Prabhupāda: Everyone should be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Not only the... President or not President, everyone, that is the objective of human life. He must know himself what he is.
Interviewer: Now, that leads up to another question I wanted to ask you, do you think that the, one of the attractions of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the rather exotic, Hindu, unusual customs in the West. I mean these customs are unusual in the West and they have a sort of exotic appeal, a fascination for young people.
Prabhupāda: No, no, that ignorance is there both in Western and Eastern. It is the ignorance of the human society.
Interviewer: But do you think it's unusual, the fact that it's an Eastern, mysterious Eastern religion has an appeal to American young people.
Prabhupāda: Why do you bring Eastern religion Western religion? It is a science. Two plus two is equally important both in the East and the West.
Interviewer: Well, it originated in the East and it's not very, it hasn't been customary in the West.
Prabhupāda: That originated... Just like the sun rises in India first. That does not mean the sun in America and the sun in India is different. The sun is the same sun. It may appear first in the Eastern side but that sun does not belong either to the East or the West. Sun is sun.
Interviewer: Well do you think that the Eastern sun, meaning Hare Kṛṣṇa, is appropriate in a culture that has a different religion traditionally?
Prabhupāda: No, no, it is ignorance. Why do you say...?
Interviewer: The Jewish, Biblical Christian tradition is traditional in the West, the Hindu tradition...
Prabhupāda: I never said that Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Muslim.
Bali-mardana: We aren't Hindus.
Prabhupāda: We do not belong either to the Hindus or Christian or Jewish. We belong to Kṛṣṇa or God. Kṛṣṇa means God.
Interviewer: Yeah, but you use the Hindu scriptures.
Prabhupāda: That is another thing. Just like we say the sun, sūrya and you say the sun, the "sun." But the subject matter is the same. You say the sun in the sky as s-u-n, "sun." And we say in India sūrya. S-ū-r-y-a. So the name may be different but the object is the same.
Interviewer: In other words, do you think the India-originated religion is, serves its particular purpose in the Western society? I mean, does, is it of particular value in a rather technological society, the Hindu tradition?
Prabhupāda: Generally speaking, everywhere, everyone everywhere is identifying his body as the self. It does not mean East or West. This is ignorance. Wherever there is ignorance one identifies himself with the body. This is ignorance. It may be in the East or in the West. It doesn't matter.
Interviewer: Well, can a self exist without a body?
Prabhupāda: No. Self can exist without body.
Interviewer: I mean you say that people identify themselves, the body as the self.
Interviewer: And that this is ignorance to identify the self with the body.
Prabhupāda: That I have already explained, that the driver...
Interviewer: But does that mean a sort of rejection of the body as unimportant?
Prabhupāda: Not rejection. Again, you come to the...
Interviewer: But the body is important to the self isn't it?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just try to understand. That we have already explained. The driver and the car are two different identities, is it not?
Prabhupāda: The driver can exist without the car and the car without the driver has no value.
Interviewer: Well, in that sense...
Prabhupāda: So why don't you understand first of all this?
Interviewer: ...in keeping with that analogy can the self exist, does the self exist without the body in this world?
Prabhupāda: Yes, oh yes.
Interviewer: In this life?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Life is always there.
Interviewer: As a spirit apart from the body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. That is the ideal life.
Bali-mardana: That is the goal.
Prabhupāda: That is the goal. When the soul lives without this material body, that is his liberated life. Just like the criminal, he can live within the jail and without the jail. But he's thinking wrongly that without jail he cannot live. But his life without jail is real life.
Interviewer: That reflects the old, the Hindu view that...
Prabhupāda: Why you again bring Hindu view?
Interviewer: Or, the, at least the Eastern religious view, that to leave this life...
Prabhupāda: Why we are bringing Hindu and Muslim view?
Interviewer: Well, O.K., I take that back then. I take that back. Anyway, what you're saying is that this life is a jail and that really the goal is another life.
Prabhupāda: Ah, yes.
Interviewer: Right? I mean that this life is an evil prison.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, now you have understood. This is not a desirable life, to live in the jail, conditioned.
Interviewer: Well in other words, in a sense that is to reject or at least to repudiate this life, this world.
Prabhupāda: Not repudiate, to understand.
Interviewer: That it is not a good life.
Prabhupāda: It is not a good life, and the whole material world is false identification with myself.
Interviewer: Well is it important to try to improve this life so that it won't be a prison?
Prabhupāda: Yes, improve, improve, to understand that I am not a person of the jail. I am a person of freedom. Long living in the jail one who identifies that "Without jail I cannot live."
Interviewer: Well, I hope we all get out of it sometime, somehow, someway, either here or there.(laughs)
Prabhupāda: But we are trying to educate the prisoners that "Your life is not perfect within the jail. Your life is perfect without the jail." This is our education.
Interviewer: Life is not perfect in the jail.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And the person in the jail they are thinking, "What is this, they are not working for the jail life?"
Interviewer: Person in the jail, I didn't get that.
Prabhupāda: Because they cannot understand that there is life after jail. They are so fool, rascal that they cannot understand that without jail one can live.
Bali-mardana: So what you were saying before, the persons in the jail are thinking "These people are not working for life in the jail," so they don't understand what we are doing.
Interviewer: How's that now?
Prabhupāda: We're not working to keep people in the jail conception of life. So that's why they cannot understand what we are doing.
Interviewer: You mean you're not working for the jail life?
Bali-mardana: To keep people within the conception that life is within the jail.
Prabhupāda: Just like a man has gone to jail, he's giving education to the prisoners, "My dear brother prisoners, this life is not good, you become honest, don't come to the jail." So other prisoners, they are working hard, they are hammering on the bricks, they think that "This man is not hammering on the bricks, he's talking only."
Interviewer: I didn't gather that.
Bali-mardana: In the prison the people are, their work is, say, to hammer on bricks. So when, if someone comes into the jail and tells the prisoners, "You shouldn't be doing this, actually you should become honest and go out of the jail and be free." Now if the persons in the jail... Because... They will then become envious that "this person, instead of working hard like us, he's simply talking." They cannot understand the benefit that he's giving them and they become envious, that "Because he's not working like us he is nonsense." So do you understand the analogy? It's an analogy. Just like we are coming in the world and telling people to get out of this world, to understand the spiritual world, spiritual side of life. But because we're not working like them, sometimes they misunderstand what is our purpose.
Interviewer: In other words you think people should get away from what they're doing in the world.
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, that is real life.
Prabhupāda: Oh! (laughs) (someone comes in?)
Interviewer: That they really shouldn't concentrate so completely on the world.
Prabhupāda: No, no. So long you are in the jail, you have to work according to the principle of the jail but you must know that jail life is not good.
Bali-mardana: You may work within the material world but you have to understand that the purpose is to get out of the material world.
Interviewer: Well, are your Kṛṣṇa members out of the, out of jail?
Prabhupāda: Just like, some of us are working like the hammerman, breaking bricks with hammer, but that does not mean he does not understand. So long one is in the jail, one is not in freedom, he has to work like that by force. But that is not his proper work. He has got a different work outside the jail or in his freedom life.
Interviewer: Well, what people are saying about the members of the Kṛṣṇa society is that they are not doing the jail work.
Prabhupāda: That I have already explained. The prisoner who is hammering the bricks, he's thinking that this man is simply instructing that you have a different life outside the jail, he's not hammering on the brick. Therefore he is surprised, "How is that he is not hammering like me?"
Interviewer: In other words, he's not participating in jail life.
Bali-mardana: He's educating them.
Interviewer: What's he doing?
Prabhupāda: He's educating.
Interviewer: He's trying to show them a different way?
Prabhupāda: Not different way, he's educating differently.
Bali-mardana: So they can understand what they're doing, what they're supposed to be doing.
Interviewer: He's educating them to what? That this jail life is no good?
Interviewer: That the jail life is no good?
Interviewer: But then is that man that's hammering the bricks, isn't he going to quit hammering the bricks, too?
Prabhupāda: He may not hammer, he's giving instruction. Just like I was invited in Ahmedabad jail to give some instruction. So I'm not hammering on the bricks because I was in the jail.
Interviewer: No, you're giving instruction.
Prabhupāda: Yes, I'm meant for giving instruction, I am not meant for hammering on the bricks.
Interviewer: But then once you get this...
Prabhupāda: So the person who is hammering on the bricks, he's thinking that "This man is simply talking."
Interviewer: That's why he thinks that the Kṛṣṇa people are separate.
Prabhupāda: He wants to draw him in the business of hammering bricks.
Interviewer: Of hammering bricks. Right, right.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference.
Interviewer: That's the difference. Well, what I'm talking about is...
Prabhupāda: He's thinking that "He's not contributing in hammering the bricks." But he does not know that this hammering on the bricks is not a very good business.
Interviewer: Not a very good business.
Prabhupāda: He does not know, the rascal, who is trying to bring us also in the business of hammering the bricks.
Interviewer: (simultaneously) of hammering the bricks, that's right. Yes.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference.
Interviewer: Yes. Well when you get through with, talking, instructing the man hammering the bricks, is he going to lay down his hammer, too?
Prabhupāda: No, he doesn't require. The same... You try to understand.
Bali-mardana: He may continue hammering, but his knowledge will be complete. He'll have complete understanding.
Prabhupāda: At least he must know that "This hammering is my punishment." He knows that "This hammering is not by business, it is my punishment." That is knowledge, that is knowledge. When a prisoner understands that "This hammering business is not my real business, it is my punishment."
Interviewer: Isn't that a rather negative way to look at the work?
Prabhupāda: Why negative? It is the fact. That is the positive understanding. Why do you take negative? If you are suffering and if you say, if I say, "Don't suffer," is that negative or that is positive?
Bali-mardana: In other words, if you are suffering and I tell you "Don't suffer," it may sound negative but actually it's positive.
Prabhupāda: Yes, positive. But they are rascals, they are taking as negative.
Interviewer: Why is work in the world necessarily suffering? It is, it has, a mixture of pain and joy but it's negative to look on it as useless work. Huh?
Prabhupāda: Therefore they are envious of the Kṛṣṇa conscious men. They do not see that "These people, they are not hammering like us." So therefore they are thinking that there is no contribution of hammering. They think the hammering is the real business.
Interviewer: That's pretty good. (laughter) I think people understand the analogy, they think hammering is the business. What do you think is the business?
Interviewer: The world thinks hammering is real business.
Prabhupāda: Yes, so our business is to educate them that "Your hammering business is not your life. Your freedom is real business."
Interviewer: Freedom is what?
Prabhupāda: Real business.
Interviewer: You've, I'm sure you've heard or read about these claims by these parent groups that claim that the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement members are, ah, sort of controlled by intensive indoctrination? Brain-washed they call it, you know, by getting up and having the two hours or three of chanting in the morning and prayer beads constantly and the group life, that they're sort of controlled, and denied their freedom. What do you say about that?
Prabhupāda: It is due to misunderstanding. They do not understand what kind of preaching, what kind of education we are giving. We are giving education how to become free from the hammering business in the jail. They think hammering business and keep oneself within the jail is the real life because they have been accustomed to that. And when we speak that "Hammering or to keep within the jail is not your real business: your real business is freedom," naturally they find contradiction, and they think that we are doing something against their business. That is the difficulty.
Interviewer: Like doing something against their what?
Bali-mardana: Against their business.
Interviewer: But in other words you think that there, is there not something to this idea of brain, of being spiritually controlled or spiritually directed?
Prabhupāda: It is not controlled, it is not controlled.
Interviewer: Well, what would you call it?
Prabhupāda: Controlling one from coming to the jail life. If you give good instruction to a man, that "Don't become criminal, don't come to the jail, don't be engaged in the hammering business," it appears negative, but that is positive life.
Bali-mardana: If you tell someone not to do something that's bad for him, it's positive for him.
Prabhupāda: That is his positive life. When the physician says to a patient that "Don't eat like this, then you will increase your diabetes. Don't eat this, don't eat starch, don't eat sugar." So people may think he's simply giving negative, but that is his positive life. They misunderstand.
Interviewer: I guess when you started out down here in Greenwich Village in 1965 you didn't have any idea that your movement was going to become the rather large movement it is. Did you?
Prabhupāda: Yes, because my movement is real movement, positive. Any intelligent man will understand and take it. (break)