Lecture at Indo-American Society , Calcutta , 1973-01-31
Prabhupāda: Mr. Allen, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly inviting me to speak something about East and West. Of course, I have got considerable experience now because I am wandering East and West, not only once, at least twice, thrice in a year. So far Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is concerned, we have no such thing, East and West. Just like the sun rises from the eastern horizon and sets on the western horizon, but the sun is the same.
You cannot say that Eastern sun and the Western sun. That is not possible. The planet, this earthly planet, is moving, and we are considering that the sun is moving from east and west. The sun, sun is in his position. Similarly, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has no such distinction between East and West. If there is such distinction, it is due to lack of knowledge.
Why this lack of knowledge? Because we are under bodily concept of life. According to Kṛṣṇa culture, anyone who is going on under the bodily concept of life, he is not considered as a human being. It is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣu abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
Go-kharaḥ. Go means cow, and kharaḥ means ass. Any person who is accepting this body as himself... Just like generally we say, "What you are?" "I am Mr. Such-and-such. I am American," or "I am an Indian," or "African." This bodily designation. If I identify my self with this body, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātu... Kuṇape means bag. This is a bag. This body is a bag of bones, flesh, urine, blood and so many other things.
You cannot manufacture a living entity by combination of bones, flesh, blood, urine and stool. That is not possible. You are great scientist---you are going to the moon planet---but if I give you some ingredients like this bones, flesh, stool, urine, can you manufacture a human being? Can you? Can anyone? Is there any scientist in the world who can manufacture a human being by combination of bones, flesh, blood, urine, stool? No. If it is not possible to manufacture, how you are identifying with this body, "I am this body"? Do you mean combination of bones and flesh can create such intelligent man? Just like in your country, George Washington---many scientists. In our country also, many big leaders, Mahatma Gandhi and others. Do you think that these men are combination of bag..., combination-bag of bones and flesh and urine?
Therefore the śāstra says = yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. Tri-dhātuke. This body is made of three elements, according to Āyur-vedic system = kapha pitta vāyu, mucus, bile and air. So actually, the combination of this body is like that. As soon as the spirit soul goes out of this body, it is nothing but bone, flesh and urine and stool, and it has to be thrown away. In every society, as soon as the man is dead... So while he was living, he was acting so nicely, so intelligently. Now as soon as the soul is gone, immediately everything is gone. So do you think it is a combination of bones and flesh?
Any sane man will accept it? If you say that something is wanting for giving impetus of birth of life in this body, therefore the body's called dead, that is not a fact. Because after this body's dead, after the soul is gone out of the body, innumerable microbes will come out---decomposition. You cannot say the ingredients which give impetus to generation of life, that is lacking. It is not lacking. Because it is not lacking, therefore millions of other microbes are coming out. That is not a fact, that this is the ingredient of life substance. There are so many arguments.
So if there is any difference of East and West, this difference. The Eastern part of the world, especially India, the people know that "I am not this body." And the Western part of the world, they do not know that "I am not this body." That is the difference. That is the difference. That is the distinction between East and West. In India, go to a village and you ask him that "What you are?" He will say, "Sir, I am suffering or enjoying according to my past karma." Means, "I was living in the past. So according to my action, I am suffering or enjoying the reaction in this life." He believes in the transmigration of the soul. He believes in the future life also. He is very cautious to commit sin, because he knows that "If I commit sin in this life, I'll have to suffer next life."
This is Eastern life. And in the Western country, I talked with so many big, big professors, especially in Moscow, I talked with Professor Kotovsky. He said, "Swāmījī, after death, the everything finished. After death, everything finished." This is the difference, East and West. In the Eastern country, especially in India, a common man will understand the existence of soul. And in the Western country, a topmost man, professor, he does not know what is soul. That is the difference.
Otherwise, so far your eating is concerned, it is same, either in Eastern country or Western country. You eat something on plate, or they also eat something. You sleep in nice apartment; they also sleep in something like that. You try to defend with your atomic weapons; they also try to defend. You also, after sex, the Eastern; Western, they are also after sex. Not only Eastern and Western; the animals, they are also after these things. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etad paśubhiḥ narāṇām [Hitopadeśa 25]. Eating, sleeping, sex life and defense---this is common to the animal and to the human being.
You may improve the cooking process or eating process but, after all, it is eating. Eating is meant for maintaining your body. That is done by the animals also. These things are not cultural advancement. Real cultural advancement is to know that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. That is the difference.
So this education is in India, this Bhagavad-gītā. The beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says:
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntaraṁ prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
This is Eastern gift. So I have gone to the Western country to give this Eastern gift. And it is being accepted by your children. All these American, European boys, they're accepting it. Not only hundreds, but thousands. People say that "Swāmījī, you are doing wonderful." I say I am not doing wonderful. I do not know any magic. I have no mystic power. But I am presenting actually the Eastern culture to the West. That's all. It is not unreasonable. Any child can understand that there is soul. One doctor in Canada, Montreal I think... What is the name of that medical prac...?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Bigelow.
Prabhupāda: So he is he's now speaking that there is soul. He's a cardiologist.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Dr. Bigelow.
Prabhupāda: Eh? Tell him, that man.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Doctor Bigelow.
Prabhupāda: So I had some correspondence with him, and he admitted, "Swāmījī, your people know much about these things than we know."
So there is no question of you and me. It is simply education. Just like these boys. Four or five years, ago, they did not know anything about this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But because they have been educated with this Bhagavad-gītā, they are also following me. And they are very sound in their conviction in this West..., Eastern culture, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Of course, from my part of view, I do not think there is any East and West. Any knowledge is meant for the whole world, any scientific knowledge. Just like Professor Einstein, if he discovered the law of relativity, it is not for the Western people; it is for the Eastern people also.
So there is no such question. When there is culture, when there is knowledge, there is no question of Eastern and Western. But the difference is the Eastern people may know something very nicely, and the Western people may take some time. Similarly, Western people may know something very nicely; the Eastern people may take little time. Just like for technology, they go to Western countries to learn how machine work. So they also learn it. In Eastern..., in India, they're also learning. So now the time is ripe that we should not think in terms of Eastern and Western. We should be hankering after real knowledge. That is wanted. That is the point of unity.
Now, for lack of knowledge, the United Nation, they're also, the Eastern and Western people have gone to make a solution of the world problem. But they're unable. My next headquarter is New York. I go on the First Avenue. Most occasionally I see there is the United Nation Building. But instead of diminishing the flag, they're increasing. They're increasing. I do not know what is the meaning of this United Nation. Why? Big, big brain, big, big politicians, big, big learned scholar, and they are speaking. But why the nations are not united? It is..., it is simply a show only. Because lack of knowledge. It is due to lack of knowledge.
What is that lack of knowledge? Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. Everyone is thinking, "I am this body." They have gone to unite together, but their basic principle of knowledge is the same, that "I am this body." American, he's thinking, "I am this body, American." Russian, he's thinking, "I am this body, Russian." And they are fighting. Why the fighting? Due to this body. But if we understand this very simple thing, that "I am not this body," everything is united. So the lack of knowledge is there. How we'll be united, culturally or this way? It is not possible. The first lack of knowledge must be eradicated, that why you..., why we are missing the point? This is the point.
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntaraṁ prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
Asmin dehe, in this body, there is the proprietor of the body. That is soul. Asmin dehe, on this body, therery happy moment that Indo-American Society. I wish that the Indo-American Society should give a special stress to know why these four miserable conditions of life cannot be solved. And there is a solution. We can give you the solution. In the Bhagavad-gītā there is solution:
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti kaunteya
That is culture. That is really business of the human being, that "I am put into this material condition of life. I am changing from one kind of body to another. Who knows that I am not going to become a tree next life?" But there is another species of life, like tree, like birds, like beasts. There is no guarantee. There is no scientific guarantee that "You are not going to be tree; you are again going to become American." No, there is no guarantee. But there is guarantee. Because the so-called scientists cannot make solution of this problem, they do not believe in next life. That is their defect of knowledge, lack of knowledge. They cannot make any solution. He wants to live permanently, but he cannot live by the laws of nature. Why does he not make a solution of this? But we can give the solution. Everyone does not want to become old, but he becomes forced, forced to become old. Why he does not make any solution? But that solution we can give. This is Eastern culture.
So I request all you ladies and gentlemen to take this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is not a sentimental movement. It is a very authorized, scientific movement. You are all educated, advanced ladies and gentlemen. I'll request you to understand this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The American boys, it is already we are combining East and West socially, politically, religiously, philosophically, economically---everything there is solution. But if you take it seriously. If you think this is a movement, sentimental move... It is not sentimental movement. It is a most scientific movement. Any scientist come to me, I can convince him that it is a scientific movement.
I asked similarly to Professor Kotovsky in Moscow that "My dear Professor, what is the difference between your movement, Communist movement, and my movement? You, you have selected Lenin as God; I have selected Kṛṣṇa as God. Where is the difference of principle?" You cannot live without a leader, or God. I cannot live without a leader, or God. That's a fact. Then where is the difference? Now it is to be judged whether Lenin is good or Kṛṣṇa is good. That is another thing. But your position is that you have to accept one leader, either Lenin or Jawaharlal Nehru or Hitler or this or Lord Churchill. You have to accept. You cannot work independently. Therefore you have got so many parties. So here is also one party, Kṛṣṇa party. So where is the difference in philosophy? There is no difference in philosophy. Now let us study whether Kṛṣṇa party is good or Lenin party is good. Then whole solution is there.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [break]
[aside:] It is not working.
[break] ...eternal soul is there in the Bhagavad-gītā that... That I have already explained = asmin dehe, in this body there is the proprietor of the body. This is conception of soul. Just like whenever we see some apartment or house, we can understand that there is a resident or proprietor of this house. Similarly, we can understand, this body, there is some proprietor within this body. Therefore the body is working. If we see one house, nicely cleansed, there is light and everything is in order, we can understand there is resident. Similarly, when the proprietor of the body is there, the body is healthy...
[break] ...That is the conception of existence of the soul. Nobody can deny it.
[break] ...as soul without the body means ghost. [laughter] Yes, that's a fact. Ghost means he has got no gross body, but he's working with the subtle body. We have got two kinds of bodies. The gross body is made of five elements = earth, water, air, fire, sky. And the subtle body is made of intelligence, mind and ego. So when a soul does not get a gross body, he has to work with the subtle body. That is ghostly life. So ghostly life is not false. Those who are too..., too much sinful, sometimes they are condemned not to get a gross body. Just like if a man commits suicide. So nature gave him this gross body. He misused it. Therefore he's punished sometimes not to get again gross body. He becomes ghost.
Guest: Isn't it the principle of human...
Prabhupāda: What is that?
[break] ...means you accept another body. So long you are under the laws of karma, you have to accept another body.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Nature. You are desiring so many things in your life. They are recorded. And you have to accept each and every body, one after another. That is nature's gift. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni. That is the nature's work. As you desire, so you get a body. If you misuse the body, then for sometimes you are restrained not to get a gross body.
There are so many scientific problem about this life and transmigration of the soul. You can understand from the authorized Vedic literature how the soul transmigrates from one body to another. That is also explained. The soul remains with the subtle body, which we cannot see. But after destruction of this gross body, the soul is carried to another gross body according to his desire by the subtle body. The example is given = just like the flavor of flower garden is carried by the air, and if you do not..., even though you do not see the flower, when you smell the good smell, you can understand wherefrom the air is blowing. Similarly, according to your desire you get a body, and that desire, that capsule of mind, intelligence will carry you to another body. God will give you the chance. This is the process.
Guest: If that is the case, then...
Prabhupāda: ...question. The ultimate goal of the soul is to reach God. That is the process. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇu. They do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. The ultimate goal of life is to reach God. That is really culture. So people do not know it. They think, "My ultimate goal of life is to make some good bank balance." But that is not the ultimate goal of life. The bank balance will be finished as soon as you give up this body---your skyscraper building and bank balance, everything. Now according to your karma, according to your desire---karma means according to your desire---you'll have to accept another body. So these bodily activities, this possession of this body, will be finished with your death. Then you have to begin another chapter. It may be human being, or it may be demigod, or it may be animal. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā:
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtejyā yānti bhūtāni
mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām
So we have to accept another body. Therefore, our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving intelligence to the person that "Here is your ultimate goal of life, Kṛṣṇa. Come here. Be trained up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and go back to home, back to Godhead, Kṛṣṇa." This is our movement. That is the ultimate goal.
[break] ...go somewhere. Because you are eternal. Simply by finishing your body, you will not finish. You have to go. But where you shall go? That you can plan in this life. And if you make this plan, that "I want to go back to home, back to Godhead..." The Bhagavad-gītā is there. You study. You cultivate this knowledge. And Kṛṣṇa says, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9] = "My dear Arjuna, such person who have developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness perfectly, after giving up this body, he does not accept any more material body." Tyaktvā deham. "After giving up this body..." Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. Janma means birth, means accepting another material body. Otherwise, the soul has no birth, no death. Na jāyate na mriyate vā. The soul never takes birth or never dies. It is the body only. It takes birth and dies according to my karma.
So if one becomes Kṛṣṇa consciousness..., Kṛṣṇa conscious, the ultimate goal of life, then after giving up this body he does not accept any more any material body. Then what does he do? Mām eti: "He comes to Me." This is the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the ultimate goal of life.
Guest: Can't the unity with God attain by any other religion?
Prabhupāda: Everyone. Don't you see this practically? They were all Christians, Jews, Muhammadans. How they are coming to Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Guest: So is Kṛṣṇa consciousness the only method?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Kṛṣṇa conscious... You... Maybe it in otherwise. But the aim is that there is God. We are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other, we are now separated. We must be united again. That is the life's business.
Guest: So any other religion also can give...
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Why not? Any religion. We do not say that "You practice this religion or that religion." We say, "Just try to go back to home, back to Godhead." That is our philosophy.
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
If you want really happiness, then you follow such principles by which you can develop your love for God. So it does not mean... If you can do it in Christianity, that's all right. If you can do it by Muhammadan religion, that's all right. But the aim should be to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is our philosophy. [applause]
[American gives short speech thanking Śrīla Prabhupāda, then Indian man---possibly Life Member---makes similar speech, but praises bhakti and chanting, quotes Bhagavad-gītā, etc. Then kīrtana begins] [end]