Why don’t we feed the Driver Petrol? [A 1976 Press Interview With Srila Prabhupada]
February 27, 2011 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Filed under MP3 Audio, Society
The driver of the car is always important, either on the car or without the car but people in general are giving importance to the car only. They have no knowledge of the driver. The car requires petrol and the driver requires nice food. So people in general, when they see that we are not giving petrol to the driver, they are surprised…
Interviewer: Many people say that members of the International Krsna Consciousness Society are being cut off from work in the world and therefore their contributions to the world are being lost to the world and I wondered how you felt about that.
Prabhupada: Yes. But they have misunderstood.
Interviewer: That is true?
Prabhupada: The difficulty is they do not understand on which platform we are working.
Interviewer: How would you describe that platform?
Prabhupada: Just like you or me or anyone, this living condition is one platform and when I or you, we are dead, that is another platform. So generally people are working on the bodily concept of platform.
Interviewer: What kind of?
Interviewer: Oh, bodily, walking on the, yes yes.
Prabhupada: And we are working on the spiritual platform. Just like what is the distinction between a dead man and a living man? There is some distinction.
Prabhupada: So those who are working on the bodily platform, they are working on the dead platform.
Interviewer: Does that involve a majority of the people, or…?
Prabhupada: Anyone. It is a little difficult. Try to understand, that this body, so long the living force is there, the body is important. Do you follow it or not? This body is important how long? So long the life is there.
Interviewer: Sure. What I’m trying to get at is you say that…
Prabhupada: You’ll understand, just try to understand me. That this body is important so long the life is there.
Interviewer: Right, I agree with that.
Prabhupada: So this body minus life, what is the value?
Interviewer: None whatever.
Prabhupada: This body minus life, what is the value?
Bali-mardana: He said none.
Interviewer: None, no value.
Prabhupada: No value.
Interviewer: Except as fertilizer.
Prabhupada: So we are working on that platform where the life is there. And people in general they are working on the platform of this body.
Interviewer: On the platform of, on the dead platform? You say people in general…
Prabhupada: The body is dead. Body is dead. Just like your shirt. It is dead always. Either on your body or hanging on the hanger. Your shirt and coat, is it not?
Interviewer: My shirt and coat are dead?
Prabhupada: Is it not dead?
Interviewer: But my body is not dead.
Prabhupada: Body is not because the living force is there.
Interviewer: Right. But people in general you say are walking on the dead platform in live bodies?
Interviewer: Oh working. Oh, working on the dead platform in live bodies.
Prabhupada: Dead, you don’t talk, you don’t talk.
Interviewer: Is that correct?
Bali-mardana: (laughs) He, Prabhupada has explained to you previously that those who identify on the bodily concept, because the body itself is dead without the soul, it is considered the dead platform. Because the body itself without the soul is dead, whereas we are concentrating on the platform of life, the life within the body, the soul. So that is the platform of life.
Interviewer: Well is that what makes the people make this distinction between the life you are leading and the life of the world?
Prabhupada: Yes, because we are working in different platform.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Prabhupada: We are working on the live platform and general people, they are working on the dead platform.
Interviewer: So in a sense the movement involves a rejection of the general world activities and…
Prabhupada: Not rejection.
Interviewer: …separation from it.
Prabhupada: Not rejection. Just like your car. Your car is important so long it is moving. But if it does not move, then what is the importance of the car? Motor car.
Interviewer: Not, if it’s not in use it’s serving no purpose.
Prabhupada: Yes. Similarly if you simply concentrate on the car without any attention to the car driver, then what is your knowledge?
Interviewer: It takes both.
Interviewer: It takes both, the car and the driver.
Prabhupada: Yes. Car is important so long it is moving and if it is not moving it has no importance, it is lump of matter. So the car in both the condition, while moving and not moving, it is lump of matter.
Interviewer: Well does that mean that the world, the general world’s activities are like a non-moving car? A lump of matter?
Interviewer: And that’s why the Krsna movement is separate, separate.
Prabhupada: Appears to be different.
Interviewer: Appears to be separate from the world…
Interviewer: …is that the proper word, how would you put that?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: How would you put it, that “We are…”
Bali-mardana: We are also utilizing the car but our attention is on the life principle, not on the dead metal.
Interviewer: Appears to be separated, that’s the way you would put it. Well, is it separated?
Prabhupada: It is always separated. It is always separated. Just like the driver and the car, they are always separated.
Interviewer: I’m talking about the movement, from the secular world.
Prabhupada: First of all, understand the analogy. The car and the driver is always separated. The driver is not car, neither the car is the driver.
Interviewer: Well, is the Krsna movement the driver or the car?
Prabhupada: Why you bring Krsna? First of all, try to understand the analogy. There is car and there is the driver. That car is always different from the driver and the driver is always different from the car. Is it not?
Interviewer: Absolutely. The car can’t drive itself.
Prabhupada: So, if you take attention of the car and you do not know anything about the driver, then what is your knowledge?
Interviewer: I didn’t quite get the question.
Bali-mardana: If you pay attention to the car without paying attention to understanding who the driver of the car is, what is the driver, then what is the use of your knowledge? In other words, the driver is the living entity or the soul and the car is this body, the material elements of this material world including the body. So without understanding who you are, who the living entity within the body or the driver within the car, then what is the use of your knowledge of the material elements without understanding who you are?
Interviewer: Well, since this dichotomy appears to be the case, I mean that there is, that the movement is sort of cut off from the world in general, does that not deprive the world of the service, of the usefulness of these people?
Prabhupada: First of all, if you do not understand what is the movement then how you can give your verdict like that? First of all, try to understand what is this movement.
Interviewer: The Hare Krsna movement, the Krsna Consciousness Society.
Prabhupada: Then what is that Krsna movement? That Krsna movement is, just like to understand the driver.
Bali-mardana: The Krsna movement is meant to help people to understand the spiritual knowledge, knowledge of who they actually are. That is what our movement is dedicated to. We are not dedicated for our own…
Interviewer: What is the purpose of the movement, your Grace?
Prabhupada: Purpose of the movement is to know who is the driver of the car.
Interviewer: To know who is the driver of the car?
Prabhupada: Of the car.
Interviewer: And who is that?
Prabhupada: That is, we are contributing. People are in ignorance about his own identification, who is he. He’s thinking he’s dead body. That is misconception.
Interviewer: There’s no way to identify the driver of the car then.
Bali-mardana: No, no.
Prabhupada: Just see it is so difficult subject matter. I am speaking to you, still you feel difficulty. It is little difficult subject matter. We say the car and driver, if you understand this analogy, the car and the driver, so who is important? The driver is important, the car is important. Both combined together giving a service, the car is moving. But if they are separated, who is important, the car is important or the driver is important?
Interviewer: I don’t know how I’m going to get the point you’re making there across. If the car and the driver are separated, the car is useless and the driver is a person. The driver is always important.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes, driver is always important. Within the car or without the car.
Interviewer: Within or without the car, and if he’s a chauffeur driving a carload of people then he becomes less important, the people are primarily the ones that are important, that are in the car. (laughter)
Prabhupada: First of all try to understand the car is moving with the help of the driver. So the driver and the car they are always different identity. So when the car is dead, the driver do not work with the car, but the driver is important within the car or without the car.
Bali-mardana: In other words, the soul is important with this body or without this body. But the body without the soul is simply fertilizer, like you said, it’s dead, useless. So our mission is to educate people about the driver, about the soul within the body.
Prabhupada: And people are generally working on the body.
Interviewer: People are generally working on the body.
Prabhupada: Yes. And we are working on the driver of the body. That is the difference.
Interviewer: Working on the driver of the body. On the spirit, right?
Prabhupada: Yes, on the spirit soul. And because they do not know what is the difference between the soul and the body, they cannot understand what is our contribution.
Interviewer: Because they do not understand the difference between the soul and the body, that’s why they don’t understand what you are contributing.
Bali-mardana: We’re going to give you a transcript.
Interviewer: Do you think that…?
Prabhupada: Now, just you try. We are trying to give enlightenment about the driver of the car. Because the driver of the car is always important, either on the car or without the car. And people in general they are giving importance to the car only. They have no knowledge of the driver. The car requires petrol and the driver requires nice food. So people in general, when they see that we are not giving petrol to the driver, they are surprised.
Interviewer: When they see that you are not giving a role to the driver?
Interviewer: Oh, petrol.
Prabhupada: They think that petrol is the food of the driver. (laughter)
Bali-mardana: In other words to satisfy the body does not satisfy the person within the body.
Prabhupada: Therefore they misunderstand, “Oh, they are not giving petrol to this man for eating.” But the man’s eatable is not the petrol.
Interviewer: I would like to ask you another question, your Grace.
Prabhupada: You have understood this point?
Prabhupada: No, have you understood this point?
Bali-mardana: Have you understood the analogy?
Interviewer: I accept, ah, I suppose what you are saying is that the driver…
Prabhupada: You have to understand, you have to understand.
Interviewer: …that the driver is the spirit of man and that the car is his physical functioning.
Prabhupada: That’s all right. So the car requires petrol. Does it mean the driver also requires petrol?
Interviewer: You mean the spirit? Food? Does the spirit require food?
Prabhupada: No, no. This analogy. The driver’s food is different from the…
Interviewer: Body food.
Prabhupada: …from the petr…, of the motor car. The motor car without petrol cannot work. Similarly, the driver without food cannot work. But the food of the driver and the power of the motor car different.
Bali-mardana: The needs of the body and soul are different.
Prabhupada: So we are supplying the needs of the soul, and they are supplying the needs of the motor car. Therefore they find difference. They are thinking, “They are not supplying petrol to this man for eating.” That is the difference. They are crying, “Oh, they are not giving petrol for eating to the driver.”
Devotee: Actually we are giving all those things as well.
Prabhupada: Yes. We are supplying everything, driver’s food and the car’s power. But they see that, “Why they are wasting time giving food to the driver?” They think that petrol is the food of the driver as well as the car. They do not know that the food of the driver is different from the petrol for the car. Try to understand this analogy. (indistinct)
Interviewer: I gather what you are driving at is that bodily food is different than, mental, reading, intellectual food, spiritual food, it all comes into the body and we take it all information, ideas, this is the kind…
Prabhupada: Not ideas, that is a fact. Fact that you driver, you must have your food. Otherwise you will die.
Interviewer: I’m looking at you, that’s taking in a certain kind of information.
Prabhupada: You cannot drive the car without food.
Interviewer: You have all kinds of information that you have to have to survive. To get down the sidewalk without running into the building you’ve got to see the wall.
Prabhupada: The sum and substance is that if a person thinks that he is the car, the driver, if he thinks wrongly that he is the car, then his life is spoiled.
Bali-mardana: So if someone identifies too closely with the body, then his life is spoiled.
Interviewer: You think, if he identifies with the body too much his life is…
Prabhupada: Not too much.
Interviewer: At all.
Prabhupada: He should know that he is different from the car. That is real knowledge. And if he identifies himself with the car, then he’s a fool.
Interviewer: Well, can he, is he supposed to care about and honor the body in the physical world…
Prabhupada: That is already taken.
Interviewer: …and to see that, see the physical world as important?
Prabhupada: Suppose if you are utilizing this coat, you are taking care of it, but if you think that you are coat, then you are doomed.
Bali-mardana: If you use the body you should take care of it but if you think that you are the body, then you are doomed, then it is foolishness. But you naturally you take care of the body, but you should still don’t identify with it.
Interviewer: Well you know, Your Grace, the spiritual quality is an important part of life of course…
Prabhupada: Yes, otherwise the animal. If the man does not understand the value of his spiritual quality then he’s no better than the dog. The dog does not know.
Interviewer: What do you think of Jimmy Carter?
Bali-mardana: Jimmy Carter is the Presidential candidate.
Prabhupada: I do not know. What is the (indistinct) is I do not know, neither I…
Interviewer: Not aware of that.
Bali-mardana: Doesn’t care about politics.
Interviewer: But isn’t, that’s part of what I’m thinking about, that you and your movement tend to separate people from concern with what’s going on in the world, like that’s a Presidential election and Jimmy Carter is the democratic candidate. This is a disregard of what’s going on in the world. Isn’t that an example of it?
Prabhupada: No, the thing is that there were many Presidents before, what is this name of this?
Bali-mardana: Jimmy Carter. He is not President yet.
Hari-sauri: Ford is the president.
Prabhupada: Ford. So what improvement you have done by having this President or that President? What improvement you’ll make unless some false promise? That’s all. What is the improvement? You have changed so many hundreds and thousands of Presidents, but what is the improvement about spiritual knowledge?
Bali-mardana: Prabhupada sees everything spiritually.
Interviewer: How’s that?
Bali-mardana: He’s seeing everything spiritually. What is the improvement spiritually out of all these Presidents? So therefore we do not care.
Interviewer: You do not care what the President…
Prabhupada: We take care, but we take care more for the spirit soul than the body. That is our basic principle.
Interviewer: But do you think most of the Hare Krsna members will vote in the election in November?
Prabhupada: They’re attending? (indistinct)
Bali-mardana: He’s asking if you think that they will vote, our members will vote.
Interviewer: Will they participate in the election? Will they register and vote do you think?
Prabhupada: Personally I never give votes.
Interviewer: Never voted. You’re a citizen however, aren’t you, a U.S. citizen?
Prabhupada: I am permanent resident.
Bali-mardana: Permanent resident.
Interviewer: Well will they follow your example and not vote?
Prabhupada: I do not know, but our principle is that I vote for this man or that man, so what is spiritual benefit, that is our point.
Bali-mardana: If he was Krsna conscious, then he might vote. If the politician is God conscious, then we’ll support him.
Interviewer: Vote for this man or that, what spiritual difference would it make, is that the way you put that?
Bali-mardana: Yes, as long as the candidate is not God conscious it wouldn’t make any difference which way we vote, but if he’s God conscious, then we’ll vote.
Interviewer: Well, would he have to be in the Hare Krsna movement to be God conscious?
Bali-mardana: Would the candidate, in order for a candidate to be God conscious, would he have to be part of the Hare Krsna movement?
Prabhupada: He must know the science, this science, this spiritual science.
Interviewer: To be God conscious, you must…
Prabhupada: That’s a great science.
Bali-mardana: Great science.
Interviewer: How’s that?
Bali-mardana: In order to understand God it is a great science.
Interviewer: Do you need to be involved in the Krsna movement to be God conscious?
Prabhupada: You may take part in the movement or not but he must know the science. Movement is preaching…
Interviewer: You mean the Bhagavad-gita, he must know that or what?
Prabhupada: Not Bhagavad-gita or anything, but he must… Just like a book, mathematics, it may be written by different men, but one must be a mathematician.
Interviewer: I think what Bali was saying is that if a Krsna consciousness member were running for an office then you would get out and vote for him. That he would be God conscious.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: But I’m trying to ask does he have to be Krsna conscious, involvement, in order to be God conscious?
Prabhupada: Everyone should be Krsna conscious.
Prabhupada: Everyone should be Krsna conscious. Not only the… President or not President, everyone, that is the objective of human life. He must know himself what he is.
Interviewer: Now, that leads up to another question I wanted to ask you, do you think that the, one of the attractions of Krsna consciousness is the rather exotic, Hindu, unusual customs in the West. I mean these customs are unusual in the West and they have a sort of exotic appeal, a fascination for young people.
Prabhupada: No, no, that ignorance is there both in Western and Eastern. It is the ignorance of the human society.
Interviewer: But do you think it’s unusual, the fact that it’s an Eastern, mysterious Eastern religion has an appeal to American young people.
Prabhupada: Why do you bring Eastern religion Western religion? It is a science. Two plus two is equally important both in the East and the West.
Interviewer: Well, it originated in the East and it’s not very, it hasn’t been customary in the West.
Prabhupada: That originated… Just like the sun rises in India first. That does not mean the sun in America and the sun in India is different. The sun is the same sun. It may appear first in the Eastern side but that sun does not belong either to the East or the West. Sun is sun.
Interviewer: Well do you think that the Eastern sun, meaning Hare Krsna, is appropriate in a culture that has a different religion traditionally?
Prabhupada: No, no, it is ignorance. Why do you say…?
Interviewer: The Jewish, Biblical Christian tradition is traditional in the West, the Hindu tradition…
Prabhupada: I never said that Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Muslim.
Bali-mardana: We aren’t Hindus.
Prabhupada: We do not belong either to the Hindus or Christian or Jewish. We belong to Krsna or God. Krsna means God.
Interviewer: Yeah, but you use the Hindu scriptures.
Prabhupada: That is another thing. Just like we say the sun, sürya and you say the sun, the “sun.” But the subject matter is the same. You say the sun in the sky as s-u-n, “sun.” And we say in India sürya. S-ü-r-y-a. So the name may be different but the object is the same.
Interviewer: In other words, do you think the India-originated religion is, serves its particular purpose in the Western society? I mean, does, is it of particular value in a rather technological society, the Hindu tradition?
Prabhupada: Generally speaking, everywhere, everyone everywhere is identifying his body as the self. It does not mean East or West. This is ignorance. Wherever there is ignorance one identifies himself with the body. This is ignorance. It may be in the East or in the West. It doesn’t matter.
Interviewer: Well, can a self exist without a body?
Prabhupada: No. Self can exist without body.
Interviewer: I mean you say that people identify themselves, the body as the self.
Interviewer: And that this is ignorance to identify the self with the body.
Prabhupada: That I have already explained, that the driver…
Interviewer: But does that mean a sort of rejection of the body as unimportant?
Prabhupada: Not rejection. Again, you come to the…
Interviewer: But the body is important to the self isn’t it?
Prabhupada: Yes. Just try to understand. That we have already explained. The driver and the car are two different identities, is it not?
Prabhupada: The driver can exist without the car and the car without the driver has no value.
Interviewer: Well, in that sense…
Prabhupada: So why don’t you understand first of all this?
Interviewer: …in keeping with that analogy can the self exist, does the self exist without the body in this world?
Prabhupada: Yes, oh yes.
Interviewer: In this life?
Prabhupada: Yes. Life is always there.
Interviewer: As a spirit apart from the body.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. That is the ideal life.
Bali-mardana: That is the goal.
Prabhupada: That is the goal. When the soul lives without this material body, that is his liberated life. Just like the criminal, he can live within the jail and without the jail. But he’s thinking wrongly that without jail he cannot live. But his life without jail is real life.
Interviewer: That reflects the old, the Hindu view that…
Prabhupada: Why you again bring Hindu view?
Interviewer: Or, the, at least the Eastern religious view, that to leave this life…
Prabhupada: Why we are bringing Hindu and Muslim view?
Interviewer: Well, O.K., I take that back then. I take that back. Anyway, what you’re saying is that this life is a jail and that really the goal is another life.
Prabhupada: Ah, yes.
Interviewer: Right? I mean that this life is an evil prison.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes, now you have understood. This is not a desirable life, to live in the jail, conditioned.
Interviewer: Well in other words, in a sense that is to reject or at least to repudiate this life, this world.
Prabhupada: Not repudiate, to understand.
Interviewer: That it is not a good life.
Prabhupada: It is not a good life, and the whole material world is false identification with myself.
Interviewer: Well is it important to try to improve this life so that it won’t be a prison?
Prabhupada: Yes, improve, improve, to understand that I am not a person of the jail. I am a person of freedom. Long living in the jail one who identifies that “Without jail I cannot live.”
Interviewer: Well, I hope we all get out of it sometime, somehow, someway, either here or there.(laughs)
Prabhupada: But we are trying to educate the prisoners that “Your life is not perfect within the jail. Your life is perfect without the jail.” This is our education.
Interviewer: Life is not perfect in the jail.
Prabhupada: Yes. And the person in the jail they are thinking, “What is this, they are not working for the jail life?”
Interviewer: Person in the jail, I didn’t get that.
Prabhupada: Because they cannot understand that there is life after jail. They are so fool, rascal that they cannot understand that without jail one can live.
Bali-mardana: So what you were saying before, the persons in the jail are thinking “These people are not working for life in the jail,” so they don’t understand what we are doing.
Interviewer: How’s that now?
Prabhupada: We’re not working to keep people in the jail conception of life. So that’s why they cannot understand what we are doing.
Interviewer: You mean you’re not working for the jail life?
Bali-mardana: To keep people within the conception that life is within the jail.
Prabhupada: Just like a man has gone to jail, he’s giving education to the prisoners, “My dear brother prisoners, this life is not good, you become honest, don’t come to the jail.” So other prisoners, they are working hard, they are hammering on the bricks, they think that “This man is not hammering on the bricks, he’s talking only.”
Interviewer: I didn’t gather that.
Bali-mardana: In the prison the people are, their work is, say, to hammer on bricks. So when, if someone comes into the jail and tells the prisoners, “You shouldn’t be doing this, actually you should become honest and go out of the jail and be free.” Now if the persons in the jail… Because… They will then become envious that “this person, instead of working hard like us, he’s simply talking.” They cannot understand the benefit that he’s giving them and they become envious, that “Because he’s not working like us he is nonsense.” So do you understand the analogy? It’s an analogy. Just like we are coming in the world and telling people to get out of this world, to understand the spiritual world, spiritual side of life. But because we’re not working like them, sometimes they misunderstand what is our purpose.
Interviewer: In other words you think people should get away from what they’re doing in the world.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes, that is real life.
Prabhupada: Oh! (laughs) (someone comes in?)
Interviewer: That they really shouldn’t concentrate so completely on the world.
Prabhupada: No, no. So long you are in the jail, you have to work according to the principle of the jail but you must know that jail life is not good.
Bali-mardana: You may work within the material world but you have to understand that the purpose is to get out of the material world.
Interviewer: :Well, are your Krsna members out of the, out of jail?
Prabhupada: Just like, some of us are working like the hammerman, breaking bricks with hammer, but that does not mean he does not understand. So long one is in the jail, one is not in freedom, he has to work like that by force. But that is not his proper work. He has got a different work outside the jail or in his freedom life.
Interviewer: Well, what people are saying about the members of the Krsna society is that they are not doing the jail work.
Prabhupada: That I have already explained. The prisoner who is hammering the bricks, he’s thinking that this man is simply instructing that you have a different life outside the jail, he’s not hammering on the brick. Therefore he is surprised, “How is that he is not hammering like me?”
Interviewer: In other words, he’s not participating in jail life.
Bali-mardana: He’s educating them.
Interviewer: What’s he doing?
Prabhupada: He’s educating.
Interviewer: He’s trying to show them a different way?
Prabhupada: Not different way, he’s educating differently.
Bali-mardana: So they can understand what they’re doing, what they’re supposed to be doing.
Interviewer: He’s educating them to what? That this jail life is no good?
Interviewer: That the jail life is no good?
Interviewer: But then is that man that’s hammering the bricks, isn’t he going to quit hammering the bricks, too?
Prabhupada: He may not hammer, he’s giving instruction. Just like I was invited in Ahmedabad jail to give some instruction. So I’m not hammering on the bricks because I was in the jail.
Interviewer: No, you’re giving instruction.
Prabhupada: Yes, I’m meant for giving instruction, I am not meant for hammering on the bricks.
Interviewer: But then once you get this…
Prabhupada: So the person who is hammering on the bricks, he’s thinking that “This man is simply talking.”
Interviewer: That’s why he thinks that the Krsna people are separate.
Prabhupada: He wants to draw him in the business of hammering bricks.
Interviewer: Of hammering bricks. Right, right.
Prabhupada: That is the difference.
Interviewer: That’s the difference. Well, what I’m talking about is…
Prabhupada: He’s thinking that “He’s not contributing in hammering the bricks.” But he does not know that this hammering on the bricks is not a very good business.
Interviewer: Not a very good business.
Prabhupada: He does not know, the rascal, who is trying to bring us also in the business of hammering the bricks.
Interviewer: (simultaneously) of hammering the bricks, that’s right. Yes.
Prabhupada: That is the difference.
Interviewer: Yes. Well when you get through with, talking, instructing the man hammering the bricks, is he going to lay down his hammer, too?
Prabhupada: No, he doesn’t require. The same… You try to understand.
Bali-mardana: He may continue hammering, but his knowledge will be complete. He’ll have complete understanding.
Prabhupada: At least he must know that “This hammering is my punishment.” He knows that “This hammering is not by business, it is my punishment.” That is knowledge, that is knowledge. When a prisoner understands that “This hammering business is not my real business, it is my punishment.”
Interviewer: Isn’t that a rather negative way to look at the work?
Prabhupada: Why negative? It is the fact. That is the positive understanding. Why do you take negative? If you are suffering and if you say, if I say, “Don’t suffer,” is that negative or that is positive?
Bali-mardana: In other words, if you are suffering and I tell you “Don’t suffer,” it may sound negative but actually it’s positive.
Prabhupada: Yes, positive. But they are rascals, they are taking as negative.
Interviewer: Why is work in the world necessarily suffering? It is, it has, a mixture of pain and joy but it’s negative to look on it as useless work. Huh?
Prabhupada: Therefore they are envious of the Krsna conscious men. They do not see that “These people, they are not hammering like us.” So therefore they are thinking that there is no contribution of hammering. They think the hammering is the real business.
Interviewer: That’s pretty good. (laughter) I think people understand the analogy, they think hammering is the business. What do you think is the business?
Interviewer: The world thinks hammering is real business.
Prabhupada: Yes, so our business is to educate them that “Your hammering business is not your life. Your freedom is real business.”
Interviewer: Freedom is what?
Prabhupada: Real business.
Interviewer: You’ve, I’m sure you’ve heard or read about these claims by these parent groups that claim that the Hare Krsna movement members are, ah, sort of controlled by intensive indoctrination? Brain-washed they call it, you know, by getting up and having the two hours or three of chanting in the morning and prayer beads constantly and the group life, that they’re sort of controlled, and denied their freedom. What do you say about that?
Prabhupada: It is due to misunderstanding. They do not understand what kind of preaching, what kind of education we are giving. We are giving education how to become free from the hammering business in the jail. They think hammering business and keep oneself within the jail is the real life because they have been accustomed to that. And when we speak that “Hammering or to keep within the jail is not your real business: your real business is freedom,” naturally they find contradiction, and they think that we are doing something against their business. That is the difficulty.
Interviewer: Like doing something against their what?
Bali-mardana: Against their business.
Interviewer: But in other words you think that there, is there not something to this idea of brain, of being spiritually controlled or spiritually directed?
Prabhupada: It is not controlled, it is not controlled.
Interviewer: Well, what would you call it?
Prabhupada: Controlling one from coming to the jail life. If you give good instruction to a man, that “Don’t become criminal, don’t come to the jail, don’t be engaged in the hammering business,” it appears negative, but that is positive life.
Bali-mardana: If you tell someone not to do something that’s bad for him, it’s positive for him.
Prabhupada: That is his positive life. When the physician says to a patient that “Don’t eat like this, then you will increase your diabetes. Don’t eat this, don’t eat starch, don’t eat sugar.” So people may think he’s simply giving negative, but that is his positive life. They misunderstand.
Interviewer: I guess when you started out down here in Greenwich Village in 1965 you didn’t have any idea that your movement was going to become the rather large movement it is. Did you?
Prabhupada: Yes, because my movement is real movement, positive. Any intelligent man will understand and take it. [break]
Interviewer: …planning a trip to India soon.
Prabhupada: I’m planning to India, and from India to Europe, that is my business.
Prabhupada: I travel.
Interviewer: I mean you aren’t leaving this country for good. You’re a permanent resident, right?
Prabhupada: Who said?
Interviewer: I don’t know, I just heard that somewhere.
Prabhupada: From where?
Interviewer: I don’t know, somebody said it.
Prabhupada: How can I answer this? Somebody madman must have said it. (laughter)
Interviewer: :I’m just checking it out, but there’s nothing to it, huh?
Prabhupada: I am touring always.
Bali-mardana: He’s always traveling.
Interviewer: Where is your main home?
Prabhupada: My home is back to home, back to Godhead.
Interviewer: Is where?
Hari-sauri: Back to Godhead.
Bali-mardana: With God.
Prabhupada: That is my real home. That means every temple is my home.
Interviewer: Did you work out the spiritual disciplines for the group yourself? I mean about the morning chanting and the recital of the two thousand Hare Krsnas a day and… Did you work those out yourself?
Prabhupada: Still I am working.
Interviewer: Still working, on those disciplines.
Prabhupada: Yes, you see, I have got, these men, they have got.
Bali-mardana: He’s saying did you think of these things yourself, to chant on the beads and follow the program in the morning, have you made these up yourself?
Prabhupada: No, this is the disciplic process.
Bali-mardana: Disciplic process.
Interviewer: Yes, who originated those steps?
Prabhupada: It is since time immemorial.
Bali-mardana: Time immemorial.
Prabhupada: Just like in the Bhagavad-gita you’ll find, satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca dròha-vrataù [Bg. 9.14]. Find out this.
Interviewer: Well I understand you do a lot of work translating and that you only sleep two hours a day. Is that right?
Prabhupada: Not two hours, I sleep about four hours.
Interviewer: Four hours? Four hours.
Radhavallabha: …verse Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Satatam kirtayanto mam.
satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca dròha-vrataù
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.”
Prabhupada: So this was spoken five thousand years ago and we are doing the same thing.
Interviewer: Now what’s your, what’s your…?
Prabhupada: Now your answer is there, it is not that I invented something.
Interviewer: Yes, you didn’t invent it, I get the point, that it derives from the Vedic scriptures.
Prabhupada: Whatever we are doing, it is authorized. That is the principle for spiritual understanding.
Interviewer: What I was trying to ask you a while ago, do you think that these particular Vedic disciplines and spiritual principles, concentration on the spirit instead of the body, has a particular usefulness in Western society nowadays?
Prabhupada: It is useful for every human being. If the Western society thinks that they are not human being, that is another thing. (laughter)
Bali-mardana: In other words, this is the business of human life.
Interviewer: What’s your view of Judaism and Christianity?
Prabhupada: I have not studied, but any “ism,” if it is meant for making the soul free from this bodily condition, that is first class “ism.” Otherwise, it is simply waste of time.
Interviewer: Any religion that…
Prabhupada: That gives facility.
Interviewer: Emphasizes making us free from the bodily condition.
Interviewer: That’s a first class religion.
Prabhupada: That’s it.
Interviewer: I don’t think Judaism and Christianity do that.
Prabhupada: I do not know that.
Interviewer: They consider the body very important.
Prabhupada: Again you come to the same. Body is important so long the soul is there. The car is important so long it is moving.
Interviewer: But they don’t, they cherish the physical, you know, the world itself.
Prabhupada: That is ignorance, that is ignorance.
Interviewer: That is ignorance.
Prabhupada: We have got students from every community. From Jewish community, from Christian community, from Muhammadan community, from Buddhist community, from Hindu community, everywhere. Because the knowledge is for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether he’s Jewish, Christian or… “Two plus two equal to four” is good for everyone. It is not that “two plus two” is good for the Christians, not for the Jews. Gold is gold.
Interviewer: I didn’t get that.
Bali-mardana: The principle of, say, “two plus two equals four,” is the same for a person whether he’s Christian, Jewish, Muhammadan or whatever. Just as the same way that gold is gold. Gold always has it’s value in any situation.
Prabhupada: You cannot say because gold is in the hand of a Muhammadan it is Muhammadan gold, or if it is in the hand of a Christian it is Christian gold. Gold is gold.
Prabhupada: In anyone’s hand. You cannot designate it.
Interviewer: Who’s got the gold?
Prabhupada: Huh? Everyone has got the gold.
Interviewer: Who has the gold?
Prabhupada: No, everyone has got the gold, but they have, they are not in awareness that what is that gold.
Bali-mardana: Everyone has the gold. They are simply unaware that they have it. Everyone is originally Krsna conscious or God conscious. What Prabhupada is doing is making people aware of it, that it’s within them, within their heart.
Interviewer: Well, are there other paths to awareness of spirit consciousness other than the Krsna consciousness path?
Prabhupada: That, how can I say? That is your subject matter. You study both of them and see and give your judgement.
Interviewer: What is your view? Are there other paths to spirit consciousness?
Prabhupada: There is, but not very elaborate.
Interviewer: There are but not very what?
Bali-mardana: Elaborate, scientific.
Prabhupada: Not very elaborate.
Interviewer: Not very good?
Prabhupada: Not very elaborate.
Interviewer: Well is Krsna consciousness very elaborate?
Interviewer: By elaborate you mean effective, is that?
Interviewer: You mean effective by elaborate?
Prabhupada: Effective also.
Interviewer: I mean is that the proper synonym for elaborate?
Bali-mardana: These are some of our books that Prabhupada has published just to explain this science.
Prabhupada: We are explaining this science in so many books. It is open to everyone.
Interviewer: That’s quite a library.
Hari-sauri: This is just the beginning. And there’s another forty volumes after this.
Interviewer: Are all of these translations that you’ve made Your Grace? I don’t blame you for sleeping only four hours a night. I tell you, just to produce a half a dozen books in a lifetime is quite a job you know.
Prabhupada: It is very difficult, but I have already produced eighty books.
Interviewer: Eighty? Eighty?
Prabhupada: Eighty books.
Prabhupada: Eighty. Eight zero.
Interviewer: Translations of the Vedic scriptures.
Bali-mardana: And commentaries.
Interviewer: Translation and commentaries.
Prabhupada: And all world scholars, professors, universities, they are receiving so nicely.
Bali-mardana: We have standing orders for all of Prabhupada’s books that he has now and in the future, all over the world in all the leading universities and the professors are using them as texts. We have hundreds of letters.
Prabhupada: You can see some of the lists.
Interviewer: What I’ve heard, what I’ve heard some Hindu professors say is that Hinduism is such a complex and profound religion and that the Krsna consciousness members are very superficial about it. They simply go through these disciplines and really don’t involve themselves in the… They take a superficial version of Hinduism.
Prabhupada: That may be Hindu religion. But we do not belong to any religion. That may be true for the Hindu religion what the professor has said, but we do not identify with any religion. We are different from any religious system.
Interviewer: But the scriptures are the same, the Vedic scriptures are Hindu scriptures.
Prabhupada: No, Hindu religion… Of course, the scripture is the Vedic principle, but the word is not Vedic. This word Hindu is not Vedic word.
Bali-mardana: Hindu is not Sanskrit, it’s just a popular, general term.
Prabhupada: Vedic, Vedas, Vedas, that is real, the word. But they have taken it in a different way. Actually the “Hindu,” this name is given by the neighbor Muhammadans. There is a river called Sindhu. That river is still there, it is now in Pakistan. So outside the border of India, the Muhammadans, they used to call the inhabitants of the neighborhood of that river Sindhu, Hindu. Because they pronounce s as h. So this is the origin. So “Hindu” is a title given by the Muhammadan neighbors. It is not found in the Vedic literature.
Interviewer: I see, I see. That’s like most religious names derived quite often out of ridicule or scorn. Like the Quakers, that was originally a title of scorn. And Methodists, they were the methodical ones, that was a title of scorn. And the Baptists were the baptizers.
Prabhupada: Real Vedic principle is called varnasrama. Observing the principle of four varnas. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya. It is a very long science. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, südra. This is called varna. And brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. This is called asrama. So the Vedic civilization is called varnasrama-dharma, not Hindu dharma. This is later contribution of the so-called scholars.
Interviewer: Well ah, I thank you very much for your time, your Grace, and I’m glad I finally got acquainted with you. I missed you in Brooklyn.
Interviewer: I missed you in Brooklyn, I came over there and you were in the backyard, I think you were asleep or having a backrub or something. So I didn’t get to see you.
Prabhupada: Yes, in the daytime I am…
Interviewer: It was good to catch you this time and I hope to see you again.
Prabhupada: So kindly put the matter properly because people misunderstand on account of their ignorance they misunderstand our, movement.
Interviewer: What are their main misunderstandings?
Prabhupada: This bodily concept. They are thinking that they are body. “I am Muhammadan, I am Christian, I am American, I am Eastern, I am Western,” all bodily conceptions.
Interviewer: You mean about the Eastern and Western?
Prabhupada: Eastern, Western, that is also bodily conception. Why they are thinking Eastern, Western? Everyone is human being.
Interviewer: Well, what is it that they particularly understand, misunderstand about the movement?
Prabhupada: They do not understand that we are talking on the spiritual platform and they are on the material bodily platform. Therefore they find contradiction. One has to be little sober to understand this movement and what platform we are speaking. They are accustomed, on the same example, hammering the bricks. And when they see others, they are not hammering the bricks, they think they are different. They cannot understand that life can be without hammering the bricks. Karmis. In the Bhagavad-gita, the word müòha, that has been explained by Visvanatha Cakravarti, karmis, these müòhas. They cannot understand.
Interviewer: I’m going to have to go back and hammer a few bricks. (laughter) It’s been a pleasure, thank you very much, for your time.
Prabhupada: (laughs) Give him prasada. Thank you very much.
Interviewer: Thank you again, I hope to see you again sometime.
Interviewer: Good day. (end)