Published on December 21st, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada — The Acharya — Part 2 — Video
In 1965 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A vedic scholar and holy man in the renounced order of life left India for America to transform a bold vision into a historical reality of global dimension. To fulfill the desire of generations of Indian saints who wished to see India’s timeless spiritual culture benefit the entire world Srila Prabhupada left India and sailed to the United States.
When he arrived by freighter he was practically penniless, but after nearly a year of struggle he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. In the years that followed the society grew rapidly and Hare Krishna became familiar to millions of people.Srila Prabhupada became the focal point for the public’s interest in the Hare Krishna movement but he was never too busy to carefully answer any question and with each and every encounter he would open the doors to the ancient philosophical and spiritual knowledge of India. An acharya is one who teaches by example. By his personal example Srila Prabhupada demonstrated that the soul, the self is naturally eternal, full of knowledge and full of transcendental bliss.
When a living being is awakened to his original constitutional position of Krishna consciousness he becomes filled with sublime exalted spiritual emotions that have no material counterpart. As a great self-realized and God-conscious saint Srila Prabhupada often exhibited the spiritual happiness that Krishna describes in the Bhagavad-gita. That sacred and ancient fountainhead of wisdom has this to say about the final state of human perfection:”In that joyous state one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he knows there is no greater gain.”Reporter: Welcome.
Srila Prabhupada: Thank you very much.
Reporter: You founded the Hare Krishna movement some seven years ago in 1967, did you not.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Reporter: In a capsule what is the movement?
Srila Prabhupada: Movement is to awaken God consciousness of the human being. The human being is distinguished from the animals in that the animals cannot understand what is God. And if the human being also does not understand what is God, then he is animal.
Reporter: I see. So your movement is to bring about an understand of God among human beings.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Reporter: And “Hare Krishna” means what?
Srila Prabhupada: “Hare Krishna” means addressing the energy of God. “Hare” means the energy of God and “Krishna” means God.
Reporter: OK. You were here yesterday to attend your annual festival. That was held in Golden Gate Park and we were there too and in fact here it is. A few thousand people came out to hear it. How many people are now disciples of the Krishna consciousness movement?
Srila Prabhupada: Dedicated life, about ten thousand, in the Western world.
Reporter: About ten thousand dedicated ones. Your Grace, is there any significance at all in the shaved heads? Why are heads shaved?
Srila Prabhupada: We keep ourselves very clean, that’s all.
Reporter: Oh, it’s just a cleanliness thing.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. At least at the present moment people think that by keeping long hair it becomes very beautiful. But we are against that.
Reporter: Just as simple as that. Is there any significance in the yellow robes?
Srila Prabhupada: Yellow robe is the dress of those who are dedicated.
Reporter: It could very well have been a blue robe?
Srila Prabhupada: This yellow-saffron..
Reporter: Your Grace, why do you feel that so many people are pulling away from the
[04:54]traditional religions in this country such as Christianity and so forth and going for trying to understand the Eastern religions. We hear a lot of Swamis and Gurus and other types of Yogi and so forth. Why do you feel that people are pulling away from the traditional Christian standards here.
Srila Prabhupada: We see that the Christian churches, especially I have seen in London, mostly closed. People are not interested or the Christian leaders, they cannot make them interested.
Reporter: Why? Did Christianity fail the people which is why they are turning to other things?
Srila Prabhupada: I think so.
Reporter: You say that Hare Krishna consciousness pretty much takes the absolute truths from the Bible, the Koran, the Tora and the Vedic.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Everywhere. Religion means to understand God.
Reporter: I understand but do you feel that in getting truths from various places like the Bible, the Koran and so forth, don’t you run into conflicts at all or contradictions in those particular philosophies.
Srila Prabhupada: No. I don’t find any conflict because the ultimate goal is God. So you have to understand God and try to love Him. So you can go through any religious process. If the goal is attained, that you understand what is God and you try to love Him then your life is perfect.
Reporter: Why do we so many of your followers chanting, almost all the time.
Srila Prabhupada: Chanting means to keep association with God, always.
Reporter: So you have to audibly chant “Hare Krishna.”
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes. This is transcendental vibration. Just like a radio message. If you keep contact with the radio message they you will know everything what is going on outside. Similarly this transcendental sound, “Hare Krishna,” if you chant then you keep connection with God directly.
Reporter: Thank you very much, your Divine Grace, its been our privilege to talk with you and to meet you and hope that we can see you again, when you return. We’ll be back with more news in just a moment.
Srila Prabhupada: I’m very much happy because these American boys are helping me. It is due to their cooperation that the movement is spread all over the world.
Reporter: Where will you go from here?
Srila Prabhupada: In America? What is the date I entered in Hawaii?Devotee: She is asking where you will go after Dallas.Srila Prabhupada: Oh, from Dallas I’ll go to West Virginia. And from there I shall go to London.
Reporter: Are you pleased with the Krishna movement in the United States? Do you think it is growing?
Srila Prabhupada: What do you think?
Reporter: I think it is and this pleases you.
Srila Prabhupada: It is growing very fast. Not only growing, but growing very fast. And the flowers of your country, the young generation, they are taking it very seriously. These boys, these girls, they have taken it very seriously.
Reporter: Do you think that the children you see here will carry on?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Creating another generation, Krishna conscious. So it will continue.
Reporter: What does Krishna offer that some of the other religions of the world…
Srila Prabhupada: Krishna is God.
Reporter: So other religions who follow God, God consciousness, so there is no difference.
Srila Prabhupada: It may be difference of name but religion means God consciousness. Without God consciousness, there is no religion.
Reporter: And what does worshipping in your way, is it any better than worshipping in another way? Is it more direct contact with Krishna?
Srila Prabhupada: Well every way is nice provided the followers are nice. Unfortunately, the principles are not followed. Just like in Christian religion. It is said “thou shall not kill.” But killing is very good thing here, in the Christian world, so many slaughterhouses. That is not Christian religion. But followers, they do not follow the rules and regulations. That is regulation. Otherwise it is very nice. Ours also, the principle is “no meat eating.” That means there is no killing of animals. Every religion says like that, but the followers do not follow.
Reporter: The Krishna religion teaches that women are to be subservient to men always, why?
Devotee (repeating question): The Krishna religion teaches that women should be subservient, should be subordinate to men, she is asking, why
Srila Prabhupada: Well, not should be, they are by nature. What do you think, your position?
Reporter: I don’t believe in that, of course, I disagree.
Srila Prabhupada: But you voluntarily become subservient to a man. That is the nature. They are seeking to become subservient. Attracting man, “take me as subservient.” That is natural. Even psychologically it is analysed that the brain of man, they have seen up to 64 ounce, whereas the brain of women they have not found more than 36 ounce.
Reporter: But women live longer than men.
Srila Prabhupada: Not necessarily. My grandmother lived about hundred years. So sometimes it happens. It is not restricted amongst women. There are men also.
Reporter: How old is the movement?
Srila Prabhupada: From historical point of view it is about five thousand years.
Reporter: Why has it just begun to really catch on in the Western world? I mean just recently, recent years has it begun to sweep the Western world. Why is this? The Western people were seeking something like that. So as soon as they got it, they captured it. The Western world, the younger generation were being frustrated, the hippie movement. So, when they saw something tangible, they accepted it.
Srila Prabhupada: What things, if everyone in the United States believed in Krishna and to the extent that you do, what would happen to this country and how would it be transformed?
Srila Prabhupada: So they will be very happy and peaceful. There will be no more hippies.
Reporter: What would you describe as a hippie?
Srila Prabhupada: You know better than me. Something extraordinary.
Reporter: How should people who follow your beliefs respond to other people criticizing them for the way they…
Srila Prabhupada: This criticizm. You criticize me and I criticize you. That is going on. Even there is no change of dress. It is mans nature to become envious, to criticize others. That is material nature.
Reporter: So you think they are envious because they are criticizing you?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Reporter: Because of the happiness the people have?
Srila Prabhupada: Certainly. Sometimes they inquire, “Are you Americans?” Because they have never saw Americans so peaceful. Even the priests also, they very much appreciate. In Melbourne, the Bishop from Melbourne and the head of the Scottish Church, many Church people, they very much appreciated. They invited me to talk at the society of Saint Francis. Hundreds of fathers, the meeting was attended, and I spoke for one hour, they very much appreciated, applauded for ten minutes, and they have accepted the principal, Hare Krishna. And Reverend Powel, he gave declaration that we have no alarm from the Krishna movement.
Reporter: This is your third visit to Dallas, is that correct.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Reporter: Why was Dallas selected as the point to establish the school. I believe this is the first school, isn’t it, in the United States to be established? Why was Dallas particularly chosen for the school?
Srila Prabhupada: It was Krishna’s choice.
Reporter: Krishna’s choice, He chose Dallas?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. We got a nice house and we accepted it. So it was Krishna’s choice.
Reporter: Where does the international Krishna organization get its funds? From simply donations? They have been criticizes occasionally for being very wealthy.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is our reputation. Even in Indian parliament this question was raised. “These Hare Krishna people” are fabulously rich, where they are getting money? Somebody suspected we are getting bribes from American government, what is that, CIA?
Srila Prabhupada: So if you are theologians then you must know what is God and abide by God. What do you think, Dr. Judah, this proposition?
Theologian: Yes. I think you are quite right. Certainly in our day and age many of us don’t really know God.
Srila Prabhupada: Then he is not theologian, he is theosophist.
Theologian: We know about God, but we do not know God, I would agree.
Srila Prabhupada: That is theosophist. Theosophist, they are thinking there is something superior, but who is that superior, they are searching out. The same thing, a boy, he knows “I have a father.” But who is that father, he doesn’t know. He has to ask mother. Alone he can not understand.
So our proposition is that if you do not know God, and here is God, Krishna, why don’t you accept it.. You do not know, first of all. And if I present, “Here is God,” then why don’t you accept it. What is the answer? We are presenting God, “Here is God.” And big, big acharyas have accepted. Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, Visnuswami, Lord Caitanya.
In our disciplic succession my guru maharaja and I am preaching. I’m not presenting a God whimsically. I am presenting a God who is recognized. So why don’t you accept it? What is the difficulty?
Theologian: I suppose one of the difficulties would be for certainly many in the older generation is that we follow certain patterns of life and it is difficult to change. This is the great problem.
Srila Prabhupada: You are not serious. Therefore Krishna says: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, you have to give up. And if you are not prepared to give up then you cannot accept God.
Theologian: I think you are being a little unfair to Dr. Crosley. I think what you say is true, that the most important thing we can do is to seek and know God. But I don’t think it is right to say that it’s a bad thing to study how other people, or how man is… …that’s what a university, in part, is for. To study about how people have thought on different matters.
Srila Prabhupada: No, I’m not saying bad thing. I say if you are serious about God, now “Here is God.” If you are seeking after something, if you get that something, why don’t you accept it?
Theologian: Do you believe that Christ said that Krishna was his father.
Srila Prabhupada: Name may be different. Just like in our country we refer say this flower something, you say something, but subject matter must be the same. Name is not. You can say in a different way according as you understand. But God is one. God cannot be two. You may give Him different names, that is different thing, but God is one, God cannot be two.
You pay tax to the government and the tax is distributed to so many departments. So it is not your business to go every department and pay tax. Pay to the treasury of the government it will be distributed. This is intelligence. And if you say, “Why should I pay to the treasury house?” “I shall pay this department, that department, that department, that department.” You can go on, but it will never be sufficient. Neither complete.
So you may love humanity but because you do not love Krishna therefore do not love the cows, send them to slaughter. So your love will remain defective, it will never be complete. And if you love Krishna, then you will love even a small ant. He is not interested to kill even an ant. That is real love.
Theologian: I agree with you that we love very badly and slaughter the animals…
Srila Prabhupada: Badly love is not love.
Theologian: ..but is the converse true, that we chant very well and can love Krishna even when we cannot love our fellow…
Srila Prabhupada: Chanting… We are also working. It is not that we are simply sitting down and chanting. Because we are chanting therefore we are loving everyone. That is a fact. These Hare Krishna chanters, they’ll never agree to kill any animal, even a plant. Because they know everything is part and parcel of God. Why unnecessarily one should be killed. That is love.
Theologian: Love means never killing?
Srila Prabhupada: There are so many things. It is one of the items. Yes. Do you kill your own son? Why? Because you love him.
Theologian: Could you explain the other side of it. The fact that of course the Bhagavad-gita has its setting on a battlefield in which Krishna enjoins Arjuna…
Srila Prabhupada: That killing and poor animal who is supplying milk. You are drinking milk, your mother. And you are killing. This killing and that killing is not the same thing.
According to Vedic civilization the cow is to be given a special protection. Why it is recommended for the cow? He does not say of other animals.
Theologian: Srila Prabhupada you are aware that they advance the argument of mesmerisation against chanting.
Srila Prabhupada: That’s good. If you can mesmerize… That Dr. Judah has admitted. If you can mesmerise the drug-addicted hippies and engage them in understanding Krishna, it is a great achievement. Dr. Judah has admitted. So if mesmerisation is for good, why not accept it? If it is for bad then it is another thing. If it is doing good why not accept it. What do you think?
Theologian: I don’t know how to react. I think I agree with you.
Srila Prabhupada: If it is good… Everything good should be accepted.
Theologian: The problem is I’m keep wondering how are so sure you know what good is. Particularly when it comes to war. I would be a little more worried I think.
Srila Prabhupada: What is that war?
Theologian: Well, you were telling that sometimes war is necessary. I should think that it…
Srila Prabhupada: Now necessary means that you can not expect in this material world all saintly persons. There are bad elements. So if the bad elements come to attack you is it not your duty to fight?
Theologian: It just may be though that mine are the bad elements and I keep thinking that other people are the bad elements.
Srila Prabhupada: No. Even God has got this discrimination. He says paritranaya sadhünam vinasaya ca duskrtam, there are bad elements. In God’s mind there is good elements and bad elements. So we are part and parcel of God. We must also have the same subject. We cannot avoid it.
Theologian: The body is not God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Devotee: No. He’s saying that when we say everything is part of God, he says the body is an exception.
Srila Prabhupada: No, why. The body is also part of God. Yes. It is another energy.
Theologian: I see.
Srila Prabhupada: Everything is God’s energy. So body is also God’s energy. The best use of the body is God’s energy should be used for God. Then body is spiritualised. Body is also God’s energy and if it is engaged in God’s service. Then the body is no more a bad bargain, it’s a good bargain.