Room Conversation with Documentary Maker , Johannesburg , 1975-10-21
Guest: ...a couple of things for the potential audience who I'm hoping will see the documentary. So it's just a couple of questions I'd like to ask you, if I may. And if I can record them, we can have them typed out. I hope my little tape recorder works.
Prabhupāda: You sit down. Actually ours is not in search of truth, but we are presenting the truth as it is. We are not searching out.
Guest: Right. Well, this is what I want to... I wanted to ask you... I'll put the questions in their order. The questions in order is... The first one is, "Within Vedic culture, what is meant by bhakti-yoga?" The second one... Shall we take it in order?
Prabhupāda: Yes. You just learn it first of all. Vedic culture is that we are living entities. Some way or other, we have fallen in this material world and encaged in this body or other body. So material world means the spirit soul is wandering throughout the universe under material conditions. And the Vedic knowledge is to get him out of this material condition and take him again to the spiritual world. This is Vedic knowledge.
Guest: And bhakti within that...
Prabhupāda: Bhakti-yoga is the direct method. There are many methods recommended = karma, jñāna, yoga, and at last bhakti. They are different steps of the same staircase going upwards, and bhakti-yoga is the topmost level.
Guest: And bhakti is a devotional surrender.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Spiritual world means there the Supreme Lord is supreme, nobody else. And all others, they are engaged in His service. This is spiritual world. Here, in the material world, everyone is trying to be master. In the spiritual world there is no such attempt. They know the master is only God, and all others, they are servants. That is the difference between material world and spiritual.
Guest: I think that covers that. Second question. We were talking about that in this documentary, "In Search of Truth." Do you think there is any other way to actually realize God in truth and...
Prabhupāda: God can be realized through bhakti, surrender. Otherwise, even it is realized, it is partial, not complete.
Guest: Well, that answers that.
Prabhupāda: Bhakti... Just like I have got some official servant, and I have got very confidential servant. So to my confidential servant everything is disclosed. He knows everything. But official servant, he may not know everything. Therefore bhakti is the confidential part of understanding God. Otherwise they understand vaguely, impartially, not sufficiently. In the Bhagavad-gītā there is a verse, mayy āsakta-manā pārtha yoga yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ, samagram, asaṁśaya samagra mā yathā jñās... [aside:] You can quote it. That is the first śloka of the Seventh Chapter.
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha
yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ
yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
"Now hear, O son of Pṛthā, Arjuna, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt."
Guest: That answers it. Can I have that... Chapter...
Pusta Kṛṣṇa: Bhagavad-gītā, Seventh Chapter, first text. Seven, one.
Guest: Prabhupāda, I believe that answers all the questions I went through before that. We'd just like to say it's been very nice to meet you.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much.
Guest: We're both, in our own way, trying to find truth ourselves. It's been...
Prabhupāda: Asaṁśa... These two words are very important = asaṁśayaṁ, "without any doubt." Everyone, every religion, they have no doubtless understanding of God. Everyone has some doubt. Neither complete. That is only in bhakti-yoga.
Guest: We're just discovering veils of ignorance. We're busy trying to...
Prabhupāda: Any religious system, ask them, "What do you understand by 'God'?" They will not be able to explain, because that is not complete, not doubtless. Therefore these two words have been used, asaṁśayaṁ samagram.
Guest: Our reading has only drawn forth a lot of conflicting answers so far. We've been reading into Hindu philosophies, and most of the answers conflict with each other.
Prabhupāda: Which book you are reading?
Guest: Well, we've been just reading mainly biographies by svāmīs and yogīs, Aurobindo and Resynthesis of Yoga...
Prabhupāda: They have no realization. They have simply jugglery of words. That's all.
Guest: It's new for us, so I'm not very...
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Guest: It's very new for us. We've only been doing it for a few months.
Prabhupāda: Read Bhagavad-gītā As It Is.
Guest: I've got it. I am reading it. Each time I read it, I find I read it a little better.
Prabhupāda: Aurobindo has no clear knowledge. And which other svāmī you are reading?
Guest: We've read... Which one did you read?
Woman guest: Maharishi.
Prabhupāda: No, he has no idea.
Guest: We've started practicing that Transcendental Meditation. We have found that by practicing the meditation we have had a change in consciousness. It has led us into further inquiry, so we've found that it has been valuable in a certain way. And that's the only actual practice. We have been reading things like Muktananda and kuṇḍalinī-yoga and that sort of stuff, the haṭha-yoga. So it's just been an inquiry of our own which we've never done before. We've only been exposed to our own Christian scriptures. And we find in bhakti-yoga and Christianity a lot of similarities. They are the same, as far as we can see. It's difficult, though, to understand our scriptures in as much...
Prabhupāda: No, in the Bhagavad-gītā everything is clearly explained.
Guest: That's right. Our scriptures are interpreted, and we've been taught to interpret them in a certain way, and it hasn't been very clear.
Prabhupāda: What scripture you are... Bible?
Guest: Well, the Bible. But we only know the Bible as we've been told it, and it's been told to us by unrealized men, and we ended up being virtually atheistically inclined, until that led to...
Prabhupāda: So in Bible, what is the conception of God?
Guest: It's very unclear.
Prabhupāda: That I was speaking. In every religion...
Woman guest: Hard to identify with it.
Prabhupāda: There is no clear conception.
Guest: That's right. And I think this is the reason that leads you away. We've been led away from the Bible because of that. There is nothing clear, and everybody who has read it to us has read it to us in a different way. But I would say that the finest book we have read is the Bhagavad-gītā. There's no question. [end]