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Isn't it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Krsna is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial? Isn't it like just a matter of taste? Like judging a flower

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Expressions researched:
"If somebody may prefer roses and somebody may like carnations better" |"Isn't it like just a matter of taste" |"Isn't it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Krsna is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial" |"Like judging a flower" |"Surely isn't it like flowers" |"They're all flowers, but some people may like one better than the other"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1969 Conversations and Morning Walks

But still, there is distinction. The rose flower is considered better than simply a flower without any flavor.
Room Conversation With John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison -- September 11, 1969, London, At Tittenhurst:

John Lennon: True master. How are we to tell one from the other?

Prabhupāda: It is not that any spiritual master. Sampradāya. Sampradāya means a particular line of disciplic succession.

John Lennon: But, you see, Maharishi said exactly the same thing about his mantra's coming from the Vedic, with seemingly as much authority as you, and he was probably right. So how... It's like having too many fruits on a plate, and you can't only eat two of them.

Prabhupāda: No. If mantra is coming down in that way, then it is potency; the potency is there.

John Lennon: But Hare Kṛṣṇa is the best one.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Yoko Ono: Well, if Hare Kṛṣṇa is the best one, what is the reason why we have to bother to even say anything else other than this one?

Prabhupāda: You don't require to bother to say anything else. We say that Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is sufficient for one's perfection.

George Harrison: Surely isn't it like flowers? If somebody may prefer roses and somebody may like carnations better... Isn't it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Kṛṣṇa is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial? Isn't it like just a matter of taste? Like judging a flower. They're all flowers, but some people may like one better than the other.

Prabhupāda: But still, there is distinction. The rose flower is considered better than simply a flower without any flavor.

Yoko Ono: In that case I can't...

Prabhupāda: Just try to understand this flower example.

Yoko Ono: Yes.

Prabhupāda: It is all right. You are attracted by some flower, I am attracted by some flower, but amongst the flowers there are distinctions. There are many flowers which has no flavor and many flower has flavor.

Yoko Ono: Is that flower that has flavor better than...

Prabhupāda: So therefore attraction for any flower is not the solution of the question. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (BG 4.11). Kṛṣṇa is Supreme Absolute. Anyone wants Him in any way, He also presents Himself in that way. Just like the same example. If you want a yellow flower, never mind whether there is any scent or any flavor or not, so that flower is there. It is for you. That's all. But if anyone wants rose flower, Kṛṣṇa gives him rose flower. But when you make a comparative study which one is better, then rose will be considered better. (chuckling) So ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. That means the Absolute is realized... Of course, varieties there are, but the original division of the Absolute is three: Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān. Now, Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān is the same Absolute. Different names. The jñānis, or the empiric philosophers, they reach or they aim at Brahman, impersonal Brahman. The yogis, they, I mean to say, focus on the Supersoul, Paramātmā. And the devotees, they aim at Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, this Kṛṣṇa and the Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman, they are not different. They are light. They are not darkness. But in the light also, there is difference The example is given: just like sunlight, sun globe and the sun-god. Everywhere you find light. In the sunshine there is light. In sun globe there is light. And what to speak of the predominating deity in the sun-globe? He also must be light; otherwise wherefrom this light comes? So so far light is concerned, everywhere there. But you cannot say because sunshine has come through your window in your room, you cannot say the sun has come. That will be mistake. Sun is many, many miles away. But so far light is concerned, now there is question of degrees of light, intensity of light. So the degrees of spiritual realization in Brahman, degrees of spiritual realization in Paramātmā, and degrees of spiritual realization in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are different.

Yoko Ono: But you said about if the milk goes through a serpent's mouth it will produce poison, and, for instance, George just told us about a week ago a very interesting story about a man who had a face of Christ, and in twenty years' time he had a face of Judah. And the Catholic Church and all those churches first probably had good words, and now it's deteriorating. Now, how would you decide, really, that brāhmaṇas are always in a pure state that you speak of, that they would never turn into serpents?

Prabhupāda: That you have to become a serious student.

Yoko Ono: Well, I mean, what do you mean by serious student? Maybe everybody, all of us are serious anyway. I mean, we're born serious or born, you know, unserious.

Prabhupāda: Then you must know what is distinction between Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān, if you are serious student.

Yoko Ono: But does it depend on knowledge? I mean, the final judgement that you make?

Prabhupāda: Everything depends on knowledge. Without knowledge how can we make progress? Student means to acquire knowledge. Serious student means to acquire knowledge.

Yoko Ono: But not always the knowledgeable one are the ones who...

Prabhupāda: Yes. You cannot know completely. That is because our knowledge is very imperfect. But still, so far our knowledge is concerned, as far as possible, we should try to understand. Avāṅ mānasa gocaraḥ. This Absolute is so great and unlimited that it is not possible for us to know Him completely. That is not possible. Our senses does not allow. But as far as it is possible, because, after all, we are part and parcel of the Absolute, so all the qualities of the Absolute are there in us, but it is in minute quantity. So that minute quantity is also very great in comparison to material knowledge. Material knowledge is practically no knowledge. It is covered. But when one is liberated, liberated knowledge is certainly very, very great than material knowledge. So Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān. These are the statements of Bhāgavata. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). It is... Śabdyate means sounded as Bhagavān, Paramātmā, and Brahman. Now, what are the difference or degrees of knowledge? Brahman knowledge, Paramātmā knowledge, and Bhagavān knowledge. The same thing. The knowledge of sunshine, the knowledge of sun globe, and the knowledge of this predominating deity in the sun globe. So knowledge of sunshine is not knowledge of the predominating deity of the sun globe. There is another example in this connection. Just like if you see one hill from a long-distant place, first of all you see just like it is a cloud. Then, if you proceed further, you'll see something green. And if you enter into that hill you'll see, oh, there are so many varieties. There are animals, there are men, there are trees. But from the distant, you'll see just like a cloud. So although the same thing... Similarly, Absolute, when visioned from the Brahman point of view, it is just like cloud. Absolute when visioned as Paramātmā, it is just like something green. And Absolute when realized as the Supreme Person, it is just like you enter into the hill and see everything in detail. So although the focus is the same, the Brahmavādī and the Paramātmāvadī and the devotee's focus is the same, but due to their respective position the realization is different. These things are very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā you'll see,

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
(BG 10.8)

"I am the source of everything." This sarvaṁ means Paramātmā, Brahman, everything. These are clearly stated. Brahmaṇo 'ham pratiṣṭhā. So Brahman knowledge or Paramātmā knowledge is within Kṛṣṇa knowledge. If one has got Kṛṣṇa knowledge he has got Paramātmā knowledge, Brahman knowledge. He has got the effect of yogic principle, meditation, he has got the effect of empiric philosophical speculation, and he is situated personally in the service of the Lord. So if you make comparative study, then this Kṛṣṇa knowledge includes all knowledge. The Vedas also confirm it, yasmin sarvam evaṁ vijñātam bhavati. If you understand the Supreme, then all knowledge becomes automatically revealed. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam evaṁ vijñātam bhavanti. And in the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated, "Knowing this, you'll have nothing to know anymore." In the ninth chapter there is. So first of all we have to seriously study. Therefore I'm asking that to become serious student, what is the difference between Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān? Paramātmā is localized aspect of the Absolute Personality of Godhead. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). And Brahman is the effulgence of the Absolute. And Parambrahma, or Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is Kṛṣṇa. So if you have full Kṛṣṇa knowledge, then you have got Brahman knowledge and Paramātmā knowledge. But if you have got simply Brahman knowledge or Paramātmā knowledge, you have no Kṛṣṇa knowledge. The same example can be... If you are in the sunshine, then you do not know what is sun globe and the predominating deity in the sun. But if you are by the side of the sun deity, you know what is sun globe and what is sunshine. Therefore impartially it is recommended that one should know the science of the Absolute Truth, or Kṛṣṇa. That will include all other knowledge. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). This is also a verse from Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, "After many, many births' cultivation of knowledge, when one is actually wise, jñānavān..." Jñānavān means has attained wisdom. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "He surrenders unto Me." Why? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: (BG 7.19) "He understands, 'Oh, Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa is everything.' " Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: "Such great soul is very rare." And in the tenth chapter,

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhavā-samanvitāḥ
(BG 10.8)

"I am the origin. I am the source of everything. Everything emanates from Me. One who knows this science perfectly, he is budhā, he is intelligent, and he becomes engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." And the Vedānta-sūtra also, the first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now it is the time for inquiry about the Absolute, Brahman." So what is Brahman? The next aphorism is janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) "Brahman, the Absolute, is that from whom everything is coming, emanating." That Absolute is personally saying, mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "Everything is emanating from Me." So if you study Vedic literature very scrutinizingly, then you come to this conclusion, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness will include all other knowledge. Just like if you have got million dollar, ten dollar is included, five hundred dollar is included, thousand dollar is included. But one who has got ten dollar or five hundred dollar, he cannot claim that he has got million dollar. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa science means full spiritual knowledge. That is accepted by the ācāryas. And even you are speaking of Maharsi. He has written some book on Bhagavad-gītā?

John Lennon: Yes. That's the one we've read.

Prabhupāda: So why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book as authority? Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa's book. Everyone knows. Why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book?

George Harrison: Well, he didn't. He just translated it into English.

Prabhupāda: Why? Unless he has got some respect for that book?

John Lennon: But I've also read another, part of another translation by Yogananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda.

Prabhupāda: Everyone will have to take Kṛṣṇa's book first to prove their authority.

Yoko Ono: But, er... What...

Prabhupāda: Vivekananda has taken, Aurobindo has taken, Dr. Radhakrishnan has taken, Mahatma Gandhi... There are thousands and thousands. So why do they take Bhagavad-gītā?

George Harrison: So that we can read it in English.

Prabhupāda: No, no. It is not the question of English. It is the question of the thoughts. English it may be or Parsee it may be. That doesn't matter. Why do they take shelter of the thoughts of Bhagavad-gītā unless they accept Bhagavad-gītā as authority? Why they quote from Bhagavad-gītā? So why not directly Bhagavad-gītā? If Bhagavad-gītā is the authority for everyone, why not Bhagavad-gita as it is? That is our proposition.

George Harrison: But Bhagavad-gītā as it is is Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: No, we have made English.

George Harrison: Yes, but they all make it English.

John Lennon: But that must be also a translation, mustn't it? Whoever puts it into English. I mean...

Prabhupāda: So you also read any Bhagavad-gītā translation only. You don't read the original.

George Harrison: Well, which is the original? It's the same as the Bible.

Prabhupāda: Original is there. Origin is Sanskrit.

Yoko Ono: It's in Sanskrit, but we don't read Sanskrit.

John Lennon: Yes, but it's pointless, me reading Sanskrit, because I don't understand Sanskrit.

Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to take translation.

George Harrison: So then there's all, a hundred translations.

John Lennon: And interpretations.

George Harrison: Which is again like all the roses and all the different flowers. It's a matter of taste as to which one. Because everybody claims their version is the best. All the versions I've read, they all say... And sometimes I get something from one which I don't get from something else.