Room Conversation With John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison , London , 1969-09-11

Prabhupāda: Would you like to record, or not? [chuckling]

John Lennon: Don't know.

George Harrison: Don't mind.

Prabhupāda: Give this garland.

Śyāmasundara: Haribol.

George Harrison: Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: This is Kṛṣṇa's blessings.

George Harrison: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There is a verse in Bhagavad-gītā,

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
itaras tad anuvartate
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate

[Bg. 3.21]

[Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.]

The idea is that anything which is, I mean to say, accepted by the leading persons, ordinary persons follow them. Yad yad ācarati śreṣṭha. Śreṣṭh means leading persons; [break] ācarati, acts. Whatever leading persons act, people in general follow them. Sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute. If the leading person says, "It is nice. It is all right," the others also accept it. So by the grace of God, Kṛṣṇa, you are leaders. Thousands of young men follow you. They like you. So if you give them something actually nice, the face of the world will change.

So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it is not a manufactured, new thing. It is, from historical point of view, at least, it is five thousand years old. Because Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means Bhagavad-gītā as it is. And Bhagavad-gītā... Of course, it is supposed to be Indian religious book, but it is not like that. It is not Indian or Hinduism. It is for all the people of the world. Not only for the human being, but also other than human being. Because in the Bhagavad-gītā there is a verse, Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayo yāḥ [Bg. 14.4]. In all species, all kinds of form...

[It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.]

The living entities, they are in different forms. Just like we are sitting here, so many ladies, gentlemen, boys. We have got different forms. Similarly, you Europeans, you have got different color, or Indians, we have got different... So this whole world is full of varieties. So Kṛṣṇa says, "All the varieties of life, it doesn't matter. I am their father." Ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]. Pitā means father. So Kṛṣṇa claims all living entities as His sons. But we may say that "Kṛṣṇa is Indian," "Kṛṣṇa is Hindu," or Kṛṣṇa something. But no. Kṛṣṇa is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started by Kṛṣṇa Himself. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. In the Ninth Chapter, last verse, it is said, Kṛṣṇa says, that "You always think of Me." Man-manā bhava. Mana means mind. "Let your mind be always engaged in Me, Kṛṣṇa." Man-manā bhava. "Just you become mad-bhakta. Just become My devotee." Mad-yājī: "If you want to worship, just worship Me." Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru.

[Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.]

"If you offer to..., if you want to offer obeisances, you just offer Me. And if you do like this, then without any doubt you'll come to Me."

So this is very simple method, always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. There is no loss, but the gain is very great. Suppose if I chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Materially I do not commit any offense or I undergo any loss, but if there is any gain, why not try it? There is no expenditure. [laughs] Everything has got some expenditure. So this mantra, Kṛṣṇa or His later succession, do not sell or distribute. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, everyone. Dance in ecstasy. It is very nice thing.

So I have come to your country, come to your place. It is very good. So my request is that you are intelligent boys; try to understand this Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy with your all reason, arguments. It will not to be accepted blindly. Caitanya-caritāmṛta-kar, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, he says, caitanyera dayāra kathā karaha vicāra: "Just put into your judgment the mercy of Lord Caitanya." Vicāra karile citte paibe camatkāra: "And if you scrutinizingly judge over it, you'll find it is sublime."

So we are putting this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement not as a force, but to the judgment of the people. Let them judge. It is not a sectarian movement, not any religious movement. It is a science. So we put this philosophy to your judgment, and you judge it scrutinizingly with your all intellects, and you'll find it sublime.

And if you find it sublime, then why not put it to the world? You are also anxious to bring some peace in the world. I have read sometimes your statements. You are anxious also. Everyone, every saintly person, should be anxious to bring in peace in the world. But we must know the process. According to Bhagavad-gītā, the idea of peace is... Kṛṣṇa says,

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śantim ṛcchati

[Bg. 5.29]

[The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.]

People can be peaceful by knowing three things. If he perfectly understands only three things, then he'll become peaceful. What is that? Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ. All the sacrifices, austerities, penances, whatever people are undertaking for perfection, the enjoyer of such activities, Kṛṣṇa says, "I am." "I am."

Just like your activities. This is also a kind of austerities. Your artistic songs, they have become popular because you have undergone some austerities. You have come to the perfection. That requires penance and austerities. Or any scientific discovery, that requires austerities. So every nice thing presented in the world, that requires austerity. Very devout, painstaking. Then it comes successful. That is called yajña, tapasya.

So Kṛṣṇa says, "The result of the tapasya enjoyer, I am." He is claiming. "The result of your tapasya should come to Me." Then you'll be satisfied. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram [Bg. 5.29].

[The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.]

People are claiming, "This is my England" and "This is my India," "This is my Germany," "This is my China." No. Everything belongs to God, Kṛṣṇa. Sarva-loka. Not only on this planet. We have divided this planet in so many states. Actually, this planet was not divided.

From the history of Mahābhārata we understand, this planet, there was only one king, one emperor, in India, Hastinapur. Even up to five thousand years ago, there was only one king, Mahārāja Parīkṣit, one flag. And he came out for touring over his kingdom, and he found somebody near Sindh, a black man killing a cow. And he immediately arrested him: "Oh, in my kingdom you are killing cow?"

So actually the whole planet was under one flag, one suzerainty. Gradually it has become small, small, small, small, small. Just like in our, very recently, twenty years ago, India became divided, Pakistan and Hindustan. Actually India was one, but we see now it is Pakistan. And some day another "stan" will be divided. So this is going on.

So sarva-loka, in all planets, all the planets, actually that is God's place. Nobody's place. We come here empty-handed; we go empty-handed. How we can claim? Suppose you have given me this place to stay. I stay for one week, and if I claim, "Oh, this is my room," is that very nice thing? [laughs] There will be immediately some disagreement, trouble. But you have kindly spared this room. I am living here. I can comfortably live, enjoy. And when my necessity... When I go, there is no trouble.

Similarly, we come here in the kingdom of God empty-handed; we go empty-handed. Why we trouble that "This is my property," "This is my country," "This is my world," "This is my planet"? Why we claim like that? Is it not insanity? Wherefrom the claim comes? So Kṛṣṇa says that sarva-loka-maheśvaram: "I am the Supreme Lord of every place." And suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ [Bg. 5.29]

[The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.]

And He is the real friend of every living entity. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61].

[The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.]

As a friend, He is sitting within your heart. He's so nice friend.

In this material world we make friendship, it breaks. Or the friend lives somewhere, and I live somewhere. But He's so nice friend that He's living within, with me and within my heart. He is so nice friend. Sarva-bhūtānāṁ. He's not only selected friends. No. Even the most insignificant creature, He is living there, Paramātmā. So if these three things are understood clearly, then he becomes peaceful. This is peace formula.

So everything is there in the Bhagavad-gītā and Vedic literature. Simply one has to learn. Just like in arithmetic, there is all mathematical calculation, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, this or that, fraction. One has to learn. So Bhagavad-gītā is so nice book, and it is accepted. Not that because we are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we are advocating for Bhagavad... No.

It is accepted by scholarly section, religious section, not only in India, but all over the world. Perhaps you know. In every country there are thousands of Bhagavad-gītā translation, in every language—in English, in French, in German, all languages. And even Muhammadans... Of course, scholarly Muhammadans, they also read very nicely Bhagavad-gītā.

I know one Muhammadan professor in India; he was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He did not disclose that he was a devotee, but he was observing Janmāṣṭamī fasting day, and he was writing one article on Kṛṣṇa every Janmāṣṭamī day. There are many, they read. And in our childhood... Not childhood; we were young man at that time. So one Englishman was a tenant in Calcutta, my friend's house. So he was vacating the house.

We went to take possession of that house, and he had many books, and there was a book, Bhagavad-gītā. So that my friend, Mr. Mullik, he was a little astonished, that "He is Englishman, he's Christian. How is that, he has got Bhagavad-gītā?" So he was touching that book, and that gentleman thought that "He is my landlord. He may like that book." So he immediately said, "Oh, Mr. Mullik, I cannot present that book to you. This is my life and soul." He said like that.

So Bhagavad-gītā is accepted by scholarly section, by philosophers. So I think people should have one scripture, one God, one mantra, and one activity. One God: Kṛṣṇa. One scripture: Bhagavad-gītā. And one mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa. And one activity: to serve Kṛṣṇa. That's all. There will be peace. There will be actually peace all over the world.

So I request you to..., at least to understand this philosophy to your best knowledge. And if you think that is nice, you take up. You are also willing to give something to the world. So you try this. [pause] You have read our books, this Bhagavad-gītā As It Is? No.

John Lennon: I've read bits of the Bhagavad-gītā. I don't know which version it was.

George Harrison: There's so many different translations.

Prabhupāda: There are different translation. Therefore I have given this edition, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. There are interpretations. In many translations they have got interpretations. Not only in other parts of the world, but in our own country also. Just like Mahatma Gandhi. He was a great man. He has also interpreted. But the point is, interpretation where required.

Now, here is a fountain pen box. Everyone knows this is a fountain pen box. But if I say, "No, this is something else," that is my interpretation. Is that very nice thing? [chuckling] Similarly, interpretation is required when things are not understood clearly. If everybody can understand this box is a fountain pen box, where is the necessity of interpretation? This is the first thing.

So Bhagavad-gītā is so clear. It is just like sunlight. Sunlight does not require any other lamp. For example, I'll give you, in the first verse,

dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre
samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya

[Bg. 1.1]

[Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu do, being desirous to fight?]

The au..., dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca. The father of Duryodhana is asking his secretary, Sañjaya—his secretary's name was Sañjaya—"Sañjaya, my boys...," māmakaḥ. Māmakaḥ means "my sons," and pāṇḍava, "the sons of my younger brother." His younger brother's name was Pāṇḍu, and therefore his sons are known as Pāṇḍava.

So mamaka, pāṇḍava. "My sons and my younger brother's sons, they assembled together for fighting." Yuyutsava. Yuyutsava means "with fighting spirit." And dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre, on the place known as Kurukṣetra, which is a place of pilgrimage, dharma-kṣetra. Kim akurvata: "After assembling there, what did they do?" That was his question.

Now, this Kurukṣetra place is still existing in India. You have been in India? No.

John Lennon: Have I been there?

Prabhupāda: You have been there?

John Lennon: Yes. Not to that place. Rishikesh we went to.

Prabhupāda: Oh, Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also one of the pilgrimage. And there is similarly Kurukṣetra near Delhi. Still that place is there. And that is a place of pilgrimage from the Vedic time. In the Vedas also it is stated, kuru-kṣetre dharmam yajayet: "If you want to function in a religious ceremony, just go to Kurukṣetra." So it is a place of pilgrimage.

Now, the name is there. The adjective dharma-kṣetra, it is from Vedic age. Then the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas, they are historical persons. The history is there, Mahābhārata. Then where is the question of interpreting Kurukṣetra as "this body," and the Pāṇḍavas and the "a senses"? Where do you get this opportunity to interpret? So these things are going on. But we object, "Why should you interpret in that way and the facts are there?"

That means Bhagavad-gītā is very popular book. One has got his own philosophy—he wants to prove it through Bhagavad-gītā. This is going on. There are so many interpretations, 664. Everyone thinks that "I can interpret in my own way." Why? Why this should be? We say, "No. You cannot interpret." Then what is the authority of Bhagavad-gītā? The author of Bhagavad-gītā did not leave it for being interpreted by a third-class man. He is Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord. He said everything clearly. Why an ordinary man should interpret His word? [break] That is our objection.

Therefore we present Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. The Macmillan Company wanted to shorten. [chuckling] Because they are merchants, they wanted to minimize. Otherwise, the book was very big. They wanted to make it only four hundred. Therefore half of the ślokas were not nicely explained. But next time we are going to publish in large and revised edition of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. We must explain everything. [break]

So the Bhagavad-gītā is very, very high class philosophy and theology. Social, political, science—everything is there. It is very nice. And everything is clear. It is explained by Kṛṣṇa. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is. That's all. We have not manufactured anything.

Devotee: [aside:] Come in.

Jill: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

John Lennon: This is Dan's wife, Jill, who lives here with us too.

Prabhupāda: Oh, very glad to see you. Be happy and make all others happy. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. That is Vedic idea. Everyone be happy. That is the benediction. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says also the same thing, that "Let this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement be preached in every village, in every town of the world. People will be happy." That is His foretelling.

So any mission, any high ideas, should be preached just to make everyone happy. Because in the material existence, there is no happiness. That is a fact. There cannot be any happiness. This place is not meant for happiness, because in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find the Lord Himself says this is a place, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15].

[After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.]

It is a place of miseries, this material world. And aśāśvatam: and temporary. Everything is temporary. Even if you accept, "All right. Whatever miserable is there, I'll accept this," that is also has no value. Even if you accept, nature will not allow you to accept it and remain there. Aśāśvatam. You have to leave. [break]

So Kṛṣṇa says,

mām upetya kaunteya
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

[Bg. 8.15]

[After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.]

"If somebody comes to Me, then he hasn't got to return back to this miserable condition of life, which is not only miserable but temporary." So we should understand that. Nature is so cruel. In America, President Kennedy, he was thought to be the most fortunate man, happy man, young man, was elected president, nice wife, children, honor all over the world—[snaps finger] within a second, finished. Temporary. Now what is his condition? Where he is? If life is eternal, if living entity is eternal, where he has gone? What he is doing? Is he happy or he is distressed? Or he's born in America or China? Nobody can say.

But it is a fact that as living entity, he's eternal, he's existing. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā philosophy. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20].

[For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.]

After destruction of this body the living entity is not destroyed. He is there. That we can understand. Just like in your childhood, you had a small body. That body is no more, but you are existing. So it is natural, when this body will not exist, I will exist in another body. It is not very difficult to understand.

So this theory that body is eternal..., soul is eternal and body is temporary, that's a fact. Therefore this life, this present life, is meant for manufacturing the next body. That is Vedic knowledge. We are creating... Just like a boy, he is studying very nicely. So he's creating next body, a very educated young body. By education he can get nice job, nice place, nice position. So he's creating his next body. Similarly, we are creating our next body according to our karma.

So Kṛṣṇa says that "You create a body so that you can come to Me." Mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām. The whole Vedic philosophy is that if you want to go to some planet—just like people are trying to go to moon planet—so you have to create a body like that. You cannot go in this body. They're attempting to go with this body. That will be failure. It will be not possible. In every planet the atmosphere, the..., everything is different. So you have to create a different body to go to a particular type of planet. There are millions and thousands of planet. Moon planet is one of them.

Kṛṣṇa says,

yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṛn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtejyā yānti bhūtāni
mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām

[Bg. 9.25]

[Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.]

[chuckling] Mad-yājino: "Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they'll come to Me." And what is the benefit of going to Kṛṣṇa? He says, mām upetya: "If anyone comes to Me," mam upetya kaunteya duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15]

[After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.]

"He does not come back again to this miserable condition." And aśāśvatam, temporary. Why? Samsiddhim paramam gataḥ. Oh, he has attained the highest perfection, to go back to Kṛṣṇa, mad-yājino 'pi mām, "one who comes to Me."

So this is the greatest benediction to the human society, to train them to go back to Kṛṣṇa and dance there with Kṛṣṇa in rasa-līlā. You have seen Kṛṣṇa's rasa-līlā dancing? You have not seen?

John Lennon: Which? This picture?

Gurudāsa: Rasa-līlā dancing with the gopīs. That's the..., with Rādhā. Dancing with Rādhā. Pictures like that.

John Lennon: Walls of the temple room?

Gurudāsa: Yes, Some of them.

Prabhupāda: So we can go there. Join with Kṛṣṇa and dance happily, without any botheration.

Hayagrīva: Haribol.

Prabhupāda: [laughs] We can have so many connection with Kṛṣṇa—as friend, as servant, as parents, as lover, whatever you like. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham [Bg. 4.11].

[All of them—as they surrender unto Me—I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.]

You cultivate that consciousness, how you like Kṛṣṇa. He is prepared to accept you in that capacity. And that makes a solution of all problems. Here, nothing is permanent, nothing is blissful and nothing is full of knowledge. Here... This year we held examination and bhakti-śāstrī, and here is the answer of a girl, Himavati. She has written very nice. I have read it.

So we are training these boys and girls to Kṛṣṇa consciousness according to the Kṛṣṇa science. Anyone can take advantage of it. It is a very nice thing. So you also try to understand, and if it is nice, you take it up. You are after something very nice. Is my proposal unreasonable? [chuckles] You are all intelligent boys. Try to understand it.

Gurudāsa: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: And you have got a very good talent, music. Na vidyā sangīta uttamam. The Vedic mantras were all through music. Sāma Veda. Sāma Veda is full of music.

yaṁ brahmā-varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stunvanti divyaiḥ stavair
vedaiḥ sāṅgopada-kramopaniṣadair gāyanti yaṁ sāma-gāḥ

[Sūta Gosvāmī said: Unto that personality whom Brahmā, Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upaniṣads, to whom the chanters of the Sāma Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogīs see within their minds after fixing themselves in trance and becoming fully absorbed in thoughts of Him, and whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon—unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.]

Sāmagāḥ. Sāmagāḥ means the followers of Sāma Veda. Gayānti. They are always in music. Through musical vibration they are approaching the Supreme. Sāmagāḥ. Gāyanti. Gāyanti means singing. So Vedic mantras are sung. This whole Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, can be sung very nicely. And it is Vedic mantra, chanting. Simply by hearing the vibration, people will be benefited, even they do not understand. You have got that, just this mantra you chant? You just play it.

[break] Huh?

Devotee: Begin any time.

Prabhupāda: [singing slowly:]

na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ

[SB 7.5.31]

[Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.]

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām

[SB 7.5.30]

[Prahlāda Mahārāja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.]

adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ
[SB 7.5.31]
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo 'bhiṣekaṁ
mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo 'bhiṣekaṁ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat

[Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.]

na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ
na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ...

[SB 7.5.31]

[break] Veda mantra. Sa jñāta na vṛtti. Vedānta-sūtra-śabdat. Simply by transcendental vibration of sound, everything can be achieved.

Gurudāsa: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: [long pause] What kind of philosophy you are following? May I ask?

John Lennon: Following?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yoko Ono: We don't follow anything. We are just living.

George Harrison: We've done meditation. Or I do my meditation. I have a mantra meditation.

Prabhupāda: This is also mantra.

John Lennon: It's not a song, though.

George Harrison: No, no. It's chanting.

John Lennon: We got it from Maharishi. A mantra each.

Prabhupāda: His mantra is not public.

George Harrison: Not out loud. No.

John Lennon: No. It's a secret. [laughs]

Prabhupāda: There is a version by Rāmānujācārya. Rāmānujācārya, he was a great ācārya of this Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. His spiritual master gave him mantra: "My dear boy, you chant this mantra silently. Nobody can hear. It is very..." So then he asked, "What is the effect of this mantra?" He said, "By chanting this mantra, by meditation, you'll get liberation." So he immediately went out, and in a public, big meeting he said that "You chant this mantra. You'll be all liberated." [laughter]

So he came back to his spiritual master, and his spiritual master was very angry that "I told you that you should chant silently." He said, "Yes, I have committed offense. So whatever punishment you like, you can give me. But because you told me that this mantra will liberate, I have given publicly. Let everyone hear and be liberated. Let me go to hell. I don't mind. I have disobeyed your order. Let me go to hell. I am prepared. But by this chanting mantra, if anyone is liberated, let it be publicly distributed." His spiritual master embraced him: "You are greater than me." You see?

So if a mantra has so power, why it should be secret? It should be distributed. People are suffering. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "Chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Anyone who will hear... Even the birds and beasts will hear and they will be liberated." That's all.

Yoko Ono: If Hare Kṛṣṇa is such a strong, powerful mantra, is there any reason to chant anything else? For instance, you talked about songs and many different mantras. But is there any point in even chanting other songs or mantra? [break]

Prabhupāda: No, no. These mantras are also... But Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is specially recommended for this age. And the Vedic mantras, they are also chanted with, I told you, with musical, tampura, and they sit down and chant. Nārada Muni, he's chanting always. So chanting through musical instruments, mantras, it is not new introduction. It is from time immemorial.

And Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, especially in this age, that is recommended in many Vedic literature: Brahmanda Purāṇa, Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad, Agni Purāṇa, like that. And apart from the statement in the Vedic literature, Lord Caitanya Himself, He preached this mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa... And people, public, followed Him. Yes. [break]

So anything... Just like a scientist, when he discovers something, it becomes a public property. People may take advantage of it. Similarly, if mantra has got potency, all people should take advantage of it. Why it should be secret?

George Harrison: All people can get the mantras that we have, but it's just they must get it from somebody else. We can't give it to them, but it is available for everybody.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Mantra, if it is valuable, it is valuable for everybody. Why it should be for a particular person?

John Lennon: If all mantras are... All mantras just the name of God. Whether it's a secret mantra or an open mantra, it's all the name of God. So it doesn't really make much difference, does it, which one you sing?

Prabhupāda: No. Just like in drug shop they sell all medicine for disease, curing disease. But still, you have to take doctor's prescription to take a particular type of medicine. They will not supply you. If you go to a drug shop and you say, "I am diseased. You give me any medicine," that is not... He'll ask you, "Where is your prescription?" So similarly, in this age, in Kali-yuga age, this mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, is recommended in the śāstras, and great stalwart—we consider Him the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu—He preached this.

Therefore our principle is everyone should follow. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186].

[Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “’Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’”]

We should follow the footprints of great authorities. That is our business. The Vedic mantra says, tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ [Cc. Madhya 25.57, Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117].

[“’Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’]

If you simply try to argue and try to approach the Absolute, it is very difficult, simply by argument and reasoning, because our arguments and reason are limited because our senses are imperfect. [break] So tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ.

And scriptures, there are different kinds of scriptures. Nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam [Cc. Madhya 25.57, Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117]. Philosophers, every philosopher has got a different opinion, and unless a philosopher defeats other philosopher, he cannot become a big philosopher. So therefore philosophical speculation also will not make a solution. Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. So it is very secret. Then how to get that secret thing? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]: you simply follow great personalities, how they have achieved success.

So our this Vaiṣṇava philosophy is to follow the great personality, just like Kṛṣṇa or Caitanya Mahāprabhu or ācāryas of His succession, to take shelter of authority and follow. That is recommended in Vedas, that you follow great authorities. That will take you to the ultimate goal. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ.

So... Kṛṣṇa also recommends in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fourth Chapter, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2].

[This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.]

This science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness was understood by disciplic succession, paramparā-prāptam. Imaṁ vivasvavate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam: "My dear Arjuna, don't think that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness science I am speaking to you is something new. No." Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam: "It is eternal, and first I spoke to sun-god." Vivasvate. Vivasvān manave prāhuḥ: "And Vivasvān said to his son, Manu." Manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt: "And Manu also transferred this knowledge to his son, Ikṣvāku." Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam [Bg. 4.2]: "In this way, by disciplic succession, it is coming on." Sa kāleneha yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa: "But in due course of time it is now broken. Therefore I am speaking to you again."

So a mantra should be captured from the disciplic succession. According to Vedic injunction, sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te nisphala mataḥ [Padma Purāṇa]: "If the mantra does not come through disciplic succession, then it will not be active." Viphala. Mantrās te viphalāḥ. Viphala means "will not produce result." Mantrās te viphalāḥ mataḥ. So mantra has to be received through the channel; then it will act. Mantra cannot be manufactured. Mantra must be from the original Supreme Absolute, coming down through disciplic succession, channel. It has to be captured in that way, and then it will act. Sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te nisphala mataḥ.

So according to our Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, the mantra is coming down through four channels. One is coming through Lord Śiva, one is coming through Goddess Lakṣmī. Not one; different... One thing is coming in different channel. One through the channel of Brahmā, one through the channel of Lord Śiva, one through the channel of Lakṣmī and one through the channel of Kumāras. So they are called four sampradāya. So one has to take mantra, either of these four sampradāya. Then that mantra is active, and if we perform that mantra in that way, it will act. Sampradāya-vihīnā ye. And if one does not receive this mantra in either of these sampradāya, channel, then viphala, it will not act; it will not give fruit.

Yoko Ono: If the mantra itself has such power, does it matter where you receive it, where you take it?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. That is a fact. The example is given: just like milk. Milk is nutritious. That's a fact. Everyone knows. But if the milk is touched through the tongue of a serpent, it is no more nutritious; it is poison.

Yoko Ono: Well, milk is material.

Prabhupāda: No, material... You want to understand through your material senses, we have to give...

Yoko Ono: Well, no. I don't have, you don't have to tell me material senses. I mean mantra is not material. It should be something spiritual, and therefore nobody can spoil it, I don't think. I mean, I wonder if anybody can spoil something that is not material.

Prabhupāda: But the thing is that if you don't receive the mantra through the proper channel, it may not be mantra.

John Lennon: But how would you know, anyway? How are you able to tell, anyway? I mean, for any of your disciples or us or anybody that goes to any spiritual master, how are we to tell...

Prabhupāda: Not any spiritual master.

John Lennon: True master. How are we to tell one from the other?

Prabhupāda: It is not that any spiritual master. Sampradāya. Sampradāya means a particular line of disciplic succession.

John Lennon: But, you see, Maharishi said exactly the same thing about his mantras coming from the Vedic, with seemingly as much authority as you, and he was probably right. So how... It's like having too many fruits on a plate, and you can't only eat two of them.

Prabhupāda: No. If mantra is coming down in that way, then it is potency; the potency is there.

John Lennon: But Hare Kṛṣṇa is the best one.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yoko Ono: Well, if Hare Kṛṣṇa is the best one, what is the reason why we have to bother to even say anything else other than this one?

Prabhupāda: You don't require to bother to say anything else. We say that Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient for one's perfection.

George Harrison: Isn't it... Surely isn't it like flowers? If somebody may prefer roses and somebody may like carnations better... Isn't it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Kṛṣṇa is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial? Isn't it like just a matter of taste? Like judging a flower. They're all flowers, but some people may like one better than the other.

Prabhupāda: But still, there is distinction. The rose flower is considered better than simply a flower without any flavor.

Yoko Ono: In that case I can't...

Prabhupāda: Just try to understand this flower example.

Yoko Ono: Yes.

Prabhupāda: It is all right; you are attracted by some flower, I am attracted by some flower, but amongst the flowers there are distinctions. There are many flowers which has no flavor and many flower has flavor.

Yoko Ono: Is that flower that has flavor better than...

Prabhupāda: So therefore attraction for any flower is not the solution of the question. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham [Bg. 4.11].

[All of them—as they surrender unto Me—I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.]

Kṛṣṇa is Supreme Absolute. Anyone wants Him in any way, He also presents Himself in that way. Just like the same example: If you want a yellow flower, never mind whether there is any scent or any flavor or not, so that flower is there. It is for you. That's all. But if anyone wants rose flower, oh, the Kṛṣṇa gives him rose flower. But when you make a comparative study which one is better, then rose will be considered better. [chuckling]

So ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. That means the Absolute is realized... Of course, varieties there are, but the original division of the Absolute is three: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Now, Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān is the same Absolute. Different names. The jñānīs, or the empiric philosophers, they reach or they aim at Brahman, impersonal Brahman. The yogīs, they, I mean to say, focus on the Supersoul, Paramātmā. And the devotees, they aim at Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Now, this Kṛṣṇa and the Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman, they are not different. They are light. They are not darkness. But in the light also, there is difference The example is given: just like sunlight, sun globe and the sun-god. Everywhere you find light. In the sunshine there is light. In sun globe there is light. And what to speak of the predominating deity in the sun-globe? He also must be light; otherwise wherefrom this light comes?

So, so far light is concerned, everywhere there. But you cannot say because sunshine has come through your window in your room, you cannot say the sun has come. That will be mistake. Sun is many, many miles away. But so far light is concerned, now there is question of degrees of light, intensity of light. So the degrees of spiritual realization in Brahman, degrees of spiritual realization in Paramātmā and degrees of spiritual realization in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are different.

Yoko Ono: But you said about if the milk goes through a serpent's mouth it will produce poison, and, for instance, George just told us about a week ago a very interesting story about a man who had a face of Christ, and in twenty years' time he had a face of Judah. And the Catholic Church and all those churches first probably had good words, and now it's deteriorating. Now, how would you decide, really, that brāhmaṇas are always in a pure state that you speak of, that they would never turn into serpents?

Prabhupāda: That you have to become a serious student.

Yoko Ono: Well, I mean, what do you mean by serious student? Maybe everybody, all of us are serious anyway. I mean, we're born serious or born, you know, unserious.

Prabhupāda: Then you must know what is distinction between Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān, if you are serious student.

Yoko Ono: But does it depend on knowledge? I mean, the final judgment that you make?

Prabhupāda: Everything depends on knowledge. Without knowledge, how can we make progress? Student means to acquire knowledge. Serious student means to acquire knowledge.

Yoko Ono: But not always the knowledgeable one are the ones who...

Prabhupāda: Yes. You cannot know completely. That is because our knowledge is very imperfect. But still, so far our knowledge is concerned, as far as possible, we should try to understand. Avāṅ mānasa gocaraḥ. This Absolute is so great and unlimited that it is not possible for us to know Him completely. That is not possible. Our senses does not allow. But as far as it is possible...

Because, after all, we are part and parcel of the Absolute, so all the qualities of the Absolute are there in us, but it is in minute quantity. So that minute quantity is also very great in comparison to material knowledge. Material knowledge is practically no knowledge. It is covered. But when one is liberated, liberated knowledge is certainly very, very great than material knowledge.

So Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. These are the statements of Bhāgavata. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [SB 1.2.11].

[Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.]

It is... Śabdyate means sounded as Bhagavān, Paramātmā and Brahman. Now, what are the difference of degrees of knowledge? Brahman knowledge, Paramātmā knowledge and Bhagavān knowledge. The same thing: the knowledge of sunshine, the knowledge of sun globe and the knowledge of this predominating deity in the sun globe.

So knowledge of sunshine is not knowledge of the predominating deity of the sun globe. There is another example in this connection. Just like if you see one hill from a long-distant place, first of all you see just like it is a cloud. Then, if you proceed further, you'll see something green. And if you enter into that hill you'll see, oh, there are so many varieties—there are animals, there are men, there are trees. But from the distant, you'll see just like a cloud.

So although the same thing... Similarly, Absolute, when visioned from the Brahman point of view, it is just like cloud. Absolute when visioned as Paramātmā, it is just like something green. And Absolute when realized as the Supreme Person, it is just like you enter into the hill and see everything in detail. So although the focus is the same, the Brahmavādī and the Paramātmāvadī and the devotee are..., focus is the same, but due to their respective position the realization is different.

These things are very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā you'll see,

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

[I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.]

That "I am the source of everything." This sarvaṁ means Paramātmā, Brahman, everything. These are clearly stated. Brahmaṇo 'ham pratiṣṭhā. So Brahman knowledge or Paramātmā knowledge is within Kṛṣṇa knowledge. If one has got Kṛṣṇa knowledge, he has got Paramātmā knowledge, Brahman knowledge. He has got the effect of yogic principle, meditation, he has got the effect of empiric philosophical speculation, and he is situated personally in the service of the Lord.

So if you make comparative study, then this Kṛṣṇa knowledge includes all knowledge. The Vedas also confirm it, yasmin sarvam evaṁ vijñātam bhavati [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.3].

[If one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of all controllers, one can understand everything else.]

If you understand the Supreme, then all knowledge becomes automatically revealed. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam evaṁ vijñātam bhavanti. And in the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated, "Knowing this, you'll have nothing to know anymore." In the Ninth Chapter there is.

So first of all we have to seriously study. Therefore I'm asking that to become serious student, what is the difference between Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān? Paramātmā is localized aspect of the Absolute Personality of Godhead. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61].

[The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.]

And Brahman is the effulgence of the Absolute. And Parambrahma, or Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is Kṛṣṇa. So if you have full Kṛṣṇa knowledge, then you have got Brahman knowledge and Paramātmā knowledge. But if you have got simply Brahman knowledge or Paramātmā knowledge, you have no Kṛṣṇa knowledge.

The same example can be... If you are in the sunshine, then you do not know what is sun globe and the predominating deity in the sun. But if you are by the side of the sun deity, you know what is sun globe and what is sunshine. Therefore impartially it is recommended that one should know the science of the Absolute Truth, or Kṛṣṇa. That will include all other knowledge. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19].

[After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.]

This is also a verse from Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, "After many, many births' cultivation of knowledge, when one is actually wise, jñānavān..." Jñānavān means has attained wisdom. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: "He surrenders unto Me." Why? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19]: "He understands, 'Oh, Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is everything.' " Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: "Such great soul is very rare."

And in the Tenth Chapter,

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhavā-samanvitāḥ

[Bg. 10.8]

[I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.]

"I am the origin. I am the source of everything. Everything emanates from Me. One who knows this science perfectly, he is budhā, he is intelligent, and he becomes engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." And the Vedānta-sūtra also, the first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now it is the time for inquiry about the Absolute, Brahman." So what is Brahman? The next aphorism is janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]

[O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.]

"Brahman, the Absolute, is that from whom everything is coming, emanating." That Absolute is personally saying, mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "Everything is emanating from Me."

So if you study Vedic literature very scrutinizingly, then you come to this conclusion, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness will include all other knowledge. Just like if you have got million dollar, ten dollar is included, five hundred dollar is included, thousand dollar is included. But one who has got ten dollar or five hundred dollar, he cannot claim that he has got million dollar. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa science means full spiritual knowledge. That is accepted by the ācāryas. And even you are speaking of Maharshi. He has written some book on Bhagavad-gītā?

John Lennon: Yes. That's the one we've read.

Prabhupāda: So why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book as authority? Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa's book. Everyone knows. Why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book?

George Harrison: Well, he didn't. He just translated it into English.

Prabhupāda: Why? Unless he has got some respect for that book?

George Harrison: But I've also read another, part of another translation by Yogananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda.

Prabhupāda: Everyone will have to take Kṛṣṇa's book first to prove their authority.

Yoko Ono: But, er... What...

Prabhupāda: Vivekananda has taken, Aurobindo has taken, Dr. Radhakrishnan has taken, Mahatma Gandhi... There are thousands and thousands. So why do they take Bhagavad-gītā?

John Lennon: So that we can read it in English.

Prabhupāda: No, no. It is not the question of English. It is the question of the thoughts. English it may be or Parsee it may be. That doesn't matter. Why do they take shelter of the thoughts of Bhagavad-gītā unless they accept Bhagavad-gītā as authority? Why they quote from Bhagavad-gītā? So why not directly Bhagavad-gītā? Is Bhagavad-gītā is the authority for everyone, now why not Bhagavad-gita as it is? That is our proposition.

George Harrison: But Bhagavad-gītā as it is, is Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: No, we have made English.

George Harrison: Yes, but they all make it English.

John Lennon: But that must be also a translation, mustn't it? Whoever puts it into English. I mean...

Prabhupāda: So you also read any Bhagavad-gītā translation only. You don't read the original.

George Harrison: Well, which is the original?

John Lennon: It's the same as the Bible.

Prabhupāda: Original is there. Origin is Sanskrit.

Yoko Ono: It's in Sanskrit, but we don't read Sanskrit.

George Harrison: Yes, but it's pointless me reading Sanskrit, because I don't understand Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to take translation.

George Harrison: So then there's all, a hundred translations.

John Lennon: And interpretations.

George Harrison: Which is again like all the roses and all the different flowers. It's a matter of taste as to which one. Because everybody claims their version is the best. All the versions I've read, they all say... And sometimes I get something from one which I don't get from something else.

Devotee: Did you ever read any without any commentary at all? Just straight?

George Harrison: Just straight translation?

Devotee: Without any commentary.

George Harrison: Just the Sanskrit, you mean?

Devotee: No. Just the translation.

George Harrison: Well, that's really what they are, you know. They all have a translation. Some of them have a commentary as well, on top of that. But just again, the translations, you know, it depends on who's translating as to what the translation is.

Devotee: So obviously you have to go through an authority. Someone who's...

John Lennon: But how do you know one authority from the other?

George Harrison: The world is full of authorities, really, you know. [Prabhupāda chuckling]

Yoko Ono: There's five hundred authorities, you know, who...

George Harrison: I found that the best thing for myself is to take a little bit from here and a little bit from there and a little bit from there. [Prabhupāda chuckles]

Yoko Ono: I mean, we're not just saying that. We want to ask your advice on that. In other words, what is your answer to that? Your saying there's five hundred versions.

Prabhupāda: Bhagavad-gītā is seven hundred verses.

Yoko Ono: All right, so seven hundred. I don't know. But what I mean is you use the word "authority," saying why would he translate that into English without authority? Now, what is the authority, and who has the authority?

Prabhupāda: Authority is the original text.

Yoko Ono: Yes, but everybody's translating from the original text, I'm sure, you know.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yoko Ono: So what's the difference between one and the other?

Prabhupāda: Therefore we say that sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te viphala mataḥ [Padma Purāṇa].

["If you do not accept mantra initiation from the disciplic succession of the sampradāya, then it will be useless."]

If we then don't take from the disciplic succession of the authority... Just like Kṛṣṇa. Now, take for example: We have explained this in our introduction, that nobody is authority. Don't care. Kṛṣṇa is authority because Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by Kṛṣṇa. That you cannot deny. Can you deny that?

Yoko Ono: Is Kṛṣṇa translated...

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is authority. Kṛṣṇa is authority.

Yoko Ono: Yes, all right. Did He translate it into English?

Prabhupāda: Just hear me.

Yoko Ono: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is authority, you accept?

Yoko Ono: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Is that all right?

John Lennon: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Then you see what Kṛṣṇa says. That is authority. Why should you hear anyone else? Now, what Kṛṣṇa has said, to understand that, that you have to search out if you are serious student.

John Lennon: How do we know if somebody else, Yogananda, Maharshi, and all these different people that have translated it, how are we to tell that their version isn't Kṛṣṇa's word from your version?

Prabhupāda: Therefore I say if you are serious student, then you study Sanskrit, original.

John Lennon: Study Sanskrit? Oh, now you're talking.

George Harrison: But Vivekananda said that books and rituals and dogmas and temples are secondary details, anyway. He said they're not the most important thing, anyway. You don't have to read the book in order to have the perception.

Prabhupāda: Then why Vivekananda wrote so many books? [laughter]

George Harrison: Well, it's the same as in the Gītā.

Prabhupāda: No, no. He said there is no use of books. Then why he wrote so many books?

George Harrison: But in Rishikesh, when we meditated for a long time, one man got tired of meditation, and he thought... He made the excuse to read the Gītā so he could come out of meditation, and he opened the Gītā and it said, "Don't read books. Meditate."

Prabhupāda: Who says?

George Harrison: The Gītā said.

Prabhupāda: "Don't read books"?

George Harrison: It said, "Don't read books. Meditate."

Prabhupāda: Where?

Yoko Ono: No, but you see, you...

Prabhupāda: He said, brahma-sūtra-padaiś caiva hetumadbhir viniścitaiḥ [Bg. 13.5].

[That knowledge of the field of activities and of the knower of activities is described by various sages in various Vedic writings-especially in the Vedānta-sūtra-and is presented with all reasoning as to cause and effect.]

He refers that "This scientific knowledge, the Absolute Truth, is explained very nicely in Brahma-sūtra, Vedānta-sūtra." He refers to the book. Another place Kṛṣṇa says,

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya
vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

[Bg. 16.23]

[But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.]

"Anyone who does not follow the scriptural injunction, his attempt will be failure. He'll never be happy. And what to speak of being promoted to the spiritual world?" These things are there. How you can say Kṛṣṇa has not recommended to read books?

Yoko Ono: Then, in that sense, you see, for instance... I see the same pattern in what you have said. For instance, you said that Hare Kṛṣṇa is the most superpowerful word, and if that is true, then why do you bother to utter any other words? I mean, is it necessary? And why do you encourage us, saying that we're songwriters and all...

Prabhupāda: No...

Yoko Ono: ...to write any song but Hare Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is cleansing process.

Yoko Ono: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So actually one who chants Hare Kṛṣṇa regularly, he hasn't got to do anything. Actually it is the position. He doesn't require to read any book.

Yoko Ono: Yes. Then why do you say that it's all right and all that? I mean is it a compromise, or what?

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Yoko Ono: I mean the fact that we are doing songwriting and all that. It's a waste of time, isn't it? Without Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: No, not waste of time. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was chanting, simply. Even He was criticized by great sannyāsīs that "You have taken sannyāsa. You do not read Vedānta. You are simply chanting and dancing." He was criticized. But the thing is, when Caitanya Mahāprabhu met such stalwart scholars, He was not lagging behind.

Similarly, Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient. There is no doubt about it. But if somebody wants to understand this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra through philosophy, through study, through Vedānta, we are not lacking. We have got books. It is not that Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is insufficient, therefore we are recommending books. No. Not like that. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient. But...

Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was chanting, but when there was a Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, when there was a Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, oh, He was ready to argue with him with Vedānta. So we should not be dumb. If somebody comes to argue with Vedānta philosophy, then we must be prepared. When we are preaching, there will be so many people, different types of people will come. Otherwise Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient. Sufficient. It does not require any education, any reading, anything. Simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and you get the highest perfection. That's a fact.

Śyāmasundara: You were saying earlier that we can also supplement our Kṛṣṇa consciousness while we're working, hammering the nails.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Śyāmasundara: So chanting along with devotional service, performing our duties while concentrating on Kṛṣṇa, is also part of the process, isn't it?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Anything, any way. The whole idea is manāḥ kṛṣṇe niveṣayet [SB 7.1.32].

[Somehow or other, one must consider the form of Kṛṣṇa very seriously. Then, by one of the five different processes mentioned above, one can return home, back to Godhead. Atheists like King Vena, however, being unable to think of Kṛṣṇa's form in any of these five ways, cannot attain salvation. Therefore, one must somehow think of Kṛṣṇa, whether in a friendly way or inimically.]

Mind should be fixed up in Kṛṣṇa. That is the process. Either you go through philosophy or through arguments or through chanting. Any way. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yoginām api sarveṣāṁ [Bg. 6.47].

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

Of all kinds of yogīs. In the... You might have read it. Yoginām api sarveṣāṁ. I think Maharshi has translated this Bhagavad-gītā? And in the Sixth Chapter...? You have read it?

George Harrison: Oh, his translation of Gītā?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: Sixth Chapters, he's asking.

George Harrison: Yes. I haven't read all of it. Part of it.

Prabhupāda: So in the Sixth Chapter, last verse, you'll find yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatena...

[aside:] You have got our Bhagavad-gītā As It Is here? No? How is that, you don't keep Bhagavad-gītā?

You'll find it is clearly stated that all yogīs, the one yogī whose mind is fixed up in Kṛṣṇa, he is first-class yogī. Yoginam api sarveṣāṁ. Sarveṣāṁ, "of all yogīs." There are different kinds of yogīs. So yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gata: "One whose mind is fixed up in Me," or Kṛṣṇa, āntarātmanā, "within the heart," śraddhāvān, "and is devotee," and bhajate, "and serves Me, oh," sa me yuktatamo mataḥ, "he is the first-class yogī." Tama. Tama means most, supermost. Yuktatamo: yogī, better yogī and the supermost yogī.

John Lennon: Whose is that little purple paperback Gītā that we all have? A light grey purple?

Devotee: That's the one.

John Lennon: Oh, that's the one? I've got that in the office. There's another one by that guy, that Spanish guy? [indistinct]

Śyāmasundara: One thing that Prabhupāda was explaining, I think, that didn't quite get cleared up was how do we discern which translation of the Gītā is most authoritative. Well, he answered when he said that Kṛṣṇa is the authority. So we have to take it in a channel from Kṛṣṇa, and there are only four lines of disciplic succession that come from Kṛṣṇa. And of these, only one is existing now. Or is it two?

Yoko Ono: What do you mean by "channel"? Is it through hereditary or what?

Śyāmasundara: Lines of disciplic succession. Yes, it's hereditary. Swāmījī's spiritual master...

Prabhupāda: Just like channel you'll understand very easily. You send some money order to your friend. So from which channel he'll receive? He'll receive through the post office, not through any other channel. So if the postal peon delivers it, you are confident, "Yes, the money has come." So why you give the importance to the postal peon? Because he's representative of the post office. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is the original authority.

So the Kṛṣṇa's representative is the authority. And who is Kṛṣṇa's representative? Who is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So therefore the devotee of Kṛṣṇa is authority, at least of Bhagavad-gītā. So you have to receive through the devotee of Kṛṣṇa about Bhagavad-gītā. One who does not know about anything about Kṛṣṇa, how he can preach Bhagavad-gītā? This is common sense.

Jill: Will you excuse me? I must put my baby to bed. Good night.

Prabhupāda: [chuckles] Take some prasādam. Give him [her] some.

Jill: Oh, thank you.

John Lennon: Well, who says who's in the line of descent? You know, I mean, it's just like royalty. Who's who? Who's claiming... [all talk at once]

Yoko Ono: That's what I was talking about.

John Lennon: I mean Yogananda claims...

George Harrison: His guru's, guru's, guru's...

John Lennon: All his guru's, guru's, guru's, gurus, like that. Maharshi claimed all his guru's guru's gurus went back. I mean, how are we to know? I mean, it's a matter of just deciding, you know.

Prabhupāda: But Maharshi does not say anything about Kṛṣṇa.

John Lennon: Doesn't he?

George Harrison: No, his guru is the Śaṅkarācārya, which is Śaṅkara's teaching.

John Lennon: But they all talk about God, and Kṛṣṇa's just a name for God, isn't it?

Prabhupāda: Anyway, whatever he may be, he does not go up to Kṛṣṇa. [chuckles]

George Harrison: ...personality, anyway, of...

John Lennon: Well, that's what he used to say in exactly the same way, about anybody else.

Prabhupāda: No, no. He cannot be, because he does not speak about anything Kṛṣṇa. A peon comes, he does not know anything about post office—what kind of peon he is?

Yoko Ono: No, but his post office... He was talking about his post office.

Prabhupāda: No, you cannot create post office. Post office one: government post office.

Yoko Ono: Yes, of course. I'm sure there's only one post office.

Prabhupāda: You cannot create that he is... Somebody says, "I belong to another post office," then he is at once unauthorized. [everyone talking at once]

Yoko Ono: No, no. He saying that his post office is the one post office.

Devotee: Then why... Obviously not satisfied yet with what they found in that post office. Why have you come here, then? If you have been satisfied with that... You have to test.

John Lennon: Yeah, we've gotta go around. Yoko never met Maharshi. We're asking advice of how to, you know, how to stop. You can go on forever. I know people that have been wandering around for years, seeking gurus and spiritual teachers. I mean it's doing them all quite well.

Prabhupāda: [aside:] Bring prasādam.

John Lennon: I mean, we can only judge on a material level by looking at your disciples and looking at other peoples' disciples and looking at ourselves, you know. And, of course, if there's thirty disciples, seven of them look fairly spiritual, another ten look okay, and the others just look as though they're having trouble, you know. So there's no...

Yoko Ono: It's the same thing.

John Lennon: We still have to keep sifting through like sand to see whose got the best [indistinct], or...

Prabhupāda: Try to understand this, that regarding authority, you say that how to find out the authority. To answer this question: Kṛṣṇa is authority. There is no doubt. Because if Kṛṣṇa is an authority, Maharshi takes also Kṛṣṇa's book and Aurobindo takes Kṛṣṇa's book, Vivekananda takes Kṛṣṇa's book, Dr. Radhakrishnan takes Kṛṣṇa's book. So Kṛṣṇa is authority.

Śaṅkarācārya also takes Kṛṣṇa's book. You know Śaṅkarācārya's commentary on Kṛṣṇa? And in that commentary he accepts, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam, sa bhagavān svayam kṛṣṇaḥ: "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." He accepts. You say that Maharshi accepts Śaṅkarācārya. Śaṅkarācārya accepts Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

George Harrison: Yes, but it's like the Bible, which came...

Prabhupāda: Now, don't go to Bible. We're talking of Kṛṣṇa. [laughter] Just try to understand.

Yoko Ono: Yes, but, you see, the religion is bringing out [indistinct].

Prabhupāda: Just see that Kṛṣṇa is the authority. He's accepted by everyone. You say Maharshi belongs to the Śaṅkara sampradāya. Śaṅkarācārya accepts Kṛṣṇa. Not as authority... He says, "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." He says this very word in his commentary.

Gurudāsa: Bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam.

Prabhupāda: So authority means one who has accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Lord. Then he is authority.

Yoko Ono: Now, who said that?

Prabhupāda: Everyone says. All authorities. Śaṅkarācārya says. Rāmānujācārya says. Those who are really authorities, those disciplic succession is going on. In India, there are five sects. Actually two sects: Vaiṣṇava and Śaṅkara. So the Vaiṣṇava accept Kṛṣṇa as the authority, and Śaṅkara accepted Kṛṣṇa authority. There are no third sect. Practically, actually, there is one sect, the Vaiṣṇava. Anyway, later on, later ages, Śaṅkarācārya established his sect. But Śaṅkarācārya accepts that kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]

[All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.]

"Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead," in his writing. And at his last stage of his life he said, "You rascal fools, what you are dealing with? That will not save you." Bhaja govindam: "You just worship Kṛṣṇa." Bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam mūḍha-mate. Mūḍha-mate means "you rascal." [laughter]

John Lennon: Means what?

Gurudāsa: "You rascal."

Prabhupāda: "You rascal." "You rascal, just worship Kṛṣṇa and become devotee of Kṛṣṇa, Govinda."

bhaja govindam bhaja govindam
bhaja govindam mūḍha-mate
prāpte sannihite kāle
na hi na hi rakṣati dukṛñ-karaṇe


[You fools and rascals, all your grammatical word jugglery of suffixes, prefixes and philosophical speculation will not save you at the time of death. Just worship Govinda! Worship Govinda! Worship Govinda!]

"When your death will come, all this grammatical jugglery of words will not save you. Kṛṣṇa can save you. So you bhaja govindam." That is instruction of Śaṅkarācārya.

Yoko Ono: But every sect says that. But every sect says that...

Prabhupāda: No, there is no question "every sect." Kṛṣṇa is the center of every sect. If Kṛṣṇa is the center, then there is no question of "every sect." Only Kṛṣṇa sect.

John Lennon: Does "Kṛṣṇa" mean God?

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

John Lennon: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Kṛṣṇa means God, and God means Kṛṣṇa.

John Lennon: So for the Bible or any other holy book, they all talk about one God, but they all have many ways of...

Prabhupāda: That's all right.

George Harrison: Personalities.

John Lennon: Yes.

Prabhupāda: That's all right.

John Lennon: It's still just the one Being everywhere, in all the books. But they all have... Why isn't Hare Kṛṣṇa or something similar in the Bible, then? I mean, that's the only other one I know, because I was brought up with the Bible.

Gurudāsa: It is. In the 150th Psalm it says, "Praise the Lord with every breath. Praise the Lord with drum and flute."

John Lennon: But they haven't got very good tunes, you know. I mean, they haven't been passing on any good chants, have they?

Mukunda: They don't have the aural disciplic succession with the Bible. It's broken.

John Lennon: It's just a matter of that is it. I mean, would it be as effective to chant "Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus. Hail Lord Jesus"?

Devotee: If you're sincere, sure.

Prabhupāda: Lord Jesus...

John Lennon: But it's a waste of time of doing it unsincerely, isn't it?

Yoko Ono: Yeah, it depends on sincerity.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Lord Jesus says that he is son of God. He's son of God.

Lady devotee: Your cab's here, Śyāmasundara. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: [someone enters] What is that? You want to hear? Come on, sit down. So there is no difference. Lord Jesus Christ says that he is son of God. So there is no quarrel between God and God's son. So he says that "Love God," and Kṛṣṇa says, "Love Me." The same thing. [laughs] If you say that "You love me," and your wife says that "Love my husband," there is no difference of opinion.

Yoko Ono: But about the knowledge, I'm a bit worried about it, if you have to, you know, learn Sanskrit and all that, and that's the only way to get enlightenment... I mean, what do you do about people who are not sort of skillful in learning languages and things like that? I mean, would that not at all... I mean, I thought that it...

John Lennon: It's translated, anyway.

Prabhupāda: Translation is there.

John Lennon: So you've got to take a risk.

Yoko Ono: But he said, then why don't you go and...

John Lennon: So then you've got to take the risk of reading a translated one.

Gurudāsa: So you see many devotees of the authority, and then you decide which is the most sincere devotee. And just like in the Ninth Chapter He says, "You will come to Me." Now, if I asked you for a glass of water and you poured it on the wall, I'd think you were silly. But if you brought it to me, then I knew you were in knowledge, we were having a reciprocal relationship. Therefore, if the devotee is saying, "Worship Kṛṣṇa," and not putting so much of his own ideas in, but just saying, "Worship Kṛṣṇa," all throughout, as Swāmījī does, then you can know he's a sincere devotee.

Prabhupāda: Now, one thing you try to understand. Why these people, if Kṛṣṇa is not the supreme authority, why they are taking Kṛṣṇa's book and translating? Why don't you try to understand?

George Harrison: I'm not saying Kṛṣṇa isn't the Supreme. I believe that.

Prabhupāda: No, no. I mean to say, even there are other sects, as you say, Maharshi, they accept also indirectly Kṛṣṇa as the supreme authority. Because if we say Maharshi belongs to Śaṅkara sampradāya, you said just like...

George Harrison: Yeah, but we had a misunderstanding before about the translation of the Sanskrit Gītā into English, and I was saying that there's many versions, and I think we thought you were trying to say that your version, your translation, was the only authority, and that the other translations... But we didn't really have misunderstanding as to the identity of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. If you believe Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, if that is your version, then you have to see who are much addicted to Kṛṣṇa directly. For argument's sake. That these people, they are twenty-four hours chanting "Kṛṣṇa," and another person who has no, not a single word "Kṛṣṇa," how he can become devotee of Kṛṣṇa?

How he can become representative of Kṛṣṇa, who does not utter even the name of Kṛṣṇa? If Kṛṣṇa is authority accepted, therefore who are directly addicted to Kṛṣṇa, they are authorities. [end]