During the past weekend two more mass murder incidents occurred. This time in the USA, one in Dayton, Ohio and one in El Paso, Texas.
What is the cause and what is the cure?
Srila Prabhupada addressed both these points in the following conversation.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: Room Conversation with Lt. Mozee, Policeman
Date: July 5, 1975
Śrī Govinda [now Śrīpāda Nyasi Maharaja] : Lieutenant Mozee.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Yes. [indistinct]
Śrī Govinda: He’s with the Chicago police department, and he’s in charge of developing their relationship with the media. And I was thinking there could be nice discussion with him concerning your ideas about stopping crime.
Prabhupāda: Hmm? Yes. So I shall explain, or he will enquire?
Jayatīrtha: [to Lieutenant] Would you like to ask some questions or have him explain?
Lt. Mozee: Well, no. I understood the spiritual leader had some ideas on how to prevent crime, to prevent do these things. I might inquire after he gives his ideas. I understand you read the…
Prabhupāda: It is not idea; it is fact that one man is very pious and one man is very vicious. What is the difference? The difference is = one is dirty in his heart and one is pure in his heart. So if you keep people dirty, then there will be crimes. This is the sign that the general people, they are dirty. So you have to purify the dirty things, diseased condition. Then things will be all right. So our simplest process is to assemble in congregation and chant the holy name of God. Then dirty things will go away. So if you want to stop crime, then you have to arrange for mass saṅkīrtana. That is our movement. Gather people as large as can be possible and congregationally chant the holy name of God. Then it will be all right.
Lt. Mozee: Do you have any feeling about the crime here in the United States as opposed to the crime in your own land?
Prabhupāda: Crime… What is your definition of crime?
Lt. Mozee: Well, any infraction against one person by another person. Any trampling on the rights of one person by another person can be a crime or should be a crime.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Our definition is the same. In the Upaniṣad, that everything belongs to God. As you think everything belongs to the state, we think everything belongs to God. So you can utilize your possession, what is allotted to you. Don’t encroach upon others. So people are not thinking in that way. First beginning is that you American, you are thinking this America land is your, although two hundred years ago it was not your. You have come from other parts of the world; now you are claiming it is your land. But actually it is God’s land. So God’s land belongs to everyone. Everyone is God’s children. That is our broad conception. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam [Īśo mantra 1] = “Everything belongs to God.” So people have no conception of God. Everyone is practically godless. Therefore they should be educated about God. Just like the Communists = they are educating godlessness. Similarly… Just like in America they say, your government says, “We trust in God.” Is it not?
Prabhupāda: But where is the education about God? Simply trust is also good, very good, but simple trust will not endure unless you know scientifically what is God. Everyone knows that he has got a father, but he does not know who is his father. That knowledge is not perfect. Everyone who is born in this material world must have a father. But that is not sufficient suggestion. One must know who is father. That education is lacking.
Lt. Mozee: Do you feel, sir, that it is lacking only here in the United States?
Lt. Mozee: Everywhere.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Everywhere. This is the age of forgetting God. We say it is Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga means the age of misunderstanding. And that is, I said, dirty things within the heart. So God is so powerful that if we chant the holy name of God, then we become purified. So our movement is based on this principle = chant the holy name of God. We give all facilities to everyone, without any distinction, that “You come with us. Come in our temple, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and take little prasādam, refreshment, and gradually you become purified.” So if the government authorities give us facilities for this business, that we hold mass saṅkīrtana, Hare Kṛṣṇa, and give them little prasādam, then we are sure the whole place will change.
Lt. Mozee: If I understand you then, correctly, sir, you would say that the emphasis should be returned to the religious aspects.
Prabhupāda: Certainly. Without religious aspect what is the difference between dog and man? Man can be turned to be a religious man; the dog cannot be. That is the difference between dog and man. So if you keep the human society to the status of dogs and cats, how you can expect peaceful society? If you bring one dozen of dogs and if you want to keep them peacefully, is it possible? So if we keep human society as dogs, then how you can expect peacefulness?
Lt. Mozee: Some of my questions might sound disrespectful. If they do it is only because I do not understand completely your religious beliefs, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever.
Prabhupāda: No, it is not my religious belief. I am just giving you general description of religious life and animal life. The animal cannot be taken to the churches and teach something about God. It is not possible. But a human being can be. So if the human being is refused this facility, then you keep them as cats and dogs. And you cannot expect any peaceful condition of life in the society of cats and dogs. So therefore it is the duty of the authority, of the government, of the elderly person, father, guardian, to teach the subordinate how to become God conscious. Otherwise, there will be trouble, because there is no difference between dogs and man in every respect. The dog eats; we eat. The dog sleeps; we sleep. The dog have sex; we have sex. The dog also tries to defend itself; we also try to defend ourself. These are common factors. The only difference is the dog cannot be instructed about his relation with God, but man can be instructed.
Lt. Mozee: It would seem to me that in the days that we live in, I would say that the wolf, the animal, wolf, has more peacefulness than man. The wolf does not encroach upon another’s territory…
Prabhupāda: Then you can say a stone has got more peacefulness than man.
Lt. Mozee: In today’s society.
Prabhupāda: Yes, you keep a stone a stone, a stone. That’s all right. Wolf may be qualified with peacefulness, but after all, it is animal. You cannot say because it is peaceful for the time being, therefore it is not animal. It is animal.
Lt. Mozee: Wouldn’t that sort of peace be a precursor to a return to religion? Must we not first have peace?
Prabhupāda: No, no. That is the difficulty. We do not know the meaning of religion. At the present moment the human society does not know what is the meaning of religion. The meaning of religion is to abide by the laws of God, just like a good citizen means who abides by the laws of the state, of the government. Because we have no understanding of God, therefore we do not know what is the laws of God, and therefore we do not know what is religion. That is the present status of the human society. They are forgetting religion. They take religion as a kind of faith. Faith may be blind faith. Faith is not the real description of religion. Religion means the laws which is given by God, and anyone who follows the laws, he is religious. It doesn’t matter whether he is a Christian or a Hindu or Muslim. If he follows the laws of God, then he is religious.
Lt. Mozee: Again, I say I mean no disrespect, but in India, where the religious customs have been followed for centuries upon centuries, we are seeing a…, not a return, but we are seeing a drawing away. We are seeing a drawing away from the spiritual world and the spiritual life in today’s society.
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is due to bad leadership. Otherwise, Indian mass of people, they are fully conscious of God, and they try to follow the laws of God, the mass of people. Here even the big, big professor, they do not believe in God, they do not believe in next life. But India, even the poorest man, he knows that “There is God. There is next life. If I commit sinful life I will suffer. If I live piously, then I shall enjoy.” Even the low-grade society, social man, he believes it. Still if there is some disagreement, the village people go to the temple for settlement, and the opposite parties will hesitate to speak lies before the temple, still. So in that respect India is still eighty percent religious, eighty percent religious. That is the special privilege of taking birth in India. That is a fact.
bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra,
janma sārthaka kari kara para-upakāra
[Cc. Ādi 9.41]
Anyone who has taken birth in India, his business is to make his life perfect and distribute the knowledge all over the world.
Lt. Mozee: Sir, do you think that the wealth of the United States and some certain other countries would be a block to spiritual faith? In Christianity there is a parable that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to come before the throne of God.” Would wealth in itself be a block toward spiritual awareness?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Too much wealthy condition is a block. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānāṁ tayāpahṛta-cetasām. If one is very materially opulent, he forgets God. Therefore, to be too much materially rich is a disqualification for understanding God. Although there is no impediment that “Only the poor man will understand God and rich man will not understand,” it is not that. But generally, if one is extraordinarily rich or his one aim is only to acquire money, it is difficult for him to understand God. Bhogaiśvarya… [aside:] Find out this verse,
samādhau na vidhacate
Another place, I think in the Bible, “God is available for the humble and meek”? What is that? Is there such statement? So the rich person is neither humble nor meek. He is always proud and puffed up unnecessarily. So it is very difficult for…
Jayatīrtha: Christ says that “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
Jayatīrtha: “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Because they’re meek, therefore everything will come to them.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
samādhau na vidhīyate
“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.”
Lt. Mozee: Um-hmm. Well, those who believe in our country in Christianity believe these things. I don’t see the vast differences between the spiritual beliefs of one religious group as opposed to another.
Prabhupāda: We don’t say that. We don’t say that. We say that you follow any religious system. Doesn’t matter. But you understand God and love Him. That is our propaganda. We do not say that “You are Christian. This is not good. You come here.” We do not say. Why say? Everything is… But our proposition is that either you are Christian or Muslim or Hindu, it doesn’t matter. You understand God and love Him, that’s all.
Lt. Mozee: I recognize, sir, that your time is very valuable, and I won’t delay you much longer. If I could return to my original purpose for coming in the…, what words you may have that would assist us, my superintendent and my department, in the reduction of crime, other than, I recognize, that the first and the foremost way would be a return to God, as you said, that there is no doubt about that. But is there something else that you may know or that you may feel that you may be able to say that would assist us in a reduction less than the ideal?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That I have already in the beginning said, that give us facilities, the authorities, to chant the holy name of God and distribute prasādam. Prasādam means…
Lt. Mozee: Yes, I understand.
Prabhupāda: …some refreshment as remnants of foodstuff of God. Then it will make tremendous change. I came from India alone; now I have got so many followers. So what did I do? I did the same thing. I asked them to sit down and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and distribute them little prasādam. This should be done in a mass scale, and then things will come very peaceful. It is fact. So I want little cooperation of the authorities to give me the facility, how I can call many men together, chant together Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and I supply them little refreshment, that’s all.
Lt. Mozee: I will definitely convey your message to my superiors.
Prabhupāda: So you give us this facility.
Lt. Mozee: Where would you…? Do you have any ideas where you would want…?
Prabhupāda: Yes, yesterday the mayor of this place came.
Prabhupāda: Here is a house vacant. So if we get this house, then we can begin in a mass scale. The America is not poor. So at least on experimental stage the government or the municipality can give us this house and arrange for some prasādam. Simple prasāda we give, not costly. We don’t use meat or anything.
Lt. Mozee: Yes, sir.
Prabhupāda: Vegetable, grains, that’s all. But something must be given. This is our program. So I saw yesterday the mayor. He came also very kindly. And you have come. So you consult yourself. This place or any place, give us some facility and see the result.
Lt. Mozee: Would you say that it should be done in an area of affluence or an area of poverty to begin with?
Prabhupāda: No, we have no distinction, such. But a place which is easily available for all kinds of men, that is very nice. There is no such condition that the only poor man will take benefit, and the rich man, they do not require. Everyone requires. Do you think that the criminality is only in the poorer section?
Lt. Mozee: Oh, no.
Prabhupāda: Then? Everyone is a criminal, either he is a poor man or rich man. So we should not make such distinction, that only it is meant for the poor man.
Lt. Mozee: No, the distinction I was attempting to draw was would there be more benefit, would there be more of an influence, or would there be more of a strengthening if it were in an area of affluence rather than an area of poverty, or vice versa?
Prabhupāda: No, no, no, that’s… Our treatment is for the diseased person. So diseased person does not make any distinction of poor man and rich man. Rich man is also diseased, and poor man is also diseased, and everyone should be admitted in the hospital. So hospital should be in such a place where the poor man and rich man, both of them can come, because all of them are diseased. So when one comes to the hospital there is no such thing as a poor man’s hospital or rich man’s hospital. Hospital is hospital. And everyone being diseased, everyone should take advantage of it. But the difficulty is, as we are quoting the passage, that rich man, he thinks that he is not diseased. Although he is diseased number one, but he thinks that he is not diseased. That is the difficulty of the rich man. But we are thinking everyone is diseased. And you know better than me, being police. There are criminality amongst rich men and poor men alike.
Lt. Mozee: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: So our process is to cleanse the heart, not the opulence or poverty. No, that is not our… To cleanse the heart. If the poor man is cleansed in his heart he will not touch anybody’s property. I heard that King, er, Emperor Edward VII, his habit was to steal.
Lt. Mozee: Yes, he was a kleptomaniac. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: And I have known many instances. In Calcutta one very rich man’s son, in the evening he would take his bath and dress nicely, and he would go to the Howrah station and beg, cheat, means = “I have lost my purse. Will you kindly help me?” And any gentleman = “He has lost…” And he will go to the restaurant and eat and go home. That was his habit. He was a very rich man, but his habit was this. So we have to change the habit by changing the heart. You know very well. Many thieves, they have committed many times theft and put into the jail.
So he knows that “If I commit theft, I will go to the jail.” He has practically seen it, and he knows it. Still, he steals. Why? His heart is unclean. So this process will cleanse the heart. Unless he cleans the heart, you cannot stop criminality simply by laws. Laws are already known. The professional thief, he knows the law. The professional murderer, he knows the law. But still, he commits, because heart is unclean. And our process = to cleanse the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], it is Sanskrit, “Cleansing the heart.” Bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam, “Then all the troubles of this material world will be solved.”
Lt. Mozee: A very difficult task, sir.
Prabhupāda: It is not difficult. Very simple task. To ask them, “Please come here, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, dance, and take sumptuously prasādam, go home”—where is the difficulty? And they are coming; we are doing that. But we are doing—because we have no money—we are doing on a small scale. But if the government gives us facility we can expand this scale. That’s all. We are collecting money… Of course, we are doing our business by selling these books. We have got many books. And we are inviting men; they are coming, and gradually increasing. There is no dearth of men or devotees. But the government is faced with these difficulties, “Crime, why and what to do?” So we are suggesting this.
Because they are unclean in their heart, therefore there is crime, and take this process, it will be successful. This is our… They are faced with the problem, “Why crime, and what to do?” and we are giving the answer. So you take advantage of it. Why? We are saying, “Because they are godless.” And what to do? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and take prasādam. Now if you like, you can take. Otherwise, we are doing our own business. Just like a poor medical man = he is also giving medicine, but if he is given facility, he can open a big hospital. That is our proposition. We are already doing that business. But if we get facility from the authorities, then we can open a big place, big hospital. And the problem is already big. Otherwise, why they are saying, “What to do?”
Lt. Mozee: Well, there are…
Prabhupāda: No civil state wants this criminality. That’s a fact. But they do not know how to stop it. That we can suggest. We are good advisor. Now, the government is the executor. So if they take our advice and execute it, then things will be done nicely.
Lt. Mozee: There are countless numbers in the United States of large facilities of the Christian faith, and, like you, they give the refreshment of the holy communion. Why does this not work? Why is this not cleansing the heart?
Prabhupāda: The answer is… Then we come to the details. So you say, “Christian,” and I find to find out a Christian… I find difficulty to find out one Christian. I must frankly say, because the so-called Christians, they do not abide by the Bible’s order that in the Christian’s Bible it is said, “Thou shall not kill,” and where is a Christian who does not kill? So this can be effective only persons who are practicing religion. So these persons, they are trained to practice. So their chanting of the holy name of God and others’ are different. [break] It is not simply a rubber-stamp position. It must be practiced, realized. This chanting of holy name by our men who are trained up and the same chanting by others will be different. Of course, if we… [break] …your Hindu principle. That is secular state, not to remain callous = “Whatever you like, you can do. We have no concern to see.” That is not government’s duty.
Lt. Mozee: Sir, isn’t the difficulty, rather, that the group of…, I want to call them hard-core group—the priests, the devotees, the followers, the little circle of people, have always been the ones that have followed the practices—but the fringe… Assume for example that Hare Kṛṣṇa grew to gigantic proportions as Christianity has grown. Would not it be the problem that the fringe areas, the ones who were not…, who professed to be the followers… Would not they be the difficulty as the Christian is today? You have said that you…
Prabhupāda: Yes, that possibility is always there. But my proposal is that if you are not true Christian, then your preaching will not be effective. I don’t say that now we are strictly following and we will not fall down in future. I don’t say that. That fall-down propensity, tendency, is always there. But my proposal is that unless one is strictly follower of the principles, his preaching will not be effective. That is my charge.
Lt. Mozee: Yes. Well, sir, again I thank you for your time. I thank you for this interview. And I thank you for the opportunity to find out more about the group that is Hare Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. And I will deliver this tape recording to my superiors. Hopefully, hopefully it will be effective…
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much.
Lt. Mozee: …as you are effective.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. [to devotee:] Prasādam. No, give him more. [laughter]
Lt. Mozee: This is what?
Jayatīrtha: Made from milk.
Prabhupāda: There are so many program…
Lt. Mozee: Like a cheese?
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Lt. Mozee: A sweet cheese.
Devotees: Yes, sweet cheese. More?
Lt. Mozee: No, this is fine, thank you.
Prabhupāda: You take one more of this cheese.
Lt. Mozee: All right. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: Give the devotees.
Lt. Mozee: Just a personal question = How long has your group been in the United States?
Prabhupāda: I came here in 1965. But for one year there was no program; I was loitering only. And then, in 1966, July, I registered this Society in New York, and gradually these students… I rented one storefront in New York, Second Avenue, and in this way practically it was started in 1966. Then in 1967 I was attacked with heart attack. Then I returned India. Then again I came back in 1968. So practically the movement is going on regularly from 1968. Yes.
Lt. Mozee: Do you find that you have—again, a personal thing—do you find that you are having difficulty disassociating yourself with false prophets like the Guruji?
Prabhupāda: No, we don’t accept that. We don’t. Because…
Lt. Mozee: I mean disassociating your group with a man like that.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Certainly, we disassociate. We have no very good opinion.
Lt. Mozee: It would be a… It would seem to me that it would be a very difficult thing…
Prabhupāda: Yes, for others to distinguish.
Lt. Mozee: Yes.
Prabhupāda: But one has to see by the result.
Lt. Mozee: Um-hmm.
Prabhupāda: Phalena paricīyate. It is very difficult to distinguish which is good medicine, which is bad medicine. By the effect. Thank you.
Lt. Mozee: I thank you for your time, sir.
Prabhupāda: Give him this garland.
Lt. Mozee: Thank you.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. [break] I saw on the airplane. So it has struck me, yes, that this is the position of the human society.
Lt. Mozee: Yeah, Govinda dāsa told me that you had read this on your way in, so I brought a copy. I didn’t know whether you wanted to quote from it. But I was ready to be prepa… I was prepared.
Prabhupāda: You have read it?
Lt. Mozee: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: It is a problem. Actually it is a problem. Such a rich state as America, and there is crime. It does not look well. Yes.
Lt. Mozee: Hmm. True. It’s our number-one problem.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So this is the solution.
Lt. Mozee: It’s our number-one problem.
Lt. Mozee: Now, when the people see the politician and the affluent stealing they say, “Why not? It’s good for them; it’s good for me.” Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. [break] [end]