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Gurukula. She's asking if you could tell her about the system of education you have established in America

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"Gurukula. She's asking if you could tell her about the system of education you have established in America"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

That you can see, what education I have given to my disciples. The first education is that they must be free from all sinful activities. That is the first education. According to the Vedic instruction, a man is supposed to be educated, even from material point of view, a man is supposed to be educated when he sees every woman as mother.
Interview with Newsweek -- July 14, 1976, New York:

Interviewer: Could you tell me a little bit about your educational system that you have helped to establish, particularly here in the States.

Rāmeśvara: Gurukula. She's asking if you could tell her about the system of education you have established in America.

Prabhupāda: That you can see, what education I have given to my disciples. The first education is that they must be free from all sinful activities. That is the first education. According to the Vedic instruction, a man is supposed to be educated, even from material point of view, a man is supposed to be educated when he sees every woman as mother.

Interviewer: As?

Prabhupāda: As mother.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: He sees every woman as his mother.

Prabhupāda: That is the standard of education.

mātṛvat para-dāreṣu
para-dravyeṣu loṣṭravat
ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu
yaḥ paśyati sa paṇḍitaḥ

Paṇḍita means educated. So how one is educated? How it is tested? When a person takes all women except his wife as mother, then he is educated. When one thinks others' property as garbage in the street, then he is educated. And when one thinks that all living entities are of the same level, ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu, then he is educated. Not that for my convenience I say, "The animal has no soul, so send them to the slaughterhouse." He is not educated.

Rāmeśvara: Prabhupāda said one of the standards of education is to see all living entities equally. So not that we say that an animal has no soul, therefore he can go to the slaughterhouse, but a man has soul, so he cannot. Because we see all living entities equally, so we do not send man to slaughterhouse, and we do not send animals to slaughterhouse. That is education.

Interviewer: What... In your system, what do you propose to do with criminals?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What do you propose to do with criminals in your educational system? How will you reform them?

Prabhupāda: Criminals should be punished.

Interviewer: Punished?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Interviewer: How so?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: How seriously should they be punished?

Prabhupāda: That you have to consult śāstra. There is direction. It is... Practically it is the same. Just like Manu-saṁhitā, it says that if one is a murderer then he should be killed. Life for life. He should be hanged. That is the old system. The king used to kill a murderer. So that is almost the same punishment.

Rāmeśvara: What Prabhupāda said is that you have to consult the ancient law books which were written, which are part of Indian culture, thousands of years ago.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Part of the Vedic scriptures.

Rāmeśvara: They are our lawbook. Just like we have books of philosophy, there are also books of law, how to govern society, how to deal with criminals. In other words, we are sticking to the Vedic literatures. As they instruct, we are following.

Interviewer: What do the Vedic literatures say about adultery?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What about adultery, Prabhupāda? She wants to know what the Vedas say should be the... What is the reaction for adultery? How does one deal with an adulterer? If someone is an adulterer and he's caught, what should be the...

Prabhupāda: No, there is no such direct punishment, but it is prohibited. It is prohibited.

Rāmeśvara: There is no direct punishment, but it is prohibited. Part of education and social convention, it is prohibited. Not that the government allows propaganda to be made for illicit sex.

Prabhupāda: The other words, the woman who is chaste, she is very much glorified.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: A chaste woman is very much glorified in Vedic culture.

Interviewer: I'm particularly interested in the educational system that you are setting up. Do you think...

Bali-mardana: You mean for children?

Rāmeśvara: She's referring to now the system that we have for our children, Gurukula. So what's the question?

Interviewer: My question is because they are receiving this education, physical and spiritual education so that they will be free of corruption and sin, they might still, even with this education, they still might not be intelligent, what you consider intelligent people. How, you know... Is it more likely that they will be what you would term intelligent, having been educated in this system?

Prabhupāda: No, there are different types of education. Just like in the material world. There is education for medical man. There is education for engineer. There is education for so many other departments. Similarly, there is education how to make one man spiritual. So we are going to give education how to become spiritually advanced. That is our purpose.

Rāmeśvara: Spiritually advanced, that is our purpose. No, her question was whether all the people that go to our Gurukula will become spiritually advanced.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, certainly. That is Gurukula education.

Rāmeśvara: Even though some are born with more intelligence and some are born with less intelligence.

Prabhupāda: It doesn't matter. Average intelligence will do.

Interviewer: Well, then conceivably it seems that almost the great majority of society would adhere to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Rāmeśvara: So then, since it doesn't matter whether less intelligent, small intelligent, if they go to Gurukula, they can become spiritually advanced.

Prabhupāda: Yes, because spiritually everyone is free from material bondage. So materially we find one is more intelligent, one is less intelligent, but spiritually everyone can be equally intelligent.

Rāmeśvara: So what about the common man? If he accepts the Gurukula system he can also be spiritually advanced?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, anyone, anyone.

Rāmeśvara: Prabhupāda's point in the beginning was whether they will accept it or not. But once they accept it, once they get trained, then they will automatically be advanced. His point in the beginning was whether they'll accept it or not. That requires intelligence.

Bali-mardana: He has to undergo a type of conditioning.

Rāmeśvara: Or training.

Lady Guest: I think he was defining his definition of intelligence in the spiritual realm as opposed to material intelligence.

Rāmeśvara: Prabhupāda said intelligence means you accept the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or you accept to be trained to be spiritually advanced.

Lady Guest: It's like an hypothesis.

Interviewer: Don't you find the whole Kṛṣṇa movement more successful in an age and era when there is such laxity of moral standards and spiritual leadership and direction?

Prabhupāda: No, at any stage of life, if one accepts the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can make advance.

Rāmeśvara: She asked, "Is it more favorable for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness if there is some material problems, social problems? If there is a lack of God consciousness, then people become frustrated. Is that a more favorable situation for Kṛṣṇa consciousness to take root?"

Prabhupāda: Yes, if we arrange social, political and everything favorable for spiritual understanding, then it becomes easier.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Prabhupāda is saying the opposite than what you hypothesized. In other words, if everything is arranged socially, politically, everything, in a God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious manner, then it is easier to accept the principles of God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Prabhupāda: Just like... These are all discussed in the Bhagavad-gītā, what kind of social arrangement should be. That... It is called varṇāśrama-dharma. A brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha—these are different groups, and if they are favorably trained up then spiritual understanding becomes very easy.

Interviewer: Can you tell me a little bit about the future direction of the movement, how you plan to expand.

Prabhupāda: That is... That is going on already. Just like these boys, they did not know about Kṛṣṇa some years ago, but they are taking seriously. The same process, if it is continued, then people will take.

Rāmeśvara: In other words, Prabhupāda sees that if we just continue the programs that he has introduced, just like we have already become members, similarly, many others will continue to become members in the future if we just continue the same programs which made us members, namely the chanting of the mantra, distributing of the books, distribution of the...

Prabhupāda: And following the regulative principles.

Rāmeśvara: And very carefully following the training system that Prabhupāda has given us for becoming advanced spiritually. That involves what to eat, what not to eat, and how to avoid taking drugs, intoxicants. There are certain principles.

Bali-mardana: In other words, Prabhupāda is creating a class of purified persons, so they are located throughout the world, and if other persons come to them, then they become purified. Just like we have come to Prabhupāda and we have become purified, similarly his disciples are empowered to purify others because they have become pure. In that way it increases geometrically.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: It's an educational process. Someone coming from the street you can't expect that he's given a degree in chemistry. He has to be trained up. So the educational process goes on and on. It expands naturally.

Bali-mardana: Just like in the beginning Prabhupāda was teaching Bhagavad-gītā personally to his disciples. But now in each one of his over a hundred temples throughout the world, his instructions are being taught. So he's expanded himself through his books and his temples. So anyone who enters into them, they are associating with him and becoming purified. So then more temples, more people come and become purified.