His personal representation, the diffusion of His different energies.

Prabhupāda: (aside:) Just wait. I am coming. [break] Kṛṣṇa says that "I am present everywhere by My energy. But personally I may not be here, in here." But ultimately there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa's energy and Kṛṣṇa. Wherever there is energy... Just like electricity. Everywhere there is. If you are expert you can generate electricity from anywhere.

Dr. Pore: Is it possible to find Kṛṣṇa in the Christian tradition or in Islam?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Oh yes. Why not? Christians are seeking after God. You are going to the church. "O God." You accept God has created everything. Here also He says, "Everything is My energy." Where is the difference?

Dr. Pore: The Christians describe Kṛṣṇa in a different way. Are they making mistakes?

Prabhupāda: That is... Just like the heat, the question of energy, the heat 93,000,000's miles away from the sun, heat may be different, and in the sun-globe the heat may be different. But the heat is there; and light is there. The same thing: heat and light is the same, but the degree of presentation of heat and light may be different.

Dr. Pore: Is chanting absolutely necessary in the knowing...

Prabhupāda: That is the easiest way of being directly in touch with God. Because God and God's name, they are absolute, so your chanting the name of God means that directly in touch with God.

Dr. Crossley: Why is that better than loving your fellow man in the traditional bhakti-mārga?

Prabhupāda: But you love your fellow man, but you don't love your fellow animal. You love man, but you send the animals to the slaughter-house. That is your love.

Dr. Wolfe: And the soldiers into the battle to be killed.

Prabhupāda: No, now, first of all study this man then you go to soldiers. Our love is limited. But if you love... Just like this tree. There are many thousand leaves and flowers. So if you water to each of them, then it will occupy the whole, your life. And if you are intelligent, just put water onto the root. It will go everywhere. And if you are not intelligent, so go on putting water every leaf, every... You see? Your whole body requires food. That does not mean you have to supply food to the ears, to the eyes, to the nails, to the rectum, to the... No. You give food to the stomach; it will be distributed. So Kṛṣṇa says, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam. That we have already studied. So if you love Kṛṣṇa, then your love will be distributed. If you don't love Kṛṣṇa and if you love somebody else, then somebody will cry that "You do not love me."

Dr. Wolfe: May I ask a question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: First of all, try to understand this. Just like Kṛṣṇa says, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: "I am expanded by My energy everywhere." So the everywhere how you can go? You love Kṛṣṇa, and your love will go everywhere. You pay tax to the government, and the tax is distributed in so many departments. So it is not your business to go every department and pay tax. Pay to the treasury of the government; it will be distributed. This is intelligence. And if you say that "Why shall I pay to the treasury house? I shall pay the this department, that department, that department, that department," you can go on, but it will never be sufficient, neither complete. So you may love humanity, but because you do not love Kṛṣṇa, therefore you do not love the cows; you send them to slaughterhouse. So your love will remain defective. It will never be complete. And if you love Kṛṣṇa, then you will love even the small ant. You will be not interested even to kill even an ant. That is real love.

Dr. Pore: I agree with you that we love very badly and we slaughter the animals.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So badly love is not love.

Dr. Pore: But is the converse true, that we chant very well and that we can love Kṛṣṇa even when we cannot love our fellow people?

Prabhupāda: Oh, that... We are not... Chanting... We are also working. It is not that we are simply sitting down and chanting. Because we are chanting, therefore we are loving everyone. That is a fact. These Hare Kṛṣṇa chanters, they will never agree to kill any animal, even a plant, because they know everything is part and parcel of God. Why unnecessarily one should be killed? That is love.

Dr. Pore: Love means never killing?

Prabhupāda: There are so many things. It is one of the items. Yes, that is one of the... Do you kill your own son? Why? Because you love him.

Dr. Judah: Would you explain the other side of it, the fact that, of course, the Bhagavad-gītā was, has its setting on a battlefield in which Kṛṣṇa enjoins Arjuna to go out and fight his kinsmen because it is his duty as a kṣatriya.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Because in the material world, for the maintenance of equilibrium of the society, sometimes killing is necessary. Just like fight, war. When the enemy has come to your country, you cannot sit idly; you must fight. But that does not mean that you are allowed to kill everyone as you like. That is a special circumstances when fighting must be there. Therefore the kṣatriyas are required to give protection. Like the government is keeping military, police, soldiers, that does not mean government is after killing only. That department will be utilized when there is necessity, not that government is meant for killing. Government has other departments also. But this is also maintained. If there is necessity, it should be utilized. So Kṛṣṇa, when He is on the battlefield, that was a necessity. He has got two business. Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. Those who are demons, those who are disturbing elements, they should be killed. And those who are honest and peaceful, they should be maintained. But because it is material world, the world of duality, there are good and evil, so you have to curb down the evil. Sometimes force is required. So that killing is not bad. When the enemy is aggressive and you are killing, that killing and poor animal who is supplying milk... You are drinking milk, your mother, and you are killing. This killing and that killing is not the same thing. According to Vedic civilization the cow is to be given special protection. Why it is recommended for the cow? It does not say of other animal. When animal killing is required according to Vedic civilization, those who are meat-eaters, they are allowed to kill some insignificant animal like deer, goat, pigs. It is for the animal eaters, not for all. But if one is bent upon... And there are persons, they want meat-eating. So for them these unimportant animals are recommended. But cow is very important animal. You get from its milk so many nutritious food. So apart from religious sentiment, from economic point of view, cow-killing is not good. And from moral point of view it is not good because you drink cow's milk, so cow is your mother. According to Vedic civilization, there are seven mothers.

ādau-mātā guroḥ patnī

brahmaṇī rāja-patnikā

dhenur dhatrī tathā pṛthvī

sapta eta mataraḥ smṛtaḥ

Ādau-mātā, real mother, and guru-patnī, the wife of guru or teacher, she is also mother 'cause teacher is father. Ādau-mātā guroḥ patnī brahmaṇi, the wife of a brāhmaṇa. She is mother. Ādau-mātā guroḥ patnī brāhm..., rāja-patnikā, the queen, the wife of the king. She is mother. And then cow is mother because you are drinking her milk. Ādau-mātā guroḥ patnī brahmaṇi rāja-patnikā, dhenur dhatrī, nurse. Nurse is also mother because you suck the breast of the nurse. Therefore according to Vedic civilization, there are seven mothers. So you cannot kill your mother. That is not very good philosophy. And who can deny, "The cow is not mother"? Who has got this audacity? You are drinking milk in the very morning. Christ says, "Thou shall not kill?—wholesale killing stop." And the Vedic literature is little liberal. It does not say, "Thou shall not kill," but, "You shall not kill at least cow." But the wholesale stop is not possible. The Vedic wisdom knows that. But you shall not kill at least cow. That is civilization. And the Christians are maintaining thousands of slaughterhouse. Is that very good proposal?

Dr. Pore: Are you saying that you should never kill a cow but that you sometimes can kill a person?

Prabhupāda: When you can give life. There is sometimes cow sacrifice yajña. The cow sacrifice yajña means an old cow, he is sacrificed in the fire, and by Vedic hymns he is given again new life. To test the potency of the Vedic mantra, an old cow is sacrificed and by mantra he is given again new life. Not for killing and eating. That was discussed between Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Chand Kazi, Mohammedan magistrate. Those who have read Caitanya-caritāmṛta will find. So the Kazi was challenged by Caitanya Mahāprabhu that "You are killing cow and bulls. What is your religion? You are killing your father and mother." Then, he also was learned man, he said it that "In your Vedas the cow sacrifice yajña is there." Then He explained, "This sacrifice is not for eating. It is giving a new life. To test the Vedic mantra." That is discussed in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. That is a different case. For meat-eating a cow should not be killed. This is not very good civilization. If you are..., you must eat meat, then you can kill other animals. They, those who are the kṣatriyas, they were sometimes going to the forest, killing the deer. They are allowed. Because they have to learn how to kill. So by killing animals, they used to practice. Just like doctors, medical practitioners, they first of all ply their knife on the dead body and find out where are the nerves, where are the..., not a living man. When they are fully practiced, then they are allowed to practice surgical operation. Similarly, kṣatriyas are meant for sometimes killing. Just like Arjuna, he's a kṣatriya. So Kṛṣṇa is criticizing him that "You are a kṣatriya. You have learned how to kill, and now you are hesitating? What is the nonsense?" So kṣatriyas are taught. So they have to rule over. So if required, the demons and the culprit, should immediately cut off his head, duty of the government. So all of a sudden you cannot do that. Just like in your country a young man, he has never learned how to kill and he is drawn in the draft board, "Come on. Go and kill." What he will do? He will hesitate. This is not perfect system. If you want a kṣatriya, you must train them. You must train a class of men as brāhmaṇas. You must train a class of men as kṣatriya and a class of men as agriculturist and cow protection, and balance are workers. That is cātur-varṇyam: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. But the kṣatriya or the president or the secretary, they are sitting very comfortably at our home and some poor young men—"Come on. Go and fight." What is this? What they will fight? They will die there, that's all. If he does not know how to fight, that energy is lacking, what he will do there?

Dr. Crossley: I'd like to ask something. You seem to be saying in several of your illustrations that to try to love is too much. But at least we can chant. To try to have a prohibition against killing is too much. Look what happens, we slaughter the animals. But to have a specific prohibition against killing the cow, that we can have. In other words, I hear you talking about a specific discipline that people can actually accomplish: not kill a cow, chant...

Prabhupāda: Yes. The brāhmaṇas...

Dr. Crossley: But every religion has that. Jews keep kosher.

Prabhupāda: It is... Apart from religion, it is social upkeep. It has nothing to do with religion, but it helps religion.

Dr. Crossley: I guess what I really want to know is does it matter what the specific thing is, like not killing a cow or like chanting or are there many specific things that people can do for love of God and for discipline that will serve the same purpose?

Prabhupāda: Yes. The only specific thing is you chant. Then other things will automatically be revealed.

Dr. Crossley: So chanting is necessary.

Prabhupāda: Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Crossley: Nothing else will do as well.

Prabhupāda: No, because at the present moment they are not practical. Suppose the meditation. It is not practical.

Dr. Crossley: Meditation is not practical?

Prabhupāda: No.

Dr. Wolfe: Śrīla Prabhupāda, in our age, that is, in the Kali-yuga, it is not.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like this thing. That is not practical. And it is practical. Even a small child can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. We see every day. A small child is chanting and dancing without any training.

Dr. Wolfe: Śrīla Prabhupāda, the reason that meditation is not feasible now is because we are too much distracted in this age.

Prabhupāda: Mind is... I will meditate on my office work. When I close my eye I shall sleep. I have seen it. Big... (makes snoring noise) (laughter) I have seen it, old ladies meditating. This is not practical. Meditation is described in Vedic..., dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ: [SB 12.13.1] mind is fully absorbed in God, and he is seeing the Supreme Lord within his heart. That is meditation, not snoring. That is not meditation. Impractical. But if you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, immediately you can join, immediately, "Oh." Even the child will join. So this is practical. And that is recommended,

kalau doṣa-nidhe rājan

asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ

kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya

mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet

 [SB 12.3.51]

That is recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, that "I have described so many faults of this age of Kali, but there is one very biggest gain." What is that? "That simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa one becomes free from all material bondage." This is the special advantage of this age.

Dr. Wolfe: Could it be called the true yoga of our time?

Prabhupāda: Hm. Yes. It is bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga begins with chanting. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]. And the more you chant and hear, you become purified. So I think you leaders of your country, you should take this movement very seriously and take it for acceptance. It is not difficult. Chanting. You can chant in school; you can chant in college; you can chant in the factory; you can chant on the street. There is no special qualification required. But if we introduce this chanting, you will be benefited great. There is no loss, but there is great gain.

Dr. Wolfe: Śrīla Prabhupāda, you are aware that they advance the argument of mesmerization against chanting. The psychologists do that.

Prabhupāda: That's good. That's good. If you can mesmerize, that will... Now Dr. Judah has admitted that you can mesmerize the drug-addicted hippies and engage them in understanding Kṛṣṇa, is a great achievement. (laughter) Yes.

Dr. Wolfe: That's not mesmerization, of course.

Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be. Dr. Judah has admitted. So if mesmerization is for good, why not accept it? If it is for bad, then it is another thing. If it is doing good, why not accept it? Hmm? What do you think, professor?

Dr. Pore: I don't know how to react. I think I agree with you. (laughs)

Prabhupāda: If it is good... Everything good should be accepted.

Dr. Pore: One problem... You see, I keep wondering how you're so sure you know what good is, particularly when it comes to war. I would be a little more worried I think that...

Prabhupāda: What is that war?

Dr. Pore: Well, when you were telling that sometimes war is necessary. I should think that it's important to know how to decide when...

Prabhupāda: No, no, necessary means you cannot expect in this material world all saintly persons. There are bad elements. So if a bad elements comes to attack you, is it not your duty to fight and protect?

Dr. Pore: It just may be, though, that mine are the bad elements, and I keep thinking that other people are the bad elements.

Prabhupāda: No. Even God has got this discrimination. He says, paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. There are bad elements. So if in God's mind there is good element, bad element... So we are part and parcel of God. We must have also the same sentiment. We cannot avoid it.

Jayatīrtha: Nowadays it's 99% bad. So the wars are simply between two bad elements.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jayatīrtha: So it's a different thing now.

Prabhupāda: So you cannot stop war between bad elements. Make them good. Then you can avoid. You cannot stop fighting between the dogs. That is not possible. If you try to make the dogs stop fighting, it is not possible. Is it possible? Then it is useless attempt. You keep the human being as dogs, and you want stop fighting. That is not possible, impractical.

Peter: Must a person believe in Kṛṣṇa in order to chant?

Prabhupāda: You must believe somebody. You believe in God or not?

Peter: Do I believe in God?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Peter: Um...

Prabhupāda: Doubtful. (laughter)

Peter: Yeah, I guess you could say that.

Prabhupāda: So first of all you have to believe yourself that you are part and parcel of God.

Peter: I don't believe that what I experience is necessarily different from what most of the people...

Prabhupāda: What do you believe? Let me know what you believe. That also you do not know?

Peter: Yeah, I don't know what I believe. That's the problem. OK, true. I grew up without a consciousness of God or without even...

Prabhupāda: Without God.

Peter: Well, I wouldn't say without God but without...

Prabhupāda: But without God, how there can be God consciousness?

Peter: So... I don't think that I experience differently than anybody here, but I think that I express that differently. So, what... If I believe in God in my own way, which is maybe expressed...

Prabhupāda: No, our proposition is that you believe or not believe, there is God.

Peter: Well, how can a person not believe? You have to believe.

Prabhupāda: Just like there are so many criminals. They do not believe in government. They don't care for the government. But that does not mean there is no government.

Peter: O.K., and so...

Prabhupāda: And he will believe when he is arrested and given punishment by the government, then he will believe. The criminal may say, "Oh, don't care for the government." That does not mean there is no government. And as soon as he becomes a criminal, he is arrested and punished. Then he understands there is government. So you believe or not believe, there is government. Similarly, you believe or not believe, there is God.

Peter: O.K. You're saying then that God has a nature and...

Prabhupāda: First of all, there is God; you have to accept. Then you study what is God.

Peter: That we have a nature too, and if we go against our own nature...

Prabhupāda: That we have already explained, that you are nothing but a small fragment of God. So you can study God by studying yourself. Because you are small sample of God. There is no need of searching elsewhere. You study yourself, and you find God because you are the sample of God. So you study yourself, and you find God. God is nothing... He is exactly like you but very big. "God is great." You are small. So from small sample, you can understand what is the great.

Dr. Crossley: I think one of the things that Peter is saying, though, that I haven't really heard you address is that... He's not saying that he doesn't believe. He's saying that he has the same experiences as all the young people here, but he doesn't dress this way. He doesn't chant. He doesn't choose to call this praise to Kṛṣṇa. He chooses to call it something else. How is it essentially different? He's saying it's essentially the same.

Prabhupāda: That he can say also that he does not dress like him, that's all. Not different. Difference is that... We are all differently dressed. It is not that every one of us who is sitting down not differently dressed. But we are not talking of the dress. We are talking ourselves. When I talk with you, you talk with me, you are not concerning about my dress or I am concerning your dress; I am talking with you as gentleman, that's all. What is the impediment of the dress? Anyone can dress as he likes. But he is a gentleman; you are a gentleman. Talk like a gentleman, that's all.

Dr. Crossley: If anyone can dress as he likes, then why do you all dress alike?

Prabhupāda: Yes, we already are. Just find out anyone who is equally dressed with you. Find out anyone. You are differently dressed from me, from them. And if you criticize my dress, I criticize your dress. That's all. Then you go on criticizing dress. Where is the talk between gentlemen? That is our disease, that we are concerned with the dress, this body, not the person who has the dress. That is our disease.

Dr. Wolfe: Śrīla Prabhupāda, the dhotī is not important then.

Prabhupāda: Not important. He can have dhotī, you can have pant, you can have... It doesn't matter.

Dr. Pore: It's part of the beauty of the world. It's interesting, it's fun, it's enjoyable, and I see no reason for denial.

Prabhupāda: There are so many thing enjoyable, but who is enjoying? That is the question. The real enjoyer and sufferer is the soul, not this body. When the soul is out of this body the body is no more enjoyer or sufferer; it is a lump of matter. The sense of enjoyment and suffering is there so long the soul is there. Therefore the soul is important. And if you can study the soul then you can understand what is God.

Peter: How do you know there's a soul?

Prabhupāda: Because you are speaking. Because you are inquiring, I know the soul. Because you are soul, therefore you are inquiring. As soon as the soul is out of your body, you cannot inquire anymore. Inquiry finished.

Dr. Wolfe: Can one say that soul and life are identical?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Identical... Life is the symptom of the soul. Because the soul is there, therefore life is there. And as soon the soul is not there, there is no more life. There is sun in the sky, and the light is there, sunshine. When the sun is set, there is no more light; it is dark.

Dr. Pore: Is the body, then, to be resisted? Is the body to be disciplined, to be resisted, to be ignored? Is that what you're suggesting?

Prabhupāda: Ignored?

Bahulāśva: How to treat the body?

Dr. Pore: How do you treat the body?

Prabhupāda: Make the best use of a bad bargain. (laughter) It is a bad bargain. But we have to utilize it.

Dr. Pore: When you say, then, that everything is a part of God you make an exception of the body, the body is not...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: No, he's saying that when we say everything is part of God the body is an exception. The body is not part of God?

Prabhupāda: No, why? Body is also part. Yes, that I have explained.

Dr. Judah: māyā-śakti.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is another energy.

Dr. Pore: Oh, I see.

Dr. Judah: Inferior energy of Kṛṣṇa.

Dr. Pore: Inferior energy.

Prabhupāda: Everything is God's energy, so body is also God's energy. So best use of the body is God's energy should be utilized for God.

Dr. Pore: Hm.

 

Garden Conversation with Professors -- June 24, 1975, Los Angeles

 

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