Published on February 1st, 2021 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada The Acharya Part 3 Video
For a dedicated follower of the Vaishnava religious tradition, Vrindavan, India is the most sacred place on earth. In 1965, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada left the holy city of Vrindavan to deliver the message of Krishna Consciousness to the Western countries. At the request of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada gave up his peaceful and contemplative life there in order to preach the profound wisdom of ancient India to the rest of the world.
No one could have imagined that in a few short years, Srila Prabhupada would have created a revolution in spiritual consciousness and become the Acharya, the spiritual teacher, to so many people. He had founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a worldwide confederation of over one hundred ashrams, schools, temples, farm communities, and had made the chanting of Hare Krishna familiar to millions of people. And, he had written and published over eighty volumes of translation and commentary on self-realization, which are now standard in universities and libraries around the world.
Srila Prabhupada circled the globe eleven times between 1966 and 1977 and he met countless political, social, and religious leaders in scores of countries on every continent. He would speak at great length and often with considerable intensity on various subjects. During these discourses, Srila Prabhupada would turn the profound Vedic philosophy into a practical cutting edge that penetrated every sphere of life and thought.
Srila Prabhupada taught that there can be no real peace or brotherhood in human society, as long as we are murdering our brothers, the animals. Nature’s laws of karma, action and reaction, ensure that violence is repaid with violence. In other words, as you sow, so shall ye reap.
Srila Prabhupada’s views were always persuasive because they rested on systematic logic and sound philosophy. He once said philosophy without religion is mental speculation, and religion without philosophy is sentimentality.
Srila Prabhupada Speaks With Cardinal Danielou Paris 1975
Cardinal Danielou: For example it is necessary, for the food of man, to eat, to eat (animals).
Srila Prabhupada: Man can eat grains, food grains, fruits, milk, sugar, wheat.
Cardinal Danielou: Not flesh?
Srila Prabhupada: No.
Cardinal Danielou: Why? Just like the fruits. The fruits are meant for human beings.
Srila Prabhupada: The tiger does not come to eat your fruits. So tiger’s food is another animal. Man’s food is fruit, food grains, milk products.
Cardinal Danielou: But why? Because grain and plants are also living beings.
Srila Prabhupada: That’s all right. That we also understand. But if you can live, just like, generally, if I can live on fruits, and grains, and milk, why should I kill another animal? Another thing, how can you support that animal killing is not sin? How do you justify that killing animals is not a sin?
Cardinal Danielou: Because we think that there is a difference of nature between the life of man, life of spirit, and biological life. We think that animals, plants are not real beings. They are world of appearance and that the human person only is real being and that in this sense the material world is without importance. That only the spirit is real being and the remainder is appearance and not really existing. We think so, we think that animals, plants are not real beings, are world of appearance, and that the human person only is real being. And that in this sense the material world is without importance.
Srila Prabhupada: Now, I follow. Suppose you are living in this house. So, you are not this house. That’s a fact but if I come and break your house, is it not inconvenience for you?
Cardinal Danielou: Surely it is inconvenient.
Srila Prabhupada: So if I cause inconvenience to you, is it not criminal?
Cardinal Danielou: It is inconvenient to me, but…
Srila Prabhupada: Now, if I cause some inconvenience to you, is it not criminal? Is it not sinful?
Cardinal Danielou: I think if there is a serious reason, it is not the destruction of the spiritual man himself. By example, it is perfectly possible to use the reality of the material world, of the natural world, to the valuable finality of human vocation. We think that the question is a question of motivation. There could exist a bad reason for killing an animal but if the killing of animal is to give food to children, men, women, who are hungry, it is legitimate. It is difficult for me to admit that in India the cows, it is not permitted, to kill a cow to give to children who are hungry.
Srila Prabhupada: Another consideration. Cow’s milk we drink, therefore she is mother, is it not? According to the Vedic version we have got seven mothers. Adumata, the original mother. Guru patni, wife of the spiritual master. Adumata, Guru patni, Brahmani, the wife of the priest. Raj patrika, the wife of the king, the queen. Four, adumata, guru patni, brahmani, raj patrika, dhenu, dhenu means cow. Dhenu, dhatri, dhatri means nurse. Tatha prithvi, prithvi means earth. These are seven mothers. So cow is mother because we drink milk, cow’s milk. How can I deny that she is not mother? So how can we support the killing of mother.
Cardinal Danielou: Yes, it is a motive, but we think that…
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, in India, those who are meat-eaters, they are advised, that is also under restriction, advised to kill some lower animals, like goats, even up to buffaloes but cow killing is the greatest sin.
Cardinal Danielou: I know this. This is for us a difficulty.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because the cow is mother, you take the milk from the mother, and when she is old, she cannot give you milk, therefore she should be killed. Is that a very good proposal?
Cardinal Danielou: If men are hungry, the life of men is more important than the life of cows.
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore because we are propagating this Krishna Consciousness we ask people not to eat meat of any kind, but if under certain circumstances you are obliged to eat meat, eat the flesh of some lower animals. Don’t kill cows. That is the greatest sin. And so long one will be sinful he will not be able to understand what is God. But human beings’ main business is to understand God and to love Him. But if he remains sinful, neither he can understand God and what is the question of loving Him? Therefore at least for human society, this cruel maintenance of slaughterhouses must be stopped.
Cardinal Danielou: I think that perhaps this is not an essential point. I think that in this realm the users of various religions can be good. The important thing is to love God, but the practical commitment can be varied.
Srila Prabhupada Speaks with Lawyers in Melbourne, Australia.
Srila Prabhupada: That is like if God says that you can do this, that is not sin but if God says that you cannot do it, then it is sin. That is our philosophy, isavasyam idam sarvam. Everything belongs to God. That’s a fact. Under the influence of maya, we are thinking that this is my property. Just like suppose this cushion, where from the wood has come? Has anybody produced the wood? Who has produced it? It is God’s property. Rather, we have stolen God’s property, and claimed it as my property. There is Australia, the Englishmen came here, but is that the property of the Englishmen. It was there, America, it was there, and when everything will be finished, it will still be there. In the middle we come and claim it is my property and fight. Is it not? You are the barrister, you can judge better.
Lawyer: That was the argument he used.
Srila Prabhupada: Originally everything belongs to God. So why are you claiming it is my property? The son must know the property is father’s. That is the real knowledge. Now whatever father has given me, I will use it. Why shall I encroach upon my other brother’s property which he has gotten from the father? This is good sense, why shall I fight with my other brother? My father has given him this property. So let his use that and whatever he has given me, let me use it. Why shall I encroach upon his property? That is good sense.
Lawyer: I can understand when you say don’t encroach on other people’s property, and I think if I can understand you correctly what you’re saying is that if you have something, your father has given you something, and someone else wants to use it, well, let him. I can understand that, but then you can get to the stage at times, that for some reason or other, you don’t want him to use it.
Devotee: We are believing that everything belongs to God, and someone else does not believe in that concept…
Srila Prabhupada: That is wrong, that I say. That is his wrong concept.
Lawyer: How do you reconcile…. Well if everything belongs to God, we have to run society.
Srila Prabhupada: You don’t forget that everything belongs to God. Because you have to run society it does not mean that you forget the real thing.
Lawyer: I really don’t object to that idea at all, but the thing is that there are the system we’re working within has got different concepts. Then you should rectify.
First thing is that everyone should be convinced or understand clearly that everything belongs to God. But they have no conception of God even. That is the difficulty. The whole human society at the present moment, the majority, they are Godless. Especially the communists. They don’t acknowledge, the scientists, the philosophers, the scholars, all Godless.
Lawyer: You can’t say that scientists are working in a way that is opposite to God’s will?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they say. Oh yes, I have met many scientists. They say that we shall solve everything by scientific advancement. We have done already. They say like that. Just like there is a big theory, chemical theory. One big scientist, big or small, whatever he may be. He has got a Nobel prize.
Lawyer: He was medium-sized.
Srila Prabhupada: He is making the theory that life has come from chemicals. By chemical combination, chemical evolution. Darwin’s theory is also like that. This is there. Big, big scientists, they are so foolish – that life has come from matter, where is the proof? One lecturer in California University, and there was one student, he was my disciple, he challenged him, that if he could get the chemicals, whether you can manufacture life? To that the answer was: “That I cannot say” You’re putting this theory that life has come from chemicals. So science means observation and experiment. Now experimentally prove, get the chemicals and produce life.
Lawyer: They’re trying!
Srila Prabhupada: That is another foolishness. When you are trying to be a lawyer, a barrister, that does not mean you are barrister. When you are a student of law you cannot say that I am a barrister or advocate. That you cannot say. You are trying to be, that is another thing. But while they are trying to be, they are taking the position of leader. That is the misleading. That is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Andha yathandair upaniyamanas. One blind man is trying to lead many other blind men. What is the use of such leading?
Lawyer: But can’t you have people doing good for the sake of goodness?
Srila Prabhupada: He does not know what is good. Therefore I said blind. He does not know what is good. Real goodness is to understand God. That is real goodness.
Lawyer: There are certain things that you don’t…that are good that you can accept as being good. Just by themselves. You see an old lady who gets run over by a car. You go and help her. Now, there are certain things that are good by themselves and that people will react and do the good things even though they might not have any concept of God.
Srila Prabhupada: No. Unless you have got the real platform, how can you do good? Just like our Madhuvisa Maharaj, who lies to you: “We have done some good, legal affairs,” but unless you are a lawyer, legal man, how can you do it? You have a mind to do good but if you are not a lawyer, how can you do it?
Lawyer: But there would be a lot of lawyers…
Srila Prabhupada: That is another thing, I am talking of yourself. If one does not know what is good then how will you do good? First business is, that he must know what is good. Then he can do something good. Otherwise what is the use of jumping around like a monkey. So therefore anyone who is posing himself as leader to do good to the society, he must know first of all what is good.
Srila Prabhupada: …but you should see whether you’re successful, and what is the standard of success? The standard of success is whether you have pleased God. Read this: Atah pumbhir dvija srestha Find out this verse.
Devotee: “Oh, best among the twice born it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging his prescribed duties, dharma, according to caste divisions and order of life to please the lord, Hari.”
Srila Prabhupada: That is it, that should be there. So whether by my profession, by my business, by my talent, by my capacity, there are different categories. whether I have pleased God, then it is success.
India is still – if one has a very good garden with flowers. If somebody goes: Sir, I want to take some flowers from your garden for worshipping God, “Yes, you can take,” they’ll be very glad.
Lawyer: This man, his livelihood depends on those flowers, and I don’t think… his possessions were more important to him. It’s funny, there’s a funny follow-up the flowers were taken from two men who ran nurseries, and we had to go through an appeal to get home but just before the appeal came off, the boys needed a glass house, for the plants that you’ve got outside. So they’re driving around, and one says, well, lets go and find something out about glass houses. Oh, there’s a nice nursery The car drives up, you see. And he says, “Excuse me sir, we’re interested in glass houses. “Would you please get out of my land.” – Same nursery.
yasyati bhaktir bhagavati akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna manorathenasati dhavato bahih
The meaning is that anyone who is God conscious, a devotee, he has got all the good qualities. What we consider as good qualities, he has got. And similarly, one who is not a devotee of God, he has no good qualities because he will hover on the mental platform. There are different platforms, bodily concept of life, generally, I am this body, therefore, my business is to satisfy the senses. This is bodily concept of life. And others, they are thinking, “I am not this body.” “I am mind.” They are going on mental speculation, like philosophers, thoughtful men and above that there is intelligent class of men, practicing some yoga and spiritual platform is above that. First, bodily concept gross, then mental, then intellectual, then spiritual.
So this Krishna consciousness movement is on the spiritual platform,above body, mind, and intelligence. But actually, we should come to that platform, because we are spirit soul. We are neither this body, nor this mind, nor this intelligence. So, one who is on the platform of spiritual consciousness, they have got everything: intelligence, proper use of mind, proper use of the body. Everything is there.
If I say, at the same time, although he is hero, he must be generous. Just like Alexander the Great, perhaps you know this story? He arrested one thief. So when he was arrested and he was being judged by Alexander, the thief pleaded that what is the difference between you and me? You are a great thief, I am a small thief. So Alexander understood it and got him released, yes… This is generosity. You must agree to the principle.
Lawyer: Well, there’s another one, the battle. Remember the big battle, where the opposition… What was his name? Was on the ground and he said…
Devotee: Abhimanu was surrounded by the maharatis. There was no mercy then. So now Jnana was objecting that you cannot shoot a man if he gets off his chariot and Krishna said there was no mercy for Abhimanu so there will be no mercy now.
Srila Prabhupada: Tit for tat. In war that is happening, tit for tat.
Lawyer: Where was generosity?
Srila Prabhupada: That is war tactics. Give some prasadam for them.
Devotee: We invited everyone over to Ugrashrava’s house one night, we had a big party, and Walley came, and Raymond came, and they became addicted to prasadam.