Introduction Perfect Questions Perfect Answers Original 1977 Edition Cover

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Perfect Questions Perfect Answers

God, spiritual life—those were such vague terms to me before I met Srila Prabhupada. I have always been interested in religion, but before I met the Krishna conscious devotees, somehow I did not have the proper perspective needed to inquire fruitfully about spiritual life.

[The following is the Introduction to “Perfect Questions Perfect Answers” by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada]

God, spiritual life—those were such vague terms to me before I met Srila Prabhupada. I have always been interested in religion, but before I met the Krishna conscious devotees, somehow I did not have the proper perspective needed to inquire fruitfully about spiritual life. The existence of a Creator is only common sense—but who is God? Who am I? I had been to Hebrew School and had studied Oriental philosophy, but I could never get satisfying answers to my questions.

I first heard the Hare Krishna mantra in Greenwich Village, New York, in late 1968.

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

The chanting was captivating, and it made me feel very comfortable. The mantra stuck in my mind, and I soon regretted that I had not taken a magazine from the devotees. As explained to me later, a transcendental seed had been planted that could eventually ripen into love of Godhead. Several months later, I came across a card with the Hare Krishna mantra on it.

The card promised, “Chant these names of God, and your life will be sublime!” I would occasionally chant, and I found that the mantra did, in fact, give me a feeling of peace of mind. After graduating from college with a B.S. in chemistry, I joined the Peace Corps in 1971 and went to India as a science teacher. In India I inquired about the Hare Krishna movement. I was attracted by the chanting and intrigued by the philosophy, and I was curious about the movement’s authenticity. I had visited the Krishna temple in New York several times before going to India, but I did not consider the seemingly austere life of a devotee for myself. In India I first met the Krishna conscious devotees at a festival they were holding in Calcutta during October of 1971.

The devotees explained to me the purpose of yoga and the need to inquire about spiritual life. I began to feel that the rituals and ceremonies they practiced were not dull, sentimental obligations, but a real, sensible way of life. At first, however, it was very difficult for me to understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. In so many subtle ways, my Western upbringing prevented me from seeing things that were as plain as the nose on my face! Fortunately the devotees convinced me of the need to practice some few basic austerities, and in this way I began to gain some insight into spiritual life.

I can now recall how distant and tenuous were my concepts of spirituality and transcendental existence. I met Srila Prabhupada briefly at this time—in November of 1971—and shortly thereafter I decided to become a vegetarian. (I was proud of being a vegetarian, but later Srila Prabhupada reminded me that even pigeons are, too.)

In February of 1972, I met some devotees in Calcutta who invited me to a festival in Mayapur (a holy island ninety miles to the north). The festival was to be held in honor of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is considered an incarnation of Krishna Himself. I had then been planning a trip to Nepal, but the Peace Corps denied me permission to leave India, and so I went to Mayapur. I left for Mayapur planning to stay for two days at the most, but I ended up staying a week. I was the only Western nondevotee on the island, and since I was living with the devotees on their land, this was a unique opportunity to learn intimately about Krishna consciousness.

On the third day of the festival, I was invited in to see Srila Prabhupada. He was living in a small hut—half-brick and half-thatched, with two or three pieces of simple furniture. Srila Prabhupada asked me to be seated and then asked how I was and whether I had any questions. The devotees had explained to me that Srila Prabhupada could answer my questions because he represents a disciplic succession of spiritual masters. I thought that Srila Prabhupada might really know what is going on in the world. After all, his devotees claimed this, and I admired and respected them.

So with this in mind I began to ask my questions. Inadvertently, I had approached a guru, or spiritual master, in the prescribed way—by submissively asking questions about spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada seemed pleased with me, and over the next several days, he answered my questions. I asked them mostly from an academic point of view, but he always gave me personal answers so that I would actually spiritualize my life. His answers were logical, scientific, satisfying and amazingly lucid. Before I met Srila Prabhupada and his disciples, spiritual life was always obscure and nebulous. But the discussions with Srila Prabhupada were realistic, clear and exciting! Srila Prabhupada was patiently trying to help me understand that Krishna—God—is the supreme enjoyer, supreme friend and supreme proprietor. I put forward many impediments to accepting the obvious: that I would have to become serious about God consciousness to understand God. But Srila Prabhupada relentlessly yet kindly urged me on. Even though I had little ability to express myself, Srila Prabhupada understood my every inquiry and answered perfectly.

Bob Cohen
August 14, 1974

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7 Responses to Perfect Questions Perfect Answers

  1. Karen says:

    I have always been confused about is when Srila Praphupada talks in his excerpt about Jesus as a Guru, the quote “He had no fault. Still, he was crucified. He wanted to deliver God consciousness, but in return they crucified him-they were so thankless. They could not appreciate his preaching.”. My confusion lies in Acts 2 of the Christian Bible where Luke records Peter saying that Jesus was handed over “by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge” and that he was put to death by “wicked men” (Acts 2:23). In Acts 4 it is said that Herod and Pilate did what God’s “power and will had decided beforehand would happen.” And the Catechism of the Catholic Church actually states that “All sinners were the authors of Christ’s Passion”. If you could clarify this.

    • Hare Krishna Karen

      We are not very interested in discussing details about the Bible, nor and I an expert in the details of the Bible. So you should simply read what Prabhupada has said and understand the point that he is making. Prabhupada is making the point that any godly man who is trying to spread the glories of the Lord among the general population is bound to face opposition and sometimes that opposition may be so strong that the people will kill the messenger of God. That is all. You do not need to bring in quotes from the Bible to understand this point.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  2. anjalisan says:

    hare krishna prabu ji past karmas effect our present life i have many times prayed honestly to god to forgive me for my all bad deeds of this and past life help me to pray to krishna again as i feel he is not pleased i love krishna i can feel him but problem shake me people say i am very bad i have done bad deeds in past karma i may do anything i lost my son i feel i made him die i am very much lost my son was sick i servad him like krishna he is gone to change body i feel he will soon be with me kindly show me path moreover my husband health also make me depressed we came to know various wonderful things in temple i promise krishna this time when sanyam comes we will chant together hare krishna prabhu ji i feel guilty why i not came in touch with krishna earlier sanyam was mums child he had blind faith on me whatever i said he took it as god words i would have taught him also when he left his body he on top of voice said jai tulsi ma jai rama jai krishna

  3. Ritu says:

    Respected Madhudvisa dasa Ji,

    I really like the messages you send, thanks a lot for them. I wish to know more about spiritual consciousness. When I pray and meditate, I feel calm and some kind of a connection to something outside the body, I try to feel and understand the unlimited , forever being ..the giver of life. I am amazed by the attributes of Krishna. I really want to know how does spiritual conscious feel??
    I am sure you have some feeling and vision about it, can you please tell a little about it from your own personal experience?? Please??

    Charan sparsh,

    Ritu

    • Hare Krishna Ritu

      We can understand a lot about spiritual consciousness from the material world. The spiritual world is called Vaikuntha. It means the there is no anxiety there. And we have so much information about the spiritual world from the Vedic scriptures. It is in a sense similar to the material world in the way that the reflection of a tree is similar to the tree standing on the bank of the river. If it is a mango tree then you can see the mangos in the reflection but you can not actually taste them in the reflection. The actual mango taste is only available from the real tree. But still you can get a good idea about the mango tree from the reflection in the water. But you can not experience the sweet taste of the mangos in the reflection.

      So the spiritual world is not a mystery. Everything we see here is also there. Because this material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. As the reflection of the mango tree is on the water and that reflection is distorted if the water is moving, similarly this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world on our desire. So the reflection of the spiritual world in the material world is distorted by our desires.

      The spiritual world is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss, and there is no anxiety there. All the residents are there in there eternally youthful spiritual bodies, and their only business is to serve Krishna or, in the Vaikuntha planets, Visnu.

      These things are not possible to explain in a few paragraphs. Srila Prabhuapda has written so many books to explain these things. Please read his books, then you will hear the correct explanation from a pure devotee of Krishna.

      We have to be prepared to spend the time and read Srila Prabhupada’s books. That is where all the confidential knowledge can be found.

  4. christian says:

    Ive read this book. To my concern it contradicts the bible “Jesus christ has his own planet” but according to the bible “Through him were created all things”so he created all the planets and is seated at the right hand of the father(in his own words)the messiah


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