Woman: I have just one more question, and that is also from an outsider's point of view. It appears to me that one of the most difficult aspects of Kṛṣṇa consciousness for someone to accept who's been brought up outside of that point of view is the Deities and the idea that they represent Kṛṣṇa. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. At the present moment, because you are not trained up to see Kṛṣṇa, so Kṛṣṇa kindly appears before you as you can see. You can see wood, stone. You cannot see what is spirit. Even you don't see yourself. You are thinking, "I am this body." But you are spirit soul. You are seeing your father and mother daily, and when the father or mother dies, you cry. Why you are crying? "Now my father has gone." Where is your father gone? He is lying here. Why do you say he is gone? What is that thing which is gone? Why you say, "My father is gone," although lying on the bed? You have seen daily your father. Now you say, "My father is gone." So... But he is lying on the bed. So who has gone? What is your answer?
Woman: Where is God?
Jayatīrtha: Who has gone? If you see your dead father and you say that he is passed away, what has passed away?
Prabhupāda: Who is that father?
Woman: Only this material body is gone.
Prabhupāda: Material body is there, lying on the bed.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: His body is there. And you say, "My father is gone." So what is gone?
Woman: Well, his spirit is still...
Prabhupāda: But have you seen that spirit?
Prabhupāda: Therefore you cannot see the spirit, and God is Supreme Spirit. Therefore, to show kindness upon you, He has appeared just like wood and stone so that you can see.
Woman: Oh, I see.
Prabhupāda: He is everything. He is spirit and matter, everything. But you cannot see Him as spiritual identity. Therefore He has appeared in material form so that you can see. This is Deity. He is God, but you cannot see Him in His original spiritual form at the present moment. Therefore, out of His unbounded mercy, He has appeared before you just like made of wood and stone so that you can see.
Room Conversation with writer, Sandy Nixon -- July 13, 1975, Philadelphia