Room Conversation with French Journalist

Type:
Room Conversation
Date:
August 10
Year:
1973
Place:
Paris

French devotee: No, these things are typical, er… I don’t think [indistinct].

Prabhupāda: There are many groups like that in America.

Devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Like imitating Beatle groups.

Bhagavān: Allen Ginsberg.

Prabhupāda: Allen Ginsberg. Allen Ginsberg has no more popularity.

Yogeśvara: No, not much.

Prabhupāda: He’s roaming like vagabond. He came, London, to see me. That… He came, also. What is that? Bob…?

Yogeśvara: Bob Dylan?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yogeśvara: You mean in London, in London?

Prabhupāda: No. He came to Los Angeles.

Yogeśvara: Oh, yes?

Śrutakīrti: He was at different temples in the United States. He was traveling by way of car.

Yogeśvara: And he came to see Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: No, he came to our temple in Los Angeles and paid three hundred dollars to the Deity.

Yogeśvara: Oh, that’s nice.

Śrutakīrti: Some jewels.

Prabhupāda: Some jewels.

Yogeśvara: That’s nice. He’s the most popular young poet in the United States, Bob Dylan. All the young people have his records.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Bhagavān: Tonight there’s a meeting scheduled at six-thirty here. There’s a big professor of philosophy. It’s called the Sorbonne. Have you ever heard of this school? The Sorbonne? It’s the big French university. So he called, he requested if you would see him tonight. So we set appointment for six-thirty.

Prabhupāda: So Śivānanda Prabhu, you are doing well? Your wife came to see me.

[break] Frustration that is another thing. [break]

Yogeśvara: [introducing guest] He’s named Maurice Rougemont. Śrīla Prabhupāda, notre maitre spirituel.

Reporter: Enchantez.

Yogeśvara: Mr. Rougemont is a journalist from Combat magazine, newspaper. Combat is the newspaper of the socialists of France. Political newspaper. And Mr. Rougemont had some questions about the political and government programs of the Society.

Prabhupāda: Very nice.

Reporter: You accept to answer my questions?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter: Thank you very much. Well, the first point is, people are used to seeing that your Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is completely out of life and doesn’t take any interest into the real life, materialistic, you know. So… But I think it’s a mistake, perhaps. It’s a mistake. And I’ve heard about that…

Yogeśvara: [French—asks if he would prefer to speak in French]

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: Ah, oui?

Reporter: Oui. I’ve heard that it’s a mistake. And your movement, your consciousness of Kṛṣṇa, engloves…, takes all the direction of economics and political possibility.

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Reporter: Can you speak, explain me about that?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Our aim is realization of God.

Reporter: Yes.

Yogeśvara: [French: Would you like a translation?]

Reporter: Oui.

Yogeśvara: [from this point Yogeśvara translates some of the dialogue]

Prabhupāda: And to get help for this realization we are concerned with everything. Naturally, politics, economics, science, art, philosophy—everything is included. And that is the perfection of all other subject matter. Everything has got an objective. So any of these departmental knowledge, namely politics, economics, art, science, philosophy, religion…, art, science, philosophy, religion, everything should be aimed to achieve this end, God realization.

Reporter: But, thank you. But so, in this way, you have to, in all of the science, you mean, economic, politic, etcetera, you have to take position, sometimes perhaps. For instance, for going to the knowing of Kṛṣṇa in politic, perhaps, you will choose one system or the other. And in science, in philosophy, etcetera. Do you… But this, those choose have never been explained to the people, you know.

Prabhupāda: Yes, it should be.

Reporter: It should be. Have you…?

Prabhupāda: Yes, we, we, we have explained it in our book, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, wherever possibility.

[aside:] Find out that verse, kāmam, kāmaṁ vavarṣa parjanyaḥ [SB 1.10.4]. Find out this verse.

Śrutakīrti: It’s in the First Canto?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Kāmaṁ vavarṣa parjanyaḥ [SB 1.10.4]. You can…

Śrutakīrti: Kāmaṁ vavarṣa parjanyaḥ?

Prabhupāda: Ah.

Yogeśvara: Second volume?

[in French: He’s looking for a specific reference in that book which explains the beginning of our political program.]

Śrutakīrti:

kāmaṁ vavarṣa parjanyaḥ
sarva kāma dughā mahī
siṣicuḥ sma vrajān gāvaḥ
payasodhasvatīr mudā
[SB 1.10.4]

“During the reign of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, the clouds showered all the water that people needed, and the earth produced all the necessities of man in profusion. Due to its fatty milk bag and cheerful attitude, the cow used to moisten the grazing ground with milk.”

Prabhupāda: Now here is economics, politics and everything.

[Yogeśvara asks reporter if he understands and he says no. Then he asks Pṛthu-putra to translate and explain, which he does, and continues to explain in French throughout the conversation.]

So by Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we want to see that everyone is getting nicely the necessities of life. That is economic. Is it not?

Reporter: It is economic in a very, in a very…

Prabhupāda: Broader way. Actually, we develop economics for getting the necessities of life. Is it not? That is economics.

Reporter: Yeah. But the point is that these necessities of life is a frontier, you know, [indistinct] which is always farther and farther and farther, always more pushed, pushed away, pushed away by new things. So…

Prabhupāda: No, no. That is artificial. That is artificial. We are not concerned with artificial things. Just like you require to eat. Now artificially you can increase so many things for eating purposes. But you must eat. That is the economic question. It is not that you should starve. It is not our proposal that you become Kṛṣṇa conscious by starving. No. So you must have sufficient necessities of life.

Reporter: All right. So… The purpose for economic plan of all the planet, for the world, would be everybody can eat, and I suppose just, just eating and some clothes and some roof to be, if you are in a cold country…

Prabhupāda: Yes. Eating, sleeping… Sleeping requires roof, apartment. So it includes your housing, your eating, your sex urge and your defense. Everything should be nicely. So arrangement should be made that people are not harassed for these necessities of life.

Reporter: And all the rest is superfluous. Is too much.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Reporter: All the rest is superficial, is superficial.

Prabhupāda: What is superficial?

Śrutakīrti: Extra. Not needed.

Yogeśvara: Anything beyond these four basics is…

Prabhupāda: That is necessities of life. Because you have got this body, so you must supply the necessities of the body. That we supply. Not only that; we want to keep men in so peaceful condition…

[pause]

…that he’s not disturbed by mental anxieties, bodily disease, natural disturbances and fighting or quarreling with other living entities. So when he’s perfectly in peaceful condition of life, he can save time for advancement in spiritual consciousness.

Reporter: Sure. So…

Prabhupāda: But aim is that his life…, everyone’s life is meant for spiritual realization. So to…, in order to achieve this end of life he must be kept in peaceful condition of life.

Reporter: Sure. But… [French]

Yogeśvara: He asks, “In order to achieve these goals, is it our intention to do like the Christians and make everyone convert to Kṛṣṇa consciousness?”

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Yogeśvara: In order to achieve our goals, do we intend doing like the Christians tried to do, making everyone convert to their side? Is that what we want to do, make everyone convert to Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Why not? If Kṛṣṇa consciousness is good, why everyone should not take to it?

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: Ah. This is an important question. He says seeing the world as it is today, what is the most preferable social organization from the Kṛṣṇa conscious point of view?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yogeśvara: How should society be organized in order to achieve these goals?

Prabhupāda: Yes. You organize that there should be division of different classes of men. The first-class men, the second-class men, the third-class men, fourth-class men. The first-class men means the most intelligent class of men. Second-class men means those who are dealing in politics. Third-class men means those who are dealing in economics, industry, trade. And fourth-class men means they have no intelligence to take up all these things, but they work only.

But all of them should cooperate for the general benefit of the whole human society. We have got engagement for the first-class men, second-class men, third-class men, fourth-class men. Just like we have got in our body the brain, the arms, the belly and the legs, but all of them are cooperating for keeping the body fit. Similarly, the first-class, second-class, third-class, fourth-class men should cooperate for achieving the end, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Bhagavān: It’s not that one class is feeling exploited by another class.

Prabhupāda: No. No. Helping. Just like when there is some pain in my leg, my brain is working how to cure it. It is helping; it is not exploiting. Similarly, my brain wants to go somewhere to see something, my leg is helping to carry me there. Just like you wanted to see me. Your brain said that “I must see this man,” your leg carried you. This is cooperation. You have got some capacity, you do it for the benefit of the society so that he may become Kṛṣṇa conscious. This, this plan is perfect socialism. Socialism…, socialism means everyone is working for elevation of everyone to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because that is the highest perfection of life.

Bhagavān: Another question?

Reporter: No, I think it’s all right. You have a speech tomorrow? You will have a speech tomorrow?

Prabhupāda: Where?

Bhagavān: Yes, here. Yes.

Devotee: Here, it’ll be.

Bhagavān: Here. In the afternoon you are scheduled to speak.

Prabhupāda: Yes. What is the subject matter? Any [indistinct].

Bhagavān: As you like.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So it is the most refined socialism. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement… Our socialism means centering around Kṛṣṇa. Just like Russian socialism is around the ideas of Marx or Lenin, so we have got also similar leader. As the Communist has got the leader, Marx or Lenin, similarly we have also got the leader, Kṛṣṇa.

Bhagavān: There is, there is kind of socialist or communist philosophy that says that everyone must be able to do the same work in order to be equal.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible. That is rascaldom. We have divided already four classes of men. Even in Russia… Even in Russia I have seen, they have created two classes: the worker class, the manager class. I have seen it. Yes. So you cannot say that everyone will do the same work. That is not possible. I have given already the example: the brain, the arms, the abdomen and the leg. The leg cannot do the work of brain. Leg can cooperate with the brain, but cannot do the work of brain. This is natural position.

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: He asks: In our Society, do these four divisions also exist?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.

Yogeśvara: In ISKCON, are there these four divisions?

Prabhupāda: No, we are transcendental to all these material division. This is material division.

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: But in that case, in which of these four divisions are we?

Prabhupāda: First class. [break] That is the beginning. But we go above the first class. [break] Similarly, socially also, you must have four divisions. The reason is, the material nature is working under three divisions: goodness, passion and ignorance. In our body also, the brain is working under goodness quality. The arm is working under the influence of passion. The belly is working in between passion and ignorance. And the leg is working under ignorance. Leg cannot work unless there is direction by the brain.

At the present moment, the society’s working under the influence of passion and ignorance. The brain is lacking now. Therefore we are creating Kṛṣṇa conscious men who has got real brain, intelligent class of men. So other classes of men, who are acting under influence of passion and ignorance, they should take direction from us. And for our directing business, we don’t charge anything. And if they follow our direction, they have no loss.

Bhagavān: It can be tested.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore this movement is the most important movement. For giving direction we don’t charge, and by following our direction they don’t lose anything. So why not make an experiment and see the result? The result is already there. Any intelligent man can see. It is not bluff.

Bhagavān: We are living, sixty, seventy people in this house, cooperatively, like this. That is a very great thing.

Prabhupāda: And they are living very happily. You can see from their face. Yes. They are known as bright-faced. Yes. Many, I mean, Christian priests, they came to congratulate me: “Swāmījī, how you have made your disciples so jolly and bright-faced?” The government in America, they are surprised that even after spending millions of dollars, they could not drive away LSD intoxication. And as soon as a intoxicated person comes to our camp, he not only gives up LSD and liquor, he gives up even smoking, drinking tea and coffee. So why not experiment this movement? The greatest socialist movement. If you want to get the socialistic idea, we can give you. Would you like to take?

Reporter: Oh, I don’t trust. I could trust. Yeah. But…

Prabhupāda: Our socialistic idea, you can note down…

Reporter: I have nothing to lose. But do you think you could manage all of society very complex, as our…

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter: It’s more than…

Prabhupāda: We can, we can make the society perfect if they take our advice. Because we are working as the brain.

Bhagavān: He can see Prabhupāda’s books. Our philosophy is not small philosophy.

Reporter: Just a last question. Just… You were saying, minute before, that the socialism, your socialism is that Kṛṣṇa is your Marx, sort of.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter: Yeah. But… It will be my last question. What about you in that? Would you be…, you are a spiritual chief. Would you be…?

Prabhupāda: I am not spiritual chief. Kṛṣṇa is spiritual chief.

Reporter: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I am simply explaining what Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā. I am acting on His behalf. I am acting on His behalf. Just like Kṛṣṇa says that there is no more higher authority than Him. I am speaking to my students, “There is no more higher authority than Kṛṣṇa.” So, in other words, there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa’s statement and my statement.

Reporter: I understand. But you know that if you want for changing society you must have a force…

Yogeśvara: You need the strength to change society.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Yogeśvara: You have to have sufficient strength to change society.

Prabhupāda: I may not have sufficient strength. I can… If I can convert a dozen of people, that is my success.

Reporter: I think, I thank you…

Prabhupāda: And if you want to know our socialistic idea, I can give you.

Reporter: Yeah. Because I thought, you know, it was just an idea of your… But I shall never think it was so…, so much clear.

Yogeśvara: He never thought that our program was quite so detailed.

Prabhupāda: It is most scientific program.

Bhagavān: We have also economic position.

Prabhupāda: Everything, I have explained. Now our socialist idea is: God is the father of all living beings. And whatever there is on the surface of the globe, on the sea, on the sky, everything belongs to God. And all the sons of God has equal right to enjoy it. But nobody…

[aside:] He is finished?

But nobody is allowed to take more than he requires. If one takes more than he requires, he’s to be punished. This is our socialist idea. As we think all living entities sons of God, therefore even a lizard in my room should not starve.

Yogeśvara: [translates]

Prabhupāda: Lizard you know?

Yogeśvara: [translates]

Bhagavān: He should not starve, is the point.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Bhagavān: He should not be allowed to go hungry.

Prabhupāda: Even a snake is there, he should not also starve. He must have food. We do not support such rascal philosophy that you give food to the man and send the animals to the slaughterhouse. We do not support this rascaldom. Our philosophy is: as human being has got the right to take share of God’s property and live, similarly, all other living entities, they have got right.

Reporter: Have you a point of view about the problem…, the demographic problem and the problem of [French]?

Yogeśvara: Do we have a viewpoint on contraception? What is our vision of contraception?

Prabhupāda: That is most sinful activity. Because a child is coming to live at the expense of God’s property, and the rascal father is thinking of overpopulation. [Pṛthu-putra translates; reporter answers]

Yogeśvara: Or, as Prabhupāda was saying, he’s thinking there’s overpopulation.

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: But he says but this is a fact, this overpopulation.

Prabhupāda: That is a wrong impression. Foolish impression. The whole world has got sufficient place to produce food for ten times the population as it is now. The Americans, they throw grains in the water. So if they send the excess grain to the place where grain is not sufficient, then it is God consciousness. If the so-called overpopulation is spread all over the world, there is sufficient place in Africa, Australia, America. The overpopulation can grow their food in these vast uncultivated land.

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: He says that only resolves the problem for a few years.

Prabhupāda: That is nonsense. We don’t believe it. That is not…

Bhagavān: Why? Why is it that this program…?

Prabhupāda: Why do they think that it is for few years?

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: He’s thinking that the Earth is not capable of providing enough…

Prabhupāda: What does he know about Earth? His knowledge is not sufficient. He, he’s speaking like a woman who saw in the marketplace in the morning thousands of people have gathered, and she began to cry: “Where I shall give place to these men?” So her son came: “My dear mother, don’t cry. You come in the evening, we shall find some solution.” So when she came in the evening, there was nobody.

Yogeśvara: [to Pṛthu-putra] You can translate that story? [French] [to Prabhupāda:] She went there to buy her foodstuffs?

Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.

Yogeśvara: [French]

Prabhupāda: So you are thinking in that way: “How I shall provide this population?” That is the old woman’s crying. Without sufficient knowledge. We do not believe in this, all rascaldom. We believe in God. If God can create… Just like animals. They do not cry. They’re increasing. The hogs and dogs, even lower animals… This is demonic economy.

A man is holding thousands of acres of land, and he’s thinking of overpopulation. Why not he distribute the thousands of acres of land to the people? They would produce their own food. That is the…, that is the defect of so-called socialism. But here we give a right type of socialism.

Reporter: [French]

Yogeśvara: He thinks he has a fairly clear idea of what our program is now.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter: Thank you very much for this [indistinct].

Prabhupāda: Thank you. [end]

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