Published on April 8th, 2024 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada The Acharya Part 5 — Video

Hello.  I’m Sid Hunter.  Here at the Srila Prabhupada museum in Los Angeles.   Over the past several years, I’ve had the good fortune  of being the editor of ITV’s acclaimed Acharya series. In a few minutes, you’ll be seeing the Acharya part five, another wonderful collection of documentary film clips, that provide us with an intimate glimpse into the remarkable personality of that great visionary and spiritual teacher, His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

But sadly, this will be the final show in the Acharya series. The film segments you are about to see represent the very last remaining 16mm sound synchronized material in our collection of  intimate footage of Srila Prabhupada. All of us at ITV feel honored to have participated in the production of the entire series and we extend our heartfelt thanks to Yadubara Das, and his wife, Vishaka Dasi, who gave us so much of the original footage that was used to compile these shows.

Certainly everyone who personally knew and loved Srila Prabhupada will appreciate the opportunity to rekindle and relish the sublime memory of his presence, and for those who never met Srila Prabhupada in person, we hope that these rare, all too brief moments will serve as an inspiration to learn more about his saintly personality and his teachings.

The Acharya Part V

At the ripe old age of sixty-nine, his divine grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, boarded an Indian steamship bound for America. Like so many who have come before, he arrived with only a few dollars, a couple of battered trunks, and a dream.

But his was not the usual dream of freedom, fame, or fortune. Srila Prabhupada had a bold vision for the re-spiritualization of the entire western world. He sought to transform the predominantly material consciousness of the West by transplanting the ancient religious traditions of India.  First to America, and then throughout the world. The seeds that this elderly saffron-robed holy man planted took immediate root and blossomed into an international spiritual movement that profoundly influenced the lives of millions of people.

In just twelve years, from 1965 until he passed away in 1977 Srila Prabhupada circled the globe some fourteen times, preaching, gathering disciples, and opening hundreds of centers for the study and practice of Krishna Consciousness.

In that time, he also managed to write and publish over eighty volumes of translation and commentary on the sacred texts that form the basis of Indian religious and philosophical thought, winning lavish praise from the academic community for his dedicated scholarship and profound insight.

Today, his books are available in over thirty languages and are being printed at the phenomenal rate of twenty million copies a year. All of Srila Prabhupada’s accomplishments were the result of his single-minded determination to make the science of self-realization both understandable and achievable even in a world increasingly consumed by material values.

By his tireless preaching, such fundamental spiritual concepts as vegetarianism, karma, and reincarnation  have become widely understood and accepted.

But Srila Prabhupada’s struggle against all odds to establish a spiritual beachhead in the Western world is more than just a tribute to his fierce and vigorous resolve. His remarkable success was in great part due to an engaging personal warmth, a rare blend of deep moral strength and quiet humility that inspired both reverence and affection.

Srila Prabhupada succeeded because his life and personality were the epitome of the ideal he set forth for others to follow. He could offer to everyone he met not just a theory, but a practical way of living. At every moment, he was a true acharya, a holy man who teaches others by example.

Venice Beach, California 1975

That is our motto. Krishna is Sun.  Remember?  Krsna surya sama. So when  Krsna Sun is there, all those glowworms, (impersonalists) will be finished. Keep this sun always shining.  Then these glowworms will be finished.

Melbourne, Australia 1974

Disciple: There is one newspaper article in the papers, I was reading, they were advertising a new book about the evolution of man, and it was saying that there were approximately 2 million varieties of life on this planet.  This was the calculation of the scientists.

Srila Prabhupada: Two million? No.  8,400,000.

Disciple: You were saying the other day that all the species of life are mentioned  in the Padma-purana.

Is it divided by country or within one country there are many species?

Srila Prabhupada: You are thinking of the country but shastra (scripture) takes the planets, not the country. Your idea is based upon country, nationality, but shastra is not. There is no such thing as nationality.  Take the whole universe, as a whole.

They consider from that angle of vision.

One planet or universe. Just like last night the girl was astonished at how this planet can be governed by one king.

[07:34]And it was actually being done and the whole universe is being governed by Brahma. One person. So one must know how to govern. Just like we have got different GBCs for different jobs. Similarly, they’re doing their duty nicely.

All these planets are the different residential quarters of different demigods. They are controlling the whole universal affairs. In comparison to them this human being is nothing.

There is a good chance, however, of realizing God in this human form of life. Just like the difference between western countries and India.  In India there is a very quick chance of realization of God. The atmosphere is so nice. So, this planet is good for God realization and the best place is in India.

Disciple: So, in this planet everyone is meat eating, or in this country everyone is performing sinful activities…

Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, it is decreasing.  The more you are becoming sinful, the more the rain will decrease. Yes, and at the end, there will be no rain. Then this whole planet will be ablaze with fire.  That is the beginning of destruction. There will be scarcity of rain and scarcity of food grains. The best thing is at night there must be heavy rain and daytime there should be sunshine. Then the field will be very fertile. That is knowledge.  But they have no knowledge. They simply want to enjoy.

Disciple: They do not care for death also.

Srila Prabhupada: Simply sense gratification.  That’s all.

This is called Danav (demoniac). “Danav” life.

Disciple: They say originally there was just a cell, and by adaptation, certain circumstances, one kind would live and another would die, so all these varieties adapted to different conditions.

Srila Prabhupada: Who adapted?

Disciple: They did, accidentally.

Srila Prabhupada: Who managed? That is nonsense. Nothing happens accidentally.  That is nonsense. There must be some arrangement.  What is happening accidentally? Why are you taking care of the trees? So many things.  Nothing is done accidentally.

If accident is there, let accident come and I’ll become a rich man. Why do they try? Why do they go to college? Then accidentally you become M.A., Ph.D. This is all rascaldom.

ISKCON Los Angeles 1975

Disciple: Dr. Meyers found that he is chanting Hare Krsna a little in the shower now.  When he takes his shower he chants a little bit.

Srila Prabhupada: One press reporter at Berkeley University, in the beginning,  he wrote his article and he wrote that after hearing these “Hare Krishna’s” for a few minutes, “I came home chanting all the way, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna”…

So, when you conquer over these base qualities (lust and greed), then you’ll become happy, tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye ceta etair anaviddham. When the consciousness is not influenced by these base qualities. Being situated on the platform of sattva guna (goodness), he feels happy. That is the beginning of spiritual life.

When so long the mind is disturbed by lusty desires and greediness, there is no question of spiritual life. Therefore, the first business is how to control the mind so that it may not be influenced by the base qualities, lusty desires and greediness. We have seen is Paris, an old man 75 years old, he is going to the nightclub, because the lusty desire is there. He pays $50 for entering the club, and then he pays further for other things. So even though he is 75 years old, the lusty desire is there.

Dr Meyers: Do all souls fall out of the spiritual sky at once, or at different times, or are there any souls that are always good, they’re not foolish?

Srila Prabhupada: Majority, 90%, they’re always good. They never fall down.

Dr Meyers: So we’re among the 10%?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Or less than that. In the whole material world all the living entities, they’re just like in the prison house. There is some population, but they’re not the majority. The majority of the population, they’re outside the prison house. Similarly, the majority of living beings, part and parcel of God, they’re in the spiritual world. Only a few fall down.

Dr Meyers: Does Krishna know ahead of time that a soul is going to  become foolish and fall?

Srila Prabhupada: Krishna. Yes Krishna may know because He is omniscient.

Dr Meyers: Are more souls falling all the time?

Srila Prabhupada: Not all the time, but there is the tendency of fall down. Not for all, but because the is independence, everyone is not liking to misuse their independence.

The same example, just like a government constructing a city and they construct also a prison house because the government knows that somebody will be criminal so their shelter must be also constructed. It is very easy to understand. Not that cent per cent of the population will be criminal but the government knows that some of them will be. Otherwise why do they construct the prison house also? One may say, “Where are the criminals?  You are constructing a prison house?” But the government knows, “Oh, there will be criminals!” So if the ordinary government can know, why God cannot? Because there is the tendency.

Dr Meyers: The origin of that tendency is?

Srila Prabhupada: Tendency means the independence. So everyone can know that independence means one can use it properly or one can misuse it. That is independence.

Therefore, it is the duty of the human being to know how to control the mind. Not act like cats and dogs. That is human being. He should be inquisitive. Why is this happening, why is this happening? And he should take education. That is human life. That is the difference between a human being and a dog.

Therefore, Vedic injunction is “go on and inquire.” “You have got this human form of life.” Athato brahma-jijnasa “Now this is the time for inquiring about the soul.” Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigaccet. “If you want to understand this science, then go to a proper guru and take lessons from him.”

The same thing as we instruct our children, “If you want to be educated in the higher status of life, go to school, go to college, take lessons.” That is human society. The dog’s father will never ask the dog child, “Go to school.” No, they’re dogs.

ISKCON Chicago 1974

The hippies are dissatisfied with the method of modern materialistic way of life? Is it not? Voluntarily they are giving up possessions. Sit down. They want to have something new, but they are not accepting what is actually better. Some of them are accepting. But there is frustration.  There is no doubt. Frustration.

Yes.  This materialistic way of life like their fathers, grandfathers, they do not like. Is it not?

Reporter: In Los Angeles, do you live in richness, do you have a car, and a chauffer, and a yacht?

Srila Prabhupada: Why not?  I am the guru of the richest country, why shall I not have a car? Do you follow? If I am guru of the richest country, then why shall I not have a car?

Reporter: So, you have one?

Srila Prabhupada: I have many. In each center I’ve got at least one dozen cars. Just now I’m coming from Europe, Germany.  They’ve got 19 vans. They go into the interior villages. Volkswagen? So our devotees are packed up in each bus and they go into the interior villages. Similarly, in every center we have got. In Germany, in England, in Los Angeles, in New York.

Reporter: Here also?

Srila Prabhupada: Just see.

Reporter: Some spiritual leaders live in great richness…

Srila Prabhupada: Because I know you are envious, therefore, I don’t sit here (elevated seat), I am sitting here. You are very envious when a spiritual master is honored very nicely by his disciples, you become envious. What can be done? But that is the etiquette, that the spiritual master be honored as good as God. But if you do not know, you become envious, “Why this man is sitting in this position in this gorgeous way?” What can be done?


Srila Prabhupada: …But the tailor according to the body makes a covering of this hand. And this looks like a hand This covering of the chest looks like a chest. Therefore, the impersonal means the material covering. Otherwise, the spirit soul is personal.

Just like you go to the tailor according to your body, the tailor will cut a coat. The ingreditents of the coat, the cloth, that is impersonal but it is made like a person.  (The covering of the person) In other words, the spirit soul is personal. As much as God is also a person.

Impersonal means the covering.  Try to understand. The covering is impersonal. Not the, the living being who is covered, he is not impersonal, he is personal. A very simple example. The coat and shirt are impersonal but the man who is putting on the coat and shirt, he is not impersonal, he is personal. So how God can be impersonal? The material energy is impersonal. That is explained…

That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: Maya tatam idam sarvam, jagat avyakta murtinam. This jagat is avyakta, impersonal. And that is also energy of Krishna.  Therefore, He says, “I am expanded in the impersonal form.” The impersonal feature is Krishna’s energy. So the material covering is impersonal. But the spirit soul or Supersoul is a person.

Any questions on this?  It is very intricate.  Anyone?
ISKCON Los Angeles 1975

Srila Prabhupada: This payment, the Book Trust has paid to me. But that is my money, not your money. I am paying you.  It has been simply sent though you.

Ramesvara: Transfer.

Srila Prabhupada: But actually the Book Trust is not paying to me. So under the circumstances what is the account? You are debiting, paid to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.

Ramesvara: I have written it as a transfer, because Your Divine Grace told me you were going to give me these certified checks. I can do it another way.  If you do not want to deposit the checks with us, I will write it as a donation to some project in India. Whatever the money is used for I can simply make it a donation.

Srila Prabhupada: Donation, that’s alright, but you are not donating, you are taking payment. Only if you want. No.

You give me a statement. If not many months, at least in this month, what is the receipt, and how it is spent, and what is the balance.

Ramesvara: For this account, in India?

Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Every month you give me a statement.

Ramesvara: Of BBT?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So much received and so much spent.

Ramesvara: Oh, yes, I can do that.  Every month. Every month. No problem.  I am doing that already, and sending a full report to Bhagavan and Hamsadutta each month.

Srila Prabhupada: So you can give me one copy.

Ramesvara: Yes.  I never did before because I didn’t want to disturb you with the details.

Srila Prabhupada: No details.

Give me this. I will also be able to keep a record, so you can for transfer receive the check.

Is that alright? I am giving in favor of BBT.

Ramesvara: Yes, that’s right.

Srila Prabhupada: Where is my pen box?  Here.

There is not sufficient men or they’re not working? Otherwise there is a tremendous market. I did it personally. When I was alone I was selling the Bhagavatam. All the schools, colleges, everywhere with great delight they were taking. And then I got a standing order from the American Embassy, 18 copies of each book as soon as its published.  The same standing order. But these people are not doing their job. Indian management is very…

Ramesvara: So for the time being, if the money will not be used for the construction in Mayapur, it will be used to print books.

Srila Prabhupada: Mayapur, they have already taken one-half lac from me.

Ramesvara: Gopal Krishna, in India, requested that BBT give him a loan of 160,000 dollars. In India, during the Mayapur festival, he requested a loan from the U.S. BBT for 160,000 dollars, which would be used to construct the second residence building.

Srila Prabhupada: How will he pay back?

Ramesvara: His plan was that the American temples would purchase rooms and over a period of four or five years they would pay that money back. So is that still approved by your Divine Grace?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, I have no objection.

Ramesvara: The only thing is that we will have to delay the loan because for the next three months all our money will be used to print these 17 books.

Srila Prabhupada: First of all books, then loan. We cannot hold up printing, that is not possible. This you must always keep in view. We are not going to…The surplus money we are going to pay. Not that at the cost of stopping printing. You must always keep it (in view). When you require money for printing, there is no question of loan or temple building. This should be our principle.

ISKCON Melbourne 1974

Public Servant: How would we react if someone breaks in and tries to rob the building?

Srila Prabhupada: Rob?

Devotee: A thief.  What would we do if a thief came in?

Srila Prabhupada: Oh, a thief?  Well you shall punish him. Why not?  A thief should be punished.

Public Servant: You would punish yourself?  What would you do?  Just start attacking him?

Srila Prabhupada: No, ourself or anyone, a thief has to be punished. A thief has to be punished. Ourself or yourself, it doesn’t matter. A thief is a thief. He should be punished.

Public Servant: So what if he breaks in because he is hungry?

Srila Prabhupada: Then we say, “Everyone come and eat.”  Why should he remain hungry? We invite everyone to come here and eat.  No charge.  We don’t charge. So why should he remain hungry? Let us increase this program. All hungry men of Melbourne city, “Come here to eat sumptuously.” We invite, “Come on.” Why should you remain hungry?

Because they have made a department, just like yours. What is the department?

Public Servant: Social welfare.

Srila Prabhupada: So if they find social welfare, why not help? Why do they bring in politics? If actually there is social welfare here, why should they not support it?

Public Servant: Well you’re right.  But in our society, a minister is elected to carry out certain policies. Not what he wants, but what the people voted for.

Srila Prabhupada: Then if your policy is social reformation,

Public Servant: Social reform isn’t our policy.

Srila Prabhupada: Then social welfare.

Public Servant: Just to look after those who are in trouble.

Srila Prabhupada: But everyone is in trouble. At the present moment even the ministers are in trouble.

Public Servant: Yes, but that is not what our function is, everybody’s in trouble.

Srila Prabhupada: “Physician heal thyself.” You see, they are also drunkards, woman hunters, and meat-eaters and gamblers. They require to be rectified. Unless you change the society, how can you make social welfare? If you keep them as they are, then were is the question of welfare?

Public Servant: You give a different interpretation to the word.

Srila Prabhupada: Basically, one must be a first-class, ideal man. That is wanted.

Public Servant: That is why it is so very difficult, you have to work on your own.

Srila Prabhupada: Our own program, it is not vox populi. You find out a fault with us. You find out what is our fault. Then you can disagree. But when you see, everything is nice, how you’ll not accept it? Unless you are biased.

Public Servant: Of course I’m biased, I’ve been brought up differently.

Srila Prabhupada: No, we are not biased. We are not biased.  We are allowing. We say that if you want to be a first-class man, then you must not commit sinful activities. That is our proposal.

Public Servant: Actually I’m not here to change society.

Srila Prabhupada: We are also public.  We belong to the public.  You must become our servant also. We are public, members of the public, so you should become our servant also. If you are public servant.

Public Servant: A public servant, in our philosophy, is a man who serves the minister elected by the people, so this way he serves the public.

Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, just like we are proposing here.  I am not proposing, Krishna says, that one must be peaceful. So how to become peaceful? If his mind is always disturbed, how can he become peaceful? So, that is the secret of success. You want to make people peaceful but you do not know how to make them peaceful. So therefore, you have to adopt this.

Public Servant: You have a competitive society.

Srila Prabhupada: We say that you chant Hare Krishna, eat here sumptuously, live here comfortably, and you become peaceful. It is guaranteed. If anyone, even a madman agrees to these principles that let him chant Hare Krishna mantra, take whatever nice foodstuffs we prepare and live peacefully. He will be peaceful.

Public Servant: Still such a small percentage of the population, a tiny percentage of the population accepts that the…

Srila Prabhupada: Tiny percentage.  Just like, there are so many stars in the sky and there is one moon. In percentage the moon is nothing. If you take percentage of the stars, the moon is nothing but the moon is more important than all the nonsense stars. This is the example. What is the use of taking percentage of the stars in the presence of the moon? Let there be one moon, that is sufficient. There is no question of percentage.  One ideal man. Just like in the Christian world, one ideal Jesus Christ.

Public Servant: How do you feel about Mao Tse Tung?

Srila Prabhupada: His idea is alright. His idea is the communist idea that everyone should be happy. That is good idea but they do not know how…

Just like they are taking care of the human being in the state but they are sending poor animals to the slaughter house because they are Godless. So, for the satisfaction of the tongue of the human being, the animal’s through should be cut. So what can be done?  Then hopeless.

We are going on without depending on these rascals. We are publishing our books.  We are making our movement.  We are honestly trying, that’s all.

Srila Prabhupada’s Garden Los Angeles 1975

Devotee: Dr. Gerson has promised that he will read every single one of your books before he writes his book.

Srila Prabhupada: That is very kind of you. We have got over fifty books! And it is increasing. Perhaps in the next 2 months it will increase another 17 books.

Devotee: When a person came first he was doing drugs or some nonsense but now that he’s taken to Krishna Consciousness he has become so much more of a healthy and wholesome person.

Srila Prabhupada: That is the test. How we got so many devotees from the Hippie group? So how they have given up all their bad habbits?

Devotee: So the function of this testing is to show that that change takes place in a way that other scientists will accept it.  That is it’s purpose.

Srila Prabhupada: Oh, that’s nice. That is already admitted by the educated class, therefore, they are becoming attracted.

Professor: Well there still are many who aren’t familiar with the movement, and I hope to familiarize them.

Srila Prabhupada: But I say that even if there is something wrong, it is not impediment. They are making propaganda that these American devotees are CIA. This propaganda is very strong in India. Making the people against these American boys who are preaching.

Professor: I would like to show them a path so they won’t be cheated any longer.

Srila Prabhupada: Provided you know the path.

Professor: I’m trying to learn.

Srila Prabhupada: So first of all learn it. Otherwise you’ll be cheating. If you do not know the art, and if you want to do some benefit to the others, then that is cheating. Suppose a physician he does not know what is the medical science and if he wants to become a physician, that is cheating. Quack.

Professor: I hope through the study I’m doing through the devotees and the books that comes out of it, it will help them not be cheated any longer and show them the right way.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes.

Devotee: He is advising his patients they should chant Hare Krishna and to come to the temple.

Srila Prabhupada: Then it is very nice. Then you are friend.

Professor: Another thing I would like to do is go to Gurukula and test the children and show what NBC did was very false and unfair.

Devotee: On television, they did a very bad story about Gurukula.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they’re cheaters.  They want to cheat and get some money.  That’s all. Because the whole so-called human society is a combination of “cheaters” and “cheated.” So anyone who is acting without Krishna Consciousness, he is a cheater and anyone who is thinking himself advanced without Krishna Consciousness, he is cheating. This is the basic principle. When I say Krishna Consciousness, I mean God Consciousness.

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

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