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Do you believe, I mean now from the point of view of facts, or events, not of ideas, of events, of reality, do you think there are many these men who are without spiritual ideas in the world of today?

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"Do you believe, I mean now from the point of view of facts, or events, not of ideas, of events, of reality, do you think there are many these men who are without spiritual ideas in the world of today"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Room Conversation with Catholic Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope -- May 24, 1974, Rome:

Prabhupāda: So we forbid our students to refrain from four sinful activities: No illicit sex life, no meat-eating, and no intoxication, up to drinking tea, coffee or smoking. They are also intoxicants. And no gambling. These four principles, they avoid completely. And as it is recommended in this book, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru: (BG 18.65) "Always think of Me," man-manā. "Just become My devotee. Just offer your obeisances unto Me, and just worship Me." Four principles. If you follow these four principles without any offense, then you go back to home, back to Godhead. So for remembering God, you chant always God's name on these beads.

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

(buzzer sounds) And we worship... (pause) (one man is apparently showing pictures) This is also a church?

Monsignor Verrozano: This is Japan. This is from Tibet. Also a gift of Dalai Lama.

Prabhupāda: Buddhism.

Monsignor Verrozano: Buddhist, but this is from India.

Prabhupāda: This is Hindu temple.

Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. The Mahakrish(?).

Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, I think that because you are friends of God, we are friends of God, we are all friends and this is good. But I think that, if I understand it well, that your aim is to reach people who are unbelievers or people who are atheistic, as you said before. And then I would like to know... You are not obliged, you are completely free to do what you want. But I would like to know if you got into these places or amongst these people... There are many places and many peoples in the world who are in these conditions, without faith and without the spiritual values. Because it is for us, we hope so. We are good friends of God, and we are always in our prayers and meditation united to God, and to... But we thank you for your visit and for your, for this reason we are good friends altogether. But I would like to know historically your work, I mean if you go into these areas or into these places where is possible. For instance, take the example of Russia, eh? Now you are in good relations. India and Russia probably for Indians it is easier than for Europeans or for some of our countries or for Americans. Are you... Have you this problem? Do you go into these areas, into these places?

Prabhupāda: Yes. I went to Moscow. I was invited.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Because they need badly. They need this spirit of friendship with God and with His supreme values. God... Well, I wouldn't say to the Moslem world because they are good believers. And God is probably, they are more faithful to. And for instance, these areas of the modern world like, also in the States sometimes, because these big cities like New York or Tokyo or Toronto, and some, these are cities, where they are areas where spiritual values have no meaning for these people. It's a pity and we have to be very open and very friendly to them. I gather this. And your method is meditation and prayer, if I understand it well.

Prabhupāda: There are two things. We recommend two things. For the mass of people, this prayer, kīrtana, a prayer. Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma. So this is prayer. Hare means appealing to the energy of God, and Kṛṣṇa is God. "O the energy of God, O God, please engage me in your service." This is the sum and substance of the Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare: "O the energy of God, 'Kṛṣṇa,' O the Lord, please engage me in Your service." Because we are now engaged in the service of Satan, māyā. I think... Māyā. So therefore we are suffering. Service we have to render. Because we are meant for rendering service. But when you forget God, then you render service to māyā. Therefore it is the prayer to God that "Please pick me from this service and engage me to Your service." That's all. Service is my occupation. I cannot become master. That is not possible. The Māyāvādī philosophers, they sometimes say that "We are now in māyā. As soon as we are out in māyā, then we become master." We do not agree to this philosophy. We remain servant even after liberation. We are servant here and we are servant always. Just like a citizen and government. The government is always master. If you do not accept the laws of government, then you are put into prison. There also you are subjected to the laws of God, or the government. Similarly, either in māyā or liberated, we are always servant, eternal servant. But when we are servant in liberation, giving service to God, that is our real life or real happiness. But when we give service to the māyā, that is our miserable condition. So in Moscow I have been. I had a long talk with Professor Kotofsky, the Indologist.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. Did you talk with people there? Were you permitted, were you allowed to talk with the people in the streets and so on?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Cardinal Pignedoli: You were.

Prabhupāda: No, not on the street. Some of the boys, they came to my hotel. So so far I saw, the people, they are very nice. They are very nice, but the government supresses their sentiments. Everyone has got religious sentiments. The people is as good as in other places. I don't find any difference. It is not that the whole Russia is atheist. It is not that. They are as others. They are like that. And our philosophy is that everyone is God conscious; simply it is being suppressed, either by the so-called leaders or by the influence of external energy, which is called māyā. We have got a verse in this Caitanya-caritāmṛta where it is said that nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-bhakti sādhya kabhu naya. It is not an artificial thing. To make one God conscious is not artificial. God consciousness is there, even in the life of aborigines, most crude people. It has to be awakened by education. Śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte. One has to be educated. And he should be given chance to hear about God. And then, as soon as he becomes purified in his consciousness, he accepts and begins to love God. So it is not an artificial thing. Either in Russia or any place, any human being, he has got dormant love for God. It has to be awakened by processes. Therefore I began: That process which quickly awakens that God consciousness and engages him in the service of the Lord, that is first-class religious system. Paro dharmaḥ. Paraḥ means first-class. But a simply sentiment will not help. Therefore religion must be based on philosophy, and my spiritual master used to say this, that "Philosophy without religion is mental speculation, and religion without philosophy is sentimental." They should be combined. Philosophy and religion must be... Or religion must be based on philosophy. Then it is perfect. We cannot separate these two things. Simple philosophical speculation will not help, and simple sentiments, rituals, formalities, will not also. They should be combined. So this combination is here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā.

Monsignor Verrozano: In our Christian faith the love of God is joined with the love for man. Are you also interested with this love for man, for our rivals?

Prabhupāda: No, love for man... Let me say it. Love for man is imperfect conception because God is for everyone. God is not monopolized by simply the human society. The animal society, the bird society, the tree society, they are all living entities, soul. According to our karma, they are differently dressed. That is the most important philosophy, that soul is part and parcel of God. Somehow or other, the soul is now separated from the service of the Lord, and according to his desire of enjoying this material world, he has been offered different types of body. So either human being or animal or trees or aquatics, birds, beasts, everyone, all living entities, they are all part and parcel of God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ. Can you find out this?

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
sambhavanti (yaḥ) murtayaḥ
tāsāṁ mahad-yonir brahma
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
(BG 14.4)

There are different species of life, sarva-yoni. Yoni means species of life. And there are forms, different forms. But within that form... Yes, read it.


sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
murtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
(BG 14.4)

"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father."

Prabhupāda: That's it. So from God's standpoint of view, we cannot take simply that simply to serve the human being is to serve God. Another point is that living entities, the service, according to Sanskrit conception, service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior, mercy. There are two words. Sevā, the Sanskrit word, sevā, and dayā. You know something of Sanskrit?

Monsignor Verrozano: Somewhat, yes.

Prabhupāda: Seva means service. So service is offered to the superior. And to the inferior or subordinate, we offer our compassion. So similarly, as we are eager to give service, similarly, we should be eager to be compassionate. So it is not very good idea. Just like in India they say, daridra-nārāyaṇa. Some nation, that to give service to the human being, and cut the throat of the animals. This philosophy is not good.

Monsignor Verrozano: Yes. I have something in the Bhagavad-gītā. If I am not wrong, in the Chapter Eighteen of Bhagavad-gītā, verse sixty-four, there is the affirmation that God loves man, "You are beloved for Me." And in some cases, we consider this affirmation as the very core of Indian religiosity, and we appreciate very much this affirmation of love of God for man.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Monsignor Verrozano: What do you think about this...

Prabhupāda: No. Man is supposed to be elevated position, how to love God. Animals cannot make (break) ...any distinction between a human being and animal. That is really the symptom of God, that sarva-yoniṣu... Just like if I am obedient son of my father, how can I neglect one son who is very stupid? Rather, if I say to my father, "Father, this son is stupid. He does not bring any service. So please allow me to cut his head," the father will never agree. The father, either a stupid son or very intelligent son, he is kind to everyone, because they are sons. So similarly, if a man is real lover of God, he cannot cut throat of the animals. I think, therefore, Jesus Christ said, "Thou shalt not kill." That is not... If actually one is lover of God, how he can give trouble, pains, to others? That is not possible.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Excuse me if I insist on the first question I asked for. Your aim, your most important aim, if I understood it well, is to bring the faith and love for God to man. No? This is your first aim, to encourage man to be a...

Prabhupāda: Lover of God.

Cardinal Pignedoli: To become lovers of God, friends to God.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Cardinal Pignedoli: All right. Do you believe, I mean now from the point of view of facts, or events, not of ideas, of events, of reality, do you think there are many these men who are without spiritual ideas in the world of today?

Prabhupāda: Mostly...

Cardinal Pignedoli: Mostly. You think so.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Cardinal Pignedoli: And then you think that men of God are a minority.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Cardinal Pignedoli: This you admit. Well, and then I ask for a second question. Before I give to you an example. I have a hobby, as many men in the world, they have their own hobbies. My hobby is to, I mean...

Prabhupāda: God has also some hobby.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Yes. What I used to do when I am traveling... I travel a lot. I used to make friends among young people, generally teenagers. And then I choose also—I try to do this—people who are unbelievers, who are in difficulties, who are men of the weak faith, and who don't love, at least, they say they don't love God. Because I think that we are few men who love God, friends to God... We are not many. And we have to go and to look for these people, and for these areas or environments, where these peoples live. And it is for this reason that I say always when I am good friends, you know... Priests, Catholic priests, well, go to an area because here is too many. They don't need you here, but go to, well, I would say Stockholm or Copenhagen where there are a few really also, Christians, I mean Catholic or Protestants. We are all brothers. But they go there because there are very few people who are dedicated to God. What do you believe about this? I mean your society, your movement, your spiritual movement, is dedicated for this kind of people and for these areas, or not? I ask. It's not...

Prabhupāda: For all.

Cardinal Pignedoli: For all. Well, also we are for all. But I mean, you have not so many people. You have some thousand people. Do you prefer for this your people? Do you prefer they go to a place where God is not known, where spiritual values are not estimated? Or they go also to places where God is loved and God is present.

Prabhupāda: No, we go everywhere.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Everywhere.

Prabhupāda: Just like you go in the villages of Africa. They are almost aborigines, with their...

Cardinal Pignedoli: Local people. Local citizens.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So our process is so nice, that is recommended process in this age—the chanting the holy name of God. So we chant this holy name of God, perhaps you have seen. Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, we dance.

Monsignor Verrozano: Yes, Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Then anyone, even children, they join. Even the children, they join. Man, woman...

Cardinal Pignedoli: It is very similar to the Christian masses. We bring it everywhere.

Prabhupāda: We have no such distinction. So to the mass of people, we chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. But when there are learned scholars, elevated person, then we present about our philosophy. And we have got so many writings. Both ways: the mass and the class, or the scholars. We are prepared to meet everyone. Our mission is to make everyone, no distinction, that "This class should be given preference, and that should be neglected." No. We have got instrument to awaken everyone. By chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, we can enthuse thousands and thousands of men to join us. And those who are advanced in philosophy and religious system, we have got these books. So we do not neglect anyone. We approach everyone.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Well, thank you for your explanations.