Mukunda: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this is Mr. Robinson, Mike Robinson, from London Broadcasting Company. It's a very prominent news program in London, and he wanted to interview you, ask some questions.
Mike Robinson: If I could just spend one or two minutes of your time. Shall I explain the program? We do a religious program for two and a half hours on a Sunday which covers all different religions, and what we'd like is, people in London have seen, you know, many members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement on Oxford Street. And if you would explain more about the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, how it was formed, what you believe, this sort of idea, so that people would have a better understanding of the movement. And I'll just set up a tape recorder first.
Mukunda: This is your biography, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes, I have seen it, encyclopedia.
Mike Robinson: Could we just talk for a minute or two so that we could get all this set up? If you'd like, just to tell me. You're going to India tomorrow, is that correct?
Prabhupāda: Yes, I am leaving tomorrow.
Mike Robinson: And when did you come into England?
Hari-śauri: He came seven days ago.
Mike Robinson: Oh, I see. Your Grace, could I ask you, first, how you pronounce your name.
Prabhupāda: Bhaktivedanta Swami
Mike Robinson: Gee, it's very, very difficult isn't it. Now I understand you're the founder of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Can you tell me how it came to be founded?
Prabhupāda: Give him the name.
Mike Robinson: That's the name, is it.
Mike Robinson: I see. And what's he pointing, that he should...?
Mukunda: He wanted you to see how it's pronounced.
Mike Robinson: Oh, thank you very much. Can you tell me how the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement came to be founded?
Prabhupāda: You can tell these things. These ordinary things you can say.
Jayatīrtha: It's being recorded now. It's being recorded directly for the radio program now.
Mukunda: Śrīla Prabhupāda was a student of a great spiritual teacher in India, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī.
Mike Robinson: There's a problem with me asking him questions, is it?
Mukunda: Well, these are, just these preliminary questions. He prefers to discuss mostly the philosophical side. This is like background.
Mike Robinson: So perhaps I'd like an interview with you as well.
Jayatīrtha: That would be good.
Mukunda: You want to do it now or later?
Mike Robinson: It would perhaps be easier if I could do that one first. You could answer the ones that.... So which questions would he be happier answering? What you believe, that sort of?
Mike Robinson: And develop from that. I'm sorry about that. If I ask you a few questions about what you believe and that sort of, along those lines, and then get some of the background material from some of your other members of the movement. Can you tell me what you believe, what is the philosophy of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement?
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is not a question of belief, it is a science, a spiritual movement. Just like a man is living and he's dead, what is the difference? The difference is that the spirit soul or the living force is out of the body. Therefore he's called dead body. So there are two things, anyone can appreciate. One, this body, and other, the living force of the body. So we are speaking of the living force of the body. That is the difference between material and spiritual. As such, in the beginning, it is very difficult for ordinary man to understand what is our movement, but our movement begins when one understands that he is soul or something other than this body. Then this movement begins.
Mike Robinson: And when we understand that...
Prabhupāda: You can understand at any moment, but it requires little brain. Just like a child is growing or changing the body. A child is becoming a boy and the boy is becoming a young man. The body is changing, but the child cannot understand that his body's changing. Actually, the body is changing. So the young man's body is also changing, and the old man's body. Therefore the conclusion is that the body is changing, and the occupier of the body, it is the same. So on this logic, the occupier being the same and the bodies changing, it is to be concluded that when this body is changed, we get another body. This is called transmigration of the soul.
Mike Robinson: So when people die, it is just the physical body that dies.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is explained very elaborately in the Bhagavad-gita: na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācin na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20).
Mike Robinson: Are you there referring to references from the scriptures?
Prabhupāda: Yes, so many references. It is a series of education. What is that? Read it.
- na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
- nāyaṁ bhūtva bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
- ajo nityaḥ śāśvato 'yam purāṇo
- na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
- (BG 2.20)
"For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain."
Mike Robinson: Thank you very much for reading that. So can you explain to me just a bit more, if the soul is undying, does everybody's soul go to be with God when they die? Do you have a belief in a heaven or a hell?
Prabhupāda: Not necessarily. If he's qualified, if he qualifies himself in this life to go back home, back to Godhead, then he can go. If he does not qualify himself, he gets another material body, and there are 8,400,000 different forms of body. And according to his desire and karma, activities, the nature, laws of nature, gives him a body. Just like a man infects some disease and he develops that disease. Is it difficult to understand?
Mike Robinson: It's very difficult to understand all of it. Perhaps we can...
Prabhupāda: Now suppose somebody has infected some smallpox disease. After seven days it develops. What is that called, that period?
Mike Robinson: Incubation? Is that the word?
Prabhupāda: Ah, incubation, no, another technical, yes, that after some time, the disease comes. There is a technical name. Anyway, so you cannot avoid it. If you have infected some disease, it will develop by nature's law. It is not possible to avoid it. Similarly, during our this life, we are in association with different modes of material nature, and that will decide what kind of body we are going to get next life. That is strictly under the laws of nature. Everything is under the laws of nature. You have no control over it; you are completely dependent, but people, on account of dull brain, they think that they are free. They are not free. They are imagining they are free. They're completely under the laws of nature. So this next birth will be decided according to my activities this life, sinful or pious, like that.
Mike Robinson: Your Grace, if we could perhaps go back over that just for a minute—you said nobody is free.
Mike Robinson: But are you saying that if we live a good life we in some way determine our future as well?
Mike Robinson: So we are free to choose in so far as what we believe important. I mean religion is important, because if we believe in God and live a good life...
Prabhupāda: There is no question of believe. Don't bring this question-belief. It is law. Just like there is government, you believe or not believe, who cares for you? That is government. Similarly, you believe or not believe, there is God. If you don't believe in God and do independently whatever you like, then you'll be punishable.