ISKCON Press


Room Conversation with Jesuit

Type:
Room Conversation
Date:
May 19
Year:
1975
Place:
Melbourne

Jesuit: How are you? Pleased to meet you. Good of you to see me.

Prabhupāda: Yes

Jesuit: I’ve been in India just once.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Jesuit: I was over in Calcutta.

Prabhupāda: Oh. Calcutta. Where?

Jesuit: Right. I was staying with Brother Andrew. I don’t know whether you know him. He works with Mother Teresa in [indistinct]-pur over there.

Prabhupāda: Near Chowringhee?

Devotee: Chowringhee Rd.

Prabhupāda: There is a place called Chowringhee.

Jesuit: Ah, no, it wasn’t there. It was right in Calcutta itself.

Prabhupāda: Oh. Not in Calcutta proper.

Jesuit: Yes. Right in Calcutta. And he was an Australian Jesuit who founded an order of Brothers to work over there with Mother Teresa. So he used to work near there. And, er, how long are you staying out here in Australia?

Prabhupāda: Very nice.

Jesuit: You’re finding it very nice.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Would you like to drink water?

Jesuit: No thank you. [Prabhupāda drinks] How many hours of prayer a day do, say, the men here do?

Prabhupāda: To worship God, we have got nine processes. One is to hear about God and to speak about God—śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam. Then, memorizing God’s activities. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam. Then worshiping His feet—just like we offer flower to the feet. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam arcanam. Then Deity worship, just like we are doing in the temple, Deity worship. Then vandanam, offering prayers, just like you do in the church. Vandanam, dāsyam, to engage oneself always in His service. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyam sakhyam—to taking as the best friend, considering God as the best friend.

Jesuit: Consider God as…?

Prabhupāda: Best friend.

Jesuit: Best friend.

Prabhupāda: Just like Arjuna did. Arjuna worshiped God as friend, the best friend. God is the best friend for everyone.

Jesuit: That’s right. As John says, “God is love.” Same thing.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So, dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam, and to offer everything to God—whatever I have got: my body, my money, my…, everything. These are nine processes:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
[SB 7.5.23]

Nine processes. So you, nine processes you take. Or you take eight or you take seven or you take six or you take five, you take four, you take three, you take two—at least one.

Jesuit: And is everybody able to take the nine processes?

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is not difficult.

Jesuit: And do you have what I may call a training in contemplation, in which you get…

Prabhupāda: That is smaraṇam, memorizing. Thinking of God’s activities.

Jesuit: And, you know, in mysticism, Christian mysticism, Western mysticism, we have, say, the seven castles of St. Teresa of Avila, and we have a process of contemplation which we call infused, which God gives. Ordinary prayer, anybody is able to make. Teresa would speak about the three castles, the first three castles.

Prabhupāda: Three castle?

Jesuit: Mm. In her book, Interior Mansions. But the real mystic prayer, well, is not given to everybody. Do you have… Do these men get trained in mystic prayer, contemplation?

Prabhupāda: Mystic prayer means to think of God’s activities. So that is smaraṇam.

Jesuit: Smaraṇam. Not so much thinking of them as just being really in His presence and open to receive rather than to be active. Do you know what I mean?

Prabhupāda: Yes. But bhakti is activity. Bhakti is not passive. Active. Just like hearing. It is activity. Similarly glorifying, this is activity. Smaraṇam, remembering, memorizing, that is activity.

Jesuit: That is true. I see that. I think I sort of see a higher form of activity…

Prabhupāda: What do you mean by higher form activity?

Jesuit: …where the senses really have taken over…

Prabhupāda: Sense means activity.

Jesuit: But intuition. Something higher than…

Prabhupāda: Sense, when you use your sense, just like śravaṇam, hearing. So you use your sense. So this is activity.

Jesuit: I see that. I understand that.

Prabhupāda: You engage your ear. That means activity. I glorify, I speak, I engage my tongue in glorifying. That is activity. But as soon as there is sense activities, that is activity.

Jesuit: Hmm. But to get that real stillness and quiet in which…

Prabhupāda: No. Bhakti is not stillness. That is neutrality. Stillness means you stop your material activity. That is stillness. But… Your material activities, when you stop it, that is stillness.

Jesuit: What is neutrality then?

Prabhupāda: That is neutrality, that neither spiritual nor material—on the marginal stage. It is called simply realizing how God is great. That is neutrality. But real devotion begins when one understands that “God is so great, I am rendering my service to this world uselessly. Why not render service to God?” That is called dāsyam, beginning of active devotion. We are active in the material world. It is useless, simply wasting time and making one entangled in repetition of birth and death. Material activities. This is called pravṛtti-mārga. Pravṛtti-mārga means sense enjoyment. And for sense enjoyment we have to accept so many different types of bodies, 8,400,000. Everyone is busy in sense enjoyment. The tiger is busy, the hog is busy, the dog is busy. The man also, if he becomes busy like tigers and hogs and dog, then he’s going to become again the same species of life.

Jesuit: When he reaches a higher state of activity, when he really loves all mankind, and he loves God…

Prabhupāda: That is a kind of concoction.

Jesuit: A kind of?

Prabhupāda: Concoction, mental speculation. Why should you love mankind? Why not tiger?

Jesuit: Because they are my brothers and sisters.

Prabhupāda: So, brother and sister everyone loves. In the family, everyone loves his brother and sister. Does it mean that he’s a very big man?

Jesuit: Because there is a common father, or God is the father of all…

Prabhupāda: Yes, common fellow, that is… [to devotee:] Who can read Bhagavad-gītā? Bring Bhagavad-gītā. Find out this verse:

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
[Bg. 5.18]

Vidyā, vidyā. Call Paramahaṁsa.

Devotee: Vidyā-vinaya-sampanne?

Prabhupāda: Hah.

Devotee: 5.18

Prabhupāda: [indistinct]

Devotee:

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
[Bg. 5.18]

Translation: “The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision the learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [an outcaste].”

Prabhupāda: What?

Devotee: “A dog-eater [an outcaste].”

Prabhupāda: Mm. Just read again.

Devotee: “The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision…”

Prabhupāda: Equal vision.

Jesuit: Equal vision.

Prabhupāda: Equal vision.

Jesuit: What does that mean, equal vision?

Prabhupāda: Equal vision means that I don’t make any distinction between you and a dog.

Jesuit: You make no distinction…

Prabhupāda: No, this is spiritual vision, because a paṇḍita—paṇḍita means learned man—his equal vision means he does not make any difference between the souls. The dog has got also soul and the learned scholar has got also soul. But the soul is covered by the dog’s body, and here the soul is covered by the learned scholar’s body. Actually, both of them are souls, part and parcel of God.

Jesuit: Would you think that their souls are of different value, the soul of the dog…?

Prabhupāda: No, soul is of the same value.

Jesuit: That I would find hard to accept.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Jesuit: ‘Cause as I would understand it, the soul of the man, of any man, is what we would call a spiritual soul, an immortal soul. The soul of the animal is a principle of life, what the Greeks would call a psyche, Aristotle would call a psyche. But it is not of an immortal soul; therefore the man has higher value than the animal, the dog, something like that.

Prabhupāda: No. What do you think? Just like a child, as a child’s father, the child has got different soul and the father has got different soul you mean to say?

Jesuit: They’ve got different souls, but they’re both immortal, spiritual souls.

Prabhupāda: Who is important, the child or the father?

Jesuit: Both are important. Both very important, both more important than…

Prabhupāda: Which one? Which important?

Śrutakīrti: He says both are equally important, but they’re both more important than the dog.

Prabhupāda: Important… So far important is concerned, both of them same.

Jesuit: Same… They’re different people, aren’t they?

Prabhupāda: No, you say both of them equal. That means from the importance point of view, they’re the same. You say both of them…

Devotee: The father and son, they’re both the same importance.

Jesuit: But they’re different people, they’re different souls…

Prabhupāda: That’s all right, but you say both of them important, on which platform?

Jesuit: But when you say two things are important, you don’t say they are of equal…

Prabhupāda: Yes, life. Both of them are life.

Jesuit: Both of them are life. A flower has life, a dog has life….

Prabhupāda: That’s all right.

Jesuit: …a man has life. For me that is a gradation in life. You’ve got to start…

Prabhupāda: That gradation so far… Just like there are gradation of motorcars. This is made by Ford, this is made by Chevrolet, but the petrol is the same.

Jesuit: The petrol is the same.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: Hmm, even that can vary, but still…

Prabhupāda: There is no “still.” Petrol is the same. The machine may be different.

Jesuit: They’re all machines.

Prabhupāda: Yes, the body is machine.

Jesuit: All inferior, lower than man.

Prabhupāda: Yes, body is matter.

Jesuit: Body is matter.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: But a person is more than just matter. I’m more than matter.

Prabhupāda: No, the person, just like… That is… If a man is sitting on a Rolls-Royce car, he’s thinking, “Very important.” And a man sitting on some ordinary car, he’s thinking, “I am poor.” But as man, both of them equal. Falsely, because he is sitting in a particular type of car, he is thinking, “I am bigger.”

Jesuit: Yes, I can see. I agree with all that.

Prabhupāda: So the soul is the same. So there is no difference. [aside:] Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ [Bg. 15.7], find out this verse. Soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Supersoul, God.

Jesuit: That is what I find hard to understand, Your Divine Grace, [aside] that right… That my soul, your soul is part of the Supreme Soul.

Prabhupāda: Yes, their soul is also part and parcel…

Jesuit: I can’t understand that, because the Supreme Soul, God, the Deity, is infinite.

Prabhupāda: Yes, infinite, just like your… I’ll let you know, just like the ocean and the drop of ocean.

Jesuit: But even the… No, no, I can’t say that either. The ocean is not infinite. The ocean is not…

Prabhupāda: It is a comparison, a drop of water… He is infinite, God is infinite, we are finite.

Jesuit: We are finite, God is infinite. Therefore we cannot, added together, make up God.

Prabhupāda: No. I don’t say that.

Jesuit: Good.

Prabhupāda: I don’t say that. That finite and infinite, they… Finite is there, only “in” is not there. That is lacking. They, individual soul, you are, we are not infinite.

Jesuit: No, good.

Prabhupāda: But God is infinite, and I am finite. So the finite portion is common. The “in” is more in God: infinite. So similarly, I am giving the example, just like a drop of ocean water, it contains the same chemical. You’ll find salty, and the whole ocean also salty. But the ocean is big salt, and this drop is a small particle. The salt is there.

Jesuit: But I can’t accept the example, because the little drops of water which are salt and so on, all together coalesce and form the huge ocean, but the ocean is still finite. It is not infinite. But you and I are finite…

Prabhupāda: That is already explained.

Jesuit: If we coalesce together, no matter how many of us are…, there are…

Prabhupāda: No, I’m not comparing that combined together that we shall be equal to God. I don’t say that.

Jesuit: I didn’t follow you, then.

Prabhupāda: I don’t say that we are, some men here, or the whole universal souls combined together, still they are finite. They’re not infinite. Yes, multi-billions of zeros cannot make one. So I don’t say that. But the quality is there very minutely.

Jesuit: Imitation of the divine powers.

Prabhupāda: Not imitation. Actually we have got. Just like, another example: gold and a particle of gold, a small fragmentary, that will be called gold, but not the gold equal to the mine.

Jesuit: No.

Prabhupāda: Therefore the philosophy is acintya-bhedābheda, inconceivable one and different simultaneously. One in quality, but different in quantity. God’s power… I have got some creative power, and God has got creative power. So the creative power is there. But God has created millions of the planets that floating in the air, and we have created a 747 airplane—we want to take more credit than God. That is our foolishness.

Jesuit: Oh, I see that is man’s sin, if you like, is that he prides himself on his achievements.

Prabhupāda: That is false pride. The scientist, the modern scientist, they are taking false pride that “There is no need of God. We are now creating…”

Jesuit: Some of them are, not all…

Prabhupāda: Some of the fools, not all fools, but some of the fools declaring themselves as scientist, “There is no God. We can do everything.”.

Jesuit: Let me see if I can understand what you mean by God.

Prabhupāda: God means all-powerful, the great. You say also, “The great.”

Jesuit: I’d say all-powerful, omnipotent, the great, yes.

Prabhupāda: That is God.

Jesuit: All-loving?

Prabhupāda: Yes, everything is great. Nobody can surpass His love.

Jesuit: I mean God is all-loving?

Prabhupāda: Yes. When you say “great,” He’s great in every respect.

Jesuit: Good. Do you… In Christianity we have sort of the Trinity, the Father, Son and the relationship of love between them, which we call three persons in one God…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: In your understanding of God…

Prabhupāda: God, God and His love towards us… Because we are sons of God, therefore father has natural love for sons, therefore God comes. God sends His son or representative to canvass that “You come to God, you’ll be happy there.”

Jesuit: Who was the son He sent?

Prabhupāda: Eh? Just like Jesus, we say “son of God.” So…

Jesuit: That’s the second person made man, [indistinct] human, [indistinct] man.

Prabhupāda: Yes, he is very important, but he is son, a very important son. Just like father may have many sons, but one of them may be very important, very good assistant to the father, so Christ is like that. He is son of God, very important. He’s helping God, coming down to reclaim these fallen souls that “Come to God. Why you are suffering here?” So, he’s very faithful and important son. But the others, they are also sons, but they have forgotten God. Therefore they are suffering. So sometimes He sends His son or His devotee, and sometimes He comes Himself. That is Kṛṣṇa.

Jesuit: And He comes in bodily form and shape?

Prabhupāda: Yes. God has… Why, the son has got body then the father has got body. Your son has got body, so you have got your body. Without the father having body, how the son can get body?

Jesuit: I don’t understand that.

Prabhupāda: If… Suppose you are son, you have got this body, so your father must have body.

Jesuit: Yes, true.

Prabhupāda: Similarly, if the son of God has body, the God must have body.

Jesuit: Not necessarily.

Prabhupāda: Why? Can you show any example, a son is born from without body?

Jesuit: That is on a very human level, which…

Prabhupāda: Anyway, that your experience is on the human field. You have to give some example that “Here is no body, but the son has body.” Show me the example.

Jesuit: If you have a man who has a thing in what we would call super-eminence, and he has it on a higher form…

Prabhupāda: Higher form maybe, but there is form.

Jesuit: You take a musician like Beethoven, a musician…

Prabhupāda: We also say that the God has got form, but not form like this.

Jesuit: No, he hasn’t got form in Aristotle’s idea of the word “form” either, his hylomorphic theory of matter and form. In a sense, form there means spirit, and so… We can understand that you could say God has form…

Prabhupāda: Yes, spiritual form.

Jesuit: …but we’re not using it in that sense. When you’re using the word form, you mean a material form like a shape, a body…

Prabhupāda: No, no, I don’t say material form; spiritual form.

Jesuit: Well, I haven’t understood you, then. God, you say, has a form.

Prabhupāda: Spiritual form.

Jesuit: Aḥ, well, matter of words. I can understand that. He has a…

Prabhupāda: Not this form.

Jesuit: No, not material. He’s not matter, He’s pure…

Prabhupāda: No, no.

Jesuit: We would say He’s pure spirit…

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, yes, that is stated in the…

Jesuit: There’s no form of passivity in God. There’s no form of change in God; there’s no, no limitations of any sort. Matter has limitations. The soul is immortal because it has no principle of corruption in it. Aristotle would say that matter has parts, outside parts, and so it can, it has in itself the power of dissolving and it would break up, corrupts. The soul never does.

Prabhupāda: We have got this material body and spiritual soul. That is in this material condition there is distinction between the spirit and matter. As soon as the spirit goes from this material body, it has no value.

Jesuit: No life. True.

Prabhupāda: It is matter only, lump of matter, combination of matter. Therefore the spirit is important even in this life.

Jesuit: Oh, I see that, of course.

Prabhupāda: Yes, spirit is important. But God is fully spirit. He has no material quality. Yes. We have got, in this material condition, difference between the matter and spirit, but God has not so, such thing. He is whole spirit. That is the difference between God…

Jesuit: And also, as a result, the human—you, I, all these—we’re all persons separate from one another, distinct from one another, and distinct from God, who is a separate person.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, we admit that.

Jesuit: It’s that I haven’t understood. Sometimes you get pantheists who talk as though God is made up of a sum total of…

Prabhupāda: That is a theory. That is a theory, that is not fact.

Jesuit: No, but also it’s a false theory, I think, because it goes against all logic and philosophy.

Prabhupāda: But no, theory in this [indistinct], that God is everywhere by His potency, but everything is not God. This is our philosophy. God is everywhere. Just like the sunshine. Sunshine is spread everywhere, but that does not mean everything is sun.

Jesuit: That’s true.

Prabhupāda: It is like that. God is all-pervading by His potency. This wood, this is also energy of God. [aside:] Find out this verse, bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca [Bg. 7.4].

Jesuit: Do you, in your creed, do you believe in metempsychosis, that is the soul going through one form of life and then if it lives badly, the person lives badly, it comes back in another form and so on? Do you believe in the metempsychosis?

Prabhupāda: Transmigration.

Jesuit: Transmigration of souls.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is stated here.

Jesuit: I find it hard to under…, to accept that.

Prabhupāda: What is the difficulty? Just like you have entered this black dress and I have entered this as colored dress, but as human being we are the same.

Jesuit: But to think that my soul belongs, say, to a dog in ages gone past, or that it’s going to come back and be a tiger or another person that…

Prabhupāda: Tiger is the body, and human form is also body. So if you want to become like a tiger, then God helps you to enter the body of the tiger.

Jesuit: I find it hard to accept that.

Prabhupāda: How you’ll not accept God is so kind, if you want to be something, He helps you, “All right, you become.”

Jesuit: It seems to me that God sent Jesus to tell the whole world…

Prabhupāda: God says that, that “You don’t desire anything; you simply become faithful to Me.” That is God’s desire. But we are not abiding by the orders of God. We want, we desire so many things. Just like, don’t mind if I say, that God said, “Thou shall not kill,” but we are killing. We are violating. Their tendency is there, so we must suffer for that.

Jesuit: Aḥ, true, sure. If we know that we’re doing wrong.

Prabhupāda: Because we are not abiding by the order of God, therefore we must be prepared to suffer. So I, if I kill you, then you kill me. Then going on, then I’ll kill you, you kill me, go on. Life for life. You have no right to kill, but if you kill then you’ll be killed.

Jesuit: I can accept all that. Although it’s true that God has said, “Love one another.”

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: People don’t always obey God.

Prabhupāda: They’d kill. Instead of loving, they kill, so they must suffer.

Jesuit: But it has to be… It’s not proved that the way of suffering is to come back in another form, which is the theory of transmigration of the soul.

Prabhupāda: Just like you’re in this apartment, you can go to another apartment, and that apartment may not be exactly like this. It may be better or it may be worse. Similarly, we have entered… [aside:] Find out this, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ.

Paramahaṁsa:

dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
[Bg. 2.13]

“As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.”

Prabhupāda: Just like a child gets another body, boyhood. The boy gets another body, youth. The youth gets another body, old man. Similarly, when this body is not useful, then he gets another body. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. As we experience dehāntara, different types of body, we are getting one after another, similarly the soul is immortal; he’ll get another body. Now here it is not mentioned what kind of body. “Another body.” The “another body” means, there are 8,400,000 different types of body, so he can enter any one of them according to his karma. That will be selected by higher authorities. Just like I do not know here; in India, in New Delhi, the Indian government, they give, I mean to say, house, accommodation, to the government servant. So there are different types of houses: for minister one type of house, for secretaries for one type of house, for the clerks one type of house. So according to the position, a house is offered. So our… We are acting here according to our resultant action of the activities, we get next birth. That is under the control of material nature. [aside:] You find out, kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya.

Paramahaṁsa:

puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho hi
bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ‘sya
sad-asad-yoni-janmasu
[Bg. 13.22]

“The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil amongst various species.”

Prabhupāda: Now, the material nature has got three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance, and mixture. So we are associating with the modes of material nature, and according to that nature we are manufacturing our next body. This is the… So in the material world we are infecting several types of quality of the nature. Not everyone is on the same quality. Just like these boys, they are being trained up under certain quality. They’re not going to the restaurant, they are not going to the liquor shop, they’re not smoking, they’re not eating meat, they have no illicit sex. They are being trained up. This is a quality. And another man is going to the liquor shop, to the brothel, so many other things. They’re not of the same quality.

Jesuit: What is it all leading to? What does it all lead them to? A state of liberation from material things?

Prabhupāda: Yes, there are two… Now in the human form of life, we have got two selection. I think in the Bible also it is said that one goes to hell, one goes to heaven. So we have got two selection, either to the path of hellish condition or to the path of back to home, back to Godhead. This is human life. It is, in Sanskrit word, it is called pravṛtti-mārga, nivṛtti-mārga. Nivṛtti-mārga means stopping the material way of life and go to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead.

Jesuit: Does that mean that the things such as—you mentioned smoking and alcohol and sex and meat—that all those things are material and therefore bad?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: Take sex. How can that be considered…?

Prabhupāda: Or Christian religion also there is celibacy, life. You also trained them, the nuns, the priests, they are not meant for marrying.

Jesuit: That’s true. We don’t say that sex is bad.

Prabhupāda: Why they are forbidden to marry?

Jesuit: Well, it’s a question of something I freely accept, freely accept not to marry.

Prabhupāda: No. No, this is spiritual life. Sex life is not spiritual life.

Jesuit: That I find so hard to accept, because everything that God makes is good. When God makes a man…

Prabhupāda: Good… What is good for you is not good for me. One man’s food is another man’s poison.

Jesuit: But everything that God makes is good.

Prabhupāda: That’s all right, good for somebody. Just like stool—stool is good for the pigs, not for the human being.

Jesuit: But everything that God makes…

Prabhupāda: Not everything is good. The pigs considers stool is very good, nice food.

Jesuit: Every man is made with sex appetites. Every man is…

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is called pravṛtti, pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nivṛttis tu mahā-phalā [Manu-saṁhitā]. This is natural inclination. But if you can stop it, that is victory.

Jesuit: Hmm. No, I can’t accept that.

Prabhupāda: Now why you do not accept? In the Christian religion there is unmarried life.

Jesuit: Married life is a good life. The use of sex is good.

Prabhupāda: Good?

Jesuit: Eating is good. If it’s abused it’s bad.

Prabhupāda: No. Married life is good, that if you follow the rules and regulation. Otherwise…

Jesuit: Therefore sex, in itself, is good.

Prabhupāda: Sex is good, that is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmo ‘smi. [aside:] Find out, balaṁ balavatām asmi dharma…, like that.

Paramahaṁsa:

balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ
kāma-rāga-vivarjitam
dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu
kāmo ‘smi bharatarṣabha
[Bg. 7.11]

“I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O Lord of the Bhāratas.”

Prabhupāda: Just see.

Jesuit: What is this book?

Prabhupāda: This is Bhagavad-gītā. He is speaking. The God is speaking.

Jesuit: Okay.

Prabhupāda: So “Dharmāviruddha, sex life which is not against religious principle, that I am.” Kṛṣṇa, God, says. So sex life is not bad provided it is under the religious system.

Jesuit: That’s true of everything, yes. I thought you were saying sex in itself is bad.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Sex life…

Jesuit: There have been people in the history of the world like the Manicheans and that who held that sex in itself was bad. Now I couldn’t accept that. It’s part of man.

Prabhupāda: No, dharmāviruddha. Just you can have sex for begetting nice children, but not for sense gratification.

Jesuit: Also for increasing the love between husband and wife.

Prabhupāda: Mm?

Jesuit: Even though they can’t have children.

Prabhupāda: No, they can have children.

Jesuit: Suppose they can’t.

Prabhupāda: They can, if they can beget nice children, they can have sex.

Jesuit: But suppose they can’t have children. Would you say they can still have sex?

Prabhupāda: No. That is not allowed.

Jesuit: That is where I think…

Prabhupāda: That is illicit sex. If you cannot produce children, and you still you have sex, that is illicit sex.

Jesuit: Yes, well I find it hard to accept that. Tell me more, would you, please, about your concept of God. I’d be very interested to know.

Prabhupāda: God is great. He’s great in every respect: in strength…

Jesuit: Is He a person?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Unless… A person… What is the meaning of great?

Jesuit: Of great? Well, you can speak about a mountain being great, and that’s not God.

Prabhupāda: But God can swallow millions of mountain. That is God. Your conception is mountain is very great. But our conception is God is so great that He can swallow millions of mountains. So whose greatness is greater, the mountain’s or God’s?

Jesuit: Well, it’s a different order altogether, one’s…

Prabhupāda: “God is great” means whatever greatness… Just as sky is the great. There are millions of sky, that is God’s…

Jesuit: That’s all in the material world.

Prabhupāda: Material and spiritual, we both speak. “God is great” means He’s materially great and spiritually great. That is His greatness. If you think that He’s spiritually great and materially small, that is not great. That is not greatness.

Jesuit: You know, in the Bible it says God, you know, knows everybody yet…, and knows them by name.

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Jesuit: God knows everybody and knows them by name.

Paramahaṁsa: God knows everybody and knows them by name.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is greatness. That is His greatness.

Jesuit: A knowing person…

Prabhupāda: You know yourself or you know myself, but you cannot know everyone.

Jesuit: That’s right.

Prabhupāda: But God knows everyone.

Jesuit: And loves everybody.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: Would you see that He loves the person who is doing wrong?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: Still.

Prabhupāda: Therefore He comes…

Jesuit: To save.

Prabhupāda: “Don’t do wrong.” That is love.

Jesuit: And if the person rejects that love, does He still love him?

Prabhupāda: Yes, still loving. He’s trying. God is situated in everyone’s heart, īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61].

Jesuit: God cannot change.

Prabhupāda: Yes. God is friend always.

Jesuit: Always loving God.

Prabhupāda: He is sitting with the individual soul within the heart and giving him good advice, that “You come to Me, you’ll be happy.” But he’s not going. Therefore he’s suffering. Still God is with him, “All right, let Me see.” Just like the father, he loves his son. He always giving, “My dear son, why you are going out? Your father has got immense property. You live with me and enjoy.” But he’ll not do. He’ll go away and become hippie. What can be done?

Jesuit: “Kṛṣṇa…” What exactly does “Kṛṣṇa” mean?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa means “all-attractive.”

Jesuit: Means what?

Prabhupāda: “All-attractive.”

Jesuit: All-attractive. All-beautiful.

Prabhupāda: That is great. You say, “God is great.” We say God, “Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. Unless you are the great, you cannot be all-attractive.

Jesuit: When you speak of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it means…

Prabhupāda: God consciousness. God consciousness.

Jesuit: God consciousness.

Prabhupāda: God is great and I am His eternal servant. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Two words: God is great, and I am His eternal servant, I am small. This consciousness is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Jesuit: Do you know the prayer that the Russians use, the Jesus prayer?

Prabhupāda: Any prayer. God is one. Either you pray in a different way, I’ll pray in a different way, it doesn’t matter.

Jesuit: I know that, but I want to know do you know what is known as the Jesus prayer which the Russians use?

Devotee: No, he does not.

Jesuit: The… It seems to me that you chant, don’t you, Hare Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: That is a prayer, and it’s a rhythmic chant.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is prayer.

Jesuit: Now that is a form of prayer, and the Jesus prayer, would you do the same? You either chant it… [break]

Prabhupāda: …the difference.

Jesuit: Aḥ, well, maybe from the point of your giving glory to God, no difference.

Prabhupāda: Yes. No, that is spiritual, that is spiritual. To give glory to God, that is spiritual. And otherwise, what do you think of this materiality of this chanting? Chanting is not material. Chanting is spiritual.

Jesuit: Well, it depends. I mean, some thing, of course…

Prabhupāda: No. Spiritual thing does not depend on anything material.

Jesuit: The sum product that the full prayer is certainly a spiritual experience created by a material use of lips and things like that, it makes a noise.

Prabhupāda: No, it is not material creation. Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is not material creation. It is from the spiritual world.

Jesuit: Oh, I see that, but I mean if you’ve spoken words… All I’m trying to say is that it’s body and soul together praying.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. Body and soul different.

Jesuit: Oh, of course. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Body and soul different.

Jesuit: But that’s the point I was trying to make, that you have a gradation in your prayer of…, in the Jesus prayer, in which you speak and you can hear the noise, chanting. You might say something like this: [sings softly to tune of “Amazing Grace”] “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Now, that’s a chanting, a singing, and it sums up everything I believe in, say, in the word Jesus. But then there can be the other, where there’s no sound is heard, but I’m still thinking it in my mind.

Prabhupāda: Similarly you can think of Hare Kṛṣṇa. [sings] Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa… Same thing. Where is the difference? There is no difference.

Jesuit: The third form is where I do not think it; it’s just…, I’m sort of rapt, absorbed in the divine…

Prabhupāda: Yes. But that attention, ecstasy, comes in Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Otherwise these young boys are chanting and dancing… Unless there is ecstasy… They are not monkeys. They are human beings. They are dancing, with education, with culture. Unless there is spiritual ecstasy, how they can chant and dance for hours together? It is not monkey dancing. It is spiritual. It is spiritual.

Jesuit: Oh, I can see that.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that is God’s omnipotency. When you offer sincere prayer, the words become spiritual. That is wanted. If you sincerely offer your prayers, God understands. Even though sound appears to be material, it is no more material; it is spiritual. Just like… I will give you one example. Just you put one iron rod in the fire. So the iron rod becomes warm, warmer, warmer, and then it becomes red hot. When it is red hot, it is no more iron; it is fire. You touch that red hot anywhere, it will burn.

Jesuit: Hmm. Transformed. It changes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So actually there is nothing material. When God consciousness is there, it is spiritual. This… In association with God, everything becomes spiritual. Just like there is a church and there is an ordinary house. People say, “This is church, God’s place, and this is house.” What is the difference? That is also made of bricks; that is also made of bricks. Why people go to the church? Why not to the house? So the conclusion is, when the atmosphere is surcharged with God consciousness, it is spiritual. Immediately. Otherwise, as soon as you forget God, then it is material. Material and spiritual means where there is no forgetfulness of God, that is spiritual. And where there is forgetfulness of God, that is material.

Jesuit: Hmm. Sort of a figurative use of the word.

Prabhupāda: Not figurative; it is actual. Actually, God is all-pervading. Everything is God’s energy. Therefore God is whole spirit. His energy cannot be material.

Jesuit: Yes, I can see that.

Prabhupāda: The material is as soon as we forget the relationship with God. That is material.

Jesuit: Um-hmm.

Prabhupāda: Otherwise God is everywhere.

Jesuit: But we’re using the words in a figurative sense there. I mean…

Prabhupāda: No, it is actually. Just like the sunshine…

Jesuit: This is matter. [knocks on something] This is matter.

Prabhupāda: This is matter so long we forget God.

Jesuit: But no matter what you do to this, it will still remain matter.

Prabhupāda: It is energy of God. Matter is also…

Jesuit: But it is still matter.

Prabhupāda: …inferior energy of God. Matter is not different from God. [aside:] Find out, bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ [Bg. 7.4]. Because everything is emanates from God. He is the father of everything.

Jesuit: God has created everything, yes. But not everything is spiritual.

Prabhupāda: That I already said, that God is…, everything is depending on God, but not everything is God.

Jesuit: No, true. So this, no matter what you do to it, it must remain matter.

Prabhupāda: This is matter, but when it is used for God, this is spirit.

Jesuit: Well, that’s why I say it is figurative use.

Prabhupāda: The same example, just like…

Jesuit: It still remains wood.

Prabhupāda: …the church is made of matter, wood and stone, but it is spirit, because here there is nothing other business than God. So the real thing is, matter means forgetfulness of God. Read that, bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ.

Madhudviṣa:

bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
[Bg. 7.4]

Translation: “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.”

Prabhupāda: Just see. So God being all spirit, His energy is also spirit. His energy cannot be different. But in this material energy we forget God. Therefore it is called material. If we know that this wood is also energy of God, that is spiritual understanding. And if we think that wood has come independently from any other source, that is material. In the Vedānta-sūtra this is discussed in the beginning that athāto brahma jijñāsā, to inquire about the Absolute Truth. The answer is janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]: “The Absolute Truth is that, or is the source of everything, Absolute Truth.” So there are two things, material and spiritual. So both are coming from God. Just like darkness and light, two sides of the sun. So when there is light, we call day; when it is darkness, we call night. But they are simply two sides of the sun, the supreme light, or the material light. Similarly, material is darkness, and spiritual is light. Both sides. Sometime it is said, “The spiritual is the front side of God, and material is the back side of God.” So your back side or front side, they are the same. So similarly… Therefore this pantheism, they say, “Why should we take? This is back side. Everything is God.” That is their philosophy. They say that everything is God, pantheism. But that is not perfect knowledge. Everything is God, and again, everything is not God.

Jesuit: Everything is distinct from God.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: We are distinct persons.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā.

Jesuit: We share our being from God.

Prabhupāda: Bhinnā prakṛtiḥ, that is stated, “separated energy.” Material things means separated energy. Just like this tape record. When we are not here, they will play the record and I am speaking. That is separated energy. And I am directly speaking, that is nonseparated energy. So separated energy and nonseparated energy, they are coming from the same source. The source is the same. Therefore, ultimate issue, the source being all spirit, everything is spirit. But the place where we do not directly perceive God, that is material. And the place where we directly perceive God, that is spiritual. So either separated or connected, God is the only one source of all energies. That is explained there. Bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca [Bg. 7.4].

Madhudviṣa: I couldn’t find the other verses. The next verse is apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Read that.

Madhudviṣa:

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
[Bg. 7.5]

“Besides…” Just, that previous verse was saying that “Earth, water, fire, ether, mind, intelligence…, all these comprise My separated material energies.” In the next verse it says, “Besides this inferior nature, O mighty Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities, who are struggling with the material nature and are sustaining the universe.” The living entities are sustaining the universe.

Prabhupāda: So from here we understand the material energy and the spiritual energy. So spiritual energy is predominating over the material energy.

Jesuit: Yes, I understand that. It’s the spirit of God.

Prabhupāda: Therefore it is superior energy, and the material energy, inferior energy. Just like in your body there are some inferior parts and some superior parts. But they are body, parts of the body. This part is superior part, and the rectum is inferior part. But that does not mean it does not form the constitution parts of your body. Otherwise how you become whole? Whole means comprising everything, superior, inferior. But comparatively, there is superior part, inferior part. So the material energy is also God’s energy. And spiritual energy is also God’s energy. But the spiritual energy is described here as superior energy, and the material energy is described here as inferior energy. But altogether, they are energies. So those who are expert devotees of God, they can utilize inferior energy for the purpose of superior energy. That is the proper utilization. Just like the same brick and stone is required for constructing an ordinary house, and the same brick and stone can be used for constructing a church. That is superior.

Jesuit: Yes, I understand that.

Prabhupāda: Yes. The material is not different. The ordinary house is constructed with the same bricks and stone, and church is also made of that. But why it is superior? Because it is specially only meant for God’s purpose. So anything utilized for God’s purpose, it becomes spiritual. This is our philosophy.

Jesuit: Very good. You’re kind, talking to me.

Prabhupāda: So we are trying to engage everything in God’s service, to make it superior energy.

Jesuit: How do you see helping your fellow man?

Prabhupāda: We are helping. We are making them God conscious. Yes. That is best help. Instead of making them drunkard, woman-hunter, meat-eaters, we are making them Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is the best help.

Jesuit: And do they go out and make other disciples?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Jesuit: Do they go and then make other disciples?

Śrutakīrti: He said do we go out and make other disciples.

Prabhupāda: No, we don’t accept as disciple anyone who does not follow the rules and regulations.

Jesuit: Is it by prayer to God that you help the world?

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is prayer: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa means “O Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa’s energy, please accept me as Your servant.”

Jesuit: But are you praying for all these people outside who do not belong to…

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Jesuit: So you’re…

Prabhupāda: Therefore we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa so that they can hear and take benefit. But they think that “They are disturbing,” but we are helping them.

Jesuit: And do you believe that God is pleased by your prayer and helps them because of your prayer?

Prabhupāda: That depends on God. God is fully independent. He may not like. You cannot force Him. But it is our duty to request Him. You cannot force Him. If He likes… If He does not like, that is His will, because He is the supreme will. But God likes. If a devotee requests Him something, He likes to accept. That is God’s mercy. He takes the devotee’s prayer very seriously. Therefore our another process is to take the shelter of a devotee first. Because even one is inferior, not to be accept by God, but if a devotee requests, “God, kindly accept this fellow,” God accepts. Mercy of saintly… Kṛpā-siddha. The Sanskrit word is kṛpā-siddha. He becomes perfect by the mercy of devotee.

Jesuit: What was the meaning of the bag you wear on your hand?

Prabhupāda: These chanting. Beads.

Madhudviṣa: Beads inside.

Jesuit: Oh, beads in there.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I think in Christian there are beads also.

Jesuit: I saw them in the picture, they had ‘em, and I didn’t know what it was.

Prabhupāda: This is covering of the beads, because we put here, there may be some dust. So to show respect to the beads, we keep it covered. We do not touch on the floor. It is awe and veneration.

Jesuit: Well, I have kept you long enough. I…

Prabhupāda: No, you can keep me engaged whole day and night, [laughter] provided you have got time. We are meant for this purpose. If anyone can understand God consciousness, that is a great profit for us. Now our appeal is to everyone, every religious sect, that people are becoming godless generally at the present moment. So we should make combined effort to revive their God consciousness. Otherwise it is doomed. And there is no question of Christian God or Hindu God or Muslim God. God is one. So there should be no difference between the system. According to the time and circumstances, there may be little difference, but really if we can understand God, either through Christianity or through Hinduism or Muslim, that is our profit. That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]: “That is first-class religion, following which, one becomes a lover of God.” You become a lover of God. That we want to see. It doesn’t matter whether you go through Christian religion or Muhammadan religion or Hindu religion or Buddhist… It doesn’t matter. You understand God and love Him.

Jesuit: I agree entirely.

Prabhupāda: This is our mission.

Jesuit: And it’s good that, I think, we are coming more to understand that. And I think you see a lot of young people who really are longing for some form of contemplation and prayer. That is why you get followers.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now these boys, they are coming from your Christian group, Jewish group, but they are taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One priest in Boston, he issued one pamphlet that “These boys are our boys, and before this movement, they didn’t care to come to the church. And now they are mad after God. How is it? The same boys.” So indirectly he accepted this process as easier to understand God. And actually it is easier. What do they do? They don’t go to the forest, or meditate, or make any very austere, what is called, penances. They simply chant in the morning and dance in ecstasy and then eat sumptuously. That’s all. And now they have given up everything. Now, you bribe them, “You eat meat,” they will never eat. They will not drink tea even. The method is… The American government, they spent lots of money for stopping this addiction to drugs. And these boys, as soon as they come to me, they give up. Ask them what money I have bribed them. You can ask how they have left it. How they have left it? How they have given meat-eating, how they have given drinking even tea, cigarette, everything? What I have given them? I am poor Indian. I have no money. [laughter] But how they have accepted?

Jesuit: It satisfies the longing in the heart we all have for God.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now you can ask them. They will inform, that nobody of them, either Hindu or Christian, Indian… They are coming all from Christian group or Jewish group. So they are all educated boys. So there is no question of bluffing them. Young boys, they can earn money like anything, especially in America. But they have given everything. They are very respectable father’s son. But they have given up…

Jesuit: The thing is like Augustine said, that “The heart is restless until it rests in You, our God.” And I think that’s…

Prabhupāda: No, I don’t teach them that I am God. I never taught. I always teach them I am servant of God, you are also servant. And they accept it. Actually that is our position. This is bluff. When somebody says, “I am God,” that is bluff, cheating. We protest very vehemently against this declaration that “I am God.” No. Nobody can become God. God is one.

Jesuit: That’s true.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: Well, I must run away. It’s been very good talking to you.

Prabhupāda: Give him some prasāda. Just take some prasāda.

Madhudviṣa: This is a little fruit that we usually traditionally offer to a guest. We offer them a little fruit, so could you take one piece?

Prabhupāda: You can take the whole plate. [laughter]

Jesuit: Take the whole plate? I just eat it?

Madhudviṣa: [laughing] Yes, yes. It’s just…

Jesuit: No special ceremony?

Madhudviṣa: We’ve already done that.

Jesuit: Okay. When I was in India and I visited a shrine… It was the festival of the goddess of learning.

Prabhupāda: Oh, Sarasvatī-pūjā.

Jesuit: And they brought me fruit to eat at the end, and I was embarrassed, and I didn’t know whether to take it or not, and they said it’s their custom, “You must take it.” So I did.

Prabhupāda: We say by worshiping God, everyone is worshiped. There is no need of separately worshiping goddess of fortune, goddess of learning. Just like if you pour water on the root of the tree, it goes to every branch, leaf and twigs, every…, approaches. Take some fruits.

Jesuit: No, no more, thank you. Thank you very much.

Paramahaṁsa: Would you like a little water?

Jesuit: No, I am all right thanks.

Prabhupāda: So people, either through Christianity or through any process, they must come to the understanding platform where we can understand what is God and how to love Him. That is required. Otherwise this human civilization will be spoiled.

Jesuit: And the great truth also, that God loves every one of us.

Prabhupāda: God loves, that is natural. But you do not love, I do not love. That is the difficulty. Father loves the son; that is natural. But when the son does not love father, that is a very precarious condition.

Jesuit: Good. Well, thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa, jaya.

Jesuit: Thank you. We will pray for one another.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jesuit: God bless you. Goodbye everybody. [leaves]

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: You have got that cantaloupe? No.

Śrutakīrti: No. Guruprasāda, you can get melon, honeydew melon, now?

Guruprasāda: Yes.

Śrutakīrti: Okay. You made him run away. He said, “I must run away.” [laughing] [end]

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