ISKCON Press


Becoming Pure

Bob: Thank you so much for allowing me to ask my questions. id1

Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is my mission. People should understand the science of God. Unless we cooperate with the Supreme Lord, our life is baffled. I have given the example many times that a screw which has fallen from a machine has no value. But when the same screw is again attached to the machine, it has value. Similarly, we are part and parcel of God. So without God, what is our value? No value! We should again come back to our position of attachment to God. Then we have value. id2

Bob: I met a fellow today who came in the afternoon. His reason for coming—you may find it humorous—was that he heard the hippies were in Māyāpur. id3

Śrīla Prabhupāda: What? id4

Bob: He heard that hippies were in Māyāpur. I was talking to him, and then some devotees were talking to him. He had said some things to me which I could find no answer for. And he said he would come back tomorrow and meet some devotees. But let me tell you what he said. This is confusing. When he was young— id5

Śrīla Prabhupāda: He's Indian? id6

Bob: Yes, Indian. He lives nearby and speaks English fairly well. When he was young he worshiped Kālī [a popular demigoddess] every day very rigorously, and then the floods came. When the floods came, the people saw hardship, and now he has no religion, and he says he finds his happiness in trying to develop love among people. And I couldn't think of what to say to him to add God and religion to his life. He says that after he dies, “maybe I'll become part of God, maybe not,” but he can't worry about it now. He says he's tried these religious experiences, but they didn't work. One reason I ask this is because when I go back to America, a lot of people I come across are like this. They see that religion, like his worship of Kālī or other kinds of religion they've experienced, doesn't work. And I don't know what to say to them to convince them it's worth trying. id7

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Do not try at the present moment. You try to be convinced yourself. id8

Bob: Yes. I asked him to see devotees, but then on the way out, as he was leaving down the road, I met him again and told him, “Come back,” but… Oh, I see. id9

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You first of all be convinced. And then try to convince others. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instruction is that you can improve the welfare of others when your own life is a success: id10

bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra
[Cc. Ādi 9.41]

First make your life perfect. Then try to teach others. id11

Bob: The devotees have told me that without consciousness of Kṛṣṇa all the time, you cannot be happy. But at times I feel happy. id12

Śrīla Prabhupāda: At times. Not always. id13

Bob: Yes. id14

Śrīla Prabhupāda: But if you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, you will feel happy always. id15

Bob: They had implied that you cannot feel happy without Kṛṣṇa consciousness. id16

Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is a fact. For example, if you are an animal of the land and you are thrown into the water, you cannot be happy in water in any condition. When you are again taken up a the land, then you'll be happy. Similarly, we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. We cannot be happy without being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. The same example: the machine part, without the machine, has no value, but when it is again put into the machine it has value. We are part of Kṛṣṇa; we must join Kṛṣṇa. And you can join Kṛṣṇa immediately by your consciousness, simply by thinking, “I am Kṛṣṇa's, Kṛṣṇa is mine:' That's all. id17

Bob: What is that? Kṛṣṇa is… id18

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is mine. id19

Bob: Mine? id20

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Mine. My Kṛṣṇa. id21

Bob: Ah. id22

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is mine. Kṛṣṇa is mine. id23

Bob: Yes. id24

Śrīla Prabhupāda: And I am Kṛṣṇa's. That is our actual position. id25

Bob: We are part of Kṛṣṇa. id26

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Everything is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Because everything is generated by the energy of Kṛṣṇa and everything is the energy of Kṛṣṇa. id27

An Indian gentleman: Śrīla Prabhupāda, I have one question. What is the status of service minus devotion? id28

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Hm-m? That is not service, that is business. [Everyone laughs.] For example, here in Māyāpur we have employed a contractor. That is not service—that is business. Is it not? Sometimes they will advertise, “Our customers are our masters.” Is it not? But in spite of the flowery language—”Our customers are our masters“—this is business, because nobody is a qualified customer unless he pays. But service is not like that. Service—Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays to Kṛṣṇa: id29

yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ
[Cc. Antya 20.47]

“You do whatever You like, but still You are my worshipable Lord.” That is service. “I don't ask any return from You.” That is service. When you expect some return, that is business. id30

Bob: I wish to ask you to advise me on how I can come to feel closer to God. I'll be leaving you soon. And I'm— id31

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You have to be purified. id32

Bob: I come to the temple at times, and then I leave, and I'm not sure how much I take with me. id33

Śrīla Prabhupāda: It does not take much time. Within six months you will realize your progress. But you have to follow the regulative principles. Then it will be all right. Just like these boys and girls are doing. id34

Bob: Yes, I see. id35

Śrīla Prabhupāda: They have no tendency for going to the cinema or going to a hotel. No. They have stopped all anarthas, all unnecessary things. id36

Bob: I—I feel that when I go back, they'll— id37

Śrīla Prabhupāda: The whole human life is meant for purification. id38

Bob: Yes. id39

Śrīla Prabhupāda: id40

tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam
[SB 5.5.1]

Sattva means existence. So if you don't purify your existence, then you will have to change your body. From this body to that. Sometimes it may be higher, sometimes lower. For example, if you don't cure a disease, it can put you into trouble in so many ways. Similarly. if you don't purify your existence, then you will have to transmigrate from one body to another. There are very subtle laws of nature. Now there is no guarantee that you will get a very comfortable body or an American body. Therefore, it is essential for the human being to purify his existence. Unless you purify your existence, you will hanker after happiness but will not always be happy. id41

Bob: When I go to my job in New York, I hope I'll become pure, but I'm sure that I won't become as pure as your devotees here. I—I don't see myself doing that. id42

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You can do as they are doing. They were not pure in the beginning; now they are pure. Similarly. you can become pure. For example, in your childhood you were not educated—but now you are educated. id43

Bob: So, what are the things that I may do? When I go back, I must— id44

Śrīla Prabhupāda: When do you go back? id45

Bob: I'll be going back to Chaibasa to do my work there, and… id46

Śrīla Prabhupāda: What is there in Chaibasa? id47

Bob: That is where I do my teaching. I live there. id48

Śrīla Prabhupāda: So better not to teach—because you do not know what to teach. id49

Bob: [laughs] I'll be going—I don't like this teaching so much, and I'll be returning to America in May, but while I'm here, this is my agreement for staying in India. id50

Śrīla Prabhupāda: If you are serious, you can keep yourself pure anywhere. It doesn't matter whether you stay in America or India. But you must know how to keep yourself purified. That's all. id51

Bob: You mean by folllowing these principles? id52

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, I went to America, for instance, but either in America or India, I am the same man. id53

Bob: I—I have somewhat tried to follow since I met you the first time. [a brief visit to Calcutta in November 1971] id54

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Hm-m. But follow—you must strictly follow if you are serious.  id55

Bob: Maybe—OK, Maybe—what I say now is—well—the most foolish all I've said. But let me tell you how I feel. id56

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, no, not foolish. I don't say foolish—but imperfect. id57

Bob: OK [He laughs.] Imperfect. But let me tell you. I feel that right now I admire and respect your devotees, but I don't feel as if I am part of them, or even that I have a great desire to be part of them. I feel that I just want—I want to do what is right, come closer to God, and if—and if I just go to a better life next time—I'd be satisfied. id58

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Very good. id59

Bob: I guess it's material clinging, but … id60

Śrīla Prabhupāda: So, you just follow in their footsteps, and your desire will be fulfilled. We are training them how to become purified and happy. That is our mission we want to see everyone happy. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. People do not know how to become happy. They do not take the standard path to become happy. They manufacture their own way. That is the difficulty. Therefore, Ṛṣabhadeva gave this advice to his sons: “My dear boys, just undergo austerity for transcendental realization.” Everyone is performing austerity. This boy I know—he had to go to a foreign country to learn commercial management. Now he is well situated. In this way. everyone must undergo some austerity for future life. So why not take that austerity for permanent happiness? You have to purify your existence and your body. As many times as you accept a material body, you will have to change it. But as soon as you get a spiritual body, there is no question of change. You already have a spiritual body. Now, due to our material contamination, we are developing the material body. But if we associate with spiritual life, then we shall develop a spiritual body. The same example I have several times given is that if you put an iron rod within fire, it will become like fire. Is it not? id61

Bob: Put the iron rod into fire? id62

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, and it will become like fire. id63

Bob: Yes. id64

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Although iron. id65

Bob: Yes. id66

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Similarly, if you always keep yourself spiritually engaged, your body will act spiritually, although it is material. The same example: when an iron rod is red-hot, touch it anywhere, and it will burn. It takes on the quality of fire. Similarly, if you always keep yourself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you will become spiritualized. You will act spiritually. No more material demands. id67

Bob: How do I do this? id68

Śrīla Prabhupāda: This process. They are doing it. You have seen these boys, our six boys who have been initiated today. It is very simple. You have to follow the four restrictive regulations and chant these beads. Very easy. id69

Bob: Well, but, see—when I am back in Bihar and following my lifestyle there, I—if I follow all these regulative principles—some I follow now, but not all— id70

Śrīla Prabhupāda: “Some” means… ? id71

Bob: “Some”? id72

Śrīla Prabhupāda: There are only four regulative principles. “Some” means three, or two? id73

Bob: Two or three. id74

Śrīla Prabhupāda: So why not the other one? id75

Bob: No, no. I mean I follow one or two. One or two I follow now. id76

Śrīla Prabhupāda: [Laughs.] Why not the other three? What is the difficulty? Which one do you follow? id77

Bob: Which one do I follow? Well, I'm almost vegetarian, but I eat eggs. id78

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then that is also not complete. id79

Bob: No, not even complete. Since last time [November], I've become vegetarian, but… id80

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Vegetarian is no qualification. id81

Bob: Not much. id82

Śrīla Prabhupāda: The pigeon is vegetarian. The monkey is vegetarian—the most rubbish creature… id83

Bob: Well… id84

Śrīla Prabhupāda: The monkey is vegetarian. This naked sannyāsī lives in the forest… the most mischievous… id85

Bob: I—I felt that it was a little bit of progress because it was somewhat difficult at first, then easy, and I had returned to— id86

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, you can stick to all the regulative principles, provided you take to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness process—otherwise it is not possible. id87

Bob: Yes, this is it. I have—when I'm back in Bihar, and—um—my friends may say… We're sitting in the evening, and there's nothing to do but fight mosquitoes, and they say, “How about smoking some marijuana?” And I say, “Sure, there's nothing else to do;” and then I sit down, and I enjoy myself for the evening. Now we did this, we got carried away. we were doing it every day and realizing we were hurting ourselves and stopped, but still on occasion we… id88

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You have to live with us. Then your friends will not ask you, “What about marijuana?” [Bob laughs.] Keep the association of devotees. We are opening centers to give people a chance to associate with us. Why have we taken so much land [in Māyāpur]? Those who are seriously desirous—they will come and live with us. Association is very influential. If you associate with drunkards, you become drunk; if you associate with sādhus, then you become a sādhuid89

Śyāmasundara: He can come and stay with you in Bombay. id90

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, you can stay with us in Bombay. But he wants friends with marijuana. That is the difficulty. id91

Bob: Let me ask you about something else; then maybe I'll come back to this. I find that I think of myself too much, and this way I can't think of God so much. I think of myself in too many places. How can I forget about myself so I can concentrate on other, more important things? id92

Śrīla Prabhupāda: As they [the devotees] have done. id93

Bob: [Laughs.] You are saying to me that my path—I think what you're saying is that my path to purity is to become a devotee. id94

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Do you hesitate? id95

Bob: Well, I… id96

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Is it very difficult to become a devotee? id97

Bob: For myself—it is. I—I don't feel so much the desire. First the devotees tell me that they have given up material life. These four regulative principles, they have explained to me, mean giving up material life, and that I see. And in place of this they have… id98

Śrīla Prabhupāda: What do you mean by material life? [Bob is silent] I am sitting on this bed. Is it material or spiritual? id99

Bob: Material. id100

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then how have we given up material life? id101

Bob: I think how I interpreted it was “a desire for our material gains…” id102

Śrīla Prabhupāda: What is material? id103

Bob: Working towards material gains and not giving up all materials. id104

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Material life means—when you desire to gratify your senses, that is material life. And when you desire to serve God, that is spiritual life. That is the difference between material life and spiritual life. Now we are trying to serve our senses. But instead of serving the senses, when we serve God, that is spiritual life. What is the difference between our activities and others, activities? We are using everything—table, chair, bed, tape recorder, typewriter—so what is the difference? The difference is that we are using everything for Kṛṣṇa. id105

Bob: The devotees have said that the sensual pleasures they have given up are replaced with spiritual kinds of pleasures, but—see—I haven't felt this. id106

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Spiritual pleasures come when you desire to please Kṛṣṇa. That is spiritual pleasure. For example, a mother is more pleased by feeding her son. She's not eating, but when she sees that her son is eating very nicely, then she becomes pleased. id107

Bob: Hmm-m. Spiritual pleasure, then, is pleasing God. id108

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Spiritual pleasure means the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa. id109

Bob: Pleasing Kṛṣṇa. id110

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Material pleasure means the Pleasure of the senses. That's all. This is the difference. When you simply try to please Kṛṣṇa, that is spiritual pleasure. id111

Bob: I had viewed this as—my thought of pleasing God was to— id112

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Don't manufacture your ways of Pleasing God. Don't manufacture. Suppose I want to please you. Then I shall ask you, “How can I serve you?” Not that I manufacture some service. That is not pleasing. Suppose I want a glass of water. If you concoct the idea, “Swāmījī will be more pleased if I give him a glass of milk, hot milk,” that will not please me. If you want to please me, then you should ask me, “How can I Please you?” And if you do what I order, that will please me. id113

Bob: And pleasing Kṛṣṇa, then, is being a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. id114

Śrīla Prabhupāda: A devotee is one who is always pleasing Kṛṣṇa. He has no other business. That is a devotee. id115

Bob: Can you tell me some more about chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? I have for quite some time chanted, but never regularly—just a little bit here and there. I just got beads very recently, and once in a while I feel comfortable chanting, and once in a while not comfortable at all. Maybe I don't chant Properly. I don't know. id116

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, everything has a process. You have to adopt the process. id117

Bob: The devotees tell me of the ecstasy they feel when chanting. id118

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, the more you become purified, the more you will feel ecstasy. This chanting process is the purifying process. id119

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