Room Conversation with Father Tanner and Mrs. Wells

Type:
Room Conversation
Date:
July 11
Year:
1973
Place:
London

Father Tanner: …any compulsive behavior?

Prabhupāda: Because we follow Vedic principles. So Vedas declare that these four kinds of activity, they are sinful. So we accept. Our authority is Veda, just like lawyer’s authority is law book.

Father Tanner: Would you say there are more sins than those four?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?

Father Tanner: Are there other sins?

Śrutakīrti: Are there other sins beside these four…?

Prabhupāda: These are the basic principle of sinful lives. Other sinful activities come out of it. Just like illicit sex life. Illicit relationship of a man and woman, there may be many dangerous things. You see? So the basic principle is the illicit sex life. Now, it can go up to murdering and so many things. So if we avoid the basic principles, the further, subsidiary sinful activities automatically stopped.

Father Tanner: But… I haven’t remembered the four, but is one of those basic principles concerned with truth?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: Which one?

Prabhupāda: Because…

Father Tanner: Now, it was told… Now I’ve forgotten the four.

Prabhupāda: Because Veda, Veda means knowledge. Knowledge means truth. Unless you come to the knowledge of truth, your knowledge is not perfect.

Father Tanner: But do you specifically have a precept against telling a lie, or against hypocrisy?

Prabhupāda: Well, hypocrisy and other things, they are subsidiary. If one is pure from the very beginning, then there is no chance of becoming hypocrite. Why he should be hypocrite? If he is open, clear, why one should become hypocrite? Hypocrisy…, when there is sinful activity, then hypocrisy. If there is no sin, where is the possibility of hypocrisy? A sinful man may pose himself a religious man. That is hypocrisy. But if there is no sin, then where is hypocrisy?

Father Tanner: What I didn’t understand is how this is covered by your four pillars, the four…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: Which of these would cover lying?

Prabhupāda: Lying?

Father Tanner: Yes, telling lies.

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained.

Father Tanner: Yes. But which of those four pillars…?

Prabhupāda: All of them. All of them. Just like one is indulging in intoxication. He may say that “I am very pure.” But how one can become pure, he’s addicted to intoxicants? So I heard from one of my disciple that there is a hospital in USA, and five thousand priests are there for curing their intoxication habit. Do you know that?

Father Tanner: I didn’t know that number, but I know that there are hospitals and sanatoriums…

Prabhupāda: So if the priest is going to hospital for curing his intoxication habit, he’s hypocrite.

Father Tanner: He would admit that…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …wouldn’t he? I mean, the priest himself.

Prabhupāda: How a priest can be intoxicants?

Father Tanner: He would say, wouldn’t he, that was just his weakness.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Father Tanner: He would say it was his weakness.

Prabhupāda: Weakness is hypocrisy. If you are weak, you cannot become priest. Because you are teacher, religious teacher. You should not take that post. That is hypocrisy.

Father Tanner: But perhaps this is the difference, or one of the differences, between Western and Eastern civilization…

Prabhupāda: No, it is not the question of Eastern or Western…

Father Tanner: I think in the East, your wise man is nearly always an elderly man.

Prabhupāda: Not always.

Father Tanner: Not always.

Prabhupāda: Not always.

Father Tanner: But in the West, you know, your priest is generally made a priest in his early twenties. Then he has thrust upon him the role of the wise man, which he doesn’t always seek.

Prabhupāda: Just like these boys, they are very young, twenties, between twenty to thirty. So they are made here brahmacārī, and some of them are sannyāsī, but they are strictly following these principles. And because they are young men, there cannot be any concession that he can become intoxicants, he can indulge in meat-eating. No.

Father Tanner: But would you think of a young man as wise man? Isn’t it normal that a young man is working his way towards wisdom?

Prabhupāda: The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is…? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn’t matter. Vidyatvaṁ vayasā vinā. In Sanskrit word, that one becomes elderly without being advanced in age. That means he knows the knowledge. Therefore he is elderly. An elderly person means advanced in knowledge, not by age.

Father Tanner: Hmm. But, you see, knowledge and attainment aren’t the same thing. You know, I may know that it is wrong to be an alcoholic, and maybe I am not actually, physically an alcoholic, but it doesn’t mean to say that interiorally I have cleansed myself of all addiction. The fact that you are not drinking for a year doesn’t mean to say that you have overcome the intoxicant urge if that is in you, although you know it is wrong.

Prabhupāda: No, this argument is not very strong. Just like one foodstuff, freshly made, it is fresh. But if somebody argue that if it remains four days more, it will become bad, that is surmization. Now it is fresh. We take it fresh. What will happen in future, that is no consideration. In future, everyone may fall and everyone may become elevated. But we have to take his present situation, what he is at present.

Father Tanner: But couldn’t it be the difference between appearance and reality?

Prabhupāda: This is reality. If at the present moment he is free from all sinful activities, that is reality. In future, everyone is susceptible to fall down. If he does not carry the principles strictly that proneness is there. But that is not consideration. What he is at present, that is consideration.

Father Tanner: But what he is at present may be an accident.

Prabhupāda: Why accident? It is actually happening, why it is accident?

Father Tanner: Well, for instance, if you take a man shipwrecked on an island alone, he is not in any sense taking part in impure love, or illicit love. But it doesn’t mean to say that he is free from all desire for illicit love.

Prabhupāda: No. Nobody’s free. But so long he acts nicely, he’s nice.

Father Tanner: So it is the action, rather than the…, no, the exterior rather than the interior.

Prabhupāda: No, interior… Well, of course, everyone has got interior tendency, but by practicing actually, exteriorly, that interior also is reformed. It is, by external behavior, the interior behavior also becomes fixed up. By practice. Therefore there is regular class so that he may be purified internally and externally.

Sa bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ. Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ sa bāhyābhyantara-śuciḥ [Garuḍa Purāṇa]. If you constantly remember the Supreme Lord, so you become automatically purified, internally and externally. Because the Lord is absolute, so if we chant the Lord’s holy name, the name is also Lord. He has no difference between His name and Himself.

Father Tanner: Well, you see, we make a difference between the law and the spirit of the law, or the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. And we can say a man can keep the letter of the law without in any way keeping the spirit of the law.

Prabhupāda: No, that is materially difference. But spiritually…

Father Tanner: Spiritually, that is different.

Prabhupāda: No. Spiritually, the Lord and His name, the Lord and His form, the Lord and His quality, they are all identical.

Devotee: Prabhupāda, there’s a little misunderstanding. Prabhupāda is saying “Lord,” not…

Father Tanner: Oh, you’re saying “Lord.” I’m sorry. I was saying “law.”

Prabhupāda: No, no.

Devotee: Law, law, the command, law.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Lord.

Father Tanner: Yes. You can have the letter of the law…

Prabhupāda: No, I’m not speaking of law. I’m talking of Lord.

Father Tanner: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So Lord and Lord’s name, they’re the same, identical. Just like we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So this Kṛṣṇa name and the Kṛṣṇa person, identical. Because the Lord is absolute. In the material world, the world of duality, the name is not the substance. If you require water, simply by chanting “water, water,” your thirst will not be quenched. You require the substance water. But in the spiritual world, the Lord and His name, the same thing.

If you chant the Lord’s name, “Kṛṣṇa,” or any name of Lord, that is identical with the Lord. Therefore by chanting the holy name of the Lord, you are associating with the Lord. And as soon as you associate with the Lord, you become purified. Because Lord is all-pure. Just like if you associate with fire, you become warm. Similarly, if you constantly associate with the Lord, you remain purified.

Therefore our principle is they are always chanting. Just like we are… I am chanting also. [holds up beads] Or reading some book. Or talking with you about Kṛṣṇa. So we are always connected with Kṛṣṇa, or God, in all our activities. The whole house, you’ll see, they are engaged in some sort of work which has connection with Kṛṣṇa. There is no other work. So nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe. Anything attached with God, that is also godly.

Father Tanner: You say.

Mrs. Wells: I can see what Father Tanner means about the spiritual man on the outside not necessarily being pure on the inside.

Prabhupāda: No, he’s not spiritual man. He’s a hypocrite. He must be inside and outside correct. If one is outside correct, inside wrong, he’s not spiritual man. We don’t accept him.

Mrs. Wells: But you begin with the outside.

Prabhupāda: No. Inside and outside, both.

Mrs. Wells: But your principles pertain to the outside man.

Prabhupāda: Outside man?

Mrs. Wells: The actions…

Guest (1) [young British man]: You said that the four pillars that you follow are outward manifestations. They belong to a material person.

Prabhupāda: Outward manifestation?

Guest (1): Hmm.

Prabhupāda: So outward manifestation… Just like outwardly, iron rod, it is iron. Iron. Do you follow me?

Mrs. Wells: Yes, iron.

Prabhupāda: But you put the iron in the fire…

Mrs. Wells: Yes.

Prabhupāda: …so the iron becomes warm, warmer, and then at last, it becomes red hot. When the iron is red hot, it is no longer iron; it is fire. If you touch anywhere, it will burn. Although apparently it is iron rod, but because it has become red hot, it is fire.

Similarly, if you constantly keep in spiritual activities your outward body, although it is iron and matter, it becomes spiritualized. Try to understand this example. Iron rod put into the fire, when it is red hot, it is no longer iron rod; it is fire. Similarly this body, although material, if you constantly keep in touch with spiritual activities, then it is no longer material; it is spiritual. The body’s also spiritual.

Mrs. Wells: And how long do you think this takes to…

Prabhupāda: So long you keep in spiritual activities.

Mrs. Wells: For a young man or a young woman, beginning?

Prabhupāda: Well, I said that there is every chance of falling down. That is up to you to keep fit. Otherwise, there is chance of falling down. But even he falls down, whatever he has done, that is permanent.

Father Tanner: But, you see, in your example, if you take your iron…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …which is hot…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …once it’s been emerged into the, you know, fire and is hot, then it must always burn, whatever you touch.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore I say…

Father Tanner: It’s become… If you take your person, your spiritual man, or the person who’s trying to become a spiritual man—and he could have done his best to make his contact with the spirit—he doesn’t always, after that, be spiritual. You know, your iron has to burn. He hasn’t got to be spiritual.

Prabhupāda: No, no. As the… If you keep the iron always hot, it is fire. Is it not? Similarly, if you always keep yourself within the spiritual activities, then you are spirit.

Father Tanner: You see, I don’t think that the spiritual activities which are external forms can really…

Prabhupāda: No.

Father Tanner: …of themselves change the internal man.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it changes.

Father Tanner: Now, I…

Prabhupāda: Actually, you can see here.

Father Tanner: You can have a person who goes to church every Sunday, who says his prayers…

Prabhupāda: No, our program is not like that, we go after seven days. We are twenty-four hours engaged.

Father Tanner: Yes, yes. But all I’m saying is you can have this, and they are not spiritual.

Prabhupāda: No, why not spiritual? That is spiritual.

Father Tanner: And, you know, I don’t know your disciples…

Prabhupāda: That you have to learn. That you have to learn. Yes.

Father Tanner: I don’t know your disciples, but no, it is possible that some of them, even with twenty-four hour a day, you know, exercises…

Prabhupāda: Yes, our program is like that.

Father Tanner: …fail to become spiritual.

Prabhupāda: Now, our program here is like that. We have got Deities, six times ārati. In preparation for that, cleansing the temple room, washing the dishes of the Deity, cooking for the Deity, arranging for the other things. So they are always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Just like we have got so many books.

So they are reading books of Kṛṣṇa. This is also Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So… Or they are going to saṅkīrtana party. That is also Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So it is a question of practice and practical understanding. A… Theoretically, one cannot understand. But we have got twenty-four hours engagement for these boys. Not a single moment lost. In this way we train them.

Father Tanner: You see, I really don’t know… I don’t deny that, but I don’t see the difference externally between that and brainwashing.

Prabhupāda: That, that, that, that… Suppose you are washing the floor of the temple. It is not external, because there is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He’s washing the floor or washing the dishes for Kṛṣṇa, so the consciousness is there. So actually, our life is consciousness. If your full consciousness is only for God, then you remain always godly. There is no doubt about it. If you make division, “so much for worldly and so much for godly,” then there is difference. But if you dovetail everything towards the service of the Lord, then anything you do, that is godly.

Father Tanner: Would you think it is possible to hate the Deity?

Prabhupāda: Hate?

Father Tanner: Hate the Deity?

Prabhupāda: Why?

Father Tanner: Is it possible?

Prabhupāda: No, a devotee cannot hate the Deity. How he… Then how he can serve?

Father Tanner: Because you can see the Deity as too strong, repressive, taking away your freedom, your own wishes…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …and so you can come to hate the Deity.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Spiritualism means to sacrifice your freedom. That is spiritualism. You have no more freedom. You are simply engaged for God’s service. That is spiritualism.

Father Tanner: Why, why were we created free?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Father Tanner: Why were we created?

Prabhupāda: You are not free. You are thinking so-called free. You are not free. You are under the stringent laws of nature. You are not free. You are thinking foolishly that you are free.

Father Tanner: But if I am not free…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …then I can’t give up my freedom for religion.

Prabhupāda: You are free to some extent, because you are part and parcel of God. God is completely free. So because you are part and parcel of God, therefore you have got that minute freedom. That minute freedom, when you misuse for other purposes, then you fall down. But if you use that freedom for the service of the Lord… You have got freedom. You may serve the Lord; you may not serve. That is your freedom. But if you serve the Lord, then you become happy. If you do not serve the Lord, then you become unhappy.

Father Tanner: If I serve the Lord, do I lose that little bit of freedom?

Prabhupāda: Because you are meant for that part.

Father Tanner: Do I lose that little bit of freedom?

Prabhupāda: No, that is real freedom. Just like this, my finger, is part and parcel of my body. So long the finger serves the body, it is healthy. If it is painful, it cannot serve, then it is unhealthy. Similarly, a living entity, when he cannot serve God, that is his material condition, or unhealthy condition. When he serves God, that is his natural condition. Because he’s part and parcel of God.

Father Tanner: Where did we lose the contact with God?

Prabhupāda: When you misused your freedom. You have got little freedom.

Father Tanner: But at what point did I… No. Or a child lose its contact with its Creator?

Prabhupāda: It is said… Suppose I am serving my master. I can think of, “Oh, why shall I serve him? I shall become independent.” That is my freedom, little freedom. So I cannot become independent. That is not my healthy stage. Just like… Take for example a dog. A dog is healthy when he has got a good master.

And if he hasn’t got a good master, he’s a street dog, neglected. He’s not healthy. Similarly, our position is like that, that we must be dependent on God. Therefore in your Christian Bible also you go for your bread: “God, give us our daily bread.” So you are dependent. So it is better to remain dependent on God than to use your so-called little freedom.

Father Tanner: But your dog can be healthy in two ways, can’t he? The dog can be healthy…

Prabhupāda: No, no, this is an example.

Father Tanner: …if he has a good master, and he can be healthy if he has no master.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: If your dog is just running free in its natural state, he is a healthy animal, but…

Prabhupāda: No, a dog is not healthy—I am giving that particular example—then he’s a street dog. A street dog has no position. He’s not healthy. I am giving a crude example, that a dog’s posit… Similarly, we are all dependent on God. That is in your Bible also.

Father Tanner: Oh, yes, I accept.

Prabhupāda: So to remain dependent on God is our healthy state. As soon as we declare independent of God, that is our unhealthy state. This is our philosophy. And your philosophy also—to remain there. That is the Vedic injunction, that nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām, eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. What is the difference between God and ourself? God is also a living entity like us, but He’s the chief living entity. He’s maintaining all others.

Therefore we have to ask God, “Give us our daily bread.” He’s the maintainer; we are maintained. Just like in a family, the father is the maintainer, and the mother and the children and the servants, they are maintained. Similarly, the whole universe, whole creation, it is maintained by God, and we living entities within this universe or within this creation, we are maintained. So as we are maintained, it is better to remain dependent on God than to declare our freedom.

Father Tanner: But you can, in this world, within the limits of time and space…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …be a healthy person without admitting your dependence on God.

Prabhupāda: Yes. We are depending. We have no business.

Father Tanner: You can be healthy and live…

Prabhupāda: Now, healthy, what do you mean by healthy?

Father Tanner: Well, you know, you were saying it’s what a man does that makes him that if he is pure here and now, then, and it’s not his inside, it’s his outside…

Prabhupāda: Our description of healthy life, healthy life is to become God conscious. That is healthy life. Otherwise, do you think that an animal like elephant, very strong, does it mean that it is healthy? No.

Father Tanner: No, I would say an elephant can be healthy, my body can be healthy.

Prabhupāda: Well, that is temporary. Everyone is subjected to death. So you may be very strong, healthy, but you cannot avoid death.

Father Tanner: No, but then, then…

Prabhupāda: So, so therefore, ultimately, you become so-called healthy or not healthy, you’ll die. That is the fact. So we do not want that kind of healthy life. Our proposition is that we go back to home, back to Godhead, and remain with God, eternally enjoying blissful life. This is our healthy life.

Father Tanner: I, I accept these principles, but, you know, the words, I would say you could be healthy, but, you know, when you go to God at the end, this isn’t on your physical healthiness.

Prabhupāda: No.

Father Tanner: This is on your spiritual self.

Prabhupāda: When you go to God, you go in your spiritual body.

Father Tanner: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Spiritual. So…

Father Tanner: But you can be physically healthy…

Prabhupāda: Spiritually, when you get your spiritual body, there is no such material inconveniences. The material inconveniences means so long you have got this material body, you are subjected to birth, death, old age and disease. When you revive your spiritual body, these four things are not with you. No more birth, no more death, no more disease, no more old age. This is the difference between spiritual life and material life.

Father Tanner: Yes, I mean this, I think, anyone who’s in any sense spiritual or religious or ethical would admit, because the spiritual body has no parts. So it cannot start to be or cease to be and cannot change within his own entity.

Prabhupāda: No, the spiritual body is there already. Just like you have got your body. The coat is made according to your body. You existed first. Your coat was made later on. Similarly, spiritually, we exist eternally. Now, according to our different types of activities, we get a body, material body. There are 8,400,000 different forms of bodies. So the spirit soul is transmigrating according to his desire and work to different types of body. This is called transmigration of the soul. …

Father Tanner: You would hold that the spirit is eternal…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …in the sense that in the beginning all spirits were contained within the Deity…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …and at the end, all spirits will refind themselves in the Deity.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: What…? Would you ever admit that a spirit could fail after his last chance…?

Prabhupāda: That misuse of little independence, that I have already told. He has got little independence. So, so long he’s engaged in the service of the Lord, he remains in his spiritual body along with the Lord.

Father Tanner: No, I’m saying is it possible for any spirit not ultimately, after his various transmigrations through bodies, is it possible for any spirit never to regain contact with the Lord?

Prabhupāda: Yes. If he comes in contact with a servant of God, then he revives his old consciousness, original consciousness.

Devotee: Prabhupāda, what he was saying was is it possible for a spirit soul never to regain the state of God consciousness.

Prabhupāda: No, why never? He has got chance. When he comes in contact with a servant of the Lord, he revives his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then he begins his spiritual life. So how can you say…?

Father Tanner: But is it possible… You know, the world one day will end, and physical bodies will end…

Prabhupāda: No, that is not possible.

Father Tanner: The world will not end?

Prabhupāda: World will end. Yes.

Father Tanner: Yes. Now, I’m saying, when this time comes when all physical things end, will any of the spirits fail to reunite with the Godhead?

Prabhupāda: Now, when, as soon as he likes to reunite. That is… That depends on his liking and not liking.

Father Tanner: Hmm. But would you admit that…

Prabhupāda: There is no… You are talking of mechanically. But I am talking of that little independence. As soon as the living entity desires to unite with the Supreme Lord, he can become.

Father Tanner: Yes, but will it ever…

Prabhupāda: And so long he does not desire, he’ll have to continue this material existence. So that depends on him.

Father Tanner: And could that go on and on forever, his not desiring?

Prabhupāda: Well, how can I say? You have got independence of desire and not to desire. That depends on you. If you never desire, then you continue, perpetually, material life. But there is chance.

Father Tanner: Now, taking that person, when material things cease, what happens to him?

Prabhupāda: Material things, material and spiritual… The living entities, they are spiritual, and the material elements, earth, water, fire, they are also material energy. There are two kinds of energies. Why two kinds? Three kinds of energies. Just like fire has got two kinds of energies, heat and light, similarly, God has got multi-energies. All those multi-energies have been divided into three. One is called internal, another is called external, and the third is called marginal.

So this material world is manifestation of the external and marginal energy. So when the material world ceases to exist or it is dissolved, annihilated, so energy goes back to God. It goes back. Again, when there is creation, the same energy creates, the marginal energy, by the marginal energy and external energy. This is going on. Just like day and night, it is going on. At daytime people are busy. This is creation. At night everyone is sleeping. Similarly, when there is creation, these activities are going on. When there is no creation, it is night, everyone is sleeping.

Father Tanner: Is there a spirit opposed to the divine spirit?

Prabhupāda: Spirit opp…?

Father Tanner: Opposed. Taking that the, you know, that God is good…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: …is there another spirit that is not good?

Prabhupāda: No, we are all another spirit. Just like the father and the son. The father is also a spirit; the son is also another spirit.

Father Tanner: Can there be opposition in the spirit world?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Father Tanner: Conflict in the spirit world?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes, yes. Just like father has got ten sons. Some of them are opposition to the father, and some of them are very obedient.

Father Tanner: But the… I’m not saying of the spirit in man. I’m saying of spirits in themselves.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Spirit in themselves, they are not opposition.

Father Tanner: Can they be in opposition?

Prabhupāda: No. When they are in opposition, they have to accept this material body. Just like the citizens in the prison house, it means they are all in opposition to the laws of the state, similarly, anyone who is in this material world, they are in opposition to the supreme will of the Lord. Therefore they are put into this material world in varieties of life. So they can stop that opposition and again go back to home, back to Godhead.

Father Tanner: [to other guest] You’d like to go, would you?

Mrs. Wells: Yes.

Father Tanner: I’m sorry. Mrs. Wells has to go, sir. And you look very tired.

Prabhupāda: No, I am not tired; I am little old.

Mrs. Wells: We have the devil within us.

Prabhupāda: Give them prasādam.

Father Tanner: Thank you.

Prabhupāda: So our movement is, we are training people to revive their original God consciousness and go back to home, back to Godhead.

Father Tanner: Can I eat this up, then?

Prabhupāda: Yes, take.

Father Tanner: Thank you.

Mrs. Wells: Is it fattening?

Devotee: No. [laughs]

Father Tanner: No? Is it…?

Śrutakīrti: She asked if it was fattening.

Mrs. Wells: [laughing] A joke. No.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Śrutakīrti: She asked if it was fattening.

Prabhupāda: Fattening?

Śrutakīrti: Would make her heavy.

Prabhupāda: No.

Śrutakīrti: Gain weight.

Prabhupāda: You have seen all our books?

Father Tanner: I have got several of your books.

Prabhupāda: I see. Thank you. So we are approaching people to become God conscious. That’s all.

[aside:] Get the light on.

And in the Bhāgavata it is stated, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. That is first-class religion which teaches people how to love God. That is first-class religion. It doesn’t matter whether it is Hindu religion or Christian religion or Muhammadan religion; if it teaches the followers how to love God, then it is first class.

Father Tanner: I think I’m almost only teaching them to love one another.

Prabhupāda: Yes. No. One another, that is going on in so many ways. You see? That has never become successful. Neither it will become successful. That is a fact. Because here the atmosphere is so surcharged with material idea that even if I want to love you, you may not like it. That is the position here. So you cannot be successful to teach people to love one another. That will never be successful. That has never been successful. But if you can teach people how to love God…

Mrs. Wells: How about teaching them how to love themselves?

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Mrs. Wells: How about teaching them to love themselves?

Prabhupāda: Everyone is loving themselves. That is…

Mrs. Wells: Do you think so?

Prabhupāda: That does not require teaching. How to eat… You love your body, therefore you eat.

Mrs. Wells: I didn’t mean that sort of love.

Prabhupāda: Then what kind of love?

Mrs. Wells: Loving your own being for what God gave you. Loving yourself as you are, accepting yourself. That’s very difficult, you know.

Prabhupāda: I do not follow. What is that, they are…

Father Tanner: Loving your own personality.

Prabhupāda: Loving your personality… First of all you know what you are, what is your personality.

Father Tanner: But…

Prabhupāda: If you do not know what you are, then how you can love yourself?

Mrs. Wells: This is the problem.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And what you are? If I ask you what you are, can you answer?

Mrs. Wells: No.

Prabhupāda: Then? What kind of love…?

Father Tanner: But I think I can say that I am so many…

Prabhupāda: But if you do not know what you are…

Father Tanner: No, no. I’m saying I do know.

Prabhupāda: If you know, then tell me what you are.

Father Tanner: So many things it would take a long time to say.

Prabhupāda: Why long time? You can speak in short shell, nutshell, that “I am this.”

Father Tanner: No, no. Not… You know, in some ways…

Prabhupāda: We can say. We can say.

Father Tanner: In some ways, I am very intolerant. In some ways, I am very tolerant.

Prabhupāda: That, that is another thing. First of all I must know what is my identity.

Father Tanner: But my identity is made up of so many… It’s not one thing.

Prabhupāda: But that one… First of all one. Just like we say that “My identity is that I am eternal servant of God.” This is my identity.

Father Tanner: Well, this is the inner being. But then it finds expression in me…

Prabhupāda: Now, as servant of God, I may have many activities. But my identity is that I am eternal servant of God. This is our identity. So if I love myself, because I am eternal servant of God, therefore, if I actually I love myself, I must always engage myself in the service of the Lord. This is love.

Father Tanner: But there must, in your self, there must be times when you’re angry, times when you’re…

Prabhupāda: I can become angry for God.

Father Tanner: Times when you’re proud, times when you’re humble.

Prabhupāda: For God’s sake… Suppose you are serving some master. For the master’s satisfaction, you sometimes become angry.

Father Tanner: Hmm, but I think what Susan was saying is that our personality…

Prabhupāda: No, no. I’m… First of all, if you keep your identity fixed up, even if you become angry, it is not bad.

Father Tanner: No. But you can become it…, what, you know, we are saying is…

Prabhupāda: Suppose just like I tell you that a dog is your servant. It is standing on the door. Some thief is coming. If the dog becomes angry, “Baw! Gaw! Gow!” so that, to become angry is not bad for the dog…

Father Tanner: No.

Prabhupāda: …because he’s serving the master. So similarly, if you are fixed up in your business as servant of the Lord, so even if you become angry for Lord’s service, that is not bad.

Father Tanner: But you…, the dog might bite his master.

Prabhupāda: No.

Father Tanner: Yes, he can.

Prabhupāda: I don’t think a… Anyway, that is dog. I… That’s a crude example. But a spirit soul, when he’s fixed up in the service of the Lord, he does not bite his master. [laughter] He does not… He only serves. So we must know, if I actually love myself, first of all I know what I am.

If I know, then I can properly love myself. If I do not know what I am, if I think that “I am this body,” oh, this conception the dog has also. He’s also thinking, “I am this body.” To keep this body in fitness, to eat nicely, to sleep nicely, this consciousness is there in cats and dogs. So therefore, as spirit soul, as human being, first of all you know that “Whether I am this body or something else?”

Father Tanner: But you know what you are and what you become. I hate what I am. I want to become something different. Now this is the same…

Prabhupāda: No, that is your freedom. You can do.

Father Tanner: Now, this is the same as a material man saying, “I want to become spiritual, or God conscious,” or what have you. But, you know, because I want to become this, it doesn’t mean that I am this. Because I want to become God’s servant, it doesn’t mean that I am God’s servant.

Prabhupāda: No, you don’t…, you do not want, you want or not want, that is not the question. First of all you must know what is your real identity. You do not want and do want, that independence you have got always. That is a different thing. But first of all you must know what is your identity. Your identity is… That I have already explained. The… You are part and parcel of God. So far we understand, our philosophy is, from Bhagavad-gītā: mamaivāṁśaḥ [Bg. 15.7].

The whole thing is one unity, unit, and everything is part and parcel of God, His energy. So we, the marginal energy, living entities, we are also part and parcel of God. As part and parcel of God, what is my duty? Just like this finger. There is itching. Immediately it comes, serves, itching. Helps to keep the body in good condition. So similarly, as part and parcel of God, our duty is to serve God, so that He may remain always satisfied. This is our duty.

Father Tanner: We must go, I think, otherwise we will stay all night. Thank you very, very much.

Mrs. Wells: Thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

[guests leave] [devotees laugh] [end]

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