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But you don't find that the fact that your monks are wearing robes or shaving their heads is a difficulty in the West, where not many people...?

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Expressions researched:
"But you don't find that the fact that your monks are wearing robes or shaving their heads is a difficulty in the West, where not many people"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

It is not the question of East and West. It is the question of human life. There is no question... The Western people also have this living force, and Eastern people also have this living force. So where is the difference, West and East? There is no question of West and East. It is the problem for the whole human society.
Room Conversation with Reporter -- March 9, 1975, London:

Prabhupāda: ...he did not like to kill his cousin-brother. He said that "Even they usurp my kingdom, I do not wish to kill them." So this affection, this bodily affection, was not very much approved by Kṛṣṇa. He said that "You are talking like a non-Āryan." Anārya-juṣṭam. Anārya. "The Āryan, they do not think like that." Another place He says that "You are giving consideration on the body, but any learned man does not refer to body, either dead or alive. They, learned man, will give stress on the moving force of the body." So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means basically on the moving force of the body.

Reporter: The moving force of...?

Prabhupāda: Of the body. Just like you are moving, I am moving. As soon as the moving force, whatever it is, is gone, then your body is a lump of matter, my body is a lump of matter.

Reporter: Have you had any difficulty in bringing this, which seems to have originated in India, into the West?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Haṁsadūta: Have we found any problems or difficulty is bringing this teaching, which appears to have originated in India, to the West? Have we found any problem?

Prabhupāda: No, there cannot be any problem. Just like I am speaking to you. If you are sane man, you will have to admit this. The mistake you will have to admit, if you are a sane man. If you are something else, then you will not admit the mistake.

Reporter: Uh huh. But...

Prabhupāda: Now, the mistake is... You are talking with me; I am talking with you. Your body is there, my body. But which is important? Your body is important, or the force which is talking, that is important? Which is important?

Reporter: The force.

Prabhupāda: Just see. So who is giving? Where is the educational institution to give lesson about this living force? Is there any education all over the world?

Reporter: But you don't find that the fact that your monks are wearing robes or shaving their heads is a difficulty in the West, where not many people...

Prabhupāda: It is not the question of East and West. It is the question of human life. There is no question... The Western people also have this living force, and Eastern people also have this living force. So where is the difference, West and East? There is no question of West and East. It is the problem for the whole human society.

Reporter: Can you tell me how your teaching relates to the Bible, to the Christian teaching?

Prabhupāda: Christian teaching is good. It is giving idea of God. But who is following Christian teaching? That is the problem. Nobody is following. Christ says, "Thou shall not kill," and the Christian people are very expert in killing. Do you admit or not?

Reporter: I admit.

Prabhupāda: Just see. Then who is a Christian? If one does not follow the instruction of Christ, then would you call him a Christian?

Reporter: No.

Prabhupāda: That's it. That is the problem.

Reporte: Is there any reason why you teach your followers the Bhagavad-gītā rather than the Bible?

Prabhupāda: The teaching is the same. The teaching is the same. What Lord Jesus Christ taught and what we are... (aside:) Aiye. The teaching is the same. But who is following? That is the difficulty.

Reporter: I see. So you don't think that...

Prabhupāda: The difficulty has arisen—I am claiming to be Hindu, but I am not following the Vedic rules. You are claiming to be Christian, but you are not following the Christian rules. This is going on all over the world.

Reporter: But if someone was making the Bible a sort of reality in their lives...

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is good. What is the wrong there, Bible? It is everything all right. We don't say "The Bible is bad, and Vedas are good." We don't say that.

Reporter: Are you yourself or do your followers regard you as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa or as the teacher of His teachings?

Prabhupāda: No. We regard ourself as servant of Kṛṣṇa.

Reporter: Servant of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Reporter: There are a lot of other spiritual groups in the world...

Prabhupāda: Everyone is servant of Kṛṣṇa.

Reporter: Are you saying...

Prabhupāda: Everyone. You are also servant of Kṛṣṇa. Are you not servant of Kṛṣṇa? Are you master? You are not servant of anyone? Are you? You have come as press representative. You are servant of the press. So you are not master.

Reporter: But I wanted to ask about other spiritual groups in this country...

Prabhupāda: So any spiritual... If he actually belongs to the spiritual understand, then he must admit that he is servant of God.

Reporter: Servant of God.

Prabhupāda: That is real spiritual understanding.

Reporter: But many different groups give the...

Prabhupāda: They are not... They have no spiritual understanding. Anyone who says something else beyond this understanding, that every living entity is servant of God, if he says something else, he does not know what is spiritual life.

Reporter: But there seem to be a lot of groups that are saying that, but teaching a different way to...

Prabhupāda: Different way... There cannot be dif... The way is one. God is one, and we all living entities, we are dependent on God's mercy. Therefore we are servant. Everyone is servant. We say that, that God is one, and every one of us, we are all servant of God. So let us engage in our original position as servant of God. This is our teaching.

Reporter: Do you feel that... In other groups also there are sort of teachers or masters or whatever they call them. Do you feel that there can be more than...

Prabhupāda: They are wasting time simply and cheating others. That's all.

Reporter: They are wasting time.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Because they do not understand what is their position; therefore their teaching is simply waste of time. This is the position: that God is great, and we are all dependent on God. Who will deny this? This is the original principle. Now, in one religious system it may be taught in a little different way. In another religious system it may be... But if there is no such sense that "God is the supreme, and we are all subordinate servant..." This should be the basic idea. That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati
(SB 1.2.6)

He says that "That is first-class religion which teaches the followers how to become obedient to God." It doesn't matter whether it's Christian religion or Hindu religion or Muslim religion. If they are teaching this fact, that... Actually they are doing that. Muslim they say, allah akbar. Christian people say, "God is great," and the Hindus also say, eko brahma dvitīya nāsti. So you go... Just the same teaching.

Reporter: You're not actually saying that you're the only teacher who can give this teaching, but that any teacher who gives this teaching...

Prabhupāda: No, this is the principle. Just like two plus two equal to four. So anyone who teaches this, he is a teacher. And if a rascal says two plus two equal to three, then he is not a teacher; he is a cheater.

Reporter: So are you saying in fact that...

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is... I am saying, what I am saying to you, that "God is great, and everyone is servant." Can you deny this? Can you deny this?

Reporter: No.

Prabhupāda: Then? What is the difficulty? Nobody, no sane man, will deny it.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
(Bs. 5.1)

And Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya (BG 7.7). So these things are there. God is great, we are all subordinate, and we are maintained. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. This is the Vedic information. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). So this principle should be broadcast. People should know what is his position.

Reporter: Is the teacher always necessary? I mean, many meditation groups or yoga groups say that...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Why you are asking? Anything you want to learn, you must go to a teacher. How you can learn independently?

Reporter: I mean just, say, by reading the Bhagavad-gītā.

Prabhupāda: Reading Bhagavad-gītā is also taking lesson from the teacher. Teacher—Kṛṣṇa is personally the teacher, and you read Bhagavad-gītā means you take lessons from teacher, the supreme teacher.

Reporter: I read a news report recently that you had said in Paris that you no longer taught your followers to chant simply the name of, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, because the name of God could be chanted in any form. Is that so?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Chanting of the holy name... We are broadcasting that you, in this age, you begin for God realization. Chant His holy name. Very simple thing.

Reporter: So this holy name can be in different forms for a Christian or a Hindu.

Prabhupāda: Different form means that the... Just like water. Water, somebody says, "Water," and India, somebody says, jal, or pani, but the substance is the same. If your name means the same thing, then it is right. And if your name suggests something else, then it is wrong.

Reporter: And is there something that...

Prabhupāda: So if you have got some name which actually refers to God, then it is all right. But if you have got something, name, which refers to dog, then it is wrong.

Reporter: Is this something that your followers can be aware of constantly?

Prabhupāda: So we are recommending to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. So God is all-attractive. Otherwise how He can be God? God cannot be attractive for you and not for me. This is very accurate word. God has no name. That's a fact. But we coin His name according to His dealings. Just like we call God Yaśodā-nandana. So God came as the son of Yaśodā. Therefore we call Him Yaśodā-nandana, son of Yaśodā. So you can take it as name. Similarly, God's name the total summarization—"all-attractive." That is perfect name.

Reporter: Is this the same name that is spoken of in the Bible where it says "the word of God"?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?

Reporter: In the Bible it says "the word of God." Is that the same name that...

Prabhupāda: Yes, word is God. Kṛṣṇa is God. If you use this word Kṛṣṇa—because God is all-attractive—then immediately you associate with God. And if you associate with God, then you become purified.

Reporter: Can you explain what I read in one of your books, that the sound spoken either in chanting a mantra or when talking about God or Kṛṣṇa is somehow transcendental sound, though it's spoken with the same voice.

Prabhupāda: God is Absolute. His name and His person, not different, because He is Absolute. Here in the material world the name is not the substance. If I want water... I am thirsty, and if I chant "Water, water, water, water," that will not help me. But in the spiritual world, God being Absolute, you chant God's name, you see God's form, you discuss about God's activities, they are all the same.

Reporter: So how, if when we chant "Water, water, water," we don't...

Prabhupāda: That is material word. If you chant "Water, water," the real water will not come. But if you chant "Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa," then because it is absolute, then you are associating with Kṛṣṇa.

Reporter: Then we've, we come into the spiritual world.

Prabhupāda: Yes, immediately. Because Kṛṣṇa is on your tongue.

Reporter: But how do we feel that?

Prabhupāda: You will feel. Go on chanting. Just like if you drink water, then you will feel that "My thirsty... thirstiness is gone."

Reporter: Oh. But it's the same body doing it.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So if you chant "Kṛṣṇa," then you will be spiritually realized.

Reporter: That's all the questions I have.

Prabhupāda: Thank you.

Reporter: Thank you very much.