Bhavan's Journal, Answers to a Questionnaire 3 , New Vrindavan , 1976-07-01

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So we're continuing with this questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal in Bombay. This is question number ten. Question number ten, Śrīla Prabhupāda, is, "Will mantras lose their sanctity if they are not in Sanskrit?"

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Will mantras lose their sanctity, or holiness, if they are not in the Sanskrit language?

Prabhupāda: Mantra in Sanskrit language, it may... The letters may be different, but it is a transcendental sound. The sound must be vibrated. You cannot translate it. The sound as it is... Just like Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the sound must be produced. You cannot translate. Then it will be artha, arthavad. That is prohibited. You cannot interpret or do other way. The sound vibration must be there. Then it will continue in sanctity.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is that to say that the mantras can be written in Devanāgarī script or in roman letters, but...

Prabhupāda: It doesn't matter.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But the sound must be the same.

Prabhupāda: Yes. The sound is important.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So the sanctity is in the sound vibration and not so much that it's in the Sanskrit letters itself. May I ask another question, Śrīla Prabhupāda? "Are fasting and other dietary regulations necessary for leading a spiritual life?"

Prabhupāda: Certainly.

tapasā brahmacaryeṇa
śamena damena va
tyāgena sattva-śaucābhyāṁ
yamena niyamena vā

[SB 6.1.13]

To advance in spiritual life these things are essential, tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting something which may be painful. Just like we are recommending no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating. So those who are accustomed to these bad habits, for them, in the beginning it may be a little difficult. But in spite of becoming difficult, one has to do it. That is called tapasya. To rise early in the morning, those who are not practiced, it is a little painful, but one has to do it. So this is called tapasya. So according to the Vedic injunction, there are some tapasyas that must be done. It is not, "I may do it or not do it." It must be done. Just like in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad it is ordered that one must go to the spiritual master. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. So there is no question of voluntarily, but it must be. And one must carry out by the order of a spiritual master and the order of the śāstra. That is called tapasya. Just like in our line ekādaśī is compulsory. One may feel some inconvenience fasting or simply eating fruits. No. It must be done. There are so many rules and regulation which is essential. It must be done. That is called tapasya. Without consideration whether it is convenient or inconvenient for you, which is, must be done, that is called tapasya.

Tapaḥ divyam... Just like Ṛṣabhadeva orders that this human life is meant for tapasya. Therefore in our Vedic civilization we find so many rules and regulations. This is tapasya. From the very beginning of life, brahmacārī, to go to the spiritual master's place and act like menial servant. Nīcavat, it is said. If the spiritual master says that "You go and pick up some wood from the forest," and one may be a king's son, but he cannot deny it, the spiritual master's order, "You must go," as Kṛṣṇa, He was ordered to go and pick up some dry wood from the forest. So He had to go. Although He was..., His father was Nanda Mahārāja, a village vaiśya king, and Kṛṣṇa was Personality of Godhead, but He could not deny. He had to go. Nīcavat. Just like menial servant. That is called brahmacārī. This is tapasya. So tapasya is so essential that one has to do it. There is no question of alternative.

Then brahmacārī, then..., if he marries, then gṛhastha. That is also tapasya. He cannot have sex life whenever he likes. No. The śāstra says, "You must have sex life like this = once in a month, and only for begetting children." So that is also tapasya. They do not follow..., people do not follow any tapasya at the present moment. But human life is meant for tapasya, regulative principles. Even in ordinary life... Just like you are driving your car, you are going to some urgent business, and you saw the red light. You have to stop. You cannot say, "I have to leave by this time. I must go." No. You must. That is tapasya. So tapasya means to follow the regulative principles strictly by the higher order. And that is human life. And animal life means you can do whatever you like. They keep to the right, keep to the left, it doesn't matter. But their offense is not taken, because they are animals. But a human being, if he does not follow the regulative principles, it is sinful. He'll be punished. The same principle = just like when there is red light, if you do not stop, you'll be punished. But a cat and dog, if he transgresses, "Never mind red light, I shall go," he's not punished. So tapasya is meant for the human being. He must do it if he wants at all progress of life. That is essential.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: In terms of diet, dietary regulations, eating...

Prabhupāda: That is also tapasya. That is also tapasya. Just like we are prohibiting meat-eating. So in your country this is little troublesome. From the very beginning of his life he is, I mean to say, habituated to eat meat. The mother purchases powdered meat and mix with... I have seen it. And by force. So he has been trained up eating meat, and I say, "Don't eat meat." So therefore that is troublesome. And if he's serious, he must accept the order. That is tapasya. Tapasya means in diet, in practice, in behavior, in dealing, and so on, so on. Everything there is tapasya. That is all described. Mental tapasya, bodily tapasya, and... What is called? Word? Just like vāco-vegam, this is tapasya. You cannot talk nonsense. You want to talk something nonsense, but according to... So they don't talk nonsense. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvar... [SB 9.4.18]. If you talk, you must talk about Kṛṣṇa. That is tapasya. "Śāstra has ordered me not to talk loosely anything, only talk of Kṛṣṇa." So if he does that, that is tapasya. Tapasya in the matter of words. Tapasya in connection with body. Tapasya in connection with mind. Vāco-vegaṁ krodha-vegam. One has become angry and he wants to express it by beating or something doing very..., but tapasya will restrict him = "No, don't do it." "I want to kill you." Tapasya will restrict. Vāco-vegaṁ krodha-vegaṁ manasa-vegam udara-vegam. "I am sexually inclined, but I cannot do it. This is not the time." That is tapasya. I am restricted. In this way, tapasya in every way---bodily, mental, words, practice, dealing. So these have to be learned. That is called tapasya. And that is human life. Tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. If you want to make progress in spiritual life and you are human life, human being, you must act according to the śāstric injunctions. That is called tapasya. Brahmā, before creation he had to undergo tapasya. Is it not stated? Yes. So tapasya is essential. You cannot avoid. Yes.

Hari-śauri: This is a listing of the three tapasyas in the Gītā.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Read it.


pūjanaṁ śaucam ārjavam
brahmacaryam ahiṁsā ca
śārīraṁ tapa ucyate

"The austerity of the body consists in this = worship of the Supreme Lord, the brāhmaṇas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother. Cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence are also austerities of the body." Shall I do the purport?

Prabhupāda: Words?

Hari-śauri: Purport?

Prabhupāda: No. Tapasya, words, not there?

Hari-śauri: Oh.

anudvega-karaṁ vākyaṁ
satyaṁ priya-hitaṁ ca yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ caiva
vāṇ-mayaṁ tapa ucvyate

"Austerity of speech consists in speaking truthfully and beneficially and in avoiding speech that offends. One should also recite the Vedas regularly."

Prabhupāda: Tapasya.


manaḥ-prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ
maunam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
bhāva saṁśuddhir ity etat
tapo mānasam ucyate

"And serenity, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purity of thought are the austerities of the mind."

śraddhayā parayā taptaṁ
tapas tat tri-vidhaṁ naraiḥ
aphalākāṅkṣibhir yuktaiḥ
sāttvikaṁ paricakṣate

"This threefold austerity, practiced by men whose aim is not to benefit themselves materially but to please the Supreme, is of the nature of goodness."

Prabhupāda: That's it. The aim is to please the Supreme through the spiritual master. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo. This is the idea. Now, who is teaching this tapasya? Where is the school, college? Smoke... This is tapasya. And they are smoking before teacher. No offense. What you'll expect from such student? Animal civilization. This is not civilization. No tapasya, no brahmacārī. Tapo divyaṁ [SB 5.5.1]. And tapasya begins from brahmacārī. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena [SB 6.1.13], to control. Brahmacārī guru-gṛhe vasan dāntaḥ [SB 7.12.1]. How to control senses, that is the beginning of life. Not A-B-C-D learning and maybe your character may be less than an animal's, and you have got a degree of the university; you become a learned man. No. That is not accepted. Even from moral instruction, who is educated, that is described by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita.

mātṛvat para-dāreṣu
para-dravyeṣu loṣṭravat
ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu
yaḥ paśyati sa paṇḍitāḥ

Here is paṇḍita. That is learned man. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. Vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi [Bg. 5.18]. He is learned man. Not this degree-holder. A degree-holder, he has no tapasya, he has no character, and his knowledge is called māyayāpahṛta-jñānā. Although he has learned so many things, but māyā has taken away his knowledge. He's a rascal. He's animal. This is Vedic civilization. [break]

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number twelve = "What is the role of rituals in religion? Are they to be discouraged, as it is being advocated by some reformists, or are they to be encouraged? If so, in what form?" What is the role of rituals in religion?

Prabhupāda: Ritual is a practice based on tapasya. Unless one undergoes the ritualistic ceremony, he remains unclean. But in this age, because it is practically impossible to induce people to take all these ritualistic processes, therefore it is recommended that "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." That is special advantage of this age, that by constant chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra he automatically becomes purified. That is recommendation given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. The beginning is cleansing the heart, because we are impure on account of dirty things within our heart accumulated life after life in the animalistic way of life. So everything---advancement of spiritual life, culture, tapasya---means cleansing the heart.

So this process, chanting the mahā-mantra, the first installment of benefit is cleansing the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. And when the heart is cleansed, then he becomes eligible for being free from the clutches of māyā, or the materialistic way of life. When he understands that he is not this body, he's spirit soul, his business is different, and he understands that "I am engaged only in these bodily comforts of life. It is not at all essential, because it will change. Today I am in American body, I have got so many duties as American. Tomorrow I may be American dog body, so immediately my duties changes. So that is not my real business. My real business is how to elevate myself as spirit soul to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead." Then he changes his... Ceto... Bhava-maha... Then this materialistic activity is stopped. He is no more interested, that "This is simply waste of time." That is knowledge, that "I am simply acting for the benefit and comfort of the body. This is simply waste of time. I must act spiritually." That is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], cleansing the heart. He is wrongly working on the basis of bodily concept of life. That illusion is over simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This is the first installment, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam, and bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. Then he is in the process to stop the blazing fire of material existence. Then vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam. Then the ocean of transcendental bliss increases. Ānandāmbudhi-vardanaṁ sarvātmānam snapanaṁ: wholesale blissful life. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam: "All glories to the chanting of Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana." Then the other processes... That is described in the Śikṣāṣṭaka.

So this is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's gift, that kevalaya bhaktya. All the practices of austerities, penances and mystic yoga, and so on, so on---there are so many things---everything will be totally achieved simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Bhakti.

kecit kevalāya bhaktyā
aghaṁ dhunvanti kartsnyena
niharam iva bhaskaraḥ

Just like when there is sunrise, immediately the all-pervading fog disappears. Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question kind of relates a little bit in the same direction. Question thirteen = "There are various saṁskāras prescribed in the life of a Hindu, right from his birth to death."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Many of these saṁskāras are not being observed today. Should they be revived?"

Prabhupāda: Saṁskāra... The real aim is to bring the rascal to the platform of knowledge. That is called saṁskāra. Janmana jāyate śūdra. By birth everyone is the same, śūdras, means without any knowledge. But the saṁskāra means śūdra, rascal, without any knowledge of spiritual life, to gradually bring him to the spiritual platform. That is called saṁskāra. And saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ, that is essential. The human life is the opportunity for understanding what he is and what is the aim of his life. The aim of life is back to home, back to Godhead. We are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other we are in this material existence. So aim is again come to our spiritual life, spiritual existence, where there is no struggle for existence---blissful, happy life. Because actually we want happiness, blissful life. That is not possible in the material world. That is in the spiritual world. That is the aim. So every human being should be given chance. That is real education. That is called saṁskāra.

So these saṁskāra, there are dāsa-vidha-saṁskāraḥ... So in this age it is very difficult, but if one chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without any offense, being trained up by the spiritual master, all the saṁskāras automatically become done, and he comes to his original spiritual position, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am spirit soul. The Kṛṣṇa is Param Brahman, and I am Brahman." As Arjuna said, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]. Kṛṣṇa is also Brahman, I am also Brahman. But He's Supreme Brahman, I am minute Brahman. So my business is to serve Kṛṣṇa." That is teachings of Lord Caitanya, jīvera 'svarūpa' haya nitya kṛṣṇa-dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. So if he engages himself in his original spiritual business, to act as the servant of Kṛṣṇa, then all reformation is done.

So that advantage is given in this age = kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ param... [SB 12.3.51]. Reformatory process is meant for purifying him so he becomes mukta-saṅgaḥ. Mukta-saṅgaḥ means liberated from all this bad association of material existence. And he becomes eligible to go back to home, back to Godhead. So this is the special advantage. The question is, "Whether they should be revived?" They should be revived to the lowest necessity, but all of them cannot be revived in this age. But people should be induced to take to chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra. Then all reformation will automatically become manifest, and he will come to spiritual platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ, the realization of Brahman. Then prasannātmā, he'll be happy. There is no lamentation, there is no undesirable hankering. Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. He sees everyone on the spiritual platform. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. In this way he comes to the platform of devotional service, and then his life becomes successful. Is that question answered or not?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Just one question I have. You said that the saṁskāras should be revived to the lowest?

Prabhupāda: The minumum possible way. Just like to make him a brāhmaṇa. So to become a brāhmaṇa these four things are essential = no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. This must be done. You cannot avoid wholesale.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Cannot avoid...?

Prabhupāda: Wholesale.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Wholesale.

Prabhupāda: You must avoid at least sinful activities.

yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ punya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛdha-vratāḥ

You cannot become a devotee unless you are completely sinless. So to become completely sinless you have to begin with these four prohibitory injunctions, or avoid sinful activities like illicit sex, meat-eating, smoking, intoxication and gambling. Then you'll be gradually completely sinless. One side, to practice things, and another side, to engage yourself in devotional service. To engage oneself devotional service under the order of spiritual master and the śāstra means to remain on the transcendental platform. Transcendental platform means there is no sinful activity. It is above. Sinful... Pious and sinful activities are there so long you are on the material platform. Good and bad. Piety and sinful. But when you are on the transcendental platform, then you are automatically without sin.

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicārena
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

Sin..., life of vice and life of piety, they are within this material world. But when one is spiritually engaged, he is above the spiritual plane. Sa guṇan samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. So one side, voluntarily accepting these prohibitory process... [devotees entering; door squeaking] You can keep it open.

Hari-śauri: Tell him to leave the door open.

Prabhupāda: So the whole thing is that if you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and give up these sinful activities, automatically you become reformed, come to the spiritual platform, and in this way your life will become successful.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Can we go on to the next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question fourteen = "It is said that the karma-kāṇḍa in the Vedas has almost gone out of use, except for a few rites which remain in vogue for marriage, śraddhās, etc. Is it advisable to revive the karma-kāṇḍa with its stress on the performance of various yajñas?"

Prabhupāda: So that is not possible in this... Taking consideration of the time, circumstances, it is not possible. There are different kinds of karma-kāṇḍīya-yajña. It is expensive also, and there is no expert brāhmaṇa to guide how to perform this yajña. So Kali-yuga, it is not possible to perform yajñas. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ [SB 12.3.52]. In the Treta-yuga yajñas were possible. Dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt, that in this age of Kali-yuga, the real yajña is hari-kīrtana. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. Therefore those who are intelligent, having good brain substance, they take to this yajña, saṅkīrtana-yajña. And practically we are experiencing, simply by saṅkīrtana-yajña, even the lowest person in the sinful activities, he is becoming purified. So karma-kāṇḍa is... To revive them in this age is not possible. Neither jñāna-kanda. That is also not possible. People are so fool and rascal that it is impossible. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said... He has condemned karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, even it is properly done. Karma-kāṇḍa, by performing ritualistic ceremonies of karma-kāṇḍa, you can go to the heavenly planet. But what is the benefit there? You can enjoy there materialistic way of life in higher standard. That's all. You can live for a very, very long duration of period. But that does not mean that you become immortal. The demigods, they are called amara. Amara means they have got very long duration of life. Does not mean he is immortal.

So by karma-kāṇḍa you can elevate yourself to the higher planetary system. Even it is properly done... And now it is not possible to do it properly. And even it is properly done, that is condemned. It is not required. Similarly jñāna-kāṇḍa, even it is properly done. You can merge yourself into the Brahman effulgence. But that is also not safe, because in the śāstra we see that arūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ [SB 10.2.32]. Even one merges oneself into the impersonal Brahman, he again falls down. Patanty adhaḥ. We have seen practical, in India many sannyāsīs, they elevate themselves by jñāna-kāṇḍa, but because they cannot stay, they again come to the karma-kāṇḍa, philanthropy activities and hospitals and schools. That is their falldown.

So either in karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa you cannot achieve the real purpose of life. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said, karma-kāṇḍa jñāna-kāṇḍa sakali visera bandha. Either you accept karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kanda, they're different pots of poison. Amṛta boliya jeba khai. If by mistake you take poison, death is inevitable. Similarly, by karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa nobody can derive any actual benefit. By upasana-kāṇḍa, that is the... The Vedas, Vedic ritualistic ceremony means there are three kāṇḍas = karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsana-kāṇḍa. So upāsana-kāṇḍa, there are recommendation of many..., worship of many demigods. But the best upāsana is viṣṇūpāsana. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ sarveṣāṁ [Padma Purāṇa]. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ param. Oṁ tad viṣṇuṁ paramaṁ padam [Ṛg-Veda]. There are different types of upāsana recommendation, but the viṣṇor arādhanam, worshiping Lord Viṣṇu, that is the supreme. That is supreme. So gradually, there is elevation to karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, upāsana-kāṇḍa, but in the Kali-yuga all these things are not possible to revive. Best directly give him the best upāsana-kāṇḍa, viṣṇūpāsana, bhakti. Everything will be automatically achieved by bhakti-mārga.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, fifteen = "Hinduism has been defined as a way of life."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Actually it is the way. That, I have already described it. It is not a sectarianism like Muslimism, Christianism or this-ism. Hinduism also now one of them. Actually, it is a way of life, varṇāśrama-dharma, how to become elevated to the spiritual platform. So that begins by the varṇāśrama-dharma, to select persons according to his capacity to different varṇas. Some of them selected, trained as brāhmaṇas, some of them trained as kṣatriya, some of them as vaiśya, some of them as..., remain... Those who cannot take any training, they are śūdras. So in the ways there must be social division---not by birth, but by education. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. That we have lost. The so-called Hinduism they have lost. And because they did not follow real varṇāśrama-dharma, therefore India, so many renegades, Muslim, became... Once they became Muslim, there was no reformation.

But according to Vedic principle, even one is fallen, he can be raised to the highest standard. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. One may... Saṁskārād bhaved dvija. And Sanātana Gosvāmī says that,

yathā kañcanataṁ yati
kaṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena
dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇam

[Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 2.12]

As by chemical process the bell metal can be turned into gold by adding with the mercury... This is a chemical process. If you can add in the bell metal proportionately mercury, then it will turn into gold. Here is the process given in the śāstra. If you are able to do it, you can do it, turn gold some of these bell metals. So the example is given that as the bell metal, base metal, can be turned into gold by chemical process, similarly, by dīkṣā-vidhānena, by proper initiation by the bona fide spiritual master, everyone can be turned into dvija, twice-born. Dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇam. Nṛṇam means all men. It is not..., there is no discrimination, that only the Hindus, only the Indians, or only the so-called brāhmaṇas can be turned. Everyone can be turned. That is the injunction. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to do that, trying everyone to become a bona fide brāhmaṇa. Without becoming a brāhmaṇa you cannot become Vaiṣṇava. So this reformatory process is recommended in the śāstras. What is the question?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Hinduism has been defined as a way of life. In..."

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is the way of life, that by reformatory process recommended in the śāstras one should be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśyas and śūdra. Śudra means one who cannot take any reformation. But one who can take up the reformation, he can be situated as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya. This is not by birth, but by education, by training. That is recommended for the all human society. Not for the Hindus or... Otherwise, why Kṛṣṇa says pāpa-yoni? Pāpa-yoni. Striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās, they are also taken as pāpa-yoni. And what to speak of the śūdras and caṇḍālas? They must be pāpa-yoni. Only the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, they are taken as highly elevated. But nowadays, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. In this age you cannot distinguish who is brāhmaṇa, who is kṣatriya, who is a vaiśya, who is a śūdra. It is accepted that everyone is a śūdra because there is no reformation. So according to Pāñcarātriki-vidhi everyone should be given the chance of becoming a Vaiṣṇava, a dvija. And that is recommendation in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, that by the proper initiation process everyone can be brought into the platform of dvija, twice-born, and then he becomes... After initiation, his second birth is there. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Then he's allowed to read the scripture. Veda-pathād bhaved vipraḥ. He becomes vipra. Then when he really comes to the knowledge of Brahman, his relationship with Brahman, and acts accordingly, then he is brāhmaṇa. And when he is perfectly situated in the eternal relationship with God, Viṣṇu, then he becomes a Vaiṣṇava. That is perfection of life.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Is this practical in the present context?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are doing it. See. If anyone has eyes to see they can see how we are accepting the pāpa-yoni, so-called pāpa-yoni, to become the topmost Vaiṣṇava. That is possible. Unless it is possible, how it is being done all over the world? There is no consideration. The process is so effective that it is being done. They are taking it as a proselytization. But it is not proselytizing. Proselytization means it is superflous.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Excuse me, proselytization is...?

Prabhupāda: Superfluous.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Superfluous.

Prabhupāda: If one is Hindu you make him a Christian, and you change the name. But what is the use of changing the name if you do not reform him about his character? Simply changing the name from Hindu to Muslim or Muslim to Christian, that does not make him a better...

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This next question is rather interesting. Question sixteen = "Is it not possible for all sections of Hindus, be they Advaitans, Dvaitans, or Viṣiṣṭādvaitans, to come together instead of remaining isolated as warring factions?"

Prabhupāda: Yes. Dvaita and advaita... This is the process of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to bring all the dvaitas and advaitas in one platform = to understand that he is essentially servant of God. The advaitas, they are wrongly thinking that he is God himself. That is wrong, or not the proper way of thinking. How you can become God? God is ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pūrṇam, full with six opulences = all-powerful, all-strength, all-beauty, all opulent. So this is artificial, to think to become God. And... This is advaita. And dvaitas, they think that one is different from God, God is separate from the living entity. But actually, from the Bhagavad-gītā we understand that God is always the Supreme, and the living entities, they are subordinate. And in the Vedas also it is said, nityo nityānaṁ cetanaś cetanānām [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. Both of them are living entities, but God is the chief. The difference between the two = that God maintains other living entities. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. That is a fact. We are maintained and God is the maintainer. We are predominated, we are not independent, and God is predominator. But because the predominated living entities, they are part and parcel of God, therefore in quality they are one. This is acintya-bhedābheda: one and different. The living entity is one in the sense because he is part and parcel of God. So if God is gold, the living entity is also gold. That is one in quality. But God is great and we are minute, small. In that way we are different.

Now, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has enunciated acintya-bhedābheda, inconceivable, simultaneously one and different. That is real philosophy. So on this philosophy everyone can come if they are reasonable. If they remain unreasonably stuck up in their own concocted philosophy, then it is difficult. Otherwise, this is the fact, that the living entity is eternally part and parcel of God, sanātana. What is that verse? Find out = mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātana [Bg. 15.7]. Fifteenth Chapter.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Seventh verse.


mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ sasthanindriyani
prakṛti-sthani karsati

"The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditional life they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind."

Prabhupāda: So if he's eternal fragmental parts, how he can become one with the whole? The part is never equal to the whole. That is axiomatic truth. This is wrong conception, to become like God. The Māyāvādīs, they are trying to become God. That is impossible. They... Let them remain godly. Godly means servant of God. That will make him perfection, his life perfect. Vaiṣṇava philosophy is to remain..., to act as servant of God. That is perfect. And if the servant tries to become like the master, that is artificial. Although in the spiritual world there is no difference between the master and the servant... Just like the boys, Kṛṣṇa's cowherd boy friends, they do not know Kṛṣṇa is God. They are playing with Him on equal terms. When Kṛṣṇa is defeated in the play He has to take His friend on His shoulder, and he rides on the shoulder. So there is no such distinction who is God and who is not God. So that is spiritual conception. But the difference is always there, God and the part and parcel. Kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ. We can attain that position after many, many lives' pious activities.

That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

itthaṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā
dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena
māyāśritānāṁ nara-dārakeṇa
sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ

[SB 10.12.11]

These boys are playing with Kṛṣṇa. Who is Kṛṣṇa? He is the essence of Brahma-sukha, Param Brahman. So these boys are playing with Param Brahman. Itthaṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena. And for the devotees He's the supreme master, and for the ordinary man He is ordinary child. But these other children who are playing, they have got this position, kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ. "After many, many births' pious activity, now I have got this position, playing with Kṛṣṇa on equal terms." So this is the conception of devotional service, that when you go to the Goloka Vṛndāvana you cannot distinguish... But they have got unflinching love for Kṛṣṇa. That is Vṛndāvana life. The cows, the calves, the trees, the flowers, the water, the elderly men, Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodāmayī---everyone is attached, central point is Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is loving Kṛṣṇa. And there is no such knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality. Sometimes they see Kṛṣṇa's wonderful activities and they talk on = "Kṛṣṇa may be some demigod. He has come here." But they could never recognize that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Kṛṣṇa passed some dangerous position, so many demons were coming, mother Yaṣodā was chanting some mantras to protect Kṛṣṇa, that "He may not be put into some calamity." They never understood that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality. But their natural love for Kṛṣṇa so intense. Therefore Vṛndāvana life is so exalted. Arādha... What is called? Arādhyo bhagavān vrajeṣa-tanāya tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that first of all Kṛṣṇa, Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanada Mahārāja, He is arādhya. Tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam. And His dhāma, His abode, Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable. They are equal. Vṛndāvana-dhāma and Kṛṣṇa, they are equal.

So these are higher standard of understanding. Unless one is devotee, purified, he cannot understand that to become one with God is not the sublime idea. In Vṛndāvana one who wants to become the father or mother of God, to control God, that these Māyāvādīs cannot understand, Advaitavādīs. This is to be understood by the pure devotion, devotees. What is the benefit to become equal with God? Just become... Equal... Other Vaiṣṇava philosophies, they could not explain the our relationship with God, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained the higher relationship with God. That is called vatsalya-rasa and madhurya-rasa. Especially madhurya-rasa. Anarpita carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatirṇaḥ kalau samarpayitum unnatojvala-rasāṁ sva bhakti śriyam [Cc. Ādi 1.4]. Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave information of the madhurya-rasa, that our relationship can be with Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love. So unless one comes to the platform of devotional service, one cannot understand. But for general understanding this philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda, simultaneously one and different... That is explained in this verse = mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. The living entities are part and parcel of God. So if God is gold, then living entities are also gold. This is equality in quality. But God is great, and we are always subordinate. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. We are protected, we are maintained, we are predominated. That is our position. We cannot attain the position of predominator. That is not possible.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, question seventeen = "What is the future of Hinduism?"

Prabhupāda: There is no future. It is already gone. [laughter] [chuckles] The future is already there. And what do you want more future? A man was beaten with shoes, and again he said that "He has threatened me, to insult me." So if he is beaten with shoes, then what insult remains to be done again? So Hinduism now finished. Now take to the process of Kṛṣṇa's order, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Teach this teaching of Bhagavad-gītā to the whole world. Not only Hinduism; Christianism and Muslimism, everything's gone. And even it is not gone, Kṛṣṇa says, "Give up all this nonsense." Sarva-dharmān parityajya. "Give up Hinduism, Muslimism, Christianism. Simply surrender unto Me." That is to be preached all over the world, and that is being effective. So if the Hindus are interested in Bhagavad-gītā, which was spoken in the Hindustan, in the land of Hindus, they must seriously take to this instruction of Kṛṣṇa and combine together and preach all over the world and make others benefited and themselves benefited. That is the only way. There is no other, second way.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Next question. Question number eighteen = "As the world is coming to be divided into just two classes, atheist and theist, is it not advisable for all religions to come together? And what positive steps can be taken in this direction?"

Prabhupāda: That is already taken, already explained = this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The atheist class and theist class, they will exist always. This is material world. Even at home the father is atheist, Hiraṇyakaśipu, and the son is theist. So even at home the father and the son different. So that atheist class and theist class men will always exist in family, in community, in nation, in the..., as you go on. But the theist class should take to the proposition of the Bhagavad-gītā and take shelter at his lotus feet, giving up so-called religious principles. That is oneness. Religion without conception of God, conception of God, is humbug, bogus. Religion means to accept the order of God. So if you have no conception of God, if you do not know who is God, so there is no question of accepting His order. It is stated in the Vedic literature, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Find out this verse in the Sixth Canto. [background discussion among devotees as they try to find verse in index] Yamarāja's instruction.

Devotee: Yes.


Hari-śauri = It's in this one.

dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītaṁ
na vai vidur ṛṣayo nāpi devaḥ
na siddha-mukhya asura manuṣyāḥ
kuto nu vidyādhara-cāraṇādayaḥ

Translation = "Real religious principles are enacted by..."

Prabhupāda: Hah! Real.

Hari-śauri: "Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great ṛṣis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyādharas and Cāraṇas."

Prabhupāda: Hmm. [break]

Hari-śauri: This is Sixth Canto, Third Chapter, text nineteen. "When challenged by the Viṣṇudūtas to describe the principles of religion, the Yamadūtas said, veda-praṇihito dharmaḥ: the religious principles are the principles enacted in the Vedic literature. They did not know, however, that the Vedic literature contains ritualistic ceremonies that are not transcendental but are meant to keep peace and order among materialistic persons in the material world. Real religious principles are nistraiguṇya, above the three modes of material nature, or transcendental. The Yamadūtas did not know these transcendental religious principles, and therefore, when prevented from arresting Ajāmila, they were surprised. Materialistic persons who attach all their faith to the Vedic rituals are described in Bhagavad-gītā [2.42], wherein Kṛṣṇa says, veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha nānyad astīti vādinaḥ: the supposed followers of the Vedas say that there is nothing beyond the Vedic ceremonies. Indeed, there is a group of men in India who are very fond of the Vedic rituals, not understanding the meaning of these rituals, which are intended to elevate one gradually to the transcendental platform of knowing Kṛṣṇa [vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]]. Those who do not know this principle but who simply attach their faith to the Vedic rituals are called veda-vāda-ratāḥ.

"Herein it is stated that the real religious principle is that which is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That principle is stated in Bhagavad-gītā = sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. One should give up all other duties and surrender unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. That is the real religious principle everyone should follow. Even though one follows Vedic scriptures, one may not know this transcendental principle, for it is not known to everyone. To say nothing of human beings, even the demigods in the upper planetary systems are unaware of it. This transcendental religious principle must be understood from the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly or from His special representative, as is stated in the next verses."

Prabhupāda: So, therefore next verse.


svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ
kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
balir vaiyāsakir vayam

[SB 6.3.20]

Prabhupāda: Vaiyāsakir vayam.

Hari-śauri: Dvādaśaite vijānīmo...

Prabhupāda: Dvādaśaite.

Hari-śauri: Dharmaṁ bhāgavataṁ bhaṭāḥ, guhyaṁ viśuddhaṁ durbodhaṁ yaṁ jñātvāmṛtam aśnute. "Lord Brahma, Bhagavān Nārada, Lord Śiva, the four Kumaras, Lord Kapila [the son of Devahūti], Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka Mahārāja, Grandfather Bhīṣma, Bali Mahārāja, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and I myself know the real religious principle. My dear servants, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as bhagavat-dharma, or surrender unto the Supreme Lord..."

Prabhupāda: So these people, these mahājanas, they know what is the principles of religion. Religion means bhagavata-dharma, to understand God and our relationship with God. That is religion. You may call it Hindu religion or Muslim religion or Christian religion, but real religion is that which teaches how to love God. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. If by following the religious system you come to the platform of loving God, then your religious system is perfect. Otherwise it is a simply waste of time, bogus religion, without conception of God. So unless one understands what is God and what He says, and we have to abide by that order, then we are religious and there is religion and there is God, there is everything complete.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This is off the record, but one may ask if someone like Christ or Moses was not mentioned amongst the mahājanas, present some sort of religion...

Prabhupāda: No, mahājana there is in Christian messiahs. There is mahājana. And later on, after Christ, there was so many other = St. Matthew, St. Thomas, like that. Mahājana is mentioned there. How can you say there is no mahājana?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Well, at least amongst these...

Prabhupāda: Mahājana means who is strictly following the original religion. That is called mahājana. Or who know the things as they are. They are called mahājana. And that means paramparā system. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna is learning Bhagavad-gītā directly from Kṛṣṇa. He's mahājana. So you learn from Arjuna. And after hearing Bhagavad-gītā, as Arjuna acted, as Arjuna understood Kṛṣṇa, you follow that. Then mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Then you are following the mahājana. You are on the real path. Just like we are. Here it is said, mahājana, Svāyambhu. Svāyambhu means Brahmā, Lord Brahmā. So our, this sampradāya, Gauḍīya sampradāya, is Brahma-sampradāya. And Svāyambhu, Nārada. Nārada is also in the Brahma-sampradāya. And Śambhu, Lord Śiva, he is also mahājana. He has got his sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya. And similarly, Śrī-sampradāya. So all these sampradāya we must follow. Sampradāya vihina ye mantras te niṣphala mataḥ [Padma Purāṇa]. If you do not belong to sampradāya, mahājana, then you are useless. You cannot concoct any religious system. So either you be Christian or Hindu, it doesn't matter. You have to follow the mahājana. If a Christian says, "I don't believe in St. Thomas," what kind of Christian he is? Similarly, it doesn't matter who is a mahā... But real mahājana is he who is strictly following the principle as enunciated by God. That is religious system. Otherwise there is no religion. There is no question of religion. It is simply concoction. Mano-dharmi, mental speculator. Mental speculation is not religion. Religion is the order of Kṛṣṇa, and one who follows that order, he is religious. That's all.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, question nineteen.

Prahupada: Now this question is clear? Just see it.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. So far I can understand, you're saying that there's no need to label that there's one religion in the world. Rather, everyone can...

Prabhupāda: One religion is there already, that how to love God. This is one religion. Will the Christian say, "No. We don't want to love God"? Will the Christians say? Will the Muhammadans say, "No, no. We don't want to love God"? So religion means how to love God, and any religion which teaches how to love God, that is perfect. It doesn't matter whether he's Christian or Muslim or Hindu. It doesn't matter. You have to be educated to take your degree. It doesn't matter from which college you take degree. Similarly, religion means you have to learn how to love God. If you have no love for God, it is all useless. That is not religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Sākṣād, Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa says, "You surrender unto Me." You cannot surrender until you love. You are surrendered to me. I am also an Indian. Because you have love for me, therefore there is surrender. If I say that "You die," you'll die. Why? Because you love me. So when there will be surrender? Unless one loves God. Unless that platform is not there, that "I love you. I can sacrifice everything for you," that is on the basic principle of love. Therefore that religion is perfect which teaches the followers how to love God. This is religious principle.

So let everyone come to this platform, how to love God. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are teaching nothing but training them how to love God, how they can sacrifice everything for God. So that is religion. Otherwise a bogus waste of time, simply following the ritualistic ceremonies. That is not religion. That is superfluous.

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam

You are very good, you are following your religious principle very strictly, adherently. That's all right. But what about your love of God? "Oh, that I do not know." So śāstra says, śrama eva hi... It is simply waste of time, and simply laboring. That's all. If you have not learned to love God, then what is the meaning of your religion? Then, when you're actually on the platform of love of God, you understand your relationship with God, that "I am part and parcel of God. Not only I am part and parcel of God, this dog is also part and parcel of... Every living entity." Then you'll extend love for animal also. If you actually love God, then your love for insect also is there because you understand that "This insect, it has got a different body only, but he is also part and parcel, or my brother." Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. Then you cannot maintain slaughterhouse. If you maintain slaughterhouse and disobey the order of Christ, "Thou shall not kill," and you proclaim yourself as Christian or Hindu or this... That is not religion. Then śrama eva hi kevalam. Your going to the temple and church and everything is simply waste of time. Śrama eva hi kevalam. Because you do not understand God. You have no love for God. That is going on, all over the world. They're stamping under some sect, but there is no real religion.

So in order to bring them all in one platform, they have to accept the principles of Bhagavad-gītā: "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." If you do not accept in the beginning Kṛṣṇa, that He is the supreme, then you try to understand that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is education. There is somebody supreme. So if I say, because I am Hindu, I am Indian, that "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme," you may say, "Then why Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is Indian." "No. He is God." Just like the sun rises first in India, then comes to Europe. But that does not mean the sun is different. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, although appeared in India, now He has come to Western countries, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You try to understand whether Kṛṣṇa is not God or God. But He is God. There is no doubt about it. If you have got intelligence to understand what is God, then try to understand. But He is God undoubtedly. So take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and abide by the order of Kṛṣṇa. Then everyone comes on the same platform, the religious platform, one religion, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question nineteen, this is...

Prabhupāda: Now, this is clear or not?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Oh, yes.

Prabhupāda: Anyone? We are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa; our business is to surrender to Him. And Kṛṣṇa personally advises that "You surrender unto Me. I shall give you all protection." This is religion.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Sometimes we meet people in our preaching activities. They may, of course, claim to be very devout Christian or Muslim, but at the same time they will blaspheme Kṛṣṇa. Is it possible that such persons can actually be associates of God?

Prabhupāda: No, no. It is just like in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are so many Christians, so many Jews, so many Muhammadan and Hindus. Everyone is there. It is a question of understanding. So in the beginning if... But if he's serious to understand what is God, then he will accept Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Lord. If he knows what is God, then he'll understand, "Here is God." If he remains in darkness, he does not know what is God, then how he'll understand Kṛṣṇa? He'll understand Kṛṣṇa as one of us. That's all. But if he knows what is God, then he'll understand, "Yes, here is God." Just like if a person knows what is gold, then anywhere gold, he'll understand, "Here is gold." It does not mean only gold..., in certain shop only gold is available. But if he knows what is God, what is meaning of God, that he will find in Kṛṣṇa in fullness. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. The śāstra says how He is Bhagavān, what is Bhagavān. You should understand and see from the activities of Kṛṣṇa whether He is not Bhagavān. It requires brain to understand. I say, "Here is God." Now it is up to you. If you know what is God, then test it, and then you'll accept God. If you do not know how to test it, then you may refuse. That is another thing. You'll accept iron as gold. That is your ignorance. You do not know what is gold. But if you actually know what is gold, you will accept Kṛṣṇa as God, there is no doubt about it. So this is the only platform, Bhagavad-gītā. Everyone come and take to Kṛṣṇa and understand God and learn how to love Him, and your life is perfect.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But if the Christians are saying that "This is the only platform, Bible," and the Muslims are saying, "This is the only platform, Koran," and the community of followers of Bhagavad...

Prabhupāda: But we have to see by the result. The result is... Only platform..., that only platform, that is decided... Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ. That is actually religion. How? Yato bhaktir adhokṣaje. If one has learned how to love God. If there is no love of God, then what is the use of claiming that this is the only platform? Where is the sign of love of Godhead? That is to be seen. Simply if you say... Everyone will say, "This, my..., this property is the best," or "My understanding is..." But there must be practical proof. The practical proof---say how to love God, what is the process of loving God. If you do not know your relationship with God and others' relationship with God, then how you know God? That is lacking. Nobody can give clear conception of God. Can the Christians give? Then where is love of God? If you have no understanding of what is God, where is the question of love? Love is not fictitious. You cannot love air. You love a person, a beautiful person, a beautiful woman. If you say, "I love air. I love the sky..." Where there is question of love? There must be a person. So who is that person we want to love? But they have no personal conception of God, neither they can describe the personal beauty, capacity, strength, ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pūrṇaḥ. There is no such description. So they have got the conception of God, but actually they do not know what is God. But religion means you must know God and love Him. That is religion. That is first-class religion. Is that clear or not?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes.

Prabhupāda: When there is question of love, then you must know what is God, then love. But if you do not know who is God, then how do you love Him?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Are these actually the tangible signs by which one can judge what is real religion?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Real religion is how to love God. And love cannot be done without knowing the person whom you love. That is the criterion, test. So if you have no conception God, His personality, then how you'll love? Where is the question of love? Love is something tangible. It is not fictitious. So we accept, Kṛṣṇa conscious people, Kṛṣṇa is God, and we are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. And we are making progress. Just see our behavior and other persons' behavior and judge. Hmm? What do you think?

Kulādri: We had one priest who came. He was discussing with Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja. He did not know what God looked like, he never gave anything, never talked about God, but he said he loved God.

Prabhupāda: Then? What kind of love it is?

Kulādri: Nor did he say his people ever came to church. He said, "At best they come once a week." He said that's all that is necessary.

Prabhupāda: Well, love does not mean that you come once in a week at my house. Love means you come to my house, give me some presentation and take something from me. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam [Upadeśāmṛta 4]. Love means if you love somebody, then you must give him something, you must accept something from him. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti. You must disclose your mind to him, and he should disclose his mind to you. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati, and bhuṅkte bhojayate. If you love somebody, you give him something eatable, and whatever eatable he offers, you accept. These six kinds of exchange makes love. But if you do not know the person, the boy or the girl, then where is the question of love? Love begins... If you love some girl, if you love some boy, then you give something, some presentation, and he gives you some presentation. That develops love. You give something to eat, and whatever he gives you to eat, you eat. You disclose your mind, "My dear such and such, I love you. This is my ambition." He dis... These are the exchange of love.

So if there is no person-to-person meeting, where is the question of love? That is not love. If I love somebody and weekly I visit that house, "This is the house," that's all, where is the exchange of love? Love means there is exchange. If you love somebody, if you have not given anything to that somebody, neither you have taken something from him, where is the love? Is that love? Means imperfect knowledge. If love... The conclusion is religion means to love God, and to love God means you must know who is God. There cannot be any other alternative. You must know the person who is God. Then you exchange. That we are teaching. We are asking our disciples to rise early in the morning, offer maṅgala ārati, then bhoga ārati. Are we so fools, rascals, that we are wasting time in worshiping a doll like that? Sometimes they think like that. But that is not the fact. You know definitely, "Here is Kṛṣṇa. He is God, and we must love Him like this." That is the superexcellence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We do everything definitely, on positive platform. Is that clear? Huh? Or anyone, any question?

Pradyumna: Then... You said we must know God before we can love Him. So that means devotional service is preceded by knowledge.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Yes, that is the process in the Bhagavad-gītā. There are eighteen chapter. The whole eighteen chapters is the education how to know God. And when Arjuna, completely in awareness, he accepted, "Kṛṣṇa, You are paraṁ brahma, paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12]," that is understanding of God. Then surrender, sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. Unless you know God, how you'll surrender? If some third-class man comes, "You surrender unto me," will you do that? Why shall I surrender to him? You must know, "Now, here is God. I must surrender." The eighteen chapter is described to know God, and then Kṛṣṇa proposes, "Surrender unto Me." Then Arjuna did it, "Yes." So without knowing, how you can surrender? Know God. Then you surrender. Otherwise how, blindly, you can surrender? That is not possible.

So this is the science how to know God = Bhagavad-gītā. The preliminary. If you want to know more, then read Bhāgavatam. And if you are in intense love with God, then next, Caitanya-caritāmṛta---how the intensification can be more intensified. That is Caitanya-caritāmṛta. So Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary book to understand God and surrender. And from the surrendering point, further progress, that is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And when the love is intense, to make it more intensified, that is Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, mad after God. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me [Śikṣāṣṭaka 7] = "I find everything vacant without Kṛṣṇa." That is the supreme ecstasy. So these things cannot happen [chuckles] without love. If you love somebody, then if he's not there, you find everything vacant. Otherwise why? There are so many things. "How," people will say, "you are seeing vacant? Everything is filled up." That is another stage, transcendental platform. Lover and beloved, they can understand. Śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me. That is supreme stage of love. Is that clear or not?

Pradyumna: There's just one more thing. What's the minimum knowledge one must have to...

Prabhupāda: "God is great." That's all. "God is great." Kṛṣṇa proved that He's great; therefore He's God. Everyone says, "God is great." Allahu akbar, Muslims say. "God is great." It is translated, "God is great." And Hindu says paraṁ brahma. So God is great. So Kṛṣṇa proved that He is all-great. Therefore He is God. Kṛṣṇa, when He was present, He proved it that He is the great. Therefore He is God. If you accept God is great, and if you find somebody, He is great in everything, then He's God. How can I deny it? At least, you can see Kṛṣṇa great by His Bhagavad-gītā. It is still going on. Five thousand years passed, still Bhagavad-gītā is accepted as the greatest book of knowledge all over the world. Even among the Christians, among the Muslims, those who are really learned, they take it, "Yes." That is greatness of Kṛṣṇa, the knowledge. Who can give such knowledge? That is the proof that He is God. Aiśvaryasya samāgrasya viryasya yasasaḥ... [Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47]. Jñāna, knowledge. Where is such knowledge throughout the whole world? Everything, every line is sublime knowledge. If one studies scrutinizingly Bhagavad-gītā, you'll find Kṛṣṇa is Supreme Lord.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Question nineteen = "Do you envisage or envision a different role for Hinduism in the Western countries, where the influence of other great religions has been felt for centuries?" Do you see a different role for Hinduism in the Western countries, where the influence of other great religions has been felt for centuries?

Prabhupāda: No. There is no different role. God is one. God cannot be duplicate. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg. 7.7] = "There is no more superior authority than Me." That is God. Now people is to understand that Kṛṣṇa is God. There is no different role. The role is the same. Five thousand years Kṛṣṇa said that "I am the supreme authority. There is no more superior authority than Me." Still He is so. So we are simply attempting to introduce Kṛṣṇa. Nobody attempted. Although five thousand years passed, nobody attempted to introduce the Supreme Authority, Kṛṣṇa. We are just trying to introduce, following the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He, five hundred years, appeared. He is Kṛṣṇa. He wanted that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be spread all over the world.

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

[CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126]

Kṛṣṇa is not for India. He is for everyone, because He is God. He claims that "I am the seed-giving father for all living entities." Not only the human society, but also other living entities like the aquatics, the insects, the plants and the animals, all living entities. He says, ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]. Everything is there. But this cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or Bhagavad-gītā as it is, was not preached properly. Everyone interpreted Bhagavad-gītā in his own way to satisfy his own whims. We are just trying for the first time to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is, and it is being effective. So it is not a different role. It is the actual role. Nobody tried for it. Therefore Kṛṣṇa was unknown. But we are trying for this for the few years. But because it is reality, it is being accepted. It is being accepted. No attempt was made that. So it is not a new role. The role is already there = to preach. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's vision. He says especially to Indian people,

bhārata bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

[Cc. Ādi 9.41]

Indians are meant to do this business for para-upakāra, because all over the world they are unaware of Kṛṣṇa. So anyone who is actually Indian, he should attempt to broadcast the message of Bhagavad-gītā and Kṛṣṇa. That is order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

bhārata bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

[Cc. Ādi 9.41]

This is paropakāra. They are suffering without any knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. Give them this knowledge. That is para-upakāra, doing welfare activities to others.

So that attempt is now being made, and people actually accepting. So it is not a new role. The role is already there. Caitanya Mahāprabhu five hundred years told, years before He told it. But the so many svāmīs and yogīs, they came here, they never introduced Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now it is being done, and people are accepting, naturally. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. So if everyone joins, either Indian, non-Indian, in this movement there will be one religion and there will be peace. Peace will prevail. This is the only way.

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām
jñātvā mam śāntim ṛcchati

This is the way of śānti: understand Kṛṣṇa, that He is the supreme enjoyer, He is the supreme proprietor, and He is the supreme friend for everyone. Accept Kṛṣṇa as your friend, you'll be happy. This is the message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This next question is very closely related to the last question. Question twenty = "What is your view regarding proselytization, or preaching? If you are..."

Prabhupāda: It is not proselytization. Proselytization has no meaning. To bring one to the real understanding. Kṛṣṇa says that mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. All living entities are His part and parcel. He claims, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya [Bg. 14.4] = "In all forms of life, as many living entities are there," ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ, "I am the seed-giving father." So the natural position is that every living entity, not only human being, but also animals, plants, everyone... So why not Indian, American, or Czechoslovakian, everyone is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa? So it is not the process of proselytizing to convince the idea. It is actually bringing them to their real position, that they're all part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. It is not artificial proselytization, that "You are Christian; now you are Hindu," or "You are Hindu; now you are Christian," "You are a sweeper; now you are harijana." It is not like that. It is actually bringing him to his own position, part and parcel of God. It is not... Proselytization will not stand. When one comes to the real understanding of his position, then that will continue. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that = bringing one to the original position. He's in diseased condition; he's thinking otherwise than servant of Kṛṣṇa. Now this movement is trying to bring everyone to the position that he is eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. It is not a rubberstamp proselytization, that "You are Hindu; now you are Christian," or "You are Christian; now are Hindu." So if he does not know what is his position, by simply stamping that he is Hindu or Muslim or Christian, what benefit he will derive?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The same ignorance.

Prabhupāda: If you keep him in the ignorant platform, then what is the benefit of making a Hindu Muslim or Muslim Hindu? That was going on, "holy war," between Christian and the Muslim. Because both of them will die. [chuckles] And they are engaged in holy war. War, but "holy war." "Holy impiety." Artificial change of "ism" will not help. One must know the philosophy of life. One must know what is God. One must learn how to love God. That is real life.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: There is one more question, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Question twenty-one = "Are changes visible in Hinduism in its doctrinal content, mode of individual and collective worship, as a result of Hinduism's contact with the West?"

Prabhupāda: Yes, they are worshiping... This is... First of all, you must forget that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not Hinduism. It is Vaiṣṇavism. Vaiṣṇava means Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one who loves Viṣṇu, or loves God, he is Vaiṣṇava. So Hinduism is not like that. Present conception of Hinduism, they have got so many demigods. Demigods are there in the Vedas, but demigod worshipers, they are all materialistic person. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ yajanti anya-devatāḥ [Bg. 7.20] = those who are worshiper of demigods, they are lusty, kāmuka. And the kāmuka platform is material world. Lusty. Everyone is trying to enjoy sense gratification. So demigod worship is for sense gratification. If you worship Durga, then you pray, "Mother Durga, give me name, fame, wealth, good wife and so on, so on." Dhanaṁ dehi rūpaṁ dehi rūpavati-bhāryaṁ dehi, simply demanding for sense gratification. So that is not love of Godhead. That is to select one agent of God and exact from him as much as you can for your sense gratification. That is not recommended in the Vedic religion. Vedic religion, although there are demigods, but the ultimate is oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ [Ṛg Veda 1.22.20]. Those who are sūraya, actually advanced, they see to the viṣṇu paramaṁ padam. Viṣṇor aradhanaṁ param. The worship of Viṣṇu is the supreme worship. So actually everyone should be worshiper of Viṣṇu. And that is Vaiṣṇavism.

So Vaiṣṇavism means for everyone, or sanātana dharma. That I have already explained. The human... The living entity is sanātana. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātana [Bg. 15.7]. He is sanātana. God is sanātana. The exchange between God and the living entity is called sanātana-dharma, or Vaiṣṇavism. So we are teaching that. We are not teaching Hinduism, Muslimism, Christianism. We are teaching how to love God. That's all. There is no question of proselytization. It is the natural. We are, by nature, we are lover of God. Just like father and son. The love is already there. It cannot be extinguished. The father and son may be separated for many, many years, but when they come together the affection immediately revives. So we are teaching that, that we have got eternal relationship with God, and revive it. We are embarassed by establishing artificial relationship with my family, country and society and so-called religions. These are all artificial. Real relationship, that "God is great and I am His servant," that is real religion. So we are teaching that thing.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: So the teaching is the same in India as it is in the Western countries.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is being proved. Otherwise how they are worshiping Kṛṣṇa all over the world?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: This question here is "In doctrinal content and mode of individual and collective worship..." Is that to say that in your preaching in the Western countries and your preaching in India, you haven't attempted... In the Western countries, where there is so many mlecchas, outcastes, so to speak...

Prabhupāda: That is accepted by Kṛṣṇa. Even one is mleccha. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. So there is no question. That is artificial. One is mleccha or one is brāhmaṇa, but that is artificial. That is skin. But within the skin of the mleccha or the brāhmaṇa the same spirit soul is there. Therefore those who are paṇḍita, those who are learned,

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

One who is actually learned, he sees the same spirit soul within the brāhmaṇa, within the mleccha, within the cat. [break] [end]