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But there are some very intelligent men who are not spiritually enlightened, perhaps even men who understand that they are not, or the body is not all, the body is dead and there is something else. Why aren't these men spiritually aware?

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"But there are some very intelligent men who are not spiritually enlightened, perhaps even men who understand that they are not, or the body is not all, the body is dead and there is something else. Why aren't these men spiritually aware"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

If one does not understand this simple thing, that he is not body, then he is no better than animal. That is the first understanding of spiritual platform. If he thinks that he is body, then he is in the same category as the animals.
Interview with Newsweek -- July 14, 1976, New York:

Interviewer: Could you tell me a little bit about your background, when you were young, what types of things you did...

Prabhupāda: Why shall I tell you?

Interviewer: Pardon me?

Prabhupāda: Why shall I tell you?

Interviewer: If you wish.

Prabhupāda: Why shall I wish?

Interviewer: Well, reporters have to ask these questions. Otherwise I would be out of business.

Hari-śauri: Prabhupāda is hoping that you'll ask something that is relevant to this...

Rāmeśvara: People are interested to know about you, Śrīla Prabhupāda. And if they take an interest in you, then they will automatically be interested in your books also. They are very eager to know about the author of all these books that we are selling.

Prabhupāda: But these books, books... We'll speak about the books. Does it depend, what the author was doing previously?

Interviewer: You are the translator of many books, from what I understand.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that translation, the book, will speak how I have translated.

Interviewer: Um hm. I was wondering...

Prabhupāda: You read the books, Then you'll understand. Instead of asking me, you better read the books. That is real understanding.

Interviewer: I was just wondering how he personally got interested or involved, and what his route to his consciousness was.

Rāmeśvara: I see. She's asking about your relationship with your Guru Mahārāja, how you became inspired to start the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and write so many books.

Prabhupāda: These things you can answer. It is not very important things for public.

Rāmeśvara: I think the public always likes to know about the person behind the movement.

Lady Guest: Yes, it helps. People are interested. People are interested in development of a man like you because they relate. And that way they decide to read what you write.

Prabhupāda: First thing is that if you are interested in our book, so, you read our books. You'll understand.

Interviewer: Understand you?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: Is that what you're saying?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: Is that what he's saying?

Prabhupāda: A man is known when he speaks. When he speaks. Tāvac ca śobhate mūrkho yāvat kiñcin na bhāṣate: "A fool is so long beautiful as long as he does not speak." When he speaks, then you can understand what he is. So my speaking are there in the books, and if you are intelligent, you can understand. You haven't got to ask. Speaking... Just like in a court. A big lawyer is known when he speaks. Otherwise everyone is a good lawyer. But when he speaks in the court, then he is known, whether he is good lawyer or not. So you have to hear. You have to read. Then you'll understand. Real understanding is there.

Interviewer: Do you think that some day the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement will spread to all the people in the world?

Prabhupāda: That is not possible. It is more for the most intelligent class of men. So it, this movement, is for the most intelligent class of men.

Interviewer: But amongst the most intelligent classes.

Prabhupāda: Unless one is intelligent class, belonging to the in..., he cannot understand. So we don't expect that everyone is intelligent. Kṛṣṇa ye bhaja se baḍa catura. Unless one is very intelligent, he cannot become Kṛṣṇa conscious, because it is a different subject matter. People are engrossed with the bodily concept of life. It is beyond that. So dull brain cannot understand what is beyond this body. So you cannot expect that everyone will understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not possible.

Interviewer: There has been a lot of talk of genetic perfection of mankind, or, say, attempting a genetic perfection.

Prabhupāda: What is genetic?

Interviewer: What is genetic perfection?

Bali-mardana: We were discussing yesterday about the science of genetics. They try to understand the traits, how the body and mind are formed, and then try to change it.

Prabhupāda: That we have already... Where is that book?

Rāmeśvara: Svarūpa Dāmodara's book.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Bring.

Rāmeśvara: Well, what is your question?

Interviewer: My question is... You were mentioning earlier about using the technological tools, and if there is some society where there is some...

Prabhupāda: That book is not here? Nowhere?

Interviewer: Let me ask you. If through technological means mankind is somewhat improved, in other words, the average man is much more intelligent, what you would consider now to be an intelligent man...

Prabhupāda: But intelligent man... If one understands that he is not this body—he is within the body... Just like you have got one shirt. You are not the shirt. Anyone can understand. You are within the shirt. Similarly, a person who understands that he is not the body—he is within the body... That anyone can understand because when the body is dead, what is the difference? Because the living force within the body is gone, therefore we call the body dead.

Interviewer: But there are some very intelligent men who are not spiritually enlightened, perhaps even men who understand that they are not, or the body is not all, the body is dead and there is something else. Why aren't these men spiritually aware?

Prabhupāda: If one does not understand this simple thing, that he is not body, then he is no better than animal. That is the first understanding of spiritual platform. If he thinks that he is body, then he is in the same category as the animals.

Rāmeśvara: Her question is... Suppose someone has some faith in life after death, and he also may be an intelligent man by material standards. Why isn't he automatically...?

Prabhupāda: No, material standard is no intelligence. Material standard is that "I am this body. I am American. I an Indian. I am fox. I am dog. I am man." This is material understanding. Spiritual understanding is beyond that, that "I am not this body." And when he tries to understand that spiritual identification, then he is intelligent. Otherwise he is not intelligent.

Interviewer: So does this mean...

Prabhupāda: They have been described as mūḍha. Mūḍha means asses. So this is the first understanding, that one should not identify with this body.

Interviewer: What understandings come after...?

Prabhupāda: Just like dog. Dog understands that he is body. If a man also understands like that—he is body—then he's no better than the dog.

Interviewer: What other understandings come after this one?

Bali-mardana: After you realize that you're not the body, then what comes next?

Prabhupāda: Ha! That is intelligent question. Then one has to find out that "I am engaged only in this bodily concept of life. Then what is my engagement?" That is the inquiry of Sanātana Gosvāmī, that "You have relieved me from this material engagement. Now let me know what is my duty." For that reason one has to go to the spiritual master, to know, understand that what is his duty now. "If I am not this body, then what is my duty? Because I am busy whole day and night for this body. I am eating, I am sleeping I am having sex, I am defending—these are all bodily necessities. If I am not body, then what is my duty?" That is intelligence.

Rāmeśvara: So you said, "What is the next thing after realizing you're not this body?" Prabhupāda says the next thing is to find out what you should be doing, and for that, you take information from a self-realized soul or spiritual master.

Interviewer: Spiritual master in the form of his books.

Bali-mardana: Personally or...

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda was explaining that now in the bodily concept we have so many duties. We are working, we are having sex life, we are eating, sleeping, defending ourselves—so many things. All of this is in the relationship to the body. But if I'm not this body, then what is my duty? What is my responsibility? So the next thing is that when one understands this, then he must take instruction from the spiritual master, make progress and understand what real duty is. It's very important.

Prabhupāda: Even for eating, sleeping, sex life and defense we require some knowledge from a teacher. Say for eating, so we take knowledge from expert what kind of eating we shall take, what kind of vitamin, what kind of... So that also requires education. And sleeping also requires education. And so for bodily concept of life one has to take knowledge from others. So when he is above this bodily concept of life—he understands that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul"—so similarly he has to take lesson and education from an expert.

Interviewer: Could you go over each of the three functions you've been mentioning-eating, sleeping and sex—and tell me what specifically, what rules or hints that you would give people who are seeking spiritual enlightenment to aid in their lives in these ways.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes, that is our books. It is our books. We have got enough matter to understand. It is not a thing that you'll understand in a minute.

Interviewer: I understand you sleep very little. You sleep three to four hours a night. Do you feel that this is what any person who is spiritually actualized will also realize?

Prabhupāda: Yes, we see from the behavior of the Gosvāmīs. They practically had no material necessities. This eating, sleeping, mating and defending, practically they had no such thing. They are simply engaged in Kṛṣṇa's business.

Interviewer: Engaged in Kṛṣṇa's...?

Rāmeśvara: Kṛṣṇa's business or God's service.

Bali-mardana: He's setting the example of the previous spiritual masters.

Interviewer: Well, what I was interested in is why... Has he found that three to four hours is the necessary time period to sleep?

Bali-mardana: She's asking why is three to four hours the amount that you sleep. How have you reached that standard?

Prabhupāda: That is not artificially. The more you are engaged in spiritual activities, the more you become free from material activities. That is the test.

Interviewer: And so you've arrived at that...

Prabhupāda: No, I don't speak about myself, but that is the test. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt (SB 11.2.42). If you advance in bhakti, in spiritual life, then you become disinterested in material life.

Interviewer: Do you think there's a difference between the various peoples of the world? In other words, do you think that Indians as opposed to Europeans have more of a tendency or are more likely to adhere to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Prabhupāda: No, any intelligent man can become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That I have already explained, that unless one is very intelligent, he cannot take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So it is open for everyone. But there are different grades of intelligence. In Europe, America, they are intelligent, but their intelligence is utilized for material purposes. And in India their intelligence is utilized for spiritual purpose. Therefore you find so many highly spiritual standard of life, books, literature. Just like Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva was also in householder life, but he was living in the forest, and see his contribution of literature. Nobody can dream even. So by literary contribution, one's intelligence is tested. All big, big men of the material world, scientists, philosophers, even technicians, they are recognized by their writings, by their contribution, not by their gigantic body.