Room Conversation with Irish Poet Desmond O'Grady , Rome , 1974-05-23

Yogeśvara: [reading from Bhagavad-gītā 13.22 purport] "It is explained in the Second Chapter that the living entity is transmigrating from one body to another just as one changes dress. This change of dress is due to his attachment to material existence. As long as he is captivated by this false manifestation, he has to continue transmigrating from one body to another. Due to his desire to lord over material nature, he is put into such undesirable circumstances. Under the influence of material desire, the entity is born sometimes as a demigod, sometimes as a man, sometimes as a beast, as a bird, as a worm, as an aquatic, as a saintly man, as a bug. This is going on. And in all cases the living entity thinks himself to be the master of his circumstances, yet he is under the influence of material nature."

Prabhupāda: So this is our..., because we are developing a different consciousness... Different... Consciousness is one, but it is being colored under different circumstances. And therefore we have to accept a similar type of body. So if our consciousness is cleansed, then we do not undergo the circumstantial changes by different species of life. That is required. In the human form of life we can do that---not to associate with the modes of material nature, but associate with God. That we can do. And if we associate with God, then we become liberated from the clutches of māyā. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te [Bg. 7.14]. And our real business is how to get out of the clutches of māyā.

Kirpal Singh disciple: Give up this staying here?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Kirpal Singh disciple: How?

Prabhupāda: We have to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because such consciousness will help us to be free from the contamination of these different types of material consciousness and save us from transmigrating from one body to another. So we accept this different association on account of our strong propensity for sense gratification. Therefore we have to purify the senses so that the senses may be engaged in the service of the master of the senses. Hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate.

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate

[Cc. Madhya 19.170]

Bhakti means to be free from all sorts of material designation. "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Italian"---these are all designations of the body. So we have to become free from these designations. And that is called nirmalam, purification. And when we are nirmalam, without any contamination, then we can engage the senses in the service of the master of the senses. Master of the senses is Kṛṣṇa, or God. Actually, He is master of the senses. Just like I am feeling comfort by using this sense, touch sense, hand, in this way, but I am not master, because at any moment this hand can be paralyzed. So I am not the master. The master is Kṛṣṇa. So if it is engaged in the service of the master, then it is in its normal condition. And then we are liberated.

And this purification you can take very easily by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa---that means immediately associate with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa, nondifferent. So as, if we associate with fire it becomes warm, the quality of the fire comes; as it is materially possible, spiritually it is possible in perfect order. Process is the same. You associate with Kṛṣṇa, and you become Kṛṣṇaite, as pure as Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is therefore advising, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. So Kirpal Singh also studies Bhagavad-gītā? I am asking this. Kirpal Singh, he teaches on the Bhagavad-gītā?

Kirpal Singh disciple: I didn't get that.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Your master, does he study Bhagavad-gītā?

Kirpal Singh disciple: My master is a teacher of the science of the soul.

Prabhupāda: What is that, science of the soul?

Kirpal Singh disciple: Well, just like what you have been saying, purifying the senses and becoming in consciousness through a master, to know a way of purification by not... Eating properly and thinking properly.

Prabhupāda: The idea is purify the senses.

Kirpal Singh disciple: And meditating, meditation. Being devoted, your life will be changed. The master teaches these things, purification. He has written also some books. When he came to America in 1967, I met him personally. And he initiated a group of people. And I was also kind of aiming at that, being a vegetarian a few years prior to that. He accepted me and gave me initiation with the group. And, of course, he went back in about... He stayed in the States about twelve days, then he came in Europe. Then he went back. I haven't seen him ever since. I have a picture of him. I carry a picture of him, the leader of..., in our movement. Think of..., meditating on the master. And I try to live up to it, to the teachings. Would you like to see that picture?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes, I have seen this gentleman. In Delhi I have seen him.

Kirpal Singh disciple: In New Delhi. And there are the five names of meditation on the back.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Yogeśvara: I can't read it.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Nirana, sana, oṁkara, dvāroṁkāra, so 'ham, sat-nāma.

Kirpal Singh disciple: Sat-nāma. Those five names, according to your way and its positions, you will be attracted to one of the names. Everyone is a center of power, energy, the way he taught us. Whatever you fear [indistinct], what particular name one..., some one that you're attracted to that name. Nirana, sana, oṁkara, dvāroṁkāra, so 'ham and sat-nāma. I thought that I met a good master.

Dhanañjaya: Mr. O'Grady. Desmond O'Grady and some of his friends have just arrived. They'd like to come and see you and speak with you.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: This is the Irish poet. [guests enter]

Dhanañjaya: Please sit down.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. How are you?

Woman: Very well, thank you.

Desmond O'Grady: We are very well and very tired. We've been traveling a long, long way, a long road from Delhi. [indistinct comments as guests enter and settle]

Dhanañjaya: Desmond is a poet. He's written books also, published in London. And tomorrow he goes to... Where is it? To Sicily to a convention of poets and writers, international conference for writers and poets. He's representing Ireland. He's coming from Limerick in Southern Ireland.

Desmond O'Grady: This is my friend Michael Robert [indistinct]. We are colleagues together since we teach literature, English literature. And this is another friend of ours who has just come from Greece. Everybody seems to be traveling within the last twenty-four hours. This is a young painter friend of mine, Robert Jackson, also from Ireland, who's a painter, first time in Italy, out of Ireland, and he's staying with me at the moment. He came back with me from Ireland just a few weeks ago.

Prabhupāda: We are also writing books, so many. You have seen our books?

Desmond O'Grady: I have seen some, yes, because some of the friends have come up and...

Prabhupāda: [aside:] Some of the books, you can show him. Here is one book, Bhagavad-gītā.

Yogeśvara: You have seen the Bhagavad-gītā, haven't you, in English?

Desmond O'Grady: Oh, yes, but not this particular edition.

Yogeśvara: This we just recently published in German, a German edition.

Desmond O'Grady: A German edition. [indistinct] Who has published them?

Yogeśvara: This was published in Germany. I don't remember the name of the publisher. This is Macmillan Company, and this is the life of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who began the chanting.

Bhagavān: All these books are illustrated by our artists in New York.

Desmond O'Grady: They illustrated this?

Bhagavān: Oh, yes, they are beautiful.

Robert Jackson[?]: Some fantastic work. I've been looking at... When you came to the house...

Desmond O'Grady: The text is in...

Bhagavān: There's original text in Bengali. This book is in Bengali.

Desmond O'Grady: And Sanskrit.

Bhagavān: Sanskrit, which Prabhupāda translates himself and gives the explanation and purport.

Woman: [indistinct]

Bhagavān: [Sanskrtit] Every night Śrīla Prabhupāda dictates into a Dictaphone, and his secretaries type and edit. And then we have a press in New York which composes and prints.

Desmond O'Grady: It's a very nice edition, that Macmillan edition. Very nicely done.

Prabhupāda: Yes, they have fifth edition within two years. Five editions.

Desmond O'Grady: Five editions in two years.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And each time they print fifty thousand books.

Desmond O'Grady: This new printing.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. In London about few months ago, we got report they sold thirty thousand copies in two months.

Desmond O'Grady: Thirty thousand.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Woman: In which country of Europe has the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement been the most powerful or successful?

Prabhupāda: Everywhere.

Woman: Every one?

Prabhupāda: Everywhere, yes. In Africa, in America, in Canada, in Japan, in China. Most successful in America. Most successful. Many men have taken to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Woman: What about Greece?

Prabhupāda: I never went to Greece.

Satsvarūpa: You said you went to the airport and they were chanting.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Really?

Woman: I would think they would be in danger in Athens.

Bhagavān: It is danger.

Woman: There's no way that this movement could be very successful in Athens or in Greece. Not too many things are successful in Greece.

Prabhupāda: Yes, when I was going to Nairobi from London, I got down, transit, on the hall. Some young men, as soon as they saw me, they began to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Woman: That's very brave of them.

Desmond O'Grady: No, really? In Greece, this was? In Athens?

Prabhupāda: Athens, yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Incredible. What about in Rome? What kind of... Do you think they're going... Well, they're asking about problems with the police and getting permissions to go...

Prabhupāda: That problem is everywhere.

Desmond O'Grady: Everywhere.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Police sometimes harass us, and they become later on tired and do not do anything. [chuckles] Arresting, arresting, they become tired.

Desmond O'Grady: They become tired.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: The system. The system gives up. That's a marvelous solution. Because I feel very tired with the system myself. So there's something wrong with the system as being. So maybe you can give me some advice how to beat the system. Because I assure you, here in Rome...

Prabhupāda: But you Irish people, you are never tired to fight. [laughter]

Desmond O'Grady: No. We've been fighting for three thousand years now.

Prabhupāda: I think the fighting is going on still.

Desmond O'Grady: Very much so. Very badly, very bad now, very bad. What do you do about that? And that's a serious question. Is it morally correct to be sitting here, for me to be sitting here...

Prabhupāda: You see, so long people will remain under the bodily concept of life, that "I am this body," "I am Irish," "I am English," "I am American," "I am Italian," so long this misconception will go on, fight will go on. You see? Yasyātmā-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātu... [SB 10.84.13]. There is a verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Just like you cannot stop fighting between the dogs and cats. Why there is fighting? Because the dog is thinking, "I am dog"; the cat is thinking, "I am cat." Similarly, if I think, "I am Irishman," "I am Englishman," it is the same thing. As the dog is thinking, "I am dog," so if I think, "I am Irishman," "I am Englishman," I am no better than the dog. So as we cannot stop the fighting between dogs, similarly, so long people will remain in bodily concept of life, the fighting cannot be stopped.

Desmond O'Grady: What was Mahatma Gandhi fighting in the House of Commons in England?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is also another dogism. Because there is no difference. Just try to understand. The dog is thinking, "I am dog." Why? Because he has got the body of a dog. Similarly, if I am thinking, "I am Indian" because I have got the body in the Indian soil, where is the difference? There is no difference.

Desmond O'Grady: The Englishman thinks there's a difference.

Prabhupāda: No, anyone. The bodily concept of life is animalism. When you think that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul," then there is peace. Otherwise there cannot be any peace. Sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13]. In the Vedic literature it is described that persons who is in the bodily concept of life, he is exactly like the cow and the ass. That means animal. So people has to transcend this qualitative conception of existence. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. You will find this verse. [aside:] Find out this verse,

māṁ ca 'vyabhicāriṇi-
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

Nitāi: Yes, 14.26.

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."

Prabhupāda: Purport.

Nitāi: "This verse is a reply to Arjuna's third question = What is the means of attaining to the transcendental position? As explained before, the material world is acting under the spell of the modes of material nature. One should not be disturbed by the activities of the modes of nature. Instead of putting his consciousness into such activities, he may transfer his consciousness to Kṛṣṇa activities. Kṛṣṇa activities are known as bhakti-yoga---always acting for Kṛṣṇa. This includes not only Kṛṣṇa, but His different plenary expansions such as Rāma and Nārāyaṇa. He has innumerable expansions. One who is engaged in the service of any of the forms of Kṛṣṇa or of His plenary expansions is considered to be transcendentally situated. One should also note that all the forms of Kṛṣṇa are fully transcendental, blissful, full of knowledge and eternal. Such personalities of Godhead are omnipotent and omniscient, and they possess all transcendental qualities. So if one engages himself in the service of Kṛṣṇa or His plenary expansions with unfailing determination, although these modes of material nature are very difficult to overcome, he can overcome them easily.

"This is already explained in the Seventh Chapter. One who surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa at once surmounts the influence of the modes of material nature. To be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or in devotional service, means to acquire the equality of Kṛṣṇa. The Lord says that His nature is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, and the living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme, as gold particles are part of a gold mine. Thus the living entity's spiritual position is as good as gold, as good as Kṛṣṇa in quality. The difference of individuality continues; otherwise there is no question of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga means that the Lord is there, the devotee is there and the activity of exchange of love between the Lord and the devotee is there. Therefore the individuality of two persons is present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual person, otherwise there is no meaning to bhakti-yoga. If one is not situated in the same transcendental position with the Lord, one cannot serve the Supreme Lord. To be a personal assistant to a king, one must acquire the qualifications. Thus the qualification is to become Brahman, or freed from all material contamination. It is said in the Vedic literature, brahmaiva san brahmāpyeti. One can attain the Supreme Brahman by becoming Brahman. This means that one must qualitatively become one with Brahman. By attainment of Brahman, one does not lose his eternal Brahman identity as the individual soul."


brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

[aside:] Find out this verse.

Desmond O'Grady: The best truth, and I think it's truth for most of us who take ourselves seriously...

Prabhupāda: Just like in our Society, we have got Americans, we have got Africans, Canadians, Indians, Christians, Jews, Muhammadans. But they are no longer Muhammadan, American, Christian or African. They are all servants of Kṛṣṇa. And that is Brahman realization.

Desmond O'Grady: But that's giving it a name also. That's also giving it a name, isn't it? Label.

Prabhupāda: Yes, name must be there. But name... Just like you are feeling as Irishman, but your name may be different from another Irishman. How do you feel that "We are all Irishmen"? The name may be different. That doesn't matter. But the quality can be one. That is required. So when acquires that quality, Kṛṣṇaite quality, that in spite of different names... That is called so 'ham. One feels... The same example = in a nation, in a group, the names may be different, but because they feel nationally or religiously one, so that is one. Varieties. Varieties may be different, but the object being one, that is oneness. What is that, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā?


brahmā-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." Purport.

Prabhupāda: He gets equality, attains equality position. Yes. Purport?

Nitāi: "To the impersonalist, achieving the brahma-bhūta stage, becoming one with the Absolute, is the last word. But for the personalist, or the pure devotee, one has to go still further to become engaged in pure devotional service. This means that one who is engaged in pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord is already in a state of liberation, called brahma-bhūta, oneness with the Absolute. Without being one with the Supreme, the Absolute, one cannot render service unto Him. In the absolute conception, there is no difference between the served and the servitor; yet the distinction is there in a higher, spiritual sense.

"In the material concept of life, when one works for sense gratification, there is misery, but in the absolute world, when one is engaged in pure devotional service, there is no misery. The devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has nothing to lament or desire. Since God is full, a living entity who is engaged in God's service, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, becomes also full in himself. He is just like a river cleansed of all dirty water. Because a pure devotee has no thought other than Kṛṣṇa, he is naturally always joyful. He does not lament for any material loss or gain because he is full in service of the Lord. He has no desire for material enjoyment because he knows that every living entity is the fragmental part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and therefore eternally a servant. He does not see, in the material world, someone as higher and someone as lower; higher and lower positions are ephemeral, and a devotee has nothing to do with the ephemeral appearances or disappearances. For him, stone and gold are of equal value. This is the brahma-bhūta stage, and this stage is attained very easily by the pure devotee. In that stage of existence, the idea of becoming one with the Supreme Brahman and annihilating one's individuality becomes hellish, and the idea of attaining the heavenly kingdom becomes phantasmagoria, and the senses are like the broken serpents' teeth. As there is no fear of a serpent with broken teeth, so there is no fear from the senses when they are automatically controlled. The world is miserable for the materially infected person, but for a devotee the entire world is as good as Vaikuṇṭha, or the spiritual sky. The highest personality in this material universe is no more significant than an ant for a devotee. Such a stage can be achieved by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, who preached pure devotional service in this age."

Desmond O'Grady: Could you read the opening little bit again?

Nitāi: In the purport?

Desmond O'Grady: Yeah.

Nitāi: "To the impersonalist, achieving the brahma-bhūta stage, becoming one with the Absolute, is the last word."

Desmond O'Grady: Okay. Now, is the Absolute internal or external?

Prabhupāda: Absolute has no internal or external. That is Absolute. If there is internal and external, it is not Absolute.

Desmond O'Grady: I don't mean in time, and I don't mean in space. I mean in time in the sense that one is born and one dies, etc., that is, in one's own time, one's own absolute, ultimately the absolute that one finds for oneself.

Prabhupāda: No, we are not absolute. We, when we are situated in the absolute platform, then we are absolute. Now we are in the relative world. Here there is absolutism, but the sense is not so elevated to understand the absolutism. So, so long we are under the control of time, there is no question of becoming absolute.

Desmond O'Grady: So therefore there is a life beyond time.

Prabhupāda: That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā.

janma karma me divyaṁ
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti kaunteya

[aside:] Find out this verse.

Nitāi: Chapter Four, text nine:

janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Prabhupāda: And that is absolute. When he goes back to home, back to Godhead, that is absolute. So long he is in the material world, changing body, transmigrating from one body to another, that is not absolute plane. That is the duality plane, dualism. When we go back to home, back to..., in the spiritual world, that is absolute.

Desmond O'Grady: When he goes back to his original.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Thank you very much. That is the position. That is absolute.

Desmond O'Grady: So you don't find it possible to achieve any absolute condition in our time?

Prabhupāda: No. In the material world it is not possible. This is the world of duality. Therefore so many different varieties of unity is suggested, but they are all failure. Just like when we were students in 1917, so there was League of Nation. And after that, again there was war. [chuckles]

Desmond O'Grady: [indistinct] analogy.

Prabhupāda: And then, now they have manufactured United Nation. But for the last twenty years or more than that, they are endeavoring to be united. But when I go New York, I see flags are increasing; no united, disunity. You see? And war is going on. Therefore, on this material platform this so-called unity is impossible. Unity is possible only on the spiritual platform.

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitaḥ sama-darśinaḥ

Desmond O'Grady: I'm not saying it's possible to achieve it. I'm not even thinking it's possible. I'm not even saying that I think it's desirable to achieve happiness in this life, in this world. Because I have a feeling, or an intuition, that...

Prabhupāda: No, there is possibility---when the consciousness is purified. That we are preaching = Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now, so long the consciousness is polluted, if I think that "I am Irishman," "I am Englishman," "I am Indian," "I am white," "I am black..."

Desmond O'Grady: Christian.

Prabhupāda: "I am Christian," "I am Hindu," they are all contaminated. There is no possibility of unity in the contact of this world.

Desmond O'Grady: That's very... I'll accept that.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: But supposing you think that you are neither an Irishman nor an Englishman or American, nor Christian, nor a Jew nor anything...

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is negation. Then you must say also what you are.

Desmond O'Grady: I am a mortal human being, a member of the animal kingdom.

Prabhupāda: No human being is immortal.

Desmond O'Grady: Mortal, mortal, mortal.

Prabhupāda: Mortal.

Desmond O'Grady: That which dies, rots and is forgotten.

Prabhupāda: That is some conception, mortality. Mortal? Mortality, it is not absolutism. So long you are mortal, you are not on the absolute platform, because you are actually immortal. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, na jāyate na mriyate va kadācin [Bg. 2.20]. [aside:] Find out. Na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit.

Desmond O'Grady: But is there anything wrong with accepting the fact that you are mortal, you die, you rot and you become nothing?

Prabhupāda: No. That is the polluted conception. Actually you are immortal; you do not die. That is your position. [aside:] Read this verse.


na jāyate mriyate va kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato 'yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

"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."

Prabhupāda: That is it. That is the position of the soul. So when there is mortality, that is not perfect stage. And when he attains the stage of again immortality... Because actually he is immortal.

Desmond O'Grady: Actuality is immortal.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Hmm, not bad. Because actuality has to do with effect.

Prabhupāda: Yes. The actuality is immortal. He never takes birth...

Desmond O'Grady: Never takes bath?

Yogeśvara: Birth.

Desmond O'Grady: Oh, never takes birth, true. But immortality, I mean, actuality, of course, has to do with the actuality of the situation that we have right now, with you sitting there and we, as friends, sitting with you and engaging in the gentle art of conversation.

Prabhupāda: Actually... Just like you are sitting in a different dress; I am sitting in a different dress. So the dress does not affect our actuality. We are human being. Similarly, the conception of body---"I am Irishman," "I am Englishman," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian"---these are different dresses. So one has to become free from these designations.

Desmond O'Grady: Accepted.

Prabhupāda: So when one is free from the designation, then he becomes purified.

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate

[Cc. Madhya 19.170]

So when we become purified, our senses are purified, and when the purified senses are engaged in the service of the master of the senses, that is perfect life. That is nonduality, absolute.

Bhagavān: That can be experienced in the present.

Prabhupāda: Yes, by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And practically, you are coming from different groups---Americans, Indians, Africans---but you don't think yourself as American or Indians or African.

Desmond O'Grady: But the system insists that you do.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Desmond O'Grady: But the system expects that you do.

Bhagavān: The world as it is, the society, the materialistic society, puts these bodily demands...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. The materialistic society means duality.

Desmond O'Grady: Materialistic society means duality. But that's unavoidable. It's unavoidable.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Because of your physical existence...

Prabhupāda: Unavoidable, yes...

Desmond O'Grady: ...and your personal spiritualism as well.

Prabhupāda: But it can be avoided in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Just like the leaf of lily. It is in the water but it does not touches the water.

Yogeśvara: Did you understand?

Desmond O'Grady: I didn't catch that last expression, no.

Bhagavān: Lily leaf.

Yogeśvara: To show how we can live in this world but still be transcendental.

Bhagavān: There's a lily leaf that sits on the water, and even though it sits on the water it doesn't get wet.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Bhagavān: Prabhupāda is explaining we can be in this world...

Desmond O'Grady: Yes. But I don't think you can explain situations in one realm, in one area, in the terminology of situations in another one, necessarily. Because if you like... If put this element and this element together, you get salt. Now, if human nature was the same with that element in that person and that element in that person, you should also get salt. So if you've got fifty million elements and fifty million elements, here you should get a mountain of salt.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: If you can try to understand this example.

Desmond O'Grady: Oh, I can understand.

Prabhupāda: What is that, salt? Salt example was... Explain.

Yogeśvara: What was your point?

Desmond O'Grady: I'm saying it's difficult to argue about one kind of situation in terms of another kind of situation when the nature of the problem or the nature of the result is different, you know.

Prabhupāda: No, the kinds or varieties may remain, but sometimes the varieties help. Just like if you bring varieties of flower in a vase, it becomes very beautiful, but they are all flowers. So you have to become flowers. So even in varieties there is unity of beauty.

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, I accept that, of course.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that is... [break]

Ātreya Ṛṣi: ...there's a great different between that and what we know today as Christians. They're designations. We are not talking...

Prabhupāda: That is another point. The thing is that Christ came to preach the message of God. So therefore, to become actually Christ conscious means God conscious.

Desmond O'Grady: God conscious, exactly. And to become God conscious means...

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa conscious.

Desmond O'Grady: To become self conscious.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: To be conscious of who you are yourself.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. God consciousness includes self consciousness. But self consciousness is not God consciousness. God consciousness includes self consciousness, but self consciousness is not God consciousness.

Desmond O'Grady: Well, it may be.

Prabhupāda: No.

Desmond O'Grady: You may achieve recognition of the God that's in yourself, of that aspect.

Prabhupāda: When you are God conscious...

Desmond O'Grady: Without being pantheistic, you mean?

Prabhupāda: Just like if you come in front of the sunlight, the sun consciousness is there, which includes your personal conscious. You also see. In the darkness you cannot see. At night you do not see even your hands and legs. But if you come in front of the sun, or light, then you see the sun and see yourself. So without the sunlight, without God consciousness, self consciousness is incomplete. But God consciousness makes self consciousness very clear.

Desmond O'Grady: Well, a lot of young people that we meet in our teaching profession, we don't try to teach them any kind of didactic salvation. But we do try to direct them towards an awareness of what is best and what is most beautiful in them and what is most spiritually nourishing in the worlds about them, in so far as the system allows us. And I speak of my friend Michael and we here. And the one condition or emotional state---because very frequently the students are not mature enough to be in a spiritual condition; they are in a emotional condition rather than a spiritual one---what we are faced with is the basic question of "Who am I?" "What is it all about?" "Why am I here?" "Why should I be here?" "Who are you, and who the hell are you to tell me what to think or what to read or what not to read? Why should I read Shakespeare? Or why should I read Saint Augustine? Or why should I listen to Mozart? I prefer Bob Dylan," and these kind of questions which seem to emanate from a very disillusioned state of mind, an insecurity, an uncertainty, and a lack of credibility in the total structure of things as they are. And so we're frequently faced with not just directly having to answer these questions, as I said, didactically answering them by saying in a catechismic sort of way = "Who am I?" "You are..." "What am I doing here?" "You are doing this here," which one can do, of course, also.

Prabhupāda: So...

Desmond O'Grady: And so, rather than present the kind of answers that one could present if one was trained in oneself originally... And one who is first of all trained, then one has to untrain oneself, and then one trains oneself from that experience basically. This is my way of seeing it. And then one tries to help others through this course with the same process. Do you think that we should tell them more directly, or... I mean, the basic question is how to handle the problem of modern education? That's the basic question.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Our Vedic process is... There are so many questions, as you have already explained. Somebody thinks, "Why I have come here? And what is the purpose? What you are?" So many questions. Questions should be answered by the perfect. Therefore the Vedic injunction is, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12] = "In order to take answers of all these questions one must approach the bona fide spiritual master."

Desmond O'Grady: One must...?

Prabhupāda: Approach the bona fide spiritual master.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Approach.

Desmond O'Grady: The bona fide spiritual master. If you have none, what do you do?

Prabhupāda: No, there is.

Desmond O'Grady: If you are told that Mr. Nixon is the bona fide spiritual master, what do you do?

Prabhupāda: No, we have got standard. The... Who is bona fide spiritual master? Just like... The one line, you have heard only one line, that bona fide spiritual master, "You must approach the bona fide spiritual master." But who is bona fide spiritual master? Then that next question. That is also answered, that bona fide spiritual master means tad-vijñānārtham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. This is the qualification of bona fide spiritual master. What is that? Śrotriyam. Śrotriyam means who has heard from the bona fide spiritual master. A bona fide spiritual master is he who has taken the message from bona fide spiritual master. This is the... Just like a medical man is he who has taken the knowledge of medical science from another medical man.

Desmond O'Grady: Just like Christ took this knowledge from the Holy Ghost.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And anyone. Yes. Similarly, bona fide spiritual master means who is in the line of successive spiritual master. The original spiritual master is God. So then one who has heard from God and he has explained the same message to his disciple, then the disciple is bona fide spiritual master---if he does not change. That is our process. We take lessons. We hear from Kṛṣṇa, who is the perfect, God. And that is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā = evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2].

Desmond O'Grady: But then, you see, my poor old father, living in the west of Ireland, a simple man, at his age, seventy now, your generation, he has gotten to the point at his age where he says, "Well, they tell me, the priests, they tell me ultimately it's God who knows. But I want to know who told God."

Prabhupāda: No.

Desmond O'Grady: And then he comes to me and asks me and says, "You went to school and you read big books. Tell me who told God." And so I have no answer.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the difference between God and me.

Desmond O'Grady: That's the difference between being seventy and thirty-nine.

Prabhupāda: No. There is no question of... That is explained in the..., that Bhāgavata, Brahma-sūtra, who is God, first of all. Who is God?

Desmond O'Grady: Who told God?

Prabhupāda: No, no. First of all, "Who is God?" Then we shall ask, "Who told God?" [chuckles] That God... That is the Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now we should enquire about God, what is God, who is God." Unless you know who is God, how can you raise the question, "Who instructed God?" If you do not know God, then the question does not arise, "Who instructed God?" Is it not? Yes. So therefore God is explained in the Brahma-sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1] = "God is He from everything comes, emanates." That is God. That God is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, janmādy asya yataḥ: "The Supreme Being from whom everything emanates." Now, what is that Supreme Being? What is the nature of the Supreme Being? It is a dead stone or a living being? That is also explained. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ sva-rāṭ. "That God is fully cognizant of everything, directly and indirectly." Unless He is fully cognizant of everything, directly and indirectly, He is not God. So then the same question comes, as you said, that "Who taught God?"

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, that's the man I want to meet.

Prabhupāda: That is answered, sva-rāṭ: "Independent." That is God.

Desmond O'Grady: Independ...?

Prabhupāda: Independent. He is fully independent. He does not require to take lessons from anyone. That is God. That is God. If anyone requires to take lesson from other, he is not God. Who does not require to take lesson from other, that is God.

Desmond O'Grady: Where does human love enter into it?

Prabhupāda: Everything is there. Because love is also coming from God. So we are, being part and parcel of God, there is part and parcel manifestation of love because the original love is there in God. Because nothing can exist. Nothing can exist if it is not in God.

Desmond O'Grady: Therefore we love.

Prabhupāda: The love is also there in God.

Desmond O'Grady: But God is not love?

Prabhupāda: God is love. God is everything.

Desmond O'Grady: Oh, yeah. Then love is God.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Desmond O'Grady: And manifestations of love are manifestations of God.

Prabhupāda: Ah... Because we are part and parcel... Just like son born of a particular father, he has got the symptoms. So because there is loving propensity in God, and we being part and parcel of God, therefore we have got this loving propensity. This is the conclusion. Unless the loving propensity is there in God, where we get it?

Desmond O'Grady: Maybe it's generated in you by the need...

Prabhupāda: No, there is no question of "maybe." It must be. Must be.

Desmond O'Grady: [laughs] Oh, very... Yes, I accept the strong word.

Prabhupāda: Yes. There is no question of... Because we have defined God, janmādy asya yataḥ. God is He wherefrom everything emanates. That is God. So love, love or even fight. The fighting propensity is also there in God. And loving propensity is also there in God. But His fighting propensity and loving propensity---absolute. Just like in the material world we have got experience, fighting propensity is just opposite the loving propensity. But in God, either fighting propensity or loving propensity, they are one and the same; therefore He is absolute. That is the meaning of absolute. Just like we get from śāstras: the so-called enemies of God who is killed by God, he also attains perfection.

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, the vengeful. Yes, that I understand, the avenging God of Biblical imagination as against... Is it possible to do it all alone? Is it possible to do it all on your own, alone?

Prabhupāda: No. Therefore the Vedas say, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Abhigacchet means "he must." It is not possible alone. This word, this abhigacchet, this verb, is used in Sanskrit grammar. This is called vidhiliṅ form of verb. So vidhiliṅ form of verb is used when there is a..., matter is a must. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyam. And that is the Vedic version. Therefore... You have read Bhagavad-gītā. You will find Arjuna was talking with Kṛṣṇa. Then, when the things were not solved, perplexed, Arjuna surrendered himself, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. [aside:] Find out this verse.

Nitāi: Text seven.

pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam

"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness."

Prabhupāda: Yes. That... Here is the question, "confused."

Desmond O'Grady: I am the first statement. "I am confused about my duty," that's what it is.

Prabhupāda: Then...

Nitāi: "...and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am..."

Desmond O'Grady: This duty, this duty, is this duty to the self or duty to others or duty to the state?

Prabhupāda: He is confused because he was a kṣatriya, soldier. A soldier's duty is to fight with the enemy. So Kṛṣṇa was advising him, "The opposite party is your enemy. You are a kṣatriya. Why you are trying to become nonviolent? This is not good." Therefore he says, "Actually I am now confused. So in confusion I cannot take the right conclusion. I therefore accept You as my spiritual master. You just give me the proper lesson." This is the point. So they were friends. Still, he was confused. So in chaotic condition, in confusion status of life, we must approach the person who is in full knowledge of the things. Just like you go to a lawyer, you go to a physician. Similarly, every one of us in the material world, we are confused. Therefore we must go to the spiritual master who can give us real knowledge.

Desmond O'Grady: Right. So therefore, for example, I am very confused.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Ātreya Ṛṣi: He is confused.

Desmond O'Grady: Very confused.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So you must approach a spiritual master.

Desmond O'Grady: And you make a decision, therefore, to try to sort this confusion, to make some...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Spiritual master means who solves all confusion. That is spiritual master. When one is confused, he goes to a spiritual master, and the spiritual master's duty is to save him from all confusion. That is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. If the spiritual master cannot save him from confusion, then he is not spiritual master. That is the test.

trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam
prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

This whole world is confusion, just like a blazing fire in the forest. When there is forest fire, all the animals become confused, "Where to go? How to save life?" It is very good example. When there is fire in the forest, all the animals become confused. Similarly, this material world is just like a blazing fire in the forest. Everyone is confused. Now, how the blazing fire in the forest can be extinguished? You cannot take there your man-made fire brigade. That is not possible. Neither bucketful of water. So in this confused state of the human society you cannot manufacture the solution. The only solution is that when there is rain from the cloud on the forest fire, then it is extinguished. That is not in your hand; that is mercy of God. So spiritual master means who has received the mercy of God, and he can deliver to the confused man. Then the solution is there. This is very good verse, saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya. One who has received mercy of God, he can become spiritual master. He can deliver the mercy of God.

Desmond O'Grady: A friend, for example. Yes.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: A real friend.

Desmond O'Grady: Well, if one says he's a friend, that's how he feels. A friend is a friend. There's no question of...

Ātreya Ṛṣi: True well-wisher.

Desmond O'Grady: There's no question of being half-real friend or unreal friend. A friend is a friend.

Prabhupāda: Yes, the best friend is the spiritual master, because he saves from the blazing fire of confusion. That is best friend.

Desmond O'Grady: The problem is to find this friend. The problem is to find this spiritual master.

Prabhupāda: No, there is no problem. The problem is if you are sincere. Yes. That is stated. Because actually you have got problems, but God is within your heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. God is not far away. God is within your heart. So if you are sincere, then God will give you spiritual master. If He knows that now you are sincere, then He will give you a spiritual master.

Desmond O'Grady: Okay. Thank you. That I know.

Prabhupāda: Therefore God is called caittya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. And the physical spiritual master is God's mercy. If God sees that you are sincere, He will give you a spiritual master who can give you protection. He will help you from within and without---without in the physical form of spiritual master, and within as the spiritual master within the heart. That is stated,

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmāyān sarva-bhūtāni
yantrārūḍhāni māyayā

All our questions are answered in the Bhagavad-gītā very nicely.


īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmāyān sarva-bhūtāni
yantrārūḍhāni māyayā

"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."

Prabhupāda: The body is just like a machine, and the spirit soul is sitting on this machine, and God is there within the heart. So He is giving the direction = "You wanted to do this. Now you go and do this." This is the... So if you are sincere, "Now, God, I want You," then He will give you directions, "You go and get it." This is the process. But if we wanted something else than God, then God will give you direction, "You go and take it." He is very kind. Īśvaraḥ sarva... I want to have something, and He is within my heart, and He is giving me, "Yes, you come here. You take this." So if that God can give direction to give you indication, "You go and take this," why not the spiritual master? First of all we must know. We must be eager to again revive our God consciousness. Then God will give us the spiritual master.

Desmond O'Grady: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya.

Desmond O'Grady: His Grace must be very tired.

Dhanañjaya: We can distribute some prasādam now?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Give them.

Bhagavān: Stay, we have some prasādam, something to eat.

Michael Robert: We have heard many profound things here this evening, Your Grace, Your Divine Grace, and I believe that this has been the most useful session, and that the poet O'Grady has asked some good questions too. I should like to invite yourself and your followers perhaps to the Overseas School of Rome next Tuesday, if you'd care to come. No doubt your followers who are recording the session so carefully will record the address and the time. Tuesday, at the Overseas School of Rome at 10:00 in the morning, if you'll care to come and met our students. They're invited to come.

Prabhupāda: Where it is?

Bhagavān: It's here in Rome.

Yogeśvara: It's a school in Rome.

Michael Robert: If you'd like to come. [indistinct comments about the school]

Yogeśvara: An American school here in Rome.

Prabhupāda: Oh. They want me to go there? Yes, I will go.

Desmond O'Grady: Just to pay a visit, meet the children.

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is my duty to enlighten people about God consciousness.

Michael Robert: God consciousness.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yogeśvara: Thank you very much.

Michael Robert: Thank you very much. Thank you all.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Please stay for one minute.

Prabhupāda: Please take prasāda. Stay one minute. So another, I give my request. You are a poet. You describe about God. You are expert in describing. So you just take this occupation, describing God. Then your life will be successful, and one who will hear you, his life will be successful. That is the injunction.

idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā

[sviṣṭasya] sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ

There are poets, there are scientists, there are religionists, philosophers, politician, so many other leaders of the society. Avicyuto 'rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpitaḥ. To those who are expert, they are given this decision that the duty of all these men, avicyutaḥ arthaḥ, when there is perfection of their occupational duty will be completely done when they are engaged, yad-uttamaśloka-guṇānuvarṇanam: when they are engaged in describing the glories of the Supreme Being.

Desmond O'Grady: Well, in my experience, the process seems to be..., it seems to be that while you begin... First of all, you, for some extraordinary reason, are chosen to do this.

Prabhupāda: And that choosing is given. This is this verse, avicyutaḥ arthaḥ: "Infallible choice is this, that let them describe the glories of the Lord." This is infallible.

Desmond O'Grady: This one.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Not his brother, not his sister, but this one.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Everyone is important.

Desmond O'Grady: But I'm talking about the process of ultimately doing it.

Prabhupāda: No, no, just... When we speak of God, that includes all brothers, all sisters.

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, but you said...

Prabhupāda: All of them. Not this brother, that brother. All brothers, all sisters.

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, but what I was saying...

Prabhupāda: The God means complete.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: You're saying that the spiritual master is chosen?

Desmond O'Grady: I'm saying... Yes, a spiritual master, the priest, the poet is chosen by, let's say, God; that is, this person is chosen to write poems or to paint pictures or to make music, compose music.

Prabhupāda: No, whatever you do..., music also, you can compose...

Desmond O'Grady: That's it... Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Desmond O'Grady: Okay, I understand this. But whatever you do, that's it. It's the same thing. End of conversation.

Prabhupāda: Not same thing. When you describe... Music, when you compose music about God, that is your perfection.

Desmond O'Grady: Absolutely. That is your purpose of life. And when you work in the land, that is your purpose. Yes, that's understandable. [indistinct]

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Śrīla Prabhupāda is saying that when you're working in the land...

Desmond O'Grady: That's what you're supposed to be doing.

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Yes. But when you give the results of that for God, that's the perfection of your work.

Desmond O'Grady: I know that. I'm aware about that. And when you come in from working on the land and you are eating your dinner, you must do it with the same involvement as you worked the land with, if that is your purpose of...[indistinct].

Yogeśvara: You could say, with the same consciousness.

Desmond O'Grady: Yes, with the same consciousness, with the same dedication, with the same...

Yogeśvara: Devotion.

Desmond O'Grady: ...devotion. Absolutely. And when there's supposed to be singing, the same way; enjoying yourself the same way; and when you're relaxing, you've got to do it with the same devotion, absolutely. No question about it. Otherwise you're being irresponsible. [pause]

Michael Robert: We should go now. We should give this man some peace [indistinct]. It's very kind to see you, the students on Tuesday. You're not offended I hope, by other teachers, other attitudes[?].

Desmond O'Grady: Thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much for your coming.

Michael Robert: We'll see you on Tuesday, hopefully. Goodbye. [guests take leave]

Prabhupāda: Alright. Jaya. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]