Room Conversation with Raymond Lopez, Wally Strobes, Bob Bourne , Melbourne , 1975-05-22
Madhudviṣa: ...one of our very dear friends, Raymond Lopez. He is a barrister and a visitor who has helped us out tremendously with some of the legal dealings that we've had here in Melbourne. And also this is Mr. Wally Strobes, he has also helped us out and given us good guidance. And this is Bob Bourne, he is a photographer who has... He has taken that nice picture of the Deities that I have brought to Māyāpur festival.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Madhudviṣa: Very nice. So he has taken many photographs for us. And we are particularly indebted to Wally and Raymond for giving us a lot of good guidance in our dealings with the police. And one time we had one incident about three years ago, when some of the boys were a little enthusiastic about Ratha-yātrā festival, and they went out and they picked many flowers illegally. So they were caught.
Prabhupāda: Illegally? Where? In the park?
Madhudviṣa: No. In one flower-growing nursery.
Madhudviṣa: So they were found out and caught. But Raymond was able to get them off free due to Kṛṣṇa's mercy. But it taught us a good lesson.
Raymond Lopez: Actually, I think they had the wrong people.
Prabhupāda: There was a great devotee in South India. He was a treasury officer. So he took money from the treasury and constructed very nice temple. [laughter] Yes. Later on, he was caught, and he was put into jail by the Nawab. At that time the Muhammadan king, Nawab, he saw in dream that two boys, very beautiful, they have come to the Nawab = "Sir, what money he has taken, you can take from me and release him." So the Nawab said, "If I get my money, I can release him." Then, when his dream broke, he saw the money on the floor, and nobody was there. Then he could understand that he is great devotee. He called him immediately, that "You are released, and you take this money also. Whatever you have already taken, that's all right. And now this money also you take. You spend as you like." So devotees sometimes do like that. Actually, nothing is private property. That is our philosophy. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam [Īśo mantra 1] = "Everything belongs to God." That's a fact. Under the influence of māyā we are thinking that "This is my property." Just like suppose this cushion. Wherefrom the wood has come? Has anybody produced wood? Who has produced? It is God's property. Rather, we have stolen God's property and claiming, "My property." Then Australia. The Englishmen came here, but is that the property of the Englishmen? It was there. America, it was there. And when everything will be finished, it will be there. In the middle we come and claim, "It is my property," and fight. Is it not? You are a barrister, you can judge better.
Wally Strobes: That was the argument he used.
Raymond Lopez: No, it was [indistinct]. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: Originally, originally, everything belongs to God. So why we are claiming, "It is my property"? Suppose you have come here. You sit down for one hour, two hours, and if you claim, "It is my property," is that very good judgment? You have come from outside, you are allowed to sit down here for two hours, and if you claim, "This is my property..." Similarly, we come here. We take birth either in America or in Australia or in India and remain for fifty, sixty or a hundred years, and why shall I claim, "It is my property"?
Bob Bourne: You don't claim it, I suppose, as your own property. What happens, I would have thought, is more that for a time you have got possession.
Prabhupāda: For a time you have got possession of the chair---that does not mean your property.
Bob Bourne: But I suppose if somebody came and took the chair while I've got it in my possession, I'd be terribly upset about it.
Prabhupāda: No, that is a other thing. Nobody will disturb you. You remain in your chair. [laughter] That does not mean because you have sat down on the chair for two hours, you become proprietor.
Wally Strobes: One gets attached.
Wally Strobes: One gets attached to the chair for a while. I like this chair. It's a nice chair.
Prabhupāda: No, that's all right. You like, you sit down, and you go when it is finished. But how do you claim that it is your property?
Wally Strobes: [jokingly] Good-bye. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: That is called māyā. This is māyā. The philosophy of māyā, māyā means what is not. Mā-yā. Mā means not, yā means this. So māyā means the conclusion, as you have made, that is not. That is not the fact. So we are claiming, "America is our," "Australia is our," "India is our." Nothing our. Everything God's. The best conclusion is, "It is God's property. God has given us to live. Let us thank God, feel obliged to Him, and glorify Him." That is our vision. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You accept the real position, that nothing belongs to you; everything belongs to God. You also belong to God. Your body, yourself, everything belongs to God. This body is material body. That material energy, earth, water, air, fire---everything belongs to God. This sea belongs to God, water, vast water. You have not created, neither your forefather has created. So this body is made of earth, water, air, fire, five elements. So your..., the body is also God's. So far I am soul, I am also part and parcel of God. So everything belongs to God. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are falsely claiming that "It is our." This is māyā. Māyā means what is not fact. That is the meaning of māyā.
Madhudviṣa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this concept that everything belongs to God, it can't work unless everybody believes that everything belongs to God.
Prabhupāda: Then everybody may be mad. That does not change the fact. If some madman comes in this room and he fights, "I am the proprietor. You get out," so that is not the fact.
Raymond Lopez: I can understand, you know, you were talking about the sea and so on. But it's for people to use.
Prabhupāda: Use. You can use. Tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāḥ [Īśo mantra 1]. That is the Vedic injunction. What is given to you, you use it. Just like one gentleman has got five sons. He gives one son, "This is your property. This is your property. This you can use." But the sons must acknowledge that "This is father's property. He has given us." Similarly, in the Vedic śāstra it is said that "Everything belongs to God, and whatever He has given to you, you can use. Don't encroach upon others."
Raymond Lopez: But if He has given... You were saying that if He's given something to you and don't encroach upon others, but there are certain things that one person has or one group of persons have which, I think, truly can be said that...
Prabhupāda: And originally we have to accept, everything belongs to God. Just like father and sons. The son must know, "The property is father's." That is the real knowledge. Now, "Whatever father has given me, I will use it. Why shall I encroach upon others, my other brother, which he has got from the father?" This is good sense. "Why shall I fight with my other brother? My father has given him this property to him, so let him use that, and whatever he has given me, let me use it. Why shall I encroach upon his property?" This is good sense.
Raymond Lopez: I can understand when you say, "Don't encroach on other people's property." And I believe, if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is that if you have something, if someone's given you something and someone else wants to use it, then let him. I can understand that. But don't you get into the stage and can't you get to the stage at times that for some reason or other you don't want him to use it?
Prabhupāda: I don't want to use my thing?
Madhudviṣa: He's saying that if someone does not want..., if you don't want someone to use what you have. If someone tries to forcibly take...
Prabhupāda: No, that is another thing.
Raymond Lopez: The situation could arise when you wouldn't want somebody to use what you were using for some particular reason. You might be using it yourself at that time. That situation can arise that you don't want...
Madhudviṣa: We are believing that everything belongs to God. If someone else does not believe in that concept and tries to use what...
Prabhupāda: That is wrong, that I say. That is his wrong conception.
Wally Strobes: Well, how do you reconcile, or how do you work out a situation... If everything belongs to God, we have to run society, and...
Prabhupāda: But you don't forget that everything belongs to God. Because you have to run society, it does not mean that you forget the real thing.
Raymond Lopez: So I really don't object to that idea at all. But the thing is that the system we're working within has got different concepts.
Prabhupāda: It should be rectified.
Raymond Lopez: It should be...?
Madhudviṣa: The system should be rectified.
Raymond Lopez: I suppose Wally and I are thinking on the same wavelength, because we can imagine the problems that we'd have.
Prabhupāda: Now you have got the United Nation. Now, if they are sane men, they should pass resolution, "The whole world belongs to God, and we are all God's sons. So let us make now United States of the World." That can be easily done. If they can make United States of America, why not United States of the whole world?
Wally Strobes: I think that would probably solve a lot of problems, because ownership, possession...
Prabhupāda: Yes, all problems. Now suppose in India there is scarcity of foodstuff. In America, in Africa, in Australia, there is enough grain. Produce foodstuff, distribute. Then immediately whole nations become united. Use everything, God's gift---we are all sons---very nicely. Then the, all the problems solved. Now the difficulty is that we have made, "No, this is my property. We shall use it, nation." In the Vedic conception there is no such thing as "national." There is no such conception. That is the idea, Vedic conception of society or politics. There is no question of national.
Raymond Lopez: You're thinking more of an international world than a national world.
Raymond Lopez: I don't think anybody would disagree with that. I certainly don't.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that we want to do = one God, one state, one scripture and one activity. That is the ultimate aim of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Just like we are from different countries. We don't think as nationalism, that "I am American," "I am Indian." No. We all think that "We are all servant of Kṛṣṇa." And they are working in that spirit. It is possible. If this idea is accepted in that United Nation, it can be done. But they will not accept. They are going to be united, but everyone is thinking, "First of all my interest." All cheating. They are outwardly, "Now we have come to the United Nation," but no one is going to be united. Everyone is thinking, "It is my first interest first. I must give veto if it is opposed." This is going on. Therefore for the last twenty years or more than that, they are trying to be united, but it is becoming disunited. The flags are increasing. In New York they have got their headquarters. When I pass through, I see that another flag has increased. So this United Nation is a failure, and it will be failure because there is no God consciousness.
Bob Bourne: I don't think it's necessary that it fails.
Bob Bourne: I don't think it's necessary that it fails. I don't... I think things are changing, definitely, throughout the world. It's a matter of which course they take.
Prabhupāda: No, what changing? They are preparing for war again. Where is changing? A slight provocation, there may be war.
Raymond Lopez: Yes, but people are changing now. You're getting the young people who for the first time in years are becoming aware and are getting interested in things outside their own town, their own village or state or whatever it is they have. You have people, the young people now are getting interested in things like poverty. They're interested in Bangladesh and so on. This is good. But you nonetheless have a very large proportion of the people who have got that idea of "I'm all right, and I'll look after mine," without taking the overall picture into account. And I think that so long as you have different concepts, different beliefs, it's going to be very hard to get into what you're talking about.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is to be united first. That... First thing is that everyone should be convinced or understand clearly that everything belongs to God. But they have no conception of God even. That is... The whole human society at the present moment, majority, they are godless, especially the Communist. They don't acknowledge. The scientist, the philosopher, the scholars---all godless. Scientists' special business is how to defy God. They say, "Science is everything. We can do everything by science. There is no need of God." Huh?
Wally Strobes: I don't think so any more. They're a lot more enlightened.
Prabhupāda: Not any more?
Wally Strobes: Well, in some circles, yes, I think.
Prabhupāda: That was never any more, but if they are realizing that, that is very good.
Raymond Lopez: But you can't say that scientists are working in a way that is opposite to God's will.
Prabhupāda: Yes, they say. They say. Oh, yes. I have met many scientists. They say that "We shall solve everything by scientific advancement. We have done already." They say like that.
Raymond Lopez: But just because they...
Prabhupāda: Just like there is a big theory, chemical theory. One big scientist... Big or small, whatever he may be, he has got a Nobel Prize.
Raymond Lopez: He's medium sized. [laughing]
Raymond Lopez: He's medium sized.
Prabhupāda: Yes. He is making the theory that life has come from chemicals, by chemical combination, chemical evolution. Darwin's theory is also of that. This is their... Big, big scientists, they are so fool that life has come from matter. Where is the proof? He was lecturing in California University, and there was one student, he is my disciple, he challenged him that "If you get the chemicals, whether you can manufacture life?" That answer was, "That I cannot say." Why? You are putting this theory, that life has come from chemical. So science means observation and experiment. Now experimentally prove that the chemicals have produced a life.
Raymond Lopez: They're trying. [laughs]
Prabhupāda: That is another foolishness. When you are trying to be a lawyer or barrister, that does not mean you are barrister. When you are a student of law you cannot say that "I am barrister" or "advocate." That you cannot say. You are trying to be, that is another thing. But while they are trying to be, they are taking the position of leader. That is the misleading. That is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ [SB 7.5.31] = "One blind man is trying to lead many other blind men." What is the use of such leading? If the leader is blind, how he will do well to other blind men?
Bob Bourne: Beethoven was deaf.
Bob Bourne: Beethoven was deaf.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Madhudviṣa: Beethoven, the great composer, he was deaf.
Bob Bourne: At least, for part of his life.
Raymond Lopez: But can't you have people doing good for the sake of goodness?
Prabhupāda: But he does not know what is good.
Raymond Lopez: But there are certain people...
Prabhupāda: Therefore I say blind. He does not know what is good. Real goodness is to understand God. That is real goodness.
Raymond Lopez: But there are certain things that you don't..., that are good, that you can accept as being good just by themselves. Now, if you see an old lady who gets run over by a car, you go and help her. Now there are certain things that are good by themselves, I think, and that people will react and do the good thing, even though they mightn't have any concept of God.
Prabhupāda: No. Unless you have got the real platform, how you can do good? Just like our Madhudviṣa Mahārāja was obliged to you. They have done some good in legal affairs. But unless you are a lawyer, legal man, how can you do it? You have a mind to do good, but if you are not a lawyer, how could you do?
Wally Strobes: But there would be a lot of lawyers to do...
Prabhupāda: No, that is another thing. I am talking of yourself. If one does not know what is good, then how he will do good? The first business is that he must know what is good. Then he can do something good. Otherwise, what is the use of jumping like monkey? He must know. Because you are a lawyer you know how to deal with law; you can do good. But a layman who is not a lawyer, how he can do good? So therefore, anyone who is posing himself as leader to do good to the society, he must know first of all what is good.
Wally Strobes: Would you say that the lawyer can do good whether or not he believes in God?
Prabhupāda: No, no, no. I am saying that if you are not a lawyer, if you have no study of the laws, how can you do good?
Wally Strobes: Well, that's what I was putting. I was hoping to lead you from there to the other situation of no studying or specific training.
Madhudviṣa: No. Śrīla Prabhupāda was saying that you could help us legally because you knew the law. If you weren't a lawyer, then you couldn't have helped us legally. Right?
Wally Strobes: I see. I see what you mean, yes.
Madhudviṣa: So therefore, now taking that same example, you can't do good for someone unless you know what good is. You can't...
Wally Strobes: I was misunderstanding what he was saying.
Madhudviṣa: You can't help us legally unless you know the law yourself. You can't... I mean, just any Joe can't walk into the court and start speaking. The judge will say, "Go away." But because you're a lawyer, you can help us.
Wally Strobes: But the question Raymond asked before was if somebody helped an old lady across the street and he was, say, an atheist, would it be doing a good action?
Madhudviṣa: Well, it depends. It depends on what the lady was doing.
Wally Strobes: It depends if he pushed her in front of a car.
Madhudviṣa: That lady may have been...
Wally Strobes: If she wanted to cross the road?
Madhudviṣa: No, no. That lady may have been walking home with a cartload of booze, to kill herself. So when she got knocked over and all her liquor fell out on the ground and you didn't help her up with it, then maybe it was good that you left her there.
Wally Strobes: No, I think that particular situation where he helped the lady across the road...
Prabhupāda: No, particular situation is different. But generally, if we do not know what is the ultimate goal, then we misguide. That is the point. So either in society or politics or economics or religion, philosophy, culture---everyone is engaged in some department. But if that leader does not know what is the ultimate goal of life, how he will lead? That is given direction in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in two verses. One verse is = idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā [SB 1.5.22]. [aside:] Find out this verse. It is in the First Canto. Who can...? Where is? First of all find out this verse.
sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
avicyuto 'rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
Śrutakīrti: What is it, idaṁ hi...
Prabhupāda: Puṁsaḥ. Yes, the direction is... Read it.
Śrutakīrti: Idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā...
Prabhupāda: Come here.
sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
avicyuto 'rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
"Learned circles have positively concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, namely austerities, study of the Vedas, sacrifice, chanting of hymns and charity, culminates in the transcendental descriptions of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry."
Prabhupāda: The advancement of knowledge in any department, that is very good. But what is the aim? The aim is to glorify the Supreme Lord. Just like you are lawyer. You gave us help in some difficulty time. Why? Because you wanted to continue glorification of the Lord, that "These men are doing nice. Why they should be harassed?" So that means you helped glorification of the Lord. So that's your success as a lawyer. So anyone who helps this movement, that "They are spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, God consciousness. They should be helped in all respect," that is the perfection. Everything is required, but it should be culminated in the matter of glorifying the Supreme. Then it is perfect. In another place... [aside:] Find out this verse,
Just like you have helped this institution in a difficult position. That means you have pleased Kṛṣṇa. That is your success. My devotees are in difficulty. They wanted some legal help. You, as a lawyer, helped them, so you have pleased Kṛṣṇa, God. That is the aim of life. Whether by my work in different spheres---as a lawyer, as a businessman, or as a scholar, as a philosopher, as a scientist, as an economist... There are so many demands. It doesn't matter. But you should see whether you are successful. And what is the standard of success? The standard of success is whether you have pleased God. [aside:] You read this. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ...
Śrutakīrti: Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Find out this verse.
"O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging his prescribed duties, dharma, according to caste divisions and order of life, is to please the Lord, Hari."
Prabhupāda: That is it. That should be developed, that "Whether by my profession, by my business, by my talent, by my capacities..."---there are different categories---"whether I have pleased God?" Then it is successful. If you have pleased God by your legal profession---you are in a different dress, it doesn't matter. You are as good as they are whole time only serving God. Because their business is also to please God. Similarly, if you have pleased God, then even by practicing your law, you are as good as the saintly person. That should be the aim = "Whether I have pleased God with my professional duty or occupational duty?" That is the standard. Let people take up this. We don't say that "You change your position. You become a sannyāsī or you give up your profession and become bad-headed." No, we don't say that. [laughs] We are by nature. [laughter] So this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that you remain in your position, but see whether by your discharge of duties you have pleased God. Then everything will be all right.
Wally Strobes: I think this is the attitude to certainly my religion, where we believe that through the profession, the way you mention it, we are doing things towards God. And even in the ordinary day in the week, that you could be doing or generally making life in a way to please God. And that's my belief, because my religion has the same belief as what you've just been mentioning, that even through the running of the professions and all the practice of the profession is one way of helping people. And because you are helping people, you are in fact doing something that God wants.
Prabhupāda: No, not general people.
Wally Strobes: It's the indirect way, because God wants people to be happy. Now, if you can help people, if you can help people as people, surely that means that you must be pleasing God.
Prabhupāda: No, excuse me. First of all... Suppose you are a lawyer, and some man has committed murder, and he wants your help. And suppose by your legal tricks you save him. So that will not please God. [laughter]
Wally Strobes: You've got a different consideration here.
Bob Bourne: You've got a lot of places and names for that.
Wally Strobes: We've got a different consideration here, you see, because the law that we have is very different to God's law. And I think that... [break]
Prabhupāda: You must accept God's law, not the people's law.
Raymond Lopez: Well, the problem is that we're confined by the state law here, just as the boys with the flowers. Now, maybe in Kṛṣṇa's law they did nothing wrong, but they were still subjected to being taken away like that.
Prabhupāda: Yes, but He saved them. He saved them.
Raymond Lopez: Now wait a minute. I want to get this thing straight, if I may. One boy was charged. Now, I don't care what happened or where the flowers came from. I was told, and I believe that that particular boy was not involved. Now, someone else may have been. But as far as I was concerned, I believed that the boy that they got was not involved himself. Now, I'm not saying that some other people were not involved. But I think that that particular boy, I am satisfied... Do you agree with this, Wally?
Wally Strobes: Yeah, but even if you had been told that that boy did it, your job would have been to...
Raymond Lopez: If, let's say, that boy... If I was told, "Look, that boy did it," then the case would have been done completely differently, because then you can't then go around and say, "Look, he didn't do it." So it's a different approach, different approach altogether, you see. But as far as... I just wanted to get that thing straight, as far as that particular boy. But according to the law in here, we have to operate within our law. Now, true it is that outside of it, you have got the question of God's law. But I'm not that kind of lawyer. I'm not involved with God's law.
Prabhupāda: No, I... I know that. That is not...
Raymond Lopez: I can only operate with the tools that I have.
Wally Strobes: But even if you are a church..., if you are a church-goer, it makes it very interesting, because you're subject to that church law.
Raymond Lopez: Well, I'm a church-going person.
Wally Strobes: What happens in the situation where somebody has committed a murder?
Raymond Lopez: Nothing. It's... Look...
Wally Strobes: It's a matter of church conscience.
Raymond Lopez: It's nothing. It's got nothing to do... I'm not there to judge...
Wally Strobes: This was the example given.
Raymond Lopez: I'm not there to judge. All I'm there to do is to do a job. Someone else has got the unfortunate task of having to judge people. I don't have to do that, so I don't decide.
Prabhupāda: No, we can judge from the standard laws. [takes a drink] India still, if one has very good garden and flowers, if somebody goes, "Sir, I want to take some flowers from your garden for worshiping God," "Yes, you can take." They will be very glad.
Raymond Lopez: This man, his livelihood depended on those flowers, and I don't... I think his possessions were more important to him, unfortunately.
Wally Strobes: It's a funny story. There's a funny follow up to that one, and that is that the flowers were taken from two men that ran nurseries. And we had to go through an appeal finally to get home. But just before the appeal came on, the boys needed a glasshouse because of their special plants, which you've got outside here.
Wally Strobes: And they didn't know anything about glasshouses. So they were driving around, and one said, "Well, let's go and find out something about glasshouses. Oh, there's a nice nursery." [laughter] So the car drives up, you see. The devotee comes out, and he said, "Excuse me, sir, but we're interested in glasshouses." He said, "Will you please get out of my land?" The same nursery. [laughter] There were two hundred nurseries around the area. He picked that particular one.
Prabhupāda: But if people would have been God conscious, they would have excused, "Oh, they have come for God's service. All right, you can take." Therefore the first business is to make people God conscious. Then everything is adjusted. Yasyāsti bhaktiḥ... There is a verse in Bhāgavata,
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ
The meaning is that "Anyone who is God conscious, a devotee, he has got all the good qualities." What we consider as good qualities, he has got. And similarly, one who is not a devotee of God, he has no good qualities, because he will hover on the mental platform. There are different platform. Bodily concept of life, general, "I am this body. Therefore my business is to satisfy the senses." This is bodily concept of life. And others, they are thinking, "I am not this body. I am mind." So they are going on mental speculation like philosophers, thoughtful men. And above that, there is intelligent class of men, practicing some yoga. And spiritual platform means above that. First bodily concept, gross, then mental, then intellectual, then spiritual.
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is on the spiritual platform, above body, mind and intelligence. But actually, we should come to that platform, because we are spirit soul, we are neither this body nor this mind nor this intelligence. So one who is on the platform of spiritual consciousness, they have got everything---intelligence, proper use of mind, proper use of the body. Just like a millionaire, he has got all the lower-grade possession. Ten rupees or hundred rupees or hundred pounds---he has got all everything. Similarly, if we try to make an attempt to bring people on the platform of God consciousness, then he is possessing all other qualities = how to take care of the body, how to use the mind, how to use intelligence, everything. But it is not possible that everyone should become God conscious. That is not possible, because there are different grades. But at least one class of men should remain in the society as ideal, God conscious. Just like for our usual life we require lawyers, we require engineer, we require medical practitioner, we require so many; similarly, in the society there must be a class of men who are fully God conscious and ideal. That is necessary. Just like in your body you have got hands, legs, belly, but the head must be there. If your head is cut off, then, despite you have got hands, legs and belly, it is useless. So this attempt, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is an attempt to keep at least one class of men ideal devotee, ideal character. At least, people will see, "Oh, here is an ideal character." That is required. That is described in the Śrīmad-..., Bhagavad-gītā, how to create a first-class man. Just like we have got educational institution for giving instruction on law or medical science or engineering, similarly, there must be an institution to make first-class devotee, ideal man. That is necessary.
Bob Bourne: I think the problem in Western society... Because in Western society, if you're not the head, then you're inferior.
Bob Bourne: If you're not the head, you're inferior. In Indian society that's not so.
Prabhupāda: Who shall be the head?
Bob Bourne: All want to be heads, in one way or another.
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Amogha: He says that we all want to be heads.
Prabhupāda: No. That is a very good idea, but the leg is also required. If you simply keep the head and there is no leg, then it is incomplete. Everything is required. To keep the body fit you require head, you require arms, you require belly, you require leg. That is the system of varṇāśrama-dharma. In India you have heard that there is a class, brāhmaṇa. Now it is now broken. But this is the Vedic civilization, that one class of men should be the brāhmaṇas, first class. One class of man should be kṣatriya, the administrators, politicians. One class of man should be food producer, vaiśyas. And one class of man should be laborer, who has no brain but he can assist the other three.
Bob Bourne: The ideal in Western societies is that all people should be equal.
Prabhupāda: No, that is not ideal, and neither it is possible. Not that everyone is going to be lawyer. Even though everyone has got the ambition to become a first-class lawyer and earn like anything, but that is not possible. So therefore it requires selection, who will become a lawyer, who will become a scientist, who will become a medical man...
Bob Bourne: In our society you are taught at school that if you try hard enough, you can become prime minister.
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, no, there is no harm. You become prime minister. But I say that not everyone is capable to become prime minister. That has to be. If one man is not capable, and if he takes education to become, he will waste his time.
Bob Bourne: But once you have the idea in your head that you can be prime minister, you don't want to be a laborer.
Prabhupāda: Then you become. But if he is a loafer and he wants to become prime minister, then it will create havoc. Just like in America. He was not fit for the president's post. Nixon was elected. Then again he has to be dragged down. We say the fit man should go to become a particular...
Bob Bourne: Our system, I think, is not very good. But everyone is taught this way in our system.
Prabhupāda: No, there must be... Just like first-class men. They should judge for which purpose this man is. Practical psychology there is, I think. They can decide like that. Anyway, the society must have all divisions of men, and then the society is perfect. We have already many divisions, but we are lacking one division, that, the first-class men, first-class ideal men. That is lacking.
Raymond Lopez: I think everybody acknowledges that.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that first-class man is stated here. [aside:] Read that.
kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ
Translation = "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge and religiousness---these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work."
Prabhupāda: So we have to train men like that.
Raymond Lopez: I don't think anybody would disagree with any one of those.
Raymond Lopez: I don't think anybody would disagree with any one of those.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So as you are training lawyer, as you are training medical man, you can train some men like that. It is possible. If you train from the childhood, it is possible. It doesn't matter from which family he is coming, but it will require, trained up. Just like you have been trained up as lawyer, it doesn't matter from which family you have... It may be lawyer's family or engineer's family. It doesn't matter. But training. So at the present moment, to make the society perfect, a class of men should be trained as it is described here. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And if the first-class men are there, people will consult them, people will follow them, the whole society will be nice.
Bob Bourne: What about soldiers?
Bob Bourne: Soldiers?
Prabhupāda: Soldiers, they should be also trained up. They are being trained up. Kṣatriyas. [aside:] Just read the kṣatriya...
yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam
dānam īśvara-bhāvaś ca
kṣātraṁ karma svabhāva-jam
Translation = "Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and..."
Prabhupāda: Courage in battle.
Bob Bourne: American soldiers.
Prabhupāda: No, whoever may be. Not that I sit down in my armchair and I give direction; the poor soldiers are fighting. No. He should go. Courage. He should personally give direction, "Do like this." Who is doing that? The Minister of Defense is very comfortably sitting on his chair, and the poor soldiers are fighting. That is not required. He must go first of all = "Do like this."
Bob Bourne: His duty.
Prabhupāda: Just like in Battle of Kurukṣetra, Arjuna is in front; the other side, Duryodhana. The real fighters, they are face to face. Soldiers are assistant. Where is that? So they should be trained up. So unless he is by his nature very powerful, śauryam... What is that?
Amogha: Śauryam, heroism.
Prabhupāda: Heroism. Therefore the kṣatriyas are allowed to hunt in the forest to become hero, because he has to fight. Just like in medical laboratory they first of all dissect some poor animal before touching human being. Therefore kṣatriyas are allowed to hunt to become hero, facing the tiger, "Come on." And still, say, about twenty-five years ago, there was a native prince in Jaipur. Every year he would go to the forest and face the tiger, without any weapon. So that is required.
Bob Bourne: That is good?
Prabhupāda: That is required. Those who are politicians, those who are going to be president, they must be like that.
Bob Bourne: In our society that wouldn't be thought good.
Prabhupāda: No, your society, whatever you may be, this is the idea.
Raymond Lopez: Well, that's almost the description of General Amin.
Raymond Lopez: That's almost the description of General Amin.
Wally Strobes: Where is he?
Bob Bourne: Idi Amin? Uganda.
Amogha: There is a general in Africa who is very powerful, but he's demonic.
Prabhupāda: No, no. They should not be demonic. Other things are there. Śauryaṁ... Read.
Amogha: "Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership..."
Bob Bourne: So he hasn't got generosity.
Wally Strobes: No, he's got another one---insanity. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: Not insanity.
Raymond Lopez: You can't substitute.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is there. He must be, at the same time... Although he is hero, he must be generous. Just like Alexander the Great. Perhaps you know the story. He arrested one thief. So when he was arrested and he was being judged by Alexander, the thief pleaded that "What is the difference between you and me? You are a great thief. I am a small thief." [laughter] So Alexander understood it and got him released, "Yes." [laughter] This is generosity. He must agree to the principle.
Raymond Lopez: Well, there's another one, the battle. You know the big battle where the opposition, what was his name, was on the ground, and he said, "You won't..."
Bob Bourne: ...won't live.
Raymond Lopez: It's an Indian.
Madhudviṣa: We brought back Wally one picture from India on the battle of Kurukṣetra of Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu's head was there, and Karṇa was on the ground with his chariot, and Arjuna was about to kill him, and Kṛṣṇa was directing him to kill. So I told Wally the story that when Abhimanyu was surrounded by the mahārathīs, there was no mercy then, so now Karṇa was objecting that...
Madhudviṣa: ...he cannot shoot a man if he gets off his chariot. And Kṛṣṇa said, "There was no mercy with Abhimanyu, so therefore there will be no mercy now."
Prabhupāda: Tit for tat. [laughter]
Raymond Lopez: But where was the generosity then?
Prabhupāda: That is happening, tit for tat.
Raymond Lopez: Was that generosity, or...? Where was the generosity?
Prabhupāda: No. That is war tactics. That is war tactics. Sometimes we have to use war tactics because we have to own victory. But they were generous, because in this Battlefield of Kurukṣetra they would fight like anything, like enemies, but at night they were friends. The one man is going. Just like sportsman. They fight during the play, but after that, they are friends, talking together, drinking together, like that.
Wally Strobes: Like barristers and prosecutors.
Prabhupāda: [laughs] Yes. They are paid for fighting. [laughter] But when the fighting is over, they are friends.
Raymond Lopez: Sometimes. Sometimes.
Madhudviṣa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, Raymond did not realize that you were going to be so merciful to grant so much time, and he thought that you were only going to give about ten minutes, so he left about twenty people back at his house at some party. So he's feeling that he must return.
Raymond Lopez: It's my father-in-law's birthday.
Raymond Lopez: And it's my son's ninth birthday.
Raymond Lopez: And what we're doing is, we've decided we're going to have the family.
Prabhupāda: That's nice, very nice. So give some prasādam to his son and his father-in-law.
Raymond Lopez: And then my wife said, a couple of nights ago, my wife said, "Well..."
Prabhupāda: Take some blessings from the temple.
Raymond Lopez: Well, thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: For your son and father-in-law.
Raymond Lopez: So we decided to get all of my father-in-law's friends. He doesn't know yet, and I'm supposed to pick him up, you see, and I was supposed to be there over an hour ago. It's a family... By the time we get home, it'll be a surprise for him.
Prabhupāda: So you must go on. Oh, yes. It is very nice. It is very nice function. The father-in-law, the grandson. [chuckles]
Madhudviṣa: He's going to bring some prasādam for you.
Prabhupāda: Give some prasādam for them also.
Madhudviṣa: We invited everyone over to one..., Ugraśrava's house one night. We had a big party, and Wally came and Raymond came, and they became very much addicted to prasādam. [laughter]
Prabhupāda: Make his father-in-law also interested.
Raymond Lopez: Well, he was here on Sunday. He came down on Sunday.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes? So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very nice. We can make friend anyone. So you are going? Thank you very much for your coming.
Raymond Lopez: Thank you very much for your time. You've been most gracious and kind with us. I hope you have a nice trip.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Madhudviṣa: He's coming back in January too. Maybe then we can have a longer meeting.
Prabhupāda: It is very nice place. I wish to stay here, but I have got so many branches I have to go.
Raymond Lopez: Good night.
Prabhupāda: Good night. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Wally Strobes: I think you must be very happy to see what's happened in Melbourne.
Prabhupāda: Yes, I am very happy. This house is quite suitable for our purpose.
Wally Strobes: They looked very hard and for a long time.
Wally Strobes: And they had a lot of difficulty. This is one of the things that I imagine, you know, the story that the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church owned this property. And it was almost by devious means that it was acquired.
Prabhupāda: They did not want to give us?
Wally Strobes: He didn't want to sell direct, like that. Because that beautiful building across there... I think you saw photos...
Amogha: The convent. Śrīla Prabhupāda went through the convent.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Wally Strobes: They... We found out, or the suggestion was... Because there were little power groups in that church that possibly the senior people don't know about, but they objected for some reason, which is very hard to understand.
Prabhupāda: In London we wanted to purchase one church that was not working. In London. But when we approached that priest, the in-charge, not directly to me but one of my disciples, he informed him that "I shall better set fire in this church. Still, I shall not give to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness."
Wally Strobes: That's one reason that the name "religion" has possibly become bad in the eyes of non-religious people when they hear something like that. Because you could assume that whatever religion, if a person was religious...
Prabhupāda: Religion means God. God is one.
Wally Strobes: ...that that should aid all religions. And the more Kṛṣṇas there are, the more other religious people might benefit. Yet they can't see it.
Prabhupāda: According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, religion means the law given by God. Just like law means the act given by the state. You cannot manufacture law; I cannot manufacture law. [indicating prasādam being served as they talk] From that pot one give me little. So Mr. Raymond has gone?
Devotee: Yes, yes.
Prabhupāda: He has taken some prasāda?
Devotee: Yes, we gave him some prasādam.
Prabhupāda: Give him.
Wally Strobes: Bob's in a similar position almost to Raymond. His wife's expecting a baby any minute.
Prabhupāda: Oh. That's nice. How many children he has got?
Wally Strobes: Four. Plenty.
Prabhupāda: That's nice. Putra-hīnaṁ gṛhaṁ śūnyam [Cāṇakya Paṇḍita]. Family without children, it is vacant. But people, now they are under this consciousness that family without children. No, that is not. Family means with children. Otherwise it is desert. Putra-hīnaṁ gṛhaṁ śūnyam. Śūnyam means zero.
Wally Strobes: One thing I wondered about. In our terms sometimes you can find a person that you admire or who you believe does good, but he professes to be an atheist. I'm thinking about a person like Bertrand Russell.
Prabhupāda: No, our ideas are standard. We are not manufacturing any idea. Just like whatever we speak, immediately we give evidence from the śāstra. That is our standard. We accept standard idea, and the standard idea means the ideas given by God. That is standard. There is no mistake. There is no cheating. There is no illusion. Any idea we form, that is prone to these four defects. One defect is that we are prone to commit mistake. We are prone to be illusioned. And our senses are imperfect. So being subjected to mistaken idea, illusioned idea, our senses being imperfect, if we want to give some law, that is cheating.
Wally Strobes: So the answer to every question is in there.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I do not pose myself that I am perfect. The ideas I am giving, that is perfect.
Wally Strobes: Is that open to interpretation, or is it very... Can two people read...
Prabhupāda: Interpretation... When you do not understand the word, then you can give interpretation. Otherwise, there is no chance of interpreting.
Wally Strobes: If two devotees read that, the meaning is the same, but...
Prabhupāda: If two devotees... Just like you are eating this sweet. So everyone will say, "Yes, he is eating sweet." And where is the question of interpretation? Everyone knows that you are eating sweet. So if I say, "This gentleman is eating sweet," so who will object to this? "No, no, my interpretation is different." What is that interpretation? This is a fact.
Bob Bourne: Yes, but I think that's a simple example.
Prabhupāda: So when you can understand directly, where is the question of interpretation? You cannot give interpretation.
Wally Strobes: I've read some of these, which are very difficult to understand. And I have seen the boys with writing in there which is help in their understanding of it, where you could say fifteen words, but to a simple reading of them, they're very complicated.
Prabhupāda: No, this is... Therefore purport is given there. The explanation is given there. And even after that, if one cannot understand, then we are here. The devotees are there. I am there. There is no difficulty.
Bob Bourne: But I think it's easier if you have a teacher.
Prabhupāda: Of course, everything requires teacher. So we are giving the purport; that means we are teaching. Not only the verse is there, the translation is there, but we giving a purport. And even from the verse. Just like this verse, śamo damaḥ, yes.
caṁ kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ
Prabhupāda: These are different words. You can understand what is the meaning of śamaḥ. Śamaḥ means controlling the mind. So damaḥ means controlling the senses. If you first of all control the mind, then you can control the senses. Then? Śamo damaḥ sattvam.
Amogha: Tapaḥ śaucam.
Prabhupāda: Tapaḥ. Tapaḥ, tapasya, austerity. Austerity. Then you have to consult what is the austerity? The austerity is, beginning of austerity is the sex control. That is austerity, brahmacarya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa [SB 6.1.13]. And that brahmacarya you can observe by following certain rules and regulations, just like these people are following. In this way everything is there, clear. There is no interpretation. You cannot interpret the word water. Everyone knows what is water means. Where is the question of interpreting? Therefore sometimes reference to the teacher is necessary. Otherwise, every word is clear. There is no question of interpretation. Now they are irrelevantly interpreting the first verse of Bhagavad-gītā, dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre [Bg. 1.1]. So they are interpreting Kurukṣetra means this body. And where is the chance of such interpretation? Kurukṣetra, the land, is still there. Just before coming here I went to Kurukṣetra. So why you should interpret, "Kurukṣetra means this body"? This is wrong interpretation. The law of interpretation is there when you cannot understand directly. Then you are allowed to interpret. Otherwise, there is no necessity of interpretation. But they are unnecessarily interpret for their own purpose. That has become a fashion, to interpret Bhagavad-gītā in his own way. Where is the chance?
Wally Strobes: This... I think I remember from last year that the boys in New Zealand seemed to have a different interpretation of some of them, didn't they?
Prabhupāda: Yes, that may be, but we don't agree with that. We don't agree with that. Everyone has got the right to interpret in a different way, but we have to accept paramparā, the disciplic succession. Just like I have given one burfī. Everyone knows it is burfī, and if somebody interprets, "It is stone," so he will not be accepted. Everyone knows it is burfī, nice sweetmeat. Why shall I call it stone? But if somebody says, "I can interpret in this way," he can say, but it will not be accepted. [pause]
Amogha: Maybe you'd like to come to ārati. It's just starting, ārati ceremony.
Bob Bourne: I'd like to very much, but we'd better go home, because...
Amogha: You've got something on? [indistinct comments by guests] This lasts till 7:30. [to Prabhupāda] They have things that they have to do.
Wally Strobes: Later, at 8 o'clock, I've got a meeting, some people coming to my home. My wife's away having a holiday with our youngest boy at the moment, and I'm taking that chance to work long hours to get a lot of things done.
Prabhupāda: What is? Holiday?
Wally Strobes: For the school children, yes.
Amogha: Schools are not in session, all over Australia.
Prabhupāda: This is winter holiday? No.
Wally Strobes: There are three terms. This is the first-term holiday.
Amogha: They do, in one year, there's three parts?
Wally Strobes: Three holidays, three terms.
Amogha: They divide the year into three parts, and after each part they have a holiday. They study for one third and then they have hoilday...
Prabhupāda: We have got in India two period holiday = summer holiday and Pūjā holiday. There is a season for worshiping different types of demigods. That is called Pūjā. And in India when the summer becomes too hot, that is holiday.
[guests prepare to leave] Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya.
Wally Strobes: I wish you a good trip and a happy trip.
Prabhupāda: Thank you.
Wally Strobes: And also I hope that the building in Sydney eventuates.
Wally Strobes: That you will see or hear about tomorrow morning.
Amogha: They're working on that tonight.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Off this light. [end]