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How do we know that we're going to have a body in the next life?

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Expressions researched:
"how do we know that we're going to have a body in the next life"


General Lectures

There are books, knowledge books, books of knowledge. Therefore I am speaking of Vedic knowledge.
Lecture at International Student Society -- Boston, May 3, 1969:

Man (6): How do you explain suicide?

Prabhupāda: Suicide is killing the body. What is that explanation? Untimely. Untimely. Suicide means that you were given some body to suffer or enjoy for a certain time according to your last fruitive activities. Now, if you commit suicide, that is just like a prisoner is condemned to live in the prisonhouse for six months, but some way or other, if he gets out of the prison, when he is again caught, then he is punished to remain there for one year more. Suicide is like that. You are having a particular type of body that is given to you for enjoyment or suffering according to your last work. If you finish it untimely, then you have to accept such body again, and the duration will be extended.

Man (6): I'm not sure that I understand you. You mean that suicide is putting an end to suffering which was...

Prabhupāda: Suffering you cannot end in that way. Just the same example, that if you get out of the prison some way or other, that does not stop your suffering. As soon as you are arrested, you are put again. The law of nature is not so insignificant that simply by suiciding, you'll stop suffering. No. You have to accept again body and have to suffer.

Man (8): Excuse me. But how do we know that we're going to have a body in the next life?

Prabhupāda: There are books, knowledge books, books of knowledge. Therefore I am speaking of Vedic knowledge.

Man (8): Books can be wrong also.

Prabhupāda: No, why...? Then you are wrong also. You are learning from books. What is your education? You are learning from books.

Man (8): No, but we read these things from Bhagavad-gītā, as it...

Prabhupāda: No, no. What is your education? What is your process of knowledge?

Man (8): Well, the process of knowledge—you are reading something in the form of authority.

Prabhupāda: That's their way. So similarly, you take the books of authority, Vedic knowledge. You have got all knowledge.

Man (8): No, but lot of times, books you read one thing, and lot of times, as soon as you've taken to it... You don't understand it. Few days more... Something wrong from what you wanted to know.

Prabhupāda: What is wrong?

Man (8): Suppose you read a book of one kind.

Prabhupāda: No. You have to select the authoritative books, not "kind." Just like lawbooks. Oh, there is no "one kind" of lawbook. Lawbooks means that is given by the state. That is one lawbook, only one. That cannot be two. It is not that you take lawbook from other state or other authority. No. Lawbooks means it is the books, it is the laws, which is given by the state. Similarly, our process is to accept the Vedas, not other kind of books. There is no question of other kind of books. Only Vedas. Just like we are speaking of Bhagavad-gītā. So that is one, not "other kind of Bhagavad-gītā." Bhagavad-gītā is one.

Man (8): But that one may be also wrong.

Prabhupāda: Why?

Man (8): Why not? You take philosophy wrong. You won't take from another script(?).

Prabhupāda: No. If you take in that way, then it is not book of authority. If it is wrong, then it is not book of authority. The Vedic literatures are accepted, fundamentally accepting that they are not wrong. They are not cheating. They are fact. Without this understanding there is no question of accepting any book.

Man (8): But who makes the background? (?)

Prabhupāda: It is coming from... Who makes you that you are son of such and such gentleman? Who makes you convinced?

Man (8): Okay, but I have to convince myself. Suppose my father is only one.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Man (8): If I change my father's name to somebody else... What...?

Prabhupāda: You cannot change your father's name.

Man (8): Why not? Who knows?

Prabhupāda: Who knows me?

Man (8): You cannot prove everything by one authorized man. Another authorized man, he can change the words. Anybody can. Prabhupāda: No. If he is a perfect man, then he will not change because he knows the thing, "Yes, it is this." But if he is imperfect rascal, then he will change.

Man (8): How do you know that person who wrote it was perfect?

Prabhupāda: That you have to know from the perfect man. That is the way.

Man (8): And who is the perfect man?

Prabhupāda: That you have to find out, if you have got that capacity.

Man (8): How do you find out?

Prabhupāda: How do you find out a lawyer?

Man (8): Well, that's what I'm asking, you see. I've got a...

Prabhupāda: You have to see that "This man is lawyer, and many men is going there to take law advice, and he is gaining case. He is working." In that way you have to know.

Man (8): Well, sir, you're one of the authorities in the same subject. But...

Prabhupāda: No. Authority is in, not that way. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that authorities are accepted by disciplic succession. And just like Bhagavad-gītā, it is accepted. There are authorities like... In our India there are authorities like Śaṅkarācārya, authorities like Rāmānujācārya, authorities like Madhvācārya, authorities like Viṣṇu Svāmī, authorities like Lord Caitanya. They have all accepted that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme authority. So you have to accept that. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). You have to follow the footprint of higher authorities. So if you say that "I don't accept anyone authority," then your authority is sufficient. Whatever you like, can do.

Woman (9): We have to start somewhere or the other.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is going on.

Mangalavati +  and Rishab +
May 3, 0011 JL +
July 4, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 1 +, Conv: 0 +  and Let: 0 +