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He (Jackie Vaughn) says we're in the world, but how can we be aloof from it? How can we not be a part of it?

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"He says we're in the world, but how can we be aloof from it? How can we not be a part of it"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

It is knowledge. Just like we are moving with this body, but still we know perfectly well that we are not this body. Just like you may move in your car, but you are perfectly aware that you are not the car.
Interview with Jackie Vaughn (Black Congressman) -- July 12, 1976, Detroit:

Śrutakīrti: You've been reading from Prabhupāda's books?

Jackie Vaughn: Yes. I continue to search.

Śrutakīrti: If you have any questions you can ask him.

Jackie Vaughn: The last time I was here you were kind enough to address to the basic point-we're in the world and yet how can we not be a part of the world.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Hari-śauri: He says we're in the world, but how can we be aloof from it? How can we not be a part of it?

Prabhupāda: It is knowledge. Just like we are moving with this body, but still we know perfectly well that we are not this body. Just like you may move in your car, but you are perfectly aware that you are not the car. When you drive on your car, do you not know that you are not the car, car is different from you? Huh? Don't you know that? Similarly, by cultivation of knowledge one can remain in the car and still he can know that he is not the car. The example is given, just like coconut. Coconut, within the shell, green shell, there is coconut. And when it is dry, if you move you'll understand that the coconut is now separate-(makes sound:) cut-cut-cut-cut—at that time it is taken away for extracting oil. So this is practical. In the beginning, green coconut. And when you can perceive that there is coconut within the shell and it can be separated, but at a time it can be known that the coconut is separated from the shell. And if you move it, it will make-cut-cut-cut. That is the process. It is by action. When after hearing theoretical, that you are separate from this body, if you cultivate that knowledge, then time will come when you'll perceive practically that we are not this body. That means in higher stage of spiritual consciousness the bodily activities, material bodily activities will stop. Only Kṛṣṇa activities will go on. So that, just like the coconut fruit is separate from the shell, similarly, even living within this body, he will be separated from the body. Jīvan mukta sa ucyate. The Sanskrit word is he's liberated even in this life while living in this body. That requires cultivation of the knowledge and practical activities. And that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Not all of a sudden, but there is stage when it will be experienced that he is not this body, he is separate from the body.

Jackie Vaughn: My work, I try to do more for people, especially poor people.

Prabhupāda: Everyone tries. That is not a particular job for you. Everyone is trying; the cats and dogs, they are also trying. The cat also very much anxious to give protection to the cubs, innocent, helpless. The dog also giving. The birds, they're bringing food for the offspring, and as soon as the mother comes, they become very much engladdened, "Oh, here is food, here is food." And they, with the mouth, they.... So this kind of sentiment is there even in the cats, dogs, animals, birds, beasts. That is natural. But we do not know how to do actual welfare activity. Somebody's engaged with his family. Somebody is engaged with his own body. Somebody.... This is only development of consciousness. The animals, they are interested with the body, himself. The human being, they are interested with the extension of the body. Just like I am alone now. Now when I become, you young men, then I have got my wife, then my interest is also for my wife. The wife's interest is for the husband. In this way, children, then interest extended, husband, wife, children. Then, this is family-wise. Then little advancement, of the society. Little advancement, community. Just like in your country, the sense of black community, white community. Then, above that, for the nation. When there is war between America and other nation, then you black and white people forget the small interest for national interest. You advance to fight, to lay down your life. So in this way we can make progress, but such progress is not perfection. Such progress is not perfection. The example is given, just like there is tree, and the whole tree is full of branches, twigs and leaves and flowers and fruits. So somebody is watering the fruit, somebody is watering the leaf, somebody is watering the branches, somebody the twigs, but everyone is improper. One who is watering the root, he's perfect. He knows how to do things. If you water the root of the tree, it will go to the twigs, it will go to the leaves, it will go to the fruit, it will go to the flower. One who does not know the root, however he might be working very diligently for the poor humanity or community or society, they will never be successful to gain the result, peace and prosperity. They are forgetting the root. And root is God. So they must put water in the root. Then it will be all right. Otherwise, it will be all failure. The history of the world is like that. They are trying for the nation, for the society, for the community, and for the family, but everything has become unsuccessful.

Jackie Vaughn: I suppose we could use the same analogy for black and white getting together. Ofttimes, we all become impatient because of the progress appears to be so very, very slow.

Prabhupāda: Slow, but sure, that is wanted. If you are slow, it is not bad, but it must be sure. But if you become very busy without any surety, then what is this? Simply waste of time. Slow, there is English word, "Slow but sure."

Jackie Vaughn: Slow but sure.

Prabhupāda: Sure. So what we are proposing, that is sure success. And all other things, they are very busy but no success. This is the difference. So what is the use of that business if you are going to be failure? So we see from the history these attempts have always been failure. Now this man who constructed this house, he never thought that I shall come here to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So his attempt is failure.