Room Conversation with Reverend Gordon Powell , Melbourne , 1974-06-28
Reverend Powell: Your people have a serenity that many Western people don't have. What..., what is the secret of serenity? And is it... I gather you reject many material demands, materialism as such.
Prabhupāda: Surrender is not material.
Satsvarūpa: To what do you attribute this serenity that your devotees have, their calmness?
Satsvarūpa: The devotees seem to be calm, serene. Where does that come from?
Prabhupāda: From Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Yes.
Reverend Powell: From what?
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness, when one...
Reverend Powell: Ah, the consciousness, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā. These are the proofs. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ [SB 5.18.12]. If one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, then he becomes qualified with all godly attributes. That I have explained, that if you be in touch with God, then you become godly. That is the test. Simply by saying that "I am in commune with God," no. There is test. The test means if he is always in touch with God, he'll become, in his characteristics, godly. So they... One of the qualification is serenity. Is one of the qualifications. There are twenty-five qualifications of a devotee.
Reverend Powell: Twenty-five?
Reverend Powell: What are some of the others?
Prabhupāda: [aside:] Have you got the list?
Satsvarūpa: Friendly... Uh, it's in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Right here, Teachings of...
Reverend Powell: And you, obviously, would have ways, methods of becoming God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious. What...? Sort of a meditation? Chanting?
Prabhupāda: No, it is practical. What is it?
Satsvarūpa: [reading] It says, "There are many such qualities. Lord Caitanya described some of them. A devotee of the Lord is always kind to everyone. He does not..."
Prabhupāda: First qualification. He is very kind to everyone. Yes. Then?
Satsvarūpa: "He does not pick a quarrel with anyone. He takes the essence of life, spiritual life. He is equal to everyone. No one can find fault in a devotee. His magnanimous mind is always fresh and clean, without material obsessions. He is a benefactor to all living entities. He is peaceful. He is always surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. He has no material desire. He is very humble. He is fixed in his direction. He is victorious over the six material qualities, such as lust and anger. He does not eat more than what he needs. He is always sane. He is respectful to others, but for himself he does not require any respect. He is grave. He is merciful. He is friendly. He is a poet. He is an expert. And he is silent."
Reverend Powell: Well, they're all very good, aren't they? [laughs] And so in reading about Lord Kṛṣṇa, I take it that He performed many miracles of healing. I'm very interested in spiritual healing because in my ministry here in Australia. I've been twenty-nine years in the Harley Streets, the streets of doctors. I'm now in Collins Street. I was in McQuarrie Street in Sydney. And in Sydney I had forty-one medical men on..., and women, mainly men, on my role of members, and we work very closely. This very day I've been working closely with a doctor with a certain patient who's having what is called a nervous breakdown. And we, over the years, have spent a lot of time with spiritual healing. Now, do you yourself practice spiritual healing?
Prabhupāda: Hmm, no. Practically we have very little suffering from disease. The devotees... We are spending so much money, but we don't spend for doctors' bill. You see?
Reverend Powell: Well, normal doctors. But now, we explain to our patients that the doctor normally works at the physical level, and the psychiatrist works at the emotional, mental level, but the church works with the spiritual level. And just as Jesus...
Prabhupāda: Spiritual level means to cure his material disease.
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: The material disease is birth, death, old age and disease.
Reverend Powell: I'm sorry, I don't quite follow that.
Satsvarūpa: He said the real disease is the material condition, in which we have to suffer birth, death, disease and old age.
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So these things can be overcome by Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Reverend Powell: Umm... Yes, I see. On the point of..., in reading this very interesting magazine, and this...
Prabhupāda: [aside:] You find out this verse of Bhagavad-gītā.
Reverend Powell: There was a reference to something you said about plants having a feeling. Some years ago I carried out an experiment at the request of one of our magazines in praying for plants and seeds growing and so on, and there seemed to be a relationship between these prayers for the plants and the opposite, in a negative way, against the plants. And I didn't have an opportunity to carry it out too far, much, but in two experiments, there was apparently a clear indication that the plants responded to prayer. And the peas and with beans in particular, there was a significant, a very significant increase in the plants that were prayed for...
Prabhupāda: Hmm. [aside:] Find out, jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya.
mām āśritya yatanti ye
te brahma tad viduḥ kṛtsnam
adhyātmaṁ karma cākhilam
Translation = "Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental and fruitive activities."
Reverend Powell: What does devotional service mean in that context?
Satsvarūpa: Purport = "Birth, death, old age and diseases affect this material body, but not the spiritual body. There is no birth, death, old age and disease for the spiritual body, so one who attains a spiritual body, becomes one of the associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engages in eternal devotional service is really liberated. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: I am spirit. It is said that one should understand that he is Brahman, spirit soul. This Brahman conception of life is also in devotional service, as described in this verse. The pure devotees are transcendentally situated on the Brahman platform, and they know everything about transcendental and material activities."
Reverend Powell: "Transcendental" means spiritual, does it?
Reverend Powell: As opposed to material. And...
Prabhupāda: So they are always engaged in transcendental devotional service.
Reverend Powell: Always.
Prabhupāda: Always. Then they'll be free from birth, death, old age and disease. Yes.
Reverend Powell: And... Were the papers correct in reporting you as... Well, they reported opposite things that... But you, of course, hold to transmigration, I gather. And this is... Death really doesn't happen. It's a change of form? Is that it?
Prabhupāda: Yes. As soon as the... Everyone dies, so a devotee, after death, in his transcendental form he goes back to home, back to Godhead.
Reverend Powell: Thank you. I take it from what you've just been saying, Your Grace, that this explains what was said here in the..., referring to illicit sex as being anything that's not in marriage and not for procreation within marriage.
Prabhupāda: Only the sex allowed only for begetting nice children.
Reverend Powell: Yes. You don't feel that...
Prabhupāda: And beyond that, sex, that is illicit sex.
Reverend Powell: And that is out.
Prabhupāda: That is not good.
Reverend Powell: What is your attitude to Jesus?
Prabhupāda: I have already explained in the meeting.
Prabhupāda: We, we respect him as transcendental representative of God, son of God. Yes. He's...
Reverend Powell: Is there some sort of relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa? I mean...
Prabhupāda: Yes, there is relationship. He's coming from Kṛṣṇa. He... Jesus the Christ. Christ means Christo, or Kristo, or Kṛṣṇa.
Reverend Powell: Yes? Hmm. Another thing = We, of course, have been impressed by the number of young Australians who have become interested in the Hare Krishna Movement, and we really congratulate you, sir, [Prabhupāda chuckles] on the very fine work that you've done, and the ones who have rescued the ladies from the fire the other day. But I think everybody recognizes that they're most sincere, that they're not involved, because they're not being blessed. They feel they're getting something out of it. But how do you explain... I gather that most countries, in Britain and America and so on, that there are many thousands...
Prabhupāda: In Africa, in China, in Japan. Everywhere.
Reverend Powell: And now, how do you explain this? Why are people...? Why are...?
Prabhupāda: Because they are on the spiritual platform, they forget the material designation.
Reverend Powell: They're mostly young people, aren't they, or are they..., you have all ages?
Prabhupāda: Yes, young, young people, they have got brain, [Reverend Powell laughs] receptive.
Reverend Powell: Yes, yes, I see. And I was interested... I take it that you feel---forgive me if I'm not using the right expression---but the caste system is written into the law of Godhead.
Prabhupāda: No, no. No, we have no caste system.
Reverend Powell: Well, I'm sorry. The brāhmaṇa, the śūdras and so on, per se.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is qualification. This is a division according to... [aside:] Find out the cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13].
Reverend Powell: Your base there is in Bombay?
Prabhupāda: My birthplace is in Calcutta.
Reverend Powell: Calcutta, ah. I was there many years ago. I um...
Prabhupāda: You have been in Calcutta?
Reverend Powell: Yes, I have. I crossed from Karachi and Delhi, I went down to Agra, and I gather this...
Prabhupāda: Yes, for people coming from England to Australia, they pass through Calcutta or Bombay, like that.
Reverend Powell: That's right. Yes. We come by air. Was there some reference?
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
Translation = "According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me, and although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable."
Prabhupāda: Read the purport.
Satsvarūpa: "The Lord is the creator of everything. Everything is born of Him, everything is sustained by Him, and everything, after annihilation, rests in Him. He is therefore the creator of the four divisions of the social order, beginning with the intelligent class of men, technically called brāhmaṇas due to their being situated in the mode of goodness. Next is the administrative class, technically called the kṣatriyas due to their being situated in the mode of passion. The mercantile men, called the vaiśyas, are situated in the mixed modes of passion and ignorance, and the śūdras, or laborer class, are situated in the ignorant mode of material nature.
"In spite of His creating the four divisions of human society, Lord Kṛṣṇa does not belong to any of these divisions, because He is not one of the conditioned souls, a section of whom form human society. Human society is similar to any other animal society, but to elevate men from the animal status, the above-mentioned divisions are created by the Lord for the systematic development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The tendency of a particular man toward work is determined by the modes of material nature which he has acquired. Such symptoms of life, according to different modes of material nature, are described in the Eighteenth Chapter of this book. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, is above even the brāhmaṇas, because a brāhmaṇa by quality is supposed to know about Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Most of them approach the impersonal Brahman manifestation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but only a man who transcends the limited knowledge of a brāhmaṇa and reaches the knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, becomes a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness---or, in other words, a Vaiṣṇava.
"Kṛṣṇa consciousness includes knowledge of all different plenary expansions of Kṛṣṇa, namely Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, etc. However, as Kṛṣṇa is transcendental to this system of the four divisions of human society, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also transcendental to all divisions of human society, whether we consider the divisions of community, nation or species."
Reverend Powell: Thank you. The first part of that made me think of Jesus' parable about the talents, that some get two talents, and some five and some ten. And...
Prabhupāda: [aside:] Come on. Sit down. Thank you. Oh, it is very nice. [sounds of wrapping paper] You can close the door.
Devotee: Close the door.
Prabhupāda: So all our disciples, they are young men.
Reverend Powell: Yes, I noticed.
Prabhupāda: Because they are receptive. And their intelligence is intact. Old man takes time.
Reverend Powell: [laughs] Yes, well, that's very true, sir. Your Grace, what's the parable of the talents, some were given a few, and some were...
Prabhupāda: Now, the talents are described. Find that Eighteenth Chapter, śamo damas titikṣā. Then...
Reverend Powell: What I'd like to follow through... I'd like to hear this, but...
Prabhupāda: Talents are divided into three categories = the brāhmaṇa category, and the kṣatriya category, the vaiśya category and the śūdra category. They are described here.
Reverend Powell: And this...
Prabhupāda: What are the qualifications of a brāhmaṇa. Symptoms.
kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness---these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work."
Prabhupāda: This is first-quality man.
Reverend Powell: Well, there's a great similarity, isn't there, to the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, with these qualities you've just...
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. When..., when one is qualified with all these attributes and he acts accordingly, then he is first-class man.
Reverend Powell: Yes. I gather when you had this interview with the professor in Moscow that there was a little bit of adjustment needed. What is your view of Communism, Your Grace?
Prabhupāda: Communism, the idea is nice. But they are imperfect. Imperfect. Their philosophy is that everything belongs to the state.
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: But that is imperfect idea. Our philosophy is everything belongs to God. So unless they come to this conclusion, they'll remain imperfect. The equal distribution of wealth---everything belongs to God---that is very good idea. But if it is limited within certain area... Just like the communistic state. Besides that, this is imperfect in the sense they have no idea who are nationals. Not only they, even the capitalists. "National" means those who are born in that particular land. So there are animals also. They are also national. But because they are imperfect, either the Communist or capitalist, they do not accept the animals as nationals. They are sent to the slaughterhouse. These things are happening because they are imperfect. They have no God conscious views. They have crippled views. They are imperfect.
Reverend Powell: Thank you. Your Grace, I was in Moscow many years ago now. And everywhere I went in Russia, well right down to Stalingrad, as it was called then, they said, "This society is based on the principle, 'From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.' " Now, I felt that in principle that was a very fine thing because it's based on the parable of the talents and the parable of what we call the penny wage---the same wage is paid to all, however long they work, because they all have the same need, really. That principle, I think, is a Christian principle, I mean from our point of view it is. But I see what you were saying earlier...
Prabhupāda: The principles, as they are stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, it is not limited within Christian or Communist or capitalist.
Reverend Powell: No.
Prabhupāda: No. The principle... Wherever there are these talented person, he is to be considered as first-class man. He does not say that "If it is found among the Hindus or amongst the Christian..." No. Anywhere. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. These guṇa, these modes of material nature, is all-pervasive. So even in India they protest, because I am making them brāhmaṇa. My disciples, they're offered sacred thread. They're regularly made into brāhmaṇa. So the Indian, in India, they're very conservative, perverted. So they accuse that "Swami Mahārāja is spoiling the Hindu system of religion because he's accepting brāhmaṇa from outside." So actually they're also not aware... Creation of God... Here God says that "I have created." So God's creation is not limited. Suppose the sun is creation of God. It is not for India or for Australia---it is for everyone.
So whatever created by God, that is not monopoly of a certain class of men. Yes. This is the idea. So these people, they do not know what is the meaning of a Vaiṣṇava or brāhmaṇa. That is not limited with a certain circle or certain country or certain society. Just like Christ says, "Thou shall not kill." This is applicable to every man, not only that the Christians should follow. Unfortunately, even the Christians, they do not follow. They are killing. So how there can be religious life? Unless you follow the rules and regulations given by the authority, then where is the meaning of becoming within that community?
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: And God or God's representative, whatever they say, that is not meant for a limited area.
Reverend Powell: Right.
Prabhupāda: That is not. Either you take Christian principle or Hindu principle, what is real principle, really principle, that is applicable everywhere.
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like Christ says that "Thou should be..., one should be meek and humble to go to back to home, back to..." Eh? It is not?
Prabhupāda: So this is for everyone.
Reverend Powell: Yes. Blessed are the meek.
Prabhupāda: Yes. It is not limited within the Christian community. Everyone.
Reverend Powell: Well, it's a great privilege to talk with you, Your Grace. And, uh, you must be tired; you've got a big day tomorrow. I'm mustn't keep you, if I may.
Prabhupāda: Just here, please wait. Little, take little. [aside:] Bring that sweetball. Sit down please, one minute. You had been today there today in meeting?
Guest: Yes. I appreciated it very much. It was very nice...
Prabhupāda: You were all present?
Reverend Powell: You'll be pulling the chariot tomorrow, will you?
Reverend Powell: You've got a job on that. In the afternoon, isn't it, tomorrow? I'll see something of it.
Prabhupāda: These flowers are very nice. They are called...?
Prabhupāda: Daffodils. Oh.
Reverend Powell: No, jonquils, aren't they?
Prabhupāda: Very... Just see how God's artistic brain.
Reverend Powell: Hmm. Yeah.
Prabhupāda: You can see God in everywhere. But one must be Kṛṣṇa conscious, God conscious. Then he'll see every moment, everywhere, God, nothing but God.
Reverend Powell: Is this part of the God consciousness, that in everything you see God?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is made out of energy of God.
Satsvarūpa: Here are some sweetballs made out of milk and butter.
Prabhupāda: You can, you can pick up.
Reverend Powell: Made out of what?
Satsvarūpa: Mostly out of milk and butter.
Prabhupāda: Milk preparation.
Reverend Powell: Thank you. And, um,...
Prabhupāda: Yes, you can eat.
Reverend Powell: Now?
Reverend Powell: Thank you. [eats]
Satsvarūpa: Very juicy.
Reverend Powell: Hmm. Very juicy. Hmm. [laughs]
Prabhupāda: All of them, give each one. We can prepare hundreds of nice preparations from milk. Therefore cow protection is required. [to guests] Do you like?
Guest: Very sweet, Prabhupāda. [laughter]
Reverend Powell: Something quite different. Hmm.
Devotee: Here, perhaps you can use this.
Reverend Powell: Thank you. Yes, I think I need it. You..., you..., you're completely vegetarian, and not have meat of any kind and not eggs at all?
Reverend Powell: Why not eggs? Because...
Prabhupāda: We are not even vegetarian.
Reverend Powell: You're not.
Prabhupāda: No. We are negative of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. We are not vegetarian, neither non-vegetarian. We eat Kṛṣṇa prasāda. Rather, "prasādarian." We are neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian, because we don't eat which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa. Things are prepared according to the order of Kṛṣṇa, and when Kṛṣṇa eats, we take the remnants of foodstuff. Therefore we do not fall in the group of vegetarian or non-vegetarian. We are transcendental.
Reverend Powell: Yes.
Reverend Powell: Well, thank you, Your Grace. If you'll excuse me, I have appointment.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. That's... Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]