Room Conversation with Reporter , Los Angeles , 1976-06-04
Reporter: I wonder if you can tell me a little bit about your routine. I understand that you only sleep about two or three hours a day. And do you usually sleep during the middle of the daytime as well?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Daytime I sleep two hours, and night also two hours.
Reporter: Ah! Two hours at night also.
Reporter: Does it...? Is it more difficult to do this when you're traveling a lot?
Prabhupāda: No. I..., my work is going on. By traveling also, I carry this machine, Dictate..., Dictaphone. I dictate, and then my assistants, they write, transcribe, and then it is..., it goes to the Press. In this way my work is going on. [noises coming from outside]
Reporter: I'd like to ask one... Is your role in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the United States particularly or worldwide? Ten years ago, when you first came to the United States, did you take a very active role in the organization, and I'm wondering whether you do much of that now?
Prabhupāda: No, although the volume of work has incr... [break] ...a hundred times, but these American disciples, they are helping me, so I haven't got to work personally so much. I simply give the instruction and they carry out. But the work has increased voluminously, there's no doubt about it. I came here alone in 1965 without any help practically. Where to live, where to sleep, there was no destination. Sometimes some friend's house, sometimes some friend's house, practically loitering on the street. And in this way were passed more than one year. I arrived here in 1965 in September, end of September, 17th of September, in Boston. Hmm. Is it Boston?
Devotee (1): Yes, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Then, in Boston, I stayed on the sea, on the only, but I saw the Boston city. Then I was brought to New York. So I had one friend in Butler, Pennsylvania. Hmm. After my arrival, I was received by some representative of my host. So he took me to Butler, and there I stayed for twenty days. Then I came to New York. [break] ...one introductory letter to one Dr. Mishra. So that is the beginning of my life in New York. Then struggling. Then gradually, when these boys came to me, I got some relief. And in this way we are propagating, opening branches, and the movement is going forward.
Reporter: Are there many decisions that people ask you to make, about whether the movement should do this, or should do that, or do they bother you of that now, or are you just busy writing and translating?
Prabhupāda: No, we do not accept any---what is called?---defective suggestion. We do not accept. We have got our program. This program is coming directly from Kṛṣṇa. The Bhagavad-gītā is there.
Prabhupāda: So we are simply giving a practical set of the instruction of Gītā. This is our business. We don't manufacture any imaginative thing.
Rāmeśvara: His idea... His question, Prabhupāda, is also, suppose someone wants to buy a farm or wants to do some new project. Do they ask your permission first?
Prabhupāda: Yes. The whole Society is going on under my direction. Whatever they do, they take my permission and they put into action. Nothing is allowed without my permission.
Reporter: I wonder if you might have any opinions on some of the leaders of cults and groups in the United States, such as the Divine Light Mission, or the T.M. and so forth. I'm wondering if you have any opinions on Guru Maharaj-ji or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Prabhupāda: There are different groups. I know that. But I do not go in detail to understand them. But our..., we have got a crucial test, that anyone who is..., does not know about Kṛṣṇa, he is put into four different types of categories, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. One category is that he is sinful. Another category is that he is rascal. Another category is that he's lowest of the mankind. And another category is that his so-called knowledge is taken away by illusory energy. So this is our test. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, that,
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
Anyone who is not talking about God, he is either of these group = sinful, rascal, lowest of the mankind, and knowledge taken away by illusion. This is our conclusion, and that's a fact. Because a person who does not know about God, what he is? He is animal. The animal has no knowledge about God. But a human being, if he poses himself to be very learned, then he must have knowledge about God; otherwise what is his knowledge?
Reporter: Do you have any opinion about Ted Patrick, who I guess you've probably heard of?
Prabhupāda: I, I do not care to read these persons. But I have no business, because we are strictly following Kṛṣṇa. Our signboard is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So anyone who does not know anything about Kṛṣṇa, we reject him immediately. That's all. Simple business.
Reporter: Is the only way to know Kṛṣṇa through the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Certainly. If you want to know me, then you must know about me from me. You can not speculate about me. If you speculate that "Swāmījī is so rich," or "Swāmī might have so much bank balance also," or "He may be so...." This is all speculation. But when I say that my bank balance is such and such, that is right knowledge.
Reporter: I didn't understand you.
Prabhupāda: That suppose if you are speculating what may be the Swāmījī's strength of bank balance. So how you can know it by speculation? But if I say that my bank balance is such and such, than you can understand what is bank balance. So by speculative knowledge you cannot understand God. When God says what He is, then you can understand.
Reporter: Do you feel also that if someone read the Bhagava...? I can't pronounce it...
Reporter: ...Bhagavad-gītā and other books, that a person merely by reading these could attain knowledge of Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Why not?
Reporter: Would that person have to have contact with you and learn from you also?
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is explained; there is no difficulty. But if there is difficulty to understand, then we have to approach a person who has understood Bhagavad-gītā. Otherwise the language is very plain; there is no difficulty. Unfortunately, they bring their own interpretation and spoil the whole thing.
Prabhupāda: Otherwise where is the difficulty? Just like the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya
The beginning of Bhagavad-gītā is the battlefield, and the battlefield is called Kurukṣetra. So Kurukṣetra is still there in India, but these so-called learned scholars, politicians, they're squeezing out some meaning out of Kurukṣetra. What is the necessity? Kurukṣetra is a place where actually, historically the battle took place. [Reporter changes cassette of tape recorder] [break]
Prabhupāda: Yes. Attentive.
Reporter: You don't see any slowing down of the impact of...
Prabhupāda: No. It can be slowed down unless we spoil it.
Reporter: Is there anyone who is designated to succeed you as the primary teacher of the movement?
Prabhupāda: I am training some, I mean to say, advanced students so that they may be very easily take up the charge. I have made them GBC. They are under my direct training, and I think they will be able to conduct this movement.
Reporter: Do you expect to name one person as your successor, or have you already?
Prabhupāda: That I am not contemplating now. But there is no need of one person. As other things are managed, but by committee, so this can also be managed, and the committee may elect one person as chief. As, just like in the democracy there are senators and there is president, so it may be I may nominate or they can nominate.
Reporter: Do you feel are you in good health now? You look it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. After all, of course I am eighty, eighty years old. And I complete eighty years next September. So the age is there, although I am feeling not aged by..., the effect of age must be there.
Reporter: I didn't understand that.
Rāmeśvara: He says although... Prabhupāda says although he's not feeling aged, the effect of age is there.
Reporter: When I interviewed you perhaps five or six years ago, it was before there were reports of the astronauts landing on the moon, and I asked you at that time if you thought..., what you thought about it, and you said that, as I recall, that they would not be able to land or explore, because spirits or creatures that lived on the moon would not allow it. The reports of course said that indeed people did land and explore and return safely. I understand you have further thoughts about that [laughter] and you've even written a lot about it. I wonder if you could tell me, not at great length perhaps, but what your belief about those events is.
Prabhupāda: Yes. From the... That question I was discussing the other day. In the common sense, question, that all over the world, they accept Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in this way Saturday last. So why these arrangement, Sunday first and Monday second? And nobody could reply it. But as a layman I can conclude that sun planet is first and the moon planet is next. So if you cannot go to the sun planet, which is ninety-three million miles away, how you can go to the moon planet within four days? Nobody could answer me. Can you answer?
Reporter: Well, I don't think it's worth the answer now, but I'm wondering what your response is.
Prabhupāda: But this is the arrangement all over the world. Sunday first, Monday second, then Tuesday. So sun, moon, Mars, Jupiter, in this way. Last Saturn. This is the arrangement of the planets. So if this is the arrangement of the planets, moon-day next to..., moon next to sun, and if you cannot go to the sun, how can you go to the moon?
Reporter: Do you, in other words, do you believe that astronauts landed somewhere?
Prabhupāda: That is next question. First of all, whether you actually went to the moon, that is the first question. You have to conclude that you did not, because the sun planet is first, the moon planet is second. You cannot go to the sun planet, ninety-three millions of miles, how can you go to the moon planet?
Reporter: Well, except that...
Prabhupāda: According to our śāstra, the moon planet is above the sun planet, and the distance is 1,600,000 miles. So accepting that the sun is 93,000,000 miles away, then you add another 1,600,000, almost 2,000,000, it becomes 15,000,000 miles away. So if you go at the speed of 18,000 miles per hour, it takes more than 6 months. So how you go there in 4 days? And you advertise in the paper = "Now they have reached," after 4 days.
Rāmeśvara: They don't accept that the moon is further away.
Prabhupāda: They don't accept, that is another thing, but we have got this information. How we can accept it?
Reporter: I didn't understand that last.
Rāmeśvara: I said to Prabhupāda that the modern man believes that the moon is closer, but Prabhupāda said, "But our ancient literatures teach that the moon is further away. So since we have that information, how can we accept the version of the modern scientists?"
Reporter: Hmm. Hmm.
Rāmeśvara: We've got...
Prabhupāda: Not only that. Why this arrangement that Monday and..., Sunday first, Monday second?
Reporter: Well, that doesn't necessarily speak of distance.
Reporter: It doesn't necessarily speak of distance.
Prabhupāda: That... Distance may not be, but you have to accept the sun planet first, moon planet next.
Prabhupāda: Distance is not the question.
Prabhupāda: Why this arrangement = Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday? There is some system. The system is, just like first, second, third, fourth. So it is naturally concluded the moon planet is next to the sun planet.
Reporter: Do you feel---maybe you answered this, but I didn't understand the answer---do you feel that astronauts did land somewhere, but it was some other planet?
Prabhupāda: That may be. Or it may not be also.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What about that sometimes people ask us what about the pictures of man on the moon?
Rāmeśvara: They show man in a spacesuit walking on some other planet.
Prabhupāda: That is also, what is called, argumentative. Somebody says it is laboratory arrangement.
Reporter: Hmm. Laboratory.
Prabhupāda: Of course, we do not go into the details of this. My question is that why Sunday first and Monday second? Nobody can apli..., replies.
Rāmeśvara: Prabhupāda once also argued that the dust, the dirt that they brought back, it did not reflect any light, but the moon is always reflecting light. So it was a different substance than what must be on the moon surface.
Prabhupāda: Now, according to our Vedic scripture, moon is one of the heavenly planets.
Reporter: Are there any other Vedic scriptures that you believe speak to a situation that is greatly misunderstood today besides this?
Prabhupāda: No. Vedic understanding means there is no different Vedic version.
Reporter: But do people..., say another example where what you hold is very different from what the rest of society holds, is there something else that would be...
Prabhupāda: No. Why...
Rāmeśvara: No, he means, Prabhupāda, that just like modern man is thinking that they went to the moon, and our Vedic scripture says they didn't, so he's asking are there any other controversies, just like reincarnation, transmigration...
Prabhupāda: No, so far Vedic students are concerned, there are no controversies.
Rāmeśvara: But from what the modern man believes there may be some differences.
Prabhupāda: Modern man believes, that's all right, but...
Rāmeśvara: That's what his question is.
Prabhupāda: Our, our basic knowledge is on the Vedic principle, that whatever... Just like we are explaining now, veda-vihito dharmaḥ. We have to understand everything from the Vedas, from this Vedic knowledge. So anything which does not speak accor..., in terms of the Vedic formula, we do not accept such knowledge as valid.
Prabhupāda: But practically you are seeing that. But...
Reporter: Would you accept conclusions from science that..., only if it agreed with the Vedic scriptures?
Prabhupāda: First of all is that... As you say science, what do you mean by science? Can you explain?
Reporter: Well, what the..., the best conclusions of the best people in science.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That's all right, but what is the best conclusion?
Reporter: Well, rely on their opinions.
Prabhupāda: That is opinion. The opinion is changing. How you can rely? That is not fixed up. So what is this opinion? What is the value of this opinion?
Prabhupāda: You give some opinion, and after some years you change it. So what is the... How can I rely on your opinion?
Reporter: Would Darwin's theory of evolution and other evolutionary theories...
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, if it is being changed every year or every ten years, then what is the value of this opinion? There is no value.
Reporter: Well, but religious thought in India has changed over the years too.
Prabhupāda: No. Nothing. We do not change. Just like your Bhagav...
Reporter: Well, others ...
Reporter: Others change.
Prabhupāda: Ah, others may deviate, that is another thing. But the system is not that. You cannot deviate from the Vedic injunction, that if you have to follow the ācāryas, just like India is obeying. The mass population or the sane population, they are following the ācāryas. Ācāryas means great teachers, bona fide teachers---perhaps you have heard their name---just like Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Lord Caitanya. So they are followed, and they are of the same opinion. Millions of years ago, what was the opinion, and that opinion is still there. Ācchā, take for Bhagavad-gītā. And that is..., not a single Indian who does not accept Bhagavad-gītā as authority. This is besides the foreigners who also take interest so much in Bhagavad-gītā. So far Indians are concerned, even some of the Muhammadans. So apart from Muhammadans, those who are claiming as Hindu, they all accept the authority of Bhagavad-gītā. So this Bhagavad-gītā, they might have changed, but that is not acceptable.
Reporter: I think I covered most questions that I wanted to in the interview. Did you say that somebody would be transcribing?
Rāmeśvara: Yes, I'm going to arrange to have it transcribed.
Reporter: Because there are a lot of things that I couldn't catch, just because I'm not atuned to hearing you, so a lot of words I did not understand. But...
Rāmeśvara: I'll arrange for that.
Rāmeśvara: You'll get it tomorrow.
Reporter: Oh, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
Prabhupāda: Thank you. [break]
Rāmeśvara: Just like there is this one point that the scientists say something which everyone in the world believes, but you are saying something different. So he was very interested...
Prabhupāda: No. I... I...
Reporter: Well the Vedic scriptures say that.
Rāmeśvara: Yes, the Vedic scriptures...
Rāmeśvara: ...say something different.
Prabhupāda: The thing is, that is practical. That scientifics statement given today, and after few days it is changed.
Prabhupāda: Then if I say, "What is the value of such statement if you change it?" That is my point. And so far Vedic injunctions are there, you don't change. What was given millions of years ago, that we carry.
Reporter: Thank you very much.
Rāmeśvara: Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]