Room Conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran , Tehran , 1975-03-13
Prabhupāda: How long you have come here in Iran?
Ambassador George: Nice to see you again. Not that I have felt that far away.
Prabhupāda: You are looking little reduced than before, in health.
Ambassador George: [laughs] Oh, perhaps slightly older.
Prabhupāda: [laughs] You are not as old as I am. What is your age?
Ambassador George: I am fifty-six.
Prabhupāda: Oh, you are just like my child. My first child was born 1921. What is your birth date?
Ambassador George: That was three years earlier. So there you are.
Ambassador George: Eighteen.
Prabhupāda: In that year I was married. I was student at that time. I was student, 1900 up to '20. Then I joined Gandhi's noncooperation movement and gave up my education. His points were to give up English education, English court, English-manufactured goods, in this way.
Ambassador George: How did you feel about Gandhijī spiritually?
Prabhupāda: He was a good gentleman, that's all. He had no spiritual asset.
Ambassador George: That's what I wondered. I never met him. I don't know. But he said himself, "I may be a saint among politicians, but I'm a politician among saints." [laughs]
Prabhupāda: He said or the governor said? Anyway, it is... Mr. Casey from Australia---he was governor of Bengal---he said, I think, that thing. His study was like that. He was a politician, that's all.
Ambassador George: But God uses whatever material is there, and He used him.
Prabhupāda: No, it was God's desire. You see? Without His desire, otherwise how such a vast British power could be driven away by the noncooperation movement? Of course, it was very nicely planned, because the Britishers were ruling over India by the cooperation of the Indian.
Ambassador George: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So when that cooperation was withdrawn, naturally they could not... They were trying to the last point, but when this Subhas Bose's organization, INA... You have studied that Indian history. Yes. INA. Indian National Army. So this National Army was formed by Subhas Chandra Bose outside India with the cooperation of Hitler and Tojo. He's formed that, what is called, Indian government outside India, the INA, the soldiers... The INA soldiers means all the soldiers that were arrested in the battlefield, they were given to Subhas Chandra Bose, either by the Japanese or by the Germans. So the soldiers took this opportunity; they voluntarily surrendered to the enemy. So when the Britishers understood that the soldiers, Indian soldiers, are now noncooperating, then they decided, "No, no more. It is not possible." So they voluntarily withdrew, that Sir..., Sir Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India. Then they voluntarily settled up. And they settled up means the last parting kick was partition---Pakistan and India.
Ambassador George: What a mistake.
Prabhupāda: And they partitioned in such a way that these two people will fight everlong. That is going on. They are very good politicians. So after all, it is all... There is a verse in the Bhagavad...:
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaṁ
vedānta-vid vedānta-kṛd ca aham
Kṛṣṇa said that "I am in everyone's heart." Sarvasya. Sarvasya ca aham hṛdi. Hṛdi means the heart. Sanniviṣṭaḥ: "I am there." So He is witnessing everything. So Britishers would have been... They were accepted by the Indian very nicely. People liked, because after the Muhammadan period, when the Britishers came, they did something which was very, very nice for the Indians, and the Indians, they liked them very much. Later on, they became too much greedy. For their own men they wanted to sacrifice everything Indian. So that Jallianwala-bagh. Then the Gandhi came and took this vow, that "The Britishers must go, quit India." So Britishers got a very good opportunity for world unity under British Empire. But their only policy was that to exploit others and enrich London. That was their bad policy. Yes. They should have ruled for the benefit of the people. Then British rule was very nice.
Ambassador George: If they hadn't had such a guilty conscience themselves...
Ambassador George: ...they wouldn't have left easily, also.
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, there was no need. Every country requires good government. So if somebody gives good government and keeps the people nice, happy, and people hasn't got any interest that the... Now they have made like that. Formerly, at least in India, they didn't care whether it is being ruled by the Muhammadans or by the Englishmen or foreign... They wanted peaceful life, that's all. So the Muhammadans, they made their home in India, the Moguls. They were not exploiting India and taking the money outside. Although the Moguls were very luxurious, but they were spending money in India, India's money in India. And, of course, they accuse the Muhammadan government was very bad. But I think if it was so bad, how they could rule over India for eight hundred years? And in those days Indians were in their own culture. They did not lose their culture, Hindu culture. The Britishers peacefully killed the Hindu culture, Vedic culture. Yes.
Ambassador George: I saw where they killed it much more effectively, and that was in Ceylon.
Prabhupāda: Ceylon, oh.
Ambassador George: India's too big to kill, so it lived. But Ceylon was practically finished. There is nothing of its own left. They had to reinvent it after they got rid of the British.
Ambassador George: They'd lost their dance. They'd lost their... Everything, really, national had gone.
Prabhupāda: That was not...
Ambassador George: Even Buddhism had gone. It was revived by foreigners.
Prabhupāda: Oh, Dutch. Dutch people, there were.
Ambassador George: Germans especially. But now may I ask you while I have the chance? You have had so much to do with bringing the dharma to the West. What is your idea? What is your mission? It seems to me, in many ways, there is a transfer of the essential spirit going West, because the interest is there.
Ambassador George: And what is left in the East is so often just the materialism imitated from the West among many young people now.
Prabhupāda: Where, in the East?
Ambassador George: In the East.
Ambassador George: In the East. So there's been a crossover taking place.
Prabhupāda: Hmm, yes.
Ambassador George: Do you see it like that?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. In Western countries they are now fed up with this materialistic way of life. And I think it will very soon collapse, the Western way of life. And naturally the next enquiry is spiritual.
Ambassador George: Yes, it's already beginning.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. The material life means animal life.
Ambassador George: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So when the animal comes to higher consciousness, that is spiritual consciousness. We are combined at the present moment. We are actually spiritual, but some way or other, we have come in contact with matter, and we are covered by the material body and... But we cannot become happy with this material interest. That's a fact. Just like the fish cannot be happy on the land. The example is = just like the other day we saw one crocodile. One or two..., two, three?
Paramahaṁsa: Two or three.
Prabhupāda: In where?
Prabhupāda: Caracas, yes. So one of the crocodile was on the land, and two were in the water. So in the water they were very living, alive. But in the land it was like dead.
Ambassador George: I had two crocodiles in my bath in Delhi for a month.
Prabhupāda: Oh, ācchā. You like them very much?
Ambassador George: Given by the chief minister of Rajasthan, and I had to get them to Canada. [laughs]
Ambassador George: I never managed to love them. I can love most things, but not crocodiles.
Prabhupāda: No, they are also God's creature, but covered by the body. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. Those who are spiritually advanced, they see equally because they know that within the body the spirit soul is there. The spirit soul is part and parcel of God. He is encaged somehow or other in a particular type of body. So a devotee of God is very kind to everyone. Brahma-bhutaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na ka..., samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu [Bg. 18.54]. Samaḥ sarveṣu..., mad-bhakti labhate param. That is the stage of making advance in devotional life---equality. That equality is possible when we are on the platform of spiritual understanding. Otherwise not possible. The United Nation will never be able to unite the nation. That is not possible.
Ambassador George: Of course.
Prabhupāda: Not possible. If they unite..., if they try to unite on Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is possible. Otherwise not possible. But we are all part and parcel of God. Accidentally, or somehow or other, we are now all differently dressed, although you are one. They have to come to this understanding. Upādhi, designation. Now just like you are Canadian; I am Indian. Then I was just... In the noon I was thinking about the, what is called, goo goo? Doh-doh? Doh? The bird? Doh? What is called? There is one class of bird, doh?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Doves, doves.
Prabhupāda: So there are doves, there are pigeons, there are sparrows, there are crows. Now Iran, the same doves, same... Why they are not called "Iranian sparrow"? Why they are called only sparrow?
Ambassador George: [chuckles] It's only people.
Prabhupāda: So simply we have designated, "Iranian," "Indian" and "Canadian," "German," this, that. So we have to give up this designation. Then there will be unity. Otherwise not. But they are very much proud of this designation. Therefore bhakti means sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ [Cc. Madhya 19.170], when one is completely free from designation. The designation is material. It has nothing to do with spiritual life. And the whole world is being ruled by designation = "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am this," "I am that," "I am that." Ahaṁ mameti [SB 5.5.8], this is.
Ambassador George: There is a hierarchy of consciousness, of course. But it's not...
Prabhupāda: So that consciousness should be without designation. If I try to develop my consciousness with designation, it will not be effective. It will not be effective at least in the matter of advancing spiritual consciousness. That we have to give up. Now in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we have got men from all parts of the world, but they are not thinking in terms of their original national designation. They are not thinking. They do not think that they are American or they are Indian or Canadian or African or Hindu, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vai.... Nothing of the sort.
Ambassador George: Of course, there can be ambition that is essentially ego attached to an idea of achieving consciousness also.
Prabhupāda: That consciousness will not help him. That will rather check him.
Ambassador George: Yes, exactly.
Prabhupāda: Because in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran loke tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. At the time of death, if I die with designation, then I will have to accept again the body. So the mind is the criterion, contamination. We get different types of body on account of mind being contaminated.
Ambassador George: Contaminated.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like if you contaminate some disease, then you must develop that disease. Similarly, if your mind is contaminated with some material designation, then you have to accept similar body, by nature's way. Kāranaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya [Bg. 13.22]. Because the mind associated with a particular type of the modes of material nature, he got this body. There are three qualities = sattva-guṇa, raja-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. Now you mix up. By first mixing it becomes nine, and again mixing up, it becomes eighty-one. And each quality, there are thousands and thousands of variety. And that means by mixing up these qualities there are 8,400,000 species of forms of life. So it is very... God's law, nature's law, they take account of the particular color and awards the body accordingly. It is not man-made law, that there may be some mistake. There is no mistake. If you have contaminated this disease, either smallpox or cholera or this or that, you must develop that disease.
Therefore we should be desireless. Desireless means material desires. That material desire begins with the designation. That... The child, he has got a childish body, and he plays like a child. The same child, when he will get a youthful body, he will do like that. The soul is the same. But on account of different type of body he is acting differently. That is practical. A small child, in the childhood he will talk like nonsense. People will enjoy it. But the same child, when he is grown up and he talks like nonsense, people will call him nonsense, rascal. Why? The body has changed. The circumstance has changed. This is the real education, that we are changing body, and according to our bodily situation we are acting differently. That they do not understand. There is no school, college or education about the soul and the soul's changing different position of different body, and in this way he remains materially entangled. And the real relief is to get him out of this bodily concept of life and advance in spiritual concept of...
Ambassador George: So bhakti is really a process of decontaminating the mind.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Right you are. You are intelligent and... Yes. That is the real education. And all this rascal education will not help, because all this education will keep him within these material bodies. And his real relief is how to get out of this material body. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. This is required, in Bhagavad-gītā. After giving up this body, no more acceptance of this material body. That is real education. And Bhāgavata says, pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt, gurur na sā syāt, na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum [SB 5.5.18]. There is no need of becoming father unless you train up your child to accept no more this material body. The child should be trained up by the father. The guru should train up the disciple in such a way that the disciple or the child or the student will not have to accept any more this material body. That is education. And the whole Vedic education is meant for this purpose. [break] ...in his original spiritual life, that is mukti. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means that---to educate people how to achieve his original consciousness. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is...
Ambassador George: Well, this in one form or another is the aim of any true tradition.
Prabhupāda: Hmm? True?
Ambassador George: Tradition.
Ambassador George: Religion.
Prabhupāda: No. Tradition, religion, they are all material. They are also all designation. I am thinking I am Hindu, you are thinking you are Christian, he is thinking as Buddhist---these are all designation.
Ambassador George: Within each of these there is the esoteric.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, it is material. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66] = "Give up all this type of false religion." Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. That means come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Ekam, only one. So unless one becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is in trouble of this material condition. And our difficulty is that when we want to convince another person about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he thinks that "I am Hindu," "I am Christian," "I am Muhammadan," so "They are trying to proselytize me." That is the difficulty.
Ambassador George: No, it was not that I was really saying. Rather, that what I have heard from others comes to the same thing as you are saying.
Prabhupāda: Others, if they try for the same thing, then it is all right, because that type of religion or that system of religion is first class which teaches for this thing, that "Come to platform of God consciousness and love God." Then that is first-class system of religion. It doesn't matter what is the designation. But where is that happening?
Ambassador George: The process of change of consciousness which is actually taking place in the world under many influences, I think... under many influences.
Prabhupāda: No. The influence should be only Kṛṣṇa, or God. Kṛṣṇa, when we speak of "Kṛṣṇa"---God. But they have no clear idea what is God. How does He speak, how does He act, where does He live, what is His form, what is His qualities---nobody knows. Ask any religious people, "Do you know about all this, about God?" They do not know. What do you think, Ātreya? Have they any clear conception of God? They imagine something. If they think of God at all... First of all, generally they think of impersonal or void. Just like the Buddhists = they think God is zero. And others, they think that God has no form. The two classes. The Hindus, they think, "Yes, God has no particular form, but that He has got many form. And you can imagine any one of them." That is Śaṅkara, the pañcopāsana. But still, Śaṅkara is very careful. He has given five particular forms = the goddess Durgā, Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, the sun, then... Therefore there are a section who are the sun worshiper, or fire worshiper. Original Iranians were like that. So that is Vedic culture. There... Vedic culture means there are many demigods, but the original God is accepted, Viṣṇu. And original to Viṣṇu is Kṛṣṇa. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]. And Kṛṣṇa also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat [Bg. 7.7] = "There is no more superior form or superior authority than Me." And that is confirmed by Lord Brahmā. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ [Bs. 5.1]. Īśvaraḥ means controller. There are different grades of controller, but the supreme controller is Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa says, mām ekam: "Unto Me alone." [to devotee:] What is that?
Parivrājakācārya: It is apple juice.
Prabhupāda: So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is scientific, authorized. People has to give little attention. Then they will understand. Therefore we are publishing so many books, only about Kṛṣṇa. In every page you will find "Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa." Either in Kṛṣṇa book or in Caitanya-caritāmṛta or in the Bhāgavata or in The Nectar of Devotion or in Teachings of Lord Caitanya, the word is Kṛṣṇa. That is simply explained in different way.
Ambassador George: What does the word actually mean? Kṛ is the root for "making," isn't it?
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa? Yes, kṛṣ. Kṛṣ means karṣati, "attraction" or "cultivating." "Cultivation." Just like cultivator, he, digging the earth, that is also kṛṣati. And there is another word in Bhagavad-gītā, manaḥ ṣaṣṭhāni indriyāṇi..., karsati. [aside:] Find out this verse. Manaḥ-saṣṭhāni indriyāṇi prakṛti-sthani karṣati. Fifteenth Chapter. Karṣati. That is from kṛṣ.
Ambassador George: Kṛṣ, then, has attractiveness and it has cultivator.
Prabhupāda: And cultivating, yes.
Ambassador George: Yes. In Greek my name is also "cultivate." In Greek the origin of my name is "cultivate." Georgios.
Prabhupāda: And this Greek work is kristo. There is a word in Greek. It is called kristo. And Kṛṣṇa is sometimes pronounced by ordinary man as Krsta. And that kristo word means "love," if I am not wrong, that Greek word. And from that kristo the word Christ has come.
Ambassador George: Karitas, yes.
Prabhupāda: So there is some connection of Kṛṣṇa with these things. What is that?
Ambassador George: There are so many parallels between Kṛṣṇa and Christ indeed.
Prabhupāda: So many.
Ambassador George: "Born in the cave." Yes.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
"The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind."
Prabhupāda: That is the position of the conditioned soul. They are struggling for existence. Existence means finding out how to come to the original consciousness, and that is struggle. Kṛṣṇa means "love," so everyone is struggling hard how to be in the platform of love. So many institution---philanthropy, international, and the United Nation---the only attempt = how to love each other. But they are struggling. They have not attained the platform; simply struggling. There have been so many attempts to unite. The vivid example is the United Nation. Formerly that was League of Nation. And people are manufacturing ideas = philanthropism and altruism, Communism, community-ism, this "ism," that "ism." The only thing is, they are trying to come to the platform of love. But they are manufacturing their own way. The Kṛṣṇa solves, that "Not in this way. Simply make Me center, and the whole thing will be done." But that they will not do. They will do in their own way, concocting some idea. And your idea will clash with me; my idea will clash with you. So same struggle continues, that's all. The Communist will not agree with the others, or capitalists, and capitalists will not agree with the Communists. But they are struggling to come to that point---the platform of love.
Ambassador George: Yes, it's the interattractiveness even in a planetary scale that holds the world.
Prabhupāda: And Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives very shortcut formula, that "You sit together, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and everything will be solved." Very simple thing = "Sit together and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." That also they will not do. There is no loss. Let us make an experiment---that also we are not agreed. What is the loss? If we sit together and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, you are not losing anything. If there is some gain, why not make an experiment? So if you propose this to the United Nation, he'll think of me, "A crazy fellow."
Ambassador George: Like we did together in Delhi.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. You have seen it. They were very much eager. They were very much eager = "Swāmījī, continue." And the others, like Communist and others, they became upset. I have seen many big, big officers, they were chanting, returning from the office in the office dress, and they were chanting and dancing. And you have seen the crowd, twenty thousand, thirty thousand people. The same thing happened in Calcutta. Now the government did not give us again that land. Yes. Last time when we held that conference in Delhi?
Paramahaṁsa: On the LIC Grounds?
Prabhupāda: No, no, no. They gave us that Tal Kotara Park, you know? That is in the jungle. Nobody could reach there, and they gave us place there. [Ambassador laughs] Still, there were not less ten thousand people. It was not easily approachable. The motorcar cannot go. You have to leave your car three miles away to come there.
Ambassador George: I know the place.
Prabhupāda: Yes. You know very well. You were in Delhi.
Ambassador George: It is a difficult thing to get to.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And they gave us place. At the last moment they rejected. First of all they gave. Then, at the last moment, the Municipality said, "No, this land cannot be given to any religious function." Rejected. And offered, "If you like, you can take this place." So we had no other alternative to accept it. We advertised that "We are going to hold this ceremony," and these authorities rejected at the eleventh hour and offered the Tal Kotara place. We had to accept it. And the government indirectly giving us so many hindrances in India. Yes. They do not like. One of the important member of the cabinet, he frankly said that "We do not want that your movement will increase very fast in India." Because they know it, Indira Gandhi and company, that India is naturally inclined to Kṛṣṇa. And if the selected people of the world, combined together, they push this movement in India, then the whole program of the modern leaders will collapse. That's a fact. And that was my idea. I wanted to start this movement from India, but nobody cooperated. So then I decided to come to America. And my plan was successful.
Ambassador George: What was your connection with McGill? I heard from...
Prabhupāda: McGill. McGill I was...
Ambassador George: You preached first in McGill?
Prabhupāda: No, I was lecturing only.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's...
Ambassador George: I see.
Prabhupāda: He sent his first book...
Ambassador George: Yes.
Prabhupāda: ...in 1896. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was the first origin of this movement. But he simply thought of it. And he was expecting some others' appearance would take up the work. Well, somebody says that I am the same man. And I was born in 1896. So he wanted to combine the whole civilized nations under this Caitanya Mahāprabhu's cult, Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. I think I have given this hint in the Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Nitāi: Teachings of Lord Caitanya. Yes.
Ambassador George: Yes. Well, I am very happy to have had this chance to be with you. How long will you be here?
Prabhupāda: Two days.
Ambassador George: That's all. And then?
Prabhupāda: I am going to India. We have to hold the Lord Caitanya's birthday anniversary and open our Vṛndāvana temple. In Bombay we have got very nice land purchased, and the government will not give us sanction for the temple. The... I approached the Maharashtra governor through another friend governor. The governor of United..., Uttar Pradesh, he is my friend. So I explained to him, "This this is the position. You request the governor to give me sanction." So he has very ardently requested, explaining the whole thing about my position, my... He is member of this movement, and still, he is neglecting. He has said no. Yet... But no answer.
Ambassador George: You know, when I had Mr. Trudeau, our prime minister, visiting India in '71, first place I took him was at Vṛndāvana.
Ambassador George: Our prime minister of Canada, Mr. Trudeau.
Ambassador George: So we went the first place...
Ambassador George: Vṛndāvana temple. Yes.
Prabhupāda: In Vṛndāvana still there is little glimpse of spiritual ideas in India. But the government is trying to spoil this place also. Starting oil refinery.
Ambassador George: [in disbelief] In Vṛndāvana?
Ambassador George: And that in the name of progress. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: Yes. They have already opened some factory. One factory is there in Mathurā, in... What is? Who preserve the fruits in cans, what they are called?
Prabhupāda: Cannery? Anyway, so when they boil this onion, up to ten miles the good smell spread. [laughter] You see? And the whole atmosphere of Vṛndāvana is spoiled. Similarly, they are trying to refine oil, and the refuse will be thrown in the Yamunā. So the river Yamunā will be spoiled. Nobody will go to take bath. This is Indian government's policy. They think that this so-called spiritual fanaticism of India is the cause of India's material degrades, so this must be killed. Like the Russians.
Ambassador George: Um-hmm. I know they think that sometimes. Even here there are people who think that.
Prabhupāda: Oh, they are thinking like that? But I heard that the king is very pious.
Ambassador George: One of the big people here, I said to him---after I argued about this for hours---I said, "You are Western and I am Eastern, not the other way around." [laughs] Thank you very much. I shall take your leave?
Prabhupāda: So, give him prasāda. Give him the whole plate. [laughs]
Ambassador George: What can I... [laughs]
Prabhupāda: You can take whole plate. So I am very glad to see you.
Ambassador George: Yes. And she was hoping to come later, but if you're only going to be here two days I don't know whether she will...
Paramahaṁsa: We're leaving the 15th, evening of the 15th.
Ambassador George: Yes, but this is the 13th now. I will take this to her. Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much for your coming. [chuckles] Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Ambassador George: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Jaya. [Ambassador leaves] [break] [end]