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Note: The translation of the Professors from Spanish to English, and Srila Prabhupada from English to Spanish was done by His Holiness Hrdayananda Maharaja.
Prabhupada: At the present moment it is required that the leading men should understand the aims of life and introduce it in the society for the general benefit of the human society. In the present chaotic position of the society… Just like we see on the road, cars are running with great speed, this way and that way, but they do not know what is the aim of life. Ask any one of them that “What is the aim of life, and why you are running so speedily, and what is the business?” Everyone will say, “I have got business. I am going hurriedly.” And if I ask, “What is that business?” “Business means to earn some money and maintain the family.” that’s all. So is it a fact that to earn some money and maintain the family or at night sleep or sex indulgence, is that the aim of life? So that is my submission to the heads of the cultural movement. Is that the cultural end, to sleep at night or sex indulgence and at night earn money and maintain the family? I am asking this question.
Professor: He says that he agrees that the goal of life is not that, but that from his childhood he’s been trained in a certain way, and he has not been taught anything else, and how can he achieve a different way of life?
Prabhupada: Yes, that we are teaching in this Krsna consciousness movement, how you can change it. Therefore we asking all leading men to understand this movement and join it. That is our request.
Professor: There is a question I would like to ask. I do know that it is not the aim of life just to every morning keep your family, go to bed and have sex. But it is part of life.
Prabhupada: That I know also, everyone knows. But beyond that, there must be some aim of life.
Professor: But being so… I think that there is… There should be some kind of humbleness, the necessary humbleness.
Prabhupada: No, humbleness is of course good qualification, but the humbleness you will find in animal also, very humble. If you cut his throat, he will not tell anything. So humbleness also, that is another thing, but what should be the aim of life? What is the actual aim of life? If we forget the aim of life and simply become humble like ass, is that very good qualification? The ass is very humble. You load upon it tons of loads. It will not protest. Very humble.
Hrdayananda: He says that the goal of life is to achieve the transcendence.
Prabhupada: Yes, right. The goal of life is realization of transcendence. So, that they are forgetting. They have made their goal of life as sense gratification.
Professor: What kind of transcendence would that be?
Prabhupada: Transcendence means the Absolute Truth. What do you mean by transcendence?
Professor: By transcendence, I understand it, the universal consciousness. The search for God.
Prabhupada: Yes, right you are. This life, human life, is distinguished from animal life because the animal cannot inquire about transcendence. The human life, if it is not interested in transcendence, then he is animal. If simply he is interested with the bodily demands of life, namely eating, sleeping, sex and defense, these are bodily demands of life. So if we think that “Dog is eating on the street, and we are eating very palatable dishes, nicely made, very tasteful. That is advancement of civilization,” that is not advancement of civilization because it is, after all, eating. Similarly, sleeping; the animals sleep on the street and we sleep in very nice apartment. But in sleeping, we dream horrible things more than the animals. So eating, sleeping, sex life and trying for defense, these are common formulas both for the animals and for the man. Therefore a human being is distinguished from the animal when he enquires about transcendence. And that is explained in the great literature Brahma-sutra, or the philosophy of Vedanta-sutra, athato brahma jijnasa: “Now we have got this human form of life. We must enquire about the Brahman, or transcendence.” So our bodily necessities of life should be simplified as much as it is required. We must save time for enquiring about transcendence. So unless we enquire about the transcendence, then we are two-legged animals. This is culture, this is the aim of life.
Professor: He’s saying that in European history many, many people, in the name of looking for transcendence, there have been so many wars, hatred between men, and, you may know, in Spain they had what is called the Inquisition where they burned so many people. And so he’s saying, psychologically, that his brain tells him that in the name of searching after transcendence there has been so much bad, so how is this different?
Prabhupada: The difference is transcendence is beyond our mind, bodily activities, mental activities or intelligence. The European philosophers and transcendentalists, they do not know actually what is transcendence. They understand that there is something, but they do not know what it is. Therefore they speculate by their imperfect senses. Gradually it becomes craziness. Therefore you find that defect.
Professor: So do you mean to say that this is just a contemplative thing that doesn’t really have a active influence upon the society to change the different…?
Prabhupada: No, we must first of all understand that our senses are imperfect. Just like we are sitting in this room. We have got our eyes, but we cannot see what is there, going on, beyond this wall. The sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth, and we are seeing just like a disc. So the eyelid is just near the eyes, but we cannot see what is the eyelids. If the light is off, we cannot see. So we can see under certain condition. Then what is the value of our seeing? If we, even if we manufacture telescope, that is also manufactured by the imperfect senses, so it is also not perfect. So anything understood by manipulating our imperfect senses, that is not real knowledge. So our process of understanding real knowledge is to take it from the person who has the real knowledge. Just like if we contemplate or speculate who is my father, it is never possible to understand who is my father. But if we receive the words from mother that “Here is your father,” that is perfect. Therefore the process of knowledge should be not to speculate but to receive it from the perfect person. If we receive knowledge from a mental speculator, that is not perfect knowledge.
Professor: What would be the mechanism or process to get this perfect knowledge and to purify our senses?
Prabhupada: First of all we have to accept this truth, that perfect knowledge can be received from the perfect person. Just like I have given the example, who is my father. You can understand it from the perfect person, mother. If somebody speculates, “This gentleman may be your father, this gentleman may be your father,” that is not perfect knowledge. The perfect knowledge is with the mother. Mother says, “Here is your father.” That is perfect knowledge. Just like, therefore, in the Bhagavad-gita it is said,
tad viddhi pranipatena
(aside:) Find out
upadeksyanti tad jnanam
Now, what is the meaning of tattva-darsinah?
Hrdayananda: “The seers of the truth.”
Prabhupada: Yes. You have to… Just like mother has seen the father. So her knowledge is perfect. But I have not seen my father. Because before my birth there was father, I do not know who is my father. The mother has seen the father. So you have to approach such a person who has seen the truth. That is the way of… Now you have to find out a person who has seen the transcendence and receive knowledge of transcendence from him. Then it is perfect.
Professor: What I mean is that, you know. We are all imperfect because we are imperfect. Right? So how can a master, a person who really understands or who claims to really understand be able to know perfection, to see the truth, how can he with his imperfect senses…
Prabhupada: You are right, you are right.
Professor: …know the real truth.
Prabhupada: Yes, therefore I say…
Professor: How can I get with my imperfect senses the perfection brought by the master?
Prabhupada: The same example. Just like the mother has seen the father, and the mother says not only to her son but other gentleman that “Here is the father of the son.” So the other gentleman who has not seen the father but on the verification by the mother, he accepts the real thing. Hearing from the perfect is also perfect. If I get the chance of hearing from the perfect, then I may not be perfect, but because I have heard from the perfect, what I say, that is perfect.
Professor: He’s saying that he accepts that we can receive perfect knowledge, but then because I am imperfect I make an imperfect interpretation.
Prabhupada: No, you are not allowed interpretation. As soon as you interpret, you become imperfect. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Don’t interpret. Before this, all these rascals were simply interpreting and spoiling the whole thing. So this is the fact.
Professor: So what you really are asking for is blind faith.
Prabhupada: Not blind faith. Perfect man is perfect. Unless you understand that he is perfect, don’t hear from him. That is blind. Without knowing that he is perfect, if you hear, that is your imperfectness. Why should you try to hear from a person whom you do not know perfectly well that he is perfect?
Hrdayananda: Can I translate that?
Prabhupada: Yes. If you hear blindly, that is your imperfectness. You must be first of all convinced that. “The person from whom I am hearing, he is perfect.” Then your knowledge is perfect.
Professor: That conviction is not the product of reasoning.
Prabhupada: It is not convention. It is not convention. It is actually knowing that “I have approached this perfect man.” Just like the same example: if you approach the mother of the son, she is the perfect to know the father, and if you have known from the mother that “This boy’s father is this gentleman,” that knowledge is perfect. Even though you have not seen while the father was begotten, giving birth, it doesn’t matter. But because you have heard from the mother — she is perfect — therefore your knowledge received from her is perfect. Therefore it is written, tattva-darsibhih, “who has seen the truth.” So you have to approach such person who has seen the truth.
Professor: Well, that brings that to my original question again. How do I know who is perfect?
Prabhupada: That is another thing, that you have to search out such person. Otherwise your knowledge is imperfect. Now that question will be: “How to find out such person?” The next question will be. But unless you approach such perfect person, you cannot have perfect knowledge. That is a fact. Therefore the conclusion is that we should not speculate about perfect knowledge, but we should try to approach the perfect person and receive knowledge from him. This is the conclusion.
Professor: He’s more or less saying that in the Catholic church how they also demand the same type of faith. He said they all have a bad experience with that. And then he more or less…
Prabhupada: No, no, I can understand. The thing is that everyone can take advantage of this statement that “I am perfect.” Just like so many rogues and bogus persons come. But it is your duty to know whether he is perfect. It is your duty to test whether he is perfect. That requires intelligence. If you unintelligently accept some bogus person as perfect, that is your fault. You must be assured that “The person from whom I am asking, he is perfect.” Then you take it. Otherwise don’t take.
Professor: Can I put a question? Why do you always say, “From a perfect person”?
Prabhupada: Because the knowledge must be perfect; otherwise imperfect knowledge.
Professor: He’s saying why do you say a perfect person instead of saying a perfect philosophy?
Prabhupada: No, unless the philosophy is given by a perfect person how the philosophy can be perfect? Philosophy means searching after the truth. So if he does not know how to find out the truth, what is the meaning of his philosophy? I was a student of philosophy. My professor was Dr. Urquhart. He used to say that “Philosophy is the science of science.” So unless he is a perfect scientist, how he can give science?
Professor: I have other question. Why do we want to transcend?
Prabhupada: I am not wanting. I am simply distributing the transcendental knowledge.
Professor: Will not transcendence be an illusion too?
Prabhupada: No, no, there is proof. It is not emotion. What you say, you have no proof, but what I say I have got proof. What you say, you become your own authority. But what I say, I have got greater authority. Just like two lawyers speaking before the court — the lawyer who gives quotation from the authority, he gains the case.
Professor: Do you have any evidence?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Professor: Would you tell us your experiences in that field?
Prabhupada: Yes, that, of course, it will take time for you to understand. Because unless you are lawyer, you cannot understand while the other lawyer is giving quotation. But the court will accept.
Professor: He still wants to go on with the same question he asked before: If we are content just to purify ourselves or if we also want to help the society.
Prabhupada: No, you do not know what is self. How you will purify? You do not know what is self. Can you say what is self?
Professor: Is it possible that he could spend his whole life trying to find himself and at the end of his life not find himself and meanwhile he didn’t help the society?
Prabhupada: Not only one life, but millions of life, you will not be able to know — unless you change your policy.
Professor: What is the value of the transcendence?
Prabhupada: Because you are transcendence. You are actually seeking transcendence because you are transcendence.
Professor: He says that because he doesn’t know what the transcendence is, there’s no value for him. It’s only a name. He doesn’t know why to look for it.
Prabhupada: Yes. So first of all, as I say, that you are also transcendence, you just try to know yourself first. Then you will know what is transcendence. You are the sample of transcendence, and if you see the sample, you can know the whole thing. Just like if you taste one drop of sea water, then you can understand what is the chemical composition of the sea water. Therefore your first business is to know yourself, that you are not this body. In this way, when you know yourself, then you know the original transcendence.
Professor: Why do you make so much emphasis on (indistinct).
Prabhupada: Because without this, you are animal.
Professor: What’s wrong with being an animal?
Prabhupada: Animal means you are living a very risky life.
Professor: A very…?
Prabhupada: Risky life. The animal is always in danger. A dog is running, but at any moment he can be in danger. I have seen in my own eyes in New York. It is little in the off from New York. In I think in the month of December or January, a dog was jumping and he fell in the water pool and immediately died. It was so cold it collapsed immediately. So what is the use of this dog-like jumping? Besides that, in the animal society there is no question of culture, religion, philosophy, science. Animal, they do not require it. And why man requires it? That means human society is searching after the transcendence. But without knowing the way, how to understand, they are now engaged in different way. You find out this verse from Bhagavatam, jivasya tattva-jijnasa na yas ceha karmabhih. Find out. Kamasya nendriya-pritih.
Hrdayananda: It’s in the first volume.
Prabhupada: Yes. You know that? Find out this verse.
(labho) jiveta yavata
(artho) yas ceha na karmabhih
Find out this. Read it. (Hrdayananda translates into Spanish)
Hrdayananda: They still have doubts on this point that how can we know that it’s worth our trouble, that if we dedicate our lives to this searching for the transcendence, how can we be sure that at the end of it we won’t have wasted our lives? How can we be sure that the transcendence is actually worth searching for?
Prabhupada: No, first of all you must understand the importance of the business. Then we can do it. If you do not understand the importance of the business, then you cannot do it.
Professor: He says that he feels that you’ve already answered this question, but that they didn’t catch it, that he thinks the key is that you said that the truth is not outside, but it’s actually within us. We have to find it within us.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes.
Professor: He says why do you put so much emphasis on the personalism after liberation because it seems like to him that the ideal perfect thing would be the unity rather than having something separate.
Prabhupada: That is your ideal, imperfect ideal. Because you are imperfect.
Professor: Are you perfect master?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, because I am heard from the perfect. I am not perfect, but what I say, that is perfect. Just like a child does not know what is this dictaphone, but he has learned from the father, “This is dictaphone,” so when he says, “This is dictaphone,” it is perfect. The child is not perfect, but because he has heard from his father perfect, so the knowledge is perfect.
Professor: That if you are not perfect, how can you interpret the truth?
Prabhupada: Because I am giving the perfect truth. Anyone who will accept, it will act. Just like a child says that “This is dictaphone. If you use it like this, you’ll get this result.” That is perfect.
Professor: He says that not all knowledge is so objective. For example, in the matter of understanding society, the communists have their theory, the capitalists have their theory, and there’s millions of theories and so…
Prabhupada: That is not knowledge; that is art. Just like electrician. He knows how to mix the two wires and bring the current. That is not knowledge; that is a business or art for temporary recreation. And because he knows the art how to bring the current, it does not mean that he knows the Absolute Truth. So people are taking at the present moment electrician as the knower of the Absolute Truth.
Professor: He’s saying that he thinks that the knowledge that you’re giving is perfect because it is perfect knowledge and not because you are giving it. Because it is revealed knowledge, perfect because it is revealed.
Prabhupada: Yes. Anyone can take it. Just like we are giving knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita. So the Bhagavad-gita is open for everyone; it is not for me only. It is for you also. That is our movement, that you take the perfect knowledge and be happy and make your life successful.
Professor: So he said one thing is to understand theoretically the knowledge, and the other is to practice it. What is the method for…?
Prabhupada: Everything is there. All questions solved, economic, social, religious, politics, whatever you are-plus transcendental knowledge.
Professor: He said it seems to him that this involves a retiring from ordinary life, western life, and even maybe retiring from ordinary eastern life.
Prabhupada: It is not the question of western life or eastern life. The life… Just like westerners, they eat, and the easterners, they eat. Now the question is how to supply eating. [break]
Professor: He’s saying that the way we dress, our whole way of life, will make our movement only available to a few people because it requires someone who is prepared to completely change his way of life.
Prabhupada: Well, when there is question of knowledge, only you will find a few people to get the knowledge. When you put this question, “Find out some learned scholar,” generally they will be very… Their number will be very little. But one thing is that if there is one man in real knowledge, he can give the…, distribute the knowledge to many. The example is just like ekas candras tamo hanti na ca tara sahasrasah: If you get one moon at night, that is sufficient to dissipate the darkness. And there are millions of stars — it is useless. So it is necessarily not required that everyone should be in perfect knowledge. But if one man is in perfect knowledge, hundreds and thousands can hear from him and they can perfect(?). So it does not depend on the quantity; it depends on the quality.
Professor: He’s saying that just like you give the example of the dictaphone, but it seems like if he just recorded the knowledge within his brain and then repeated it, that he would just be like an instrument, and he might not really be conscious of the knowledge himself. He’d just be transmitting it. It seems like… He thinks that’s a defect because he’s not really, he might not be conscious.
Prabhupada: No, he doesn’t require. Just like I am working with this dictaphone. I am not a mechanic, but my business is going on. That is required. I have read the instruction paper, that “You use this microphone like this. You put this button,” and three, four instruction. So I have learned it and it is giving my business. That’s all. Just like this lamp, the instruction is “Push this button,” (flicks light button) and it will go, all on. So I know I will get the light. Now I am not electrician. It doesn’t require. That much knowledge is sufficient. But I want the light. So the electrician says, “Just put this button in this way. Light will be there.” So my business is finished.
Professor: He’s saying that for example he could listen to everything that you were saying, and then he could repeat it, and someone might say to him that “Oh, you are an expert. You are a master,” but actually he’s not. He’s simply repeating.
Prabhupada: No, this is example. By receiving a knowledge, you must corroborate by your knowledge or by your experience, by the method. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita, it is said that Arjuna was declining to fight in the war. So Krsna said that “You are simply lamenting on this body, but you do not know what is the active principle of the body.” So this you can understand very nicely, that everyone is working for this body, but nobody knows what the active principle of the body. Without the active principle of the body, this body, alive or dead, is the same thing, lump of matter. So Arjuna accepted Krsna as teacher; therefore He is chastising him that “You are talking like a learned man, but you are lamenting on this body, but no learned man laments on this body, either dead or alive.” Because without the knowledge of the active principle which is moving the body, what is the use of simply understanding the bodily construction? The medical science knows the construction of the body, anatomy, physiology, the bone, this muscle, the blood and everything, but he does not know what is the active principle. When the active principle gone, they cannot repair it. So there may be vast advancement of medical science, but if the medical science cannot check birth, death, old age and disease, then what is the use of it? It may have some temporary use, but actually it is not science. Nobody wants to die. Is there medical science which can stop death? So that knowledge may be temporary, beneficial, but ultimately, it is not the knowledge. I am anxious for not dying. Nobody wants to die. This is my anxiety. And where is that science, medical science? So we are satisfied with some temporary knowledge. We have no ultimate knowledge. And because it is very difficult subject matter, we have avoided it very carefully.
Professor: He does not see… He is disappointed because he does not see any difference between Hare Krsna and all the other religions.
Prabhupada: That’s your business, but we find difference. And we have no also difference with other religion. Now, other religions, they are also searching after God. But religion, conception of religion, without God is not religion. Do you admit or not?
Professor: All the religions say they have knowledge of God.
Prabhupada: Yes. Anyway, religion means searching after God.
Professor: He says for example they have a new god which is money.
Prabhupada: Yes, because you are imperfect, therefore you are thinking like that. Now, suppose you are on deathbed, can money save you? Then why do you say money is all-powerful? God is all-powerful, but money is not all-powerful. Then therefore money cannot be God.
Professor: Does religion or God, can give you eternal life?
Prabhupada: What is that? What he says? He says money is God.
Professor: No, I am not saying that. People down here…
Prabhupada: People are rascal fools, what is the value of their knowledge? Therefore knowledge, man of knowledge required.
Professor: There are many religions that have no God.
Prabhupada: Religion cannot be many; religion is one. If anyone says there are many religions, that, he does not know what is religion. Just like science: two plus two is equal to four. It is equally applicable everywhere. You cannot say that “To the Christian two plus two equal to five,” the “Christian science” or “Christian mathematics.” That you cannot say. Science and mathematics is the same everywhere. If God is one, therefore knowledge of God should be one. There cannot be two.
Professor: No, that’s ideally, but is not so.
Prabhupada: You hear. Because you imperfect, you have so many things. But we hear differently.
Professor: I know that there is only one God.
Prabhupada: We say that God is one. Whether you accept it or not? Unless God is one, there cannot be God. God cannot be many. God means, in the dictionary it is said, “Supreme Being.” The Supreme Being can be one. If there is competition of Supreme Being, then he is not Supreme Being. That is the philosophy. That is the philosophy. Then we have to find out who is that Supreme Being. You cannot say… You find somebody who has got little power. You cannot say, “Now here is God.” The supreme power, that is God. Just like money, that is also one of the qualification of God. But money, He has got all the money. You may have got some money, some millions dollars. I may have got little more than that. But nobody can say, “I have got all the money.” Or one can say that “I have got all the money,” then He is God.
Hrdayananda: They want to hear the translation.
Professor: Is the final goal of transcendence, then, immortality?
Prabhupada: All perfection.
Professor: Then what would that be then? What would that be, that all perfection?
Prabhupada: That is transcendence. You come in contact with the transcendence, all-perfect. Then you become all-perfect.
Professor: Is God perfect?
Prabhupada: Yes, otherwise how He is God? He is dog.
Professor: Is transcendence God?
Hrdayananda: They don’t want to miss anything.
Professor: They want to know: is God the transcendence?
Prabhupada: What is the transcendence? Find out the meaning.
Hrdayananda: I can read it? First I’ll read it in English. To transcend… It only has the word transcend. “Go beyond…”
Prabhupada: Not “to,” the verb, I mean to say, transcendence. So find out the noun.
Hrdayananda: Noun is not here.
Prabhupada: Not here?
Hrdayananda: But I can change it into the noun. The transcendence: “That which goes beyond, that which exceeds the limits, rises above.” And also transcendence means “that which transcends ordinary limits, the supreme, the preeminent.” So I’ll translate it.
Prabhupada: This is the meaning is there, that our mind, our bodily activities, our words, they are all limited. They are all limited. Do you accept or not?
Professor: By time.
Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. It may be by time. Suppose a child, he can say, “I am now foolish for the time.” But he is foolish at that time. That is not argument, that this child expects to become an M.A. That does not mean he can say he is M.A. at that time. So you cannot make time. Unless you are perfect in knowledge, you cannot say that you are in knowledge. Time, everyone has got the chance. In time he will be in perfect knowledge. That is not… There is no disagreement. But so long he is imperfect, he must admit that he is imperfect. Now, a businessman, a small businessman, he is trying to become millionaire, and if he says, “I will become millionaire in time,” that does not mean he is millionaire. He must first of all become millionaire. Then he should claim.
Professor: If he accepts that he is imperfect, what experience qualifies him to talk about God?
Prabhupada: That I have already discussed, that you have to go to the perfect and take his experience. And then, gradually, you become a perfect.
Professor: So then everything would be an act of faith, simply to believe.
Prabhupada: No, no, no, not believe. You just corroborate it with your experimental knowledge, and you will find it is right. Just like Krsna says that…
Professor: Excuse me.
Hrdayananda: He says that in order…
Prabhupada: No, he wants to say something.
Professor: He’s saying that in order to do any activity it requires some motivation. And so therefore one gets this realization by practicing, but it seems like someone would have to be a special person with something inside him in order to have the determination to practice it, in order to go ahead to try to get the realization.
Prabhupada: Yes that is required. There must be determination, and whatever knowledge you get, that must be for practical use. Now, just like in the Bhagavad-gita… Shall I speak? That he says that the proprietor of the body is within the body. Now, you make your thoughts working on this, that what is that proprietor? And you find that actually this body is not the proprietor, but body is the property, the proprietor is within the body. Then your knowledge is perfect. Then your thoughts, your reasoning… You accept the statement of Krsna that the proprietor of the body is within the body. That is knowledge, perfect knowledge. What Krsna says, that is perfect, but you corroborate with your reason, with your experimental knowledge, and you will find that is perfect. Then it is perfect.
Professor: He’s saying that with his psychology he cannot accept that there should be some clue, some key, that could permit him to accept it.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. That psychology is perfect where there is clue. Otherwise you will speculate all your life.
Professor: Then he’s asking, he’s humbly asking you to give him a little bit of the clue.
Prabhupada: Yes, just like… It is very common sense clue. Krsna says the proprietor of the body is within the body. Now, you were a child. So in your child body, you were present there, and in your boyhood body, you were present there. In your youthhood body, you were present there. Now you are middle-aged. You are there. I am old man. I am there. So body, the childhood body, the boyhood body, the youthhood body, they are no more existing, but I am existing. Therefore I am eternal; the body is temporary. This is the clue. Therefore the conclusion is that as I have changed so many body but still I am existing, therefore, when I shall change this body, I will exist. Now, I have transmigrated from babyhood body to childhood, childhood to boyhood, boyhood to youthhood. Similarly, I shall transmigrate to another body. A you…, young man can say, “No, no, I don’t believe in the old body,” but that does not mean he will not get the old body. He will get it by laws of nature. That is compulsory. Similarly, if somebody says, “I don’t believe in the next life,” that does not mean he is authority. Nature will give him. Nature will not agree or obey the imperfect person. The same example: if the young man says, “I don’t want old body,” nature will not hear him. Nature will give him, force him: “You must accept old body.” Everyone does not want to die, but nature puts him forcibly: “Yes, you must die.” So after all, we are perfectly under the control of superior authority. We cannot become independent, and our independent thoughts has no value.
Professor: He’s saying that he thinks this will increase our problem because psychologically it’s bad that nature is so big and we’re so tiny.
Prabhupada: Well, you have already increased your problem.
Prabhupada: There is no solution. There is no solution. You have no solution for anything, so you have increased your problems. Without perfect knowledge, you’ll simply increase your problems. That’s all.
Professor: How can we get this perfect knowledge and how can we practice it if we’re like prisoners?
Prabhupada: That I have already explained. You have to go to the perfect person.
Professor: He said first of all that he asked you to give evidence, but that you did not. You said that you’d have evidence, but you did not give it.
Prabhupada: Here is evidence. I have said that Krsna says the proprietor lives within the body. Now you just try to understand and you will find that yes, this body is not the… This is a property. The proprietor is within. That is perfect knowledge. Just like a big mill going on. But if somebody does not find out the proprietor, then does it mean that there is no proprietor?
Professor: I am the owner of my own self.
Prabhupada: You are the not owner, but you are occupier.
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like a house. There are two persons, one is the tenant and the other is the landlord. The proprietor is the landlord, and the tenant is occupier. Actually that is self-realization, that I must know that “I am occupier of this body but I am not proprietor.” The proprietor is God.
Professor: He’s saying that all religions agree that man can be perfected although he may not be perfect now…
Prabhupada: No, we are not talking of religion. We are talking of philosophy and science. When we talk about these things that the occupier of the body is within the body, it is neither any Christian knowledge nor Hindu knowledge nor… It is fact. It is a science. The science cannot be “I believe or you believe or you…” That is not science. Science is science. I have already said. Two plus two equal to four is equally applicable everywhere. Similarly, this is knowledge, that the proprietor, or the occupier of the body, is within the body. You can study from any angle of vision. The fact is there.
Professor: Is it transcendent?
Prabhupada: Yes, that occupier or…
Professor: I don’t care who is the owner of my body. I know that it is not going to be eternally mine because this body is going to corrupt, is going to die, and we will have to bury it so that everybody will be happy. But I don’t care about that because I…
Prabhupada: That is animal. That is animal. That is animal conception. That is animal conception, that a dog doesn’t care. Similarly, if you don’t care, then you are no better than the dog.
Professor: I would not agree with that.
Prabhupada: Why not? Because your conception, the dog conception, the same.
Professor: Well, you were saying beforehand…
Prabhupada: No, no, the dog doesn’t care whether he is the proprietor of the body or not. So if I don’t care, then what is the difference between dog and me?
Professor: The difference between dog and men is a very slight one, that men can think, that men can reason.
Prabhupada: So, you say slight; we say nothing. Unless one has got this transcendental knowledge, he is no better than the dog.
Professor: Dogs have knowledge.
Prabhupada: Yes, for eating, sleeping and sex life and defense, everyone has got knowledge. Dog has knowledge. You have got knowledge. But what is the distinction between you and dog? In your life, you can realize the transcendence. The dog cannot. That makes you distinct from…
Professor: Now, how can you be so sure of that? Have you ever been in a dog’s mind? How can… As you have already said…
Prabhupada: There is no need… There is no need because dog is busy for his bodily requisition. And if you are simply busy for your bodily requisition, then what is the difference between you and dog? We have to take the principle.
Professor: Why is that difference so important for you?
Prabhupada: No, no, fundamentally what is the difference? The dog is whole day busy to find out his food, and if you are also busy to find out your food, then where is the difference?
Professor: He’s saying, “Because I am not this body, therefore it doesn’t matter if I’m the owner of this body or not.”
Prabhupada: No, then you have to… As soon as you decide that you are not this body, you are transcendental to this body, then you have to understand what is the transcendental nature and what is your business, what you should do. These things will come. At the present moment, because I identify me with this body, I am simply busy with this bodily concept of life. So as soon as you understand that “I am not this body,” that is called brahma-bhutah stage, aham brahmasmi, “I am Brahman.” That is the beginning of real knowledge.
Professor: That’s the reason because I don’t care what happens to this body, not because there is a difference between dog and man or anything.
Prabhupada: No, even if you care, who cares for you? It will go by nature’s way.
Prabhupada: That we say. That we say. Now I have got this now nice body, and nature may offer something not very desirable body. Then what you will do?
Professor: He said it doesn’t matter to him if he gets this body or that body, even a dog’s body, because he will go on being himself.
Prabhupada: That’s all right. It doesn’t matter him, but there are persons — he will shudder if he is said that “Next body you are going to become a dog.” (laughter)
Professor: Where is the beginning of evolution, is that what he’s saying? Where does evolution begin?
Devotee: What is the principle of evolution?
Hrdayananda: How can it be that we’re advancing if we can become a dog in the next life, is that it, or something inferior? Where is the question of progress?
Prabhupada: What is that? No, by nature’s way there is evolution, from dog to fox, fox to this, that, that. That is… There is a law. But again one can fall down. In this way one comes to the human form of body. That is the chance of self-realization. But if in the human form of life, he does not behave like a human being — he behaves like cats and dogs — then he gets again cats and dogs. So if by his work, he gets degradation to get the body like a dog, then again it will take millions of years to come to the human form of life. Therefore intelligent man should be very careful. He should not say, “I don’t care.” That is very risky life.
Professor: He’s saying that he thinks that not everyone’s looking for God, but people should be asked whether they want to be something different than what they are, and he thinks we need something practical, not simply something of faith.
Prabhupada: Therefore I say that every practical things are there in the Bhagavad-gita. You ask any question and the solution is there.
Professor: They say that they say the same thing of the Bible.
Prabhupada: Yes. You follow Bible. That is also nice. But you do not follow. That is the difficulty.
Professor: He’s saying that in this world we’re all so limited, and we’re like prisoners, and the more laws that we submit to, the more we become slaves.
Prabhupada: No, no more law. You simply follow the law given in the Bible, as you are speaking of Bible. The Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.” Why you are violating? [break] …if you don’t follow, then you are not spiritualist; you are fool. You remain again in this, then ignorance.
Professor: He said, “In others words, is all humanity a fool then?”
Prabhupada: Yes. (laughter) Otherwise why there is Bible?
Professor: He said that it’s impossible for, to follow… that you said we have to approach a perfect person, but that means we have to accept so many restrictions and this is actually impossible. It cannot be done.
Prabhupada: Then it is impossible for you to become a perfect man.
Professor: Why should the knowledge be so limited?
Prabhupada: No, it is not limited; it is unlimited. But to come to the unlimited, you have to cut down your limited knowledge.
Professor: He said he noticed that there are only men here. Does that mean that women cannot become transcendental?
Prabhupada: Why not? There are so many women. Knowledge is not restricted to men. It is open for everyone. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita,
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te ‘pi yanti param gatim
[break] Everyone is open. Just like university. University is not restricted to a certain class. It is open for everyone. Everyone can go, take the knowledge. And similarly, prison house is open for everyone. (laughter) Now you make your choice whether you go to university or prison house.
Professor: How can one cut down his limited knowledge if he’s habituated to material life?
Prabhupada: Well, habit can be changed. Just like nobody is habituated smoking from the very beginning of his life, but by association he learns smoking. And again, by association he can give it up. These boys, American, European boys, they were habituated so many bad things. Now they have given up.
Professor: How can we know what is good and what is bad? How can we define them?
Prabhupada: When you come to the good, you will understand what is good. When you come to the bad, you understand what is bad.
Professor: He does not understand.
Prabhupada: Suppose now there are a class of thief and class of honest men. So if you associate with the thieves, you will learn how to steal. But you understand also that “People hate us.” The thieves, the thief class, they know that the people hate, the police arrest, the police put them… They also know that. But because they are habituated, they cannot give it up.
Professor: He’s saying stealing is relative. Some people steal because they watch television, some people steal because they’re hungry or they need things…
Prabhupada: Well, in the eyes of the law, when you go to the court, if somebody has stolen some diamond and if somebody has stolen some insignificant thing, in the court the six month prison is there. The man who has stolen an insignificant thing, the judge does not make any concession for him. “You have stolen, you must go to the jail.” And the man who has stolen the diamond, he also takes the same term. So stealing is stealing. Either you steal diamond or a little fruit, it doesn’t matter. The punishment is the same for the diamond-stealer and anything-insignificant-stealer. That is the law.
Professor: He still does not understand how we can say that one activity is bad or good. For example, he said that we gave the example of thieves, but that implies that previously there was already a standard that “This is good, and this is bad.” But he wants to know how he can know definitely what is good and what is bad.
Prabhupada: To become God conscious is good, and anything else, all bad. God is good. Therefore, if you are God conscious, you are good, and if you are not God conscious, then you are bad.
Professor: If God created man?
Prabhupada: Yes. God created everything. God created man, God created dog, God created demigods, God created everything.
Professor: He made us imperfect.
Prabhupada: No, He is not imperfect.
Professor: No, God made us imperfect.
Prabhupada: No, you have got that… Just like you have stolen, and you have gone to the prison house. That means judge is not imperfect; you are imperfect.
Professor: If God has not created us imperfect?
Prabhupada: No, God has created perfect, but you have become imperfect by misusing your independence. God is fully independent. You are part and parcel of God. Therefore you have got that quality, independence. When you misuse that, you become bad; when you use it properly, you remain good.
Professor: Yes. How do we make ourselves bad?
Prabhupada: Therefore the Bible is there: “You become good like this.” If you don’t do, then you become bad. The Bible says that “Thou shall not kill.” If you don’t kill, then you are good. If you kill, you are bad.
Professor: He said there is no guarantee of perfect knowledge because at one time we had perfect knowledge, but as you said, we threw it away. So therefore…
Prabhupada: No, no, you misused the perfect knowledge. Just like here is perfect knowledge: Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.” You are misusing, you are killing. That is your fault.
Professor: He wants to know if we are born good and then we learn the bad thing?
Prabhupada: No, so long we have got this material body — you are born good or bad, but when you do not get this material body — you remain in your spiritual body — that is good. Just like…
Professor: He said, “So no one can be born bad, but by contact with humanity he becomes bad.”
Prabhupada: Then make the humanity good.
Professor: He said that if he sees that he is not harming anyone, then he is always right, if he is not harming anyone.
Prabhupada: That he thinks. But the authority thinks otherwise.
Professor: He says he doesn’t know.
Prabhupada: Then that is his mistake. Just like a man does not know what is law, but that is no excuse.
Professor: He says that he can accept that man is born perfect, but that his development is imperfect, but he cannot accept that man is born imperfect.
Prabhupada: No, that we don’t say. Therefore man is advised to associate with perfect so that he can keep his perfectness.
Professor: He says, “The problem is there are so many millions of people, but there are so few perfect persons.”
Prabhupada: One perfect person is sufficient to teach thousands of imperfect persons.
Professor: He says he thinks you are right because the example is Buddha and Christ, and so many people follow them.
Prabhupada: They are perfect, but the followers do not follow the instructions. That does not mean they are imperfect.
Professor: He says that it is not enough, contact with a perfect being, because, as you said, so many people come into contact but change teachings. Therefore it’s necessary also to realize the knowledge.
Prabhupada: Therefore you have to keep the original teaching in perfect order, without any interpretation.
Professor: He thanks you very much for explaining so many things.
Prabhupada: So our request is to study this Krsna consciousness movement and try to help it.
Professor: You have given the example that one has to give up certain habits such as one should not smoke and things, but is it true that that is not the ultimate goal of transcendence?
Prabhupada: No, that is a process.
Professor: Can someone outside, who does not follow these practices, can he achieve perfection?
Prabhupada: Maybe, but that is exceptional.
Professor: He said that Buddha achieved perfection outside of joining any particular religion, and that after reading so many things and hearing all different philosophies that it was actually the practice.
Prabhupada: He changed himself religion.
Professor: He says that… It’s some story that when Buddha was about to leave his body, he said that… Anyway, the conclusion of the story is that he also considered himself imperfect.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the greatness of Buddha. Because his followers were imperfect, he could not say more than what they could understand. Therefore he said that “I am imperfect.” His mission was to stop animal killing. But people are very much accustomed to animal killing, so he did not say higher things that they could not understand. For them, if they could stop animal killing, that was perfection. For primary student, if he understands the mathematics, two plus two equal to four, that is his perfection. That does not mean there is no higher mathematics. Give them prasada. Wait, wait. Bring it. Wait, wait little minute. [break] …otherwise one cannot understand spiritual matter.
Professor: He says, “That’s another one of my problems.”
Prabhupada: It is not problem; it is practice. If you come here daily, within a week you will learn.
Professor: Every night?
Prabhupada: Yes. We can give you hundreds of preparations, vegetarian.
Professor: They asked if we’re eating anything, so I said we eat before and after all of them.
Prabhupada: We shall eat also. [break] So I request you to come every Sunday and take feast with us. [break]
Professor: He wants to know, for example, if I eat meat today, if I lose my chance for enlightenment.
Prabhupada: No, you do not lose. You hear from the enlightened. Then you will be enlightened, and you will automatically give up meat-eating. Therefore our business is to hear from the enlightened. That is the first business. Other things not immediately needed. Even if you cannot give up meat-eating, still, you hear from the enlightened.
Professor: He asked me how much time I’ve been in the movement.
Prabhupada: How much time?
Hrdayananda: He asked me how much time…
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Hrdayananda: He wanted to know if we make the yogurt ourselves. He said we must be specialists. He said we should put it in bottles and make “Hare Krsna yogurt.”
Prabhupada: That is also good. (laughter) Because they will chant Hare Krsna, and that will have effect. Hare Krsna is transcendental vibration, so anyone who will vibrate the sound, he will get the benefit.
Hrdayananda: He wants to know who give us our mantra, if the spiritual master gives us our mantra.
Prabhupada: Yes, spiritual master.
Professor: Hay una ceremonia?
Prabhupada: No, you can chant without ceremony. There is no loss. You can chant Hare Krsna and see the effect.
Professor: He said he has seen us in New York and London, and one thing he has noticed that wherever he sees us, our faces are very satisfied, content.
Prabhupada: You are intelligent. (laughter)
Professor: That even though it’s outside, it shows that there’s something special inside.
Prabhupada: No, this enquiry was made by one priest. I was going from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The priest was in his ordinary dress. He came. He said, “Swamiji, can I talk with you?” “Yes.” He first of all he said, “How your disciples look so nice and full of spiritual consciousness?” That was his first question. No, everything has got process. If we adopt the process, the result is there.
Professor: How do we finance our movement?
Prabhupada: By Krsna’s grace. It is no sends us money.(?) We are spending about ten hundred thousand dollar per month. Krsna is providing.
Professor: Ten thousand…
Prabhupada: Ten hundred thousand. Million dollar. We are getting especially by selling these books. Our book selling is increasing. We are selling fifty thousand copies at the present moment of all these books.
Hrdayananda: Every month.
Prabhupada: Every month. In America all the universities, professors, learned scholar, they are giving us standing order, “As soon as published, please send this.”
Professor: Where in the world do we find that people most understand us and join us?
Prabhupada: America, North America. Now we have come to South America.
Professor: I saw the Hare Krsna movement on British television, and they had an interview with the head of the Hare Krsna movement there, and they sang and they danced and many other things there. So people are very receptive to the message of…
Prabhupada: All over the world. In Africa also.
Professor: But here in Venezuela, I find that Venezuelans, or at least the government, has been a little bit too intolerant with your people here.
Prabhupada: Government is not tolerant?
Hrdayananda: Has been a little bit too intolerant. In the past they were a little bit pushy. But now they have stopped.
Prabhupada: No, if anyone reads our books, then he will accept it. Therefore we are trying to publish all our books in different languages.
Professor: How is our movement doing in India?
Prabhupada: India, it is already there. Every person is Krsna conscious in India.
Professor: He’s asking, “Everyone in India?”
Prabhupada: Yes, everyone, by nature they are Krsna conscious, but the modern leaders, they are trying to divert their attention. The leaders are trying to make them Krsna unconscious. (laughter) Because they are of opinion that “Being Krsna conscious, India is so backward. So we have to become American conscious or European conscious.” That is their…
Professor: It was a great pleasure that you invited us to your…
Prabhupada: Thank you very much. So you are welcome whenever you have got time. Hare Krsna. Jaya. (end)