Lecture at St. Pascal's Franciscan Seminary , Melbourne , 1974-06-28

Father Greene: ...there is more to life than what we see and touch and hear, that there is a need for salvation, redemption, in one form or another. And that both these ideas, that we do not live on bread alone and that we need salvation, lead us to agree that there is something beyond this life which we can call at least in general, to use a technical word, the Transcendence. I think within this context we can talk and discuss and agree at least to some extent. I would now like to ask one of the Australian members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to introduce their leader to us in a more personal manner.

Madhudviṣa: [aside] Umāpati. Umāpati. Umāpati.

Umāpati: We would like to introduce His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who is the founder of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement and who has mercifully come and delivered us with the blazing torchlight of transcendental knowledge to deliver us from this disease of material existence. I think he is going to lecture from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Thank you very much. [applause]

Prabhupāda: [chants maṅgalācaraṇa prayers]

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ
dadāti sva-padāntikam
vande 'haṁ śrī-guroḥ śrī-yuta-pada-kamalaṁ śrī-gurūn vaiṣṇavāṁś ca
śrī-rūpaṁ sāgrajātaṁ saha-gaṇa-raghunāthānvitaṁ taṁ sa-jīvam
sādvaitaṁ sāvadhūtaṁ parijana-sahitaṁ kṛṣṇa-caitanya-devaṁ
śrī-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pādān saha-gaṇa-lalitā-śrī-viśākhānvitāṁś ca
he kṛṣṇa karuṇā-sindho
dīna-bandho jagat-pate
gopeśa gopikā-kānta
rādhā-kānta namo 'stu te
rādhe vṛndāvaneśvari
vṛṣabhānu-sute devi
praṇamāmi hari-priye
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare


Father Greene and all other Fathers and Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly participating in this movement. So I will try to explain some of the verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is considered to be the essence of Vedic literature. Vedic literature means the four Vedas = Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg, Atharva, then Upaniṣad, 108 Upaniṣads, then eighteen Purāṇas, Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata. It is an immense treasure house of literature. So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is one of the eighteen Purāṇas, and in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are eighteen thousand verses. So I am just trying to explain one or two verses.

Father Greene hinted the common platform of religion. Common platform is not very difficult to understand, because religion means to know God and abide by the orders of God. That is religion. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that dharmaṁ tu sākṣāt bhagavat-praṇītam. The... Religious system cannot be manufactured by man. No. Man-made religion is not religion. Religion means God-made religion. That is religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣāt. Just like law. Law means the orders enunciated by the government. You cannot manufacture law at home. That is not law. Similarly, religion means the orders given by God. This is simple definition of religion.

So we must know God, and we must know what is His order, and we should abide by the orders. Then that is religion. So you take any type of religion, these three things are there = that we must try to know God, and what does He desires, and to fulfill it. Therefore in the Bhāgavatam it is said,

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati

It is said here that that is first-class religious system. It does not say Hinduism, Muslimism or Christianism. General definition = "That is first-class religion..." Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo. Why it is said, para? Para means the supreme. Not ordinary thing; supreme. "The supreme religious system is that which teaches the follower how to love God." That is supreme. It does not matter you learn to love God through Christianism or Hinduism or Muslimism, any "ism," but the result should be how much you have advanced in the art of loving God. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. Bhakti, this word, Sanskrit word, is used, "devotion," bhakti. To render service to God, that is bhakti. We are rendering service to so many things. That is not bhakti. Bhakti means to render service to God. And adhokṣaje.

There are many terminology of understanding God, but here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, God is mentioned as adhokṣaja. Adhokṣaja means beyond your sense perception. The another word is used, avāṅ mānasa-gocaraḥ, "beyond the expression of your mind, words." Avāṅ mānasa-gocaraḥ. And another meaning, literal meaning, adha = adha means subdued. Adhakṛta akṣaja-jñānam. Akṣa. Akṣa means eyes, or... In Sanskrit there are letters beginning from a, ā, i and, at last, kṣa. So beginning from a to kṣa, a-kṣa, means we understand by combination of words. So you can combine so many words, but still, it is beyond that expression. That is called adhokṣaja. So God is realized... Not by vocabulary we can understand what is the nature of God, or, in one word, that God is beyond our this material sense perception.

It is said in the Vedic literature that ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi. Kṛṣṇa is the name of God. So it is said that Kṛṣṇa's name, Kṛṣṇa's form, Kṛṣṇa's attributes, Kṛṣṇa's activities... Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi begins from the name. So ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.136]. Indriya means senses. We cannot understand what is Kṛṣṇa, or God---His name, His form, His attributes, His pastimes... We cannot understand by these blunt material senses. Then how it is to be understood? After all, this human life is meant for understanding God. That is the only business of human life. The nature, material nature, gives us this opportunity to have this human form of life. The facility of this life, of this form of life, is given to us just to understand God. Other forms of life---cats and dogs, trees and so many other things; there are 8,400,000 forms of life---so in other forms of life it is not possible to understand what is God. If we call all the dogs of your country, "Come here. We shall talk about God," no, there is no possibility of understanding. But in the human form of life there is possibility. It doesn't matter whether it is in India or America or Australia. Any human being, if he tries and if he reads the scriptures---never mind, Bible, Bhagavad-gītā, Bhāgavata---then he will understand God.

Therefore this life, human form of life, is only meant for understanding God. If we divert our attention to any other business, that means we are spoiling our energy. Because what are the activities? That... Everyone is active for eating, sleeping, having sexual intercourse and defending. So these things are present even cats and dogs. They also eat, they also sleep, they also have propensity for sex intercourse and they also defend, in their own way. So if human life is also spoiled only on these activities, then you are missing the chance. Human activities should be to understand God, or the Absolute Truth. That is the philosophy of Vedānta philosophy. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Vedānta. Veda means knowledge, and anta means ultimate.

So we are acquiring knowledges in so many departmental, but the ultimate knowledge is to know God. Therefore Vedānta says that "Now, this life, atha, atha..." Atha ataḥ brahma-jijñāsā. Just like the birds. In the morning, they also talk, "Where we shall go this morning to get some fruits and some eatables?" So these questions they do, and there is some talking, "ki-chi mi-chi." So not that kind of question. The question, "What is God? What I am? What is my relationship with God? What is the ultimate goal of life?" these questions and answers should be in the human society. Unless these questions arises---"What is God? What is this material nature? Who has created it? How it is created? How it is going on?" so many things... The main principle is, naturally, if we are philosophical minded, we inquire that "How this world is created? Who has created?" And there are many different ways of answering. But the Vedānta-sūtra answers that the..., whatever we are seeing, all this cosmic manifestation, the creator is God, Brahman. Athāto brahma jijñāsā, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1].

So God, or the Supreme Truth, Absolute Truth, is that from whom everything has come. So that is the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Janmādy asya yataḥ, "Absolute Truth is that from whom everything has come into existence." Now, what is the nature of the Absolute Truth? "Everything" means... There are two things = matter and spirit. Two things. Just like... [break] ...parcel of God. At the present moment we are covered by two kinds of dresses---the subtle dress = mind, intelligence and ego; and the gross covering. Subtle means we know there is this thing, but we cannot see it. Just like you know I have got mind; I know you have got mind, but I don't see your mind, you don't see my mind. I know you have got intelligence, you know I have got intelligence, but we don't see what is that intelligence. Similarly, identification. I am this consciousness, that also you have got consciousness, I have got consciousness, but we don't see. So things which are not visible to these material eyes, that is called subtle. And spirit soul is still subtler. So human life is meant for understanding that spirit soul as the Supreme Soul.

So the common platform is, therefore, if we try to understand the Supreme Soul, and we turn our loving propensities to that Supreme Soul, that is called religion. Religion is not kind of... In the dictionary it is said, "Religion is a kind of faith." No. It is a permanent, I mean to say, arrangement. It is not the faith. Faith we can change. Today I am Hindu; I can become Christian tomorrow. You are Christian; you can change your faith tomorrow. So religion... In Sanskrit word religion does not mean faith. Religion means the original characteristic. That is called religion. So original characteristic means that cannot be changed. That quality, that characteristic, is always with us.

So Vedic version is that the living entity is eternal servant of God. When he forgets this relationship, that he is eternal servant of God, that means his material existence. In the material existence, nobody is prepared to become servant. Everyone is prepared to become the master. That is struggle for existence. Everyone is trying to become master. Even in the cats' and dogs' society you will find one dog is trying to predominate by barking, that "I am better than you." So this is called struggle for existence. Everyone, individual to individual, nation to nation, society to society, religion to religion, so-called religion---everyone is trying to become the master. Nobody is trying to become the servant. But real position is we living entities, we are eternal servant of God. As soon as we forget this formula, we are in the material existence. And as soon as we revive this our original consciousness, that is called spiritual platform. Therefore we are propagating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness, to come to the point to understand that we are eternal servant of God.

So here it is enunciated that "That is first-class religious system which teaches the followers how to become again servant of God." That is first-class religion. So how to become servant of... If one agrees... The Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the last instruction is... Many types of instructions are there = karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, bhakti-yoga. But Kṛṣṇa is ultimately instructing Arjuna that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66] = "Your only business is to surrender unto Me, because you are My eternal servant. You rebelled to serve Me. You wanted to live independently in this material world, to become the master, artificially trying to become master. You give up this propensity. You surrender unto Me. Then you will be happy." And Kṛṣṇa assures that ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: "And on your surrender, I will excuse you from all reaction of sinful life."

Why He has said "sinful life"? Because in the material world every activity is sinful, because the main principle is how to become master. Therefore to become master everyone is prepared to do anything, never mind whether sinful or pious. Another meaning is that if we do anything against the order of God, that is sinful. Just like in Bible also there are so many commandments that "You shall not do this," because they are sinful. A sinful man cannot approach God. That is the verdict of Vedic literature.

yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ

One who is completely free from the reaction of sinful life, he can completely devote in the service of the Lord.

So the common platform is there. God is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. God is God. God is one. But according to time and climate, condition, the method of approaching God may be different, but the ultimate end is how to love God or how to serve God. One cannot serve anybody without love. In the material world one serves another for matter of money exchange, reward. But serving God is not that. Here it is stated, ahaituky apratihatā. Service of God is without motive. Here in the material world we serve somebody with a motive, for some material gain. But in the spiritual world, to serve God means "It is my duty. I love him. I want to serve Him."

Just like mother loves child. It is not like the maidservant who is paid. Mother loves spontaneously child, as duty. He [she] loves to serve the child. Similarly, when our love of God will be spontaneous, without any motive, and without being impeded... Love of God cannot be checked by any material condition. It is not that because a man is poor, therefore he cannot love God. No. If a man is very rich, therefore he cannot love. No. Ahaituky apratihatā. Whatever you may be, you can learn how to love God without any impediment. And if we come to that stage of life---here it is said, yayātmā suprasīdati---then you will be fully satisfied and pleased. If you are engaged in the service of the Lord without any motive and without being impeded, spontaneously loving, then you will feel complete satisfaction. Svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varaṁ na yāce [Cc. Madhya 22.42].

There are many instances of devotee. One Dhruva Mahārāja, he was five-years-old boy. So there was some family dissension. He was insulted by his stepmother. So he wanted to retaliate, five-years-old boy. So he inquired from his mother, "How can I do it?" The mother advised that "You take shelter of God. He can help you." So a five-years-old boy, he went to the forest and meditated for six months, and when he saw God, then he said, "My Lord, I am now fully satisfied. I don't want any benediction from You." Svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varaṁ na yāce. That is the real, I mean, realization of God. God realization means there is no more want. No more want. All demands, all want, is finished. Therefore it is said, yayātmā samprasīdati. Because we want something, there is demand. So long there is demand, we will never be satisfied. When there is no demand, fully satisfied, that is God realization. Yenātmā samprasīdati.

So the common platform is there. At the present moment people are suffering. Not at the present moment---always. Anyone who is in this material world, he is full of anxieties, because material wants cannot be satisfied at any time. It will simply increase. So unless one comes to God consciousness understanding, there is no possibility of satisfying. Yenātmā samprasīdati. Prasīdati means fully satisfied, no more want. There are many places. Yasmin sthite guruṇāpi duḥkhena na vicālyate [Bg. 6.22] = "If you are situated in that position, then the most dangerous type of unhappiness cannot agitate you." If you are fixed up in God consciousness, then nothing of these material disturbances can agitate you. Yasmin sthite guruṇāpi duḥkhena.

So people should try to attain that perfect transcendental position so that he is fully satisfied, no more want. So that is called bhakti-yoga, and we are teaching and propagating this bhakti-yoga. People are disturbed in so many ways in this age of Kali. To give them real satisfaction of life is to awaken them to the platform of God consciousness. So the simple method is chanting the holy name of God. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa means addressing the energy of God, Harā. God is with His energy. Just like fire is with its energy, heat and light, similarly, God has got energies, many energies. The principal energies are the spiritual energy and the material energy. So we are under the material energy at the present moment. So we have to transfer ourself to the spiritual energy, because we are spirit soul. Just like you take the fish on the land. Because land is not the place for the fish, however you try to make him comfortable, he will never be comfortable. You throw him in the water---he is comfortable. Similarly, we are spirit. We are now encaged within this material body. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā [Bg. 2.13]. So our business should be how to get out of this material energy and put ourself under the spiritual energy. Then our life will be fully satisfied.

So in this human life, this is a prerogative, how to get out of this material energy and put again into the spiritual energy. So this process is described = sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. To put ourself again into the spiritual energy means we have to get free from the designation. What are the designation? "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am this," "I am that"---these are all designation. And to become free from designation means "I do not belong to any of these categories. I am eternal servant of God." If you come to that position, then that is the common platform. Let everyone perceive that he is eternal servant of God. Then all the problems will be solved.

So this is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and we are chanting the holy name of God, and we are recommending others also to chant the holy name of God. God must be..., must have some name. In the Bible also it is said... What is that? "Hallowed be thy name"?

Satsvarūpa: "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."

Prabhupāda: Yes. So there is name. God's name is there. God's name is Christ or Kristo or Kṛṣṇa. So we can chant combinedly. Where is the difficulty? So those who are professing Christianity, never mind. You have got the name of God. Otherwise, why Jesus recommends that "You glorify the name of God"? That is chanting. So let us combinedly glorify the name of God. This is common platform.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [applause] [break]

Madhudviṣa: I know you may be anxious to ask questions of His Divine Grace. So if there is any questions, you may raise your hand and then we can ask questions now, if you like. [long pause] No questions? This means that everyone agrees. [laughter]

Prabhupāda: Full agreement. That's nice.

Guest (1): Your devotees say that you aim to get beyond the disease of material existence. I didn't quite pick up what your process was for doing this, and could you tell me what the end result is once you do get beyond this disease.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Madhudviṣa: In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the process is to get beyond the disease of material existence. The first part of his question, "How to do this?" The second part of this question, "What is the end result after taking to the process?"

Prabhupāda: The process is to transfer yourself from material energy to spiritual energy. We are under energy. The God has got two energies---material energy and spiritual energy. We are also energy. We are marginal energy. So marginal energy means we can remain under the material energy or on the spiritual energy, as we make our choice. Marginal... Just like on the beach you find sometimes on the border of the water, the water is covering the land, and sometimes the land is open. This is called marginal position. Similarly, we are marginal energy of God, living entities. So we can remain under the water, means material energy, or we can remain open also, in spiritual energy. So this process of, I mean to say, converting the material energy to spiritual energy is called bhakti-yoga. Just like this microphone. When it is used for some material purpose... Just like I am speaking. But sometimes the politicians or other parties or so many things---this microphone can be utilized for so many purposes, and it can be utilized also God's purposes. I am speaking through this microphone about the message of God. So when it is utilized for God's purposes it is spiritual. And when it is utilized for our material purposes of sense gratification, this is material. Just like electricity. Electricity is one energy. It can be utilized for heating purpose and cooling purpose. Similarly, God's energy is one, but when it is utilized for sense gratification, that is called material energy, and when it is used for service of God, then it is called spiritual energy.

So to transfer ourself from material energy to spiritual energy is to begin service of God. Anything engaged in the service of God, that is spiritual. This is a hall. It can be utilized for selling wine and it can be utilized for speaking about God. So the place is the same, but when it is utilized for God's purpose, then it is spiritual, and it is utilized for my sense gratification, that is material. That requires little guidance. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam [Īśo mantra 1]. Everything belongs to God, but it becomes material and spiritual according to the purpose it is being utilized. So if you convert your life, everything for God---speaking for God, eating for God, sleeping for God, mating for God---then it is spiritualized. We have got four kinds of engagements = eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Defending for God also. So actually, everything belongs to God. Now we have to learn it, how to utilize it for God. That is our philosophy.

prāpañcikatayā buddhyā
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgaḥ
phalgu vairāgyaḥ kathyate

[Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.256]

To renounce this world is not very big thing, because the world also created by God. So instead of renouncing, if we utilize this God-created material world for God's service, then it is spiritual. Because originally it belongs to God. Originally it is spiritual. Therefore in the higher sense there is nothing material. Everything is spiritual because everything is coming, emanating from the Supreme Spirit.

So we have to learn the art how to utilize everything for God. Then it is spiritual. That requires little brain how to utilize everything for God. Just like we are. We are also living in the house. Without a house, where can you live? We are also human being. We cannot lie down on the street. We have got some house, some protection. We are also eating, we are also sleeping, and we are also mating, and we are also defending. But it is in a different way. These boys and girls, they are..., some of them are married, so they are also begetting children, and that means mating. But you see in our temple, even small child, he is offering obeisances, he is offering a flower, he is also chanting, he is also dancing. So to make sex for begetting such children, it is also God. But if we beget children like cats and dogs, then it is material, because there is no God consciousness.

So everything can be turned. Hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ: without any attachment. Just like these boys, they are collecting money, but not a single farthing they are spending for themselves. Not a single farthing. Everything collected is being utilized for God's book publication, for propaganda, for distribution. They are not earning less. We collect some day one thousand dollar, and we are collecting all over the world about thirty thousand dollar. Yes. But not a single paisa for personal use. Everything is utilized for propagating God consciousness. So in this way everything can be utilized. After all, it is God's property. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam [Īśo mantra 1]. Sarvam, whatever you see, that property belongs to God. We are falsely claiming, "It is my property." And that is māyā, illusion. Just like some portion of land, I am saying, "That is India," you are saying, "This is Australia," another saying, "It is England." But it is neither England nor Australia; it is all property of God. We have created man-made designation. So we have to give up this idea. The United Nation is there for the last twenty or thirty years---before that, there was League of Nation---to unite. But how unity? "This portion is, sir, mine. This portion is mine." Why do they not agree that every part of this universe or this planet belongs to God? What is the difficulty? Actually it belongs to God. But they will not agree. They will fight, 'No, it is mine."

So these things have to be changed; then there will be God consciousness, and everything will be happy. To accept the real fact, so many big, big brains, politician, but they have no sense to understand that the whole earthly planet belongs to God. It is created by God. It is the property of God. Everything, what is there in this earthly planet, that belongs to God. We are sons of God. Let us enjoy God's property. The son has got right to use. But I should not encroach upon your property or my property, but everything belongs to... Just like in a family, everything belongs to the father, and the children, whatever father gives, you eat and live peacefully. Similarly, there is immense prospect for produce food for the whole human race on this globe, earthly planet. But because somebody is encroaching God's property---"This is mine, sir. You cannot come here"---there is trouble. Otherwise... Just like your Australia. So much land, but you won't allow anybody to come. It is yours. Africa = so much land vacant, and "No, you cannot come. It is mine." And nobody is thinking that "It is God's, and we are children of God. Let us produce." If we actually utilize the whole land of this earthly planet, we can produce ten times the necessity of the whole population. Where is the question of scarcity?

But that understanding we haven't got. So unless you come to that, God consciousness, everything belongs to God... Just the Communists, they are thinking that everything belongs to the state. But why don't you think everything belongs to God? Then the whole solution is there. But that they will not do. So therefore there is great necessity to propagate God consciousness to the people. It doesn't matter what religion is there. Religion is neither Christian religion... Religion is one, I have already explained. That is God consciousness, to abide by the orders of God. That is religion.

Madhudviṣa: Any other questions? Yes?

Guest (2): Your Divine Grace, when someone has very little amount of God consciousness, he is a poor servant of God and doesn't love Him very much, do you see God as loving him still, and, say, wanting him to come to consciousness in helping him?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?

Madhudviṣa: Even though a person is a very weak servant of God, does God still love him and help him to come...?

Prabhupāda: Yes. God loves you so much that He sends His son to convince you, "Please come to Me." God Himself comes, Kṛṣṇa = "Please come to Me." And what we are doing, servant of God? We are requesting only, "Please be God conscious." So God's propaganda is going on in so many ways to recall all these, I mean to say, bewildered sons of God, those who have forgotten. Naturally... Just like the father = he loves the son more than the son loves the father. Because as father, if one son has gone out of home, madness, he wants to live independently of the father, so he may think like that, crazy. But father, he says that "This rascal has gone. Some way or other, bring him. Let him live peacefully here. I have got immense property. Why he goes outside to live independently?" So that is his mistake, the son's mistake. The father is always anxious to get the son back to home, back to Godhead.

Madhudviṣa: Yes?

Guest (3): How would His Grace see Jesus Christ?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Madhudviṣa: What is our view of Lord Jesus Christ?

Prabhupāda: Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, is... He is son of God, the best son of God, so we have all respect for him. Yes. Anyone who is teaching people about God consciousness, he is respectful to us. It does not matter in which country, in which atmosphere, he was preaching. It doesn't matter.

Madhudviṣa: Yes, sir?

Guest (4): St. Francis of Assisi founded our [indistinct] theory [indistinct], utilizing material for God, and St. Francis used to talk about "brother dog" and "sister cat" and "sister water" and "brother wind." What does His Grace think of St. Francis's aproach and theory?

Madhudviṣa: [repeating question] St. Francis, the founder of this particular order which we have been invited to speak to, found God in the material world. And he used to address the aspects of the material world as "brother" and "sister." "Brother tree," "sister water," like that. What is your view upon this?

Prabhupāda: This is real God consciousness. This is real God consciousness, yes, not that "I am God conscious, and I kill the animals." That is not God conscious. To accept the trees, plants, lower animals, insignificant ants even, as brother... Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu [Bg. 18.54]. Samaḥ. Samaḥ means equal to all living entities, to see the spirit soul, anyone... It doesn't matter whether he is man or cat or dog or tree or ant or insect or big man. They are all parts and parcel of God. They are simply dressed differently. One has got the dress of tree; one has got the dress of king; one has got the..., insect. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18] = "One who is paṇḍita, learned, his vision is equal." So if St. Francis was thinking like that, that is highest standard of spiritual understanding.

Similar expression is there in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, that sthāvara-jaṅgama dekhe nā dekhe tāra mūrti [Cc. Madhya 8.274]. A spiritually advanced devotee of the Lord, he sees the trees or the animals or the stone or the---anything he sees---he sees that it is the energy of God. Nā dekhe tāra mūrti. Just like your mūrti or my mūrti---mūrti means form---may be little different, but we are made of the same ingredient. If your body is surgically operated, the same blood, stone..., or bone or flesh, everything is there the same because same ingredients. Similarly, our outward covering is covered by these material elements, but inside, within this, there is the spirit soul. Therefore one who is advanced, he does not see that "This is cat, this is dog, this is man, this is elephant, and this is brāhmaṇa, this is this..." No. He sees the soul, that "Here is the soul, part and parcel of God." That is his vision. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. So that is God realization. God is spirit, Supreme Spirit, and he is part and parcel, the living entities. That is real vision. Paṇḍitāḥ. Paṇḍitāḥ means learned.

Madhudviṣa: Yes?

Guest (5): The most obvious sign that we see of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is your chanting and reciting of the mantra. Are there other valid forms of reaching God consciousness?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are lacking in God consciousness on account of being impure. So by chanting, glorifying the Lord's name, you will be purified. The example is, just like you put one iron rod in the fire. It become warm, warmer, at last red hot. When it is red hot, it is no longer iron rod; it is fire, by association with the fire. Similarly, if you remain always, constantly, in association with God, then you become godly, and you become purified. Then your vision will be clear. So God and God's name, the same, because God is Absolute. If you chant, glorify God's name, that means you associate with God directly. And if we... Associate with God means you gradually become godly. This is the meaning of chanting the holy name of God.

Madhudviṣa: Yes?

Guest (6): Your Grace, all of us who are attached to a transcendental religion, I think we face a common problem, and I would like to hear you say how you see the answer to the problem = the problem of evil. If I put it in these terms, that all energy, all reality, is from God, the spiritual and the material. And material is good when we use it towards God consciousness, use it properly. But the thing that makes a difference is ourselves, the way we consciously use things differently. And the trouble is that in this consciousness, this is how we come closest to God, our consciousness in itself. Now, some people would say that the source of evil is individual consciousness, our consciousness as persons. Others would have other ways of answering. I was wondering how you yourself would say.

Prabhupāda: Individual consciousness and the supreme consciousness, God and we. We are all also the same principle. God is also living being, we are also living being, but He is the supreme living being. That is stated in the Vedas. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. Nitya means eternal. God is eternal; we are also eternal. But because we have fallen down in this material existence, we have forgotten our eternity; we are changing body. We are thinking, "I am this body." This is our misgivings. But God does not fall down. He is eternal. We are also eternal, but because we are very small fragment, sometimes we fall down. Therefore God's another name is Acyuta---"Never falls down." We cyuta, we fall down sometimes. When we fall down, then God comes to save us.

So this is the difference between God and us, that we are also eternal and God is also eternal. We are also cognizant; God is also cognizant. In this way, qualitatively, you will find God and we are the same. But quantitatively we are different. So far consciousness is concerned, I am conscious about my bodily pains and pleasures; you are conscious about your bodily pains and pleasures. You are not conscious of my bodily pains and pleasure; I am not conscious of your bodily pains. But God is conscious of your consciousness and my consciousness and everything. That is the difference between God and you and me. He knows what is pains and pleasure within you, He knows what is pains and pleasure within me or any living entity. He knows everything. Therefore He is all-cognizant, all-powerful, almighty. He knows everything. That is explained in the... Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ [SB 1.1.1]. He is cognizant of everything. He knows everything. In the Bhagavad-gītā also He says that "I know past, present, future everywhere." So consciousness is there. One is the supreme consciousness, and the other is this limited consciousness. So far we are concerned, our consciousness is limited, and so far God is concerned, His consciousness is unlimited. But we are both conscious. So far consciousness is concerned, the quality is one. But one... Just like a drop of seawater, Pacific Ocean. The taste is the same, salty, but a drop of water is very insignificant... [break]

Madhudviṣa: He wants to know... Kṛṣṇa says that once you are in the spiritual world you are full of bliss. Why would someone choose to come to this material world, which lends facility for...?

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained. A rich man's son, he thinks that he will be happy independently. His father has got everything, but he goes out of home and chooses to live independently. That is a craziness. Similarly, when you come to this material world, giving up the protection of God, that is our craziness. So a crazy man must suffer. Therefore we are suffering. That's all. Yes. But you have the right to become a crazy. [laughter]

All right. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]